Experimenting with Acrylics

So far my painting journey has been interesting. I’m using different textures and experimenting with different colors, although I only have a few colors so far and need to buy many more. I would like to buy the Golden brand free flowing paint and see what I can do playing with that. I put it back the other day because I didn’t want to spend too much money on a hobby that I might turn out not to like. But so far I’m loving it. Pure color and texture. I want to find more tools and even more textures to work with. I love the abstraction of the images. For me they evoke moods and ideas. I am still a poet at heart and most of this blog will still be my poetry and my daily life. But now that painting is starting to become a part of my daily life I will include some of that too. Feedback is always welcomed.

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Prelude to Homeschooling

Today we had a preliminary run for homeschooling. Angelica’s curriculum for kindergarten will not arrive for another week or so. But she has this wonderful dry erase tracing book that teaches her how to write letters and numbers. She really got into it! She liked it! We worked on the letter P, the letter R, the letter q, and the letter M, as well as the letter s. That was the hardest one though and I don’t think she has mastered it. But Angelica made great progress overall and I think she really learned a lot so we’re going to keep using that book until the curriculum comes and maybe even after that. I hope that she continues to take joy in learning. And it was nice to have Craig help starting out, but sometimes I will be school in her when it’s just me alone. I hope I can do a good job.

Television

Since coming back from Virginia I have had a terrible time dealing with TV. At my parents house the TV is almost always running and usually pretty loud. My mom helped me by moving my chair out from under the TV so that I didn’t have it blaring directly behind my head. That definitely made a difference. But the constant TV is still leaving me with this uncomfortable feeling every time the TV is on at my house. I keep leaving the room to find someplace quiet. Of course this isn’t really fair to everyone else who lives here. Both my husband and my daughter like watching shows. I definitely don’t begrudge them that. I just don’t want to be in the same room as the running television. But me leaving makes them feel like they can’t watch TV, which is not what I want. It’s just overstimulating. And I can’t hear myself think so that I can write or read or create anything or even just enjoy some quiet.

I have a love-hate relationship with television. There are some shows that I really like, but even then I don’t like to watch them all the time. Overall I actually hate television. I’ve gotten better at watching movies. I went through a period of time where movies were too stimulating and I didn’t even like to go see them in the theater, but I improved. The TV has some really interesting documentaries that I like and some very artistic shows that I enjoy, but yet truthfully for me it is just a big box of noise and speed and anxiety. I secretly hate the TV. I tried to spend some time by myself when I was at my parents house. A lot of that is just that since I am bipolar and I have anxiety I need some time to myself in general. I cannot function if I am being social 24/7. But part of why I went back to the room I was staying in was just to get away from that TV. Everyone else has a right to watch as much TV as they want. I just can’t stand to listen to it.

I am diving deeper into art and writing. I still have all these great books to read, and I have begun with a book of persona poetry. And of course the book about homemaking that I have been writing about.

I got up early this morning and went for a drive. I like to do that, to just get out and put on some music I like and enjoy some space.

I am trying to get rid of my social exhaustion but so far I have not been very successful. I enjoy being back in my little nest with my little family, but I just don’t really want to talk that much. I keep to myself with my books or magazines or paints. I blog because for some reason I seem to be able to pour thoughts out on the page better than I can to another person. I have some friends that I would like to get together with but I just don’t seem to have it in me right now.

Truthfully I wish I could take a separate trip. All alone in a quiet little room with books to read and paints to use and a pen for writing. Just absolute silence except for the rare occasion I want to play some music. No TV. No interruptions. No conversation. Just me alone.

My New Studio

Today I went a little wild and I tried a small art store at the south end of town. I’ve been watching videos on abstract painting on the Coursera app, and I have really been getting interested in it. I have always loved abstract painting, but through watching these videos I have learned a lot about how to do it. I’m sure I will never be a great artist but I think I could have fun and make some interesting images if I keep trying at it for a while. So I bought textured mediums, paint, brushes, mixing pan, gesso, pallet knives, and some panels and artist trading cards to paint on. I have set up the studio in the laundry room instead of at my craft room desk. First of all my craft room desk is in a carpeted room so if I get paint on the floor, like I did at the yellow house, it probably won’t come up and we will end up owing base housing a lot of money. I really don’t want to have to pay that. But the laundry room has enough space on that big counter for me to spread supplies out and work on creating. And right next to it is a deep sink. That means I have easy access to immediately wash my paint brushes clean. And I can do so in a sink that I don’t have to worry about staining or getting any gunk on. It’s a laundry room deep sink. It is designed for dirt and paint and anything else you can think of. So it’s a perfect environment for me. I’ll be sharing the space with Parsnip, who lives in the laundry room, but so far he seems interested in what I’m doing and he nuzzles my feet.

I’m really going to try to stick with this for a while. I’m not going to give up if my first few images really suck, which they probably will. I’m just going to enjoy the process and see what I can create. And it will be fun to photograph what I create and edit it on my phone and see what I can make out of that. I think this will be a lot of fun.

