Sticky Fingers and Hairstyling – Summer Bliss


Summer’s here, officially, today is the second day since my kids have been out of school. I’ve been forced to set my art aside and spend some quality time with them. So far we have played dance dance on the xbox, did some lame exercise because it was too hot out then ate freezies. One trip to the dirt bike track in the late afternoon then the grocery store to stock up on frozen yogurt (except ice cream was on sale).

Now it’s day two and I was woken up to sweaty kids clad in only their underwear trying to tickle me. Then a full movie day (because it rained). After too much icecream and chocolate milk, freezie packages stuck to the floor and a few sticky faced kisses now I am getting my hair done by my  youngest daughter. She has a habit of banging the brush on my head then tearing it through bringing tears to my eyes. But hey, she’s stopped talking and folks, in the 48 hours since school let out for summer I don’t think this child has stopped talking once.

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Keeping Your Children Safe and Out Of Trouble – An Artist and Mother’s Account


If you have read any of my blog you will notice that my favourite subjects to write about are my art and my children. With four kids of my own and two step kids it does lead to a lot of writing material. The current ages of my kids run from a 6 year old up to a 19 year old. So there have been a lot of different issues to contend with as a mom.

 

So far I have been lucky in that my children have not screwed up too much, except for one incident which we will get too in due time. I managed to keep my oldest in line enough that he made it to adulthood relatively unharmed and somewhat balanced. I only ever received two phone calls from a principal, one because he bullied a boy on the bus in the misguided effort to impress a girl he had a crush on. The other because he got the brilliant idea to give the middle finger to a police cruiser from the school bus window. He was pretty shocked when the cruiser pulled the bus over and had “words” both with my son and his friend, the second culprit. But aside from those two incidences he has been a relatively good boy.

 My youngest son however, who just turned 9 seems to live at the principals office. He has done everything from telling his teacher she wasn’t the boss of him, that only mom was the boss, to giving his principal the middle finger, to drawing happy faces on the walls of the school bathroom in permanent marker, to an outburst during an assembly that centered around the topic of Respect. At the end of this assembly the speaker asked the kids “so, did we learn anything here today?” To which my son blurted out, loudly of course “nope, nothing at all.” Apparently he thinks he’s a comedian, but his comedic ways have landed him in the principal’s office like it’s his second home. He’s actually a funny kid who seems to hold no fear for anyone in charge, which scares me and causes many, many sleepless nights. But his stories, of which there are many can be saved for another day.

 No, today’s story centers on the first time any of my children have truly shocked me. You see we have two teenage girls, my daughter who just turned 16 and my stepdaughter who will be 16 this summer.

When they were 14 they had a sleep over with my stepdaughters friend from the city. They approached me the next morning to ask if they could go hang out in the small town we live near. Of course I said no, what would be the point in going and hanging out except to get into trouble. There just seemed no reason, they had no money to spend, it was too cold to go play at the park so what else would there be for them to do but “hang out”. So instead they asked if they could go for a walk around our little neighborhood. We live in the country in a small village that is surrounded by farms. So to this I said yes, of course you can go for a walk. Here is where I failed as a parent; there was a barn up the road from our house that apparently was frequented by the local kids as a “hang out”. I had no idea they spent their time up there, when they said, “go for a walk” I took it at face value. These are kids that have never gotten into any real trouble you see, in fact I will go so far as to brag and tell you they care about school, their marks and their future. So they decided this day to go hang out at the barn up the road. They climbed up into the rafters and talked and laughed and joked around. However while they were talking they also took out two lighters and proceeded to light little pieces of straw on fire and then throw them out the window down into the snow covered ground below. I’m guessing you can imagine what happened next? And you would be right.

One of the pieces of straw went unnoticed, landing below them in a stack of hay where it lay smoldering. This barn was all but abandoned and had been filled to the rafters with old hay. Hay that had been left untouched for years. It was the friend that noticed the flames, as they all had their backs to it. The barn was actually on fire! They jumped down and attempted to put out the fire with snow first, then by stomping their feet into the flames. But for each little fire that got smothered another one would flare up. When it started really spreading they decided to go for help. As soon as they ran out of the barn into the road the whole thing went up in flames. I cannot tell you how lucky we are that this didn’t end in worse tragedy for this dried up barn all but exploded with them just a few feet out of harms way.

This has been by far the worst thing we have had to deal with as parents. It has left these girls with a huge burden; they feel guilt towards the farmer, who didn’t press charges. Only asked that they help in the clean up of the debris. Guilt towards the homeowners who’s siding got melted from the heat of the flames. Guilt towards my husband and I because our insurance premiums rose due to the pay out for the melted siding.  They have had no social life to speak of since the incident, no cell phones, no computers (except for the use of mine for homework). Their life consists of doing homework and going on excursions as a family. It’s a harsh lesson I wouldn’t wish on any kid or parent. Even the kids you think won’t screw up have the potential to truly shock you and you really can’t take your eyes off of them at any age.

