Friday, January 11, 2013

baby's first

I'm currently on the road, in Denver specifically, taking some time away with my sweetie and using this time to help guide the choices i'll make for the next couple years.

Before i left ohio for this long stretch of road, i had a to-do list. Things like- scrap my car, create financial records doc for 2013, make a buncha pasta for 'thanks for hosting us' gifts, finalize my role in beehive meetings planning, get a few things in the mail, (etc) and... start/finish a mural for my aunt.

I can't say i got to everything on my list (like 'get ready to file taxes' that part... not so much), but i did make a mural. My very first one. baby's first mural. awwww.

step 1: smooth out the wall using a mortar finish.
lesson number one: i wouldn't do this again, at least not on a wall that was smooth-ish. took a lot of time, is fairly expensive, and i feel confident i didn't do it well. whomp.

step 2: prime it!

step 3: project it on the wall (i made a rough outline using photoshop)

{thanks for the photo mattie}

step 4: paint the base colors! 

{mattie helped me do a bunch of work on the mural- we spent a good chunk of a day working on it together.}

lesson number two: find someone really delightful to spend time with and ask them to help! murals can actually be kinda boring- and take a long time (this one, which is pretty basic, took over 30 hours of work). in lieu of that, bring some music, radio stories, speeches, and interviews for the listening to.

step 5: paint in the big details 

lesson number three: choose your paint colors strategically and really plan it out before you start painting. i was using a lot of old paint, so that largely dictated the color schemes, but i wish i planned the greens better. it turned out fine but took a lot of re-paining and color mixing

step 6: project or sketch on the details (or, in this case, some combo of both) 

step 7: paint 'em in!

lesson number four: buy nice paint brushes. the cheap ones make it really hard to do detail work. so hard that i may go back and paint over some things (like the bees) and re-paint them with a better tool. Plus, cheap brushes loose their hairs and they get stuck in your paint. plus! its just not worth it. get decent brushes.

step 8: clean up the room, and take a photo! 

{ta-da! the finished mural. like i said, i may edit it later... but... its mostly finished. finished for now at the least}

lesson number five: if you want to incorporate chalk paint into your mural, because that would be super rad, then you really do need a smooth surface to begin with. Not a 'more smooth than it was' or a 'sorta smooth' or even a 'more or less smooth' surface. a smooth one. Chalk just doesn't wipe off easily if its all bumpy. Which is why i used a stark black in this mural for the sky, river, and tree hole- so kids could chalk on it. I think I'll repaint the river. You can see the quick fish i drew on, and then tried to rub off- it didn't work. poop!

not a lesson, but a cool tip: don't buy chalk paint. its expensive and... expensive. you can make it yourself! (1 gal of matte finish paint: 1 c concrete mix. bam! chalkboard paint!) i know it didn't work out this time, but i've seen it work our great in other places

{i think the bear may be the best part. i feel pretty proud of her. and yes, i did fix that drip i just didn't take a photo of it after}

yup, i made a mural!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

a mouse in the kitchen

In many respects, I see January 1 as a random day to call a 'new year' and actually value the winter solstice (Dec 21, this past year) as the new year. None the less,  Dec 31 being broadly deemed the 'end' and January 1 the 'beginning' ends up being the way i do things. Mostly. ish.

This afternoon, after waking up much later in the day than I had intended (ahem- hence the afternoon), I found myself eating 'breakfast' by the fire at the midden (matties household), listening in on the hubbub of the house. Which included Wes coming downstairs after she'd spent some time thinking and reflecting on her year, and sharing some thoughts about it. It was really nice to hear what she was thinking and start thinking about my year, too.

All December, I have been a little shocked over how quick and slyly the time has passed by. With so many big markers in Dec (like christmas and new years eve), the time seems to slip. Unnoticed. Like a mouse in the kitchen... you normally don't know it's there until it runs under your feet and takes you by surprise. Turns out, the whole year has sorta been that way, not just December.

