Welcome to my blog about my journey through this book and it's challenges. It's a simple exercise, but it's good for me. I hope you enjoy the blips and slips and funny moments. You may even learn a thing or two too!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week 17--Stay Curious--Saturday Evening

The "Clay & cocktails" class was fun; this week's task challenged me to, " learn new skills, explore new places, meet new people, try new hobbies, and find ways to enjoy a day."  Check, check, check, check and...check!  I did all of these during Friday night's class and discovered, in the process, that I really like "throwing" clay.

I learned the clay contextual meanings of: molding, slipping, scoring, throwing, rolling, pushing and patting.  I have got to find a way to incorporate these verbs into my daily vernacular more often. They could lend some much-needed color to a gray office meeting!

I met some friendly ladies and a one nice guy; thirteen registered for the class, one man, twelve ladies--it was a baker's dozen!  Wine, cheese, and fruit were offered throughout the class--fabulous--and I volunteered right off the bat to start off with the "throwing" portion of class to make my bowl. 

Thanks go to my father for teaching me how to finish drywall and mix "mud" to a myriad of consistencies and textures.  I felt like a kid again--and loved it.  Although throwing clay on the wheel is not precisely like mixing mud in a bucket with a drill and four foot beater, it does require some innate "feel."  Though I started off with a simple bowl and had to relinquish my seat to another class member, I could have easily stayed at the wheel the entire two hours! 

Our second task of the evening was to make a clay bird sculpture. I admit, I did not enjoy this nearly as much as the throwing portion of the evening, and I believe it is because it requires patience.  I move too quickly, and clay demands...time.  A robin is what I was aiming for, my bird ended up looking like a worn-out feather boa with a peacock's tail.  Don't worry, I'll post pictures as soon as both my bowl & bird have been fired and painted.

I left the evening enlivened; I realized how much I missed "getting my hands dirty."  Even in the brief span of a half hour, I knew I needed to find ways, outlets to be more creative on a consistent basis.  My husband remarked at some point after our first year of marriage that I owned a lot of bowls.  I use them for everything--loose change collection depots, containers for fruit, my "junk" bowls, earrings, old wine corks (I'm seeing how many I can collect in my lifetime) and the likes. 

I have one particular bowl I purchased in college at a student art fair.  It's various shades of green and has an earthly texture about it.  I use it for bobbie pins and hair clips.  I see it everyday and see the inscribed signature and realize someone put their time, energy and creative juices into this creation.  It's a little piece of them; I believe that is what it's all about.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week 17--Thursday Evening--Stay Curious

Just a note to say that I love my new electric-powered dremmel; it makes the battery powered one I had before seem like weak coffee!  I needed a new one so I could trim the dog's nails; I'd let them get a wee-bit too long ;)  I learned how to change the accessories--I admit, I did look at the directions, but I was in too much of a hurry to get it done that I had a bit of a trial & error session after my patience ran out with the directions.  It works and it gets the job done, and that's what matters. 

Clay & cocktails class tomorrow night--so looking forward to it after this week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Week 17--Wednesday Morning--Stay Curious

Just a quick note to say that I expanded my walking paths yesterday and walked with a friend in her neck of the woods.  So, I discovered new places, new homes, and new paths only a few miles from our house!  Quiet area with old homes, which means old trees--the tall ones that provide wonderful shaded in the warm months.  I like this new place and will have to take my hubby along one weekend to spice up our regular walks!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 17--Stay Curious--Monday Evening

I have decided to expand my skills in the area of art--ceramics, to be exact.  There's a class at the local art center I've always wanted to take and now this gives me the perfect excuse to do so. Clay & Cocktails; a two hour class, starting off with a cocktail and watching an artist make a clay pot.  Once you've viewed the demonstration, you are welcomed to try making a ceramic or clay vessel of your very own.  I'm not sure how symmetrical my clay pot will be after throwing back a few drinks, but how much fun is this going to be?!!?  I'm so looking forward to Friday evening :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 17--Easter Sunday Morning--"Stay Curious"

Happy Easter Sunday!  It's raining in Indiana and looks to do so for most of the day.  However, we can't let that dampen Easter spirit :)  Update on last week's task:  I was able to get the plastic bottles prepared for recycling but not the cardboard boxes flattened.  I decided I'd better wait till the husband and I clean the garage.  He prefers to keep some boxes for transport; flattening and recycling them all would not have been a good move on my part.

