Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Giant Leap

It is through this beautiful door that I have been walking through these past Monday evenings. It is where I take art classes at the Plaza de La Raza in Lincoln Heights.  
I am taking classes with Margaret Garcia, a renowned Chicana artist.  
The Plaza is a place that offers a multitude of classes in the arts to the community.  Everything from the visual arts, to music, dance, theater, you name it.  There are so many classes, and all at a low price.  It is a great offering of love from so many people who support the desire to keep art alive in the community, especially to children.
I have received brochures from the Plaza for several years.  I have been wanting to take art classes but had not gotten around to it.  When I saw that Margaret Garcia was teaching, I was astounded, and jumped at the chance.
Let's rewind.
The first time I saw Margaret's name, last fall, I was astounded, craved after the opportunity, then told myself no.  "You shouldn't spend the money," etc. etc., anything to deny myself of what I knew would truly nurture me.  You know, the self sabotage thing.
The second time I saw her name, last spring, I thought about it again, then denied myself again.
The third time I saw her name, for a class over the summer, I almost told myself no again but then I thought, "hmmm.  It starts in July, in fact, the day before my birthday.  My family has to give me a present anyway, so why not tell them they could all chip in to pay for the class?"
I told my husband and he said he would give the class as a gift from himself.  
So, thanks to my honey I finally signed up.
We have already completed seven classes and our last Monday is next week.
We first did this little practice painting, then a portrait with a live model, and yesterday we completed our second live model portrait.
Here is my second painting, a young woman named Alexandra;

We only worked on it for two sessions so ideally it could use some more work, but I say not bad for a semi-beginning!
The other thing about this class is that we are learning in oils.  I have attempted oils very briefly in some classes I took a million years ago.  Otherwise I have only used acrylics.  It was wonderful to be using oils.  It is such a great medium.
I am attempting to cram seven weeks worth of thoughts into one post but I will not so I will stop here.
Just wanted to say what an absolute thrill it was to finally allow myself to take what was for me a giant step in moving in the direction I was meant to go in so very long ago.
Do the same for yourself.
You will be glad you did.
'Til later,
Carol B.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Daughter

The other day when I talked about missing my son I WAS GOING TO GIVE EQUAL TIME TO MY DAUGHTER (HA HA!) except that she freaked me out and had me all upset with worry.
She does not live at home so on Monday I had called her for something.  I could tell she was out somewhere and she told me that she and her friend Lorraine from work were at the Long Beach Aquarium, which my daughter loves. She then said that she had told her friend that the Aquarium in Monterey (near San Francisco) is even better.  At the same time, they both realized that neither of them had to work the next day so they looked at each other and said "ROAD TRIP!"
My daughter said that later that evening they were going to pack some stuff and drive all night from Los Angeles to Monterey, stay the night, go to the Monterey Aquarium the next day, and then drive back to Los Angeles in the evening.
I tried to talk her out of it, but when she is determined, forget it, and since she does not live at home I could not lock her door to keep her home (not that she wouldn't go out the window anyway).
So all this time I resisted looking up her facebook or twitter, trying to keep the faith that all was well.  
So today is four days later AND SINCE SHE DIDN'T CALL ME I was beginning to wonder, when she suddenly showed up at my house today for an unexpected visit.
All is well, thank you, God!
But she did leave me a picture from when she went to the beach at Monterey, so here is my baby daughter at the beach;

Since she's twenty eight years old, she doesn't look like that, either.
But whether my kids like it or not, that is the way I'll always see them, even when they're 93!
In truth, they have grown into two wonderful young adults, both of whom I'm very proud.
And that's all I can really ask for.
Except for when they both get that great job they can then buy me a condo in Maui!
'Til later, hoping you all have a great weekend!
Carol B.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Kindest Thing

The kindest thing I can do for myself is paint.
Whether it is on canvas, my art journal, or just playing in my sketchbook, I am happiest when I am painting.
Suddenly I am not hungry, I am not overweight, I am not depressed, I am not anxious, I am not worried, I am not angry, I am not in despair.  
All that exists is the paint and the magic that happens when the brush slides over that surface.
There is nothing like it.
It is all I need.
So, before I finish off that pie in the refrigerator, I will go back and paint!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Piece By Piece

