23 March 2013

Week Twelve :: Observe the Curve

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." ~Abraham Lincoln (Random Acts of Wisdom on my Mary Engelbreit desk calendar today!)

I am supposed to be doing this weekly series of photo prompts from my friend Sally at The Studio Sublime.I have been so busy that I forget to check the prompt each week until Friday. I actually have missed the past month of challenges, but I have been thinking about them, and even taking some of the pictures, so this is a bit of a catch up. This week, the theme is "Observe the Curve."

I suppose that means that I should pay attention to shapes and shadows or things that are round. But that is not what I thought of first. Life arcs around you in waves of emotion and memory all the time.There are times of great high, life-is-sweet, I'm on top of the world that can turn, inexplicably, to periods of lost, stuck-in-the-mud, I've fallen and I can't get up moments. Life is a spiral and spirals are made of curves and right now I feel that my life is curving around on itself so that is what I am observing, along with some images to get me caught up on some missing weeks. I haven't been able to do them all, and I would like to go back to some, but I felt that I should at least share what I have done that hasn't been seen yet. And while I won't apologize for my absence, I think you will see why I have been riding the waves as well as getting sucked into the undertow a bit in this rollicking journey.

{Week One :: Self Portrait :: I didn't start until the 2nd week ;-)}

Someone stopped by my office today and asked if I was alright. You seem so sad lately, she remarked. And she is right. I am usually pretty good at keeping my emotions away from public view, fake-it-'til-you-make-it, glass is half full. But this month has really been a strain and I guess it has been wearing through to the outside, letting the cracks open wider than normal. And I don't really know all the reasons why I am feeling this way. But I do know that I am feeling a bit like Silly Putty. Remember that stuff? I always got that in my Easter basket. You would stretch it out and press it down on top of the comics in the paper and it would peel off with the impression of Snoopy that you could pull in different directions for a funny result. Yeah. That is what I feel like right now. Silly Putty. I am not here to bitch and moan that I am sometimes sad, or not always as upbeat as I might appear on the outside. Heck, everyone has those days. But I am real. My life is not always rosy, but it is mine. And I have to accept the highs and the lows. What fun would life be if it were just flatlands or smooth sailing all the time? And cracks are how you let the light in, right?

I feel like this article I just read... "Find the One Thing You're Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life." Oh, heck yeah. I could have written that!

{Week Eight :: Monochromatic - my Tiny Dancer performing in a dance for the Harmony Living Center}

Of course, there are reasons that I can point to, to observe those curves, if you will... we have not hit 40 degrees once in March and that is a record (it is Spring, right?) plus there is no end in sight to the piles of snow... I have spent every weeknight, and some weekends, since March 1st where I have not made it home before 8:30-9:30. This is due to commitments that my daughter has with dance performances and rehearsals, and this week I have been doing a sort of trunk show at the dance studio during the costume pick up for the annual show themed commemorative limited edition jewelry fundraiser (40% goes to their chapter of the National Honor Society of Dance Arts - we are the only studio with a chapter in the whole state so it is quite a big deal. So far this week the donation is at $220!).

{2013 DEC Jewelry - Every dancer is a color in the Kaleidoscope of The View. Each kaleidoscope, dancer or hand painted sparkly heart pendant is engraved with "View-DEC-2013" on the back as a limited edition keepsake.}

March 23rd is a special day that cannot go unnoticed. It is the day that I became a mommy. My son 'Rocket' was born on March 23, 1998. He was breach so I had to endure the rather painful external version (where they push quite hard on your stomach to 'encourage' the baby to turn. Didn't work.) and ended up with a C-section. I can barely remember those early days, except to know that I was scared out of my mind for the first three months and thoroughly exhausted. He was not a baby that was easy. Rather demanding. Shrill, as I recall. An I-want-it-now-and-I'm-not-going-to-wait sort of babe. But I suppose that is how all infants are, right?

{Then...and Now... although this could have been the perfect picture for last week's endless possiblities...}

He is a great kid and I am so excited to watch him grow into a young man. That picture on the left was taken in September. We were rolling around with him and told him that he was going to be a big brother in the spring. He lay on the grass looking up at the clouds overhead and told us that he was going to tell the new baby about grass... and clouds... and football. The picture on the right was a totally rare smile for a 14 year old. We took a fall hike up a nearby mountain and were standing on the top of the lookout tower. This candid shot is the way I love to see him, laughing and full of life. My, how he has grown. I am not sure I would have believed it myself if I hadn't put these two pictures next to each other. It gives me a ridiculous amount of pride to see him do the things he loves - like baseball, which will be starting soon, best time of the year - and to watch him do great things in school. These next three years will go by quicker than the last 15 have, I am sure of it. I already feel like I am being left in a cloud of his dust as he speeds away. And he isn't even driving yet. (Oh Lord, help me, I just realized he will be driving next year!)
{Week Ten :: All Wrapped Up - in my Tiny Dancer's 12th birthday slumber party complete with hand made recycled t-shirt scarves, epoxy clay and rhinestone bling rings and amateur music video making}

