topiary cats

topiary cats

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Preschool: Found

Today I visited a local preschool and really liked it. So Daya is set to start on Feb 15th. $715 a month!! (Checking account, pls see note from yesterday thanx) Yikes. But that's actually a good rate compared to other preschools. They provide home-cooked food, and there are other vegetarian kids there so they're familiar with it and it's no problem. She'll be doing arts and crafts, music and dance, and they put on a show for the parents twice a year. This will be really good for her. Daya is an extremely smart child...and it really is the right time to move her into preschool. I know she'll love it. She'll love being with the other little children too.

I told Daya's sitter today that she was starting preschool and she was totally supportive and knows it's time. The nice thing is that I can still bring Daya over to her anytime I need to. It's good to have backup.

On my way over to visit the school a group of junior high boys was messing around on the sidewalk and throwing snow. One of them slammed into me and I told them to watch it. They then proceded to follow me for two blocks throwing hard-packed snowballs at my head. Even when I was at the entrance to the nursery school with the door opened! The ladies there saw what was happening and we called the police. After I went inside we saw them throwing snow at other people, and also at apartment windows. Seriously, isn't there a whole lot WRONG with this?

Thankfully I won't habe to be out right when school lets out. The kids are awful on the subway too. It's disgusting. One of my close friends is a high school math teacher...I have no idea how she does it.

I can't believe Daya is starting school!!!! Seems like she was just born. It went by fast.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Preschool

It's time for Daya to start preschool. Which for me means more monthly expense and less convenience.

I have been putting it off but finally came to the decision last night/this morning. While her current daycare situation has been very good, very convenient, and inexpensive, there is one issue which I am done trying to resolve over there. Perhaps it's for the best that I reached my breaking point and the Universe is telling me something- that it is time for a change.

My issue is this: Daya's diet. The sitter feeds her, which is a blessing. However, she eats so much white starchy stuff over there it totally negates all my efforts to have her on a whole grain healthy diet. She eats so much at the sitter's that she doesn't want to eat when she gets home. Problem: chronic constipation. Long-term ongoing. The solution is not medicine- it is a dietary change.

I don't even know how many times I have asked the sitter to limit to one starch a day. And feed her less so I can feed her at home. And stop giving her bread. (that's white bread in addition to white pasta and white rice all in one day) Just last Friday I asked her AGAIN to completely stop giving Daya any bread. Yesterday I asked what Daya ate- and bread was on the top of the list. I even brought a loaf of whole wheat bread (which Daya eats at home) and the sitter gave it back to me saying "She doesn't want it.".

It is NOT healthy for my child to have one traumatic poop once a week. (On weekends, when I am giving her extra fiber go figure) It is NOT good that the sitter completely ignores my requests repeatedly. I've had the conversation too many times. I am not going to have it again. I am done.

At home I do add extra fiber to her food, but the problem is that 90% of what she eats is not provided by me. I am angry, I am frustrated, I am done with it. I have to rule out diet to see if there is another underlying medical issue, which is proving impossible in the current circumstance.

OK I am done ranting. Am visitng a school tomorrow. Will resolve issue. Thank you for reading my vent.

And BTW did you know that NYC is INSANE when it comes to preschool? Did you know that it is very common for people to pay upwards of $30,000 a year to send their kid to preschool to pee on the floor and take a nap? I cannot fathom it. I think it is a NYC thing. Even if I had that kind of money I wouldn't do it.

PS Dear checking account, pls magically create extra funds. Love and kisses, J

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cactus Monday: Battle of the Flies

Oh Cactuteers.

Do you know what happened?

The Stape G Faerie attracted so many flies that the Carnivorous Faeries over in the bog heard about it. They sent the Sundew Faerie over to investigate.



All this fighting over flies...I have called in the Ferocactus Faerie to stop the fighting. Because she's rather mean, you know.



Color (and tons of sticky sundew protrusions) to follow shortly.

Also, here are two cacti I saw today:




Happy Cactus Monday!

I Caught The Peacock

Yes I did. I got his tail. Finally. Central Park peacocks move a LOT slower than the ones in the Bronx (and everywhere else).



