I wasn't sure if I wanted to have kids. I admit that...its a huge responsibility and i wasn't sure i was up for it. n the end, I cold not imagine life without knowing what it was like to be pregnant, have a baby, and raise them. I can say that now that the kids are both in college, it was quite a positive experience for me, and I would not change a thing. It was not all easy! Especially the early days. My youngest gave me a run for my money. He was too smart for his own good, and I wasn't prepared to handle this. My oldest, J, also very smart but he was more of the quiet type. K, on the other hand, was stubborn, strong-willed, and had a temper! He had the craziest episodes where he would kick and scream and I thought he had something wrong with his brain.
On time, he was going to crazy that I had to lock him in his room. He was about 3, and was wearing his favorite cowboy boots. He proceeded to kick the back of the door...and left black marks everywhere. When he calmed down, I handed him a sponge and told him to clean it up, which he did, and with a smile. A few days later, he had another "FIT". This time, he went into his room by himself, He closed the door, and started kicking it again! After a minute or so, he stopped...came out of his room, and asked me for a sponge. That was K.
J, on the other hand, was much more of an introvert. When he was around 12, he got hurt playing football with the neighborhood kids. He curled up in a ball and laid on the ground. He refused to talk. The kids came and got me, and even i was unable to get a word out of him. He just clammed up. I could tell he had hurt his shoulder, but I didn't know how badly, so someone called an ambulance and off we went to the hospital. Turns out, it was nothing but a sprain...and eventually he started talking again.
A few years later, he was playing basketball and got elbowed in the nose. He kept playing...and when he finished the game, his nose was crooked! We got that taken care of, with a minor surgery, but we cold see that he had grown up some, since the last injury!
There are many many stories like these, which I will add to later or maybe just write them to the kids. For purposes of this blog, I just wanted to share a couple of things.
My main reason for even bringing this topic up is to share some wisdom about raising children. Here's my top 5 tips.
1. Help them become independent at a young age
Once we realized J could hold the bottle by himself, we let him. He reached for it...and held it in his hands.
When K was 3, he could open the refrigerator by himself. So, we'd put a sip cup filled with milk on the bottom shelf so when he woke up in the morning, he grabbed his cup, then came to our bed to cuddle. I taught both kids how to do laundry as soon as they were tall enough to reach the buttons. I can't say that they folded the laundry after washing it, but they did have a "clean" and "dirty" basket! They also started making their own lunches around 4th grade. Now that they're in college, they are both independent...which was my goal. But, I sometimes wonder if I went too far. Maybe i should have done more for them when they were at home...who knows.
2. Interview each child on their birthday. Ask them their age, best friend, favorite foods, toys, and activities. Take photos of their room, favorite outfit, favorite book. If they're too young to speak, speak for them.
3. If you can afford it, send your kids to Montessori school, at least until they are 5. Both my kids went and they thrived!
4. Dissect snakes and goldfish and anything else your kids bring home!
When K was 8 or 9, he rushed through the door after school, grabbed my hand, and dragged me up the street, where there was a freshly-killed snake! "Mom, can we bring it home and dissect it?" I did not hesitate for a moment! We went back home for some rubber gloves, newspaper, and a bag. We gathered the snake and after printing a digram of the insides of a snake, found the exacto knife, and opened him up. It was a day I'll never forget.
5. Expose them to nature
We went on many hikes, camping trips, and outdoor excursions when the kids were little. K loved all of it! He was connected to nature from an early age. J wasn't as keen on it once he was around 10...he preferred to stay inside and work on his computer. Now, he's a software engineer at one of the biggest tech companies in the world, so I guess it's good that we let him follow his path. K ended up being a long-distance runner and a Boy Scout, two activities that allow him a lot of time in the outdoors.
Kids are really a crap shoot. I trusted my kids to do the right thing, gave them a lot of leeway especially when they were teenagers, b/c I felt they had good judgement. So far so good..
I just finished reading Bruce Springsteen's autobiography and then saw him speak about it in SF last week, with BFF Patty. It was good...he was funny and open about his story. My seat was far away, so it was hard to see his facial expressions...but, oh well. I know what he looks like!
After reading the book, I have become more motivated to write. I've hd a lot of stuff brewing in my head and it about time I sit down and write about it. I thought I'd make a list of the things I want to write about so I can refer back to it.
I've been keeping journals ever since I can remember. Writing helps me sort through my thoughts, and when something is upsetting me, writing helps me get the swarm of thoughts out of my head and out into the universe (or, on a piece of paper at least) I always feel more clear-headed afterwards. So, I thought, why not give this a try and write every morning about my life as an artists and see what happens. WIll I even be able to maintain this commitment I make to myself? I could post on FB, most people would see it, but somehow I feel "safer" writing here. And, I can write as much as I want!
My hope is that writing like this will help with a few things.
1. Writing will help me focus my day. I plan to document my to do list, which is something I do every morning anyway.
2. Practice my writing skills. I have always loved to write, but lately haven't' been doing much of it.
3. Practice a ritual of doing something productive every morning. I'm not good at sticking with things for very long. It's not necessarily a bad thing, because if I am not enjoying an activity, I have no qualms about moving on to something more enjoyable. I don't "stick with it" just for the sake of it. But, the other side of that is sometimes I do in fact quit too soon, I bail when the going gets rough, and I miss out on the satisfaction of learning to something very well. I'm more of a skimmer…I learn just enough to get it done, then move on to something new.
