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Tag Archives: reverb
Prompt: Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
Pounding through Reverb10 today.
Two, four, six, eight! Who do I appreciate?
Simple – Chris, my husband.
Chris and I have had a rough couple of years. Years full of unemployment and underemployment. Years of financial stress and worry. And yet those same years have been really amazing – I co-founded The Wooden Cow Gallery. My photography gained local recognition in Albuquerque. Chris even had a small part in a feature film (MacGruber)! Great, steadfast friends and neighbors and awesome children. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
And then we made the leap to move to West Virginia – to leave the good and the bad behind and seek our fortunes elsewhere. And it’s been amazing. I’ve watched Chris come into his own with his job as a TV news reporter. This new career path is one that combines so many of his gifts and passions.
And, while things are still tight, we now own a home. And I have had the gift of time to figure out what I want to do with myself. And I have a plan to make it happen. And we can see bigger and better things in our future.
Love you, baby!
Prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
Oh, Reverb10, you test me! Sometimes I don’t want to think too deeply – and this is a deep one.
As you may or may not know, I’m a flaming liberal – socially and fiscally. Though I am not one to tow the party line – I do have difficulties with some liberal policies and ideology. I am registered as an Independent and have never voted a “straight ticket.” Most of my close friendships are with people who share my liberal tendencies. But there are some notable exceptions.
Meet my “difficult” friends -
1 – We’ll call her “Jenny.” Jenny is one of my many blogging/Facebook friends whom I have never met IRL. She is an amazing artist and writer and it is those aspects that drew me to her. She has that magical ability to take you to a place you’ve never been with her words – the colors, textures, sounds, smells, the feel of a place or experience. She wraps you in a magic cape that allows you to enter a space through her words alone. And her photography and paintings make me feel alive. Always simple but profound. Jenny is also libertarian leaning. We can look at the same situation and have vastly different views about it. And we have had some pointed online arguments and discussions.
And, yet, even though we have had those discussions – I value her in ways she probably does not even know. Her views engage me, and help me solidify my views. And her near daily postings are almost always one of the highlights of my day – her work and words mesmerize me. And she gets me in ways others don’t, sometimes in just a few words she gives me the encouragement I need to move forward and the validation I need regarding my work and artistic path. Thank you, “Jenny.”
2 – My brother-in-law, Greg. I only have one brother-in-law so I can’t give him an alias. I have known Greg and his partner from a distance for almost eight years. Greg is a balls to the walls Republican. Liberals and all of their ilk are a source of ridicule for Greg. Sometimes his Facebook posts make me ill.
Since we have moved to WV I have gotten to know Greg a lot better. I’ve seen the love he has for my children. I’ve seen the many ways he helps and supports the people in his life. I’ve seen his faith in God. I’ve seen his love for West Virginia. And he’s freakin’ funny! And he shares my joy of cooking. And we’ve had great giggles together while people-watching. And we’ve had some decent talks about issues where we had vastly different views. We have been together in joy and celebration and in mourning and sadness. And I love him. I love the beautiful, amazing, complex person that he is.
3 – We’ll call her “Virginia”. Virginia is a friend from Albuquerque. We met way back in 2005 when I started an ATC group there. Her art is fun and funky and colorful. She has a very different aesthetic from mine, as I tend to be more dark in my artistic viewpoint. Virginia’s kids are just a few years younger than me, and even though we had that generational difference she and I immediately became very close. We traveled together to Artfest in 2007, participated in several shows together, and both co-founded The Wooden Cow Gallery. But politics, is something we rarely talk about. And when we do it almost always ends badly with ruffled feathers and hurt feelings. But I value her so much. We have been together through such amazing creative adventures and those shared experiences bond us for life.
So, I don’t know if this post is about this year – although my new experiences with Greg have all been this year. And it is those experiences that have made this post bubble to the surface. It’s about realizing that, while I generally fall in with people who share my worldview, it’s my “difficult” friends that keep me grounded. They keep me learning, keep me open to other views and opinions. It’s my “difficult” friends that help me sharpen and solidify my own viewpoints. And it’s those friends who remind me that remind that LOVE is the answer - underneath all the noise and differences it is LOVE that binds us all.
Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
Ok, I’m on a Reverb10 roll! maybe I’ll even get caught up completely!
Wonder, wonder, wonder. I wonder as I wander. It’s a wonderful life.
I think I find wonder in just about everything. Just sitting around with my kids and seeing the world through their eyes gives me a sense of wonder. Nature fills me with wonder and inspiration – the fall in West Virginia has breathed new life into me. We’re definitely in winder mode here now, but it is beautiful in it’s own way. Meeting and connecting with people feeds my soul – and I have been doing that in spades recently.
Wonder, wonder everywhere!!
Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
And Reverb10 continues to kick my butt.
Most of the Reverb prompts have been easy/hard. Easy because I immediately know what I want to say, hard because they bring up such a maelstrom of emotions for me. This year has been soooooo emotional. I’ve never cried this much in my entire life. And blessedly, most of those tears have been happy or at least bittersweet – but there have been a few rounds of “ohmygodthissuckssoooobadimnevergoingtogetpastthis” crying also.
I’ve let go of everything this year. There have been no constants. I even had to let go of my family for a part of this year. I used to roll my eyes at those Survivor contestants when they became weepy blobs on the inevitable “video/letter/visit from family”. C’mon, it’s only been 26 days (or whatever) – get a grip!! Well, after over two months away from my husband and daughter I was a mess. Seeing Chris walk up to our door after all that time and I never wanted to let go of him ever again!! And when I saw Katie I couldn’t believe how much she’d grown and how grown up she had become.
I gave up photography for a few months as I dealt with all of the emotions of moving to Huntington. I knew the muse would call again so I didn’t stress it. But when I finally felt inspired again it was sooo wonderful to feel the weight of the camera in my hands again.
Albuquerque – ack, Albuquerque, how I love you and miss you. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back – it might hurt too much.
Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Whew, an easy one! Thanks, Reverb10!
Where have I discovered community? First Congregational United Church of Christ would be my first answer. My church family is an amazingly diverse and warmly welcoming group of people. As someone who has been a non believer most of her life having a church community to turn to is a revelation. I’ve been missing out for so long!
Huntington, WV would be my second answer. There are so many cool people here. So many people working to make Huntington be the best it can be. While there does seem to be a lot of complacency here, I think there is an even larger sense of revitalization and rebirth. So much talent and creativity and community spirit that is growing and growing. I every day I talk to people (in person and online) who are working on their dreams and working to make those dreams happen here.
Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
Wow, Reverb10 is not making things easy! I got so hung up on the Moment prompt and it took so long to think about and write that I am now woefully behind. Oh well, this prompt is from 12/8. We’ll see how I do on getting out quickly. Feeling ok so far.
Well, I know I’m different, and have known it forever.
I grew up in Louisiana in the 70/80s. Where you were white or black, but no one was brown – except me. Glaringly cafe au lait. It caused some issues – issues from other people and issues within myself. I distinctly remember getting fitted for glasses when I was in fourth grade (already an ordeal – I didn’t want to add to my otherness). And the optometrist was having problems finding glasses that fit my flat, brown nose. She asked me impatiently “What are you, anyway?” Like knowing how I came to have a flat, brown nose was going to help matters. I’ve heard that question so many times since then.
I’ve come to accept that question and deal with it based on the inflection of whoever is asking the question. And usually it’s just open curiosity. I know I don’t fit in any particular ethnic box. My parents are both Mexican – but as I’m adopted I don’t know exactly how that breaks down – do I have a lot a Spanish blood (I don’t think so based on my looks – maybe just a little), French maybe?, indigenous Mexican (definitely a lot based on my looks and body-type)? I don’t know and until I choose to try and find my birth parents it’s just going to be a mystery.
And I have a Anglo (Dutch to be exact) last name. My adopted Dad is of 100% Dutch descent. My mother is half Basque and half German. And they both strongly identify with those parts of themselves and so do I.
I blended so well in New Mexico which is a unique mix of Spanish, native, and Anglo. I looked like everyone else. Ahh, a blessed disguise. Now, in West Virginia, I’m getting that question again, and that’s ok.
