Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween evening, and I don't quite know what to do with myself.

We're too rural for trick-or-treaters, and there is no party for me to go to. Instead, we decided to do a horror movie-a-thon. My son's friends cancelled, and he's off playing video games. My daughter's friends came in couples. I guess when you get old enough, people just pair off?

Interestingly, they won't even eat the food that's provided if I'm anywhere in sight. So, I'm circling. I'm spending some time checking on the video games, and then the movie area, and then the computer room, and then the movie area... etc. Halloween became a JOB! When did that happen!? My job is to be the bucket of cold water. The old fuddy-duddy that just doesn't understand.

I should have put my hair in curlers, worn a pink bathrobe, and wandered around in bunny slippers with a tube of Bengay. That would have really helped out my image with the teens, I'm thinking.

Well, while I'm trying to occupy myself (and actively eavesdropping, so I can go into the room any time it gets too quiet) I can also confess that the Halloween candy has been an issue for me. I'm not really a candy person. I love reese's of course...

Yeah, that's from a few years ago... but it could have been me this week, I admit it.
But I probably only eat Reese's on a holiday. Halloween. Christmas. Easter. Maybe Valentines Day. But that's it. When my mom banned sugar for a few years, my brother and I would save up our money and ride our bikes a few miles to the grocery store where we would buy a bag of Reese's. We would then sit on one of the concrete parking bumpers and eat the entire bag because we couldn't take it home (mom would murder us, so it was a great secret between us.) Then we would ride home with upset stomachs... but it was worth it.

However, even so, I just never really fell in love with candy. Ice cream, now that's my thing. My thing that I have to not buy because I can't be trusted around it if I can see it in my freezer.

Not sure where I was going there, but I just did a teen check and every single one of them had their eyes covered as someone was dying on the TV screen. *snicker* That one was totally worth the teen-check.

Anyway... I hope you all are having a fun Halloween! I'm going to go spy on them again. Maybe make caramel apples as an excuse to be in the kitchen and "ruin the mood". You know, this mean-mom-thing might be more entertaining that I thought!
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Theme Song

Do you have a theme song? It's the kind of song that you put on if you need to be cheered up, or encouraged, or revved up! It's a sort of way to refocus and at the same time say everything is going to be alright and GO GET 'EM!

I remember having different ones here and there... I can't remember all of them, but I do remember Life is a Highway (Tom Cochran), I think Journey was in there at one point (don't stop beeeeelievin'...) and then I had several during my marathon training but I distinctly remember AC/DC's Thunderstruck playing a big part in me getting my butt to the starting line in the first place.

But, it's been a while since I had a theme song. I'm not even sure how long.


I admit, I've recently been listening to Taylor Swift's Shake it Off. Although, I stopped myself in the middle of bouncing around to it the other day and took a look at myself; standing in my bedroom, in my pajamas, no make-up and looking like hell, listening to the song of a six-year-old and me being almost 40.

I had to ask myself if I'm just utterly pathetic, or...

Well, to be fair to myself I have to say that I often work in my pajamas. They're super comfortable, and that's important when you are painting. You can't have on binding clothing because your body will literally cramp up. You generally don't wear make-up (or good clothes) because you're going to smear paint on everything - your body included, maybe the cat too - totally inadvertently. You don't do your hair, because the goal is to keep it OUT of the painting, so putting it up in a messy ponytail is the only thing you can do (my hair is too heavy for a bun, it'll give me a headache in about an hour.) So my defensive-self says that I look like crap on purpose, because who's going to see me? My kids? They already know that I'm a lost cause. I pull it together if I have to go out in public. Usually. Mostly.

Anyway. I don't know. Maybe I am pathetic. But I'm a pathetic middle-aged frumpy-dumpy artsy chick who needs a freakin' theme song!

So, who has a theme song right now, and what is it?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heavy Lifting

Last night, I ordered a new home gym (weights). The biggest motivating factor, aside from not wanting to do DVDs anymore, is that my son is very interested in using it too. He's self-motivated like I am, and already heads off to the basement to go for a run, or do push-ups and such. He's going to be 14 shortly, so I'm watching the strength training parts carefully (developing bones and such should be carefully monitored so injury or damage isn't inflicted with teens. They're tricky. It's something I went over extensively when I certified, because it was something I was interested in.)