I've now been living in central Ohio for a full year. A FULL YEAR. My primary goal for the year, the one that my life revolved around, was makin' money. I started off my year doing that pretty well, working at a day center for special needs adults. By early spring, I'd gotten some sorta cabin fever and knew I had to go. Alas, a job change (less lucrative, but hey- even with that being my primary goal- it wasn't my only goal): landscaping. Mostly, I've been enjoying my new found job, being outside, getting dirty, using my body as a tool, spending time with my family (ohh family businesses), and saving up some money.

I also did some contracted work with the Alliance for Appalachia, helping with internal and external communications  Most visibly, I did a lot of updating on their website. I also got the chance to go to two quarterly in-person meetings; one at the Natural Tunnel State Park (VA) and one at Hawks Nest State Park (WV); which was great because I got to listen to a bunch of really smart folks talk about how to stop MTR. I really enjoyed the work, particularly working with my friend (and Alliance coordinator) Katey but, it also showed me I'm not ready to do computer based organizing work. At least not right now.
{Media and Messaging session during an Alliance Steering Retreat}

I've been involved in the planning of a Community Rights Based local resolutions, to enable communities to say 'no' to toxic crap, like fracking. It's been a great experience and has had some concrete wins. Hell yeah! I have continued my participation as a board member with the Ohio Alliance for People and the Environment; attending a Democracy School training, connecting with lots of anti-fracking folks in Ohio, including co-starting what  is a fairly defunct group in columbus; did some work during the Don't Frack Ohio event, helped plan (but could not actually attend) a community organizing focused  anti-fracking meet-up in Lancaster, PA (and really enjoyed working on that, because I gotta work with some wonderful friends who I don't work with often these days. Well- who i didn't, maybe we've turned a new leaf and can continue working together. dreamy!).

{the Don't Frack Ohio contengent during the Pride Parade in columbus}

I did a fair amount of beehive travel this past year. I did a week+ long tour in Appalachia this spring; Lancaster, PA (no presentation; meeting up with tour partner + friends), Gettysburg College, WVU, and the Appalachian Studies Association meet up in Indiana, PA.  Only a few stops, but an action packed tour.

{Gettysburg College, a packed house for a preview of MesoAmerica Resiste, the newest SO soon to be done beehive presentation, that Tyler and I later worked on the story telling a whole bunch... its getting good ya'll!}

I did some small events in Ohio, like at Kenyon College and the UU church in Bellville, and at least one Mountain Justice camp (including helping plan the Spring Break)

{I also headed west, way west, to Alaska for a 2 week tour- heres a big ol' blog post about it!}

And lastly, I took 5 weeks off work this fall to tour with Tyler. On that tour, we were joined by our friends Ugg (for about 2-3 weeks) and at the end with Kate (a friend of mine from columbus who is now beehive presentation ready! yeah!). We went... everywhere. Or close to it anyway.

Washington DC; Harrisonburg, VA; Hamden-Sydney, VA; Williamsburg, VA; Richmond, VA; super fun non-work trip to the outterbanks (SO amazing!); Raleigh, NC; Chapel Hill, NC;  Charlotte, NC, Ashville, NC; Appalachia (town of), VA; WV (for Larry's memorial service; non work); Cincinnati, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Urbana, IL; Beloit, WI; Ripon, WI; Appleton, WI; Greenbay, WI; Egg Harbor, WI ; and lastly ending up in Lincoln, NE for a week long residency.

{helping cute little girls see the colonizing birds a little closer, in indianapolis}

{we presented in a greenhouse in Ashville, NC}

{tyler looking sassy as we crossed a river in WI on a ferry. Goshdarn it WI! you're so charming, with your ferries and all}

{after school program in Beloit; WI-- as promised, after they did some story telling we bounced a ball}

{mural making in Lincoln NE, based on beehive Black Fly Ball graphics. cute!}

All together- I estimate I did about 40 presentations this year. My count for number of people I've told about MTR since Larry passed away: 213. I've got 387 more people to tell before next fall. (if i had to guess, i'd say i talked with about 500 people on tour about it- but alas: i made that commitment towards the end of tour.)