So what am I? I’m a Mexican-American with strong Dutch/Basque/German influences who speaks a little spanish but can’t make a tamale to save her life. I’m also a native of Louisiana who makes jambalaya every Christmas Eve, and hoppin’ john on New Year’s Eve. And I pull out a pair of Dutch clogs every year at Christmas and place them on the mantle. And from my heart home, New Mexico, I’ve taken to putting out luminaria to guide the spirit of the Christ child into our home.
Merry Christmas to y’all til I saw you some mo!!!!! (from the Cajun Night Before Christmas)
Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
I’ve thought about this one all day. And then one that I keep thinking about just makes me want to bawl my eyes out so I’m not sure I can write about it.
OK, the moment we left Albuquerque.
That was one of the best/worst days I’ve ever had. Chris and I had been living apart for over two months when he flew back to drive us and all of our stuff to Huntington. Two months of missing him and Katie (who was staying with Chris’ parents) and being a single parent to William. Two months of going through every single we owned, selling stuff, giving stuff away, packing everything that was deemed worthy of a cross-country move. Two months of saying goodbye to everyone I’d ever known in Albuquerque – over and over and over again. It had gotten to the point that I almost didn’t want to go out because I would inevitably run into someone and have to say goodbye AGAIN to them.
But I was also excited. I spent hours on Google maps and Bing maps (two windows going at the same time on my computer) searching for the perfect neighborhood, the perfect house. Chris was doing so much legwork in Huntington, while living with his brother and learning the ropes of a new job. I cruised Huntington Flickr groups, connected with area artists, even poked around checking out nearby churches (when I told my Chris about that one he asked what I’d done with his wife!).
I fantasized about how I would decorate our new house, dreamed about the new photos I would take (what do to with all of the green I would soon be seeing), gleefully anticipated all of the free time I would soon have as a stay at home mom (yeah, right – that never happened – I booked myself up very quickly). I love to move, but hadn’t for six years. I relished the thought of a new place, new people, new adventures. I have constantly reinvented myself throughout my adult life and was ready for another change.
And then the day came. And it was HOT, almost 100 degrees. The walls and ceiling of the Uhaul would literally burn us when we bumped against them. We started early, with the help of our awesome neighbor Jennifer. Box after box was loaded in. All of the things we’ve collected together. Friends and neighbors stopped by during the day. Someone bring us cold drinks from Sonic, another brought us homemade tamales for lunch. So much directed love our way.
Around noon we realized our cat, Rocky, had been let out of the room we’d shut her in. Apparently all of the craziness had spooked her and off she ran. I started making rounds to all the neighbors that she hung out with (she’s very social) to see if she had run over to their houses.
I quietly panicked as we packed the last of the things into the Uhaul. We waited a few more hours hoping she would come back. Knowing that we had to get on the road that day – Chris was due back as work on Tuesday we still had such a long trip ahead of us. One of my neighbors offered to corral her and take care of her and then we would figure out a way to get her to us.
A group of friends gathered as we loaded our our bags into the cab. I was so upset about Rocky I could barely stand to smile and hug everyone goodbye. They were all so awesome to be there to say goodbye to us but I just wanted to get on the road before I totally lost it. All of these horrible ideas bubbled up in my head – that I would never see Rocky again, never be as happy as I had been in Albuquerque, never make the amazing connections I had there. And yet I hugged everyone that had gathered, smiled my way through tears, and climbed into the Uhaul, snuggling in with William. I spent the first few hours just looking out the window until all of the landmarks I loved disappeared. Here’s my moment – I breathed deeply as we crossed into Texas, finally relaxed into the vinyl seat, the goodbyes were over, and the adventure was beginning.
PS. Our awesome neighbor did wrangle Rocky later that day and next week Rocky flew cross-country by herself and we picked her up in Cincinnati.
