What We Tell Girls

larm-rmah-G-SCNTzpDEE-unsplash
Larm Rmah

He didn’t mean to be mean

He was just playing when he grabbed you too hard

He’s sorry and you should just move on

He’s not stalking you, that’s your imagination – you need to work out it, both of you

What did you do to make him do that?

What were you wearing?

Why were you alone with him?

He’s just a touchy-feely kind of guy

He does that to everybody

 

 

 

 

Concept sketchbook: Daily Practice

IMG-6601

I blog daily to hold myself accountable. I have not attended art school and probably never will (although…never say never)!  My primary goal is to exercise creativity in a positive way and in writing my third book I want to try something new. I learned about this from creativebug.com’s Lindsay Stripling’s daily practice lesson.  My subscription to creativebug.com is the BEST $8/month I’ve ever spent.

I’m going to keep a conceptual sketchbook and work on it each day, even if I have a super busy day, I’ll make a simple doodle to keep it going.

 

 

 

180

anastasia-dulgier-_FqNEHrxDFM-unsplash
Dulgier

As my daughters grew to be teenagers, a chasm started to grow between the older one and me. I would “advise” her to practice her violin, do her homework and I would check her grades online.  As soon as one of her classes started to drop, I’d pounce on her.

This, I believed, was motherly love.

She started to distance herself from me. When we spoke, it quickly escalated with me on offense and her on defense. She started to stay out later and later and we rarely talked nicely to each other. I asked myself over and over, When will she grow out of this? And then I found electric cigarette paraphernalia in her room. I freaked out. The younger one asked, “Don’t you see why she’s acting out?”

Wake up call!

One night, I decided I would do a 180. I would do the opposite of everything I had been doing. Before, I was completely hands-on. Now, I would be hands-off. I wouldn’t ask questions or tell her what to do. I would just listen.

And when was the last time we had fun together? I decided we would go on a date – just the two of us – once a week. It didn’t have to be fancy, just as long as we had 1:1 time together.

After she put aside her suspicions (and why wouldn’t she be suspicious of my motivations?), we started to go to a coffee shop every Sunday before she went to work as a server in a Thai restaurant. She would tell me about rude customers, her rude boss, good coworkers, and not-so-good coworkers. She told me about her friends, about how she would miss them when they went off to college and she would be a senior in high school “all alone.” I didn’t give advice or suggestions. I just listened.

I learned more about her on one date than I had in the six months before my 180.

Gradually, we joked together again. She opened up. “Mom, I have something to tell you.”

I braced myself.

“Right now, I’m getting an F in math.”

“OK.”

“OK?”

“Do you know what to do to raise it?”

“Yeah.”

“I trust you don’t want an F and that you will do something about it if you care. If you don’t, you won’t. No big deal.”

She walked away completely flabbergasted.

She got that F up to a B on her report card with no additional words or actions from me.

Now, she is three months from 18 and I am completely confident she will be just fine – not just in school or college – but in life. She has a great head on her shoulders. She’s a people-person and completely capable.

And she knows she can come to me at any time.

 

 

 

 

 

51

Today is my birthday.

I’m 51. 51 is the new 31. Look who else is 51: Will Smith, Hugh Jackman, Julia Roberts, Jimmy Kimmel, David Guetta, Kylie Minogue, and Vanilla Ice, people! I’m in good company. Jennifer Aniston is almost there and so is J. Lo.

I’ve decided to be proud of my age. It is what it is. How are we to be a society that embraces the elderly if we have shame just for living a long time? I’ve made it. I’ve had a couple close calls: a scooter accident in San Francisco….a blood clot post-labor 17 years ago…breast cancer…yet here I am. I’ve lost some loved ones this year (and in past years) and you know what? Life goes by fast. Live in a way so you won’t regret anything.

And I’m fit. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been mentally and physically. In my twenties, I thought it was most important to be thin. Now I see it’s most important to be strong.

I’m glad I’ve learned the lessons I’ve learned: Be present. Be open. Allow your children to be who they are. Love your job. Live well each day. Don’t take yourself – or anything  -seriously.

 

 

 

 

Reflection

 

Because your father and the Korean War

treated you mercilessly

you swallowed the hate, anger and resentment

with tiny grains of rice and near-clear broth

 

You read books and taught yourself

math – the universal language

you patched holes in your shoes and clothes

sewed extra material to your pant legs

 

With marriage and children, hunger multiplied

your craving for recognition and love

were bottomless pits of self-doubt

and utter darkness

 

You lashed out and your fears

masqueraded as control and power

launched your family away

but your heart cried

come back

 

 

Willey

IMG_6191

This man. He is a dream come true. He flew with me from Arizona to Georgia. Packed up my mom’s belongings and loaded them on to the U-Haul. He drove for four days until we got home and get this: There was no cruise control in the truck!

And then he unloaded the truck and put the boxes in our garage. He returned it.

He’s nice to mom. He jokes with her, makes her feel welcome, and cheers her up when she’s sad about dad’s passing in July.

Today, he vacuumed and washed her car.

He is a generous spirit – with all of his family and friends. They know he would do anything for them. He is love personified.

What’s in an orange?

img-6430.jpg

“What comes out of an orange when you squeeze it? Orange juice. Why? Because that is what is inside. When you get squeezed – that is, when someone applies pressure on you – what comes out? Stress? Anger? Hatred? Fear? Frustration? Is it because of your boss? Never. Is it because of your mother? Your children? What comes out of you is always what is inside.  It has nothing to do with the rest of the world. How does it get there? Only as you think.”

Wayne Dyer

 

Quality Over Quantity

david-menidrey-MYRG0ptGh50-unsplash
David Menidrey

I rarely redirect my blog to someone else’s. But Seth Godin has an important message I agree with and I can’t put it better than he does:

Don’t Buy Cheap Chocolate! 

It’s almost Halloween.

“Cheap chocolate is made from beans picked by poor kids in dangerous conditions.” Seth Godin

He goes on:

“On the other hand, expensive chocolate turns the ratchet in the other direction. The folks who make the bars, particularly those who do direct trade, keep paying higher and higher wages. They keep children out of the system. And they encourage their growers to use the tastier artisanal Criollo and Trinitario varieties, keeping them from extinction.

The race to the top often creates more winners than losers. That’s because instead of seeking to maximize financial returns at the expense of everyone in the system, they’re focused on something else.”

Seth Godin

 

Learning

IMG-6136

I’m playing around with new techniques and styles. I really like this artist, Olivier Tallec. I emulated copied his illustration to see how he managed the shadow on the wolf’s face. I like his color choice and the graphite pencils he used. I don’t have any…I tried pencil and chalk and didn’t like either. Just placed an order for graphite pencils and I’m excited to use them!