Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life on the Road

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you will remember that I had been waiting patiently anxiously for the movers to come pack my things and bring my household goods to Missouri.

Well, that time finally came! However, it did require me to drive back and forth between my new home and my old home several times. Driving alone for eleven hours on empty roads gives the mind a lot of time to wander. I looked at the landscape and the surrounding architecture and wondered about the history of the place. I saw occasional passing cars and became curious about who the drivers are and where they were going.

It took a lot of caffeine to keep me focused.On the way back to Missouri for what I thought was the final time (more about that later*,) I was surprised by how clear the interstate seemed. I made the mistake of saying it aloud to my mom on the phone. At the exact moment that I exited that highway for the next one, I came to a standstill. Now, my first reaction was "Oh, no!" Then I took the situation as an opportunity, an opportunity to take pictures of the things I usually see along the way but can't stop because of the

First I snapped a quick shot of the Dallas skyline. Then I spotted this strange building that always confuses me. Are they putting it up, or tearing it down? It looks like it has been shrink wrapped and the wrapping is slowly sinking. I don't know what it's going to be. Hopefully it will be completed the next time I have to pass it.
This was about the place that I found out that this highway had been closed and all traffic was being diverted through downtown Dallas. Now in this time of Google Maps, this can be upsetting to a person who doesn't have GPS, especially when there are no detour signs posted anywhere. Like a lemming, I just followed the people in front of me which seemed to be working until I got held back by a stoplight where I saw this church. The rest of the crew went ahead leaving me with no one to follow. Additionally, this left me as the "leader." Ha! If only the lemmings behind me knew what they were in for. I decided that the road I was on was "somewhat" parallel to the original highway and went for it. I drove until I came to a strange intersection that wasn't a typical meeting of two streets nor was it a traffic circle (I learned about those in Norway.) Instead if you wanted to continue straight, you had to turn right and get on another street and turn left. It was basically a broken traffic circle. (Does that make it a traffic triangle or trapezoid?) Fortunately, I saw the beautiful blue glow of an interstate sign and made my way back on track. I was quite relieved to be on my way.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. My favorite part of the trip is driving on the Will Rogers Turnpike. This is for two reasons. First is because you get to drive 75 miles per hour (120kph) almost the entire way. The second great thing about it is you get to drive under a McDonald's.

The kids and I thought this was cool, but my husband was not impressed. He said he grew up with it.

*Okay, it's later. :-) I have to go back to Texas again this weekend. This time I am dragging the whole crew. We are going to clean the house, pick up the little bits and pieces that I didn't want to pack and hopefully get a little paint down to cover up little one's finger prints. Oh yeah, and rip out the carpet. We will see how that all goes.

What do you do to pass the time when driving long distances? I would love to hear.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Recap

The kids enjoy going fishing with their daddy. Gary used to take Caitlin quite often, but for some reason they hadn't gone in a long time. James had been begging to go since we moved to Missouri. We certainly live in the perfect place to do this, surrounded by numerous lakes and parks. When they go, I see that time as my quiet time. I get on the computer, I watch my shows, I paint and sometimes I get in the car and explore my town.

Saturday while wandering the historic district, I found a really cute diner called the Neighborhood Cafe.

I noticed there was a big cinnamon roll on the awning. When I sat down, I found out why. The first thing the friendly waitress asked me is, "Would you like a cinnamon roll?" It seemed such a strange question that all I could do was say, "Yes??" As I was waiting for her to return, I was reading the menu. It had the history of the restaurant written on the front cover. After ordering a club sandwich, I read the long story and found out that the restaurant was known for their cinnamon rolls. And for a good reason...they are yummy! AND they are only 50 cents!!! Everything else was reasonably priced, too. The food was substantial too as shown by my delicious sandwich and fries. I left the restaurant satisfied and ready to come back another day.

Then yesterday the kids wanted to play the Wii. It's fun to watch them work together and to play against each other. I was sitting upstairs and they had such a great time that the laughter rose upward and leaving my husband and me laughing at them. I love hearing them cheer each other on and giving each other praise. Don't get me wrong, it's not always perfect. Sometimes, one wants to play Mario Brothers while the other one wants to play Sonic. But all in all, they got along just fine.

While they played, I watched them from the couch sitting behind them with my sketchbooks, pens and paints. Usually I just doodle, but last night I noticed how straight Caitlin was sitting and decided to try my hand at drawing her.

I started to sketch they way my son was lying on the floor, but if anyone knows anything about 6 year-olds, you understand that he was not a static subject for very long. I will have to see if I can capture him in this mode again so I can finish it.

Today I had a clear calendar so I pulled out the sketchbook to try out my water colors. I have really been trying to get some vibrant colors as I have seen others obtain. I finally got what I was looking for in these abstract pages.

They are sketched with Zig Millenium pens and painted with a watercolor pan set from Hobby Lobby. and highlighted with a Zig white paint pen, Gelly Roll white gel pens and a fine tipped gold pen.

Tomorrow, I get back on the road to meet the movers back in Texas. I don't look forward to the drive, but I am glad to be getting this part of the move over with. I will see you around when I get back.

Friday, August 19, 2011

An Early-Morning Walk...

