Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Goldsworthy On Snowballs



Since I don't seem in the mood to create art often lately and since being a nanny daily involves nap-time, I checked out three awesome art books from the library recently filled with glorious photos. One that has my attention now is by Andy Goldsworthy and is about his artwork with snowballs over the years. One thing I love about Goldsworthy is he seems to see art as a science, an exploration of where a medium will take him, what hidden meaning it holds, what secret beauty is stored in it. Although I know this is no new concept, think of Monet's Haystacks for example, because his art is so fleeting and his photography of it such an integral part of the art, it is easier to see the process he is creating. He doesn't find his work precious; it apears he loves to see how the environment as part of the installation interacts and effects the whole and considers that interaction part of the art itself.

A quote from the book:
Although the snowballs will all be in very public locations, they have not been made for people. They are about people. This goes beyond just wanting to see the public's reactions to them. I am interested in the dialog between two time flows. A snowball melting amongst the river of people that runs through a city...the ebb and flow as people arrive for work, have lunch, then leave to go home in the evening. Set against all this activity, the snowballs may appear almost permanent as they very slowly disappear. They will become markers to the passing of time - slow and deliberate like the hour hand of a clock - appearing hardly to move.


Fascinating man.

No Worries!

Recently I've received a spate of emails about my status on facebook and tallyscrapper.com. The majority of them are in the line of being concerned because the writer is not "my friend" on one or both of these sites, and appear worried that we've had a falling out. As a way of reassurance and clarification I wanted to explain myself a bit. While a member of tallyscrapper.com I "met" and had an online relationship with many, many people. I developed close, daily relationships with a few, and the rest were a great bunch of people that I got to know a little, but with whom neither I nor they had time to develop things into anything further.

Over the last several months since I decided to step down my involvement with the internet in general and tallyscrapper.com in specific, I have greatly reduced my contacts on facebook. Why? Not because I am mad at any of those people, not because I don't care about them, but in fact because I did care...too much. I found that when I stopped visiting tally daily for the reasons I stated on tally, I was still embroiled in the lives of over 100 people that I didn't really have a relationship with. I worried about the problems they posted, I tried to comment, etc. Basically it only took me a couple of weeks to realize that unless I also cut my facebook list down to the people that I already had a steady, daily ongoing relationship with, I'd either have to stop reading facebook too, or I'd be in the same time crunch boat.

I realize from the outside that it seems cold to "unfriend" casual acquaintances from facebook, and I've explained myself to a handful of those 100 that noticed and were cool enough to confront me on why. Please know this: if I removed you from my friend list on facebook, you would know if it was because we had a falling out. When and if I have a problem with someone, I hit it head on, talk to them directly one on one and don't leave that conversation until there has been an impasse reached. Haven't had a conversation like that with me? Well then know that I think you are a great person, I hope all the best for you, but I had to be firm with myself and cut back on the number of people I was "following" in order to keep my life manageable.

As for my status on Tallyscrapper.com, I stated several months ago that I didn't know if I would be able to keep up there, and after revisiting two or three times, decided a few weeks ago to "close down" my status there so as not to lead anyone on about my involvement. Truth is I'm not there anymore, so I deleted all my contacts to make that clearer if anyone happen to look me up there. As I've stated before, my time at tally was amazing, and the inspiration I gained there was phenomenal. There was so many high quality people it was nearly a miracle, and hit my life just when I needed a place to call my scrapbook home. I've never seen any place like it, and I enjoyed it immensely. Yes, a couple of weeks ago as part of a larger post on those "unspeakable" things in our lives, I commented that I was disappointed in a few people that I met on that site. Yes, they do know who they are and why. But that has nothing to do with facebook or my status on tally. I'm in a new season of my life now, and it appears so is tallyscrapper.com (last time I checked there was no new owner and the site certificate runs out at the end of July. If you are a fan, and I certainly don't blame you if you are, it was a cool place, check in there for further updates.) So yes, you can't see my layouts there anymore and I'm not checking in there.