Week 17 has started, and today's card reads, "Stay Curious." 
"Keep learning new skills, exploring new places, meeting new people, trying new hobbies, and finding ways to enjoy a day by staying curious and keeping your mind open.  Don't stop asking questions or seeking out the answers."

I think a good place to start on finding out new activites this week is the Holiday Park Nature Center and the Indianapolis Art Center.  I have already applied and interviewed for a special events volunteer at the IMA.  Hope to hear from them this week.  There will be several opportunities to meet new people and learn new things while serving at the art museum!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Week 16--Without Packaging--Saturday Morning

To be honest, I haven't started on my two goals for this week; I did, however, write a poem about Indiana.  I will get to those tasks today; as it's sunny and not rainy, it's always better for housework. 

Ode to Indiana's Spring Weather

Sunny or rainy,
Windy or eighty.
Dry or muggy,
Pleasant or buggy.

Storms or snow,
Hail that blows.
Balmy and bright,
Star-filled nights.

Waves of grain,
Torrids of rain.
Dry, crusty ground,
Dark earth, some around.

Be prepared,
Be ready and aware.
One day it's rain,
The next, no complaints.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Funny

Just have to post this; a co-worker shared with me this morning.  It's random, odd and somehow crazy scary, but made me laugh.  Hope it makes anyone reading this laugh as well.

Week 16--"Without Packaging" Tuesday Morning

Time to reflect:  It is now four months into this journey on Making a Difference.  I've learned that many of these tasks are intrinsic, several are simple ways of thinking differently about this world.  If I were to grade my progress for last week's charge, Low Media, I would give myself a B-.  I only read half of the novel, losing interest after a whirlwind reading evening.  I did watch some TV--Man Vs. Wild--so interesting!  I also was on the computer daily; nowadays, it's difficult NOT to be "connected." 

This week's card reads, "Without Packaging."  "Reduce the amount of packaging you purchase and throw away by buying as many items as you can without packaging in the first place.  Are there packageless alternatives to some of the packaged foods you consume?  Can you buy some of your staples in bulk?  Some shampoos and soaps are available in refillable bottles.  If you can't avoid cardboard or plastic packaging, see if some of it can't be saved and reused for something else, such as children's art supplies."

Honestly, this task is something we already practice regularly at our home; we buy in bulk our staples--veggies, chicken, oatmeal, TP and paper towels.  Thank goodness for Sam's and COSTCO!  Reading this task reminds me of my Mom; I will never forget her insistence while growing up that we "deconstruct" every cardboard box and paper bag so that it would fit neatly in the trash can.  She would get so frustrated if we threw a cardboard coke box into a freshly lined trashcan.  We'd have to go and pick it out and flatten it and put in into the trash bin so it allowed room for the rest of the rubbage.  To this day, I still have to make myself flatten cardboard and compact trash; I admit I don't practice this habit regularly because it takes more time.  In the grand scheme of things, as Mom always said, "A stitch in time saves nine later on."

My goal this week:  to clear out and compact the boxes piled in the garage, hampering walking room and to recycle the endless plastic medication bottles I've saved with the intention of recycling.  Best to do something about it now.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Week 15--Friday Morning--Low Media

I haven't watched TV since earlier in the week--this is good and fulfills the "Low Media" charge. I confess, after my day of avid reading, I only read a few additional pages of One Thousand White Women.  Perhaps this evening I can finish the novel.  It's a busy weekend, one full of fun--still low media :)

Instead of reading, I have walked the dogs (for all our sanity's sakes) and strolled through the grounds of our local art museum.  It was a beautiful day and the lilac bushes are just starting to bloom--the fragrance was splendid!  Not to heavy or overpowering as some perfumes but not too light so as not to pick up the scent.  Here are pictures of our lovely art museum grounds in early spring:


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week 15--Low Media--Wednesday Lunch Break

This book is hilarious!  I stayed up reading until 2 am and laughed heartily several times at the razor-sharp witty humor displayed by the main character.  My poor husband probably wondered what on earth I was doing downstairs.  I love to read a good novel, nothing like it.

I'm about a third of the way through the novel of the diary entries of this fictional character, May Dodd, who is journaling her travails as a pseudo mail-order bride.  In the novel's setting, she is an admitted asylum patient who has volunteered to be a bride-gift to the Cheyenne tribe circa 1875 as a means to quell the uprising post Civil War.  Of course she is no where near clinically insane, but volunteered as a means to escape the hell of the ward.  Her snobby family had her admitted because she chose to live out of wedlock and bear children-- labeled as "promiscuous" and therefore shunned by Victorian society.     

What I like about this novel is that the premise is based on an historical event:  Little Wolf, the chief of the Cheyenne Nation visited President Ulysses S. Grant and made a request for 1000 white women in exchange for 1000 horses as a means to assimilate with the white man and stop the bloodshed on the American Plains.  I don't believe I would desire to be traded for a horse; however, given the fictional circumstances of the novel, perhaps it would be worth the freedom.

Image 1:  Little Wolf at Fort Laramie, 1868
Little Wolf at Laramie, 1868

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 15--"Low Media"--Monday Morning

Whoa!  What a weekend!  I am a day last posting this week's challenge as I was the Maid (Matron) of Honor for my sister's wedding yesterday (see a quick pic below--me with a good friend)--how quickly a weekend can fly by!  It started with a trip to the doctor for me; that nasty, nagging cold erupted into a full blown illness.  However, with some medication and rest, I was prepared for the wedding day.  I can't remember being that sick in a long about the days flying by...

This week's card :  Low Media.  "Take a break from your television for a week.  Enjoy the quiet.  Pick up a book you've always wanted to read instead of spacing out in front of the tube.  How much media do you consume in a day?  Try a day without all of it.  You may be surprised at how well you survive, and just how nice a little media downtime can be."

At first blush, it may be difficult in this age of social media to go a day without any media.  However, I do have plenty of books I would like to read.  While ill, I re-read a novel; apparently, I need to read something new.  I found a novel I scooped up five years ago I've still not read:  One Thousand White Women, the Journals of May Dodd.  It was a recommendation from a former colleague; I do enjoy history, so let's see how this fiction based on an historic event pans out.

Obviously, I have to be a computer to work this week, but I will make every effort to be brief on my home laptop and perhaps even avoid all media next Saturday--hey, I have a concert to attend next Saturday!  Live music is always welcome.

Have a great week!

Image 1:  Olivia and Clarisa

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 14--"You Made a Difference" Monday Evening

I have been sick as a dog the past four days; I didn't move much, only read a lot.  I'm one day late posting this week's "Make a Difference" task.  This week's card is:  "You Made a Difference."

"Think of someone from your formative years who really made a difference to you.  Was it a teacher you had in second grade who said you were a creative child, and thus validated your daydreaming for the next 20 years?  Maybe it was the parent of a childhood friend who fed you dinner when you ran away from home and even talked you into giving your parents a second chance.  Write a letter to one of your early proponents and express just how important he or she was to your with language you probably didn't have at that time."

Who should I choose?  Who would you choose?  Should it be Mrs. S who taught me how to properly conjugate Latin verbs?  Should it be Mrs. B who encouraged me to chill out in college?  How about Mrs. K who offered such gracious support and endowed a scholarship I had been given?  What about the Mrs K who always, no matter the occassion, re-applied her red lipstick in class?