Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

What a day, what a week, really.  I don't really have a lot to say, but as I haven't posted in months, thought this would be the time.  Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday.

I'd like to point out that while I hope everyone had a good holiday, I still hate Christmas.  It's too stressful, too chaotic, there are too many places to be in too little time.  I wish it could be spread out over the year instead of all at once.  I wish I didn't have to pick who to see or speak to and who has to get pushed back to mid January.  But, you know, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride".  Overall, I had more good than bad this year.  I was actually able to purchase some gifts and make others.  The gifts I made I was able to put more thought in to, and really I was able to put more thought into the ones I purchased too.  There wasn't much time to do either, but working alone as a production artist gives nothing if not time to think.

And I want to list some things about my Christmas weekend, if only for me to review later when I ask myself, did that really happen?  Really?

The good (in no particular order):
     Made Gingerbread cookies for the first time
     Finished making/purchasing/wrapping gifts for people BEFORE rushing out the door to deliver them and didn't have to finish up anything in the car or stop to pick up last minute things.  
     Sang a duet on SingStar with my sister and got exactly the same score - to the point
     Listened to/watched two of my aunts rock out to "Material Girl"
     Even got my step-mom to sing with me
     Got some really awesome presents, phone calls, and messages from people I care deeply about
     Ate really terrific food
     Got all teary eyed when told about a really beautiful and much needed gift that was delivered anonymously to a friend of mine
     My sister-in-law got into town just in time for Christmas morning coffee and presents

The bad:
     Ate so much that I couldn't sleep Christmas Eve due to extreme belly ache
     Arrived Christmas Day at my mom's house and no sooner had she opened the door than her oldest and most favorite fish went into pre-death spasms
     Ate lunch late and experienced return of the extreme belly ache
     Went to my friend's grandmother's house and had a REALLY uncomfortable experience

But overall, the good was much more plentiful than the bad, even if the bad was really bad this year*, and the tasty scotch I got for my birthday should help to wash some of it away.  So while I may never learn to truly love and embrace the holiday season, I do love my family and friends very much and am thankful for time spent with them.  Who knows, a few more years with this much good and maybe it'll chip the hate away.

*I know it doesn't sound like much, but - that belly ache was serious business, and no one wants to hear mom struggling to say "Merry Christmas" while wracked by full body sobs** - and that REALLY uncomfortable experience? Just take my word for it.
**She's very attached to her fish and takes exceptional care of them - this one was several years old.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On the Move

I really dislike moving.

That's a bit of an understatement, really.  I hate moving.  The packing, the scrubbing, the boxes full of books that are heavy and awkward to hold and carry.  Then the lugging of the boxes just to do more scrubbing and unpacking.  It just isn't fun at all.

It doesn't help that I have problems packing things up.  My husband can pack 3 boxes in the time it takes me to fill half of one.  I get distracted by all of the interesting things I have, stopping to inspect them, flip through comics and notebooks and examining scraps of paper I have saved.  Then once I have stopped examining them I'm torn between just dumping everything into the box and arranging the inside of the box so that everything fits neatly with as little empty space as possible (to save on having to buy more boxes-despite the fact that this often adds to their weight and awkwardness).

However, moving has its benefits as well.

In the case of the current move?  I am moving from an apartment into a house!  I'll have a yard, with a big back porch, a fire pit and grass and dirt to play in.  In the back yard is possibly the most magnificent and monstrous gardenia I have ever seen - the thing is huge and smells like happiness.

But the best part - the absolutely best thing ever is that for the first time I will have my own studio space!  Yes, that's right - 'Reta's getting a studio!  The basement of the house will be my domain, my sanctum, my own work area where I can escape reality and create art all over the place.

No more heat exhaustion in mom's garage making glass beads all day.  No more drawings rolled up into bundles because there's no room for them to be out.  No more beads and bits of wire all over the living room floor.  No more dismantling my easel that Khris's Grampy made for me.  No more searching through an overcrowded apartment looking for that tube of superglue that could be in one of four rooms I have things scattered in.  No more fear of reconstituting clay because of the crap that will get blown into it by the lawn maintenance crew.  All of my projects and supplies will be in one cool, comfortable, tile floored room!

It's gonna be crazy hectic for the next 10 days (longer, really because my life always is crazy and hectic), but totally worth it.  I can't wait.  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whoo Boy!

So it's been awhile... life is still crazy and makes no sense.  Or maybe, it's not that it makes no sense, it just doesn't make the kind of good organized sense that appeals to me.  Life has some kind of weird backward logic of it's own that I am incapable of following.