Did any good come out of this? I doubt any of my kids will ever play with fire again; this was a traumatic event for the whole family, right down to the littlest one. I also think my teen girls have lost that “it could never happen to me” mentality that most teens have which may save them in the future.  They also don’t seem to take things for granted anymore and have since learned the true value of money. This incident threatened to ruin us financially, if it weren’t for the good hearted nature of that farmer who wanted no money, no charges laid and was satisfied with their sincere and tearful apology.

I just hope my girls pay it forward if they ever find themselves in a position where forgiveness is needed. That they will never forget that farmer’s big heart and forgiving nature as they grow up and move through their own lives. And that they never take their eyes off their own children. 

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God And The Weather And A Cool Thunderstorm Painting


We were supposed to have a sunny day today; instead it’s wet and damp and cloudy, gloomy and grey. I want to protest but I’m not sure whom I’m supposed to protest too, the weather network for lying to me, mother nature for this relentless rain, God even (if you’re a believer, not sure if I am, still on the fence here since realistically it seems a lot like believing in Santa Claus, but man do I want to be a believer, sure would make life easier, and then I could complain to him, about the weather and of course all the awful things happening in the world today).

You see I was going to spend my day outside painting, cheerfully soaking up the rays, but instead I will sit on my computer, ramble on about nothing on my blog and share my thunderstorm painting. Seems fitting, suits my mood.

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Insomnia, An Itchy Foot And Lots Of Creative Thinking


Last night I couldn’t sleep. I lay there staring at the ceiling, trying to quiet my mind and relax my muscles. I even tried counting sheep. That didn’t help. I started making a mental inventory of everything I had to do the next day. Do you ever do this? Then come the next day you can’t remember what you were thinking of. I always tell myself I should keep a pen and paper beside my bed for these nights.

As I lay there, trying desperately to ignore the itchy bug bite on the bottom of my foot, my mind starts constructing a blog post, and then envisioning a new abstract painting. They were both brilliant, in my mind anyway, in the dead of night with no distractions aside from my itchy foot. But come morning I couldn’t remember a single detail of what I thought was too good to forget.

So I stare at my blank word press sheet, straining to recall what I had thought I wanted to say today and all I can come up with is, last night I couldn’t sleep, so I stared at the ceiling and tried to ignore the bug bite on the bottom of my foot.Image

Teaching The Importance Of Social Media And Applying It To Ourselves As Well


So I’ve been teaching my better half how to set up an etsy shop, how to tweet, put together a facebook fanpage and blog. The funny thing is it turns out I know alot about all this stuff, lot’s of research over the years, lot’s of trial and error (okay less trial, more error) but I myself don’t apply even half of what I told him are his must haves. I don’t really have alot of time to spare to cover all my bases, tweeting, blogging, promoting my fanpage, keeping up an etsy shop, keeping my other selling venues current. Not to mention painting the commissions, packaging and shipping sold work, etc, etc. It’s alot of work!! So here I am lecturing him on the importance of being consistent just to pull up my own blog and see the last post was in November! Shameful!! I think I will take my own advice, give myself a good old kick in the butt and get busy on at least one thing on my list of to do’s….. Add Me On Facebook

Keeping Up With The Masses; An Artists Struggle With Social Media and The Art Of Engaging


I’ve spent my morning trying to get organized, listing art on new sites, keeping up with the social media sites, tweaking my twitter, stumbling my pictures and finally updating my blog. There is so much to keep up with……aggghhhh. I want to simplify, downsize, reign things in a little but I find myself afraid to miss an opportunity. How many of you feel lost on twitter? Do you feel like your tweets are just going out into the unknown, never to be noticed? Engage we are told; show you are a real person. Does anyone REALLY want to hear about my kids first day of school, how I burned the oatmeal this morning or how fat my kitten is getting? I just don’t see it but I’ll keep tweeting just in case there is someone likeminded out there actually listening. I just want to paint, lock myself away and paint until I run out of supplies. But what’s the use of painting for a living if I don’t find a way to share it with the masses. I’ll cross my fingers and send new artwork out to cyber space in the hopes someone out there will connect with it enough to press that buy button. I’m just trying to make a living, pay some bills, buy the kids some cloths for school, afford a piece of salmon once in awhile. And maybe, once in blue moon I will find myself engaging with someone else floating around in this vast cyber space who’s also trying to connect and make a living off their handmade goods. Now I’m off to tweet!