Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Great Day

Today was a very good day! I walked with a friend, worked on my book, met with my Acquisitions Editor, had a doctor's appointment and found a place to write without interruptions!

That last bit is the most important.

I set up a meeting with Stephanie, my editor (still love saying that!) at a locally owned coffee shop. This shop is ALWAYS open, has great coffee and tea, a couple of sofas lots of tables and chairs -- and free wifi access. It came to me like a lightening strike as I was getting ready for this meeting: "this coffee shop is your new workspace!" Well duh!

I won't be interrupted by phone calls, or knocks on the door. I won't have to get up and take out the dogs every hour. I won't have to choose which dog gets to sit on my lap to help me write my book.

I will purchase coffee or tea.

I will move my car however often is necessary.

I will be grateful for the quiet, anonymous space. Yea! (and I won't abuse these priviledges.)

Back to the meeting: Stephanie was quite impressed with the work I have done so far and told me that I was right on schedule. I thought I was running behind. We had a great brainstorming session and I feel like I can take on the world, one chapter at a time.

Yes, today was a very good day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Scary Friday the 13th? Happy Valentine's Day!

This Friday the 13th wasn't such a bad day -- in fact, it was great. The evening before, I had a bit of a mental/emotional melt-down and had a heart-to-heart with my beloved husband. We decided we would start Friday off with two hours of serious cleaning, well -- sorting and tossing. Cleaning comes later.

I'm a hoarder, a pack rat, collector of junk.

There, I've said it.

Our home is not so much our castle as a rubbish heap. I have a VERY hard time letting go of perfectly good clothes, magazines, useful potential art supplies. In fact I have a hard time letting go of just about everything but junk mail. But even that chokes up the already cluttered works. Junk mail is my sweetheart's bailiwick.

Over the years my messy little office/studio space has spilled into almost every room of our little house. I hate it and I've been hating myself and beating myself up inside because of it.

But I'm not lazy. I work from home and I teach at university. I have a very full schedule of teaching, meetings, volunteering, etc. I have to stop and start my projects in mid-stream. I'm writing a book, I'm working on jewelry, I'm staying up late to grade student works online. I just never got in the habit of tidying up before I go to bed, like my mom has suggested. So stuff has just piled up.

So. Today was very good. I have momentum. My husband understands me a little better (after 18 years of marriage).

This Valentine's Day I have a new, deeper love for my beloved. And I feel the tender, caring love of my sweetheart in a new and more profound way.

He loves me warts (and wrinkles and love-handles) and jewelry-finding and fabric swatches and all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Joy of Teaching

This week I am lecturing about Earth Art/Environmental Art and some of the great prehistoric sites I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I get all excited about this material because I have personal experience with it. I have walked around Castlerigg, the oldest stone circle in England (NOT Stonehenge). I have traipsed through sheep pastures to visit the Neolithic burial cairns at Kilmartin Glen. I've placed my foot in the spot where early Scottish Kings proved their worth to be crowned on Dunnad Hill Fort. I have also visited Orkey and encountered the wealth of Neolithic remains of astronomical technology and housing settlements.


Castlerigg in the Lake District of Cumbria, England

I try to share it with my students to varying degrees of success. It is hard to "get it" if you haven't actually "done it".

This section also introduces them to Andy Goldsworthy and his art. This they get -- mostly because they can relate to a guy working patiently on a fiddly project, only to see it collapse before his (and their) eyes. I also have them create works inspired by Goldsworthy. It is a real treat for me, because I never know what I will be opening up in the next email from the students.

A few years ago, I developed the visual arts aspects for a team-taught Study Abroad program which travelled to Scotland for four summers. To see students "get it", to have students take me by the arm and tug me to a specific location so that I could experience their vantage point in a newly learned experience just gives me goose-bumps. So often, I plant seeds and never see the fruits of my labor. But in an experience like those Study Abroad learning environments, the seed is planted and grows to fruition before my eyes -- not always, but most of the time.

I love planting seeds and seeing them flourish. I also love to see the lightbulb go off over someone's head. It thrills me to teach and to help students "get it". That, for me, is the joy of teaching.

If you teach, what excites you? If you learn, what helps you "get it" the best -- experience, observations, kinetics (hands on), listening to lectures? What has been your most exciting learning experience?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Be prepared

I've been making Anglican style Rosary bracelets for about four years now. I haven't taken them to a wider audience, such as an etsy shop (I have a storefront, but haven't move in), but word of mouth has been good.

This weekend, the visiting mother of a friend sought me out at a meeting to ask about a special order. Luckily, I had several bracelets in my purse, ready for such a request. However, she wanted a special cross that I didn't have in stock. After doing some research with my sources, I discovered I wouldn't be able to order the cross, so I made one.

What do you think? Have you ever had a situation where you had to 'punt' to make a sale or meet a deadline? I know a lot of us wear our pieces, but do you carry stock in your pocket/purse?