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Random Sketches

I’ve been cleaning out my office in prep for moving and I’ve come a cross a bunch of unfinished rough sketches. Thought it would be fun to ink them and share them with you all. This one was apparently in reaction to my call to jury duty a few years ago.

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And what should draw me out of my blogging slumber?

EARTHQUAKE ON THE EAST COAST!!!!! OH GOD!!!

Actually, it’s the people making fun of the people on the east coast that shook me awake. Ha, ha…shook. Are we really going there? Yes.
Okay west coasties listen up. Yes, continue to mock our eastern friends as you sit on one of the LARGEST faults in the country. This is like dancing gleefully under a giant hornets nest and laughing at someone who just got stung by a bee. Sure the east coast may be going a little overboard with this tremor…if it were a bee sting they’ve already jabbed themselves with the epi pen and called 911…but come on, they so rarely get earthquakes this is like an elvis sighting…might as well let them have their moment of fascination mingled with panic. I just ask that we stop tempting the wrath of the earthquake gods.

And on to other news…

The problem with me and blogging is that I never seem to have ideas when I finally find time to sit still long enough to blog. I much prefer my journal in the mornings. Morning pages are the brain child of whomever wrote “The Artist’s Way” – I can’t remember their name at the moment and I’m too lazy to get up and search for the book to find out. Actually, the truth is that the minute I rise from this chair I will find something to distract me from this blog and this will be the last you’ll hear from me. What I like about journaling is that it is spontaneous and no one is ever going to read it so it doesn’t have to be polished.

Morning pages are basically a mental bran muffin, the blank page your toilet. It’s a crude analogy but true. Morning pages become the place where you dump all the stuff that’s cluttering your mind. Whatever problems you’ve woken up with banging around in your head, the morning page is a releasing place. Now, that being said about journaling and morning pages I have to admit that I regret not being able to write with such freedom on this blog. I have a pretty strict censor who likes to talk me out of writing much of anything. But as I look back over this last year and what I had hoped to accomplish with this blog I’m regretting having given into that little critic so often. My wish is that I could have written at least once a week about the crazy life that is going back to one’s hometown and living on a farm so close to one’s parents. Believe me, there have been few dull moments and some pretty amazing revelations. Perhaps there is an opportunity to capture some of those moments in illustration and post them in the future.

As for the present, I just finished yet another home improvement project with my dad. Talk about a way to celebrate father’s day – spend a week installing a dishwasher with your dad (full story to follow)! I’m happy to say that we did not destroy the kitchen, except for the spot where the dishwasher would sit, and I am now dishpan-hands free! Truly, dishwashers are marvelous inventions.

With an extra hour free in my mornings thanks to the newfangled contraption that cleans my dishes for me I really have no excuse to leave this blog blank so often. And what better time to start blogging again as the promise of another adventure presents itself.

Lately, I’ve been practicing the art of slowing down. It is my attempt to let things unfold in their own time and to give up my habit of worrying about the future. Sure, there are still things I need to think about but really, if you could step into my brain and see that little hamster running pell-mell on that wheel, smoke spiraling up from his burning feet, you’d understand that my thinking is a frantic scurrying from one problem to the next. It’s not the most productive form of problem solving and it’s time I gave my brain a break and a chance to simply let things be. In doing this I’ve discovered a sense of peace. I’ve also discovered things tend to happen with much less effort. I gave up worrying about where I was going to find myself in this next year – I know that my time in Port Angeles is coming to a close – and today an amazing opportunity presented itself. No help from me. No need to go out and force a plan of action into play. It was simply there. Whether you call it fate, karma or God providing (I tend to go with the latter of these), life, when we allow it, unfolds in beautiful and hopeful ways. I’ve discovered though the one hitch to this, you must provide space for these opportunities to occur. You can’t just sit on your couch eating rice cakes and a pint of Haagen Dazs, saying “things will happen if I’m patient.” You do have to put a little effort in. You have to take that first step. Get the ball rolling. Choose your analogy. What I have to remind myself is that once effort is put out there I can’t expect it to be exactly as I wanted. Maybe I wanted to travel so I opened up some free time and I started planning a trip to Italy. Only I discovered the plane tickets were too pricey. Instead I get a call from a friend wanting to go to the Grand Canyon. Bam! Suddenly a trip is in the making. It’s not exactly what I had in mind but I was open to the possibility of an adventure where ever it might take me.

So this next year will find me in a new city. I don’t want to say too much just yet as things are still falling into place. But whatever happens I’m looking forward to continuing this blog and seeing it grow into something more.

…hopefully with a little less snarling and growling, but I can’t guarantee it.

How I torment my dog…

And my dog looks up at me with loathing as she dons her new raincoat.

Why buy a rain jacket for a dog? For sheer entertainment. Really, there’s no other reason – at least not for my dog. Scout actually didn’t mind the coat so much as me laughing at her in it. And for those of you who know my dog, laughing is a no-no. But I found the rain jacket hinders her ability to lunge and bite at the offending laugher, so I enjoyed several minutes of bite-free belly laughing before she turned and began chewing on the kitchen chair.

Cold morning on the farm.

