15 – minutes of mayhem

Welcome, the lovely, and wise guide of the GBE2 proposed a slightly frightening prompt this week….15 minute free write. (consider that your warning)     *note, you can click “wise guide” and see for yourself how very wise the Word Nerd really is*

set timer since I have no concept of passing time…ready, set,  go…..

when I saw the challenge, I thought, “NO, I am not posting all the crazy random thoughts that flit through my mind….” then, I remembered, um that is sort of what I do here anyways. Rarely do I start with a real plan, this is my spot for dumping the random and the bizarre. Granted I do “think” and edit a bit more than usual- now. Knowing my readers are actually, um reading….and *gasp* analyzing my words. That is what had me refusing to write….but then I saw all the weird things being posted and figured what the hay. Yep, that’s what I said, what the hay.

I actually do the free write thing everyday in my journal, I am part of the whole Artist Way tribe and have been scribbling down my three handwritten pages of nonsense for several years now, just write – adding little lists in the margins, flipping the page over and writing back between the lines so it is basically undecipherable, hardly have to do that anymore though, not only does no one really care what I write, my handwriting is atrocious, I blame the keyboard, but really it is just laziness, I used to write nicely and still can when I concentrate, but scribbling is faster and I am all about fast when it comes to writing, my grandma used to write me letters, just telling me all about the animals she spotted, or to give me updates on her songwriting career and even though her handwriting was hardly more than lines with a few bumps and twists here and there, I could immediately decipher it, same with teaching, I used to teach creative writing to kids of all ages and bad handwriting, even awful spelling hardly fazed me.

It was really not my main focus to correct everything, that was for the poor english teacher, I let a lot of stuff slide in order to pull creative genius from those little minds. miss those classes, that had a horrible ending – turn the page, right now, turn the page, i have run into some of my former students, they are all tall now, that is strange, but other than that, they are the same little sillies I had in class, love that. They taught me how to teach, and really made the whole process of breaking out of my shell much easier, I was so scared the first day, the first month, but little Nina didn’t care, she was a mini adult in her wacky outfits, helpful…but honestly she was a great schmoozer. It would have been easy to overlook the fact that she was not actually doing anything in class because she was so darn helpful and pleasant. I noticed though and she wound up producing some decent pieces, enough to appease the powers that be at least. Seeing her all grown up is weird, I am sure she is still schmoozing her way through school and life.

  okay  now I need coffee…but i won’t stop typing yet, i can wait until the timer beeps…about my fancy coffee maker. it’s has a gauge on it, like in a car…E to F, pretty nifty. Right now it is close to E, but like the car, I know it still has at least another cup in there…i have only been stranded twice without gas, twice in the same year, but just twice in all my years of driving, not bad. I should have run out of gas on a trip to my sister’s college….really, should have.. the little alarm went off and I announced, we have at least 20 minutes left…but the highway was backed up, and then the first exit we came to (20 minutes later) was unreal..

.ALL the electricity in the city was out.

I could not make this up, and since all the power was out, the pumps did not work, nor did the traffic lights so turning around to get back on the backed up highway was tricky…when we finally made it to the next exit, I followed the signs that pointed to the gas station, but they were wrong. Ended up going all the way around a very large mall in order to find the gas station that was right off the exit ramp to the opposite side – speaking of which, I should have probably reported that…

oh well, against all odds, we made it to the gas station and filled up. So, now I am even less likely to pull over when the little E light pops on….I obviously have WAY more than 20 minutes, the car is such a drama queen, fix me, clean me, fill me, geez relax already.

Hmm, I type too fast, how is the time not up yet, I really would like a cup of coffee. What else can I type, okay well, the tree is coming down today, and all the pretties too.

If this was an actual blog post I may have taken the time to make that barely recognizable Wizard of Oz reference work, maybe a picture of the witch or toto…

anyways with the weather being so dang nice throughout December, plus a slightly insane work schedule, (and some personal trials) Christmas was hard to get into- so it seems really strange to see a tree in my living room as it is – time to go. what was I thinking, I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too – okay, well that doesn’t really work so it would have been scratched anyways. Aren’t you glad you had the opportunity to see a bloggers brain at work, eh.

anywho maybe I can type with two fingers instead, or one…that would cut down on the amount of weirdness being spilled here…

keep typing,    only s l o w e r…

the new year is coming and I am not only taking down christmas stuff, but pulling out other stuff too. start fresh, wipe the slate clean TOSS THE SOCK BASKET no kidding, the sock basket has to go, it is always full, always sitting around taunting me, so I am going to just show it who is boss – out ya go crazy maker…..

