Be a Dragon

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I love these sayings going around about being yourself. My favorite, naturally, is about being a dragon. Maybe it’s a good idea to just be a dragon rather than yourself. Honestly I don’t advocate hiding from yourself… unless you’re actually a big scary dragon. I’m a big scary dragon and a big scary wolf. This whole post is getting a bit crazy maybe!

I love dragons. The red guy above is one of my soft sculpture dragons. I’ve been making them since I was fourteen. This is a fancier one with beaded wings. Would you be a dragon if you could have scary teeth and beaded wings?

Dragons definitely have an easier time cooking things, but it wouldn’t work well if you prefer a veggie based diet. Roasted veggies anyone?

What would you be if you could be something else? Being a Unicorn is a popular choice, but dragons often have prehensile talons. I like being able to open a door. And I would be a nice dragon… most of the time. If I was a unicorn people would want to touch me, pull out my hair and ride on my back. No one would do any of that to a dragon. So yes. I’ll be a dragon.

What will you be?

Insanity Days

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Some days are utterly crazy. Last school year it was Tuesdays. I called them Insanity Tuesdays. I wasn’t ever home more than a half hour before I had to drag another kid to another appointment, to another activity, to another class… From speech therapy to church activities, it never failed to be Tuesday that things happened to happen.

Life ends up with so many strands to follow that it might as be a bowl of spaghetti squash. Everything gets so busy I’m not sure how I a whole month ends up passing as if it was a day. Even with all the planned appointments and meetings and trips there ends up being messes that show up to make the day more interesting. Raising seven children likely adds to the insanity for me. I do try to treasure the good moments I have with them. This next year I will go from one to three teenagers and so many preteens! Life will be full of new adventures to write about. Or are they misadventures?

During the busy times that rain down upon me, I seem to go missing from online sources. This last insanity week lasted for two! Our phone and internet was down 90% of the time which makes an obvious reason for lack of internet presence! I know everyone understands this phenomenon to a degree.

So when I am silent consider me Missing In Insanity Action, but that I will probably rescue myself and show up again with more tales to tell and fun adventures to record.

What do you call your very busy time periods?

Pomegranates. Ooooo!

Pomegranates! Lovely jewels of loveliness!

Pomegranates! Lovely jewels of loveliness!

 

I was stung by a rabid, night dwelling bee on Monday night. It seems that bees and I don’t get along. I would have never known, but maybe it’s just the ones that roam this new area we live in. Monday was so busy that I didn’t make it to Costco to pick up cheese and Kleenexes, the items we needed to last until the next paycheck with dignity. Tuesday I bundled up my two year old and aching foot then headed off. (Needless to say, light sensitivity and being queasy while standing seem to be part of this fun bee reaction thing.) The GPS spouted directions in an Australian male voice (Huey is not always reliable, but he did good this time.) We were at Costco a half hour later.

Moving two hours from everything you know means that even a store like Costco or Fred Meyer that are all pretty similar still lead you to hunt things down you used to beeline for.

Already exhausted after getting the cheese and tissues I wound through the warehouse to the produce section. Thank goodness for the huge white and red signs hanging over things such as the meat or produce, like labels on a map. I picked up blueberries and grapes, steering my daughter away from the strawberries she loves that no longer are kind to her allergic prone body.

And there they were!

Like large orb-like jewels…

My daughter is allergic to some fruits because she is my daughter. I currently can’t eat more than three fruits, two which I don’t like and thus don’t eat. But these gorgeous, irresistible globes filled with small red jems are one of my favorite foods. How could I resist the seasonal return of the pomegranate? Yes, there was only enough for the cheese, the Kleenex and the toddler fruit. Pomegranates are so expensive too! I stood there looking at them, or leaned rather because my swollen foot was objecting. A flat of eight would be only $13.99. They were so large with perfect, shiny skin. I punched numbers into the calculator on my phone, sorted through the cash in my wallet, pulled up the balance in both our accounts…

The car got $20 less in gas this week!

 

What can’t you resist from the wealth of goodness this world provides?

“I wanna be JUST like you!”

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Father and Son Nigerian Dwarf Bucks. Blue eyes, Identical markings and their tails even curl the same direction.

 

Many children have turned to a parent at some point or another and said, “I wanna be just like you.” They copy us and follow our example–until the teenage years when things can go quite opposite! We mimic to learn. We mimic to improve, but eventually we have to start emulating other people and become our own person.

Mimicry or Emulation? This very topic was brought up on The Voice. The judges said that they seek singers who are emulating their favorite singers and styles, not mimicking. Emulation allows for creativity and individuality.

When I was young there weren’t people that I want to just meet and shake their hand (then never wash it again), but there were people who I wanted to work with someday. I wanted to learn from their skills. I wanted to watch them create the magic I loved. Then I wanted to go out into the world and do the same.

A fairy created in a workshop taught by Wendy Froud and Brian Froud.

A fairy created in a workshop taught by Wendy Froud and Brian Froud.