I hope this post helps clarify for anyone who I may have inadvertently hurt through my actions. I wish all those wonderful people I have met over the years the best in their lives, and if they have time to check in, I'll still be updating this blog with tidbits from my life.

So, I'd love to hear from my readers, what kinds of things do you do to keep your life manageable?

Friday, July 24, 2009

He's trying to kill me!



Not really. But here is a funny story. On Monday Scott, Andrew and I went kayaking on Hyland Lake. We had a blast and found a new fun family activity. While on the island that is in the middle of the lake, the men explored around for a good 20 minutes, while I took a brief break for some photos and headed back out in my kayak.
When we met back on the beach, Scott had brought me a present. He had collected four kinds of berries which the island was covered in. I looked at each one, named two of them, pondered the other two and then set them on my kayak to take a photo. Eventually out in the middle of the lake I through them overboard.

Tuesday evening, my eye started to swell and by Thursday morning I had familiar pustuals primarily on my left side. I seemed to have contracted poision ivy, but I just hadn't been anywhere I could have gotten it. I thought about the island, but I had stayed on the beach and didn't touch any plants while I was out of my kayak. Very strange. Various friends posited that it was probably mange/scabies delivered from the dog I had helped rescue this weekend. Andrew begin to have symptoms on Wednesday (but of course didn't tell us right away!)

This morning, Scott was praying before he got out of bed and God told him, Blister berry. He thought that was odd, but got up and googled it. Did you know you can get a blister on your finger from using a Blackberry device? He knew that wasn't it and was about to give up. Since I had been so sure it was poison ivy, he looked up poison ivy berries on google and BLAM! up pops the close up photo above with the green pumpkin like berries. One of the two we could not identify in his collection. My, my, my did I have a sad husband when I woke up this morning.

I had a good laugh and found that I was mainly relieved, because I know how to treat that, and I don't need a doctor's intervention.

Plus, I was really tired of that puppy being the blame for everything!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Now THAT looks like a fun wedding!





This just makes me happy!
I dare you to watch it and withhold a smile!

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Crush



Today, after a year of talking casually about it, Scott, Andrew and I rented kayaks and tooled around our local Lake Hyland for an hour. Within half an hour of leaving the beach I said, "This is what I want for Christmas/my birthday gift!" Kayaking "on top" is easy to learn, fun and a good upper body workout. Hyland Lake is a decent sized lake with a nice island to visit, some great bird watching and beautiful trees surrounding it. Scott and Andrew went out on a tandem kayak and I went out on a single. After the boys spent some time at the island (I left after a brief photo shoot to get more time on the lake) we swapped to Andrew and I together and Scott alone. I came home and immediately planned my next several outings!

Wanna join me? At $8 an hour is a great deal!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dining In

Scott and recently pulled on our big boy/girl pants and set a budget and started sticking to it. Yes, I know, mid 40's is a little late to grow up, but isn't it encouraging that even crazies like us do eventually? Anyway, our grocery budget was a source of concern, because it was bigger than average, but still a bit tight for us. Why? Well, we generally buy only fresh foods, especially alot of fresh meats, fruits and veggies and those "real foods" are expensive! Also, I am a solid veggie and pasta lover and Scott is a solid, eggs, meat and meat kinda guy, so we really eat different things.

Enter ALDI. We stumbled across Aldi by accident really; our friend Mel was called to ask about a local produce warehouse in her neighborhood when we were out shopping one day and she mentioned ALDI as a good way to save more on groceries. We had heard of it of course, understood it to be cash only and since we never used to operate on a cash basis, had never gone.

Now we are fully cash only and so we checked it out, and saved 50% on our groceries for that week! We were hooked.

A week later I googled ALDI to see what was on sale that week and found their web presence was impressive. Not only can you check out the sales for the next two weeks, but they have a database of customer recipes, a meal planning tool and any recipes you save can be put into a grocery list, sorted by the layout of the store for ease in shopping.

We have tried about a dozen recipes from the site, usually about three a week, and we have absolutely loved 2/3 of those recipes and have added them to our "stable" of weekly meals.

