Monthly Archives: January 2008

Musings… Which turned into an illustration…

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I was thinking about Shaya last night. She’s almost ten, and a pretty good little artist. She’s not a prodigy, but on a scale of one to ten, compared to other ten year olds’ artwork, she’s probably a six or seven. I was thinking, though, that if I slapped a frame on her picture and took it to a museum and hung it up next to, say, the Mona Lisa, or some other artistic master’s painting, her picture would look very amateur and childish.

Because she is still a child, no one would ever think to compare her current artwork to a master’s painting, but if Shaya were to compare her own painting to a master’s, she would likely feel very inferior. When I feel inferior, I tend to give up. But Shaya is a better person than me, and she fights to improve, and works hard to get where she wants to be.

Let’s say that Shaya decided that she wanted her artwork to be in a museum someday, what should she do to accomplish that goal? I think there are several necessary things to improving in anything, but the first possible step would be to begin to study the work of the artistic masters. Maybe she would gravitate toward a certain artistic period, possibly one specific artist, and begin to study that one thing/artist in particular.

If she could manage it, in addition to reading books about her chosen artist, she would probably want to go see actual paintings in museums, so she could study the brush strokes up close. She would also read about general artistic techniques, and maybe even contact the artist, or if her chosen master is dead, someone who paints like him/her to learn specifics about their painting technique [one example of a living artist might be Thomas Kinkade. He has a way of painting that is unique, so she would need to learn the mechanics of how he gets the paint to reflect the light like that].If she could manage to meet with someone who can paint like her chosen artist [or the master himself], then she might be able to take lessons from the person, and that’s a boon to anyone looking to imitate a master, because you can actually watch him work.You probably already know where I’m going with this, but I hope you’ll continue to indulge me a little.

The catch here is obvious. She can study and read and watch for years and she will never grow in her actual painting ability unless she practices what she’s learning. It is only through watching and physically imitating the master’s brush strokes that she will ever be able to paint like her chosen painter.

By the same token, if she wants to paint like Michelangelo, but only exposes herself to Picasso, she’s going to end up painting like Picasso, even though she wants to imitate Michelangelo. You can’t imitate one master while living with the other.

Also, she can’t be a perfect imitation when she first starts out. To become as good as the master [or close to it] it takes watching others who are like him, learning from them, and imitating what they do, and it takes studying the master himself to see how he did it. You gotta have some self-discipline and practice, or you will always only be a wannabe, and fall short of the goal.

Let’s say Shaya studies her chosen master for years, and gets a phone call one day from a museum. She finds out that she’s being granted the privilege of hanging some of her work next to the master’s in that museum. Included with that honor, she actually gets to meet the master himself, to talk to him, and he is going to see her work.

If she’s prepared herself, learned from others who imitate his work, been self-disciplined and studied and practiced like crazy in those years, that’s all going to be obvious in her artwork. Even if she’s not quite up to his standards, she can stand tall, because she knows she’s given it all she’s got, and more than likely, he’s going to be pleased with her.

But let’s say that she hasn’t practiced, but only thought about it for all of those years, and she gets the same call from the museum. Her master artist is coming to town, and she’s invited to show some of her work, right next to his, and she’s going to meet the master himself. She’s probably a little nervous, but thinks, “Well, I’ve been studying all these years, I should be able to whip something out, no problem.”

She tries, but her hands are clumsy, and she blots paint all over the canvas, and finds that in spite of all her studying, her actual work is much the same as it was when she was ten. It’s impossible for her to get out of the showing at the museum. She’s going to have to face him, even though she isn’t ready.

She goes to the museum and is mortally ashamed of herself. She can’t look the master in the eyes, because she knows she isn’t worthy, and hasn’t even tried to be. It’s then that she finds out that the master himself had heard of her years before, and knew that she was studying him and his work. He tells her that he himself would have helped her, if she had but asked. Now it’s too late, though. The years were wasted, and her work is going to be hanging in the museum, right next to his, and she’s never going to be able to forget that when the master came, she wasn’t ready.

Well, anyway, Shaya doesn’t want to be an artist, as far as I know, but I had fun writing this. Hope you liked it.