Because I haven't been home, I am starting to feel like a stranger in the homeland. I barely have time to high five my husband as we pass in the hall shouting out to each other our pick up and drop off plans for the kids. I am desperate for a date night and have been asking for one since the beginning of the year. Hasn't happened yet. I haven't yet started on my taxes and they have to be done next week. I can't forget it is Holy Week and I am singing at mass for Palm Sunday as well as Easter. It is a very special day on Saturday for the Best Day of the Church Year - the Easter Vigil. I am the sponsor for a university student who will be making her First Communion and Confirmation at that event so I will be with her and her family to support her in this very important time and also attending a retreat that day to prepare (so happy for her!). My home will be the host for the Hintz family Easter luncheon. So I am trying to figure out how many people will come (mostly adult nieces and nephews with their significant others) so it could be anywhere from 9-20 people. Hard to plan the right amount of food, especially since I won't be there to prepare it! Arby's Roast Beef to the rescue! I plan to order the beef and ham and buns from there and then I can just pick up the rest ready made from the deli and grocery store. I am all about convenience and paying someone else to do what I can't or won't do. The good news is that I am taking off Wednesday through Friday to hopefully get all of that done, and maybe spend a little time with my kids for their spring break watching the snow melt (so jealous of all those heading to sunnier destinations!).

{10 Year DEC Dancer Gift}

I have to start on the 10 year dancer necklaces that I make each year to honor the students who have danced continuously at the studio for a decade (thanks to Cat Pruitt for her awesome etching help! I feel so much more calm knowing I don't have to tackle that step!). I need to create two special necklaces for the studio director to wear during the show performances as well, and I have a Toast of the Town variation that I am making for myself to wear with my emerald green Easter dress. I want to finish some meaningful mustard seed jewelry for my university student and my favorite niece making her First Communion. I also have 3-4 pieces due next week for Halcraft/Michaels as well as the Art Bead Scene March Blog Tour. Most of that will happen in the next week... or two. ;-)

But lest you think that I am forgetting to put my own oxygen mask on first, on Saturday I am having a 'me day.' I am heading to Madison for the Art Glass and Bead Show. I have never been because it never works out. This year I just decided it would regardless. I am taking two classes with artist Debbi Simon whom I have admired from afar. It will be refreshing to learn something new (hopefully I can apply it instead of buying all the tools needed and then never accomplishing anything outside of the class!). I hope to get a wee bit of bead shopping in (breaking my bead fast!). And I just discovered there is an Anthropologie store in nearby Hilldale Mall. I have never been to an Anthropologie store so I am excited about seeing that. I can't quite fit into anything they sell (maybe the shoes!) so it will be more of a fact-finding mission to see displays and soak up the ambiance. Of course, I feel a bit guilty doing this on my son's 15th birthday, but it is the State Basketball Tournament for 8th grade and our organization is the host. It will be going on all over town this weekend and my husband is on the committee and my son will be making money scoring all the games. I do feel bad for my poor daughter who will be left all day. Maybe I can bring her back something special from my trip to the Anthropologie store to wear for Easter.

{Week Eleven :: The Possibilities are Endless. A client asked if I had ever considered mushroom spores as a subject for my pendants. Umm, no, but intrigued! Recently I found a medium that allows me to carve out my own sketched designs so I tested it out and the results are very exciting! I have made spore prints and two other mushrooms as well as birch bark and my new favorite - the pussy willow. I am working on another client request for yin-yang and I have come up with a new series based on flowers. Very cool new direction that these possibilities are opening for me!}

So I haven't forgotten about all of you, dear readers. You may have noticed that I have been lurking here and there a bit, surfacing for air and popping in for a comment or two. I hope that I will be able to get back to righting my ship and riding the crest of a wave real soon. At least before it falls off the edge of the world and I get sucked under again. ;-)

{Week Twelve :: Observe the Curve :: Frozen tundra landscape from my office window enhanced with a wee bit of color}
Is your life in an arc or a valley right now? 
Are you riding a wave or getting sucked in by the undertow?

P.S. If you have read this far, thank you. I feel like a flash sale in my Etsy shop is in order. How about 25% off any listing in my Etsy shop from now until the end of the day on March 26th with the code: OBSERVETHECURVE with a minimum $25 purchase. (Does not apply to the Simple Truths Samplers, sorry.)


Anonymous said...

Glad you are at least making some time for yourself in that busy schedule Miss Erin! This balance thing is pretty hard to achieve isn't it??? Hang in there balance buddy, we might get there by the end of the year ;-) I've just decided that to achieve all of the things I need to do in the next 5.5 days, before I go on holidays with the family for 2 weeks, I need at least an extra day if not two. Yep, dream on! Ergh, maybe I'll catch up with myself by the middle of the year!

Unknown said...