I have one closet in the house – and not really any idea of what exactly is in there anymore…so it will be emptied today and oh, yeah it is a work day too, lots of assignments that need to be turned in – end of the month and all,  that’s okay i have my minions to help today, yesterday we had fun, today we work –

still waiting for snow, silly kid got a snow board and all the trimmings and not even the ski place where they make snow, has enough to make it worthwhile, but it is coming, Monday is supposed to be a disaster – a beautiful blizzardy disaster yeah!

or not, my daughter is in Kansas City and is supposed to be driving back Monday – maybe I can convince her to drive on Sunday instead….New Years day, er, I don’t know- miss her.   whew, timer went off. bye. coffee coffee coffee!

(i came back and added paragraphs- er, just a few breaks to make it readable, that is, if anyone dares!) 


it all makes sense in context

Spending Christmas Day with my family, my mom, dad and two of my sisters puts everything in context. After several odd unintentional jokes, a few bizarre exclamations, and general silliness, I turned to my kids and said, see, I do belong somewhere…. I came from somewhere….. my weirdness has roots.

Belonging. It is a priceless feeling. Better than any gift, ever. We exchanged nice gifts, (love mine by the way), but just sitting and laughing together was all that was necessary.

….over the weekend my kids have compiled a collection of video clips that “describe me” – honestly, they said that this is what they will play at my funeral. ( not as creepy a statement as it may appear, we have attended a godawful amount of funerals over the past few years – they have seen a lot of different styles and, well, it makes sense in context) ….. anyways, six decades from now, : )  the “drop it like it’s hot” Sun Drop commercial will begin an odd montage to “explain” me, remember me.  weird, yes. – but it’s okay.

What is interesting about all that is that they will be inheriting much of the same….  
*insert evil laugh here*  
…and their kids will too and so on and so on….
there is no escaping your family traits. You can suppress it, ignore it, turn your back on the past….
but it’s there and will pop up at the most inopportune times.
That’s when you need to just embrace it all, flaws and all.    



tuesday fun

random answers to questions no one asked …. you’re welcome, enjoy!  

1. What is your favorite online-only store?
Etsy shops, ModCloth and LuLu’s…but the only online-only store I consistently order from is Moo cards

2. Do you enjoy wrapping gifts?
Normally, yes, with one present I can be creative – at Christmas time it can be a little overwhelming. By the way, that is what I am doing today after my oldest gets home from work and can whisk his siblings away for a few hours …yippee

3. What is the temperature in your city today?
 35, pretty darn warm for December in Cleveland!

4. What time do you eat dinner?
No set time – schedules are wacky…somewhere between 4 and 8

5. Will you be making New Years Resolutions?
Of course, always….I also make New Week resolutions, New Month resolutions, birthday resolutions….

6. How old is your oldest pair of shoes that you still wear?
I have a pair of 20 year old red converse that are almost unrecognizable, for painting….and a pair of old cowgirl boots…do thrift store finds count?  If so, my favorite pair of heels are a good 60 years old – perfect condition though.

7. Do you have any restaurant phone numbers saved in your phone?

8. What is your favorite and least favorite letter to write in cursive?
S is my favorite…. Z can stay a Z, like Zoro- no cursive necessary

9. Do you know any good riddles?
What is green with wheels? *

10. How do you feel about snow?
Love it. love love love it!

…just kidding about the wheels

so yeah, to answer no. 9,  no, I do not know any good riddles.  : ) 

you can’t handle the truth

There are times when facing the bare naked truth is just not appropriate. Do I really want to know…..?  No. I don’t. I would much rather imagine and live slightly below the surface. Besides, my heart hangs out on my sleeve….oh, who I am kidding, I am basically a person turned inside out. The truth and all it’s jabby barbs are not always welcome. Besides, I believe there is almost always room for interpretation.

Just because one person says – “That’s how it is.” 
  Is it? 
  Is it really

Are they simply following protocol? Is the truth they are serving wrapped in invisible red tape?  (can you detect my skepticism with “the system” …)

So many people are just doing their job. The “truth” they tell you may be loaded with ulterior motives, (politics) (health system) (law) (business)…. it is rarely the result of a thoughtful analysis….reality or possibilities aside.

Did they really just say, “I can’t.” Is that the truth?  So says you. I say, hmpf, watch me.

belief, repetition and decibels
do not create truth.

On a lighter note, my daughter told me there is no such thing as seeing the gas tank as “a little full” when it is clearly almost empty.  Wise little thing. My silly optimism does not always translate well…..and that’s the truth.