Two favorites from this week were:

Chicken Scallopini and Barbecue Mini Meat Loaves

Aldi is a chain located in many places all over the GLOBE, so check out to see if they are in your area, and give it a try. Oh, and they now take debit cards too, so if you don't do the cash thing you can still make it work, just make sure to bring a quarter for your grocery cart and your own bags!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Unspeakable

This is THAT post. The one that talks about the things we are not to talk about. The unspeakable things. What in your life is "off limits"? What things are you afraid to share?

I was raised in a home where the list of unspeakables was L O N G. I mean like train long. I mean like DNA strand long. Posting that fact right there is one of my unspeakables. It is not/was not okay to talk about the way I was raised with anything other than glowing praise. I don't know why. I'm not sure what would have happened if I had talked. Probably nothing. Or a little disapproval, but nothing serious. So I didn't not because of what the consequences might be, but I just didn't...because.

Like music. I didn't listen to "popular" music for the most part growing up. I didn't blast rock tunes from the radio in my bedroom. I just didn't. Was I forbidden to? I don't think so, but I'm just not sure. I just knew that it wasn't done.

I really only remember one command I received from my parents of something I was NOT to do...it was that I was NOT to have sex before I was married. Maybe they did better with the subtle approach, because it was the things I "just knew" not to do that I didn't do, and this one forbidden was something I did.

Other unspeakables that are far more current include my involvement with a website that I was all wrapped up in. I spent MOST of my free time (and some that wasn't so free) investing in this place. I made a few friends. Took a trip. Then the season passed and I found myself uninterested. I realized through a few incidents that online is not REAL for many people. That the personae people put on there was not who they really were. I removed myself from the center stage and still occasionally checked in to see what was up. Now, a few months later I shake my head. The behavior of some people is so sickening to me. Even typing that word I worry. How sad is that? I worry about the repercussions of typing my opinion on my own personal blog. But what I discovered is that there are some people in this world that just aren't good. You know? Aren't wholesome, aren't above board, twist things, aren't decent.

Now I'm far, far, far from perfect, I can't even see perfect from where I'm at, but I hope that the real me comes through, that I try to keep things decent, even if they are a bit raw. I worry that in pandering to that group I stepped outside of myself and did things I will regret. Said things that weren't true to me and my beliefs. I hope I didn't, but I guess without analyzing every word I can't be sure.

Another unspeakable I've been dealing with lately is friendship. I know, what is unspeakable about friendship? Well, things like loyalty. What does it all mean? And really taking a hard look at myself and realizing how hard I fight to keep people at arms length. And looking at why. Looking at all the people who were supposed to love me without reserve, who judged, abandoned and discouraged me. I had a breakdown a few weeks ago and admitted that the only person in my WHOLE LIFE who has stood by me through thick and thin is Scott. That is SCARY. Scary because that is too many people who ditched out on me. Scary because losing Scott means losing that one person who I feel I can totally trust. Scary because it puts a lot of pressure on him, you know? There are others in my life right now that I believe care about me and that I want to trust. But I'm afraid. So I push them away. Its a "me first" mentality, doing it before they do it to me. Ugh. I know what I need to do. I need to reframe my trust to be in God alone. I know that in fully meditating and focusing on the fact that God is all I need, that I am filled up by His love and grace, is what will save me from this fear.

So, what are your unspeakables? What are the things that keep you up some nights, but you just don't feel like its okay to get them out there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Brave Balloons

In order to safely fly balloons, and of course by safe I mean only relatively safe, the wind speed needs to be under 10 mph. Yesterday Scott took the day off and we drove three hours to Wausau, in central Wisconsin, for a Hot Air Balloon festival they hold every year. Scott and I went to a balloon launch in Osceola shortly after we started dating, with our then friend Audra. It was an early morning launch in the spring and was quite cold. We loved it (and I had no decent camera equipment, so we must trust our memory on that one!)

A few weeks ago Scott started thinking about that and so he researched where we could find a balloon launch to watch. I love the way he comes up with these great ideas and then enthusiastically moves toward them.

