Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sybil? Sybil?

     I was reading a series of books by Ellen Langer, an Ivy League psychologist who runs experiments on people about perceptions and writes books about "being mindful." She started painting and found much joy in just creating. No training. No MFA. Just pure enjoyment. But when she painted the same item more than once, it lost its charm. Its spontaneity. Before she was aware of the feeling of putting the brush to canvas. It explains why I like to do things once. After that, the fun is gone. There is no more discovery. Doing multiples for craft shows was a chore- not a joy. I had cleaned out my studio a few weeks ago, and started buying more books (it is truly an addiction) and found one about crowns. I made ONE several years ago, but the paper and glitter and ephemera in the book made me want to get up and make something.
     So I did it. I painted a canvas and added glitter, shells, more glitter and (ready?) more glitter. So much fun. Two days of painting and gluing and glitter. SO fun! No expectations. No guilt. And a bit of  "in your face" to those who "define" art. And frames.
     And as frustrated as I am with work, little victories help. Checks that come in; a pledge over the phone; a cookie bake-off; an egg drop. Michael Kaiser (?) from the Kennedy Center said that to keep staffs happy you have to give them reasons to stay. I'm not sure if anyone in leadership is going to make this happen, but I know my co-workers/conspirators can keep us moving forward. Most people don't leave right before a big project- they are invested in it and want to see it through. Well, in nonprofits, there are always projects to see through. A lot of projects. And a lot of guilt. I'll push through as Christine and Roberta recommend, and dream on my own time.
   We are preparing for Easter and for our trip. First, Rosie is heading to the store for the fourth time. We're going to sunrise mass and then coming back here for Easter/birthday breakfast. I must say, I spend more time preparing for colored eggs and breakfast than I did on Lent itself. We're making her birthday cake in the shape of a lamb, but with the vienna torte frosting. I think I'll hot cross buns too. Never seem to get them done for Good Friday, but maybe Holy Saturday?
     Matthew, Grace and I will leave around noon for Tennessee- Nashville, Murfreesboro and McMinnville. Grace had convinced herself and us that this is where she needs to go to school. So far away. But I think for her this is a good thing. A big university, close to the music industry; the "real" college experience. Of course, I'm panicking because of the alcohol and rape cases on campuses today. Did you know that if you say "I'm sorry. I'm an alcoholic and I need help," that the school will feel sorry for the rapist and not kick him out? How is it that if you're drunk and set a lab on fire, or rob somebody, you can't say "I have a drinking problem," and get away with it? But you can kill a young women's spirit/soul/being and all is forgiven? Coed dorms. Alcohol. Drugs. One in eight girls are abused on campuses. So scary. And she will be so far away.
     Focus. So Monday, we get a tour of the school. Monday night, we get to see Uncle Jim and Aunt Jan and their home. He said the dogwoods are blooming. Tuesday is Nashville. Wednesday we'll go see my Grandpa in southern Illinois. He said Poplar runs north and south and Main Street runs east and west, and he's on South Land Street. Haven't seen him since Tom's wedding. Wednesday night, we head to Tom and Tish's new house in northwest Indiana, where I grew up. Friday we visit Grace's second mom, Mary, in Chillicothe, Ohio. We lived there for almost 11 years before coming to Delaware. When I landed my first "real" job (it was politics, so Matthew never considered politics "real" jobs:), Mary took care of Grace. Mary and Doug were wonderful friends, and I can't wait to see them!
   Now I must shower, bake and pack. The sun is shining, so I have some energy. The homes around us have beautiful flowering trees. The forsythia is in bloom, as are the daffodils. I think we picked a good week to travel.

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