The drawback with the weights we selected is that the stack only goes up to 150lbs, and is of course limited on exercises. In the past, I tended to easily blow past that stack because once I start training, I'm pretty darn strong (I was doing 180 lbs bench presses on the free weights, but that was a while ago.) Yet, what I realize is that my real concern is impatience. I know full well that if the weight is lighter than I need it to be, that I can slow it way down to make the move challenging that way. But even to this day, I still hate exercise. Doing something where it's going to take longer sounds... mean.

But I know better. So, I ordered the set. That means in about a week, you will all see a panicked post about me trying to figure out how to put the thing together. But I'm excited I finally have something coming!

Other than that, I've been painting and being mom. Nothing is happening on the house front, except that we're dropping our price to our "winter low" (i.e. it's not dropping again.) Our relocation company wants all these updates and doesn't understand why things aren't moving. I guess they even told our realtor that she's supposed to supply new comps (houses for sale or sold recently) to them every two weeks and they must be within five miles of my house, to which she finally lost her temper and explained to them that there are only FOUR comp-houses within five miles that have sold in over a year, and it just doesn't work like that out here. They want this deal closed, and so do I, but in a rural market like this I find the whole thing really frustrating! So I'm frustrated, my family is frustrated, my realtor is frustrated... the pets don't seem to care, though, so, yay! Or something.

It's actually National Chocolate Day today, and I have a strong desire to climb into Willy Wonka's world and not come out... but I had a low calorie cup of hot chocolate to toast the sentiment of the day, and moved on. Physically at least.

Oh, and teenage horror movie fest is on for Friday! I've DVR'd The Grudge, Sinister, Chain Letter, Silent Hill, and a few others I can't remember. I will be hiding somewhere in the kitchen (can't go too far, in a house full of teenagers!) This ought to be interesting, one way or another!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Good morning everyone! It's a dreary Wednesday here, I hope the sun is shining there! The winner of the 5k prize for October is: Melissa B. P. (this drawing was compiled of people who logged their run on the race post, or on the FB race post in the Race Group) Congrats!

I'm in a funk. Well, at least I think I am. Sometimes I wonder if it has to do with not seeing the sun for a while. Do you get down after long periods without sunshine? I never thought I was one of those, because I always tend to use those days productively. Sunshine usually makes me feel guilty for being inside and working, while rainy dark days lift that weight and I can happily continue working without thinking "You should be gardening, or running errands, or something!"

To be fair, my funk has been productive, as I paint-pouted (that's what I call it when I work on something other than my highest priority project) and produced these for one of my other deadlines:

Three little monster paintings for an auction on Facebook on the Rabbit Hole Artist Collective's page, which will start on the 24th. They're 2x4 inches, 3x3, and 4x4 respectively. So, just little guys.

I think the real reason is that I got my hopes up. We had a back to back repeat showing of the house last weekend, and I got myself all excited that maybe we'd get a legitimate offer.  And then... nothing. It's been total radio silence. I even texted my realtor (I guess they all follow up with one another) and even she hadn't heard anything. I'm going to have to assume that's a no (but, hey universe? I'd love for you to prove me wrong!) So, I felt down about it all again.

I'm feeling the pressure of having my family in multiple places and pieces. I also am feeling the pressure of two teenagers. When one of them is doing well, it's a sure bet that the other isn't. They say a mother is only as happy as her saddest child, and believe me that is the honest truth!

The most recent thing (well, it started when school started) is that my son is being ostracized at school - and out of it - and losing his friends. From what I understand, it has little to do with anything except that the families all know he will eventually be moving, so they have all coordinated to exclude him from things since school started because he isn't worth the investment for their kids if he's just leaving. Even if some of them have been his friends since kindergarten.


It makes my heart hurt, and as a mom I wish I could fix it. I don't know how to do that, though! I don't think I can. Worse yet, his birthday is coming up, and he told me last night he fears that no one will come to his party at all for the same reason. The truth is that I worry about that too, as I think it's a very real possibility (as in 85% chance no one will come, that's how bad it is here. He even met some new kids when school started, but they were quickly told he was moving and they all vanished. And remember, he was sick for three days and even his teachers threw out all his things even though I called him in sick to the school every day.) I think my poor son is going up against another weird culture thing here, and it makes me so angry and feeling helpless at the same time.

I'm trying to think up alternatives for his birthday that don't involve anyone else, maybe go do something fun (not that there is much to do here) but I know deep down he'd really just like a video-game type party with his buddies. It's just not something I can make happen, though if they're all committed to not doing anything with him. I've lost my wand and fairy dust.