Painting My Way Skinny

Today I worked at the new art studio in my laundry room. I’m now going to try to learn to do abstract painting on top of writing poetry. The more creative Outlets the better. But one thing I am secretly hoping to accomplish is to improve my chances of having a successful diet by engaging in as many creative and interesting hobbies as I can. I sort of fell out of the habit of my diet while I was with my parents. I still stayed pretty strict and I didn’t gain any weight, but I didn’t lose very much weight either even though I was there for 2 weeks. I had been making tremendous progress in two week periods. But I got out of routine and now I’m hungry again and having to learn to deal with that. But I’ve really enjoyed seeing my progress as I have gotten Slimmer and I don’t want to lose that progress. So maybe what I need something to replace food. Something to focus my mind on when food isn’t a possibility. Sometimes I write, but if you’re too preoccupied by a given subject sometimes you end up writing about it, which isn’t helpful in this case. I read, which definitely helps. But maybe I need something more. Something I can do with my hands and get involved with. It’s not why I’m starting to paint. But I am hoping it will be an added benefit.

There is a common misconception out there that fat people are depressed and miserable. It simply isn’t true. The happiest years of my life have been the fattest. However, when you reach the point where you want to lose weight it is good to have as many good things in your life as possible to distract you from eating. A loving family and a beautiful home certainly help, but they don’t distract you from putting food in your mouth. In fact you’re more likely to end up eating when you’re hanging out with your family. But having things to do can be a distraction and can add greater fulfillment. I’ve never been an emotional eater, but I probably am more likely to eat more if I am bored. I never feel bored but sometimes I feel less than stimulated than others and maybe it’s good to have some sort of outlet and some goals. Rather than focusing on what I am not doing, eating, I need to focus on something that I am doing. I think getting back on track my productivity planner once Craig goes back to work will also help with this. But I need to be strict to get back into good habits. And who knows. Maybe having a new creative outlet will improve my chances.

Introverted and Tired

The past couple of weeks have been hectic. I visited my parents for two weeks in Virginia. Some of the trip was very nice.

Travel was extremely stressful. The trip home was especially bad. I had an anxiety attack in the middle of the Dallas Airport. Luckily there was someone else there, another Christian, who helped me and kept me company and prayed for me and helped me get through the day. Our second flight had been canceled and that’s what set off my anxiety attack. Luckily the airport staff got me on the next flight out, but that was delayed because there was some sort of problem with the plane and they had to fix a part. We got home late and I was completely threadbare by the time we did, but I was just grateful to have gotten home.

Now I have returned to my quiet house facing the mountains, and I am retreating back to my quiet life of books. When I got home I had many new packages of books waiting for me. I was ordering books while I was at my parents house, and I ordered some before I even left that just hadn’t arrived before I was out the door.

I live so much inside my own head. My passion for books is only burning brighter as I get older. Ever since the day I learned to read I have been obsessed with books, but as an adult I am absolutely immersed in them. As an introvert and a bibliophile I am one of those people who just needs a lot of time to themselves to decompress and be quiet and alone. And there is nothing I like better when I am alone than to get intimate with the corporeal and spiritual realities of a good book. A book with artistic language and fascinating imagery can thrill me for hours. I’ve been enjoying some time to myself for the past couple of hours. Craig and I went on a date today, but when we got home he was really tired because he worked last night, so he went to bed and is still sleeping. Our babysitter is here, so I am free to study great books and let my mind ignite.

I know this is only my second day back but I still feel so tired. I don’t think I want to travel alone again for a long time. Next time we travel Craig will be going with us. I will wait until he can come. I am just mentally and physically exhausted. I’m in this really weird state where I’m starting to be creative again, and I’m beginning to do my tasks as a homemaker again, but I find myself feeling worn down. I want to take a rest, but my mind won’t. At this point I am not even sure what rest would look like for me. Diving into books allows me to access myself almost as fully as writing does. At the same time all the ideas and images can run me ragged. I think I need the books and the time to read and write. I am just coming down from an anxiety attack. Sometimes after I have an anxiety attack I am tired and quiet for a few days. Maybe reading and writing and homemaking will help bring me back to normal.

Homemaking Part 1

I am reading a wonderful inspirational book about homemaking titled The Life Giving Home. It really gives some great suggestions for making a house a home and making sure that the home environment you have created for your husband and children is one of warmth and relaxation and unconditional love and acceptance. There is so much from this book that I want to write about. Mostly good stuff. But I’m going to start out with a post about some aspects of the book I cannot relate to.

The book emphasizes making your home warm and hospitable for everyone who comes to stay or comes to visit. Almost no one comes to stay with us and we almost never have visitors. I am an introvert, but beyond that my husband is downright antisocial. When I want to have visitors over and do something social and welcome people in, he does not want to. So if I’m creating a good home environment for my family it will realistically be one that does not have the doors open to people who are outsiders. Pleasing my husband must come first and he does not want our home to be the center of any entertaining, at least not any entertaining that he has to be a part of.

