The Second Half

andys_god

My old pal Damon refers to middle-age as “The Second Half”. It certainly feels like it’s later in the game than I’m used to. At least mid way through. Some days more than others. When my knees crack and I can no longer sit for long periods of time (which is really bad for you, anyway!) without my hip hurting, I am reminded of how long I’ve been around. I’m not really old or anything, but I am definitely not young. AARP is tirelessly whittling away at a plastic log as I write, carving out my discount card for the next three or so years. A visit to Chicago last fall had another old pal, Wayne, reminding me that I no longer walk around saying… “but Wayne, we’re still really young! We have so much time!”, referring to us, like I used to, back when we were young.

I accidentally just found out that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are together… expecting a child no less! How did I not know about this already? I think it’s been going on for a while now, at least publicly. But I am really out of touch, apparently, with popular culture. I am not certain it is such a bad thing. Speaking of which, I had to shut down that nasty Facebook again the other night. I really hate it. I hate the time I allow it to take away from me actually doing something. Not that I spend that much time on it, but recently it seems like any time in that place is too much.

 

 

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Ambivalent April

I’d like to say first, that I am never ambivalent about my daughters. When I stayed home with them ALL DAY EVERY DAY FOR THREE YEARS, I did feel ambivalent about full-time, never get a freaking break parenting. But never ambivalent about them. They elicit such primitive feelings in me I can’t imagine not being all wrapped up in. I just had a visual of a hot dog wrapped in bacon. Can’t be ambivalent about that, either. Salty.

Some days – today, for instance – I have a gigantic pile of work to do at my job, last minute gigantic spreadsheet to fill out with numbers and budgets. You may not know this, but the words “spreadsheet, numbers and budgets” cause hives to rumble on the surface of my skin. I am not a numbers gal. Words? Yes. Music? Of course. Art? Absolutely! Just keep thems nasty spreadsheets away from me if you don’t want a disaster on your hands. Why, in Gods name would anyone task me with such a hideous job? Luckily, I have an incredible co-worker who whipped out some serious focus and calm on the beast and pretty much finished it for me. That’s a lady who has a free lunch comin’ to her. If I had any money, I’d gladly hand it to her. Thank you, friend.

So, that was the morning of hideousness. Then, the afternoon was filled with a meeting on a subject I am absolutely devoted to. So the two hour meeting whizzed by and I felt energized, like my brain really worked on a project that means something.

Frankly, the two extremes – abject numbers hell vs. good for humanity – duking it out in my psyche left me plain ol’ ambivalent.

Honestly, I’d rather just stay home and paint and read and write all day, then meet the kids at the bus stop after school. I can’t quite figure out why this lifestyle is so violently out of reach for me. Why?

Old skool

Section of a map project I'm working on. Crappy photo.

Today’s post is total old skool stylee. Home at 3:48 in the afternoon, fixin’ to leave in ten minutes to collect the ladies from school. Stayed home today because I’m sick, and now that I am employed, I get paid to be sick. I should get sick more often. Really tho, nobody likes a germ carrier polluting the already questionable air in the fluorescent cube-land where I work. I’m hacking in my own space today.

We moved into our house at the end of April 2011, and today, October 20, 2011 is the first day I’ve had all to myself in this house. It has taken six months for me to have total peace. And peaceful it has been, friends. Almost napped with two cats pinning me down, drank tea and coffee, coughed and sucked on cough drops. Contemplated the cause and cure for canker sores (OUCH), wrote a bit. Read a bit. Walked to the grocery store to get some healthy food to help me feel better, and make for my family. And here I am. Still have to unload the dishwasher, maybe throw in a load of laundry. But those are things I typically do once I’ve picked up the girls and come home after work. Those things can wait.

I could use a couple thousand more days like today. Not necessarily sick, tho. Just quiet and curious. And gettin’ paid for it.

Somehow July is almost thru


The summer of 2011 is hot. The air quality is for crap, and there is at least a fifty degree Farenheit differential betwixt my workplace and the outside lunch world. Maybe that is why I almost passed out today walking around outside midday. Every other 103 degree day has been fine. I welcomed those raunchy summer days with open palms in hopes my fingertips would regain feeling and color. But today, today something strange happened. And I’m still not quite back from it. Is it because I’m old that I can’t handle this hot? I have loved the hot weather of late — it helps bring me back close to 98.6 before I re-submerge into the wintry levels of the local government. I didn’t pass out, tho. I sat down for five or seven minutes and focused on breath and the fact that it would royally SUCK to fall over on these icky sidewalks. And that all I had to do was make it down the street and I could go sit in my little ice cube and look at a screen for a few hours to regain my strength.