It was cold.



And these pictures are especially for my sister, because she likes goats. I have only very recently learned that goats really are supercool. So I brought Vanilla Wafers especially for them. All the goats (except one) loved them.




Friday, January 23, 2009

12 Secrets Chapter 3

Firstly, I am very proud of myself for keeping up with all my daily Soul Coaching tasks, journalling, and my weekly chapter in 12 Secrets to Highly Creative Women.

It feels very, very good to make realistic committments to yourself and really honor them. It's extremely empowering and opens up a deep level of trust in myself.

By the way I highly recommend Denise Linn's Soul Coaching course. Actually I highly recommend Denise Linn anything. She's just fabulous. If you ever get to go to one of her workshops do it- you'll have a great time.

Enough about that.

Chapter 3 is all about risks and taking them and not taking them.

Here are the challenge questions.
*********
My Risk-Taking History:

Some of my risks were really stupid and some were really powerful. Some hurt and some didn't. Here are the first three that come to mind.

1. There was a guy I liked when I was in college, and I wanted to become friends with him so I took initiative to do so. It didn't work, and I felt very rejected and embarassed. Actually I still don't even like thinking about it today and this was OVER A DECADE AGO! Looking back with a little more understanding about myself and where I was and why, I can see how I was in no possible way ready or even capable of moving into a relationship. I don't talk about this much, ever, but I was really a mess for most of my college years, which prompted me into either 1) get into drugs or 2) try and figure out my life and make positive changes. (I am glad I went for the second option.) But I did take a risk, and I felt awful afterwards. I guess I never did acknowledge my courage no matter the outcome though.

2. Getting together with my ex-husband was a really realllllllly STOOPID risk (and I guess I even knew it but didn't want to acknowledge it) and that ended rather badly after a few years. Although occasionally I still get a little bit mad, the experience pushed me to regain my own power in a very strong way and help others find their own power in similar situations. I don't regret it.

3. Leaving my ex-husband was the hugest and scariest risk I ever took, and it was the single most awesome, most powerful and healthiest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I was broke, facing layoffs at work, and had a two week old baby and a c-section. I got re-plugged in spiritually like a wire in an electrical outlet. Very awesome. Go me. Jump off a cliff and sprout wings kind of thing.

I guess these aren't directly creative in nature but here is my risk profile: sometimes stupid, sometimes not. I guess that's the best any of us could hope for.

*******
What messages are you receiving from your intuitive voice?

Get a new bed. Seriously. And I'm still in discussions with the Ferocactus Faerie to tell me what she looks like. I'll drag it out of her this weekend.

Following Fascinations- When I do this it comes out of my bank account because I tend to buy books. This has gotten better since Google was invented. Eventually this stuff finds its way into my artwork. Like the stapeliads. And cacti, which I have been fascinated with since I was 6 years old.

I do kind of wish I wasn't stuck in Corporate Mayhem, but the truth is I like my job and I make a living wage. Also, I get to learn a lot about things I am interested in and good at. I am not getting any internal prompts or urges to leave at this time. I'd LOVE to do portrait work on the side though.

*********
The Inner Patriarch
What I learned about limiting self expression from women (mother): My issue here is that my mother didn't tell me I wasn't good enough...she encouraged me because she wanted to live vicariously through me. She'd even say it straight out. I didn't like that very much. Actually I really resented it. Although I got to go to art school because of it so that's a plus.

The prevailing attitude was that men are stronger than women and in order to get your expression or creative pursuits off the ground a man had to be involved to support it.

I give my Inner Patriarch the finger and then go have some tea.

*********
Staying Power
Limited thinking/staying power:

Can I tell you a secret Internets? I was reallllly shy about making my Zentangle Faerie public. Why I don't know. I really can't say. I am oddly shy about drawing people which is plain bizarre since I spent 4 years drawing naked people at Pratt. But there you have it. The Zentangle Faerie spawned all the Unlikely Faeries I am currently doing. And just wait til Monday when a suprise visitor shows up!

Spiritual beliefs about creativity: My creativity is so closely linked with my spirituality I can't see a separation. My creative nature is also my intuition, which is inseperable from my spirituality. They are all that core deep eternal part of me.

