Art On A Limb

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Gulf Stream vs Cesspool?

I am on vacation this week and it's one of those vacations where I'm not doing a darn thing. Well, I went to the dentist yesterday. He seems to find something that will tap out my entire insurance allotment each year.

I know I am doing a lot of subject-jumping here, but I am fully caffeinated at the moment. In surfing around in the sea of blogs and I am happy to say I feel like I have landed in the Gulf Stream of quality. The blogs listed in my BlogRoll and my "I'm Reading" section (I read them ALL regularly) are truly worth reading and engaging. Some are more substantive and others are just plain fun, quirky, or informative.

Then, there are the others.... spinning in a cesspool. I have a step-sister and step-brother, both of whom I have never met [note: my parents have been divorced for a long time. Both are remarried. Mom's second husband (a wonderful man!) passed away 6 years ago, and she has married again to a widower she met in her "Grief Group" These "steps" are his children]. Each have blogs on LiveJournal and they are, well, gross. Their posts are pompous, egotistical, and for lack of a better word, nasty. Don't get me wrong, I am not afraid to use a cuss word, but they never overwhelm my speech or writing. I don't believe every sexual movement needs to be notated and described. Ack! As I write this, I feel like I am falling in that cesspool and sinking to their level. I want to delete this paragraph, but am choosing to leave it here because I feel compelled to be completely honest in this post.

These "steps" are not aware that I know about their blogs - why would they? Anyway, after reading them, I have a different opinion of my mother. Since her marriage to this husband, she has disengaged herself from us (my brother, sister, and I) and has (seemingly) joined the ranks of the skanks.

Yeow! It hurts to even think, much less admit, that's the opinion you hold of your own mom. But, it's true. To make myself feel better about saying it, I want to also say that I love her. I don't particularly want to be around her, but I do love her. She was kind, loving, doting, and thoughtful when we were children and was a spectacular grandmother to my oldest niece and nephew when they were small, too.

So, as a grown woman, I choose to live life fully, acknowledge my thoughts and feelings, make choices that enhance my life and relationships, and recognize the many, many blessings I have had all throughout my life. My life has been very good and I am truly grateful.

Even though I am probably over the halfway mark of life, I am fascinated at what a pull the parental forces continue to have.

And, to bring this back full-circle, thanks to all of you who share your lives in a positive, creative manner.

Whew!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter Monday

First, let me apologize if I left anyone 2 of the same comments on their blog - I don't know if it's the system or my own spasticity (is that word?).

Yesterday was really nice. Church was wonderful - we had incredible musicians - including Yvonne Washington and Ken Gayle. There were other singers (Julia Laskowski and Boris Britt - both splendid!) along with the choir. Of course, that was just part of the service - extra music always make the holiday services even more special. The message for the day was even better. My spiritual community is a bit "different" than most - New Thought, not necessarily New Age.

This makes for an interesting marriage as my husband 100% Catholic. It does, however, work for us, so that's okay. He's more of "New Thought" Catholic, but he is Catholic nonetheless and so it is. I do wish we were able to find a happy medium, but we're both very happy in our choices and support each other in our decisions.

After church, my sister, brother-in-law, and niece came over for Easter dinner. We had truly good time. Lots of good food, fun, and laughter. No stress, no rush. After lunch, we just hung around talked for a couple of hours. Since my niece needed to get back to college, they finally had to go and the day ended with the season finale of Carnivale.

Oh, great! Now we're in for an adventure on that show!

What the heck is "Easter Monday?" Good question, but for some reason, my company has always given us this day off. I am taking the rest of the week off for vacation, too, so this is a good day :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Sunday Mutterings

And it's Easter! Who'd have thought we'd have a cool front in Houston, Texas and wake up to a 46 degree Easter morning. That kind of cancels out my plans to wear sandals today. Now, I have to rethink my Easter outfit - or at least the shoes. I hope all my challenges are no harder than this. Luckily, the Unconscious Mutterings arrived with no surprises :-)

  1. I’m waiting:: and waiting
  2. Speak:: Easy
  3. Roger...:: Wilco
  4. Knock knock:: Joke
  5. Hybrid:: Lily
  6. Can’t believe my eyes:: Amazing!
  7. Hooked:: On Phonics
  8. Pontificate:: Blah Blah Blah
  9. Slime:: Ball
  10. Unwelcome:: Visitor


My sister and her family are coming over today for lunch. I love having family get-togethers on holidays. Everyone else is busy with the in-laws or traveling so it will just be us. That's fine with me.

Hope you all have a great Sunday!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

Ah... all Fridays are good! I have been remiss in posting thanks to a little traveling jaunt for work. The weather has been incredibly lovely and the flowers are popping up all over the place. Texas has its famous bluebonnnets and they are sprouting up all over the "hill country," which means toward Austin. They grow on slopes, so even though you can force a small patch here in the coastal area, they'll never be as beautiful as on a hillside. Of course, when you throw in the Indian paintbrushes with them, the combination is exquisite.

Here's a lovely photo of both.

