Saturday, April 30, 2011

seasonal fresh-ness

Summer duds, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

The weather was sunny enough for long enough to encourage me to cast clouts. The sofa got changed into its lighter summery cover and pushed to one side, opening up an expanse of floor to laze around on. Woolly blankets were swapped out for lighter throws. Cushion covers changed to pastel Cape Cod-inspired numbers.

Summer duds

Even my wardrobe got a risky revamp as I cast heavy winter weights to the back of the closet and re-hung with flimsier summer numbers.
There's something about longer days, warmer and sunnier days which lightens the spirits and inspires a brighter outlook, so it's not just the furnishings which get seasonal.

Roll on summer!

Clam Bay

Friday, April 29, 2011

friday forte: who am i?

gothic warhol set
the many faces of me

Continuing on from yesterday's question, now that I have a full size keyboard and save drafts to review I'll jot down some of my musings (no, I'm still not having a personality crisis, or amnesia).

If you've been following my friday forte scribblings since the beginning you'll know that the very nebulous theme to them all has been my quest for personal identity in this new, confusing role as a mature mother (I'm talking mature as in age, not necessarily in mental age or outlook). It's been a long, occasionally tortuous, confusing ride and I've been posing myself some tough questions as I inch (and sometimes the progress isn't even that far) my way to my goal of a meaningful existence in, around and in spite of my family.

One of my pet peeves has been what to label myself. It's not so much 'who am I?' but more 'what am I?' which is directing my 'what/who do you want to be/do?' quest these days.

.... and i always get this dressed up to craft!
occasional glamour model

I am -
  • a mother
  • an older mother
  • middle aged (and proudly so)
  • the owner of a small business which I run from the home
  • unemployed and non-working i.e. I don't receive a salary or work outside the home
  • a stay-at-home mother (though I used to joke that the Wee Guy and I were never home enough to qualify for this description)
  • a part-time student
  • a volunteer in the community
  • a mixed media artist
  • a housekeeper
  • married and dependent on my husband for living expenses, etc.
So, what does this make me in terms of what kind of mother I am? Am I a stay-at-home mother even if I run my own business or go to college part time?  Am I work-from-home or work-at-home? or is my business too small financially to qualify for these tags? Likewise, am I a mumpreneur, or does the fact that my business isn't generating an income or into six figures, leverageable or employing others, bar me from that title? Am I a working mother if the income I generate is only covering a couple of days per week childcare and not contributing to the household budget? Does being a stay-at-home mum classify me as non-working? Is income generation essential for classifying whether work is really work? Since I am designated at home should I assume total responsibility for childcare and housekeeping even though I'm also attending college and running a business? Does this mean that I am non-working? And while we're on it, what's a working dad for that matter?

What exactly is it that I'm doing?

Grouse Mountain 4th January 003
occasional snow bum

Confusion reigns, and not just here but out in the wider blogdom. Wherever I see the description 'working mother' I challenge it (with rabid ferocity as, in reality, all mothers work IMO). My challenge was answered by this thoughtful blog post by Mama Renew ... and it confirms that the issue is still cloudy. There are apparently not enough words to describe a mother these days, just as there's a deficiency of words to describe 'snow'.

What about you? How do you describe yourself and your 'activities' as a mother? Is there an accurate description or over-arching phrase which won't offend? Where do you stand on the term 'working mother' - an accurate description or a patronising term used to raise a glass to an apparently uberclass of fertile females thus damning the rest? Would you just rather be a mum?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

self portrait thursday: who am i?

Think I'll write about this tomorrow but meanwhile here's me today (thrifted top and skirt, fluevogs, M&S wooly tights cos it was snowing today).
No, I'm not going thru a personality crisis. It's more of a 'what am I?' rather than a who.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wordless wednesday: words

Read all about it on my guest post on Full Bleed Arts Marketing (thanks John!).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy easter

Some flowers from around the house, from friends at the opening reception and out in the garden.
Spring is here (rain this week!).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

friday forte: calm before the calm?

My grin is as big as the cheshire cat's right now. I feel like I've been working flat out for the last six months on 'my artistic endeavours' (and I have) and now it's all completed (at least for the time being).

(ahem) My roll call;
  • five christmas craft fairs, three bricks and mortars, plus three gallery pieces
  • the family christmas plus visitors
  • successful college application with two courses in the winter semester
  • three gallery shows, including my own first solo show
  • wire crochet classes taught
  • volunteer work blogging and newsletter
  • Spring Break and numerous school Pro D days survived (him and me)
I've learned that I can produce inventory and be creative. I know that I can fit my work in and around my family commitments. I can now call myself a mixed media artist (though it does sound extremely odd). I know I can do homework! and that my brain hasn't atrophied completely in the last ten years. My business is now supporting my 'back to school' endeavour and also contributing to the household budget.

What has worked? - analysing the work that I do and preparing a monthly schedule to run alongside some daily/weekly time management, meal planning for an entire month (has helped with budgeting too), after-school care two days a week plus playdates, insisting on sharing the housework, and keeping the to-do list realistic by prioritising tasks. Learning to live with more dust bunnies and less than pristine toilets is a must; scheduling housework into limited chunks of the day is essential if you work from home, otherwise the temptation to do a little here and a little there sersiouly eats into your work time. Be ruthless! Just because you're home all day doesn't mean the house will be spotless, but it does mean that odd tasks can be done while the kettle is boiling.