Many years ago I had a rare opportunity to take some workshops from the Froud family. Wendy Froud was the second to top person I wanted to work with as a child. She helped give life to Yoda, Jen and Kira of the Dark Crystal and many fun creatures from Labyrinth. Brian and Wendy Froud are amazing artist in both 2-D and 3-D mediums.

I sat across from Brian and next to Wendy as they guided us through the making of a clay fairy figure. Amazing is just not enough to describe the experience. I learned so much from them in the handful of workshops they did in my region.

Mowquin, the water Fairy. A rod puppet created during a Toby Froud workshop

Mowquin, the water Fairy. A rod puppet created during a Toby Froud workshop

Their son, Toby, is another great artist that I also got to take workshops from. One of my favorite puppets is from the rod-puppet workshop I took from him. I keep waiting for them to do another one in driving distance of my life, but I do have to keep trying to expand my skills from what I learned already from them. I have tons of ideas that mesh my novel writing and puppet work together. Now if only the kids would learn to go to bed at a realistic time!

The top person on my list of people I wanted to work with… He’s not available. Jim Henson taught me many things without me having to meet him. In losing him just before I reached adulthood and headed to The Creature Shop to knock on the door and ask for work, I learned that I had to pace myself. I was prone to overworking and ignoring problems. I wish he hadn’t. I wish he could still be here to enrich our lives with his magic. I regularly watch his works and through them develop my own skills of story telling and puppetry.

I was lucky to get tickets to a showing of Toby Froud’s Lesson’s Learned. They are doing a showing of Labyrinth with it. It is bound to be such fun. I’ve wanted to see his new show since the Kickstarter information about it led me to donating all I could at that moment: Five humble dollars.┬áToby’s friend, Sam Koji Hale, is creating a puppet film called “Monsters of the Sky”. Between the two of these films I feel a resurgence of my dream to create films with puppets that emulate “The StoryTeller” and “The Dark Crystal”. I really hope that getting to see this showing will add to my inspiration that may take years to lead to this dream. I know I’ll talk about it more. My biggest dream was to work for Jim Henson in The Creature Shop. Someday I will live a measure of that dream by creating puppet films of my own.

So the point of all this is that mimicking is okay, but emulation is the goal. Emulate the people you admire and become someone that others will wish to emulate someday.

What do you aspire to be? Who do you emulate to become that future self? What is your biggest dream?

Why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions

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I’ve never thought much of making New Year’s Resolutions. Technically the difference between December 31st and January 1st is a day. By the 1st of a new year, people have spent weeks preparing for stressful holiday times and are likely depleted of the energy and willpower needed to make a successful resolution work. It is something we feel obligated to do. Everyone will ask us what our New Year’s Resolution is and we feel we need to have something to say. When most people fail at the resolution a few weeks later, they give up.

This reminds me of the dancers at the summer stock theatre I used to work at. They were skilled professional, but nearly all of them smoked. We usually had two weeks between shows as well as weekly children’s plays that went up for day performances then came back down before the evening play. We always had one night for change-over. Change-over is taking down the sets and putting up another in time for the dress rehearsal the next afternoon. The whole summer is a fun, but busy roller coaster ride. The middle show of the summer allowed three weeks between the change-overs. This time was more relaxing, yet it never failed that the dancers would try to quit smoking the weekend of a change-over. Why not quit during the three weeks we had nothing but nightly shows with the same routine for nearly a month? Can you guess what result I always saw? Yes, they failed to quit smoking and made themselves crazy in the meantime.

I find myself setting goals for the year that are things I already have in the works and have plans to do better at. I make more determined resolutions when I feel the drive to no matter what time of year it is. You are more likely to succeed at something in the moments you get angry enough, fed up enough, determined enough, that you take action with a clear and likely-to-succeed plan. You don’t want to give out only a few steps up the mountain. So take time to make the goal realistic and planned out. Make sure you have contingencies for temporary set backs. Allow yourself room to grow through the process of making those changes. It is said that 21 days will change a habit. Work on those 21 days then see where you need to go from there. I say this for myself as much as anyone else.

What I end up doing that is more like the frivolous New Year’s Resolution is set goals based on my birthday. “I’m going to write a book before I’m 35.” “I will have a Master’s Degree by the time I’m 45.” These goals have to be adjusted or they can devastate me. I did have a book written before I was 35. It wasn’t publish ready though. Who knows if getting a Master’s degree by 45 is reasonable at all. I also find I set goals based on my children’s birthdays too. These tend to be family goals and are most often based on the youngest toddler child or the oldest teenage child’s birthdays. I will no longer need a massive van in 8 years when my youngest is about 10. Yes, by then most the kids will be well into adulthood. Wow, how time flies and goal making changes.

So make a resolution that is easy to succeed at. “I will think of something happy every day.” or “I will tell the people I love what they mean to me at least once a month.” Can you imagine someone you care about telling you why you matter to them twelve times this next year? Do we even hear that once a year? Please don’t torture yourself with a certain amount of pounds to lose. If you’re like me you can’t always control your weight no matter the effort. Make this a resolution you can control. That your willpower will be able to maintain.

Give your suggestion of a good New Year’s Resolution in the comments and I will send you the first chapter of my book!
I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Bring those ideas in like the ringing in of the New Year!