Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tales of Passports and Thoughts on Art

First of all, I was greeted today in my mailbox by a great surprise.

Which means I will soon be able to take my own picture of this:While sharing laughs with this person:

Now many of you maybe wondering why I didn't already have a passport for a trip that I have been planning for going on three years. Well it is a strange little story that I will begin with another little story.

When my cousin Pam and I were kids, we noticed how much I resembled her mother and how much Pam resembled my mother. We would joke that mom had Pam first (she is a year older) and wasn't married (not a funny joke in the Catholic church) so she gave Pam to my aunt with the understanding that after Mom got married, my aunt would give her the next born child. This has been the hidden joke for years, never telling our mothers.

When it finally came time to order a passport, I had lost my birth certificate. I filled out all the proper paperwork and mailed a check to the Vital Records office in San Antonio. Here is where it gets weird. They never heard of me. (Were my cousin's and my funny joke more truth than fiction?) They called me and told me I had to contact the state of Texas to do a search for my birth certificate. I immediately called my mother and said, "You lied. I was not born in San Antonio." Well that took her aback. She said, "Yes, you were born at Lackland AFB in San Antonio." Well guess what. That is not San Antonio according to the office of Vital Statistics. I had to wait almost six weeks for the State to find me in their records. I finally told my mom and her sister the story of being switched at birth. I don't think she thought it was too funny.

The other problem I had going to get a passport lay in the hours of operation of the passport office. They are only open until 3:30 p.m. I get off of work at 3:15 p.m. and I had used all of my time off for kidney pains and kidney surgery. I thought I was never going to get to go to that office before they closed. But one day I bit the bullet and, like a teenager sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, I had my team cover for me and ran to the post office to get a passport. I was certain I was going to be found out. When I got to the post office with forms filled out, there was a family of 6 applying for passports in front of me behind two other people. Of all the luck. When it was finally their turn, I heard the clerk tell them that they had to have a photocopy of their driver's license and that they don't have a copy machine there. Who ever heard of a Post Office not having a copy machine. She directed them to the nearest library, two streets over and four blocks up. Mind you, it is now 3:05 p.m. I quickly followed them out, jumped in my car, sped through downtown to beat them to the copy machine, praying I had some cash. As I was making my copies the mom walked in. I smiled sheepishly, took my copies and flew back to the post and stood in line again. I felt like the world was working against me. Finally, I was able to turn in my application and pay my fees with a heavy weight off my shoulder.

So you can see why I am so happy to have received this little package today.


Thoughts on art...

I was on this site today. And she started a conversation about whether art is a luxury, so I thought I would join in here.

I think the first thing you have to ask yourself is, "What constitutes art?" Does it have to be a million dollar Monet or Picasso? I don't think so. Sometimes I am more impressed with an artist trading card or someone's art journal page. This level of art can often times be affordable. My question is, "Who determines how much art costs."

Recently, a friend of my saw journal page I posted and it spoke to her. She asked me if I would make her two and that she would pay. First, I was stumped that someone would want something that made just for fun. Secondly, I didn't even know what to charge. So, I went on ETSY just see what other pieces like mine were going for. The only way I could really judge was based on size and medium. The problem with pricing my work that other artist might encounter is that I didn't see myself as an "artist." I am just a mom who sits in her bedroom looking for a enough peace and quiet to be able to pull out her paints and brushes.

The next thing I wonder is, "What is a luxury?" It comes from a word that means excess. If a person only has enough money to meet basic needs, then purchasing art is probably not on the top of their financial needs. What else is art, then, but a luxury? It's something that you treat yourself to when you have the extra money to do so. That is part of why you value it so much. You see a piece of art that speaks to you and feel this desire to own it. You look at the price. It could be $20 or $2000. It doesn't matter. You have to decide whether you have the money now or if you will have to save for it. There have many a time I have seen something in a store or at a show and looked at the price tag and decided, the next time I have XX dollars, I am getting.

The final question, "Should art be available to everyone?" Yes, of course, but there are many other ways of enjoy/appreciating art other than buying it. There are so many public arenas where you can experience various media. Some of them are right in the open to be admired by anyone who passes by. One that particularly comes to mind are the many sculptures on the beach at Bondi, Australia.
by Keld Moseholm. to be or not to be. Sculpture by the Sea, bondi 2009. Photo Samantha Burns

And another that comes to mind are the sculptures in Vigeland Park in Oslo.
This is art that is available for free 24 hours a day for anyone to photograph, sketch, stare at, whatever. No one asks your income. No one checks your credit rating. The rich stand next to the not so rich and nobody says boo. This is they kind of art that often speaks to me the most. Art that is for the people.

What do you consider art? Do you think it should be a luxury? You can post your own response to this and link it back to this article.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reunited and It Feels so Good.

I got to use the Olympus camera today that I had traded over to my mom for the Kodak. I was so happy.

Here are the results.

Mom, James and I went to Salado today for a little window shopping (a concept that is lost on a five year old boy, by the way.) Along the way we came across this field of bluebonnets.
So I pulled into a nearby parking lot and got James out, and Mom and I started taking pictures.

Although the camera reunion is only temporary, it made felt good to be able to take good pictures again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Camera Madness

Recently, my mother asked me to trade cameras with her. She had a digital Kodak camera that belonged to my dad, but she didn't want to use it. I gave her my Olympus camera and I got Dad's.