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Baby Moths

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Shaya will be ten years old next month. It seems like just yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital in a snow storm. I was sitting in the back seat next to her, because I was too nervous to sit in the front with Steve for fear that if she choked or stopped breathing, I wouldn’t know it.

My paranoia has lessened over the years, but I still wonder sometimes if I’m doing enough [or too much] to keep her safe. She’s getting old enough to make her own decisions now. I can’t really make her do anything any more. She has to choose to obey me, and in all honesty, that makes me a little nervous, because I haven’t done the best job of showing her that I’m trustworthy. I’m working on it, going through changes in my heart that affect the way I act.

I’m learning that true love really does let go. It respects another person’s individuality, their free will to do what they deem best, regardless of my opinions. True love puts others first, before self, and even though I’ve said that before, I understand it in a way that I didn’t before.

It’s amazing because the changes in me seem to have had an instant effect on my kids. I’ve been honest about my own struggles, but my attitude and actions toward them have changed to match my words, and they respond like little moths to a flame. I wish I was better than I am, because they deserve a better example, but hopefully I’ll continue to improve, and my prayer is that God will cover my gaps with His grace, you know?

Still Not Quite Right

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And it’s bumming me the fuck out.  I mean seriously, how long can one person feel like shit?  I’m all sluggish and nauseated and having cramps and headaches and I’m tired and I can’t think most of the time.  I dunno.  I think I’m a mess.

So whiny is me.  I’m losing weight, though, so yay for that, but still, is it worth it since I feel like shit?  Not only am I back to my pre-pregnancy weight [as in, before Shaya pre-pregnancy] I’m also back to what I weighed when I got married [125 lbs, if you’re curious].  I’m not, however, back to my pre-pregnancy shape.  Heh.  Probably gonna have to do some crunches to accomplish that one.

The weird thing is, I feel all yucky and fat and stupid… it’s not a literal ‘fat’ feeling, but my body just feels wrong.  My stomach isn’t back to normal from my lovely stint of salmonella poisoning, and my heart’s wonky from my period, so that doesn’t feel right either.  I dunno.  I think I need to sleep for the rest of the week and come back next Monday and see how I feel.

Heh.  If only.  No, I gotta get up and get my kids to school tomorrow, and find the will to make a menu, grocery list, and go grocery shopping [and then come home and cook something… ugh].  Steve gets paid tomorrow, so we can actually buy food again [yay!  thank God we had a full pantry two weeks ago when we realized we were out of money way before we were supposed to be… yikes.  That is so not fun.]

But, feeling like I do, I really just want someone to come over and cook comfort food for me and let me sleep.  Steve’s off, but he’s not much of a cook, so I’m gonna have to suck it up.  Eating is making me nauseated.  Doesn’t matter what I eat, it makes me sick.  Potato soup made me have heartburn from hell the other night.  Vegetable soup made me nauseated today.

I ordered pizza tonight for dinner.  I just couldn’t make myself cook anything, and we’re out of everything except meat anyway [and it’s deer meat… yuck when you’re sick].  So naturally I’m suffering the consequences of pizza.  A wonderful double whammy of nausea and heartburn.

I probably need to get out and force myself to do some exercise or something, which brings me to my next whine.  It’s 14 degrees here, and the forecast says a low of 10 tonight, with a whopping 38 as a high for the week!  Ugh.  I have to wear two pairs of socks and my boots inside my house to try to stay warm, and I’ve still been cold all day.  And it’s not cold in here!  Seriously, it’s like somewhere between 72 and 75 degrees. I should not be cold, and yet I am.

So I guess I’m done whining for the night.  I have some memories to write about later this week.  Maybe I’ll feel up to sitting down at the computer tomorrow and working on it.  We rearranged our bedroom a couple of months ago, and there’s no room for our office chair, so I’ve got a folding chair with a pillow on it to sit in, and it’s wreaking havoc with my back, neck, shoulders, and feet [they get cold when I sit too long].  Oops.  I said I was done, but I was wrong.