In health news, I'm doing well. I've been biking/spinning and eating well. I have skipped the weights though while I waffle around on what to do with only a few bands and dumbbells. There is a silver lining, as my son wants to use a home gym too, so now I have company trying to sift through the options and figure out what we need!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Mind Games

Happy Monday!

First, congratulations to all who ran or walked the 5k! I'll do that drawing for the print tomorrow, so any late posters can log in and get into the drawing.

I have to admit I'm envious. I tried running last week because while my foot issue wasn't getting any better, it wasn't getting any worse, so I figured maybe I'd try it out. I ended up hobbling myself for two days... but I have to tell you how nice it was to run for those two miles while I could! My husband spent days laughing at me limping around because it was my own fault. He learned that I might not be able to chase him down, but my aim is still just fine, thanks.

In other news, my husband and I have settled on a challenge: Lose 10 LBS (or get to 180) by Thanksgiving (11/27)!

I have decided to break my weight loss up into 10 lbs increments because it's just easier that way. Before, I always felt like that would be a bad idea, because I'd have to repeat the process multiple times. But the truth is that - so what? What if I DO have to repeat the process, is that really so bad? I used to break long training runs into thirds because my brain had issues with a 21 mile training run. At that point, 7 miles was super-short, and something I could face, while 21 miles made me want to whimper. Instead, I said "7 miles! EASY!" And then I'd just start again. Mind games. I don't know why they work, but they do.

So, this is my current mind game. That 10 lbs. Then, I'll play another. And another. And another. Eventually, I won't have to play any more and I look forward to that!

I ended up biking (spinning, I guess) on Sunday instead. It doesn't count for the 5k, but it does count as starting off my new program. You see, I simply cannot take any more Tony Horton. I was doing P90X3 again, but the truth is that I just want to hurt someone when I have to go through those DVDs. They're only 30 minutes, and that makes it easier to face, but eventually even that doesn't help. The truth is that I bet he's an awesome trainer in person. He's lively, he cracks jokes, and so on... but on repeat when you've heard all of that before, multiple times? It's just REALLY freaking annoying. And frankly, he really over-does the sales pitch on a product you have already purchased by going on and on about it only being 30 minutes and how great his program is. I wish someone had told him to stop that. I'm actually a fan of his exercise programs, because they work. They're pretty balanced, and they're challenging. However, the biggest part of the challenge shouldn't be trying to tune out his sales pitch!

Anyway, I'm swapping back to more traditional exercise. I'm doing a cardio HIIT three days a week, and strength training the other three. I'm constructing my strength routine now, and it's a little tricky since my home gym broke down and I have limited weights, and the bench is gone too (getting the house ready to sell really hit my gym too!) Working on figuring that one out, as it's the legs that are the hardest to challenge given my limited equipment.

Otherwise, I've been painting away working this weekend. I finished a little guy:

"Charlie" 2x4 inches acrylic on stretched canvas. Up for auction on the 24th on Facebook.

And I'm looking forward to a good week this week! That's my plan!
Friday, October 17, 2014

October Chase The Stars 5k!!!

Hey you! Yes you! It's time to hit the road (or treadmill) and knock out your 5k for October on either the 18th or the 19th! I'm doing a condensed post this time because... well, I got caught slacking off. Sorry about that! But without further ado, here is your race bib for those who want one:

just click on it and save/print the bigger picture

Welcome to our eighth 5k in the 2014 virtual 5k series!  And Halloween is just around the corner, so that's what this 5k is in the theme of! What's this month's prize? I'm doing a Halloween print of your choice from my shop:

"Patch" 5x5 inch print


"Midnight Mischief" 5x7 inch print


"Twirl" 5x7 inch print

Still want to join in today? You can! Just sign up on the original post or by joining the Facebook group and letting me know by leaving a comment here or there, go do your 5k (run, walk, crawl...) and then post your results here (or there!)

The rules are simple:

  • You can run, walk, crawl, or any combination of those three, but those are your only options. 
  • You can do the 5k anytime in the 48 hours (but it needs to be in one go, not added up over the weekend or day.)
  • It MUST be done on either the Saturday or the Sunday, races done on Friday or Monday do not count for the 5k. 
  • You need to keep track of how long it took you, not because you are in competition with anyone, but because you WILL BE in later races with yourself. 
  • After you have completed your 5k and posted the results here (along with a link to any blog post you may have posted, but that's not necessary if you don't have one or don't want to) you are more than welcome to the "medal" that's below. You can display it on your website, or simply print it out to tack up on your wall, whatever you like!

