Thursday, December 06, 2018


This view, even in a photograph, soothes me. I can overthink it and see the unfinished projects, the weeds, the odds and ends. But never mind all that. This is about first impressions, and a higher appreciation for beauty, plenty, opportunity, home. I just need to relax.

Every party needs a theme, even if the theme is "no theme." This party, Maria's 14th birthday celebration, revolved around Studio Ghibli and Porco Rosso, and good friends, and it was a lot of fun. For us, the fun began with taking a Japanese animation about seaplane pilots set in the Adriatic Sea and Turin, Italy, and planning a party around all of that. We settled on spaghetti dinner, and pizza flavored Poky Pretz for snacks, and we were super excited to find balsa plane kits. No cake... just lots of tiny dessert, like cannoli and Italian cookies, and Maria's Tutu brought strawberry mochi, which was a brilliant addition.

A favorite part of the movie takes place in Turin, where Porco Rosso turns to his mechanic, Piccolo, for help. There we meet Fio... she designs and engineers his new seaplane. The workshop scenes, and appetizing pasta scene are great. Of course, we didn't build our own workshop for the sake of a party theme, but it's always amusing to recognize how our interests intersect.

New school, new friends, and longtime friends, too.
Norman, Amira, and Ben, Max, Amber, Makayla, Skylar and Leo!
Keene, Lucas, Rory, Maria, Alec, and Natalie~

Walls! The art studio has walls. Paul, Janece, and Amira were over, and it turned into a nice day of making, and hanging out.

My very own elf on a shelf, or is it my gnome at home? I thought I was being thoughtful and supportive buying gifts from local makers, artists, keeping a hand-made pledge, but in her usual fashion, Calamity Kim went all out and my order arrived brimming full of fun.

Carol and Leo collected beach treasure on a visit to Arcata, California, and just look what she made! I try not to be too grabby, but I can't keep my hands off of Maria's birthday gift!

It's been about as seasonally cool and even rainy, as we can hope for, and I love it.

The weather and holidays have redoubled my mood and efforts to make things, and I've been experimenting with chalk paint, and wax, and designing new display shelves. Oh! And I also found the nerve to add a small art piece to a Zazzle account. My Santa Lucia in Helsinki painting is available as a postcard.

Relax. Relax. And breath. Relax, and breath, and keep moving forward.

Blogging is largely a matter of talking to myself. And today, I am talking about my attitude. I am anxious, stressed, insecure, doubtful, and nearly trounced.

In my head, I just heard my friend add: "And talented. You forgot 'talented'"

I hope everyone has a friend like mine, one that steps in and adds levity, grace, kindness, a view of the bigger picture. I want to be that kind of friend... thoughtful, and kind. And not just with others, but with myself, too, so that when I do feel nearly trounced and anxious, I can draw a long, slow breath, and say, "Relax."

Maria is trying to manage being sick and being in high school, which largely entails, I am sorry to say, "Sucking it up." She had a rocky morning, and I watched her knock around the house, like a battered pinball, trying to dress, eat, find a backpack, finish homework, brush tangled, wet hair, and figure out how to turn in homework that is less than her usual high-caliber work. Of course, she is still sick, too. And I felt really bad for her, and I also bit my tongue, refraining from saying something truly awful, like "Relax. Your attitude will go a long way to making this easier..." Oh, my God. It might be true, it might be sincere, and wise, but it would have been a terrible thing to say. Sometimes, truth and wisdom, especially coming from someone not in the crisis, are not what I need, when I am feeling overwhelmed.

Tonight, I will intervene a bit more, and help her pace herself, prioritizing, and reconnecting with effective solutions. And I will take long, slow breaths, be relaxed, and do what I can to demonstrate a calm, supportive attitude. I am hoping that my example and assistance will be more helpful than a speech about "what to do, how to act."

And I am going to add: I needn't use Maria as an example of being frazzled, knocking around like a battered pinball, when I was even worse, just yesterday. Really, this entire post could be a note to self: Relax. Your attitude could go a long way to making this easier. I was invited to a holiday party for 'art leaders in San Diego,' and I spent way too much time worried about stuff... what to wear, what to say, how to introduce myself, where is our stamp so I can make business cards?? I suffered for hours trying to make business cards, which entailed my inexperience crossing streams with inadequate software and materials. Round hole, square peg, and still I persisted, which was a senseless exercise in futility. My sense of anxiety and stress were real, my concerns were genuine, but none of it mattered... at least, none of it could be helped, and none of it was helping. We went to the party, and it was sweet, and pretty, and we met people, and saw downtown in rainy-holiday-lit-up splendor, and in the end, I was sorry I spent the day in a state. No one asked for a business card.

Problems and challenges are not going away, but I so very much want to remember that it's mostly ok. I need frequent, gentle, reminding.

Less overthinking, less panic, and doubt. True, I have a lot to do, and I'll stumble, again and again. But this will easier if I loosen my grip, and hold space for grace.

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