... is a blessing for the whole day. ~Henry David Thoreau

Wow! School starts early here in the Kansas City area. I used to think Texans started early, but today is the third day of school. I am glad I didn't wait any longer than I did to get up here. If I had waited for the movers who, by the way, are coming NEXT week, They would have missed a week and a half of school.

Although the house we live in is too small for four people, we are making do. The best part about it is that James's school is only two blocks away. He is excited to walk to school every morning with me. (I don't think I will ever let him walk alone since I can't see the front of the school from my house.)

After dropping him off today, I had a really nice walk home. Having come from dry, hot Texas, I have a real appreciation for trees. I had fun picking up leaves along the way.

When I got home, I got out my little sketchbook and started painting the maple leaf I found.

If you notice, I painted the background of the leaf a light green. This green would become the veins when I covered the leaf in a darker green.

The background was painted in a flesh tone and then I covered up the leaf so I could splatter the background.

It was a fun experiment.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Doodle A Day

In January, I decided that my word for the year would be creativity. I have done a good job of keeping up with it, too.

Last month, I decided to draw a face a day. I enjoyed that, but decided that I had enough of faces. So, I was reading Julie's blog, Balzer Designs: Art Journal Everyday when I saw a guest post from Carolyn Brady. She had a method of filling an art journal page by tangling a little each day. I decided to use that on the back of my calendar journal pages. I call it "A Doodle A Day."

Here are the most recent entries.1. Dentilles; 2. Finish Line; 3. Polish Pottery

4. Oobleck; 5. Mum's the Word; 6. Swiss Cheese

7. Fishnet Stockings; 8. Walk This Way; 9. Secret Garden

Similarly to Carolyn, I drew a grid on my page - a total of 30 squares (6X5.) Everyday, I get out the Millennium fine points from Zig and place one pattern in a square. Now, Carolyn colored hers but I am a strictly black & white girl.

I have some more water color pages done. I will try to upload them up this week.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Add Water

Here are the latest in the water coloring attempts.

Some are imagined or from a distant memory...

but the last one is based on my virtual friend Cazjane's photo of a dahlia which she has posted on Flickr. She is quite handy with the camera and finds the prettiest flowers. I told her she was giving me great subjects to paint.
Tomorrow I will share with you my doodle-a-day page.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hey? What's Goin' On?

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Out here in Missouri, I continue with my daily routine of job seeking, mom taxi and homemaking. The last one is my favorite. I really thought that is would be what I was doing when we got here, but life got involved and now ... well, you've heard me go on about looking for a job so let's move on to the good stuff.

Caitlin is going to be in high school this year. We are trying to find a good fit for a dance school. We miss the old one from back home. She registered for classes at school and one of them is band. Even though she goes to a freshman center, she will be participating in the high school marching band. And let me tell you, they are intense. the handbook and the other paperwork they sent home made some good evening reading. Between homework, dance and band, she will be one busy girl. Fortunately, her course load isn't too intense. Next year, we may have to decide which one to give up.

In between the registering and busy work of getting ready for school, I have been exceptionally dedicated to the task of cooking every night AND making sure the dishes get done.

Last night's meal was pizza. I made the kids pepperoni while Gary and I had barbecue chicken pizza.

I started with my favorite pizza dough from Betty Crocker. I bought two, but I made sure to mix them separately so I didn't mess up the proportions.

I spread out the dough on two different pans.

I used barbecue sauce on one and Pizza Quick sauce from Ragu on the other.

On the first pizza, I used precooked chicken that I got at the grocer around the corner. They sell smoked/barbecued chicken breasts. I also added cheese and red and green bell peppers. On the second, I only used pepperoni and cheese because my youngest is so picky.

I placed them in a 450°F (230°C) preheated oven.

Now I suggest if you are working with an unfamiliar oven as I am, get yourself an oven thermometer. The second thing that is a must in any well run kitchen is a TIMER!!! I don't have one in my husband's "bachelor-type" apartment, so I made do with checking what time it was on my phone (yep, there are no clocks in this house either) and telling myself I was capable of checking the clock from time to time to ensure I didn't burn the pizzas.

Obviously, I wasn't capable. Thus there are no final pictures. The pizzas weren't pretty, but tasted okay. Next time I make them, I will get a timer and an oven thermometer. :-)

My goal this week before school starts is to find a job and, on the fun side, keep my camera nearby at all times so that I have something to blog about. I miss this blog. See ya'.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here Comes August

We made it to Missouri. We have been here a week and a half. I really like it here, but I don't have a job yet. In between the time I am applying for jobs and taking my kids to enroll in school and dance, I have had some time to play with water colors.

First up is my completed July calendar journal. I am proud that I have kept up with this as long as I have.

Click on images for clearer, larger look.

I also have August's ready to be filled. (I have September's, too, but you will have to wait for that one.)

I completed 30 days of creating faces. Most of them are female, but there is one questionable one and one definite boy. Don't forget to sign up for Julie's Art Journal Every Day.

Finally, I have been inspired by this lady. Her flowers are so bright and vibrant! Paint and I are just getting to know each other so I have tried painting some flowers. Although they are nothing like hers, I am pretty pleased with the outcome.

I feel I have neglected my blogging, but I think that is because I haven't had any change in status. Maybe when I have more going on other than watching the USA network and playing mom taxi I will feel a little more inspired.Link
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