When you are finished please leave me a comment about how well you did!

Here are the finisher's medals:




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finding Your Worth

What makes up your self-worth? What matters to you? What on this earth are you meant to contribute to that makes you feel valuable? What makes you feel valuable on a personal level? What do YOU value about YOURSELF?

Self-value is a hard concept for a lot of people. I know of several people who are supremely self-confident, but they're blustery about it. It makes me wonder if they really feel that way, or are they so insecure that they feel the need to push that idea onto everyone else? I think that self-worth and value is something that is extremely hard to figure out, personally.

Some people look for value in their careers. After all, if you're some hot-shot surgeon, Wall Street banker, or CEO bringing in millions of dollars a year to your personal banking account, well you must be pretty valuable, right? If you weren't, they wouldn't pay you "the big bucks!" Yet, I have known a couple of these people and I can tell you that they often suffer some form of self-doubt of worth on a personal level, just like anyone else would. Sometimes even more.

I face a distinct problem when it comes to finding value based on what I earn because I'm an artist. That whole "starving artist" joke is actually based on an awful lot of fact. It makes me grit my teeth when someone says "Well... at least you married well." But it's true that if my husband didn't have a career able to support our family, my art would be less of a career and more of a stolen moments kind of activity after I got home from a better paying job. The truth is that art pays almost nothing unless you're one of the lucky ones. For example, I make a profit at my art. That means I pay for my supplies, my overhead, and even all the cuts that other services take, and I am able to put some into my bank after all of that. But could I live off of it? Nope. Not right now. Not even close. I'd make exponentially more catatonically flipping burgers than putting all of my knowledge, skills, and passion to use. Yet, I value my passions more than my checkbook. Even if I did have another job and only painted in stolen moments, my career would still be that of an artist. For me as a person, my art has worth.

Some people find their value in their physical bodies, some in their families, volunteer work, friends, accolades, etc. The list goes on and on. I could go on and make another epically long post with other examples, but my point is that I have come to realize that you cannot find your self-worth in one place. There's always going to be a problem, a what if, a this cannot last forever type of caveat to any one item. There will also be people waiting in line to tell you that you are wrong.

I have come to realize that you have to build yourself a tower of things to feel good about, to feel that you have value in. Like a tower built of Lego's with lots of different colored blocks! It's the only way to not lose yourself when one of your valued items fails you or makes you doubt yourself (or someone else does.)

I can make a list a mile long of all the things I am not. Things I am not good enough with (or at all), things I have failed at, things I can never be. It's a hurtful list, really. I think we could all make a list like that filled with paths not taken and opportunities not presented, along with things we simply never could change even if we wanted to. Making a list like that is EASY. Why is the mean stuff always so darn easy?

Making a list of things I value about myself? That's the hard one. Yet, it's probably the one list every single person should have on their smartphones or on a piece of paper tucked into their back pocket. The list of things you value about yourself, that defines your self worth, are the things that make you who you really are.

So, do you have a list like that? Why not?

Is it because you've just not thought about it? Or is it that we've been told that if we value anything about ourselves that we're being prideful, and if we say anything positive about ourselves we're braggarts? I know that's my problem, anyway. Maybe others simply haven't thought about it, but I know that my personal reasons stem from feeling bad about the things I should be feeling good about.

I remember making a drawing of a butterfly when I was young and showing an adult what I had done while exclaiming "I did a great job!" and being reprimanded with "Kyra, even if you did do a good job, you can assure yourself it is not a good thing to say so. And what makes you the judge of it being good? You should really ask first before you say something so stupid." I don't even remember who the adult was who told me that, I only remember the drawing, the sentiment I received from her, and feeling absolutely shell-shocked by it. I had done something wrong by being proud of what I had done and feeling good about it. I was bad. Feeling good about something you had accomplished and valued was "bad" and that has stuck with me.

The idea of being silent when you value something about yourself is what society expresses to everyone, but most heavily towards women and girls. Be humble. Don't be prideful. If someone compliments you, negate the comment or shy away from it because you don't deserve the praise. It's hard to find value in ourselves when the outside is telling us we're wrong for doing so. It's hard to break away from that, and I wonder if you can ever truly leave it behind... but I'll tell you this; making a list of the things you - JUST YOU - value about yourself is a very good start!

For me, I value that I am a good mom. I am a good artist. I'm... working on something beyond those two things. I wasn't kidding when I said this was hard for me. It's really freaking hard.

So, what about you? What do you value about yourself? I'd really like to know!