Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blogger challenge, The End!, 8.14.14

It's the end of the blogger challenge! I've grouped these last topics together, because, well, they just go together. #24- A difficult time in my life, #28- The last time I cried and #27- what makes me feel better-always. One just kind of flows into the next. So, they became a group :)

Starting with #24- A difficult time in my life. Well, for those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time, you know the answer to that. (For those of you who are new to the blog, see this post.) So, I'm not going to re-hash it again. But what I really haven't written about (I don't think?) here is my divorce. That would be the next most difficult time in my life.



I won't go into too much detail here, but I've made it a point, since my divorce, to tell anyone who is going through or thinking that they may be going through a separation or divorce, to stop. Wait. Try harder. Then try even harder. And when you get advice from someone who has already been through what you are about to go through- listen. If someone else gives you the same advice- listen again.  (If it still doesn't work out, then at least you know you gave it every ounce of your effort.) Divorce, ESPECIALLY if you have kids, SUCKS.  For everyone involved. In my first marriage, I didn't try hard enough. I took an easy out. Except, what I didn't know then, is that it really wasn't going to be "easy" at all. Lesson learned, yes. But at my children's expense. It's not easy to live with that. So, I'm hoping that over the years my advice has been taken by a least one person and that at least one family was saved. That's how I deal with it, anyway. I can only hope.

Okay, moving on...the last time I cried. I have to say, I have really never been a big crier. But over the last three years, I feel like I've made up for a lifetime of crying. And I'm not talking about a little tear here and there or crying at the end of a sad movie. I'm talking about an uncontrollable cry that comes from a place so deep inside your gut that it feels like it is being ripped out of you (when we lost Ruben J) and another kind of cry that comes out of nowhere and lasts for hours (when I missed Eddie's first call home from Basic Training) and yet another kind of intense cry that comes from a place of relief and happiness (when I finally did get a call from Eddie). Too much loss and change at one time for me, for sure.  It was very overwhelming. The last time that I cried, though, was for a student who was killed in an accident in 2012. Although I had become closer to her than some of my other students, I still only knew her on the teacher/student level, so I was kind of surprised by my reaction. I guess, though, once those floodgates opened, it was all over with. And, so, I guess I have now become a bit of a crier. And, that's okay :)



Oh, my. This is a bit of a downer blog post, isn't it?! Well, lets move onto a lighter subject....

What makes me feel better, always? I bet you can guess! Yep, it's my kids. Whether it is Eddie doing one of his impressions or poking fun at my (imaginary!) lisp, or Little Man telling me not to worry and to live in the moment, or Sister being the patient, attentive, non-judgmental  listener that she is, they ALWAYS make me feel better, no matter what.
Have a great day! And stay tuned... I'm working on re-stocking at Blumenhof. The pouches, bibs and onesies all sold in the past, so I'll be working on those first. I'm also planning some small paintings and fiber wall hangings with a wine theme. I'll keep you posted!    Juli

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blogger challenge #19, 8.13.14


It's ridiculous how some people have to update their Facebook status about every little thing they do and who they're with. They think they have lives But they really don't...3 words : Get a life!

...My worst habits.

Well, I have two. Number one- procrastination or "killing" time. Number two- social media/cellphone checking. But, honestly, the two go hand-in-hand. Procrastination has always been there, but it has gotten WAY worse since Facebook, Pinterest and getting an IPhone. Facebook and Pinterest was bad enough, but with an IPhone, suddenly, I could "kill" time anywhere, anytime. (Honestly, who has time "to kill"? Not me!)


My procrastination was getting better, I have to say. For example, the last paper I wrote for my Master's degree was a 35 page research paper and I finished and turned it in 10 days before the due date. It felt great to do that! I honestly felt like I had conquered this procrastination problem and was heading in the right direction.

But, then, along came Facebook. Then I discovered Pinterest. Then I got an Iphone. And from that point on, the procrastination has gotten worse. You see, when I'm on Facebook or Pinterest, I can pretend that I am doing something constructive- I'm catching up with friends, I'm getting ideas, I'm doing "research". But, really, all I am doing is procrastinating.When I'm constantly checking my phone, I can pretend that I am so important that I need to make sure no one is trying to "reach me" and that I am not, in fact, just checking Facebook or scanning Pinterest. But, really, all I'm doing is distracting myself  and "killing" time. (I will make an exception here, though. If my kids are trying to reach me- all bets are off- no matter who I'm with , I'm answering my phone.)