(note- we did not run out of gas….but I did pull into the nearest gas station after her cute observation)

~* ~*~*~*~ GBE2 – Truth ~*~*~*~*


it is not Tuesday

It is not Tuesday. Hmm well, what do you know?

I wish it was Tuesday. I sort of thought it was when I woke up…and then again when I opened my laptop and reached for the Ten on Tuesday questions… oh, how I wish it was Tuesday. This week is jam-packed with far too many responsibilities.

Yesterday, a.k.a.the real Tuesday, was all blown to bits due to a doctor’s appointment that went on and on and on….first I was waiting because I was early, then I was waiting because the staff was behind, then I waited in the exam room, then the lab, then the appointment desk…waiting, waiting, waiting…for what?  … BONUS, another appointment for today. yeah me.  But, before I face reality and get my shoes on, I figured a little faux Tuesday activity is appropriate…

(actually, ten on tuesday will be finished in the waiting room – just setting it up now)

This is half random, half Christmas. Good stuff from Sarah at Simply Sarah!

1. What are 3 things that are on your Christmas wishlist?
1. A hard cover for my naked droid….I have a funky hot pink rabbit phone case that my mom made, but once it is out of the rabbit – it is on its own and really should be protected against …me.
2. Fingerless gloves…with the mitten covers – love those
3. another canvas…

2. What’s your favorite Christmas song?
Handel’s Messiah….okay, it’s technically not “a” song, but I love it. The Hallelujah Chorus being the bestest. :)
3. Do you have a favorite band or singer that sings it especially awesome?
No one in particular- just a LARGE choir-orchestra, so that the music swallows your entire being.

4. Have you heard about the website goodreads?
Yes….heard of it, can. not. possibly. keep. up.  So, I will leave it to live and prosper without me.

5. What are 3 books you want to read?
oh, there are so many…stacks – but, I am not home and cannot remember any titles….but there is one by Kris Car sitting on my desk, “Crazy Sexy Cancer” and I want to buy Clarissa Pinkola Estes new books…okay, that’s three, moving on….

6. Do you hunt deer?
  Good God, No. I am not particularly proud of this, but it is true, I have been called the deer whisperer…or just the weird lady who talks to the deer. There are several regulars in the backyard, a young buck we refer to as Steve and his potentially chronically drunk deer buddies who gorge themselves on the old apples in my backyard. They’re cool with me.  Make peace not war, baby

7. Have you started Christmas shopping? Are you completely finished?
  Ha, ha, ha….not at all.

8. Did you shop on Black Friday? What was the best deal you got?
Again, no shopping….at all.

9. What’s one holiday tradition your family has?
 New pajamas for Christmas Eve, love new jammies….and fuzzy socks. – sad that I am sitting here FREEZING in the lab…seriously, would customary complimentary blankets be too much to ask. I would even welcome a …yes, I am going to say it….a SNUGGIE. (that is the only time you will ever hear me wish for one of those contraptions though) 

10. How many blogs do you read? Do you subscribe/unsubscribe often or do you purge every once in a while?   I don’t keep count, but catch up on blogs in spurts. A dozen or so I read as soon as they update and others are randomly read – and subscribed to. I have no real method to my madness. 

…..now, since I am done with this post – I will go catch up on my blog reading while I wait, and wait, and wait….   tell me, what is the point of having appointment times again?

wait for it…

…a few days ago, a fantastically gorgeous, beautifully pristine, brand new canvas was bestowed upon me. – (I am completely enamored, so please excuse the over-the-top wordy phrases.) So far it has gone from pure as snow, to a purple and gold, only-a-mother-could-love stage…. then the light and dark broke in…

wait for it….
more delicious colors applied – 
it is still in it’s “awkward stage” as I explain to all the random art critics who walk by (!) 
still, wait for it
wait for it….
there, there’s the tree
colors, earth, sky and roots are not done….
but there is the beginning of a tiny tree  (tiny on a 3X5 foot canvas)  
emphasis on, not done
I did not set out, consciously, to do another tree painting….I was actually trying to avoid it, this time around,

but then the “magic wand” (aka, tool formerly known as the palette knife)  started showing me what was going on on that scrumptious canvas is the idea of the unseen. It is unfolding an image of a life…showing that what is “under the surface” is far more than what is seen – more than what even you can feel….the intertwining and far-reaching qualities of a single life are extraordinary. A single right step, or stray word can have a massive effect on the very root system of another…
I am taking my time on finishing this one.

