Thursday, August 26, 2010

My art is in it!

Here's some exciting news:
My art is published!
I answered Patti Digh's call for art for her new book, “Four Word Self Help - Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives”, and my art is in it!

The publisher describes it as “Pithy, provocative, poignant advice on a variety of self-help topics—in four well-chosen words”.

Four words. Yes, even I can finish off these chapters.

And the art! What a treasure! This is no skinny collection where the cover boards are thicker than the actual body text of the book. There's plenty of these little four-word morsels to savor, with longer essays added throughout the mix.

You must get yourself a copy. Must.

My copy arrived and I tore the packaging open and flipped through the pages and went “Woo hoo!”.

J peered over at me, moseyed over to my side of the couch and flipped my hand so he could see the cover. He exclaimed, “Oh, that Patti D… DigHh person! D-, um, Dig-HH?”
Me: “No, 'Die'. Patti 'Die'.”
Him: “Oh, right. Okay.”
Me: (Losing patience and pointing very animatedly)
“Look! At! My! Painting!!”
Him: (eyes getting big) “Ooooooo.”

It's not so hard to imagine that scene, right? All the same, I insist that you reenact it yourself.

Once you have your very own copy of this lovely book in your hands, turn to page xi and let out a good “Woo hoo!” for me.
Woo Hoo!

With mayo and mustard

I once commented that this blog is actually about procrastination. Or maybe about starting lots of things that eventually go unfinished. There's an excited rush I get, thinking of all the possibilities –  all of them –  gathering up the supplies and just daydreaming about them being done.
I know I'm not alone in this.

So, I'm doing two things right now, to get more athletic activity into my days. Yes, two. How impulsive, huh? Somewhat paradoxically, these are meant to get me to settle into a more committed routine and to train for longer term events.

I'm doing Marianne Elliott's '30 Days of Yoga'. You answer questions in a survey about what you want from a yoga practice, what your body and soul need, and Marianne creates a video sequence for you to practice, yes, during the next 30 days. I'd been doing a very gentle form of yoga up to now, and the sequence I received has been a nice challenge. Marianne is supportive, in her videos and messages.
Sadly, I've only done the sequence twice, and another, from another instructor, once. My 30 Days of Yoga has been spotty, at best.
Marianne wrote in one of her weekly messages:
Bindu Wiles once said:

Often, beginnings and endings are easy. They are filled with a natural enthusiasm and volition where we move into things with lots of energy and ease, and complete things with a certain flare and celebration for what we’ve accomplished or gotten through.
Middles, not so much. Middles tend to be difficult and our enthusiasm naturally wanes. It’s easy to lose focus and make excuses and even completely drop the ball.

One of the things I do at school is prepare our graduates for on-campus interviews. The interviews are in a speed-dating format. The idea is to allow the students to meet as many recruiters as possible and they're given about 10 –  15 minutes with each company that participates in on-campus recruiting. I spend a good deal of time having the students present their projects in shorter, more abbreviated chunks to be better able to highlight their skills and accomplishments in that time. It's not about talking faster; it's about hitting all your key points while still showing your personality and your passion for design. You have about 10 minutes, then the recruiters all rotate one person over, and you do this over and over, until you've finally talked to everyone that's there. If there's a potential for a good match, a company will schedule a longer, more traditional interview with the student.

Before all the interviewing gets started, the students introduce themselves to the group. I find it interesting that many of the students are very confident talking about their work, but a bit flustered when they have to talk about themselves. So, in the weeks before graduation and interviews, we talk, one on one, and talk, and eventually very meaningful stories from their backgrounds emerge. One of the introductions from this term used this nice analogy about this particular student's interests:
I really like the end and the beginning: the inspiration and research and ideation, as well as the execution of an idea –  –  making it real and tangible. But, I think about the process as a sandwich. The beginning and end are like pieces of bread. It's all good, but the inside is also the meaty part; it's what makes the sandwich. So, while I love the start and end, I also enjoy working through the middle part of the process, because otherwise, really, I'm just eating two pieces of bread.
I thought:
“Wow, that's really thoughtful and almost poetic”, and then,
“Hey, wait a minute! I'd be good with just two pieces of bread!”

I find this idea of following through recurring through my week.

It's about trying to create new habits, shoehorning them in to an existing schedule of habits, or just replacing some of the old with the new. A Dagwood sandwich sounds great – you could have everything. But is that what we really need? The way I see it, I often create open-face sandwiches, one piece of bread with lots of ham and cheese, lettuce and tomato; Lots of starting but a struggle to finish.

Oh, for the want of that second slice of bread…
I'm just going to say this: I'm working on it.

The other thing I'm getting back into is running. I tried to find previous posts on running my 5k's and didn't find much. I have to say I've had spotty support for my running; but this time, I have even better motivation and a plan to share in my training and get a bit more encouragment. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Vacation

Lake Tahoe, near Incline Village, CA. August 2010

When you're at home, and you putter around, sleep in, watch TV that you normally don't, make eggs and bacon breakfasts and wander around outside, someone would likely call you lazy.

But, when you putter around, sleep in, watch TV that you normally don't, make eggs and bacon for breakfast and wander around outside looking for pine cones somewhere else, it's a good vacation.

We have to juggle two different, non-synchronized school schedules, so we got away for a few days a couple of weeks ago. Since then, school has started for J and I've just finished up summer term. We're back into the ebb and flow of the school year and vacation seems so long ago ...

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lake area, CA. August 2010
We did far less hiking than we normally do, but we drove around the Mammoth Lake and Lake Tahoe areas, stopping to nap, take photos and sketch. We hit our favorite eating spots in Lake Tahoe (the dinner buffet at Harrah's, the Nestle Cafe at Heavenly Village, and Orchid's Thai). We cooked up some halibut and found some really big pine cones to bring home. I didn't get bitten by any mosquitos. A pretty good vacation, all in all.

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lake area, CA. August 2010

North Lake Tahoe, Incline Village area. August 2010

My Big Bear ♥ at the Mono Lake Visitor's Center. August 2010.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Other fun things to draw


When I bought this plant, it was compact and the rosettes were packed so tightly that you couldn't see the branches. Now, the plant is tall and leggy. I don't remember drawing this plant before, when it was younger, but, boy, is it ever more interesting to draw now, eh?