Middle age meltdown to the max.

HELLO!


Geez! It’s been a while, no? Lots has been happening. Busy busy fall for 20/20. Three jobs I’ve applied for recently (if you consider within the last two months recent), two of which I’ve had some sort of interview for, refuse to tell me if I can have more interviews ahead or am no longer in the running. Nothing. Why, I ask? Why wait? Doesn’t it cost money to wait to hire someone? Don’t you know that if you hire me, I can move into a slightly bigger house in a neighborhood that has K-12 TAKEN CARE OF for my kiddles? For free?! C’mon, three random job possibilities! Especially you, you know who I’m talkin’ about. Yeah, you. County government. 35 hours/week?! I can do that! HELP A SISTER OUT!

School is interesting this year. Mimi is making the teachers work extra hard, in a good way. She isn’t taking well to the fairly useless morning assignments where she and the other four year olds have to do exercises, like drawing lines from words to images. Of course, most four year olds can’t read, so someone is reading the assignments aloud, therefore doing half the work for them. Whatever. I don’t want my brilliant child fretting over useless classwork when she’s FOUR. Who cares? Shouldn’t she be spending her time climbing trees or something? Scaling skyscrapers? Learning to fly? To make matters worse, her sister, junior executive Beenie, is an expert busywork doer. Whips through these useless assignments, is all about words and letters and spelling and reading and representational drawing. This doesn’t make Mimi’s life easier in any way. In fact, it really pisses her off. Not that Beenie should squelch her natural academic proclivities, Godforbid. I am blessed with two diverse, exceedingly different daughters. I want them separated in kindergarten. Its the only way they will both be able to excel.

What else? Working on a writing project with my sister. I’ll let you know when something large comes of it. She is remarkably easy to write with. We seem to balance one another’s visionary strengths. Both of us are driven by the need for money and the need not to do what we’ve been doing to make money. YEAH!

No painting. Mostly sound recording. Mostly job searching/applying. Mostly schlepping ladies around, supporting their engagement in physicality and brain development. It is truly amazing to watch them learn and apply what they are learning to their rich lives. I’m so glad they are here!

End of year approaches. You know. Christmas ornament assembly and creation will be exciting this year. How has another year almost completed itself? I’ll be 43 at the end of December. Probably got another forty years left in me, if my ancestors are any indication. 83 seems to be the cut-off, which makes good sense to me. Forty years. Lots of time in a way, and unbearably finite.

Woah. Let’s have the most important task for today be baking up some cinnamon rolls. The dough has been rising since yesterday afternoon. Will let you know how it comes out.

Way better in person

I love this painting. I wish I had done it. But my four year old daughter, Mimi, painted it. She has suddenly become quite prolific in the world of paintings in her new preschool class. I think it is hard for her to focus and have the physical and mental space to paint at home (I can TOTALLY relate). We don’t have a lot of room here, and her sister is quite the artist herself, so a place where she is singularly special, like school, is very important. Yet another millionth reason it is great these girls have a chance to go to school as young people. I have my generous parents to thank for this gift of school.

I could continue complaining about a lack of gainful employment, but today I’d like to address something else. I started recording a podcast yesterday. Is that weird? Think of it as an extra dimension to 20/20. Maybe unwelcome, but it’s been over two years of this written drivel–it’s time to branch out. Will let you know when I’ve edited it down to something listenable.

 

failed moon drawing

 

Started a new drawing last night. Sort of like the first one, perhaps… same idea of circles and lines. Oh the simplicity. The moon’s movement will continue into this newer drawing. I’ll post an image when I gots one… I have a half-failed piece I should photograph.. where is the danged thing (it’s here, on the right–>)?  The problem with this piece is the paper. I got this really cool gray chunky paper, thinking it would be a hearty, can take what I give it paper, but it is kind of soft and weak. No Arches cover, to be sure. I went back to the spendy, superpaper for the next piece and it’s already way better. Like butter, drawing on that paper. Woah. Worth every cent. Good thing I bought some back when I had income!