Even though you can find (and take) photo after photo of the bluebonnet, they never quite capture the "blueness" properly - kind of like trying to capture the beauty of the Caribbean - so many photos come close, but never quite get it. If you see the bluebonnets in the right light, the blue can become so intense, you almost have to look away. Then, you have to look again.

The bluebonnets just aren't as spectacular without the Indian paintbrushes.

Here is the Legend Of The Texas Bluebonnet and the Indian paintbrush legend is somewhat similar - a young Indian boy wanted to paint a sunset but was unable to find the colors. The Great Spirit provided him with the colors he needed. Wherever he left his paintbrush, a beautiful flower grew.

Well, there's my Texas flower tribute for the day. I took some photos in my own yard and will share those as soon as I download them.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

One Spirit


click to see larger

One Spirit was created in the wake of hearing a wonderful message. While I create each piece, how it comes about is difficult to explain. In other words, if you asked me to draw four children interconnected, I just wouldn't be able to do so. Not from the lack of "want to." My art just flows. It is usually triggered by a thought, a song, a story, or something that strikes me as powerful. Sometimes, it's just "seeing" the face in the colors.

Anyway, this particular piece has become one of my very favorites. I don't often make prints for myself, but this one is being made and may even get framed. Corny as it sounds, we really are one family, one spirit, connected hand to hand and heart to heart.

Cool Sunday Mutterings

Good Sunday morning! It's early, the sun is out, the sky is vivd blue, and there's still a hint of coolness in the air although we're scheduled for a high of 80 degrees. And, to top it all off, it's time to play Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Stink:: Bomb
  2. Renewal:: Contract
  3. I remember...:: when country wasn't cool
  4. Loneliness:: Desolation
  5. Ooooh:: Child, things are gonna' get easier...
  6. For real:: dude
  7. Titanium:: rod
  8. Get down:: on it
  9. Rupture:: Burst
  10. Dramatic:: effect


Life is good!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Things Change

Sometimes, things just work out. Lo and behold, I get to work, call the corporate travel agency, and the round trip tickets were over $600.00 and I couldn't fly back direct - it would make me fly from Monroe, LA to Memphis, TN to come home to Houston. Doesn't really make sense.

So, I get to drive - like I wanted to do in the first place.

Yeah!

Friday Fears

Yea, it's Friday! And I only have to work from about 7am - 9am (gotta' get those 40 hours in, you know).

Next week, I have to fly to Monroe, LA in a prop plane. I haven't flown in a very long time and the idea of getting on a prop plane doesn't really appeal to me, but I guess I'll deal with it.

Things in my office are so tense. With one department about to be spun off into a subsidiary company, there are a lot of people suddenly taking retirement packages (gee, think that was a bit "forced?"), and no one really knows what's going on, what's the next step. Everyone seems so "on edge" and scared. My best guess is it's severe streamlining, but I guess we'll know for certain as it all unfolds.

Well, I better get moving, so I can get in rush hour traffic for an hour to work two. Life is funny sometimes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Caseworker Visit

The caseworker came to the house tonight (no excuses, no family emergencies this time) and we had a good chat. Basically, they need to personally see your home - where the child will sleep, do you have all the facilities required by the state, etc...

As you may have read, we were a bit sceptical about him after he neglected to meet his appointment a few weeks ago, however, he redeemed himself today. Since my job has changed a bit, we needed to relay that info so he knew there could be several times a week I would be out of town. He didn't seem to think it would be problem as long as we had adequate care while my husband was working. We don't know who that will be yet, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Seems there is an approximately 13 year old girl in south Texas who fits our hopes of an "older" child. It's just the beginning stages, but it seems promising. Our caseworker told us his goal is to have a child for all his families by summer. That would be perfect timing as she wouldn't have to transfer schools in mid-semester.

More as we know....

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Mutters Uttered

Sunday means I mutter unconsciously... well, okay, I was conscious, but I muttered! Why not join us in this weekly exercise and see what first pops into your head? Alrighty, click here!

  1. Shape up:: Exercise
  2. New Orleans:: Excess
  3. In the bedroom:: Passion
  4. All the time:: God is good
  5. Philosophy:: What do you think?
  6. Tyler:: Roses
  7. Disturbed:: Quandry
  8. French kiss:: First base
  9. Solidify:: Freeze
  10. Furtive:: Glances


We've been working in the backyard all weekend - spring has been here in Texas for quite a while, so we're running behind, but it sure is looking good! Today will involve a lot of weeding and mulching. Hopefully, we'll be completely done by next weekend and will be able to plant some new flowers. If all goes as planned, I'll show it to you.

I am going to scam out of some of the work today as my niece is home from college on spring break and wants me to come have lunch with her and my sister. She has my undying gratitude!

(our little dog)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Re-audit?

Sometimes everything falls right into place. As you may know, we recently found out that my department at work was being spun off into a new subsidiary of our company and was probably going to relocate. Most likely to a "cheap" part of the country.

Going through this adoption process, etc... we would just be unable to move. Of course, my husband did not want to quit his job either.

Anyway, I decided to "let go" and let what happened happen and be happy with it. As soon as I made this decision, I got called into a regional vice president's office and offered a position auditing - this is something I've done before and love. Seems they need someone with experience to be a "senior auditor" and do some training.