I’m going to have to figure something out with this stupid chair and computer desk, though.  It makes it very painful to sit at the desk for longer than a few minutes, and I spend most of my day at the computer.  I need to be better soon.  This is getting really old.

A Recipe!

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I made it up myself.  I think it’s pretty good, and Matthew actually ate it and kinda liked it [he hates vegetables] so I consider it a victory!

Shelbi’s Homemade Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

5 Potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 lb. frozen mixed vegetables

1 cup frozen broccoli

2 cups frozen carrots

2 cans diced tomatoes [with juice]

1 can corn [drained]

1 can mushrooms [drained]

1 can green beans [drained]

1/2 cup chopped onion [frozen]

1/2 cup soup seasoning vegetables [frozen]

several shakes Worcestershire sauce [about six?]

garlic powder

Mrs. Dash table blend

Parsley

Marjoram

Salt and Pepper

1 package beef stew seasoning mix [has no meat products]

Several shakes of olive oil [about four?]

Lots of water to boil it in!

So I started out with my water and started flinging spices in at random [hence, no measurements… just fling to taste] then I added my frozen onions and the soup seasoning mixed veggies [has some celery, onions, red peppers, and maybe some other veggie… can’t remember now].  I turned on the heat so it would start boiling. 

Then I peeled my potatoes and chopped ’em up and flung ’em in [yes, I really flung ’em… you should see my kitchen].  I had some broccoli and carrots that I had cooked yesterday, hence the flinging of those two veggies [but they’re yummy in soup, so, you know, fling ’em!] but I didn’t do that until after I had flung all the frozen stuff in to start to cook.  I added a can of tomatoes at that point, and had to take out some of my water, because I was running out of room in my pot.  That happens to me a lot, but anyway…

After the potatoes and frozen vegetables were mostly cooked, I added the already cooked vegetables, the canned veggies, and my other can of tomatoes with the juice. 

I wanted to make sure this would be completely vegetarian, so I checked the beef stew seasoning packet for some kind of ‘natural meat flavoring’ but there wasn’t any.  Yay!  That really made the soup taste more full.  I normally would add hamburger to my soup, which pretty much accomplishes the same thing, but I was curious if I could get vegetable soup to taste like it had meat in it when it didn’t.

I think I succeeded pretty darn well!  Shaya said it was the best vegetable soup she’d ever had, and like I said before, Matthew didn’t despise it, and actually ate it all, so I consider it a complete victory.

I served it up with crackers and sliced extra sharp cheddar cheese.  Cheese always tastes good with soup! 

So that’s it.  And this may be my first ever recipe blog post, so mark it down in your calendar!  Woo Hoo!!

~later, friends!

 

Man, does this shit ever go away?!?

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I am still not feeling very well.  I got sick on Thursday [I think] so I guess it’s only been three days, but damn!  I should be over this by now.  I’m not throwing up or anything, but I’m having to be very careful what I eat.  Still doing pretty much the BRAT diet [Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast] because everything else makes me feel questionable in my tummy.

Steve’s kinda feeling the same way, so I guess I’m not alone, but I’m used to getting over GI illnesses within a day or two.  Still whining, I know.  Okay I’ll stop now [for this post :P].

I’ve been thinking about writing.  Which is not exactly the same as writing, but this is kind of profound for me.  I’ve decided that I want to write stories that are purely for entertainment.  If anything profound or life-changing ever comes from something I write, I want it to be completely unintentional on my part.

That sounds weird, maybe, but I’ve been putting this invisible [and completely ridiculous] pressure on myself to write something ‘worthwhile’  and worthwhile in my mind has always meant something wise, or profound, or something that would change people’s lives… and you know what?  I think maybe I was an idiot for wanting that. 

I think [for myself, at least]maybe it would be better and more ‘worthwhile’ to write stories that just entertain people for a bit.  Yeah.  I like that.  In fact, I think I want to write stories that entertain me for a bit while I write ’em.

Hmm.  I like it a lot!

I feel free somehow.

Ouch!

