Thursday, August 30, 2007

Job interview!

Before we went to Michigan, I applied for a part-time history educator position at the local museum (Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, or MAC). It's a job-share (2 people splitting the job), 18 hours a week, where I'd be developing programs and teaching kids (k-12) on field trips and helping coordinate volunteers. I thought it'd be a good fit for me -- I like teaching kids, and I was a history major many, many years ago.

I hadn't heard anything from them, and I figured they were either (a) not in a rush to conduct the search or (b) they'd decided not to interview me. But they left me a phone message Tuesday afternoon, and I called back Wednesday morning to discover that they did, in fact, want to interview me. So, I go in Wednesday morning to face a panel of 3 people; they'll ask the same questions of all of the candidates.

I don't know that I can describe the mixture of delight and terror that's churning in me. I looked at the want ads on a fluke, and there was this job, just calling my name! But it's been a long, long time since I held a "real" job. My position at Corbin Art Center is more like a contracting position; I am in charge, for the most part. I haven't had a supervisor in 10 years. I'm wracking my brain to come up with appropriate references. Am I ready to do this stuff again? How am I going to handle family responsibilities, hold down a job, and still find time to make art? I know, lots of people do this, but how am I going to do it?

But that's just it -- I am letting my ol' ego get in the way, aren't I? If I truly believe that God is always leading me to my good, then I have been led to the possibility of this job. What do I have to fear? What is the worst that can happen? I don't get the job? I do get the job, I hate it, I quit? I don't do it well and get fired? I've survived being fired before. I've quit before. I've not been hired before. None of this is unknown. I've not held a steady job since I've been a mom, so that's new ground. Maybe this is a challenge that I need right now. Maybe I need to relax and affirm that whatever happens, it's going to be okay. I can embrace the opportunity, and know that whatever comes, I will be just fine.

There's something to be said for the push that nerves can give you, though! Lots to do before the interview: line up references, get a decent outfit to interview in, including shoes and a little make-up(!), go tour the museum as a "civilian." I was there during spring break to teach a craft for Corbin, but I was pretty much glued to my spot. (Ironically enough, though, I spent the day in the new history classroom, which will be my home if I get this job.)


I went out to get the paper this morning and found that a squirrel had decided to snack on one of my Taxi tomatoes. It lay in the pot, half eaten. I picked the rest of the tomatoes that were mostly ripe.

There are some little green tomatoes left on the plants. Who knows how many more will ripen in the shorter, cooler days ahead? I am happy to savor every bite of whatever comes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

DSL at last!

First, great news -- Chris installed DSL on our computer last night! We've finally decided to pay real money for a good internet connection. Now I won't be spending all day waiting for stuff to download and upload.

Added a little more to the collage last night. I used a technique that (I think) I read about in Cloth Paper Scissors. I tore up a paper doily, painted it with liquid acrylics, then applied the painted side to the collage, sort of stamping it with the lace. It didn't leave a well-defined lace print -- too many layers of paint already -- but I like how it looks more random than if I had blotted on paint with a brush or a rag.

And yes, we have more tomatoes -- three for dinner last night. I put the golf ball in the photo to give you an idea of relative size. Most of the tomatoes so far have been a little bigger than a golf ball, especially the Taxis. No jumbo tomatoes here, just lovely and tasty.

Today Ross and I are going to the beach at Lake Coeur d'Alene with school friends. Should be warm enough to swim, too. Gotta embrace summer while it's still here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cub Scout hike, more toe-mah-toes, collage paint

Ah ha! MORE tomatoes! The two yellow ones are pretty squishy -- we'll see if they pass the taste test. Thirteen tomatoes so far.... And no, Bradley, I am NOT going to cook them. My harvest is too little to waste them like that!

I was going to post photos of our Cub Scout pack hike, but I've run into technical problems. I stupidly forgot to bring my digital camera, so I used my cell phone camera. Lousy quality, but better than nothing. Well, I've spent almost an hour trying to email myself those photos from the phone, but no dice. I'm pretty sure it's a T-Mobile problem. I'll have to call customer service at some point to figure out what's going on.

In any event, the hike itself was fun, if maybe too challenging for some of us out-of-shape folks. We went to Dishman Hills, a wildlife reserve in Spokane Valley. Lots of pine forest and rocky ridges. One of the dads is into geocaching (a high-tech treasure hunt -- people hide "treasure," usually lidded containers with trinkets and some sort of log for finders to sign, and then post GPS coordinates on a website for other people to download and then search). He brought along his GPS unit and we searched for three "treasures" in the area. The group found two out of three, which was pretty good. We also hiked to the top of Eagle Ridge, a challenging climb but a stunning view in the end.

More collage work: I dabbed on some yellow Dye-Na-Flow paint in spots, let it dry, then brushed on some Golden Fluid Acrylics (transparent red iron oxide and transparent yellow iron oxide), mixing it, rubbing some of it off with a piece of watercolor paper, smudging a little with my finger. The piece now has a ruddy glow.