Don't get me wrong, there are many good things about social media, in general (I've written about it before on this post). But, you must be disciplined enough to really limit the amount of time you spend on it and to know that you aren't using it as an excuse for not doing something that needs to be done. And, another biggie,  you have to be disciplined enough to NOT check your phone every few minutes or seconds while you are in the company of other people. It's really rude. And, I have to admit, I've been more guilty of that lately. The other day, we spent several hours "talking wine" with one of the authors of the blog MOwineplease. He is 27 years old and for four hours (four hours!) I didn't even see his cellphone. (I mention his age because it seems like the "phone checking" is most prevalent with younger people. Although, to be honest, I'm noticing it much more with "older" people as well.) It was refreshing, really.  He was passionate about something and he wanted to have a conversation- with us. He was animated and excited and hungry for the knowledge that M. could give him about wine. He didn't need to check his phone. He didn't feel the need to "kill" his time with us. He was engaged. Right there. For four hours. With us.

I was impressed. And it has really made me think about my own social media/cell phone habits.
So, I'm going to kick this bad habit in the butt! If I am nothing else, I am pretty disciplined and determined in most other areas of my life, so I have every confidence that I can do it.  But everyone needs a little help, so here are some tips from  one of my favorite simple living blogs Be More with Less

Have a great day!  Juli

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Blog challenge catch-up (aka-cheat!), 8.9.14

I'm totally cheating here, in order to finish the blog challenge before I go back to work. So, I picked several  of the remaining challenge topics to include in a list, similar to this House of Humble post and this post. I chose the topics that could be easily answered in one, two or a few sentences. So here goes:

#17- My favorite childhood books: 1) Green Eggs and Ham (first book I read on my own), 2) Corduroy 3) Any of the Little House on the Prairie books

#18- What am I afraid of ? Something happening to my kids, being laughed at, running out of money

#20- Where I want to be in ten years- A year away from retirement, with a firmly established Olive and Ash small business and a tiny house :)

#21- Something I miss- Going for "drives". We used to take the kids for "drives"- just anywhere, with no plan. We'd all pile in the truck with a cooler in the back and just GO. Loved that.

#22- Ten favorite songs-1) Roll Me Away by Bob Seger 2) Misunderstanding by Genesis 3) Carry On Wayward Sun by Kansas 4) Understanding by Bob Seger 5) In the Air Tonight by Genesis 6) Beautiful Loser/Travelin' Man by Bob Seger 7) Come away with me by Norah Jones 8) You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker 9) Into the Mystic by Van Morrison 10) These are the days by Van Morrison

#23-Pet peeves- People crunching their food when they chew. Oh, my! Drives me crazy. I guess I inherited that 'peeve' from my dad.

#25- Best physical features- 1) my smile (I think my teeth are slightly too big for my mouth/face-which I think makes it the feature that stands out the most)
2) strong bones (I've never broken a bone except for my toe) and flexibility ( I'm pretty "bendy"!)
3) my hair (I actually have the WORST hair- thin, fine, dull- which led to my short haircut. Not my #1 choice, but I think it must just work with my face.)

#26- 5 favorite blogs- Posie Gets Cozy, An Inch of Gray, House of Humble, Cozy Things, Carol Marine's Painting a Day,
and of course, MK Designs Photography  (Who has been SO supportive of this blog!) Thanks, M.T. 
Yeah, I know that's six blogs :) It's very hard to narrow them down.

#29- Top things on my bucket list-I'll list the top three: 1) Travel out of the country- my top picks- England and Ireland 2) Take my kids and grandkids on a trip of a lifetime- my pick here would be to their Grandma's hometown of Kaisersech, Germany 3) Re-learn enough German so I can enjoy #2!