Reverb10 – Day Two
Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Hmmm, I am not a writer – but I am a photographer, an artist, a wife, a mother, a friend. And there are a couple of glaring things that keep me from being the best at all of those things
My biggest roadblock is the mindless staying up late that I do. The kind where I end up watching lame TV shows and munch on popcorn, instead of actually turning off my brain and going to sleep. It negatively effects my whole day – and yet I get in cycles where I routinely am going to bed at 1 or 2am and wasting my days away in a sleepy fog. I’m currently in the middle of one of those cycles. I woke up at 7:30 today – and hope to break the cycle tonight.
The other thing is a big contributor to the first one, it’s caffeine. I am working on eating healthier - I only cook vegan for goodness sake! – but I still live off Dr. Pepper. I can get down to about one bottle a day – and then all of a sudden I zoom up to 3 and 4 and my whole life goes to hell. It’s a nasty habit I picked up in Texas and haven’t been able to shake. On that note, I’m going to go make myself some peppermint tea!
What roadblocks do you put up?
I discovered website, Reverb10, today. It gives you a daily prompt during the month of December to aid you in reflecting on 2010 and prepare for 2011. Sounds like a good idea, so I’m in.
Prompt #1: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)
This is one is easy!
I started the year in Albuquerque, NM. Working full-time, plus co-owner of a small local business. I averaged about 70 hours of work a week between work, gallery, and working at home. I barely saw my awesome children. My husband was unemployed/underemployed and took care of most of the kids’ daily needs. We lived off fast food and frozen dinners. And we were broke, constantly worrying about money and our financial future. And I was mostly happy. I loved my friends and neighbors, loved our neighborhood and William’s school. Loved the gallery, liked my job, relished my long hours as I felt I was building towards amazing things. Money sucked, but I just things would turn around for Chris, and kept moving forward.
Cue March and Chris is offered a job in Huntington, WV. We decided to go for it, knowing that we would be able to buy a house (something we couldn’t see happening in ABQ) and that I would be able to take a break from working and would have the time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
A week later, Chris and Katie take off for West Virginia. Chris to Huntington to start his job and find us a house. Katie to stay with Chris’ parents in Princeton, WV. William and I stay in Albuquerque so that he can finish kindergarten and I can pack up the house and tie up loose ends. Life as a single parent was new to me. I’d abdicated so much of the child rearing duties to Chris and hadn’t even realized it. I didn’t even know what time William got out of school on Wednesdays (early release day for his school), didn’t know most of the other parents in his class (though they all seemed to know Chris and would come up to me to ask after him). Being solely responsible for him made me adjust my schedule, and work to find things to do with him. We went to the zoo and aquarium, wandered around Old Town, attended festivals, went out to eat, and played in our yard (a lot!).
The first Friday in June Chris flies back and we attend my last gallery opening at The Wooden Cow. Saturday we load up the Uhaul, say goodbye to all of our friends and neighbors, and head out to West Virginia.
June and July were HARD. I felt like I was at the bottom of a very deep well. Nothing felt right. Even West Virginia sunlight felt wrong to me, so different from the blazingly, bright, pure light of New Mexico. I couldn’t see any good in West Virginia, didn’t want to see any good in West Virginia.
Then, things started to become clearer. I joined a local church (afters 20 years as an agnostic) and “found God.” (I hate that term but it’s the most apt). My church and church family have become a huge part of my life.
I reignited my long lost love of cooking and have focused on creating healthy and yummy food for my family. And now cook exclusively vegan. I started exercising – working to lose the extra 30 pounds that had accumulated during my six years in Albuquerque.
I have decided to open my own gallery in 2011 – and am working towards that goal. I am attending networking functions, going to attend a “small business startup” class, contacting other artists, and generally putting myself out there in ways I never thought possible.
And I have already met some amazing people and formed strong friendships here.I have neighbors whom I consider family already. I have drinking buddies and art friends.
I’ve adapted to my new surroundings, adjusted to the slow, southern pace of West Virginia living, while still maintaining my need to juggle ten million little balls in the air. Rediscovered parts of myself I’d buried long ago.
2011 and I will adapt even more. Opening the gallery will mean a more structured schedule. There will be new adjustments about housework and childcare and cooking and our family. I’m sure there will be some growing pains – but I know we’ll find our balance.
I’m looking forward to it.
What’s YOUR word for 2011? (and what was your word for 2010?)