Wednesday, September 30, 2009

it's sooo close!

So the day after I posted about craving fall, I could *feel* it. It's almost there. It felt so good to curl up in my blanket when I got into bed, and while I was walking from my car to class, I thought I might be a little more comfortable with a sweatshirt on. I got home from work early, and so Adam and I went for a walk through the neighborhood with the Big Dog. I have a hard time not being 5 years old when I walk through my neighborhood. Bear in mind, this is the neighborhood I WAS 5 years old in - I lived there from age 0-18, lived in Wisconsin for 6 months, then came back. Then I lived in Signal Hill/Seal Beach/Long Beach for about 1 year while I was 21/22, then moved back there, went to Alaska for 4 months when I was 23, came back there for a few months, then Adam and I moved to Huntington Beach where we lived for about a year, and now we are back in Los Alamitos, one street over from my parent's house, where I grew up.

It is fantastic, let me tell you. I skip through the streets, I know where the cracks are, I know which houses I like to walk by and which I don't (there is a gray house on our street where the 'witch' lives and a house with a weird ornate gated front patio that I always pictured Jayne Mansfield's cult from Witch Baby to live in and so I never walked by since I didn't want to be snatched by sugar-coma'd crazies), I used to pretend that the very clean, square blue house was the house that Jane went to in Half Magic when she stopped being a part of their family... I've actually been inside many of the houses in that tract - when I was little all of my friends were from there. I'd even been inside the house we're living in before - I knew the landlords when I was younger. There has been a lot of remodeling in the neighborhood - the houses are definitely getting bigger, and there are two boats in two driveways, and yes, some of the sidewalk cracks have been fixed. But for the most part it's the same. I can remember walking the same streets and feeling driven to desperation with the need to get OUT, thinking that I lived somewhere like Edward Scissorhands, and how could I keep surviving somewhere like that? Now I am back, and I love it. One more piece of evidence that I am no longer 14 years old.

Annnnyways, Adam and I took Rommel and went for a walk, and I skipped and grinned and Adam smiled to see me goofy and we talked to the people in their front yards and smelled the smells and pointed out features of houses that we liked and then I got back and went to class and then went to Sprouts (my new favorite grocery store), and then came home and cooked, a lot!

I made stir fry and soup, so of course I am now craving enchiladas. I've been insanely hungry today.

painting class again

This is the still life that I've set up for my painting class, with my in progress painting next to it! Obviously there are differences. Let's start with that center brown needing to be darker, and the bottom blue needing to be grayer, and the right purple needing more magenta, and you know, for me to work on all of it. But the first step in these paintings is just to cover the canvas with paint, and then make "a series of corrections," which, as Paul says, is really all painting is.

If I have time, I'm going to do a second one, and back up a lot so that the whole set up is smaller on the canvas. I am torn between just starting over already, actually. We shall see. But anyways, it's fun seeing the two side by side. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

time for fall to get here for real!

I've been reading things my friends have been writing all over the US about how it feels like fall, autumn is finally here, etc. I am suffering seasonal jealousy! The mornings are foggier and cooler, and it's not hot at night now, but that's about it. It's still pretty darn warm during the day. I am knitting scarves and hats like crazy, hoping to inspire the weather to change for me!!!

When the weather changes, I go into apple-mode, for lack of a better phrase. I want to go out in gloves and sweaters and pick apples, and then I want to bake things with apples, and have everything smell like apples and cinnamon. It gets tied into other things too - I want to quilt, and crochet blankets, and write in a handbound journal, and make my own gifts, and decorate and nest, nest, nest.

But there's something phony about that feeling when I can go outside in flipflops and it's appropriate footwear.

During the fall, I want to be midwestern. Or from Idylwild. Either one. :)

I want to sit inside while it's cold outside, plan my spring garden, knit warm things for people I love, bake bread, and make my home as warm as possible.

This weekend was fantastic. I can't for the life of me remember what I did on Saturday, but Sunday we had friends over that we hadn't seen for about 3 years. Football started at 10am, so I woke up early and did some housework, and then they came bearing breakfast burritos. We watched the game - well, they watched the game, I crocheted. I've been crocheting baby sweaters like crazy. Found a free pattern on ravelry that takes me about 2 hours from start to finish, and I love it. I figure I can start stockpiling now, so when I am ready to have kids, they'll have a whole wardrobe! So I crocheted while Adam, Chris, David, Joe and Tina watched the game. J and T left, and Steve came over around lunch time. I heated up the pea soup I'd made from scratch, and made grilled cheese sandwiches for everybody. I had Top Chef flashes as I plated more than 1 meal. It made me giggle the whole time. I love feeding people. I played some bejeweled, then got out the box of bisque I have had in the closet for a YEAR. I dug out an underglaze pencil and went to town on my "Possible Life Series" cups which I'd posted on here about a year ago. We went and got food from Katella Deli at some point, played Beatles Rock Band in between the football games, I gave Juno a bath and spent some quality time playing with my puppy, I got out some fabric and started sewing a skirt, and then watched Dexter, Entourage, and Californication with the guys.

