Monday, August 29, 2016
by Janin Wise
As Melissa stood at the foot of the bed holding the rumpled blue sheets she'd just pulled from it, after a week of tossing and turning and night sweats, she thought she could use a change.
Maybe a new hair cut.
Or fresh paint on the walls.
Maybe a vacation.
Or a new job.
But for now, she'd make due with fresh linen and clean sheet night.
On Saturday, my guys took me to Shortcut to Goblin City, the member's appreciation night at the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts as an early birthday present, because I'm a huge The Labyrinth fan.
They gave us gift bags to make our own paper owl puppets, but we were so busy exploring the exhibits before the movie, we still haven't assembled them. And then we entered the exhibit.
You can tell, even as you stand outside the main exhibit that this is going to be something special. Something more. And that it's about the work of two of my favorite artists-- Jim Henson and Brian Froud and their collaboration on The Labyrinth, was extra icing on the cake.
Walking in was like entering the actual labyrinth! I stopped in the doorway, squeaking in excitement and practically bouncing. Another fan who had just passed through the exhibit was right there and grinned so big at me, looking at her companion, nodding, and saying that she too had done the exact same thing when she entered.
I'm not going to share all of the pictures, nor even most of them (as I took almost 300), because I really do believe this is something you need to experience in person. But I'm going to give you a taste of some of my favorite moments:
But there's so much MORE going on at the Center for Puppetry Arts!
To be honest, it was like walking into the worlds of my childhood (:
From The Dark Crystal:
And the Fraggles:
To Sesame Street:
After exploring the exhibits, they put on a screen showing of the movie! It didn't come to our local theatres when I was a kid, so this was the first time I'd ever seen it on the big screen, and to get to view it with other absolute fans was an beyond magical. The entire experience is something I will truly treasure, and it's by far the best birthday present I've ever had.
If you're in the Atlanta area, definitely make a point to visit them.
The Labyrinth exhibit will only be on display for about a year, so this time 2017, you'll have missed the opportunity!
And that would not be fair (;
Sunday, August 28, 2016
by Janin Wise
His older brother bought it for their mother for Christmas: A sad little palm tree in an ugly woven basket pot.
He had ordered it special.
But it didn't arrive in time for Christmas. It was a couple of weeks late.
Hunting season was full under way by then.
An accident took him from them both.
And from his wife.
And from their son.
The funeral was devastating for them all, so close to the holidays.
And then that sad little palm tree in the ugly woven basket pot showed up.
The last thoughtful gift from a best beloved son, would been born of the love of her life.
Decades repotted, watered, by the window, but the same ugly woven basket pot, part of the original gift.
You are her last memory of the son she loved best. You are part of what keeps her aged, frail body still in this world.
Her great grandchildren need her to tell her stories. SHE needs to tell her stories.
You are one of her favorite.
And time passes, and age brings her, finally, to the sisters and husbands, but most importantly, the son, that she has all outlived.
Now, you are her living son's last memory of both his beloved older brother, and his mother. Your leaves can't turn yellow and begin to become brittle...or their memories will become brittle and yellowed.
You are part of how they are still alive.
Without you, he will have to live in a world where they are both truly gone.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
In one second, I'm seven years old, sitting in the seat behind the driver, my mother's second husband. It's the autobahn in the eighties. He adores heavy metal played loud enough to deafen. He doesn't see the sharp rise of the tail of the car in front of us. He doesn't notice the sudden bright red of their tail lights. But I do.
One second is only long enough to notice, and take the sharp intake of breath before a warning could be shrieked...not long enough to warn. And one second later, I'm reeling back from where my forehead has struck the back of the chair in front of me.
In one second, I'm eighteen and driving home for the weekend on a road I drive home on every weekend, but the on coming eighteen wheeler coming around the deep bend is on my side of the road and I can either hit him head on or jerk my wheel to the right and the second option is the only option and glass shatters to my left so I pull that wheel just a little bit harder, but the sound beneath my tires changes and I'm not really on the road and this road has no shoulder, so simultaneously, I jerk the wheel hard left to spin and pass behind the eighteen wheeler that doesn't even stop after hitting me, and shift my stick shift into gear...
And the next second I'm sitting in the opposite ditch, my car purring, my lap full of shattered glass and watching the eighteen wheeler drive away from me like maybe he never saw me at all.