Staying power though...I admit I get flaky and have trouble finishing things I start.
I am trying to get better about that.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cactus Monday: Stench Edition

Here is the Stapelia Gigantea Faerie, finished and in full bloom. Attracting flies is what she does best!

Have a happy Cactus Monday!!!

Watercolor 11 x 14

Friday, January 16, 2009

12 Secrets 1 & 2

I read the first chapter last Friday, but this week has been so wacky I haven't posted. So this is a double entry. But there is something really cool that I want to write about first. It happened last night.

I found my earth.

I realize that might not make sense. But for me, it does. While I have always loved nature, despite my city-life as an adult, earth was the most challenging element for me. I have no earth in my astrological chart, and being grounded has always been a particular challenge. Earthiness is something I have craved but never found within myself until last night. My earth is in my name. Jessica means wealthy, which in the normal and traditional sense is an earth attribute as it relates to money. My middle name is Lee, which means field or meadow. Which is earth. Right there all along. I am so glad to have found that connection.

*****
Chapter 1 is about acknowledging your creative self. I am very fortunate in that since I can remember I have always been in touch with myself as a creative person. Growing up I was one of those kids that was known for being able to draw. As I grew up I never lost touch with that. My identity as an artist is the most constant part of my core identity. Even when I go through long periods of un-productivity, I still have a deep sense of that artistic nature. Creativity was encouraged throughout my childhood. For all it's dysfunction, and even despite being encouraged for the wrong reasons, I am grateful for that gift from my childhood and it deserves to be acknowledged.

My first year in college, a woman who was studying handwriting analysis sat in the Pratt cafeteria and did free readings for people to get some practice. She said she figured there would be really interesting people at an art school. I thought her analysis of my handwriting was very accurate, and I still have it in an old journal. She told me she was suprised that she didn't see the characteristics of an artist in a lot of the Pratt students' handwriting, but she saw it in mine. I've also been told that I have the hand shape and fingers of an artist.

I am deeply grateful for my artistic disposition and abilities. It connects me to my source and grounds me. The only time I lost that deep place within myself was when I was pregnant- even thinking about painting or drawing made me throw up. The baby growing inside me seemed to want that core energy, and I had no access to it, even in awareness. It was a very strange feeling to not have it. I can't imagine going through life without that core energy/awareness.

*****
Chapter 2 is about honoring inspirations, and gives several guidepoints to make space for our creative selves. Space is a real challenge for me. I have a one bedroom apartment, and my daughter has the bedroom. (note to self: temporary!) I always have my art area set up and ready to go, which is nice. But time space is also critical. I am glad to have embarked on No-Computer Tuesdays and Thursdays (at home). Even though I really blew it last Tuesday. Those evenings give me the time I need on a regular basis that is reserved for reading and art. And it's hard. But also necessary.

My hideout is my bathtub. I love the water. It gives me a sense of cleanliness and peace. Also, I need solitude like a car needs gas. If I don't get alone time every day I get very unbalanced. I crave silence like a drug. Which is very strange to many people, but is so vital to my stability and well-being.

Ok, so here are the challenge questions at the end of the chapter:
1)When did your creative awakening occur? I think my creative nature allows me to continually wake up!
2)What talents do I have naturally? I have an sense and eye for visual arts. My technical skills could be better but I have a good sense and intuition about what is good design and color. I know how to see in the way that is necessary to draw and paint. I have other talents and abilities too but I'm focusing here on visual arts.
3) which elements draw you toward them? Water definitely is my strongest pull. I am most comfortable with it. Earth and fire and my most challenging. Fire I am somewhat in touch with but I need to learn how to better adjust the flame according to the situation as appropriate :).
4) Where/when do you create? Stuff is going through my mind constantly. Really, ideas for paintings and such never shut up. The problem is that I don't document them and when I go to paint or do something new I wonder "Duh what do I want to paint?"
5) What activates and drains your creativity? Activate: nature, seeing others' work. Drain: my apartment, depression
6) Creative rituals: I don't have one and I never considered it before. I will meditate on this and come up with one because it's a fabulous idea.
7) Does nature influence your creativity? Yes absolutely. I am a little starved for nature being in this city. That too is temporary. Nature speaks to me and huge worlds open from minute places. I can't wait to get back to it as part of my daily lifestyle.
8)Greatest creative hurdle: depression
9)What time are you most receptive? Night time, the later the better. When it's quiet and everyone is asleep.