I've always had a huge admiration for you, and it's just increased after reading this post! Can't begin to imagine having all that on my plate. I guess someone might say the same about my life, but probably not. I also have a precious boy that will turn 15 in December, so I'm at the same stage with you. Thank you for the precious glimpse into your life, and for all that you do. I love the commitment you are making for the college student, what a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing in such an important moment in their life.
I do hope you have a wonderful 'me' day, and look forward to hearing about your class time.

KristiBowmanDesign said...

Balancing all we have to do in life is the biggest challenge, I'm struggling with it as well. You always come through it and I love your new designs!! Take care Miss Erin!!

Marcie Abney Carroll said...

I love the show "New Girl" and while it's not necessarily a bastion of literary inspiration nor a heart wrenching drama that changes your outlook on life and brings you closer to a peaceful existence, one of the main characters said once, "Life sucks, and then it doesn't, and then it sucks again". But your absolutely right, valleys make us appreciate mountains and truly live when we are on top of them. I know so much of our attitude has to do with the weather right now. We're itching down here to get out of pants and and long sleeves and into capris and shorts! (You think it's bad where you are, you should try living in a beach town, people are literally walking around in flip-flops in total denial of actual temperatures!) Hang in there, it'll get better and when it does, you'll thoroughly be able to enjoy it!

Diane (Dewdrop Designs) said...

Thank you so much for this glimpse into your life. I think it is wonderful that you are doing so much to help others, from the dancers, to the student and of course your kids. But I am also glad that you are taking that "me" day. I know what it's like to go for what seems like eons without any "me time" and it will drive a person nuts and cause burn out on so many levels. I love the new designs. When I first scrolled down I thought the mushroom in the right hand side was a jellyfish....which started me thinking on how I could totally see your work going in a sea life direction....and not just like the typical dolphins and whales....but the more interesting looking creatures such as jellyfish (Take a look at some pictures, there are so many different sizes, shapes and colors of them!!)quid (which also have amazing colors with color change - quite dazzling to see snorkeling and diving in the wild), urchins, sea cucumbers, etc. If you ever decide to take those suggestions, please post them here, I would absolutely LOVE to see what you come up with! Best of luck to you in all your ventures.

Mary Lamoray said...

I'm definitely in a valley right now and appreciate this post more than you know... I made it to week 4 on the focus challenge and then had to re-focus elsewhere... felt bad about it. Had to drop another challenge too...and felt bad about that!lol!

You have encouraged me to 'hang in there' so Thanks!!

Honey from the Bee said...

oh boy you've been busy! Sounds like some alone time and hubby only time is needed to get life back in perspective. : ) Glad you caught up on the photography challenge, but hey, life might get in the way again - don't beat up on yourself. Love your new pendants!

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Man, after reading your post, I am utterly exhausted! I won't lecture you on your word choice for finding your balance! However, after reflecting on your post-you really know exactly everything that has to be done and to me, that is half the battle! I never write anything down, which means I forget alot! But I was happy to read you are at least finding a day for "you time" ! Best of luck to you over the next few weeks and remember to breathe!

Anonymous said...

Miss Erin, you are amazing! I am totally in awe of your energy. You are totally plugged in with your children's lives and still find time to be creative and to learn new things. In the past 3 months, I've been unable to do any of my favorite things: get on the computer, read, bead, walk, hang out with my grandkids..... very frustrating. I am not a good patient! LOL

Maplegirl said...

I feel in a down curve right now with being busy at work, with my twin 5yr olds, and trying to carve out some beading time. If I stay up too late, I can make some time for me, but then I am tired and not the best me for the other parts of my life. Plus where is spring anyway - it is still hiding this year. So the kids and I picked up fast food one day after work, so we could have time to do a snowball experiment (what else is a bathtub for?). Can't fight the melting snow, so let's do something fun with it! We are getting into activities with the kids, but not so busy as you yet. I know we will be in a few years. But a colleague reminded me that these busy years with kids go quickly. Try to survive and thrive before it is over. Loved your post on deciding to farm out soume tasks. We all need to give ourselves permission for that. Love those new designs too. See, you are on a roll.

Mary Harding said...

Erin, I loved catching up on your life. You are an amazingly energetic person and able to share yourself with all parts of your life so well. Such a feat!!

AntiquityTravelers said...

oh boy! don't we all feel this way!! trying to balance our family, their activities, our beady world, blogging, and ... and ... !

I think your oldest must be roughly the same age as mine (born Dec 1998). She was breech, and they did 'the turn' or at least tried for roughly 50 min ... with me screaming the whole time. Really. My husband finally begged them to stop. My daughter never dropped, so there just was no room for turning. I ended up with a C-section. seems like yesterday, and soon she'll be driving and going to college. that is what gives me panic.

Happy to see you back in on Sally's hop ... we've missed you!

Shannon of HAPPINESS IS said...

Aw hon, I hope you're feeling better these days. Thanks for being so open and honset. And I too, love that article you linked to. So true! ;) xo


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