Waterfall Carp Woodblock

Waterfall Carp woodblock, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

This weekend I worked on the "Inspired by Japan" relief effort project put forth by the Baren Forum, and international collaborative of printmakers. It felt so good to be drawing and carving again! It helps my mind slow down and focus on just one thing at a time. Anymore that has been a luxury!

Things are really hectic and stressful right now. Normally I try to separate my art life from family and work, but that has been impossible. Someone said that I have too much drama. Well maybe crappy things just happen and a person just handles them the best they know how:

1. My car broke down and I can't get it fixed, so I have no transportation other than my bicycle.
a. bad: grocery shopping is difficult
b. good: I'm getting a lot more exercise

2. My mom broke both her arms and my dad isn't able to take care of her, so she moved in with my family.
a. bad: It is expensive and stressful for my family to have another member join us.
b. good: I get to develop a relationship with my mom while doing the right thing.

3. My son will not be graduating high school with the rest of his class.
a. bad: I'm too mad right now to list all the consequences as a result of this that will haunt him the rest of his life.
b. good: maybe, just maybe this will make him think about the direction his life is going and he can change it around.

a. bad: expensive, painful, hurtful, relationship-damaging
b. good: I don't see a good side to this one

5. I resigned as president of the Kishwaukee Valley Art League
a. bad: I fear for the continuation of the league
b. good: one less thing to stress out about

There is something to be learned from every hardship and something to be gained from every challenge. This month has been one of the hardest in all my 43 (and one-half) years, but I do know that better times are ahead and I remain hopeful.

Some joyful things that happened over the weekend were that our neighbors had one of their famous parties.

St. Paul's has a Lobsterfest every year in order to raise funds for their church. Well, our neighbors had about 20 huge red lobsters on their patio. After their guests enjoyed their meal, the started opening bottles of champaign with a sword. Each time a bottle was opened there were cheers from the crowd. My bedroom window is right above the party and I really love falling asleep to the sound of their laughter and music. I wish I was there with them, but since I can't, I enjoy their ambiance.

Our neighbors are so cool. They work so hard all year long doing lawn work and catering, then they travel all over the world with the money they earned. They've been to Japan, Thailand, India, Ireland, Scotland and many other countries! They're just plain fun people.

Another good thing that happened is that we planted our small garden. We'll have basil and cucumbers and tomatoes. The basil and tomatoes will be made into Margarita Pizza this summer.

Our flowers are coming up. The purple iris, lavender, pink dianthus, lily of the valley, and honesty plant are all blooming. The holly hocks, sea holly and Russian sage are popping up.

The weather was sunny and warm during the day. Just feeling the sun on my shoulders makes me so happy. I try to have the warmth permeate my body and enter my soul - just trying to soak it all in.

Time seems to get away from me. There is so much that I want to do for myself, my family, my friends; but I am only one person and I can't do it all. I have to tell myself that it is OK to prioritize. Some things have to go by the wayside. Balance is a difficult challenge. Some days I can rise to the challenge, other days I just want to hide. Today is a good day - I had two large cups of coffee!!!

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