Now that the storyline is there, I know what I need to do to finish it up…


one word

As it goes in the blogging world, challenges are issued, new groups are formed and intriguing new blogs are discovered…-the kind of blogs that suddenly turns what you thought was a decent little spot for your thoughts into a painfully lame collection of words…..sigh-

Anyways, the latest challenge I’ve run across is a non-challenge of sorts. The best I can figure out, it was a challenge in years past, but the original founders decided to pass the torch and the result is not exactly one group, but potentially several. I could be wrong, either way, prompt one – which I discovered on Word Nerd Speaks, along with Beth’s thoughtful answer – sent me on a rabbit trail with many potential new source of prompts, or maybe just random reading material, we’ll see how it goes.

The question from ReVerb: One Word.  Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you? 

Determination is my word for 2011.  It took sheer force of will for me to get through some of the events of this year. Not talent. Not skill. Not creativity or even a tiny bit of luck. I set out to exchange words for dollars and somehow, my crazy scheme worked. In much the same way, my oldest two are determined to pursue very specific paths and have everything lined up, ready to launch at 10, 9, 8….
This year I also determined to stay put and not let the lies and whispers swirling about bring me down (for the most part). While I was somewhat successful in blocking out the world, this single-minded focus did not always lead to the healthiest choices…and so…

Passion is the word I want to capture 2012.  Okay, so I jammed a foot in the door, walked around with blinders and sound canceling earplugs… now I want to focus my energy more directly into things that bring me joy.  Determination can make a person quite flat. Like having all the bubbles shaken out of a bottle of pop, life is just flat.  “So, what are you up to these days?”  “Oh, I’m working….um, cleaning…um, working…”   
After writing out and reading through my bucket list, (including the “not for the public entries”), some of that energy came knocking at my hearts door again. Playing with paint flipped on a light switch and these little stirs combined give me hope that the year of 2012 can be full of passionate intensity. Bubbly ideas pursued- but out of love and desire- not so much relentlessly boring determination this time around.  Sound good?

*ooo bubbles*

Posted in n


 a gift from someone who knows me very well 
A BIG three foot by five foot BRAND NEW canvas is a splurge I would not have given myself so close to Christmas. Who has the time to “waste” painting. I have classes to teach, articles to write, stories to pitch, laundry to do, kids to shuffle around and a host of other life stuff to attend to – nonstop- I am also trying to include the three girls of my friend who recently passed away into our life. The youngest is spending the night again tonight …. hear me clearly, I am not complaining, this is an honor…but it is also a constant reminder. Not just of her sudden departure, but of all the friends I’ve lost- and what I did not do in response then, out of sadness, fear, insecurity and a sense of insignificance
-regret reigns supreme-
 this time though
I have been forcing myself to choose love, action, change, growth….
but couldn’t quite find the spark.

thank you. i completely forgot the spark was found at the end of my paintbrush.

While I ‘paint’ and create all week – as an art teacher and writer, there is something entirely different about painting just for me – for the deep part of me that was lost in the piles of life.

To paint is to love again, and to love is to live to the fullest.”
~Henry Miller
the first layer of gesso and paint was applied with my terribly neglected palette knife an hour ago
or should I say, “tool formerly known as palette knife.”
It will now and forever more be referred to as The Magic Wand
note, the finished piece will not be gold and purple
 I just plan on applying layer after layer until the deep magic has done it’s work
Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation, it’s a form of magic
 ~Pablo Picasso

blinded by love -or was it the poison?

Noise, I can handle.

Kids who “can’t” – ha, let me at ’em.

Mess – nothing new

A classroom with a broken furnace- it’s okay, I still haven’t turned the heat on at home…

….I’ve dealt with MIA assistants, failed fire drills and my own sarcastic slips of the tongue… but today, today takes the cake, or took my cookies  (if you don’t get it, I won’t explain..)

 “Why do I smell burning cheese?”
“What is dripping from the ceiling, teacher?”

Oh my. The light fixture was leaking black goo. Smelly black goo. 

“I have a headache.”   Yeah, me too, kiddo. Open the windows, (why not, it’s already freezing in the room)

So then, after evacuating to the lunch room, we attempted to continue with class…not my best effort.

The next classes were worse. The kids were spread out among three or so tables…there was A LOT of additional commotion in the cafeteria…my brain felt mushy, and time STOOD STILL. It was a bizarre phenomenon. I really believe there was a blip in the time space continuum. We drew city scenes for what seemed like at least 4 hours….but somehow, the clock only moved a mere 4 minutes….