Good, good, good, good, good, good day.

I am living off of the glow from that day, hoping it carries me through the whole work week. Yesterday was a full day of work, meetings, presentations, and an A2A event. I got home around 11pm, and worked on my painting assignment for a little while, then fell asleep watching Adventureland with Adam. This morning we woke up early enough for a little quality time, and here I am at work again. I am taking a brief break from closing spreadsheets, refunding client's money, and putting together a press packet for the Walk for Independence. Tonight I have painting class - I am unclear about what we were supposed to have DONE for the assignment, and what we're going to be working on in class, so that makes me a little nervous, but oh well.

The objects I've picked out so far are a bunch of different ceramics, different skeins of yarn, and a cowboy hat. I am having hard time with the first painting, becuase he doesn't want us to create depth, and I HATE forcing myself not to make the image more interesting. But I bought big canvas board yesterday, and I'm really excited to do something larger than 8 x 11!!!

Tomorrow I work, and then my dad and I have a date to do Couch to 5k. Thursday I work and have painting, and Friday I work and then I'm going down to UCI to have dinner/exercise/tv show watching with Roxana.

And then it's the weekend. Wonderful, wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

painting class is getting deeper ;)

I've been taking a Fundamentals of Painting class for about 1 month now. It's twice a week, for 3 hours each week. I've really been enjoying it. We started with drawing - charcoal on paper, using objects (mostly spheres and cylinders) that had been spraypainted white. After doing that once, we moved on to painting them - but again, with just white and black paint and white objects. We did that for a while, adding objects with increased complexity and dimension, and then did the same thing but in raw sienna. We added fabric, which increased the difficulty by a LOT. Last week we started with COLOR! Instructor (Paul) would set up two still life settings - one with oranges and blues, and one with greens and reds. Adding color was like jumping off of a building into a whole new swimming pool. Oh MAN do I love color. The blue/orange combo is especially pleasing to me.

For the most part our paintings have been 20-40 minutes in length. He purposefully stops us from going further with them. He says the hardest part of painting is starting a painting, so he wants to get us over that. Also, he wants to keep us wanting to do more, and it is frustrating when he tells us to stop, switch still lives, and start again. Last night he let us work on one painting for the full time and it was a very different experience. We really got to dive in to it more than we had before.

Tomorrow we are not painting, but going to a gallery opening in hollywood. This is the kind of assignment that makes me grumble and not want to go, but I know that once I get there I'll be glad I went. It'll be really good for most of the kids (yes, I say KIDS, because they're BABIES) to get exposure to any sort of painting at all that isn't as famous as the Mona Lisa.

Tuesday we are to - well, here is the assignment:

Consumer Goods Still Life: Establishing Visual Rhythym and a Limited Sense of Depth

Most of us regularly buy various consumer products. These products might be staples such as milk, soap, socks, and light bulbs. Or they might be products we choose to indulge in more than is strictly necessary, such as gourmet chocolates, t-shirts, cd's, hats. For this exercise, make a list of consumer goods which hold a special fascination with you - items you regularly buy, or want to buy as well as objects you simply enjoy looking at.

After you have finished the list, circle two products which hold an especially strong attraction for you. For each, write a paragraph or two exploring what that product means to you adn why you like to buy examples. Does teh item appeal to you visually, emotionally, intellectually, or sensually, or in some combination of these and other ways? What do you think your interest in the product says about you?

Make two paintings featuring multiple examples of one type of consumer product, like cakes in Wayne Thiebaud's paintings. The product may be one you wrote about in teh first part of the project. Both paintings can be made on gessoed paper or canvas panels, approximately 20 x 15. Use a large or medium flat brush to establish the general shapes first. Work from the general to the specific.

Painting 1 (exploring rhythym): Depict objects in plane parallel to the picture plane. Start by placing objects on a shelf or shelves, or attaching the objects to a wall. As you arrange the objects prior to painting them, experiement with varioius ways of spacing and orienting them in order to enhance a sense of visual rhythym. Try movin gthe objects into highly ordered regular arrangements as well as relatively informal and irregular arrangements. Try arranging the objects based on patterns of darks and lights, or by size and shape. Make a series of thumbnail sketches, then, from these choices, paint the composition that most effectively establishes a sense of visual rhythym.

