Monday, February 17, 2020

ArtWalk project

I’m back from my trip and SOOO glad it’s Presidents’ Day; of course the actual president is a human venereal disease, but apparently all my clients observe the day off. (The swim meet was good—nothing too exciting from the kid but major thrilling team win!—and my mom and I had fun seeing Mik.)

I am participating in a little art contest thing that one of the local galleries does every year. For $10 you buy a small canvas from them, turn it into art, and then they display it at an event called ArtWalk, where bunches of people gawk at it, vote on their favorite, and have the chance to purchase it. I am 100 percent going to try to sell mine, because why not? I know from personal experience anything priced under $40 at ArtWalk hits the sweet spot of supporting local artists + easy affordability.

I thought some sort of Montana landscape would be my best bet to sell, and I’ve been playing with a new set of black pens I got for Christmas (I think “messy black outlines to make everything more whimsical” is my aesthetic). The picture below is a photo I took, run through some filters and messed around with in Illustrator. I think I’m going to make a color print of this and then try to paint something in this vein:

You can’t see it too well on this, but that sandstone formation at lower right is a distinctive landmark that places this in Billings.

We can all have a good laugh, maybe, at what I actually do paint, but I feel like clouds are kind of hard to mess up too much, and I anticipate that putting black outlines on them will be MAGICAL.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Not entirely unrelated to gratitude

I’ve had a bit more work than usual these past few days because I’m gearing up to go on a little trip to see Mik swim at his big college meet of the season. That has led to rebellion about work, which has led me to procrastinate, which has led me to pay attention to what I do when I’m procrastinating:

  1. I made an hourlong Spotify playlist for my favorite yoga instructor to use in her classes, and started a second one with some of the leftover songs (spent HOURS on this).
  2. I started writing a poem about my dad.
  3. I started blogging again a little.
  4. I thought incessantly about painting, and what I want to work on next, and took some pictures and played with digital images that could be future paintings. (I did not actually paint, though.)
  5. I researched yoga and yoga-like moves that can be used as a warm-up for meditation, because I’ve been fantasizing about developing a series of 10-minute meditation warm-up sessions.

Oh, and I spent a lot of time on social media, but setting that aside for now, because although I deeply love that short-form writing you get to do there, most of it is just unhealthy addiction, as we all know.

Have you heard that thing where they say if you’re looking for what your calling in life is, think about the things you were doing for fun when you were 10? For me, they were pretty much exactly the same as that list above. Obviously “blogging” and “Spotify” did not exist.

But it seems to me that I really want and need to spend more time on creative projects, and in particular I want to write more (and not the soul-killing dreck I get paid to write, unfortunately). Gonna try to make it happen, even if I come home to another huge pile of work in a week or so.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Time will tell

I’m being pretty good about getting my meditations in, although I dropped the time down to 25 minutes per session in order to make that happen. Possibly this indicates that I am no longer following the instructions in my path-to-enlightenment book and instead just meditating to try to be a better person—just like I said I wasn’t doing—or possibly it means I AM on the path to enlightenment but am still at Stage One (Establish a Consistent Practice). Time will tell, but I’ve definitely decided that I’m not going to go for the gold in terms of time sitting there if it means getting frustrated and giving up entirely.

Also, I’ve started reading a book about gratitude (The Gratitude Diaries, seems OK so far), so don’t be too surprised if this blog turns into some sort of gratitude journal next. Not sure that is any more interesting of a blog topic than a long list of days of the week and how long I meditated, but maybe it will inspire me to write again.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Transitions

Just checking in to report that I am alive—but only barely, because I’ve gone back to eating keto, and there is a Transition Period after your body has used up its very last carb, during which you feel like the human embodiment of the sound of someone trying to suck the last drops of soda through a straw. It is January, so I’ve also been heroically doing my meditation and yoga, taking winter walks, and getting back to work.

There is a transition period on that last front, too—meaning that any urgent work gets done and all longer-deadline projects get patted on the head and set aside for another day, maybe, if I ever pull myself together.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Cry for help

I just reread my last post, and it’s safe to say that, generally, I overreacted to it being December. AS USUAL. It’s an annual cry for help, honestly. It’s the month when my brain says: “Even though you may not think you’re living by a restrictive set of rules, you actually have been, and those are canceled. There will be no meditating at all, let alone for 45 minutes; it’s a perfect time to binge all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; you’re going to be sleeping for 11 to 12 hours a night; you’re going to be doing the bare minimum of work that keeps you from getting fired; and, here, have some more chips.”

I don’t have a New Year’s resolution, but I did start a 30-day at-home yoga thing that I do every January, and as part of that I set an intention to be the best version of myself. This is of course much easier now that December is over.

In fact, here’s a picture of me and M.H. in January: We wanted to take a walk and also needed to go to the grocery store, so we bundled up, grabbed a backpack, and walked the nearly two miles to Albertsons, where we bought $8 worth of loose produce, walked home, and made soup out of it.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Over it

Thursday: 35 minutes sitting
Friday: nothing to speak of
Saturday: 25 minutes sitting
Sunday: 25 minutes sitting
Monday: 35 minutes sitting
Tuesday: 35 minutes sitting

In a fit of “I can’t believe this is our country” I started listening again to a socialist podcast that I had been letting my phone collect episodes of for about a year now. (Actually, maybe it was the low-memory notification that prompted me to start listening again.) The episode I just heard featured a woman being interviewed about her proposal to require companies to offer their employees one paid sabbatical year out of every seven worked, and what an infusion of creative energy and sanity that might bring to the world in exchange for a slight reduction in corporate profiteering.

I thought, “Is that my problem? Not that I haven’t taken enough days off in my career, but that I haven’t taken enough years off?” Because I have a generally interesting, well-paying, fulfilling thing going here, and I AM SO OVER IT. Of course I also don’t have an employer, so even if a socialist utopia suddenly broke out, I personally would have a really difficult time arranging an entire year off. Maybe, though, in 2020, I should figure out how to do two weeks or something. Or maybe I’m just overreacting to it being December, still.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Busy-mind month

Saturday: 35 minutes sitting
Sunday: 25 minutes sitting
Monday: 25 minutes sitting
Tuesday: 35 minutes sitting
Wednesday: 25 minutes sitting

I put a “bail-out gong” on my meditation timer so that if things were going badly at 25 minutes, I could, well, bail out. Things have been going kind of badly lately! I blame it on December, a month during which I always seem to fall apart in some way, and on Twitter, a social platform whose only apparent purpose is to make me angry at everyone and everything.

I have been taking Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays off of Twitter for a little while, NOT in the sense of imposing a strict new rule or a New Life Plan but just as sort of a “every other day seems like a good time for a mental-health break.” That is helpful, but I don’t quite know what to do about the December problem. It’s just a distracting time, even when you’re a holiday minimalist like me. All I ever want to do is lie around—it seems like everyone should get one month a year to do that, and why not this one?—but I still have to work and feed myself and think about what to get people for Christmas and stuff.