Thursday, July 24, 2008

there is no " I " in TEAM . . .

This statement has always made me laugh when I have said it to others, or heard it myself. I must keep it in mind right now because we are experiencing a little bit of a stressful time, and it is easy to just think that you can do things easier if you just did them alone. As I remember the statement, I always say it to myself with a twinge of sarcasm. :)

From moving so many times, we have become proficient at the moving process. Locating places, starting and stopping services, updating addresses, loans, packing, hauling, acclimating, is all part of the process. I would write down a list of all things we must do in the next month but I don't want it to sound like we are burdened in any way. Not only is it not a burden, but actually, I find it pleasurable to have LOTS on my list and challenged to get through it all as smoothly and thoroughly as possible. Naturally I am a list maker and I have been for years. Even though I have a PDA, I still use pen and paper. As an artist I still enjoy the visual aspect of the list.

As a family we will travel to Ohio this next week to look for the farm. We are a little rushed for time in that I need to begin work on the 20th of August. Within the week, if I don't find the homestead that screams THE FOUTS NEED TO LIVE HERE! I will probably end up renting a place for a few months just to get out of NC and up to OH for work. I don't think eight hours commute each way is a wise decision.

paperwork, addresses, and planning . . .

It us now the crunch time for the final move to the homestead! I just came back from Ohio (this time is was a "drive by" visit) where I signed some papers and looked at some properties. I have that feeling inside that I am a little nervous, giddy, and excited all at the same time.

On the school front, the lady I interviewed with informed me that the Principal of the Elementary school position that I applied for is moving to a Middle School. I didn't think it affected me at all, but as she continued telling me about it she introduced the "idea" of me working at the Middle School instead. I could tell that she was carefully using her words so as to not scare me about changing things already. I couldn't help but think that she had no idea who she was taking to. Most people would consider it an underhanded decision of sorts, sort-of like a sales technique. One might ask "Why didn't you tell me if you were thinking of changing the plan in the first place"? I could not, however, have planned a decision like this better myself! I have always wanted to find a position in the Middle School level and it seemed that it just hasn't worked out. She said she needed to convince the Middle School art teacher to take the Elementary job and that she would tell me of her decision by next week. God certainly is on the move.

On the home front, we are quickly approaching the busy season. Here's a list of the items needed to be done all before August 17th. All of which I am excited to do and can't wait to start checking off the list. (I so don't have the attitude that I have too much to do and not enough time to do it. I work well under pressure and love efficiently accomplishing tasks)

1. Find a home this next week (if we don't, I need to procure a rental in the meantime)
2. Give my thirty-day notice
3. Stop all utilities
4. Pack our stuff
5. Move

Saturday, July 19, 2008

around the lake . . .

What a way to travel with some bikes! We have such a system working that I am afraid to buy a real bike rack and spoil the program. This past Wednesday we decided to extend our trip and ride a few more miles. I anticipated adding about three more to the seven already, but in the end, we ended up riding a total of fourteen miles this time. I am wondering if any one of the children will end up doing marathons when they get older. Gresham fell asleep two miles into the ride and remained sleeping for about twenty minutes. After that, he woke up and stayed awake for the entire ride. The day was beautiful and the weather was cooler that normal. This lake picture looks darker than it actually was that day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

something to think about . . .

Sometimes the Nature Quote of the Day feed I have on this site is a little contrary to the Biblical pattern. I have thought about it and wondered if I should remove it because on occasion it has quotes that are humanistic, quotes that are super-spiritual, and sometimes quotes from religious leaders apposed to Christianity. For the most part, they are thought provoking and truthful observations. For those that are offended easily by any ideas, attitudes, words, or even quotes that are from the "world" I apologize, and want us to remember that we are still in this world. And as for me, I am still reminded that it was not too long ago that I lived, thought, and desired to glorify myself instead of God, and believed my own wisdom to be the higher authority. That said . . .

The job deal is somewhat settled. I have to travel up to Ohio next week to sign some papers and show some information that confirms I am a legal citizen of the US. I can't wait until the retina scan comes into play and I feel like an agent on a special assignment by going to work each day. We are on the HUGE house hunt now and growing more excited about moving day by day.

We are currently hosting a family from San Diego County California while they are here for a anniversary party. They are a lovely family of 12 with children ranging from 18 down to 2. It is great to meet new people, share stories, and get to know how other families have interpreted what the "family" is. I am excited to learn from them as we sit and share our experiences.

Monday, July 14, 2008

change is in the air . . .

I'm feeling a possible "two posts today" feeling this morning! I just received a favorable call from the school district in Ohio and I just talked with a realtor and gave her the criteria for our home purchase. Change is in the air.

The school system in Lima, Ohio has formally offered the art position to me and this morning the Arts Magnet Director called and informed me of the salary they are willing to pay. I told her that I would email her today with my decision knowing that I wanted to get some feedback from Ildi first. When I talked with Ildi, she was excited and immediately got on to find some more properties. It is fun to fantasize moving to a farm in the country, and now, it is right around the corner. In the next few hours, I will email and let them know of my emphatic "YES" decision and start my family on the we're moving to Ohio trail.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

making a mess of things . . .

Today was a fun day using the bikes we just bought. We have already ridden once since we got them, but today was a real treat during our ride.

We ate dinner around four this afternoon and I was feeling really sluggish. Not that I was tired, but not doing anything all day just brought on the lethargic attitude and feeling. I knew a good bike ride would kick me out of the funk. So, we loaded the bikes on the van and headed off to the path that circles the lake. Since we have done this several times, the children all know the routine. Nolan gets on the roof and starts taking the bikes off our "redneck" bike rack. That's right, we load em' on top of the van and bungee cord them down. The others pass out helmets and listen for their name to be called. When they hear it, they pick up their bike and head off for a ride.

