A couple of reasons to avoid cleaning for company

 

It never fails to amaze me how neurotic I can become when there’s company on the way.

I can practically hear the excessive eye rolling from my offspring and my spouse becomes strnagely stealth in his whereabouts. I begin with shoving unread mail and magazines piles in already-full cabinets, then tuck dog toys and half eaten rawhides under couch skirts. As if I can really hide the fact that we usually live in SQUALOR.

Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser emerges from the bowels under the sink, only to be reduced to grayish threads after every door has been vigorously scrubbed of greasy fingerprints. I obsess over the brown ring in the toilets, a “we live on a well with hard water” issue, and feel the urge to explain this phenomenon with gusto to guests heading to the loo, lest they I.D. us as the Bumkin family with the poopy commodes.

Karate-chopping pillows and hiding kitchen appliances are things you will never witness in my home on any given family night. This crazed state of “it must look perfect” only rears its head when we’ve opened our home to friends. Friends, who I might add, are as far from judgement and formality as you can get.

What created this desire to have it all pin perfect? What image am I hoping to project and why am I stuck in this Fake Martha Stewart hell?

There has been a fair amount self diagnosing on this issue. I think, like with all personal crossroads dilemmas…

Fear of appearing disheveled and unorganized.

Fear of being discovered of my artsy girl ways, with all of trappings of being a bit spacey.

It’s a vapid “you can have it all” projection that really, when I look closely, is a total lie. I know better than to project anything but the truth, but somehow entertaining deems void of this conviction. The moment my exasperated 8-year-old proclaimed that “it doesn’t all have to be perfect, Mom” as stuffed the entire menagerie of Noah’s Ark and bulging box of 1,000 crayolas under her trundle bed. I was overcome with embarrassment—brought on by a precocious 8-year-old, no less. When had I become this shove-it-under-the-freshly-vacuumed-rug thrower of parties?

When had I crossed over into the Land of “I Am My House”?

I haven’t let it go completely, but just being aware of this strange (disturbing) tendency has helped to squelch it. Although it pains me, I will disregard the tangled knots of iPhone cords and headphones loitering by the outlet when the dinner for ten is cooking on the stove. I will only clean the powder bath sink once, refraining from wiping every droplet in an inch of its life with a Cham Wow.

I guess I really am my house…all mixed up with proof of a life well lived.

How ’bout you? Are you a come-on-over-but-I’m-not-promising-to-serve-water-in-a-clean-glass type of entertainer or are you a little Chihuahua-ish comme moi?

OX.

Posted in Confessional Sunday, Fabulous family time, MPG Party Girl, MPG stirrings | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Wondering if you’re still there? (Also…an amazing pilgrimage to Santa Fe)

Hello, from CrazyLand!

My 3rd grade teaching position and current role as taxi driver of teens has kept me absolutely entrenched in my off-line life.

I miss you all. ‘Thinking I might start up the MPG engine again.

Are you still there?

Please comment here so I can see if there’s anyone to write to :)  

* * *

Santa Fe. ‘Always wanted to go…finally made it happen with my favorite Texas Rodeo Queen, Cecilia.

The blue sky. The adobe. The bright, bright sun.

Heaven.

We went into almost 30 art galleries in one day on the famous street of galleries.

I had lost my photography mojo a little after I started teaching again last year. The Big Kahuna was hiding out in my utility room…sad…feeling neglected. but, Azah!! The southwest brought back that lovin’ feelin’ and I’m shooting for myself again. What a magical place. One that everyone had told me was “so me”. Yes, for the record, it most certainly is.

I’m having a love affair with Georgia O’keefe as a result of this trip. ‘Devoured her huge biography in a week and decided I’d like to be her..even just a little bit..for a little while. She is all kinds of wonderful for so many reasons.

I think my Artsy Girl is back and I’m glad. ‘Missed her terribly.

So, lovelies…Things going on with me..in no particular order:

* LOVING teaching again. I’m getting so many hugs from these 8 year-olds and they truly appreciate all of the crazy antics I incorporate into our learning. I’m right where I need to be, using all my gifts to make learning come alive for these little people.

*I have a kid in high school (gasp!) and am amazed at the young women my daughters are becoming. My youngest is the fastest x-country runner in the nation for 8th grade. She ran a 8:16 (mile and a half)  last week at districts. So incredible to watch. My older daughter is singing like a bird in a special choir and playing volleyball and (yay!) is showing a very good eye for photography.

*We built a red barn on our property that completes the compound. It’s so beautiful and we’re loving it.

*I’m writing a novel that takes place in Texas and I’m fire with reading everything I can get my hands on about plot and character development. I’m pretty motivated and am writing every chance I get. Who knew writing fiction was so much fun?! I have big plans to complete it this summer and get going on query letters to publishers. Bottomline…it speaks to artistic women who want IT ALL in life even though they’re busy wives and mothers. I think some of you will identify. :)

Well, lovelies…I hope your lives are going well. It would be so good to hear from you. Drop me a line if you have time in a comment or email.

