Wednesday, October 29, 2008

it's beginning to look . . .

The past couple of days it has been psychotically cold! I am talking like 29 degrees in the morning. I had to scrape the ice off the windows of the van before I drive away. I am sometimes nervous thinking that the van won't start because it has never had to endure this type of cold before. I think I'll will shortly take it in to get it "winterized" so that I don't run into trouble later.

New information on the house hunt. I am in talking negotiations with a realtor on a property south of the city I am working in. Here's the rundown . . . 20 acres of BEAUTIFUL rolling land, in the country with NO major highways or freeways in sight. Across the road is a huge plot of land that the owner is keeping as a nature preserve. It has an acre of woods in the back, several outbuildings, and the house is 3000 square foot. 7 bedrooms. There is a small house (500 sq.. ft) on the property as well. Here's the kicker . . . it's an Amish home that has NO plumbing, No electricity, and NO bathrooms. :) It does however have a 3-seater outhouse that works! We are working to try to buy it on an all cash offer and then we will not have to take even a small loan out for the purchase.

All of us have vision for the place. We have talked about this house more than any other we have seen. It seems like it will be TONS and TONS of work but in the end we will have almost EXACTLY what we were thinking a house should be.

~large living and dining areas
~large kitchen
~enough bedrooms to house visitors
~lot's of land to work on
~a guest house for grandma (or anyone else)
~a place for a fireplace and a wood cook stove
~a place for animals
~relatively close to work
~and we would be able to buy it CASH.

We are excited to see if this is the place that God has for us. I talked with the realtor again today and told him our story of getting out of debt and wanting to stay out even with a house purchase. We will see how it goes. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

on a sad note . . .

Death is inevitable. And it is always untimely. Not by God's planning, but in our understanding. A week ago Thursday morning, my brother showed up a my school to visit. I had a strange feeling that something was not right but dismissed it as I finished up the last few minutes of my sixth grade class. When the students left my room, I had a 1/2 free to visit, and to find out what warranted his coming to school. As I had anticipated, he told me that my father had died a few minutes earlier that morning. :(

He had been having a few minor problems with health over the last few years, and just a month or so ago went in to get checked. The doctors found a cancer spot in his bowels and decided they would operate to remove it. Long story short, they removed his bladder, the external sack gave him problems, and two weeks after surgery he was unable to hang on. It was sudden, and quite unexpected.

Not being close to my father leaves me with mixed emotions about his death. It also brings me closer to those that I love. I am grateful that I was able to visit with him more this last year than I have in twenty years, that I was able to be with my family during this time, and that my children were able to meet some of the extended family members they have never seen before. Death sure does remind me that we are only visitors of this world, and that our true eternal home is with Christ in heaven.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

fixing things . . .

The other day Nolan was closing one of the windows I had open on the laptop to pull an image to the front. When I closed a couple of the programs, the computer froze. "No big deal" I thought, in that I have shut the computer down on many occasions using the ctrl/alt/delete trick. This time, the computer went into the DOS mode and gave me some options. Of course I chose the easiest, fastest option. That was the F1 key. The computer flashed a couple of times then gave me a rectangular blue field asking for a password. "WHAT" went on I my head as well as a few "not so nice words". I tried several different passwords that I thought might work, but in the back of my mind, knew that I was not going to get anywhere with my futile attempts.

I called Toshiba help center and Mujibar answered. That's not his real name. :) He mentioned that my warranty was expired and there would be a $35. fee for helping me with the issue. He stressed that if he walked me through the whole process that he would charge me. So after a few minutes, noting that if he did not go through the whole process with me and actually fix it that I would not pay him, I agreed to the help and the fee. By question number two, he referred me to the nearest Toshiba Service Center. 1 1/2 HOURS AWAY!

I called and left a message and I got no response, So this morning, I called and talked with James, the service technician. Helpful young man . . . the kind of people I like to work with. I told him the situation and he said that it was an easy fix and would only take 15 minutes. Knowing that I did not want to drive for 3 hours to have something fixed that would only take minutes, I asked him to walk me through the process on the phone, and that I would pay him for his time and expertise. Long story shorter, he emailed me the directions, I tried it a couple of times, and it didn't work. I called him back and he said he would walk me through it over the phone. I got my Mcguiver equipment (foil and a paper clip) and jump started the Bios avoiding the password issue. I love times like this. I love asking people to help me and having them just help. I love not having to do the traditional 'bring it in' things. I love getting things fixed and it not costing me anything but time. I asked for his full name and the store address because I am sending him a Starbucks gift card!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

the message . . .

On and earlier post I mentioned that I was making some new art for a show. This is the second piece that I have done for that show that is coming up this next week. In addition, I mentioned that I had a message for this series of pieces. The title of this one is Make Good Choices. It is 18 x 24 watercolor with flies. REAL FLIES. They are dead of course. I have an idea of what I want to communicate, and possible responses to it, and I am excited to get some feedback on what people think. I am planning to make the frames for it as well. Instead of framing it traditionally in a nice glassed frame, I am building the frame out of old barn wood and leaving the rustic, weatherbeaten wood to add texture, dimension, and message to the piece. I am also posting the two other pieces on my site as well as my teaching art blog at

Saturday, October 4, 2008

something to say . . .

Back when I was in school studying art I really never "felt" like an artist. I'm not sure what it was that artists were supposed to feel that made them an artist, but I knew then, that I did not feel like one. Was I good at making art? Sure. Actually, I frequently had students collect my work because they thought one day when I made it famous, they would have an original from when I was still unnoticed. Still, I was plagued with not feeling like an artist.

For me the turning point for feeling like an artist came when I started enjoying the art that I produced. I no longer wished my art to look like other's work. I no longer cared if it came out "right." I started making things I wanted to make. You know, art for garth's sake! :)

As well, I never did understand artists that had messages they wanted to communicate to the larger population, society, or the world. I thought most of it (you know the way artists talk about their work) was just a farce. It was a pretend way to make their work seem more important than it really was. I never pretended mine was more than ink, pencil or paint on a background. It didn't have any hidden meaning. It was just art. This "having a message" has begun to change for me now.

On October 17th, some of the Lima City School's art teachers will be displaying their work around the city. It is a night that the small city has set aside for the local High Schools bands to play, people to walk around and visit the local business, and the art teachers to display some of their work. It's sort-of the small town's way of being "cultural" I guess to bring people up a notch or two in the appreciation of the arts. On that night, I am going to be one of the artists showing my work.

Instead of using pieces of art that I have made before, I am creating a theme around a technique that I enjoy, and for the first time, a message that I have. This will be the first time where I am displaying my work with the intent of having something to say.