In one second I'm nineteen and my then boyfriend sees the wreck unfurling towards us even as I see it unfurling towards us and he calls my name in fear three times, and with cat like reflexes, I avoid it and it hits the sign behind us instead, and in the next second, in irritation as we sit on the curb at a stop waiting for the police to come take our statement I turn to him and say, 'I saw it too. You didn't need to call my name three times.' And he blinks and says, 'But...Janin...I only said it once.'
In one second I'm twenty four and it's Christmas and my in-laws are taking us to the movies and I see in slow motion from the back of the van as we approach the green light that the oncoming car hasn't noticed their turn light is red, and they haven't noticed because he's driving and she's in the passenger seat and they're looking at each other for just a second, the exact same second my father-in-law is driving hadn't noticed the other car is going yo turn illegally in front of him because he and my mother-in-law who is in her passenger seat are looking at each other for just a second as well, and in that second I brace my feet across the floor, tighten my seat belt desperately putting it across my lap and under my pregnant belly and hold it with all my strength as I yell, 'Stop!' But they haven't seen what I have been watching and I close my eyes and pray for the safety of us all as the two vehicles collide at 45 mph. And the next second, everyone is remarkably unharmed and there is only minor damage to the fender. We end up going to the movie, "The Majestic".
Friday, August 26, 2016
to futher my art making (:
When I got it, I decided to send her a thank you, in the form of a painting from a sheet from her gift. I asked Erica and learned that her two favorite flowers and hibiscus and rose of sharon. And that she likes the color red, and red birds. But outside of that, this is a "Surprise Me" piece.
So I decided to make her a cardinal and rose of sharon piece.
Here are the progress images:
|Drawing out the initial shapes on the selected piece of sheet music|
|A look at my itty bitty paintbrush and the small amount of paint needed to get started. I mixed 2 separate reds to get the bright orange red I was after.|
|Outlining my major shapes|
|Freehand painting my patterned designs|
|The finished bird and time to change colors|
|Painting the leaves and greenery, with an equally small, but different brush.|
|Done with the leaves, now it's time to mix the paint for the flowers.|
|I started with white and painted the basic shape of the flowers, then I mixed into my existing created red to change the shade a bit brighter and pinker to accent the flowers. Then I added yellow to my white to create the stamins.|
I got the finished piece sent off to her yesterday and she should have it by the end of the week (:
But I wasn't looking for a cat. And we had shopping to do. I asked the woman how long they'd be there and she said until 3:00. I said we'd come back, and if the cat was still there, it was meant to be.
Four hours later, our business in town complete, we stopped back by, just to check, and she was still there. I walked up to the woman I'd spoken to four hours earlier and told her I was there for my cat, with a huge grin on my face. She remembered me, remembered which cat, and that's how we got Patches.
Her companion's story begins with two cats that are not any more, and if I think about that part too long, I'll get upset, as I loved them all. That said, a year ago, after three - four months of depression grade sadness, my husband told me to get myself another cat, because, quite frankly, I do well with having a pair.
I resisted for three more weeks, then heard a radio announcement that the same people I'd gotten my Patches from three years prior were having another pet drive at PetSmart that weekend.
Before going, I told my kids we were just going to -look- at maybe getting another cat.
They got super excited anyway.
I told them I had conditions: it had to be male, had to be a CAT not a kitten, and had to be fixed.
They were still excited.
Just before we left the house, my youngest found a lizard in the house and nicknamed it Beethoven as he put it back outside-- and my boys took it as a sign that our next cat's name would be Beethoven. My oldest declared that with a name like Beethoven, he'd have to sing to us. And though I tried to temper their enthusiasm with the possibility that it might not happen, they were still excited.
When we got there, there were no cats outside. I saw the same woman, but she didn't recognize me. She let me know the cats were inside because of a lack of outside space.
On the outer wall, by the glass cat area, they had two cages. The bottom was a female tortie. The top was a litter of kittens.
Both were automatically no.
We went into the glass area. There were a total of six cats in there.
As soon as we walked in, the black and white ONLY MALE CAT there at -all-....greeted us with cat singing like he had been waiting for us to get there!
Beethoven announced himself, meeting every single condition, including my boy's that he'd serenade us. And that is how we got our Beethoven.
I have never had two cats who loved belly rubs the way these two do! They make my days brighter, and my husband's wife happier (as though I'm not the same person) (;
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Mary had a little lamb
whose teeth were sharp, you know.
And everywhere the lamb did bite,
the blood was sure to flow.
It followed her into the house,
and upstairs to her room.