What hasn't worked? 
Well, I haven't kept up with any form of regular exercise. I need to schedule this; likewise keeping up with friends. I had every good intention of building relaxation, self care, etc into my schedule but it just didn't happen. Although I rarely felt completely overwhelmed as in the past, I did feel a constant sense of urgency and looming deadlines which kept me working just about every spare minute. This meant I rarely relaxed in the evenings. Cue insomnia. I did take 'time off' over Christmas - I had visitors, and while it was lovely to see them it did mean that I fell right off track productivity-wise and had to scramble in the New Year. Rather than forbid visitors in the future I need to either plan a day off from being on holiday to keep things ticking over, or clear my desk completely. Ditto trying to work with the Wee Guy at home - it just doesn't happen and it's not fair to either of us. I need to clear my projects so I can focus on him when he's around rather than try to do two things at once (and fail miserably).

Oh, and I hated commuting to college until I learned to download podcasts for the journey. Otherwise it seemed a big waste of time.

What Next?
I'm going to learn how to be less busy. This will be a huge task in itself. Other than that I have some creative projects I'm keen to start, a website redevelopment which was half-started in the Fall, volunteer work is ongoing, I'm taking only one course this semester, and I'd like to maintain the skills I learned in my first semester at college.
I've proven to myself that I can work on my own, and I can achieve a degree of financial independance - now I'd like to find out if I am employable after almost ten years of unemployment.
Maybe that's my next big project?

Friday, April 22, 2011

self portrait thursday: my many guises

The many outfits of me today.
This morning I started off in PJs as wife and mum. I made breakfast, packed a lunch, set some laundry going, and woke up (in roughly that order).
Then I was mum out with my son, spending a day on the slopes keeping us out of trouble on a Pro D day. We whizzed around in the fog and had a great time once the morning's grumpiness wore off.
In the evening I became The Artist.
Then back into PJs for sleepy woman :)

PS: blogger app on android - wtf with not rotating pics??

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

wordless wednesday: must get this finished

second 'sisters' necklace under construction

second 'sisters' necklace under construction

Via Flickr: from the current exhibition at Port Moody Arts Centre

I'm hoping this will be finished in time to wear it tomorrow evening.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

saturday shout out: the two of us

I can think of no better subject for a Saturday shout out then me and the amazing Tanis. We need a jolly good shout out cos we're awesome artists (well, Tanis is the <i>bona fide</i> artist here) <u>and</u> we're both having our first solo shows at Port Moody Arts Centre.
Our exhibition, "home is where the heart is" is an exploration of the concept of home through mixed media pieces. The opening reception is on Thursday, 21st April 6-8pm (refreshments, cash bar). And we'd love to see you there :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

friday forte: a good day to shoot the wolves at Grouse

Sometimes a day doesn't go according to the exact plan (though I'm hoping for a smooth run to the ballet this evening) and 'bumps' come up. This morning for example.

My plan = drop some things off at Port Moody Arts Centre (I'm having an exhibition of my work there ...........) then swan off to enjoy Grouse's 22cm of new snow.

The reality? A huge queue, the very slow blue tram, and a wait time of longer than I preferred.

But with all the noise, commotion, and bustle, the wolves were out and about, pacing in good viewing distance for shooting. And I wasn't the only one taking aim (I was just the one with the least impressive equipment). We were joined at the fence by one of the wildlife volunteers who, in addition to filling us in on the wolves' individual bios, pointed out the advancing figure of the ranger with a bucket of wolf chow. So we were able to shoot during lunch too.

All this would have been missed if a. I had just suited and booted to get on the tram, and b. the crowd hadn't been there to pique the wolves' curiousity.

Anyone care to muse on what they might miss by not rolling with the bumps?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

self portrait thursday: and what now?

I'm cheating a little (OK, a lot) with 'today's' self portraits - they're yesterday's, taken while I was setting up for "home is where the heart is" exhibit. .... and now it's done! My bench is empty and there are only a couple of projects in waiting. I even finished my taxes today!!

This is the first time in six months where I don't have anything looming on the horizon. There are no deadlines unless I conjure them up, and I'm only taking one college course this semester.

I admit - I'm a little worried if I will cope with the relative inactivity. I can already feel myself rushing to add things to my empty-ish to-do list and plot out a roadmap on my desk planner. Of course, I do have a few pet projects around but it just doesn't seem enough. However, I'm thinking that the sensible (mature) thing to do would be to take a small break, keep it slow and simple, and try to commit only to what I can focus on 100%

.... so I've just emailed about an internship for a couple of months!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

wordless wednesday: home is where the heart is

Currently in the Plum Display Case at the arts centre in Port Moody :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

auspicious heavenly bodies

Bloedel conservatory
even in the dryness of a desert plants can flourish

I am not an avid follower of my horoscope. I've avoided linking up any autotweet astrology technology to my twitterverse. I don't base my day on what the stars foretell. I'm aware that most horoscopes are so vague they are a close fit whether you're 9 months or 90 years, male, female or in between.

But I do take a peek at them, and I do nod my head sagely when whatever is written seems to coincide with my own life events.

Evidently the last of three Jupiter/Saturn alignments occurred just before the end of March meaning variously conflict of freedom with restraints, the past colliding with the future, and 'a pivotal juncture'. cough. It's the opposition of Jupiter's expansion, growth, the future, with Saturn's limitations, reality, mortality and the past, dontcha know. In translation for Leo, cos that's what I am, this cycle of conflict and opposition began last spring and is now, with the latest alignment, complete. And with its completion there should be release, unburdening and a path unblocked. Clarity, surety and confidence will return in fuller force. Rose Marcus urged me to 'reconnect with myself'.

I read this last Tuesday.
It resonated so very much with what I had written for my previous friday forte post and how I was currently feeling. So uncanny. While I don't 'believe' in horoscopes, I do admit to feeling boosted by this one.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

just another mum and son sunday

Siegel's for bagels and soup.
MOV for sweaterlodge and history.
Bloedel for parrots, vegetation and rainwater drips.
Excellent company :)
Just another mum and son Sunday.
Here's to many more.

ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!