Painting 2 (a first look at creating depth): Arrange and then depic the objects so that they appear to recede back from the picture plane. Portray depth in two ways. First, where they are aligned, opague objects in front will shield the view of ojects deeper in space. And, secondly, the cotnrast of values will be reduced in teh distance. (The reduction on contrast means that darks appear less dark while lights appear less light)

my objects

yarn, yarn, yarn, yarn
new journals, journals and notebooks and ledgers in general
certain ceramisc
granny squares
wooden handles on those bags
kitchen appliances - like salad spinners,
lots and lots of vessels
some shoes
anything orange
purple eyeshadow
little bottles of wine/champagne
potted herbs
certain flowers at the grocery store
thin asparagus
pens, crayons, markers, sharpies, etc.
big chunky wooden earrings

we shall see, we shall see. I will have to go on a foraging trip through my house to find these. I know I like series and groups of things - I like a whole wall full of yarn, a whole shelf full of the same style of books, a whole cupboard full of spice jars, etc. I would love to combine the consumer aspect of this assignment with the visual.... looking forward to a painting assignment that goes beyond what you see in front of you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


today's plan:
work til 4:30
go to Painting class 6-9
stop at gym on way home, do just a mere 1/2 hour of treadmill, walk, run, whatever combo, just do it (9:15-10pm)
then at home, cook pasta and spaghetti sauce with garden tomato gunk
make tofu shirataki for me, pack up the other stuff for adam
freeze the rest of the meat(10-11ish)

go to sleep!

Tomorrow's plan (Wednesday)

work - walk on lunch break
dentist appt. at 4
if I feel okay, do laundry, dishes, plant cilantro
if I don't, it's okay. Put together lunches and play bejewelled and knit.

walk on lunch
gym after painting
make lunches

nothing terribly exciting at th emoment. Just need to get back into working out.

money and budgeting

For 7 months now (since March) I have been tracking my expenditures obsessively. I have a system - I keep receipts for about a week, then sit down with my bank acct. webpage open, and my ledger in front of me, and I write down the ammounts and the balances. Then, I open up my handy spreadsheet that I got from Sparkpeople, and I then break down each receipt into categories. For example, I might spend $50.00 at Vons, but I write down if I spent it on snacks, drinks, fresh fruit, meat, spices, etc. I do this for a whole month, and then open up spreadsheet page #2, copy and paste the month's line items, and then sort by category. I then make it pretty so I can go down the list and see exactly how much I spent on what category. Then I open spreadsheet page #3, which is Months-Side-by-Side. This is so I can see trends over the months in my spending, by categories. I have a column where I find out the averages, and that's what I base my budget on. For example, if I end up spending 200 during December for gifts, but I don't spend any the rest of the time, then I am trying to spread out that 200 over a year, so I fit the average in my monthly budget.

My first few months it was a success for me to a) just track everything. It was not an easy habit to get into. After tracking, I was able to see that I was spending way more money than I wanted to on a few clear categories - eating out, for example. I think that first month I tracked I spent nealy $175.00 on eating out. The next month it was much easier to just be conscious of that, and I cut it down to about $70.00. Now I have a $30.00 limit for eating out each month,and I can usually stick inside of that.

This month I am now concerned with saving money - and that I can't seem to do that. So I have taken every one of my averaged categories, and made a whole new page where I figured out my ideal spending budget for each thing, I put that at the top of a chart, and as I spend, I can subtract to find out how much less I have for the month. Kind of the same idea as when I used to budget by putting actual cash in envelopes - that way if I ran out of one, I had to literally borrow from another. I was a very visual person. In any case, so now I have my list! I just have to stick with it. And hope that no emergency happens, because I don't really have an emergency contingency plan yet. Ack.

So my categories and budgeted amount per month are
Art Supplies: 15.00
Clothes: 40.00
Dinner Out: 20.00
Fitness: 5.00
For Adam: 25.00
Groceries: 300.00
Household: 60.00
Hygeine: 12.00
Lunch out: 30.00
Medical: 50.00
Pets: 40.00
Recreation: 30.00
Rent: 733.00
Savings: 300.00
Student Loan: 53.00
Vehicle: 290.00
Garden: 10.00
Gifts: 20.00
School: 40.00

I would so love to have a separate bank account for each category. But I suppose I'll just have to be smart enough to do it all on paper and keep track of it. This month I am doing pretty well - I blew 30 dollars extra on clothes at the beggining of the month, so I've had to borrow from some other categories, and I have to pay off my root canal - which I am able to do just a little at a time.