This has caused me great angst. I feel like I have experienced a lot by being this way, but I am not really very good at anything. My friends admire this trait in me. It has its ups and downs.
OK, I realize I am rambling and I think I need to figure out a format for these posts, or else it might end up being a random brain dump. (hmm…maybe that's not such a bad idea either!)
I'll have to think about that.
For today…what's on my mind? Theatre. Ever since high school, I have wanted to do acting. But I was petrified to be on stage, and auditioning scared the crap out of me, so I sat in the theatre watching everyone else audition, wishing i had the nerve. I ended up in the chorus for a few plays, and then in college I worked on the sets, props, make-up..everything except being on stage. I did one community theatre play many years ago, but I did not have a speaking role. Then, I had kids, and evening rehearsals were out of the question.
Fast forward to now. I got dumped by PG&E after a 4- month contracting gig (budget cuts), and it seems I have some time on my hands. (actually, I don't, but more on that later.) So, I thought I would sign up for an acting class just for fun. Ended up auditioning for the college spring production. Did not get cast, until I did! (someone declined a role, so I was next up) I have a small part in a play called "You Can't Take it With You." I am thrilled!
Here's the problem: Now, I am finding out about all these other plays and want to keep auditioning…partially for practice, but then is that fair to the director? If in fact they want me to be in the play, I'm not really available. IS that my ego talking? It's like going on job interviews when you have no intention of taking the job. So…I am pondering this. I might approach the director of the show I wanted to audition for and see if he minded…why not?
And in my fantasy mind…here's how that plays out…I audition, he loves me and wants to cast me in a featured role. Then, I would probably need to bow out of the first play, which might blackball me from future productions? How does this work? Again, this is my ego talking! I haven't EVER been in a play with a speaking role, what makes me think this could even happen?
So, I think I will just email the director and let him know what's up and see what he says. I will have to wait until summer or fall to do another play, if I even still want to…maybe I have no idea about the time commitment…
I am going to list the other things on my plate, just for fun, and to give you an idea about how my mind works sometimes.
Here's the projects/activities I am involved with right now:
And here's what's on my TO DO list, project-wise:
There's more, I think…but these are the big ones. I wonder, when I look back on this at the end of the year, where I will be with all this? Which projects will get done, which will disappear?
I have always had an issue with money. My latest thought is, "success isn't always measured by how much money you make." Most of my life, I have believed that that was the case. I mean, our society is built around that very belief, so it's no surprise that I think that way. We need money to live, no argument there. But, at what cost, and how much do we really NEED? I do not make any money doing what I do. I come close to breaking even sometimes, and this has bothered me for along time. I am going to try and push that thought aside…just do things that feed my soul…just for one year…and see what happens. More on this later, I can assure you!
Well that's my brain dump for today.
I'll be heading out to the drum circle taking place in my studio today, and then teach the Meditate and Create workshop, and then going to dinner at a friend's house.
My mother-in-law always says, "Lori will never be bored." This is not completely true, but since I decided to focus on my art 5 years ago, I have had very few boring days. My mind is always buzzing with projects and ideas, and it feels like there's just not enough time in the day to do them all. I try to keep myself focused on just two or three projects at a time, and when I am able to do that, it's a great feeling of accomplishment.
Last year, I saw a project to completion in about two months. I was so proud of myself! It was a labor of love and now I have something to show for it.
The idea for this book came about during a conversation with one of my studio regulars. I was planning a trip to New York City to visit my dad, and I thought it might be fun to try and meditate in Times Square, the busiest place in the world! Then I thought, maybe I can get others to join me. My next thought was, why not write a book in preparation for this event, about how to meditating in busy places. The book idea was born. I became obsessed with completing the content, and then with figuring out how to self-publish. It was a lot of work, but a great learning experience, and one that I hope to repeat again this year with my second book, Meditate and Create. If you've ever thought about self-publishing a book, let me know! I'd be happy to offer suggestions.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. Growing up in Freehold, NJ, it was difficult to avoid his presence. I got hooked when I was in high school, and became a life-long fan. Sometimes, Bruce inspires me to make art. Bruce put out his 18th album this month, and once again inspired me to make new artwork. I called it "High Hopes" to honor the album of the same name...Maybe I should have called it "Human Touch"…that might make more sense given the imagery. I've been really interested in making these "hands-on" pieces lately. They feel sensual, alive, and hopefully fun to look at. I have plans to make lots more..stay tuned!
"When one door closes, another one opens." I have shared this quote many times with friends who are going through transitions. Well, this week, it rang true for me. After working with a utility company as an instructional designer for 4 months, I was told they no longer needed me on the project. I felt bad about being rejected, but was relieved to have more time in my days to focus on my art.
The next day, I received an email asking if I was available to write a monthly column for local magazine called My Out and About. I was thrilled! I could not think of a better way to share my passion for the arts with my community. Since the focus of the magazine is all things local, I have the opportunity to showcase local artists, local galleries, and local arts events. I finished writing my first article today…hopefully, the editors will give a thumbs up and I can look forward to seeing my name in print next month!