#30- Favorite comfort food- ice cream- now, specifically, So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream-chocolate or Mocha Almond Fudge

#31- Weird quirk of mine- rubbing my feet together when I go to sleep. (I've always thought this was weird, but M. does the same, exact thing. Funny!)

#'s 27, 28, 19 and 24 will follow :)


Have a great Saturday!  I'm headed to this place:
Blumenhof Winery


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blogger Challenge #15 and #16, 8.7.14

#15- Timeline of my day, #16- My Dream Job... It's pretty convenient that these two topics fell together on the list. First of all, during the summer, I don't really have a set timeline to my day. Every day is different and I feel like a fish out of water, most of the time. So, as the new school year approaches, I really look forward to having my routine back. And the routine of a school day is perfect for me. Each hour is different, so I almost never get bored. And the entire day is filled with creating. Me, creating things/ideas/concepts for my students; my students, taking those ideas, running with them and creating things of their own. I couldn't think of a better job for me. It is my dream job. So, here is a timeline of my typical, dream job, work day:

4:45- alarm goes off, hit snooze once, hit snooze twice
5:03- get up, eat my oatmeal and green tea while I catch up on Facebook/blogs
5:45- 7:05-yoga, get clothes ready for the day, shower, makeup, take my dog out for a short walk, gather my things for the day
7:05-7:45- drive to work
7:45-8:30- read my e-mails, hall duty (woo hoo!!)
8:30- 9:20- plan time- make copies, organize supplies for the day, write goals on board, etc.
9:20-3:20- teach a variety of classes, depending on the year- Intro. to Design, Drawing, Painting, Fine Craft, Art Appreciation
3:30-4:00- hall duty or parking lot duty (woo hoo!!), wrap up my day, close out computer, etc. I try to get out by 4 or 4:15 each day, especially since my drive time is longer now. I bring work home with me, if needed, as by 4:00 or so I really feel the need to exit the building and get some fresh air
4:00-4:40- drive home
4:45-6:00- take my dog for a walk, work on projects that I have going at home (making,blogging, or grading, if needed), catch up on facebook/blogger, , etc.
6:00-7:45- make supper, eat supper, visit with my husband
7:45-8:15- yoga
8:15-10:00- relax- t.v., movies, our "regular" shows (Bill Maher, Anthony Bourdain), etc.

Obviously, there are variations to this routine, but, for the most part, this is it.

It's funny to think back to a few years ago and how "anti-routine" I was. It sounded old and boring to me to say "I have a routine.". Well, now I don't really care if it sounds old and boring. I need a routine!  And I've come to love it. My goal now is to become disciplined enough during the summer months and weekends to develop a routine during that time, too. I accomplish so much more when I know what I am going to be doing from the moment I wake up.

Well, I hope that wasn't too much boring information for you. I'm pretty sure it was, though, so I'll leave you with some art, words, etc. that have been inspiring to me, lately.

by Myriam Zorge
Found here. Love this organic looking piece.


Found here. Just looking at this makes my hands hurt, but, I would love to try  it. Love the layers.
What is a Mandala? Loved and Pinned by www.downdogboutique.com to our Yoga community boards
Found here. I recently had a dream about mandalas. Weird, huh? I'm thinking it has to mean something, I just haven't quite figured out what that is, yet.


F. Scott Fitzgerald
Yep. Found here.
 Have a great day!  Juli

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blogger challenge #14, 7.31.14

...What is in my handbag? First of all, does anybody out there call their purse a handbag? Not me. Maybe if my purse was really large, I would call it a tote bag. Maybe a bag. But not a handbag. Or a satchel.  Hmmm...Anywho, I guess I'm stalling a bit because I don't want to admit how messy my "handbag" is at the moment. I've downsized the size of my 'purse' considerably over the last year to one that pretty much holds my wallet, keys, phone and a tube of lipstick. And that's it. I keep a tote bag in my car to hold other things I might need, but don't need every day. So, for me, that's good. The problem is, at the moment, my small  purse also has tons of receipts, two  tubes of lotion, an extra tube of lipstick, a tin of Altoids,  a pack of tic tacs and an assortment of tea bags. I know! It's time for a clean out. But, good timing, because school is about to start and that always puts me in a "clean out and organize" mood.