 

Apparently Polar Bears are stealthy because March snuck up on me. I was standing in line to get coffee this morning after my yoga class – because the yoga only made me more exhausted – when a friend asked if I had my comic strip online yet. My usual reply is to do a quick mental check of the date, add a month on and say I’m working on it and a website will be ready by sometime in the next month, this way sounding as if I’m really working hard and not coming off as the procrastinator that I am. But March being a sneaky fellow and February not giving so much as a “see ya next year” as he slipped out the door, I replied “Yeah, it’s in the works and I’m hoping to have it ready by mid-march”, when suddenly I realized, crap, it is March! So, here I am having been caught in my own little web of procrastination and constant “put off until tomorrow” mentality, and I’m not happy with it. In fact, I’m a little disappointed in it. But there’s something I’ve discovered in the past few months…I can change. What a lovely feeling. So, with coffee in hand and the lead taken from my butt, let’s get this website going!

Something Different…

After listening to the State of the Union the other night I’ve been thinking about what the President said. First of all, I enjoyed his speech very much. I thought he did an excellent job of laying out the problems our country currently faces. He outlined the needs and proposed a few ways of tackling these issues. Most importantly he called not only the government to work together to bring solutions to these problems but he called on the American people. Fairly early in his speech while he was addressing the issue of education in this country, President Obama commissioned all the young people listening to consider teaching as a career. He stated that if one wanted to make a difference in this country that this profession in particular held a great responsibility for bringing about change. And this got me thinking. Actually, it shook me. I realized clearly for the first time that it is not only our government who is responsible for bringing about change and solutions but the people of this country themselves. WE are responsible for our future. We are responsible for change. If we wish to rely more on clean energy and alternative fuels then we must attempt to enact that. Despite what the government may give us – incentives, various options, etc – we should not think that we must wait around for a solution to be sent our way. We are not children waiting for our parents’ permission nor are we incompetent sloths waiting to be fed the right choice. WE are a nation of intelligent capable individuals who need to step up to the plate and take our futures in our hands. Our government certainly can not shrug off their responsibility to enact laws or open doors that will better enable us as a people to strive for the best. But we can not expect them to do everything. We are just as responsible and we should hold ourselves to the same level of integrity and responsibility that our forefathers did. This nation was not built by a pre-established government. It was built by farmers and laborers who sought to bring about a better life for themselves. WE are a part of this nation. WE are the components that make this country great, or not so great. In an era where quick fixes are handed to us on a daily basis, we had best be careful to not lose sight of the part we play in creating the world around us. President Obama was right in handing power back to the school districts, asking them to brainstorm ideas about how to improve the way education is dealt out in the country. Each state has their own needs just as each person has their own needs. We shouldn’t rely on a select few in government to come up with all the solutions. What made this country great is the combination of many minds sharing ideas, debating and resolving, building off of each other to establish something greater than sum of its parts. So here is what I wonder and perhaps propose to each of us…in what ways can we each, either as individuals or working in small groups of friends, act on the issues brought up in the State of the Union?

Think about the energy issue. What am I doing now to conserve energy? Can I use less electricity? Can I switch to energy efficient bulbs? Am I recycling? Can I start a recycling program in my neighborhood? What about my car? Am I driving excessively? Where can I cut back? What about taking the bus, riding my bike, carpooling? What’s the next step beyond these small solutions? Where can I be a part of the bigger solution?

And what about education? Have you helped your kids with their homework? The government isn’t going to get your kid good grades. It is up to your child and you to ensure that an education is attained. No one can force you to learn. No one can force you to enjoy it. And if we don’t start encouraging our children at home then we will continue to see the national levels in math, science and reading slip amongst the other nations of the world. We are a brilliant people. We would not be standing where we’re at today if it had not been for the intelligence of our fathers and grandfathers. We are a nation that sent men to the moon. We can send our children to school.

Okay, so what if you don’t have kids? What about being a mentor? What about volunteering at the YMCA? Everyone has skills that could be taught. You don’t have to be a math whiz to have value in this culture. You could teach a child about fishing. Or heck, you don’t even have to teach kids. Teach other adults. There are plenty of people out there who want to improve their skills whether in reading and writing or ceramics or rock climbing. We are never too old to learn.

What if we looked at our country as we would a business. My father has a saying that you are only as good as the men and women around you. Working as a team means that the weakest link is as strong as the chain gets. So, let’s not eliminate that link but encourage that link to become stronger. EVERY person is worth something in this country. No matter who you are, no matter your background, you are important to this world for the sole reason that you are unique. You have unique thoughts, ways of doing things, and experiences. All of these add up to the fact that you bring something unique to the table. And in a time when we are searching for new ideas, new ways of doing things, it might be your voice that makes the difference. We need to encourage one another. We are not autonomous in this life, though the computer and internet may make us feel this way. But look at Facebook. There is a reason community networks such as this are so popular. We are social creatures. We need community. We need family. And this country is our family. Sure, just like any family we have weird Uncle so-and-so who likes to clean in between his toes with his socks during dinner, or the aunt who snorts when she laughs and loves to give bear hugs. Yes, we have our quirks but it’s the inclusion of these quirks that make us great. We do not ask for conformity, we as for community. We do not ask that we all dress the same, pray the same, or think the same, nor are we asked to remain silent. Instead, this country asks us to stand up, pray freely, think with our imagination, dream big dreams and shout out answers when we find them. We are asked to participate and take ownership of this country because it belongs to all of us. We are the guardians, we are the citizens, we are our neighbors and our children and we are what makes this country what it is. So let’s make it a great one.