The photo is a little light, but you get the idea. The background is more unified by the colors. I think I'm going to do some drawing next, and/or stamping. Hmm ...

Friday, August 24, 2007

We're up to 9 tomatoes and counting; collage progress

I harvested 4 more tomatoes for dinner yesterday, including a "Taxi" yellow. I'm not sure it was entirely ripe; they seem to stay much firmer than the red ones. It was less acidic than the Oregon Spring tomatoes -- prettier rather than tastier, I'd say. I'll wait longer to harvest the next one, to see if they soften up more.

How have we been eating them, you ask? Simply cut up, with salt and pepper to taste, or in salad. Last night we put them on top of simple nachos, just black beans and cheese (and roasted garlic salsa for the adults). Yum!


I worked on my collage for a few minutes. I had thought of trying some more modern elements on top of those paintings, so I got out some titanium white paint, and "graffiti-ed" on them. "Voir des mesdames et mesdemoiselles" means (roughly) "to see some ladies and young ladies." My grasp of French is pretty thin these days, so I got out the old high school French-English dictionary. I liked some of the alternative definitions of "voir," so I included them in the collage, as well.

So now I'm thinking about doing a wash with a different color or two, maybe rubberstamping, maybe adding transparencies ... the ideas are pretty fluid at this point. We'll see what moves me when I work on it some more.


Ross was supposed to have his friend Christopher over for a playdate today, but Angela called and said that he's got a stomach bug, so no dice. Ross and I have agreed to head to Comstock pool for one last swim, since the outdoor city pools close for the summer today. It's supposed to be in the mid-80s, so it should be a comfortable afternoon for taking a dip.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Unrest and experimentation

Yesterday evening, I grabbed the camera and took pictures of my roses before the sun faded away. Most of the shots are blurry -- which is okay, because I can see using them as background images in the future. I thought this very full rose captured a grand moment of the lushness, and the end, of summer.


Do not adjust your screen. I've been fiddling with the fonts and colors in my blog format. And I put a photo behind my title at the top of the page. I want to liven things up a bit. Of course, they may be a little too lively. If anything gives you a headache, let me know! I can take constructive criticism.


I've been sort of restless lately. Summer vacation is almost over. The non-routine of the summer is almost at an end, and I'm not sure what my new routine will be. I've applied for a part-time job at a local museum; I think it could be a great fit, but the uncertainty has me antsy: Will they interview me? Will they offer it to me? What hours will it be? How will I commute? The wondering goes on, ad nauseum.

Ah, I fritter away the present as I obsess about a future that has not arrived!

I am not quite feeling grounded these days. It helps to spend some time on the chores that I've neglected -- I pulled some weeds this morning, which gave me a momentary feeling of accomplishment. But I guess I'm ready to move on to the next thing, whatever that will be, but it hasn't arrived yet. Or maybe it has arrived, but I haven't recognized it yet, since I am constantly wondering about that nebulous future.

Sometimes unrest gives me an opportunity. I feel freer to take chances, to experiment. If I am a bit unhinged from my moorings, I'm more willing to take risks. Does that make any sense?

Well. I've started a collage for my journal. I went hunting for interesting paper, and I found this stash of art magazine photos from one of Alma Stoller's zines. She includes lots of goodies in her publications, but I hadn't used any until now. The photos are of oil paintings, French, 19th century I'm guessing. Not my usual thing. I recently bought some Liquitex clear gesso, and thought that I could try the gesso over the glossy photos, then paint and or draw on top of the photos. Hmm.... So, here's my collaged background:

I'll probably try out some ideas in my journal before I actually put them on this background. I have some vague ideas, but we'll see what develops.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tomato harvest and vacation photos, continued

This may be one of my more lame ideas, but I thought it might be fun to memorialize my tomato harvest by posting photos of them all. So, here are the tomatoes from the last 24 hours:

On to the vacation photos.

After the long drive through Chicagoland and Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it was great to relax at my in-laws' house. Ross took the opportunity to practice his golf game with his aunt Cathy. The intrepid duo braved windy conditions and whacked practice balls around the back yard. Cindy (Cathy and Chris' sister) and I watched from the shelter of the side of the garage.

One of the highlights of our Michigan vacations is our stay at Camp Chicken (Cathy's camp in the backwoods). Ross got in some BB gun practice almost as soon as we got there.

We also played some badminton, and a few games of croquet. If you think croquet is for wimps, try playing it on dry, bumpy and hilly ground, or through weeds and sand! I almost threw my mallet in disgust a few times.

We took a hike through the forest to one of the hunting shacks on the property. It was a lovely walk in the woods -- hardly any bugs, because it's been a very dry summer. Hardwood forest is a little foreign to me because I grew up on a land of white pines, but I'm always happy to walk in the woods and observe life around me. Ross checked out the inside of the hunting shack, making sure mice hadn't invaded it, as they had wrecked havoc in a shack back at the main camp.

