Busy as a bee or worthless?

Hi Everyone!

How is your week going? Life here is improving. I think we have finally moved past the snow and frost of winter and started Spring for real this time. It is raining here and looks like rain for the next few days but we need it so I will try not to complain. My son is home from his few months in Hawaii so that has definitely cheered me up. The bug bites have cleared and the shingles are slowly going away. They are truly a pain! 

I am beginning to get back some energy finally and can make it through a full day without collapsing around 2 pm.  I hope to be back to full speed soon. The fatigue has been constant for months due to high stress levels and illness. Am I the only one who beats themselves up when everything on the To Do list does not get done? In the middle of the worst of the shingles pain I noticed just how badly I talk to myself. “Worthless” kept coming up time and time again when I was not able to do something that I thought I should be able to. Dang. I wouldn’t call anyone else that when they were sick. 

So in my exhausted state I looked at my list of To Dos with a more discerning eye. What I noticed was that I really don’t have that many truly HAVE TO DOs.  Rarely do my clients have rush orders and they are very understanding when I’m sick. Generally I only HAVE to look after the animals and myself when D. or Miss L. are at school or work. I MAKE myself do the laundry and cooking (cooking is loosely defined as having some sort of at least semi-healthy food when I’m sick) to avoid guilt. 

What I discovered is that I set up self imposed deadlines on projects that cause high levels of unnecessary stress. There were actually SIX projects that I was beating myself up for that truly did not have to be done any certain time at all. What the heck? Why do I do that? So I gave myself permission to put those on the back burner for now and promised myself that I will quit calling myself Worthless. 

What does have to be done now? We have a garden to get planted and I have two portraits to finish (my clients did not give me a deadline, but I’m sure they would like them in a reasonable amount of time) and the normal life upkeep. That’s it. I have been able to get a good start on the portraits so here is a sneak peek. I’m trying not to give too much away until my clients see them.


I did have to get my new package of bees settled last week and have another one coming soon. My new bees are busily setting up their new home. My surviving hive is moving slow for this time of year. I checked on them Sunday and I’m afraid they are, for some undetermined reason, struggling like I am. The Queen is laying, but not profusely or regularly. Guess what? I’m not calling the queen worthless. She was my second best queen last year and her girls were my top honey producers for the year. They survived 6-9 degree nights this winter when the other hives didn’t. To the best of my ability I’m going to try and figure out what is wrong and help them if I can. I would love to see her thriving again.  Here is a video of my bees. The new colony is in the back, busy, busy , busy. My survivor hive is in the front, functional but not where they should be right now. 


Have a great week and for heavens sake, talk kindly to yourself.

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Clearing

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and that you had a lovely Easter if you celebrate it. 

Last week was busy around here. Miss L was on Spring Break. With her growing fast and furiously we made two shopping trips to get a jump on replacing her summer clothes before it gets warm and she had nothing that fit her.  The shopping lead into the need to teach her how to go through her belongings and part with what she had outgrown, discuss not buying more than you need and how to take care of what you have so that it lasts and eventually someone else can use it. I was very proud of her for cleaning out a large stack of games and movies that she had outgrown. All that lead into Spring Cleaning mode for me.

Normally I do Fall Cleaning because I don’t like to be cooped up all winter with a bunch of stuff taking up valuable space and dust bunnies hiding in every corner, but this past Fall there was too much on my plate to tackle the cleaning out. As our life returns to normal now that the estate is settled and most of the piles of boxes stacked in our house have been removed I can focus on what needs clearing from our normal daily lives. This year it is not just STUFF that needs to go.

I have sorted through all our clothes and happily donated a huge bag of them along with household items and books yesterday. Throughout the winter D. and I found good homes for several pieces of furniture that belonged to us as well as some that belonged to his sister. It was nice to know that most of them went to young adults starting out on their life journey. 

Now we are looking at clearing less tangible things. As I finish up my last two months of a 30+ year career I have to part with several file cabinets full of business records, an email address with a few THOUSAND emails, digital files I will no longer need and deadline dependency. I know that deadline dependency sounds strange, but that is how I have functioned in this world for a long time. Deadlines are my motivation but I’m finding that at this point in my life I don’t handle the stress of a looming deadline as well as I used to. I need to reduce the deadlines and find a way to accomplish goals without wandering around like a lost puppy. 

We are also reducing digital usage. D. has been complaining of pain and numbness when he is using his tablet and a few years ago had the same problem when he had an iPhone. I thought it was probably caused by the way he was holding the device similar to a carpal tunnel issue. I think now that it is more serious than that. Several articles, YouTube videos, TED Talks, etc. have come to my attention recently that explain the effects of all the EMF (electronic magnetic fields) we are exposed to daily. Symptoms such as the ones D. is experiencing (prickling, burning sensations) to the ongoing insomnia and fatigue that both of us are having even though our stress levels are down and we are both in good health may be linked to the wifi and microwaves from the electronics. More frightening is the finding of DNA damage in children and the unknown health effects from long term use. 