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Hey there.  I don’t have anything special to say.  I just needed to whine a little bit about my stupid freaking neck, and you seemed like as good a victim as any.  I took a muscle relaxant, a pain pill [it’s not quite a narcotic, but stronger than ibuprofen] and ibuprofen, and my neck still hurts.  Bad.  It cramped up while I was IMing today, and it’s been hurting like crazy ever since.
So here I am, and my consciousness is altered, but I still hurt. I had profound inklings when I sat down here, but now they’re gone.  Bummer.  One of my dogs just came up and decided to use my lap blanket as a bed [it’s on my lap] so she turned in a couple of circles and flopped down with a satisfied grunt.  She’s a cocker spaniel, and dumber than a box of rocks.
I think my TV is possessed by a volume gremlin.  I had it turned down, but it keeps getting louder periodically for no apparent reason, and it’s quite obnoxious.  Now I’m imagining sounds in my house, which is creeping me out.   Steve decided he was well enough to go to work.  I think that just means that he’s more sick of his sick wife and daughter [Michaela came down with a lesser version of this horrid shit yesterday] than he is actually, um, sick.  Did that make sense?  Not that I care, mind you.
OH!  He’s here!  Yay!  I’ll go bug him now.  See y’all later!
<edited to add>
Grrrr.  and now my formatting is all jacked up.  I put the proper paragraph dividers in, but they refuse to show up.  oh well, at least it’s a short post, right?

Still here, been sick.

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Either flu or food poisoning, and it isn’t fun. It’s making me grumpy, shaky, and generally miserable right now, even though I stopped throwing up two days ago.  Yesterday, I spent the day in bed.  Today, I’ve spent the day in the living room. 

Today, i have the shittiest attitude ever, and i’m feeling even more pissed off because this stupid blog program doesnt’ have a stupid auto-correct, so if i want my stupid i’s capitalized, I have to do it myself, and i’m too freaking lazy to do it today.  so no caps for you, friends.

so i’m pissed off for no reason whatsoever.  I think i’m irritated that i’m not better yet.  i still feel kitten-weak, no, de-clawed kitten weak.  my kids are having to fend for themselves.  i did manage to fix dinner tonight [steve is pointless when it comes to cooking].  it even tasted good, so points for me.

i got really dehydrated from my bout of diarrhea and vomiting.  i’m mostly recovered from it, and i ate half a baked potato and a couple of chicken fritters for dinner, even though I wasn’t hungry, so I shouldn’t be so freaking shaky, and yet, my arms are shaky.  WTF?

So my friend lindsay had a flu bug a couple of weeks ago, and she said she felt 100% again after 24 hours, which either means we got a different flu bug or we got food poisoning, which sucks.  Likely candidate?  Salmonella fits every symptom, including the delay in symptoms for me [i got sick a day and a half after steve].  I also read you can be a carrier of salmonella for months after having it, which is gross, and necessitates frequent cleanings of the house, which I physically can’t do right now.

woe is me!  i am whiny, hear me mmmeeeeeeeeeoooooooooooowwwwwww.  sorry, i got no roar. 

so life is on hold, but I’m feeling restless.  in fact, i’m so freaking grumpy, i want to pick a fight with someone, just to start shit.  how pitiful is that?  i’m not gonna, though.  i’ve got a little self-control.  i am going to whine about it to you, though, because if you’re still reading, you’re obviously a very good listener, and a non-judgmental one, at that. 😉  sorry, that made me giggle a little.

so maybe i’m doing better.  hey, let’s see if I can start every single paragraph with the word ‘so’?  what’s that about anyway?  i think it’s one of the dangers of writing with the same ‘voice’ you speak with.  I split my infinitives, end sentences with prepositions, and say ‘so’ and ‘anyway’ and ‘so anyway’ a lot in real life.  I know I shouldn’t, but I likeit.  it’s partly what makes me Shelbi.  hee hee.  [oh yeah, hee hees are multi annoying, and yet, I love them dearly, and use them every chance I get]. 

heh.  so this is me, combative and rude and obnoxious, and believe it or not, i’m keeping it mostly under control here.  my eyes burn, and i’m thirsty, and now steve’s calling me, so I’ll talk to you, later.