Thursday, September 29, 2011

nibbling on New York

















After a few solid days of intense exploration through cute little villages in North Jersey and the Lower Hudson Valley (more on that later) I was seized with an urge: I needed me some City. The hardcore kind. Dropped the house stuff for the day, hopped a train and before I knew it there I was. Spat directly into the throngs of traffic and action.

My memories of NYC were so fragmented that it was like tasting it for the first time. Whenever I had gone before, it was for work, and totally destination-oriented. I'd spend days at Javits but have no clue where I was. I'd go to conferences in hotels, play hooky from seminars and go hide in cafes around the corner. I loved it, had a great time, but didn't understand how the city was connected because I was being shuttled around in smelly cabs from point A to B.

This time I just walked. Took in the layout of the city as I wandered. Stuck to the streets, with the exception of two buildings: The Met, in which I got promptly lost, and Kinokuniya, the Japanese book/stationery/paper store in which I could have stayed forever.

I wondered whether I'd feel overwhelmed in the city after living in a small Midwestern town for five years, but I felt at ease. I loved how there was no tolerance for baby steps, that the city expected me to have my big girl shoes strapped on upon arrival and ready to go, how it pulled at the part of me that needs to feel anonymous. I was free to wander, free to look like a fool, free to blend in, free to get lost, free to observe, free to change direction - and no one gave a damn about any of it or me. It was delicious. Maybe best of all, I walked so much over this past weekend that I lost three pounds.

Obviously in 5 hours I didn't put even a dent into Manhattan, but it helped me get my bearings enough to have a starting point when I go back in November, hopefully on a photocrawl with dear Cindy, who (rather serendipitously) published a sweet welcome post to me just as I was setting foot in Central Park. As difficult as it is to wrap up our happy, easy life here in Kansas, my visit reminded me of all the great things that will soon be at our fingertips -- including an infinite supply of visual candy, welcoming friends and a built-in weight loss program. I really can't ask for more than that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

creative courage


Seems the only thing I'm getting creative about these days is monkeying around with dates, times, tasks, and emotion management. Thank goodness Stephanie's Creative Courage course starts Monday so it will look like I'm actually doing something creative with my life right now, even if I'm not. I'm lucky enough to be one of her featured artists, and you can catch me briefly here today. I'm the one under the two hearts, in front of the Beaux-Arts museum in Montreal earlier this year. That trip was my 40th birthday present to myself!

Meanwhile, ideas are festering in my head (change is one of my favorite sources of inspiration, even though it's stressful as hell) and I'm keeping them in an Artsyville-like queue (in about 5 notebooks, in random order, upside down & backwards, and scribbled receipts stuffed in between the pages). But mostly, for the moment, I'm invested entirely in the house search. Please send me your good vibes for a groovy old house in a fun, artsy neighborhood where I can let a few dandelions sprout without anyone getting all bunched up about it. And please accept my apologies for not returning blog visits lately. You are all so sweet to keep coming back and leaving your thoughts -- they are keeping me afloat & happy during this crazy transition.

P.S. This picture was from a project that came to a halt when all the move stuff started -- they're just painted paper grocery bags, similar to the "old bag gets a facelift" project, and I was going to make journals out of them. Tentative post title was "more fun for the old bag".

Thursday, September 15, 2011

in between lives

empty wagon crop

I've moved a billion times, yet I always forget how weird and unsettling that space is in between worlds -- when I'm dismantling one but have not started reconstructing the next. Eager to move forward as fast as possible, but anxious to linger behind as long as I can. Moving along at breakneck speed one moment, dwelling in syrup the next. Watching storms pour out of one corner of the sky and seeing the sun burst through another. Sandwiched between lives, one that is no longer mine and one that is not yet mine. I didn't even really have words for it until I stumbled on this scene along the (nasty) Kansas river with someone's vacant wagon -- this describes it perfectly. Not a sense of emptiness so much as it is feeling squished by fullness from both sides and not knowing exactly where to put my feet at present.