I always do things in extreme.
And I'm always disappointed.
I'll decide to eat healthy, but just one taste of a forbidden cookie will have me throwing out the entire effort and raiding the kitchen.
When I went back to college, I spent the first several years staying in a class only if I believed I was going to get an A.  If I thought I was going to get a B, I would drop the class.
My belief in myself has been "live your life perfectly or go back in your hole and hide."
Which is why, in the past year of having this blog I am either running gung ho or I appear to have dropped off the face of the earth.
But I'm trying to look at life in a different way.
Maybe it is not about perfection.
Ok, so I already know you cannot live your life aiming for perfection.
Let me reword this.
Maybe it's not about putting your life in a microwave, pressing the button, and expecting it to be done perfectly, in a flash.
Maybe we could look at living life as if creating a quilt?
You design and cut and arrange and rearrange and put together piece by piece, stitch by stitch. And if it doesn't come out the way you want you can always pull out a few stitches and piece it back together again.
Up until the past two years, I lived my life saying everything I thought I was supposed to say, doing everything I thought I was supposed to do, thinking this was the way I was supposed to live my life until I no longer had any idea what it was to live life as me.
The past two years I have been trying to "be me" but that's a hard thing to do when your goal is perfection or nothing at all.
It seems like every week, no, every day, I have to try again.  Arrange, rearrange, piece together, then maybe rearrange again.
But you know what?
I have decided that's ok.  I have decided that from now on I will try to look at life as if piecing together a quilt.  And if it is a crazy quilt, so be it.  
And if I forget about looking at life this way and I find myself once again aiming for perfection, and once again being disappointed, and once again wanting to hide, I will pick up that quilt, pull out some stitches, arrange, rearrange, and piece it back together again.
Who would have thought imperfection would be more hard than perfection?
Who would have thought balance would be more hard than extreme?
But life can be more colorful because of it.
And as an artist, color is good.
'Til later,
Carol B.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Go Manny!

Tonight I'm going to my first Dodger game in ten years!
As excited as I am, it's nothing compared to my hubby.  I forgot to ask him when his last game was, but I know it has been longer than me (I went to my last game just before I met him).
You should have seen him when we went to Dodger Stadium to get our tickets this past Saturday.  He checked out the map to see where our seats were but then later we went into the stadium (which was empty).  The lower levels were blocked off so from the second to the highest level he was leaning over the rail, trying to find out seats.  I wish I had had my camera so I could have taken a picture of him, looking like a little boy, counting out the seats in deep concentration, to mark out the view he would soon get at his first ball game.
We have to leave extra early today because he wants to get there right when the gates open, which is two hours before the game.  He's hoping if we go early we can watch batting practice.  I hope so, too, if we're going that early!
So I'll eat a Dodger Dog and a bag of peanuts for you, and here's hoping our Dodgers win!
Go Manny!
'Til later,
Carol B.

update:  Dodgers: 7   Cardinals: 3
Go, Dodgers!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Baby

Here's a picture of my baby!

Ok.  So he's twenty four years old, so he doesn't exactly look like that anymore.
But he does to me!
Just tell me this;
why is it that when your kids are living in your home you think AREN'T THEY EVER GOING TO LEAVE?
And then, as soon as they're not there anymore you can hardly stand the silence?
My son still lives at home and he's not leaving forever.  He's only going to be gone for two weeks.
But still.
No music that you can't understand the lyrics and you don't want to playing.
No leaving the TV on in his room when he's actually spending time in the living room.
No leaving the TV on in the living room when he's actually spending time in his room.
No cigarette butts in the backyard that he says doesn't belong to him but belongs to the cat, a cat we don't have.
I remember when I was a young mother at home and people used to tell me "Enjoy your kids. They grow up so fast!"
And I would think "oh, brother.  They're never going to grow up."
And then, poof!
They're all grown.
So if you have young children, remember today to enjoy them.
They do grow up so fast.
My son doesn't read my blog but his girlfriend often does.
So Janine, if you're reading this, tell him I said,
'Til later,
Carol B.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just Being Me

I keep wondering when it is that I will get the message that you don't have to be perfect to have your life matter.  
When I will stop saying, "yeah, I like my paintings, but what if someone else doesn't?"
"Yeah, I like my photos, but what if someone else doesn't?"
"Yeah, I like my writing, but what if someone else doesn't?"
I search and search other people's blogs, and the thing I like the most is when someone shows me their true self.  That is what I find the most magical.  
I look for others to share their true self, and I think what I am actually searching for is the courage to share my true self.
I want the courage just to be me.
How simple is that?
And yet, how hard is that?
So, once again I am saying
And you know what?
That makes me very happy.  
I truly love being here, in Blogland.
I so miss being here.
I love writing here.
Besides, if I don't write here, then when I finally write to my out-of-state cousin I end up "talking" her ear off with all I have left unsaid.  I need to give her a break.  So I will write here instead.
So, Hello again, Blogland!
I will be here once again,
just being me.
Love to all,
Carol B.