As much as we would both like to go off the grid, it’s not feasible, but a reduction in exposure is. We are going to start with turning off the wifi at night and making a conscious effort to not have our phones and tablets next to us all the time. I have started charging mine in the living room at night instead of on my nightstand next to my overworked brain. D. is going looking for an old fashioned wind up alarm clock this weekend. We will probably start limiting Miss L.’s electronic time more as well. We are all avid readers and creative types so we are very capable of finding better uses for our time. It’s just a matter of adjusting our habits. I need to work on my Pinterest addiction anyway!

I would love to know if any of you have had similar findings, symptoms, or suggestions on less electronic device usage. I suspect this is going to become a much bigger conversation and problem as more and more of the world gets connected. 

Have an awesome week and clean out a drawer, closet or some emails! 

What a week!

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are well.  I/we have had a crazy week here in the wilds, thus the delayed posting this week.  I started writing on Friday and evidently while I was waiting for a few pictures to go from my phone to my computer, I got sidetracked.  Two days worth of sidetracked!

Why does it seem like when you commit to a project the fates do their best to stop you?  Last weekend started with a bad case of Spring allergies.  I haven’t had Spring allergies in years!  They usually hit in the Fall.  So, trying to work and function have been a struggle for days now.  Somehow I carried on to some degree.

I finished painting the guest bathroom just barely on schedule.  I have to finish the room currently called “the office” this month so we can move my son’s bed in after his graduation in May.  On Monday, what I can only describe as banking hell, started.  Without going into all the gory details, thanks to a new bank buying out our old bank our bills have been paid numerous times this week.  Can you make two or more mortgage payments in a month??  Neither can we.  Needless to say, I have spent WAY, WAY too may hours dealing with this situation which ended Friday by my closing the account.

Insomnia kicked in again as well and last night was my first good night sleep in several days.  Somehow I prevailed and got my work done, most of the necessary housework done, deliveries made, D’s retirement paperwork and insurance dealt with along with all the nasty bank stuff AND managed to get four 100 days paintings done to this point.  I will not claim they are great pieces of art, but they got done.  Perseverance, my friends. That is my one true talent that has gotten me through a lifetime of ordeals.  Dogged perseverance.

So here are my first three drawings/paintings of things I am grateful for:  A New Day, Clean Water and Sleep (wonder why that is in there?).


 

Yesterday (Saturday) I missed making any art for The 100 Day Project.  I am having to rethink this 100 drawings/paintings thing. I am still going to do it, but trying to do something different each day is causing me a ridiculous amount of stress.  I take deadlines deathly serious and uh, this is not my job, just a thing. So from here on out my plan is to start a piece and take it as far as I feel necessary but doing what work I can on it each day.  There are some skills and experiments I am trying to achieve with this project and trying to do a different project each day isn’t really accomplishing that.  So, hopefully this week I can make more stress free progress.

Gotta go sketch my daughter and son-in-law’s other dog…for the SIL’s birthday present.

Have a great week. Persevere.

‘Tis the season

Snowman Christmas tree

Have you recovered from your Thanksgiving food coma?  Maybe next year I will try to abstain from gluttony and put my money where my mouth is and do more giving instead of more eating.  Even though they roll around the same time every year, the holidays always sneak up on me.  One minute it is August and the next it is November.

A lovely, wonderful thing has happened this year. On December 1st (when I am writing this) I have all my Christmas shopping DONE!  DONE. DONE. DONE!  That has not happened since my now grown kids were toddlers.  My daughter and son-in-law will not be here this year :-(, but with his family so I had to get at least their gifts taken care of in time for their Thanksgiving visit.  I’m cheap and don’t want to pay shipping or stand in line at the post office.  So, once I got started throwing my money around it didn’t take long to beat down that gift list.  Oh, happy day Cyber-Monday as I made that last purchase on Etsy.

Oh, yeah, my decorating is done as well!  How the heck did I do that?  Ahhhh, no kids at home anymore.  That is the downside.  There is always a price to pay.

So, what am I going to do with all this time on my hands?  Well, I have some gifts I am making for seven little munchkins.  Next year they will officially be on my gift giving list, but for one more year I consider it helping out my fiancé. Here is a sneak peek.  Will post the finished ones after Christmas along with a commissioned piece that I finished back in October but can’t show yet.

Monster eyes4

The not so fun stuff is the computer backups, upgrades, filing and reports to get ready for taxes. YUCK!  I can’t use the Christmas season as an excuse to procrastinate this year.  If I’m really, really good, my plan is to hunker down this weekend and beat most of it into submission.

I do have a large design piece to start on that has a first quarter deadline, AND I’m challenging myself to a drawing a day in 2016 to freshen up some skills.  Do you think I should do a few as fillers on those days that just get away from me?  Yep, I think so too.  I will post some of those as I go along (keep me accountable please).

In 2015 I had a rough idea for a series that I wanted to work on.  Things fell apart and nothing more than a few sketches happened.  I still like the ideas and have added to the list, so my big goal for 2016 is to begin again.  This year has been lots of experimenting in different mediums, refining skills  and finding direction.  Hopefully focusing on one idea will give me some boundaries to work within.  I have too much creative ADD to live without boundaries! It has been a willy nilly year around here in 2015.

I apologize if this post has bored you to tears. Writing down some goals keeps me on track.  Guilt can be a wonderful thing.

If you have made it this far, I hope you have peace, health, laughter, joy and fun in the coming days instead of the usual holiday insanity.