P.S. Drawing room is still on, but the visit dates will have to be surprises instead of regular postings on Tuesdays -- I have too many schedules to coordinate and not much time to pick up a pen. But I will start again soon, because I love doing these features and escaping into others' lives temporarily! Our next guest has plans to open her next studio in a hammock and wants a fuzzy pet chicken named Guacamole.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In the Drawing Room: Michelle Ward


Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! I have a special treat for you in the Drawing Room this morning. If the words amazeballs and awesomesauce didn't give it away, performing in my studio today is the colorful and fascinating Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach. I first met Michelle when she was balancing her coaching business with a corporate career. Early last year she took a huge gulp, turned in the keys to her corporate life and went solo. Now Michelle guides people out of their career misery on a full time basis, helping them to craft meaningful vocations and creative lives for themselves. She has become an expert source & contributor about creative coaching for Newsweek, Forbes, and Psychology Today, and she has led workshops and seminars all over the place, including SXSW 2011 and the sold-out Etsy Success Symposium.

And on a personal note, Michelle and I have collaborated on multiple projects over the past few years, and she's a joy to work with -- a creative fireball who always leaves me energized and inspired. So of course I had to doodle her! There's only so much I could put on one page, so here's some more fun stuff about her that I couldn't squeeze into the drawing:

*She and her husband Luke: 1) were delivered by the same doctor, a year and a half apart; 2) call themselves Team Awesome (he had a logo made and they gave out Team Awesome mugs as favors at their wedding); 3) were on their very favorite reality show, Renovation Realities, just a few months ago; and 4) appeared on the front page of the New York Times Real Estate section because of how he proposed.

*The first concert she attended was Debbie Gibson (Radio City Music Hall, June 1988) -- and still has the T-shirt.

*Made her Mom do her hair however Cindy Brady was wearing it that episode - because she thought she looked like her when she was 5.

*In 8th grade she played the cast recording of Miss Saigon so much that it broke. She was in camp, and had her Mom overnight her a new one. It was an emergency.

*Her college roommate admitted to going into her closet to "just take in all the colors." Doesn't recall ever wearing all-black unless it was for a chorus concert.

I could prattle on at doodle book length about her, but alas, I have to get back to de-Artsyville-ing the house. So that wraps up our show! Get a daily dose of Michelle on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. She has something fun cooking on her blog nearly every day -- interviews, giveaways, inspiring stories, encouragement, and -- my favorite series -- Tough Question Tuesdays.

Wishing you all a great week! Thanks again, Michelle, for opening your colorful world to us!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

laboring away

we're laboring away on this labor day weekend. doing little fixes to the house, sorting through stuff, combing through the stacks of what we've accumulated through this phase of life, thinking about how and why i acquired things. though it's an emotional process, it's one of my favorite tasks when i move. here's a few of the things i've unearthed.

a special grouchy person gave my artsygirl her first commission. i made a journal from the drawing. that will go to the special grouchy person (but the artsygirl will come with us).

i found this big letter a downtown and i love it.

memorabilia, ephemera, stuff. old plane tickets.


travel books. they always go.


a candleholder from one of my trips to portugal + some of my favorite rings: the colorburst from mirthmarket, button stack from my soul can dance, and the plastic one from a little shop on south congress in austin.

my haiku doodle book in progress. these little doves have become family to us this summer.

our epic failure of a summer reading program.

if i can find the tooth fairy's response to this question, i'll post it :)

crating up all my favorite books. jennifer lee's right brain business plan is a gem! definitely one that will stay in my library. highly recommend it.

<br />journal
this beautifully hand painted journal was a gift from manon of m comme muses when we met in montreal in march. lots of Ms in that sentence.

a super old marker drawing of a village -- maybe 10 years ago?

my favorite banner from earmark. it has been hanging above our front doorway for the last few months and it must have known that adventures were awaiting us. it will go with us to the new house. the little birdie girl in the picture will too :)