This ‘n’ That

The good news is that I do have a few more posts of substance lined up behind this one, but for now, as long as the spirit is willing and the flesh is able, I’d like to get something down into electronic words.

I was going to try to read cram a chapter of two in out of the “textbook” for the final I have tomorrow in before bed. But I’ve had such a day that I would much rather let the outline I wrote up tonight be good enough. The class is such that the material is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just naming the theories that’s going to be a little tough. The nice thing though is that I’m not panicking!

I’ve finished the wedding art card for my friend whose wedding Charlie and I will be attending this weekend. I’ll post the big reveal on Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook for my non-interwebsy friends. This design is a definitely different take from the one I did for the last wedding I was a guest at, but like all children, I love it just the same.

I’ll have more news on the Zentangle front, but I have a few loose administrative ends to tie up before I go blabbing about it on the Internet. I promise, though, if everything works out, I’ll spill the details here.

The Importance of a Culture of Positivity, and the Friday 5 for June 22, 2012 – Scattergories, Part II

On Wednesday, I had dinner with a much-beloved friend and mentor, even, at Momocho. Go for the margaritas, stay for the good company. …And the calavera t-shirts. I ate like a horse, from guacamole to smoked Gouda tamale dumplings.
One of the things that struck me about having dinner with my friend is how much I need to surround myself with positive people, people who are supportive of me, and believe in me, especially when I don’t believe in me.
I try to be a good mentor to others, and be their biggest cheerleader, because it is critical to developing not only them, but also myself. Because I believe in a culture of positivity, it’s imperative to support other people.  But at the same time cheerleading cannot be a one-way street: I need to feel reciprocity, otherwise, I just find that my well gets tapped too fast if I’m doing all the cheering, all the time.
It was nice to get a chance to have someone else help me refocus on what I want out of my life, and know that I can get there.
Big weekend, the final push before the end of the first summer session. It went by too fast, and I have a paper to write on Sunday, after a brief respite down in Columbus. I’m looking forward to getting some time away, no matter how short or busy it is.
In the meantime, feast on a more-dynamic Friday 5.
  1. What random letter was generated by the online random-letter generator? (this doesn’t really count as one of your five questions) B
  2. What food item, whose name begins with the letter in question #1, are you most likely to eat within the next few days? Charlie and I are headed down to Columbusthis weekend for an overnight from Saturday night into Sunday morning, where we will be getting together with our dear friends for breakfast, so there will definitely be bacon.
  3. What item, whose name begins with the letter in question #1, are you most likely to purchase this weekend? I am placing an order on Amazon in the next few days to replace my daily multivitamin stock, of which, will be included a bottle of Biotin Forte for my hair, skin and nails.
  4. What famous person, whose last name begins with the letter in question #1, makes you think thoughts you probably shouldn’t? Anthony Bourdain. I love me a well-read, foul-mouthed, way-with-words foodie.
  5. What is your favorite film whose title begins with the letter in question #1? The Big Lebowski; I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the tape deck…or the Creedence….
  6. What geographical location, whose name begins with the letter in question #1, are you most likely to see within the next few days? I will be in Berea, I’m sure at some point, this weekend.

Source: F.riday5.com

Production Value

Despite all of my leanings, I must be an optimist, because I keep thinking that the 6-week summer semester is a good idea. The subject material in this class is interesting, but it’s not 3-hours-a session interesting, and I find myself fantasizing about leaving every break. I’m pretty sure I’ll be skipping on Thursday to get some headway on the second paper, and look through the notes. That is sadly a better use of the class time.

So I tell you this to mention that I recently used my Dick Blick gift card from Ada to buy myself a 5×7 sketchbook and a full set of Sakura pens, and I’ve taken to making a Zentangle in every class. I’m not sure if it’s helping to assist me in learning the course material and “zen-ing out,” but I’m definitely getting out there and producing.

I find myself having the same conversation with people about producing things. Mostly, it was a lot of deep theoretical conversations with bona fide artists (visual, performing, and musical), but recently, it was with someone who would not have considered themselves and artist in the traditional sense.

Basically, I encouraged him to produce not fr of accolades, but for production’s sake, and that eventually the accolades would follow. It reinforced to me that I need to just keep producing if I wanted to get back into the arts, which I am desperately missing and craving. As a result, I’m seeing the budding that’s occurring within me as far as working on 2 to 3 Zentangles per week.

Now, I just need to continue to leverage that production back here into my writing. I do eventually want to be published again in a non-fiction magazine for one of my personal essays, but the only way I’m going to a) generate a large enough body of work to draw from and b) re-hone my skills as a writer that have atrophied over the years is by staying in practice, and keeping up here on the blog is going to be the way to do it.

What I need to stop saying is, “I should…” and I need to start saying “I’m going to…”

For Lara, and the Rest…

On Monday, my internet friend’s mom passed away, and she had the courage, grace and strength to write about it today.

I have never met Lara in real life, but she has been delightful, and funny, and so supportive to someone she had  never even met. She gave me her cell phone number and invited — openly and honestly– to counsel me when I finally decided that I could not fight the anxiety and depression I had suffered with for more than half of my life by myself anymore.

I don’t know that that conversation alone saved my life, but it was one of many that I had in that really dark time that did. And I cannot express how much I appreciated that she would avail herself like that to me. I’m glad that it gave me the opportunity to tell Lara in a more personal way than Twitter that I was so, so sorry to hear about her mom.

My heart is breaking wide open for her.

I know too many people in my life who are at or around my age who have lost a parent, and I look at all of us and think, It’s too soon; we’re too young. We’re not ready for this part of life. It’s just not fair.

But we don’t really get a choice in this matter, though, do we?

I’ve been given an incredible gift, twice. My father is a cancer survivor. My father in law has survived a terrible brain cyst that has indelibly left its mark on the family forever in big ways and small ways. And though we get frustrated with the changes it has made in our families, we are so lucky we have a chance to spend more time with our parents.

I must do better to treasure that more than I do.

My grandmother said that tears cleanse the soul. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-cleansing this evening.