Which, of course, that commitment allows me to remember Larry Gibson, who we lost this year. I didn't see Larry that often, so it's not that I 'miss' him on the regular... but knowing he's not out there, makes my heart hurt. Less so though, because i know damn well folks are carrying on and doing their damnedest to finish what Larry (and others) started.


Not only did I move out of my moms house, but so did my mom. Childhood home, is gone. Well, of course it's not gone, but someone else lives there. Not me, not my family. It's still pretty weird, but mostly it's nice. My mama gets to move into a town (a real town! with a grocery, a swimming hole, a library!) closer to my siblings (the siblings that are grounded in the world and she can count on), and someone who really does love that house gets to live in it.

{last family gathering at my mamas house. so sentimental}

I've been living in a cute little apartment in Hilltop (west side of columbus). When you enter this neighborhood from the East/West, you see a huge block letter sign that reads "welcome to the HILLTOP, USA" I really love that. The neighborhood is pretty diverse racially and socially, with lower-middle income folks. I don't really know many folks, and haven't made a point to (since this isn't long term).  I live with two people, Laura and George, and for a little while had also lived with my friend Ben. I've decided that regardless of where I decide to live come February, I will be looking for a new place.

        {Laura, my kitchen, and George}

I said good-bye to my little green mazda (irony: i had put it up for sale on craigslist and then totalled it 2 days later. nobody was hurt, just the car) and hello to my new ford focus.
{2 days before i totalled it: was the first time it was cleaned since i've had it. literally.}

I found myself becoming the family photographer. I took photos of the boys for mothers day, of my brother-in-laws sisters kids; of a family gathering; and of my brother-in-laws brother and his soon to be wife.

{annamarie's babies}

{all the cousins! in one photo- for what i think is the first time}


{family time}

{engagement photos} 

I read some pretty great books, but am certain I read more than I can recall right now; Solar Storm, Like Water for Chocolate, The Help,  La Lacuna, Poisoned Bible;  I've got the light of freedom; The particular sadness of Lemon Cake, and The Color Purple. Mattie and I read (together) Parable of the Talents and The Year of the Flood. I'd recommend all of them, even highly recommend most. I'm sure I read a bunch of zines, too,  but alas- i forget which ones.  Theres also a handful of books I started, and decided not to finish, as well as a pile next to my bed that I am currently reading.

I've also deepened my love for being in a kitchen, and having adventures there. Namely bread baking, but with the recent acquisition of a pasta machine, i think that can get added to my list of loves.

{this isn't my kitchen, but my aunts- for my trial at sourdough bread. a trial that needs more trying}

Of course I had many little adventures along the way: martial arts, trying to screen print (still trying!), crocheting, mural making, time with mattie, contra dancing, friend visiting, family time all the time,  snowman making, sledding, snow ball fighting (we have SNOW in ohio this year! YES!), love letter writing (and receiving  yes!), occasional movie watching (highlights: Django and Melancholia, though that may have been in 2011), sewing projects,  bread making (oh did i already mention that? well... i just love it), pot luck attending, UU church going, baby sitting, some serious financial planning/budgeting (thats new for me!)... and of course a bunch of other things that have slipped by, maybe unremembered (at least right now).

{french braiding eli's hair... duh}

{Hello first snow fall in Ohio and hello snow man! with a pepper nose and rock eyes. and two very endearing little boys}

{snowball fiiiiggght! on the mound over on grant st}


whats next? in just a few days, i'll be heading out on a trip with mattie- bopping all over the place visiting his family, stopping at some 'destinations,' and taking time to reflect on what has been and decide what will be. To help me with the latter part of that, mattie got me a great solstice gift: 2 sessions with Beth Raps of Raising Clarity ("to cultivate abundance in noble causes, people and organizations") I'm really, really looking forward to the trip and the time to gather some thoughts.

on a random, weird, little end note: when you look at the backend of a blog (by logging in and owning the account), you can see the traffic sources etc. One set tell you the 'key word/phrases' people searched and eneded up on your blog. Someone searched:
"molly shea we ruined the world"
and they landed here. hahaha. what?