I love my work – but it is an abusive lover.  At various times it has bludgeoned my reputation, caused me to skip sleep, lured me into dangerous situations…it plays mind games, takes advantage of my cluelessness….locks me in seclusion to spin straw into gold…and now, tries to poison me?   Okay, that is a reach, but seriously, what was wrong with regular office work, or even retail?  I guess my beer goggles are firmly affixed, I am completely enamored  –  regardless.

there’s a hole in the bucket

There are things I want to do before I die, and then there are THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE…this list is a mix of both categories. The prompt for the GBE2 this week is, Bucket List. Fellow bloggers wrote inspiring, funny and poignant posts. My post will simply be an excerpt from my journal- I am an obsessive list maker, so a Bucket List is only natural.  

I’ll start by saying I have been able to check off several biggies over the years. Some were amazing and I am thrilled to be able to own those memories…others were, eh, okay, not what I expected.  For example, I traveled to Hawaii – all expenses paid,  went to a crazy amazing luau, snorkled in Maui, saw a sea turtle up close and personal, made friends with strangers, rode a bike down a friggin volcano…it was all beautiful and exciting ….  And now, that is done….don’t have to, or really want to, go back. The same with parasailing, nice – but I was not as impressed as I hoped.

Now roller derby, roller derby was worth the hype. I gave it a go and adore the sport …. these are the continuing bucket list items, like 4-wheeling through the mud, snowmobiling, water skiing, hula hooping, camping in the winter… you know, there is something to be said for momentum. Once you stop, declare yourself  “too old”  well then, it is hard to go back.

Anyways, regardless of the outcome – what follows are a select few items from my master list – you cannot see them all – that would be far too much personal disclosure, even for me.

Plan and attend my 75th high school reunion – (and have alumni attend!!!)  – I love helping plan these events. It was a very strange twist of events that led to high-school -hating me- getting wrapped up in the whole reunion saga, but “event planning” is a secret love and – go figure, those kids I graduated with turned out to be mighty cool indeed.  

Watch the World Cup – live from wherever 

Zipline– the longer and higher the better

Go white water rafting- extreme version please

Walk through caves– somewhere, anywhere

Heal up and get off stupid medication – naturally…

Complete a ropes course
– with fun people

Public art – THIS YEAR?? ugh, four years in a row I have designed and submitted my proposal to a particular program…had the thing approved, made it to the final round – got ALL EXCITED and …then, the funding falls off. This is my year. The year of the dragon is mine.

Buy an old school building, church, firehouse, factory – turn it into a work/life space.  A private art studio that can stay messy, classrooms to teach my Creativity Explosion!!!  open it up to dance teachers, music….. -note, this is not a big money making scheme- in fact, I would love to offer a slew of classes specifically for those least likely to be able to afford them – foster children, inner city, struggling suburbanites….
  (and have the ability to roller skate in private from room to room if I want)  :) 

Spend a year, or so, in Europe
Go to Paris, Spain, Germany, Amsterdam….this would cover several items on my list – living out of a suitcase, seeing castles and cathedrals, the Eiffel Tower, interesting houses and meeting random people.

Master Photoshop

Learn a foreign language

Be debt free- not only so I can pursue the things on my list, but so I can more freely give …

Make a real difference – help rebuild a devastated area, distribute food, fill a food pantry…

Support my kids dreams – they are big dreamers, go figure, and I want to see them fulfill their ideas

Be a Great Grandma, Great Aunt – and not just due to my innate awesomeness, but strictly by the book. Great-great even – why not?  I had kids young…

Learn to dance. Take dance lessons – and learn how to really dance, ballroom, salsa, swing, whatever.

Publish my books – the children’s books that have been making their rounds in queryland, the non-fiction babies and at least one fiction. I love that I no longer have to leave “be a writer” on the list. I am amazed I am a full-time freelancer….but would really like to be an author.

Make new friends – be a good friend, be a much better friend…… – struggling with this lately (for good reason, I say…but that is just a cop out, I can do better than this)  – i hate being a putz in this department. the sting of losing close friends-whether by the hand of cancer, freak accidents, or my own fear of getting too close to someone, should not throw me into isolation. *excuse the random confession…. and now for something completely different….ha,

Give a motivational type speech – seriously, a speech- in front of people….this terrifies me like no other item on this list, or on your list, or Oprah’s list….but it has to be done.  

Dye my hair blue or pink or deep purple – before letting it turn white

….See the giant redwoods, spend time in Maine, go to South America, Australia, New Zealand….Go to a Broadway play…..go to NYC on New Years Eve….mountain bike down a ridiculous mountain, be able to do a back flip…I could go on and on and on.. but that’s enough dreaming for now- time to make some moola. :)

Oh – and to explain the title of this post “there’s a hole in the bucket,” REMEMBER bucket lists are not for putting on the shelf. The sands of time keep slipping through, do something!