Big Northwest hugs to you!

OX.

 

 

Posted in Adventures of ARTSY GIRL, Artist crushes, Digital fine art, Fab MPG women, Happiness, MPG stirrings, MPG travelista, My photography world, Prairie Girl Dreams | Tagged , , , , , , | 36 Comments

New Life…New Blog

 

So Lovelies…I’m understanding that we all go through different seasons in our lives. Of course, there are the usual ones (singlehood, marriage, family, retirement), but there are also seasons of the heart and what it wants. My heart tends to speak rather loudly and is hard to ignore…always has been. I’ve learned to be obedient if I am to find contentment.

Lately I’m craving simplicity, joy, tranquility and adventure. The umbrella hovering over these magnificent things seems to be A Simple Life. I’ve seen complication build an incredibly strong fortress, excluding all sorts of contentment and happiness . I’d like to let the hard way of doing things fade away.

It’s downright fabulous to discover that less really is more.

I would be thrilled to have you join me at my new spot in the blogosphere. If you are an MPG subscriber (thank you, btw), I’d be very, very excited to see you subscribe over there. I will still be posting the artsy stuff in my life over here from time to time, but with matters of the heart, the quest for simplicity and an all-out search for packing in the extraordinary in our lives…it will be posted on the new blog. As always, I am so thankful for you!

Here it is! Bud-a-bing-bud-a-boom!

www.theextraordinarysimplelife.wordpress.com

 OX.

Posted in Good Design, MPG stirrings, Pare down / Power up, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying, Prairie Girl Dreams, Quest for Less: rational minimalism | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Core Desired Feeling #1

In her book, Danielle LaPorte states: Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating those feelings is the most creative thing you can do with your life.

The whole gist of it can be found here--I have to tell you, for someone who jumps around from goal to goal with a spinning head, this process made so much more sense to me. I do think we’ve had it backwards…going after certain things because we think it will make us feel a certain way is a bit of a crapshoot. Keeping the desired feeling in the forefront and mapping your life around it is…well..brilliant.

* * * *

So…I got up at the butt-crack-of-dawn (known as BCOD around here..I live with an acronymn-happy Air Force brat), pencil in hand and went for it with Danielle’s book and my journal. Very eye-opening stuff came spewing out and after a few hours of work, I think I narrowed my Core Desired Feelings to four. I’ll explore them separately here on the ‘ole bloggity blog this month.

The first one was easily identifiable because I’ve actually claimed my desire for it out loud more times than I can count.

#1 I want to feel joyful.

Gratitude is such a buzz word lately, but I really do hold true to the belief that acknowledging all that you’ve been given brings joy to the front of the line. I’m a bit flakey in writing them down each day, but I am an iPhone slut of sorts, so I decided to get an app and it’s painfully easy.

 

It has reminder dings to keep you on track, which is great for the easily distracted (raising my hand high over here).

Fortunately, it’s relatively simple for me to categorize an experience in the joy-bringer aisle. Some of these I have consistency with…others need more focus. A few of my favorites:

Family time/Twinkie time

 

- Spouse vacay sans kids (hopefully more tandem adventures in store)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Trail running

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Coffee with friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Music on all the time (esp. Hawaiian tunes during rainy months)..best album ever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Adornment makes a sparkly day out of rainy days… cowboy boots and turquoise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Paddle boarding in summer

 

-Teach after-school drama class for my school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-a glass of champagne when I’m cooking every night…just a reminder that life should be celebrated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Early mornings to write, read and work out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy should fill up the heart several times a day, don’t you think?

Hope your new year is starting out well, Lovelies!

OX.

Posted in Digital fine art, Fab MPG women, Fabulous family time, Good Books, Happiness, iPhoneography, MPG quote and wisdom, MPG stirrings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Season of Getting Clear ~ My 3 Step Plan

 

On the days leading up to the 31st, I’ve been excitedly working my way through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I’m realizing this past season has given me the gift of clarity. This was a Year of Major Change for me, namely a career change—but what I didn’t realize was that the cloud would lift on just about everything. It’s a good thing to enter January with a clear head, content heart, and insatiable desire to keep this momentum going. I am grateful.

There were 3 things I did to untangle the knots of the day to day. It wasn’t a get-a-pen-make-a-uber-long-list-post-it-on-every-surface-in-the-house plan. Thankfully, it unfolded naturally as I settled into the idea of completely swapping my entrepreneur life for a teacher’s schedule.

The first thing I did was turn off the noise.

It came in so many forms…Facebook, Twitter, blogging, blog reading, steadily capturing and posting my life (dinner plate and all)…as if it wouldn’t be real without cyber documentation. It was a huge relief to let it go cold turkey–almost like leaving a noisy lunchroom and going outside on the a park bench alone. I could actually hear my own thoughts again and separate them from what was swirling around me in my self-created Land of Needing to Share. I slept better. I enjoyed moments more because they belonged to only me and the person I was experiencing them with. It would still be a memory even if it didn’t show up in a blog feed.