My other project is to sell things I make, of course. It was so much fun to do that at the Good Vibrations Conference, but now I need another publicity boost. ;)

Anyways, if you have a different way of budgeting, let me know. I am always trying to make my system better.

I'm just so very tired of being broke. I feel anxious without savings. I like having a plan.

Friday, September 18, 2009

beautiful useables and my family


My entire family was at the conference in San Diego - my dad was very excited about helping me sell my handmade items at the family fair. He was also very obsessed with those picture frames...

I really loved selling my pieces at the GV conference because a) I love unschoolers, b) I loved how excited the kids got over fuzzy things, and c) I loved how interested they were in HOW I made them.

It was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

projects projects projects!

I started more of the coin purses - I do things in stages, so first I crocheted about 8 supersized rectangles, and then felted them all, and then last night spent some time needle felting. I am going to need more wool yarn soon. I am running out. Used up all of the brilliant green and purple, have no more black... it's pretty much down to baby blue now. Time for some yarn shopping.

Went to Stuart's for a director's meeting of a new venture, which I will post about more later, I believe. We will be starting 2 LLC's - Adventures to Grow, and Adventures to Go - the Grow one aimed at youth, the Go one aimed at adults. I am very excited about this. Stuart did a good job getting his "dream team" assembled, and this could be really good. If nothing else, we had David, Salvador, Adam, Stuart and I in the same place at the same time since we graduated 2 years ago. I was grinning the biggest grin the whole time.

Have some sort of virus taking over my face. Skin hurts.

Thinking that I should help my little sister move to UCI at some point. She's going to be experiencing what was one of the coolest things in MY life, and she gets to do it even more hardcore (yay campus housing) and I have been sort of ignoring it.

Have had nothing but golden days since Adam and I had our official Golden Day. I am so pleased with us. It's incredibly easy to be so unabashadly in love.

In painting class we started using color last night. It was wonderful. Tonight we do more. I enjoy those 6 hours a week a whole lot.

Need to cook and clean today/tomorrow. The kitchen is disgusting. I tried stewing a bunch of my garden tomatoes and so there is tomatoe blood and guts all over. I need to grocery shop to cook lunches and in order to cook I need to do dishes... I just need a full day of chores to make my brain feel relaxed in my house again. I'm starting to accrue all those little piles of "I'll put them away later" and I hate that.

So this is me, right now. Lots of projects, not as much time. Feeling physically not to hot, but mentally good. Stuart's project was necessary for me. I really needed to feel excited about something new.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are you sasha?

Home from the Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference in San Diego - actually, got home about 10pm last night, and am up and at work on this MondayMondayMonday. Eating 0 pt. Barley and veggie soup from a paper cup, because I spent some quality time with the boyfriend last night instead of preparing for the week.

The conference was fantastic, I have to say. It was incredibly pleasant - with enough structure that there was always something to do, but tons of time where I felt like I could just sit and hang out. I worked on knitting, I sold a lot of my pieces (every one of my coin purses got sold - I have to make more!) and laugh and laugh and laugh.

I went to one of Sandra's talks, one of my mom's, the contradancing funshop and... that's pretty much it. I went to bed early on Saturday so that I could get up and speak coherently on Sunday morning, and I was fairly pleased with the result of my talk. I think I got across all the big points I wanted to make. Next time I am getting recorded, however, I need to remember to speak the questions into the mic before I answer. Beginner's mistake. Whoops.

Some of the highlights for me included hanging out with Kirby and Marty til 4am on Friday night, hanging out with my dad at lunch, during the USC game, and during my mom's talk, the Sasha dance, talking about the things I made to the people I sold them to, meeting an unschooling mom who offered me land in Ecuador, and meeting Andy - my new favorite 6 year old.

As always, I wish unschooling conferences never had to end. But I really, truly missed Adam by Sunday night. If he had only been able to be there, I would have been content to stay forever and ever. When I got home, he was waiting for me and we sat on the couch and had a great conversation about homeschooling our kids and his weekend and my weekend and - it was fantastic.

I want to go to the irvine fine arts center on Saturday to do some ceramics. I'd also like to start some more coin purses. I also have about 3 hats I am in the middle of knitting. I think I am not going to take a lunch today and leave half an hour early so I can get home early. Work seems like a tiresome interruption after this weekend. I'm a little frustrated with my day-to-day right now.