I have begun to realize I have an unhealthy relationship with time.  Thankfully, it's not the terrible curse of bad timing that my dear Reverend Doctor Jones is afflicted with, but I'm gonna complain about it anyway.  You see, I think time hates me.  For months now, I have been really busy.  I have felt like I had no time.  No time to myself, no time to do things I wanted to do, just a big whopping, "I'm too busy, I have no time."

The reason for this lack of time was that I could find no single source of employment and had to create my own.  As a skilled, capable overachiever this was okay.  I didn't make very much money (or even enough to pay my bills), but I was building a business.  I filled my days with applying for jobs, making jewelry and pottery, experimenting and learning to make paper mache masks, researching steampunk things for ideas for paintings and whatnots, and shopping for low cost art supplies.

I had some money making work during this time, I did a makeup job that may lead to some work for a movie, I had a sale, my pottery classes were about to start up again, things weren't quite as bleak as they had been in my mind, but they still weren't good in the "how am I going to maintain my pesky food habit?" kind of way.

And then, lo and behold, I landed an art job.  A production art job.   Getting paid to make art - everything I have always wanted in a job.  I was super happy about it.  Still am, really.  But this brings me back to the relationship with time thing. 

I'm in training 5 days a week for my super cool new job.  I'm teaching pottery classes on Saturdays.  When my training is over, I'll be able to work from home and set my own schedule again.  Everything is great.  Except for time.  I don't have enough time.

I have a couple of really great art opportunities on my plate that I worked really hard to get (all that "I'm too busy creating my own job, so I have no time" stuff I've been doing).  Some of these opportunities have deadlines, others are just an ASAP thing.  I need to submit work for a show by April 1st, I need to prep for a movie makeup opportunity, I need to prep for a photoshoot makeup thing next week, I have mostly finished paper mache masks that are watching me with their hollow eyes saying "please finish me".  I haven't updated my websites in months, despite the fact that I wrote it in my calendar to do so.

However, my current work schedule, including my commute (which I think if it's over 30 minutes should be calculated into your work week, after all, it's time spent that you aren't doing something else because you're stuck in traffic).  I'm putting in 68+ hours per week just in training for my new job and teaching pottery classes.  Today is my only day off for the next 14 days.  I desperately need to respond to emails and facebook messages to maintain my contacts in the art scene.  If I don't get more time soon, I may lose the things I spent all that time working to get!  However, I'll still have the art job that I wanted so badly, I'll just inadvertently sacrifice these new awesome opportunities.

So my relationship with time goes like:

Me:   I'm so busy trying to establish myself as an artist who can make money, I wish I could just get an art job, then I'd have more time.

Time:  Oh, I'll show you, stupid woman.

Me:  I got an art job, and I'm establishing myself as an artist who can make money!  Oh, holy crap, how am I gonna keep up with both?  I don't have more time, I had more time before!  What happened?

Time: You're stupid.

Me:  How do I get more time?!?  Can I quit the useless sleep thing?

Time: Only if you're trying for an epic fail.

Me:  Curse you, time!  Where do you go when I need you most?!

Time:   Away-- because I don't like you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Insult to Injury

I think I may have found an explanation for my recent lack of creativity (or at least extreme struggle with being creative).

This little chart here of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (thank you wiki!) seems to break it down pretty well.  Creativity is at the top of the pyramid, to be reached when there are supports underneath it.  My supports under the top level have been playing a high stakes game of Jenga for too long.

I was moving along pretty well for a while there, things were looking up, and then they weren't again.  Still, even path, no biggie, keep walking.  Keep working.  Keep trying.

It's been a bad week.  I can take a lot of bad news and disappointment.  But this week it's just seemed like too much.  I can't seem to be productive and get any reasonable amount of work done.  It's hard to focus or organize my thoughts.  Old wounds that I thought had finally healed feel ripped open again.  Old fears and unhealthy thought patterns that I believed defeated are rising up.  And I can't talk to the people that I think it would be most helpful to talk to, because this REALLY isn't the time.

I think if it weren't for all the empty holes on the lower levels of the pyramid, this week would not have prompted such a response, it would have still been upsetting, but not to this degree of feeling crazy.  And I feel crazy, and it's not in the "oh, how funny, isn't she crazy?" kind of way.  It's more in the paranoid, in need of a padded room kind of crazy. 

But here's the really unfortunate thing:  I depend on the things in the top level (creativity, problem solving, acceptance of the facts) to secure the things at the lower levels (employment, resources, property, food, water...).  The current crazy is just scrambling the esteem and love/belonging sections entirely.  It's like juggling chainsaws at the best of times, but right now at least one has been dropped and is spinning around slicing up what remains.  And I can't do anything to fix it because you can't fix it from the top down.

I feel betrayed by my own life.

Boo hiss!