Before we got to the lake, the clouds were dark. Ildi had mentioned that there was a chance of showers, but I had decided that whether it rained or not, we would go and enjoy our ride no matter the weather. Around mile number three, we felt a teeny little sprinkle. It seemed the dark clouds had passed but the sky was still a solid, light gray color. I thought we would miss it, but within moments, the magic happened. From the teeny little sprinkles it started to DOWNPOUR like there was no tomorrow! It was warm outside still, and the drops drenched us within minutes. Our last four miles of the ride we spend splashing through puddles, covering our clothes in mud, and to make sure to be safe, watching our speed and braking. I should have taken pictures of the children when we returned home. It was as if they had spent the last hour throwing mud at each other.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

bikes and deals . . .

For awhile now I have been keeping my eye out for a good bike bargain. Macy, Asher, and Maine have been growing, and their one speed bikes have become hindering when we take our long bike treks. Recently, we have been riding around Salem Lake and even though the loop is 7 miles around, we are all able to do it fairly easily. Including Maine, the 7 year old! There are some other paths off the main artery but we haven't attempted them yet.

Since they had bikes, I couldn't justify buying new ones at the "super" stores even though they are relatively inexpensive. I struggle between the "keeping up with the Jones' " mentality like everyone else, and I wanted to have bikes that fit them, looked good, and that were in good condition. The ones they have have been given to us, and I am thankful for them, but I was in need (or want) of a couple newer ones. In Los Angles, we put many miles on them, but they are older now and the children have outgrown them. As I mentioned, it was hard for me just to go buy new bikes. Not because I couldn't afford bikes, or that the children didn't need them, it was more evaluative and trying to live frugally. Ildi and I have been living this way for a long time. We wait on things. Ildi does more waiting than me I must add. And, God usually surprises us with the things that we want for fractions of the cost. The same thing happened today.

I looked around Craigs list for a few days seeing if I could find a couple of bikes for $5 - $10. Didn't see any for a few days. Today I got on and noticed two bikes being sold from the same person. On closer look, they looked like REALLY nice bikes. I called and left a message, and later in the day the guy selling them (Malcom Wright look alike; except with a southern accent) called me back. I went over to his house telling myself that if they weren't in great condition, that I wasn't going to buy them. Anyway, not only were they in great condition, they were extremely GREAT bikes. The red one is a Roadmaster, a $70 bike, but the guy had hand-grip shifters put on for his son. The green one is a Trek 820 $350. Mountain Hardtail bike that has breakaway wheels, hand-grip shifters, and Shimano parts. All in all, when I saw them, I thought even if they aren't in good condition, those bikes are the good deal I was looking for. And, the price of $50.00 for both made it one of those situations where you say "thank you God" for always looking out for our interests.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

artist trading cards . . . and job offers

Here is an example of one of the ARTIST TRADING CARDS (ATC) I have made. It is similar to a professional sports playing card or the game trading cards in size (2.5 x 3.5) or (64 x 89mm for those from other countries) and it essentially works the same as other trading cards. There are however some distinct differences.

1. Artists make them originally. They are not printed. They are like mini-original works of art.

2. Artists trade them with each other, unlike professional players or gamers who don't trade them with each other. Only the people who collect the cards buy, sell, and trade them.

3. Artists use them as a way to share skills with each other, meet each other, and learn from each other. Again, unlike other trading cards, where the people who collect them don't have the skills the people "on" the cards have.

4. Artist's intent in making the cards is to create, enjoy, and develop as an artist. Other card traders usually are "in it" for what they can get "out of it".

I realized that this might sound like I have an attitude against trading cards of other kinds. To set the record straight, I don't. I have not collected trading cards before, but if I got my hands on one that I knew would make me money, I would be sure to get it. I just never personally believed in collecting pictures, jerseys, signatures, or memorabilia of "famous" people. Would I collect things like this? Maybe. I am sure that if I found a Andrew Wyeth painting or some Blenko glass in a thrift store, and the owner didn't know it was a rare piece of art, I would write a check, give them cash, or even charge it on the credit card!

And for work . . . I am in the last stages of finalizing a job offer in Ohio. PHEW! What that means is that we need to put all of our junk in a trunk, and move it up to a hometead in Ohio. I am hopeful that God will lead us to a place to dig our heels in for awhile. A LONG WHILE! I am so tired of moving. Since we have been married, Ildi and I have moved 7 times. That averages about once every two years.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

miscellaneous news . . .

Sadness (Gresham after hearing me say no :)
9 x 12
Graphite pencil

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I have been encouraged to start making art again. How long this "spell" will last, I don't know, but it sure does help to have this skill while I am sitting and waiting on a job to come through. I have also been making Artist Trading Cards to send to other artists. It is way for artists to trade small ( 2.5 x 3.5 ) original works of art. Making them, trading them and getting them is fun. I just sent my first two out in the mail. One went to Maine, here in the states, and the other to Iran. I am looking forward to giving and getting ATC's from all over the world.

Job front looks promising. I have one offer for a position and am hoping for a couple more. I really want the one in Lima to come through.

Finishing up the Contrary Farmer and am excited to start a new book Ildi got from the library. It is called The Concise Guide To Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour. This summer so far has been a book reading, art-making summer. This next week I will take the family on a couple of sight-seeing trips, then the following week will go back to Ohio for some more interviews. That week we are also going to host a family from California that is coming out to visit friends and family. They will stay with us about nine days, and everyone is looking forward to meeting them and spending time getting to know each other.