It was VERY warm yesterday, well, warm for us hinterlanders, and unfortunately the wind speed never came down below the required limit, but we had some great barbecue, we got to see some cool biplanes up close and flying overhead, we had a fun car trip, and they did inflate two balloons at sunset so we got a feel for what the full launch would have been like. We also learned alot about hot air ballooning and equipment, as they had this cool guy from Mason City, Iowa who "calls" balloon events all over the US. Did you know that with the BTU power of your standard hotair balloon heater, you can increase the temperature of the average house by 100 degrees from only a one second blast? Yeah, these aren't little kids toys for sure!

What I loved about these families is that when it was clear the wind was gonna be too much they all got out these huge, cool kites and flew them instead. When the weather gives you too much wind, you make your fun where you can.

It was a lovely afternoon and evening and the drive went off without a hitch. More on things that came to mind while there later, but for now, here are some photos of the balloons going up at sunset.

He Just Keeps Going, and going...

And then his mama sends him to bed!

This boy stayed up until 4am two nights ago, 'til midnight one night ago and last night he apparently stayed up all night. Why the lack of sleep? Well, he's hot into a new book series and he seems dead set on finishing all 7 books in a few days! Yikes! It didn't help that his brother's adorable kitten came to live with us last night late, and loves playing with Andrew. So, at 10am I sent him for a nap...and he's keeps sleeping, and sleeping...

More on the Balloon outing soon, but here is my adorable little one playing with his energizer bunny ears that he got at the festival.



Friday, July 10, 2009

Running Away


Last Sunday (and for a couple of weeks before that) I had an emotionally charged day. Some spiritual friends of mine are going through some rough family times, and watching them struggle through it is bringing up my past. After a good deal of confession and angst, I went home at 5pm feeling like a wrung out wet blanket. And then was relieved that I wouldn't have cause to interact with my spiritual family for almost two weeks. Why did this make me relieved? Well, I think Oswald Chambers said it best today,


"The true test of our spirituality occurs when we come up against injustice, degradation, ingratitude, and turmoil, all of which have the tendency to make us spiritually lazy. While being tested, we want to use prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of finding a quiet retreat. We use God only for the sake of getting peace and joy. We seek only our enjoyment of Jesus Christ, not a true realization of Him. This is the first step in the wrong direction. All these things we are seeking are simply effects, and yet we try to make them causes. "




So as Hebrews 10 commands, my spiritual brothers and sisters, whether they mean to or not, have been stirring me up and I've been tempted to retreat. I know I need to reach out, even in the midst of this turmoil and not seek peace, but seek what God has for me in this moment.


In other retreat news, Scott, Andrew and I are headed off for a day of hot air balloon watching in Wausau Wisconsin. We hope for those nearly perfect conditions that are necessary for a good sunset balloon launch. Pictures to come in the next day or two if it comes off!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Escalade


Scott and I have been seeing tons of Escalades lately and so the other day while on the road we rang up Lisa and asked her to look up the meaning for us. It was "an act of scaling, especially the walls of a fortification" Both Scott and I have felt a clearing of our schedules, a feeling that we are being prepared for the next thing.
The definition of escalade rang true to that feeling. Yesterday, during an impromptu women's prayer meeting after church at the Olson's, Zeke was sitting on the floor chanting to himself, "Jerico, Jerico, Jerico" and I thought, yep, there is a fortification that was scaled, in an entirely different way.

So we wait, to find out if we will be using the standard ladders to scale the walls of the fortress we are to conquer next, or if instead we will take a less common path and dance around singing until they fall down at God's bidding.

Oh, and we don't actually know what the walls are yet either...but that is okay.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-cha-changes

Beverage of choice; no longer coffee
Favorite music; Led Zepplin and Jefferson Airplane
Favorite time of day; early morning
The Bachelor/Bachelorette; OUT!
Scrapbooking; infrequently

Its all shocking and strange, the unsought after changes that have been happening lately. I have no idea what is up, but I'm calm about it and waiting for what comes next.

Oh, and since I'm rarely scrapbooking these days, look at the transformation in my scraproom




I gotta go now, its almost my bedtime and I have some Rolling Stones to check out.

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