Monday, September 28, 2009

Grateful, Yes, I am Grateful

Just thinking.

The door to my shop at night. Yes, I am there a lot working in the quiet of the night.

This is how I get to work most of the time, tooling through the neighborhood. Yes, I need a new bike seat but it works so what? I did feel older the other day when I overheard a local kind of drunk guy talking to another kind of drunk guy say "Yea man, I ought to get one of those bikes for my mom." Maybe I should trade it in for a 2 wheeler instead or take the grocery basket off.

Flowers in my wild woman art garden.

I have what I want. Ever since I was a little girl I would look at every funny little building and think what it could be. I simply thought clubhouse for a long time and eventually I thought art studio or shop. So I am very lucky and through the sacrifice of not getting a "real job" I have what a lot of people would like to have, minus heat and and air. I have a place to make art and that is my business.
So I was scrubbing my beige colored sink with non scratch comet the other day thinking, "Gee if I had a real job I could get new cabinets, counter tops and a stainless steel sink. Is is worth the trade?
And, I remember Cathy Kellogg, a dear friend who had a daughter the same age as mine and Cathy later died of cancer. She told me they drove crappy old cars so they could give their kids good educations and cars could come some other time. She never got to see "the other time" but I got the point. Ever since then, I always think as I look at our second hand couch and those windows that don't open quite right, it is for our kids education and it is worth it. I still agree with that statement.
When I was younger, I had stars in my eyes. I knew I could do anything or have anything I wanted. Probably was pretty much true. I chose what I have. But what about that sink and the fence and the windows?
I recently heard about a job or two I was interested in to try to make up the financial difference before I would retire, supposing I really could. Then I think about the freedom I give up to do that. Could have charged a lot more for those pots and got ahead if I had not felt so shy about it or could have made myself toot my own horn.
It is not in my nature. To be honest, I don't even like to price my pots and wish I could afford to just give them to people who deserve them. Oh, bad business plan!

And now, I kind of step back and make room for the younger artists. I am actually happy for them as I see them find there way repeating some of the same good things and same mistakes I made. It is also fun to be the teacher and try to help others not have to re-invent the wheel so to speak.

So I make my special orders, enjoy it. I look at my beautiful flower garden. I still have great ideas, stay inspired and work hard. I just don't want to jump through anyone's hoops. I want to pace myself and enjoy everyday. I ride my bike, I color my hair, I exercise and I dream. I don't want to make a business plan. I just want to be grateful I have basically what I want and more stuff than I want and be grateful.

Ride the wave. The economy will get better and then I will feel even more grateful. But I still keep an eye on those building and think what they could be. I still hate "mission statements." I know what I want.I never want to deal with by laws again. I believe in clarity and trust. I just want let good things happen with a little direction. And, I want to stop and smell the flowers in the garden and look for butterflies every now and then.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It Is What It Is or Is It?

I was walking in a light fall rain this morning trying to do what I need to do and I saw a friend in the neighborhood getting in her snazzy car. The friend was Mrs. Bartholmew, or the Eliot Librarian, substitute or whatever they need next at Eliot Elementary. I don't know her well but I have known her since my 19 year old daughter started kindergarten at Eliot. She was "Uncle Zeb's" wife and while I was away this summer I heard he died. In case you are not from Tulsa, I must tel you he was a local TV star with a long lasting kids program. Everyone knew Uncle Zeb. I watched her from a distance, moving quickly with energy, get in her car and drive away. "It is what it is." He died. She misses him and now she is finding her way without him. I could not really tell how she is doing. I hope she is fine now, enjoying her new life and appreciating their many years together. Her body language suggested an upbeat day but it was lightly raining encouraging quick energetic movement as well.

With my biggest life change recently, a dear friend gave me a silver necklace she made that reads, "It is what it is." And I really appreciated it as she gave it to me. My change only involved moving my overloaded shop and scaling now. Not so bad as I look back at it.

Well. A couple of my least favorite statements are "It was just meant to be." Cringe. And, "It is all in God's hands. Pray." Sorry. I do respect other people's personal spiritual beliefs but I just cannot buy it for me. I must always take action when something is wrong, preferably something hands on.

My Dad, man of many words, but not a philosopher by trade said, "God gave you a garden but you gotta pull your own weeds." Amen.

And, sometimes I need a reminder. My bedroom has not been painted since I moved in this house 17 years ago and it needed it then. There are many stacks of things in my house, some mine and more I like to say, belonging to my husband. Those things will move and look great somewhere else given the time to sort through them. Maybe later? As for the bedroom? Who cares at this point what color we paint it. We should just do it. So much for hgtv.

I admire people who do things, move things and get rid of things. I think I would like to join them some day. Probably tomorrow.

I think the key words must be time, initiative, priorities and change.

Somethings we cannot change. When a loved one dies, that is it. It is what it is. But somethings we can change given the time and ambition.

My friend Susan, in Costa Rica showed me an picture album with her old back yard in Tulsa about one mile from my house. It was so lovely, a friend asked to get married in her back yard and she showed me the photos. Lovely. I look out my back door. Probably not on the list of favorite places to get married. And now she and Tom have created another beautiful spot, yes even for weddings including their own, in Costa Rica. Guess I am running a little behind on the yard work,

I sometimes think, "If I could just take a week off and stay home." and then I think, "Hmm, got a week off, let's go somewhere."

It must again prove life is not so simple. It is not "it is what it is" and it is not " or is it." It must just be where we put our priorities and how we respond with action or not.

Just thinking on a rainy day in Tulsa now let's go make pots.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Will Not Grow More Conservative with Age

A little hike in the woods to Devil's Icebox Cave just outside Columbia Missouri

My friend Gini Bingham a fellow potter in Emory Virginia had a great sign in her studio that read, "I will not grow more conservative with age." She died a few years ago and she and her husband will always be role models for me and my husband leading the way we want to grow old. And, it is coming and I cannot hide from it.
I have been told as we grow older we get more conservative and maybe more afraid and whatever problem we have now gets amplified in our old age.
I guess I will get lost a lot.
I am a liberal thinker and I live in a very conservative part of the country. I like new ideas and a progressive attitude.
I don't understand how people can object to Obama talking to school kids, why people care about who marries who if they are happy, and why anyone in this country does not have access to decent medical care or education. Are these things really so far out of touch with my community? And why does any person go to bed hungry in this country? I know the idea about teaching a person to fish instead of just giving them a fish is a good idea. I don't want to argue about social reform and welfare and all that. I do believe in generosity of knowledge, helping less fortunate people figure out how to care for themselves and their children. We have some big flaws in our system when we cannot figure out how to share our food , our knowledge and our happiness.

Living in mid America, in a small town it seems that more people are conservative than not. When you live every day in a small town and you go to the big city, it is hard to imagine that more people live that way than this way.
I stood looking at the tall buildings in NYC imagining how many people live in such a small expensive apartments and it seems unreal. They don't mow the grass or plant herbs and tomatoes. They live on concrete all the time except for central park. I realize that living there does not mean you are in a more liberal environment but it is certainly more diverse and multi-cultural.

So what can I do to not become a conservative older person?

Stay aware, read the news and stay up with politics and current events. Don't get apathetic.

And, stay as healthy and fit as possible. Gini and Ed walked together every morning and evening. I went on a state park hike recently with my daughter and I always want to be able to do that. I don't want to wait in the car or be afraid to go into the woods. I want to be able to walk up and down steps and pathways to be able to go on adventures. No riding the Walmart go cart/shopping cart because the swing is too big on my back porch. Walking in the woods inspires me in so many ways and keeps my brain active and feeling creative. I get new ideas and lots of inspiration from the beauty of the natural environment.

I don't want to just hang out with older people who are falling into the conservative trap of life. Mixed generation living is the way to go. Listening to children, and watching others find their way also involves creative thinking.

Simply not wanting to get "stuck" in creative thinking and keeping an open mind might help.
Don't let yourself get bored or boring. Try new stuff.

So, I better make this sign just like Gini had and hang one up at home and one at work.

And never ever take life too seriously. You are just asking for it. There are very few real black and white or right or wrong answers to anything.
Close the doors of your brain and you automatically shut off the light of the good life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Year Has Passed Since the Big Move!

A friend pointed out that we had to move out of the "big shop" a year ago on labor day. "You know," she said, "You did not want to move." Well, I guess I never really thought about it that way. I just knew I had to do it.
Another friend said today about her 5 year old just starting kindergarten and always wanting everything that her Mom used to say, "What you want and what you get may be two very different things. They say people in hell just want a cold glass of water and they don't get that either."
It was really hot when we were moving last year. Usually we could get a cold drink of water.

How do we even know what to want? The scary thing is we might get what we want and we don't know what we should want. What if you get what you want?

Maybe I have never wanted enough and have always been to happy with what I have. Is it true that life gives us what we ask for? I have friends with big houses, fancy cars, nice shoes and expensive hair. They expect it and therefore they get it. Does life hand us what we expect out of it? Do we set our own standards?
I don't know. This could all be a bunch of bologna.

I want less. Less stuff. I am once again trying to scale down, rearrange and get rid of the extra crap. It was so nice to work in a big empty studio with no clutter. So, one year later I am reanalyzing my stuff. Less is more, more space.

Please let the economy get well soon. Having been gone teaching for a month, my shop is suffering now. People are out of the habit of dropping by. So I am working on my commissions and beginning to work on fall fair items and straightening a bit.

A year. A year has passed. The weather is lovely making it fun to be in my garage space. I dread the cold and I just try and appreciate where I am and how lucky I am to have my own space. I may not be making any cash but I am still in business. Nearly the last one on the block standing, I am thankful and try to be careful what I wish for.