I would like to have friends over now and then and I can when my husband is not home. But when he is home or if it is a couples activity it simply doesn’t work. But my husband accepts me with all my quirks, and I need to accept him as well. The most important thing is that I create a home that is beneficial for my husband and my daughter. My husband benefits most from having a place to retreat from the world and social interaction, and so I want to create a home filled with things that he loves to do and things that he likes to look at in order to create an environment of peace for him.

Someday, if I have the pleasure of becoming part of a creative community, I would like to be able to welcome other creatives in the my home and discuss books and art. I would like to provide finger foods and nice little drinks, and make my rather extensive library available to anyone who is interested. But I don’t know if I will ever be part of such community. It is so hard to meet people. And if I ever am, for the most part it would probably be best if I attended gatherings at other peoples’ houses unless my husband gave me the okay to hold some get-togethers at our house. Making my husband feel at ease in his house, making it a place that he enjoys coming home to and relaxing in, is priority number one. Essentially, making it a home for him is vital. So that is one type of advice in this book that I personally would have to say has to be ignored for some of us. Whatever you are doing to try to make a home you have to base it upon the needs of your individual family, and my husband needs a retreat from the world. He likes to come home to his loving family, and generally speaking, to no one else.

The other thing that strikes me is all the fancy Traditions that the writers of the book, a mother and daughter team, talk about as being important. Of course they suggest developing your own traditions but the amount of work and creativity and thought that goes into some of these things that they do is astounding. Some of them are easy things that I already do, like saying to read your children books. I already read my daughter books. But some of them are elaborate Valentine’s Day projects and elaborate meals and tons of decorating for the holidays. I like to decorate for the holidays a little bit. I do enjoy the holidays. But I have poor organizational skills and I don’t like to overload my house with supplies for any given holiday because then I have to cope with the anxiety of taking it all down and finding a place for it. As for fancy meals, we are people who order pizzas. I’m a horrible cook and my husband, who actually likes cooking, still prefers take out or eating out most of the time. I want my daughter to have fine memories of our meals together so I need to find a way to make them sweet and intimate without necessarily being Gourmet. I am thinking that we should make a habit of praying before meals when we eat out in public. I know about that verse that says not to pray in public like the Hypocrites but to keep your prayers private, but I don’t think that it applies to this as long as we’re praying quietly at our own table. And she and I cuddle a lot when we go out to lunch or dinner so we spend some good time together. When we eat at home I think it would be good to start eating at our lovely little dining room table more often. I want Angelica to have beautiful memories of family meals around that table.

I need to get more creative with the stuff that we do together, Angelica and I. But I am just not what you would call a Pinteresting person. Hand me a pile of popsicle sticks, construction paper, doilies, and watercolor paints and I’m just going to look at you with a confused expression in my eyes. So much of what these women suggest doing is very creative. And I consider myself a creative person. I am a poet. I write poetry all the time. And periodically I practice art. Soon I will be taking up abstract painting. But what I guess it comes down to is not that I’m not creative, but that I do not think like a child. I am not childlike at all. It’s just not in my nature. So I don’t look at kids craft supplies and think we could make this fun activity that would last all month long. I am horrible at coming up with stuff like that and to be honest I don’t really enjoy it. When Angelica gets old enough to tell me that she has developed particular interests of her own, I’m going to try to share in those interests with her so that we can bond. But as long as it’s all on me to come up with things I don’t think it’s going to happen. Plus I’m not sure how good the memories will be if we’re doing something that I actively dislike. I want to build fond memories for my daughter, but I also want to remember having a good time with her and if I have to spend hours preparing something I barely know how to prepare and making it awful at that, I feel like the memories will be marred. I feel like on some level she will know that I did not enjoy it and that I did not want to do it. Kids are perceptive that way. I’m hoping to involve her in things that I like to do, like painting and scrapbooking. I am thinking of starting a stamp collection and maybe she would want to do that. And of course like I said if there was something particular that she wants to I would be glad to do it with her. So if she decides that she wants to take up dance or tennis or softball, I will participate as much or as little as she wants. I will be at every recital and game. But I just don’t have it in me to come up with kids’ projects.

I do want to make sure though that Angelica is enjoying her childhood. I want to make sure this home is a place of joy for her as well. She has a lovely room with lots of toys and parents who adore her. Are there any memories I could make with her with my skill sets that might actually be special to her and that she would get something out of? That’s what I have to figure out and give some thought to as I go through this book. I will never be that crafty cutesy mom. I admire women who are that way but it just isn’t me. I have to design a home life where my family will grow and thrive, but I need to find a way to do it within the scope of who I am. I don’t know how to be anyone else. And it needs to be a restful Haven for everyone in the family, including me.

Tangled

My hair is simple.
She loves tangles,
Loves entwining with me.

The canoes on the river
Are justified by the running train
Of water beneath them.

What combination of lips and skin
Can we design?
Her hands flare me with sweet sickness.
Her teeth tattoo me
With impatience.

On the river banks
The woods grow up.

Seek my mind,
Steep it in honey.
Warm my thighs.

In the river,
The dead swim among the rocks.
Her tongue on my breasts
Flicks me on like a light.
Her hand on my belly captures my breath.

Among the reeds,
A rusting locket with one picture.