So, talk about baring my soul here- I'm leaving you with some pictures of my purse- inside and out. Like I've said on this space before, maybe writing about my struggles will help someone else out there deal with their own struggles. Even if it's "messy purse struggles"! Hopefully, looking at my messy purse will make you feel better about your own :) So, here ya go:

My wallet. SUPER embarrassing to show. But, I'm not gonna lie,  kind of a motivator to clean it out :)


And the inside of my purse, sans wallet, above. Not so bad (without the wallet). And, the good part is, in the pocket to the left on this photo, there is a little wad of cash. All ones! haha! But still, very rarely will you find cash in my purse.




Once everything is shoved in there and it's all zipped up, it looks pretty good :)


Now, I'm off to do some purse cleaning!     Have a great night!  Ju

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blogger challenge #13, 7.29.14

...my favorite quote. Well, I have several that have been very significant to me over the years, for one reason or another. Each one of them has helped me feel better, overcome grief, become inspired or helped clarify a belief.  Sometimes, reading the thoughts or words of someone else is just what you need and all of a sudden you are saying to yourself, "Yeah!! That's what I've been wanting to say!", or "Yeah! That's what I've been waiting for someone else to say!". The perfect quote at the perfect time is pretty powerful. Here are some of my favorites:



"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."~Dr. Seuss

 
"When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his work may be...he becomes an inventive, daring, searching, self-expressive creature." Robert Henri


 
"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
-- Agatha Christie


"There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly becomes any of us
To talk about the rest of us."
~Edward Wallis Hoch
 


Wounds of the spirit... are most gently soothed and made whole by the passing years. Under the old scars flows again the calm, healthful tide of life.... Under a great loss the heart impetuously cries that it can never be happy again, and perhaps in its desperation says that it wishes never to be comforted. But though angels do not fly down to open the grave and restore the lost, the days and months come as angels with healing in their wings. Under their touch aching regret passes into tender memory; into hands that were empty new joys are softly pressed; and the heart that was like the trees stripped of its leaves and beaten by winter's tempests is clothed again with the green of spring. ~George S. Merriam

"You cannot plough a field by
turning it over in your mind."
Author Unknown


 There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying things which are beyond the power of our will.
Epictetus


" I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."
John Lennon


 

 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Blogger challenge #12, 7.28.14

...If I won the lottery. Hmmm.... I used to think of this quite a bit, as Ruben J., Chelsi and I would drive to Illinois every Saturday, back in the 80's, to get our lottery tickets. It was kind of fun, as it was the new thing back then and I think people honestly thought they had a good chance of winning. Kind of funny thinking back on it.

But, the reality is, I don't think winning a lottery (where you would win a large amount of money-like millions) would be good for me. Now, don't get me wrong, if I won, I wouldn't give it back or anything! My kids would be benefiting from that, for sure. But, honestly, I think the challenge of juggling my bills every month is a motivator for me. A motivator to shop more frugally, to be more creative while decorating and fixing up my home, to really be aware of what I need vs. what I want, etc. At this point in my life, the only thing that I really want, other than what I already have, is to have enough extra money to take all of my kids and their kids on a nice trip every year or maybe every other year. That is really all I want. I could live in a shoebox (well, maybe 'shoebox' is a bit of an exaggeration, but a 'tiny' house is part of my future plan) all year long if I knew I could afford to do that. I'm fine with shopping for my clothes at Target (on sale) or the resale shop. I'm fine with having old, hand-me-down furniture (which really is all we have).

As the saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention". And I think that's a good thing :)

I'll leave you today with  photos of one of my recent resale shop purchases, which I'm pretty proud of :








 Not a great picture (I apologize), but this is the most comfortable rocking chair I think I have ever had. It sits really low to the floor and it is made with solid oak and  dovetail joints. (It does have really ugly fabric on the cushions, though, thus the throw cover over it.) But, the best part- it was only $6.00!! $6.00!! I know! And, after I bought it, I still had a $93.00 credit at the shop since I've been taking all of my excess junk there all summer. I love it!

I don't need no stinkin' lottery! Ha!     Have a great day :)  Juli