This is a weird camera. The charger connects to the camera using the same cord that you use to download pictures. I misplaced that cord, so now I have a camera that with a dead battery.

About a week after I misplaced the cord, I checked out a camera from out campus tech. That same day, I locked in a drawer. I was out the following day and lo and behold, when I returned that afternoon, it was gone. The only camera left was a little one that the battery latch pops open on. It was okay though because I just taped it shut.

This was the only camera I had so I took some bluebonnet pictures of my kiddos and some baseball pictures of my son.

Why do I tell you this sad tale? I tell you to explain why the following pictures are blurry because now the little camera no longer focuses properly. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell that while I was taking the pictures.

So here we go. No need to adjust your bifocals. They really are THAT blurry.

Well, that's all for today. We will see if we can find that cord.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

It was very rainy this Earth Day. Since we couldn't go outside today, my students made the cutest bookmarks. I am sharing them with you

The last was one was drawn by me. The kids had fun and so did I.

What did you do today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who Woulda Thunk?

My mother has always been a very conservative person. She goes to church twice a week, watches religious television, listens to Rush Limbaugh and watches the Fox News Network.

When my father was alive, he would bring home movies from people at work and mom would go to her room and read a book and listen to easy listening radio. Dad loved shows like Law & Order and La Femme Nikita. Mom hated them. The one thing they loved together was Jeopardy. They would record it everyday so they could watch it together.

Since my father passed away almost two years ago, mom has started watching strange things on TV. I call her everyday to check on her. When I ask her what she is doing, many times she will say, "Watching Kill Bill." Sometimes it is one of the "Bourne Identity" or "Matrix" movies or something like that. When I hang up the phone, my husband asks what Mom was up to. He just cracks up because it is so unlike her.

Mom Before

Maybe it's boredom. Who knows. She does other things to keep her busy like volunteering at the library and visiting her sister. Whatever it is, it is fun to hear her on the phone telling me what the characters are doing. It's like she is a different person.

Those of you who have a mom and/or dad still around, have you noticed them doing things they never would have done before?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Long Weekend

When Caitlin was three, I enrolled her in a place called Texas Stars. It was a performing arts school that focused on developing a well rounded performer. They began with tumbling, then singing and dancing. They wore black athletic pants and t-shirts and white Keds. They learned to do sign language to "Proud to be an American" sing and dance to Zippidee Doo Dah. It was such a neat school. This was before we knew about Caitlin's special needs. Throughout the class, Ms. Debbie could be continually heard saying, "Caitlin Rose, Caitlin Rose, Caitlin Rose." I wasn't too worried though because at every performance, Caitlin did what was expected...until the Christmas performance. That day, while all the other girls and boys were dancing and singing at the front of the stage, Caitlin was was walking in circles behind everyone else. That was the end of Caitlin's experience at Texas Stars.

Three years later, I decided to let her try again. By that point, I knew Caitlin had some attention problems. I told her new teachers that she might need some extra redirection. The funniest thing is that her ballet teacher told me that Caitlin was the one to turn to when she couldn't remember the class had left off the week before. I knew there was hope, especially two years later when she was invited to be on the competitive dance team.

Fast forward to today.

This weekend, I took Caitlin to a dance competition. Usually she dances with a group, but Friday she performed in her first solo. I was so excited for her. She did well for a newbie. What amazed me though were these pictures.
Her team also took first place overall! Congratulations Junior Apprentice girls.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Let's Catch Up

I decided today, I would play catch up with you all and share some of the little things we have been doing that keep us busy.

On Palm Sunday, we went to church. As usual after church, we made our way to our regular breakfast spot. When we got there, however, it was packed to the point that their parking lot and banks parking lot were full. When this diner is too full, they don't have the best service so we decided to go somewhere else. That somewhere else turned out to be The Cracker Barrel. We had a good time and good food.
Mom likes Cracker barrel, but it is too far to go every week.

James is not sure about this hair style.

Cait looks like she was wondering when we were leaving.

After breakfast we rushed home to get Caitlin ready for dance photos. Her group is dancing to a song called the heaven hop where they come on stage dressed as nuns. Part of the way into the song they remove the habits and show off their sparkly angel dresses.

Before we went to the dance studio, I took her to my mom's house for pictures since mom always has plants and flowers. Unfortunately, spring has not yet sprung at Casa de Abuela so we chose the only green patch in the yard.

She has another dress for her FAME routine, but we were too tired by the time we got back from the studio, so we will have to wait on those pictures.

When I got back from the studio, Caitlin handed me a paper saying she had a band concert the next day at 5:30. Crazy girl! She had to miss dance class which is a big no no before a contest, but the concert was worth THREE grades. So we couldn't miss it.

My brother sent James an awesome birthday present.

Finally, Good Friday, Gary and I took the kids to Austin to look for beds, but stopped at the Harley Davidson store on our way to IKEA. Gary tried out different bikes to see which one he might buy when he gets back from the Philippines.

Yes, I said it. Gary is going to the Philippines again. He leaves at the end of the month and doesn't return until right before I leave for Norway. Considering his company is going to lay off over 2000 employees due to Obama's new bill, which tacked on a little somethin'-somethin' to do away with banks being involved in the student loan business, I am just happy he has a job. It's going to be an interesting summer.
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