Art Camp Virgin           

5 07 2017

Today, I went to summer camp. 

 I am sixty-three years old and this was my first time.

Let me clarify a few things:

                I was allowed to go to camp when I was a kid; I did not WANT to go to camp, so I didn’t.

                I like to work alone in my studio.  I am not a “painting party” kind of girl.

                When I am invited to an event, my instinct is always to decline.

So, how did today happen?

A woman I know – let’s call her Connie (because that’s her name) – has seven of the most amazing grandchildren on the planet.  These kids range from three to nineteen years old and have wildly different personalities and interests.  They all, for some reason I don’t understand but am ever grateful however, like me, even calling me Aunt Paula.  I feel like I hit the jackpot!

Well, every Wednesday, Connie has all the grands at her house for art and craft day and I was invited to join them.  My usual reluctance to leave my house made a momentary appearance and then evaporated at the thought of seeing all those great kids.

So, I went.

We all had a wonderful time pouring specially mixed paints onto canvases and making them do cool and pretty things by attacking them with butane torches – it was high drama with laughs and oohs and aahs (and dirty fingers and stained clothes).  We enjoyed a spectacular grandkid-dy lunch of grilled burgers and hot dogs and French fries, seasoned with many more laughs. When it was time for me to go, the hugs from those kids were like a tonic for my spirit.

I did not realize just how much my heart needed to be lifted until they did it.

Sometimes, other people see our needs more clearly than we do.  We call those people friends.  Thank you, my friends.  I do not take one moment of your affection for granted.  What a treasure. What a gift. Thank you.

By the youngest artist in the bunch. Pretty darned nice for a three-year-old (with some big kid help).


I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No

24 08 2016

Remember just a few short weeks ago, I was waxing (sort of) poetic about the virtues of NO?  Yeah, might not have been all that memorable, but I did it.

As with many things, upon further reflection, I’ve had a little change of heart – or at least change of perspective.

In the spirit of being more positive (who doesn’t think we could use a very big dose of that, right now?!), I’d like to amend my former exhortation:

Don’t “just say no” to things that don’t bring you joy;  be ready for the YES moments that will follow.

That “no” is simply a place-holder for the goodness to come: all those things, people, events, experiences that are truly meaningful to us.

Just this week, I got to say YES and spend an entire day with people who make me glad to be me, in all my imperfect warts-and-all glory, just because I have such dear and fine friends in my life. That’s a pretty darned big deal.  Because I hoped such an opportunity might arise, I made sure I had saved time (by saying “no” to some other stuff) to be able to say YES!

You don’t have to kiss every frog that puckers up, but don’t be so determined to say “no” that you miss the prince . . . or princess . . . or friend . . . or Pokemon . . . or whatever makes your heart sing. 

“No” to one thing just means YES to better things.

monarch on buddleia 8-11

For example, “no” to spraying to kill Japanese beetles yielded this lovely YES.

Thank you very much for saying YES to reading my weekly Wednesday wanderings.

Friendly Fire

12 08 2015

One of the things I’ve noticed, as I have begun to grow up, is the change in my circle of friends. I am not talking about changes caused by the inevitable job transfer or retirement move; I am talking about the selective culling and rebuilding I’ve been doing, without even realizing I was actively doing it.

Upon examination, I see that my friends share a few traits. They are highly ethical. They are kind. They are reliable. They are decent.

They are also smart.

With all those common traits, there are vast differences, too. I’ve come to realize that (by design or accident) my friends have wildly divergent viewpoints on many issues: social, political, ideological, and fluffy. They and I disagree on a lot of things and they disagree amongst themselves.

There was a time when I felt it necessary to be surrounded by friends who shared my ideas about life. To be challenged was too frightening because I was unsure of my position. Now, I realize that being challenged will either lead me to better understand why I hold a given position or it will give me insight into why I might need to modify my stance. This works for me, whether it involves the desirability of the Designated Hitter Rule or the viability of the Affordable Care Act.

My friends make me better and stronger because they’re not just like me.

They make me happy because they just like me.