Life is good!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Caseworker Diary

Caseworker Update: As you may have read, our adoption caseworker did not keep his appointment to meet us last Friday at our home. No call. Nothing. Well, we were hot! After meeting the guy previously, my husband and I both felt he was not as mature as we were hoping our worker would be along with some other reservations.

Since we are going to adopt an older child, we are restricted to using a state agency and all the red tape that wraps up that whole process.

Monday morning arrives and I am fired up to get in touch with his supervisor and be assigned a new caseworker. Believe it or not, she promptly returned my call. She immediately started out apologizing - seems our worker had a family emergency last Friday and she was supposed to call and inform us. She got called into court on another case and just forgot. Okay, I could buy that, however, I felt the need to keep going telling her I didn't want to be my caseworker's mother - reminding him of appointments, etc... how could we get a worker just like her, the supervisor, since she was clearly dedicated, intelligent, responsible, and every other fabulous adjective I could find. Amazingly, that worked great! She told me all the other caseworkers had over 60 cases each, but ours, since he was new to the department, only had 10 (which means he has much more time to dedicate to each).

To sum it up... we agreed to keep our guy and she agreed to stay in the background and completely oversee every move he makes. Also, we can circumvent him if we feel it necessary and go directly to her.

With this agreement, we feel she will make sure we are a priority on his list.

More as we go... this is a very tedious process.

Oh, and one tip: schmoozing is a very effective tool.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hot Muttered Blog

Now days, it just doesn't feel like Sunday unless I am participating in the Unconscious Mutterings exercise (you can, too!).

  1. Usher:: In
  2. Cherish:: Treasure
  3. Mistreat:: Abuse
  4. Forum:: Gathering
  5. Systematic:: Mathematics
  6. Warning:: Light
  7. Wash:: and Wear
  8. I wish:: I might
  9. Candles:: Birthday
  10. Metallic:: Sheen


For those who inquired, yes, I created the artwork in the previous post. Thanks for the comments.

Later today, my dad and his wife are coming over to enjoy that gumbo with us. So, that means I need to go vacuum... I don't really mind because the dinner is already made and that sure makes everything so much easier.

2X

click to see full-sized
click to see full-sized

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Goat Free Gumbo

The house smells great. The husband is in there making chicken and sausage gumbo right this minute. If you've never made it, it's hard to describe that roux smell - it's got the fragrance of comfortable living - rich and complex, but really rather simple. We are very fortunate to have access to wonderful seafood here in Houston, however, sometimes that chicken & sausage mix is perfection.

This smell is whirling around my head and Lyle Lovett is singing, "Nobody Knows Me Like My Baby."

Sometimes all the little things of life come together in a perfect blend of Normal and all five senses are in harmony.

Heck, even my sixth sense is digging it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Goat Gotten

Here it is 10:17pm and our caseworker, due to arrive at 5:30pm, never showed up.

I imagine his supervisor will be getting an earful on Monday morning and I also imagine he will no longer be assigned to this case. Sheesh! I feel like my mother now, but what happened to the "professional" in "professionalism?"

Other than that, it was a good day. Of course, all Fridays are pretty darn good.

Okay, okay, that stinking caseworker has gotten my goat. Grrrrrrrrrrr!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rehash, Red Tape, and Zippers

So, the plans at work are still a mystery and probably will remain so for at least a month or two. Of course, we just brought in about 30 people from Dallas, so they're all still mobile, which means there are really only approximately 5 people who are in the lurch if the office moves out of town.

I would be one of those five. We all have approximately 20 years so they could save a lot of money cutting their losses, but you can never figure them out. I have some fears attached to having to start over at this point, but I truly choose to believe that everything will turn out wonderfully and the perfect job is coming to me right now.

Okay, I have said all that for me. Excuse me if I get redundant, but I am finding this to be a good sounding board for myself.

I've been really crabby lately and I don't know why... is it as easy as deciding not to be? Yeah, I think so. I'll choose to stop it.

Tomorrow, our caseworker is coming to the house for the first time. We found 4 children we are interested in considering for adoption. Of course, we can't do anything until their caseworker thinks we would be a match. There is so much involved and tons of red tape. We're just trying not to get stuck!

Heard at the water cooler: Does he zip his pants in the front or on the side? I want a real man!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Now what??

Well, we all moved into our new space at work yesterday and 15 minutes after arriving, we were all called into a meeting to inform us that our department is now going to be part of a wholly owned subsidiary of the company for which we work. In other words, our paychecks will no longer be from the "mothership" and nor will our length of service.

Oh, and here's the other kicker... we don't know where this new subsidiary will be located. Thirty people just moved here from Dallas after being strung along for about 8 mos. The first day they're here, they are informed they could possibly move again within 6 mos.

I would not be able to relocate, so my hope is they'll choose this location to be the new site. If not, it'll be time to start looking I guess.... we'll see!

For once, I am choosing to truly practice what I believe - that everything happens for a reason and the reason is always for my best - whether I can see it in the moment or not. Like I mentioned in my "100 things," God is good - all the time. Yeah!