Well, this has been a long post with no pictures. But I'm glad I did it. Keeping promises and committments to myself is a wonderful feeling.

Today was also the start of my 28 day long Soul Coaching program, but I'm not going to blog it daily.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cactus Monday

I did a little more work on the Stape G faerie. But even after sitting down and painting for a while, I still really did not feel like it. So hopefully she will be finished sometime this week. Perhaps on No-Computer Tuesday or No-Computer Thursday.

The Stape G. Faerie says Happy Cactus Monday!



Not pictured yet: the flies.

My No-Computer days are devoted to reading, art, and playing with Daya...although she insists on that last one all the time. I went around my bookcases and pulled out a bunch of interesting-looking books. Some of them I have already read, some I will read cover to cover, and some I will read in bits and pieces.


Not pictured:
*Eat, Pray, Love
*Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy
*Soul Coaching
*Space Clearing A to z
*If I can forgive So Can You
*Past Lives Present Miracles
and of course
*12 Secrets to Highly Creative Women

Daya wanted to take a picture with the books.


OOH and I almost forgot! It's Delurking Day!


Friday, January 09, 2009

Heart

Today I should be blogging about the first chapter of 12 Secrets to Highly Creative Women...which is about acknowledging your creative self. But there is something else on my mind.

If you read my blog, you know I don't write about stuff that's going on in the news. But. Have you beeen following the Casey Anthony story? It's been going on for a while. A woman is accused of killing her 2 year old daughter. Super sad stuff. If you are a parent, which many of you are, then it takes on a whole new set of feelings and perspective.

The media is having a field day with Casey Anthony...so much venom and condemnation. If she did in fact kill her child, yes it's horrible of course- but I just feel such sadness and compassion for this woman. She's 22 years old right now- just a child herself. We can't ever know the whole story of what was going on with this woman. She must have felt so desperate, so trapped, so deeply unhappy to have done what she is accused of doing. Even if she didn't- no one waits a month to report their missing child- so that says a lot.

I ask myself- if this was an unwanted pregnancy, why didn't she abort or put the child up for adoption? Her baby would have been adopted in 15 seconds flat. Perhaps she felt she couldn't do that due to pressures and expectations- and judgements- from her family and people and society around her. What did she have to give up by having a child at such a young age? Was it something she really wanted or needed? Did she see such a bleak outcome of her future because of the child? Forced into a life she didn't want? Doors closing, opportunities missed? What other factors were in play? We'll never know.

In any case, I don't think hating this woman or condemming her is the right course of action. She is dealing with so much- the stress of the situation, facing a possible sentence of life in jail- and she's 22!, and the death of her daughter which I know she carries heavy in her heart. Is she patterning what may, in another life, be severe past life issues?

Of course we feel for the child- that goes without saying. But I'd just like to ask anyone who happens to read this- to suspend your judgement and horror- even if just for 2 seconds- and remind yourself that we don't know the whole story. And if you can, try and find in yourself a place of sending love and compassion for this girl Casey Anthony, because she, too, is part of the divine glory of the godforce. She is part of you and part of me. And if you can embrace her, you can embrace those dark parts of yourself.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cactus Monday One-and-a-Half Edition

Daya wanted to go to the zoo, so I took her. My yearly membership to the Wildlife Conservation Society more than paid for itself in the first 2 1/2 months. It's great.

And this time, we found a cactus at the Bronx Zoo:



The peacocks were running around everywhere. Daya and I both tried to catch them. Neither of us was successful.




So we rode the Bug Carousel instead.




Here's the One-Half part of this Cactus Monday: I started painting the Stape G Faerie!



Starting this week, I will not be on the computer at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'll be on at work though. This is my attempt to curb the hours spent on the puter and give myself time to do other things- mainly reading and art.