There’s an incredible amount of HUSTLE when you work for yourself, especially when there’s art involved. I’m an introverted extrovert in that I gain energy from being alone (the obsessive planning part) and plunking myself in the middle of people (the marketing/relationship building part). To be really, really honest, the hustle never felt like a fun dance to me. It was like putting on someone else’s oversized clothes and flailing my way through a routine on stage. I admire and respect folks who can do this their whole career—it takes so much energy and thought! When I was certain I was ready to completely cross over (out of working for myself), it was incredibly freeing to let go of the vehicles that propelled this soft shoe that I was so busy refining. Just showing up and doing my thing was beginning to sound really appealing. It was also very clear that a strong desire for quiet was welling up in my heart.

The 2nd strategy in advancing toward the clarity finish line surfaced by accident.

Hyper-focus on one task is surprisingly helpful.

Teaching elementary school is incredibly rewarding, yet totally all-encompassing. I throw everything I have into the 3rd graders sitting with expectant faces in room 302. It started on Day One and only seems to be gaining speed. It’s a fast moving environment when I’m doing my thing and I find it so great to see their engagement. No texting, no screen domination…they’re not there yet (thankfully) and they want all of me and I’m happy to give it. There is little room to quibble about anything during a busy school day (heaven knows there was a heck-uv-a-lotta quibble fest in my studio…”Queen of Quibble”, that was me). This new job grounds me and the mission at hand is very definable:

Teach curriculum in the most creative way possible while building relationships with kids.

Who knew? Brilliant. Quibbles be gone.

The other interesting thing about uni-tasking is that I am able to turn it off when I leave class and head home. My home life has become much simpler (well…house-peeing dogs, Mom Taxi and microwave macaroni explosions aside). I always had a hard time meshing the scrambling entrepreneur artist lady with the mom person. I know my kids could sense my ambiguity with this dilemma. “Are you going to be much longer on the phone?” “Are you posting this picture?!” “Spaghetti again?”

You know what? I love turning on HGTV in the background, whipping out the chips and salsa, and catching up with my girls while I destroy the kitchen with a new creation. I like reading for pleasure….and movie watching…and gabbing with PH while we steam the nightly espresso. It’s disappointing to me to think about how distracted I was in years past. I will admit the past four months have been a ping pong game of school-home-school-home without much else going on. Frankly, this transition required 100% for me to insure that all involved were getting my best. I also will say that with The Desire Map has come a revelation that I am in desperate need of my girlfriends. I have amazing women in my life who I’ve been neglecting equally since September and it’s time to circle back around and connect. ‘Excited for future plans brewing for this season with the tribe.

The 3rd decision was a long time coming and has gradually become an addiction.

It’s a simplify-pare down-declutter dance I’m learning.

I recently found the term Reduction Rebel on this site and I really love it. I’m embracing it with squeezy arms. ‘Strangest thing that a clear counter (as in, just the coffee maker and knife block taking up real estate) can bring ridiculous amounts of glee in this rebel. I’ve been doing weekly “passes” through the house with a Goodwill-bound box firmly in hand…it’s actually quite fun. The fam seems to be on board too and I’m grateful I’m not playing tug-of-war with too-small clothes and countless race t-shirts with my beloveds. My classroom is next…I’m feeling a sort of kickin-ass-and-takin’-names strength in the face of all of the crap-ola that has accumulated in this busy life.

Clear spaces nurture creative breathing space.

I’m sure of this. So sure that I’m willing to bet there will be an alarming downsizing percolating when the kidlets leave home. It’s appealing to fantasize about the freedom that owning less can bring. In the meantime, I’m trying hard not bring in more stuff (a trying feat in the face of post-holiday put-aways), but I’m feeling motivated to use what I have. The wardrobe pare-down has been an eye-opening process…and although I’m no Project 333 goddess, I am whittling away a clothes rack that doesn’t overwhelm my tired eyes in the morning. More on this later…I’ve been crafting a post on this and will reveal it in the new year.

So..there you have it. In a verbose fashion as only I can master, I have recorded what this season has been for my future self ….and for you, dear lovelies, who so graciously read my flip-floppy tirades about what I’m becoming. I do believe I’ve arrived at what suits me best. I haven’t felt a me-ness like this in a long time…it’s truly wonderful.

Here’s hoping your new year is happy and bright! I do recommend Danielle’s book for nailing down your Core Desires. It has been so helpful. I will share my own process after the 1st of the year.

So much love to you!

OX.

Posted in Confessional Sunday, Fab MPG women, Happiness, MPG quote and wisdom, MPG stirrings, Pare down / Power up, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying, Quest for Less: rational minimalism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments