C25K:W3D2 and flowery metaphor

Today has been full of activity! It started with taekwondo class with Ninjabreadmom, which was fun after I woke up fully. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next was C25K week 3, day 2. The three minute running intervals were a little easier than a few days ago, though on the first 90 sec jogging segment my legs felt like lead. Luckily, that feeling worked itself out after I got further into my program.

20140315-204652.jpg

I tried out a few new things on this run: new location, running capris and an armband for my phone. I liked all of them. My new pants were light and comfortable. My armband was a bit bulky, but I chose that particular one because it could hold more stuff (keys, cards, money, etc) if I needed it to. It worked well and I got used to it pretty easily. The new location is a park near my house with a paved trail around it. It was nice to mix it up and have new scenery. A cute little girl waved at me, I saw a sweet Mini Cooper with the Union Jack painted on the roof, there were kids skateboarding and I saw those pretty blue weed-flowers starting to carpet the grass so I know spring is coming!!!

Even after taekwondo and run-walking, it was such a nice day I decided to get out in my yard and begin sprucing things up. Out with the old, brown, dry, dead of winter to make room for new spring growth. Honey Bear filled the bird feeder for me, and I put some water in the birdbath. I emptied last year’s nest from the bird house in the apple tree, and later in the day I saw a bird flitting around the entrance with new material in its mouth.

I cut back the roses and the blackberry vines that made berries last year, hacked a bunch of overgrown bushes coming through the fence, and cleared out a couple of flower beds. I didn’t do much after the summer, so dead stalks and leaves abounded. The canna stalks were particularly sad looking. I got a good arm workout with all the chopping and pulling.

I was surprised to see that some lily and iris leaves are already coming up! Raking back a thick layer of brown leaves, I uncovered these bulbs and started having a metaphor moment.

20140315-204702.jpg

Clearly these iris bulbs are missing a little top dirt. And are laid over sideways. They were hidden under a mound of leaves, which they supposedly shouldn’t like. But despite that they seem to be managing just fine. How fabulous they are! Despite some challenges they are still doing what they were made to do — growing and gathering their strength to bloom.

Advertisements

Kick-ass Artist’s Date

Took myself out today to a place where there are a variety of craft projects and supplies, and you just walk in and decide to make something. There was a yarn room, ceramics, a pottery wheel, leatherworking, etc.

I picked out a bisque vase, painted it with acrylics, remembered what a fanatical perfectionist I am, tried to just roll with it, and had a great, solitary time. After I was done they sprayed it for me to give it that shiny seal. Then, I got to make pretty papers.

Here’s what I made

20130124-215753.jpg

Here’s how I made the paper

I picked color combinations of scrap papers, added them to a blender with water, and liquified it. Then I poured that into a mold submerged in a pan of water, let it settle, then picked to mold up and the water drained out. Then I took the screened bottom out of the mold and put it on a tray, then used sponges to collect some of the water from the pulp. After that I transferred the screen and pulp to another area where I used paper to blot up even more excess water. (Ok, as an aside, that blotter paper was called a couch, written pronunciation of ‘kuch’ but when the lady was giving me the instructions out loud it sounds like ‘cooch’ and this kept cracking me up. Especially when talking about moving my ‘cooch’ over to the ironing board. Lol) Anyhoo, after most of the excess water was removed, I ironed the paper on both sides to further dry it. And that’s it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a few shots from the paper-making process

20130124-213303.jpg

It was awesome! I made 5 sheets of paper. I’m thinking that a couple of the sheets will be used for the covers of a little poetry book I’m working on.

Later, I treated myself to some good Mexican food (avocado enchilada, omm nom nomm!) and then got some new books from the library.

It’s been awhile

I haven’t written much lately. I’ve thought to myself many times, Hey, you should blog about this. But… Then I don’t. I’m in a transition, and I can’t even figure out what I’m doing long enough to write about it before I change again.

I’d juuuuust about gotten it all figured out, and for about 3 weeks there I was doing great. I’d gotten it all worked out in my head to let go of some shit and that it was going to eventually feel OK to settle in to some nice child-free living plans. (See Bucket List).

Then I got a couple of pregnancy bombs dropped on me, I fell into an “eh, meh” type of week, and next thing I know I’m trying to figure out how I can finance a private adoption.

Arg, brain, come on and give me a break.

Help Portrait

Recently I had the chance to participate in a really cool volunteer event called Help Portrait. It is an event that happens around the world where photographers, editors and other volunteers get together to use their skills and equipment to offer free photo shoots and printed portraits for families in need. The group in my area hosted three locations, and I worked at the registration table at one of them.

I’m not sure what the official count was, but I know that we signed in more than 70 families at our location. It was great to be able to greet the families, see all the children in their best clothes, get them signed in and sent on their way to the hair and makeup area and then their studios for their portraits.

There were 10 little studios set up in the Sunday school rooms at a church that let us use their facility. The photographers brought backdrops and lights and made it really nice. In a larger room, a team of editors were busy taking the memory cards, editing as many photos as they could in 30 minutes, then burning a CD and printing out a few photos.

Picture frames were donated, so one of the best photos was printed out and put in a 5×7 frame. The framed picture and one or two additional 4x6s were then presented to the family, along with a CD of all their images with a photo release included so they can print more pictures themselves or e-mail them.

After the photo shoots, the families waited in an area near the registration table, and so I was able to visit more with many of them. There were tables set up with crafts for the kids to do, and I got to help some of the kids decorate foam photo frames with stickers (all donated) and color a variety of Christmas-themed coloring book pages. A few kids attached themselves to me, climbing in my lap or coming up and hugging me all around my leg. It was so sweet.

In between checking in the families, I got to spend a little time peeking into the doorways of the photo studios, watching some of the families get their pictures made. It was great to see the photographers interact with all of them, especially the little kids, treating them so sweetly and having fun. The faces of the children were fun to watch. Some seemed shy, others were so excited to be dressed up and feeling pretty. One little boy just kept grinning and jumping up and down with his hands in the air.

Around the craft tables I got to see the smiles on their faces when the photographers brought down their printed photos. Everyone seemed pleased and ooohhed and ahhhed. One of my favorite pictures I saw was an older woman kissing her mentally-disabled adult daughter on the cheek. It was so sweet, and the woman was so happy with her experience. She told me it was the best picture they’d ever had made.

For many of the families, this was the first formal portrait they’d ever had. It was the first time many of the younger children had ever been photographed.

I know I take the ability to take photos for granted, to grab every little snapshot I can of my Neffie, to see in pictures how much he has grown and changed. I can’t imagine someone having no baby pictures of their child, or no pictures of their family as a whole.

Giving Christmas, Parts 2 and 3

One of the latest projects Honey Bear and I finished for our holiday giving was buying Angel Tree gifts. We had a great time exploring the toy aisles and goofing around while checking out all the cool stuff.

Here’s what he picked out for the 4-year-old boy he chose:

photo(38)

Here’s what I picked out for an 8-year-old girl (that little thing is actually her “big” gift – an mp3 player):

photo(37)

The other thing we did recently was Honey Bear’s project and one of his favorite things to do this time of year. There’s a business owner here in our city that collects kids’ coats and then distributes them at local schools. I think the school counselors and teachers keep an eye out and give the coats to the kids that need one.

Here are the 6 coats that Honey Bear bought (and picked out himself):

photo(36)

Giving Christmas, Part 1

Honey Bear and I decided not to buy each other any big gifts this year, and instead we are using our money to donate items to causes we support. We have done this to a lesser degree in the past, but this time we are doing more and only buying a few little stocking stuffers for each other.

I have several things in the works, and I’ll try to write about them as we go along. We have had fun so far picking out things and thinking about what we want to do.

Our first project was putting together a hygiene items basket for a family of 4 — 2 adults and 2 children.

3B2D (or 3 Bags in 2 Days) is partnering with a local children’s organization to provide these baskets for the holidays. Honey Bear and I picked out some things such as shampoo, body wash, bar soap, brushes or combs, deodorant, razors and shaving cream, toothbrushes and toothpaste for individual family members, then added some things for the entire family: toilet paper, dish soap, wash cloths, hand soap, facial tissue.

To keep things organized, I divided up the items for each person into festive zipper bags. After we turn in our basket, the folks at 3B2D will add laundry soap and wrap the baskets up all fancy for giving.

Who else has holiday giving projects in the plans for this Christmas season?