Grasshopper hunting was one of Ross' favorite pastimes this year. He decided to trap the insects in badminton birdies. (They do sort of look like a cage, don't they?) He had Arlene (Cathy's friend) hold them for him.

The biggest hit of camp was Uno Attack, an addictive card game that all of us could play together. It's a good thing there's a really long picnic table at Camp Chicken! The game is Uno with a lot of twists -- diabolical wild cards that allow you to trade hands with another player, for example. There's also a card-dealing machine that spits out cards at random; the farther along in the game you are, the more cards it spits out. It easily took us an hour to play some hands, but it was a lot of fun. Even my father-in-law, Harry, got in the action, helping Ross play his hand.

(left to right: Chris, Arlene, Ross, Cindy, and Harry)

Sometimes folks would take a break. Here's the peanut gallery at one point [l to r: Cathy, Gloria (my mother-in-law) and Dave (Cindy's partner)]:

Evenings were peaceful affairs. We were lucky to be up there during the peak of the annual Perseids meteor shower, during a new moon. My in-laws live in a very rural part of Michigan, so there isn't much light pollution there. One night, Chris, Ross, and I laid down on my in-laws' front yard to watch the show, with my mother-in-law joining us (standing!) for a while. The Milky Way was incredibly bright, and it was easy to see satellites go flitting by. We were wrapped up in blankets -- it was a bit chilly, and the dew was falling. We saw some wonderful meteorites, complete with smoke trails. We also watched the skies up at camp. Although the trees block part of the view, the sky is still brimming with stars and is full of mystery and wonder. It's disappointing to get sleepy, because you want to stare up at the sky all night!

Our trips to visit family are seldom glamorous or flashy, but they have their own rhythms and rewards.

PS: My sister-in-law Cathy posted some great photos of our visit on her blog:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My first tomatoes of the season, and vacation photos

First, I am showing off my first tomatoes of the season!

It's late in the summer, but I didn't buy the plants until June, so it's great to have any tomatoes, period. The red ones are Oregon Spring. I also have two yellow tomato plants, called Taxi, but they're not quite ready yet. The green tomato in the first photo was sitting in the potting soil when we got home -- I guess it must have been knocked off the plant. It's ripening now.

I am something of a tomato snob. If I am only going to grow one vegetable, it's going to be tomatoes. Store-bought has nothing on home-grown.

Now, on to the vacation pics. We flew into Chicago on August 9th, and spent the next day visiting some of our friends who live in the area, as well as touring the Field Museum. Ross loved it; we could have spent two or three days in the museum, easily. (Chris thinks Ross will grow up to do something in the natural sciences, and after seeing his enthusiasm on this trip, I have to agree.) The obligatory photo: Ross and Chris in front of "Sue," the largest and most complete fossil of a T. Rex found to date.

We spent a lot of time looking at the dinosaur exhibits. Here, Ross is comparing his feet to the size of a dinosaur track.

Two heads are better than one!

Time flew by, and deep in the middle of the "Evolving Planet" exhibit, Chris looked at his watch and realized that it was time to leave. (The hell of Friday rush hour traffic was upon us.) I felt bad having to drag Ross through half of the exhibit, but we did slow down so that we could take a look at the hominids, including a reproduction of "Lucy's" fossil remains, and a reconstruction of what she might have looked like in life.

Well, I'll post some more details from our trip later. (Chris is going to order DSL for us, so uploading photos will become less time-consuming. Hurray!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm back home

Chris, Ross, and I got back to Spokane Saturday evening. Chaplin was very happy to see us, and even let me sleep the first night. (He usually tortures me when we get back from a trip.)

Spent yesterday unpacking, doing laundry and washing dishes. I need to go get groceries today, among other things. I have a backlog of Yahoo! groups postings and email to catch up on, too, as well as posting lots of photos here. I promise I'll post more than once this week!

Off to shop.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Hampshire visit

I'm posting some photos from our trip to New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where we visited family and friends for a few days at the end of July.

We visited my brother Greg and his family in Dracut, Mass. Ross had fun with his cousins -- especially Shaun, who had an alluring GameBoy to show him.

We visited the USS Albacore, an experimental submarine from the 1950s that is now a museum in Portsmouth, NH. Talk about tight quarters! Not for the claustrophobic. Ross and Chris checked out the periscope, and Ross took his turn at the wheel.

We got to go to the beach three times! I love the smell of the salt air, the sand between my toes, and the waves sucking at my ankles. Chris, the Midwestern landlubber, is not thrilled, but he indulges me. We made our usual trip to Ordione Point, just south of Portsmouth. It's a state park that has preserved the traditional rocky beach of New England. Not a place to sunbathe, but it is stunning in its own right. The tide was out all the way, so we had great luck finding lots of crabs. Chris even saw a tiny lobster!

Ross got the chance to use his uncle Greg's old BB gun for target practice at my parents' house. The gun has seen better days, but Ross figured out how to compensate for its weak trajectory, and hit the milk jug every time. My dad is overseeing his progress in this picture.