Repeated thrice before the mirror,
and Mary's lamb dines soon.
The lamb's long since
been turned to chops,
but still it lingers near,
and patiently is waiting for
"Blood Mary" thrice to hear.
If in the dark you think you brave,
the lamb will soon agree,
just call three times the words above,
and Mary's lamb eats thee.
My son thought it fantastic and asked me to blog it, so here it is (:
|I also added a picture with my teeny tiny paint brush that I use for all of the painting, as the paper towel that helps keep my lines sharp by not allowing too much paint on my brush.|
|"Alabama Proud" by Janin Wise|
Acrylic on board. 6" x 9"
So first, I'm excited that I actually completed this writing challenge 2 times (as the second time around, so many of the answers were no longer applicable).
The first time I did this challenge, my answer was:
I made it through 30 writing prompts this month! I finished a thing I started, when I didn't always feel motivated or inspired. I made it, when I doubted I would. I did it, when I was pretty certain I wouldn't.
And because of that, I'm feeling inspired and motivated. I had to take a lunch at work today, so I decided to walk to a nearby restaurant and actually treated myself to my own company. I had forgotten that sometimes, it's okay to just be. With just myself. That I don't need to fill every waking moment with productive and useful.
And tonight, I actually sat down to read for enjoyment for the first time in months.
I -want- to do things. And I've missed that.
And that is definitely a reason to be excited.
This time through, that sentiment is still true, but it's not ALL.
I'm excited about September starting because I'm going to do Leslie Seata's 30 in 30 days Artist challenge again (: I did it for the first time in January 2013 and very much enjoyed it.
And I'm in the process of turning my artist hobby into an artist living. I'm -incredibly- excited about that!
I'm looking forward to blogging about my art again, sharing it, and hopefully, getting some commissions for new pieces.
I hope you'll join me as I blog about my latest art!
The night of my twenty first birthday, I had platinum blonde hair for the first time ever.
We started the evening with a clothing swap party, where everyone brought clothes they didn't want anymore, and you could try on anything you wanted to. Everyone in attendance tried on the black, gray, and white striped, long, slinky dress....regardless of gender or size. It was flattering on everyone. And hilarious to boot!
Then we headed to Beaudion's, the bar we'd visited every weekend since I was eighteen. (For the next part of the story, I have to take you back to August of the year I would be turning eighteen. See, up until that fateful August, the drinking age in Louisiana was 18. Almost exactly one month before I was 18....it changed to 21. We'd go to the bar, out dancing, and even though I was the youngest of all of us, I'd go up to the bar and buy everyone's drinks. I wasn't carded, but I also never drank anything myself, except water or Dr. Pepper.) So, back to the night I turned 21...
ALL of my friends came to celebrate my twenty-first birthday with me. And for the first time in three years, when I walked up to the bar, I drank. I was finally carded. The bartender looked at my card. Looked at me. Recognized me in my license. Blinked. Looked at me. Blinked again. Handed me back my license and my drink and said, "Happy Birthday."
Everyone celebrated with me. Which meant that there were no designated drivers (I was always the previous self appointed designated driver). When it came time to go, I asked who the designated driver was, and when we realized EVERYONE had been drinking...I took everyone's keys.
...And as a large group, we -walked- the fifteen miles back to campus.
Everyone was in great and tipsy spirits, and the walk was as much fun as anything else!
Monday, August 22, 2016
The word/ phrase I use constantly...this is harder than it was 3 Monday's ago.
Then, without batting an eye, I would have told you it was, "(Company name), Janin speaking, how may I help you?" Lately, I'm spending more time with myself, my pets, my family, and my art room. There's a lot more random singing, dancing, and humming. There's still as much laughter.
In my head, I guess the word/ phrase I keep using most often is, "Time to get back to it."
See, I'm in the process of trying to turn my writing, my art, and my dreams into what I do for my living. It started when my friend Deanna ordered a passion planner and I remembered that I used to be really good at staying on top of things when I had an organizer to help me remember everything I needed to do. So I ordered one as well. And one of my favorite parts was actually a goodie bonus-- a sticker that said, "Doing is the cure for fear."
In fact, synchronicity keeps bringing me back to that one. As I'm researching how to make my arts a living, the advise again and again is "Create, then create some more." "Don't get discouraged." "Keep creating." "Do."
So every time I complete something, or take a small break, once my head space is centered and focused and ready, I think "Time to get back to it." And to be honest, it fills me with -excitement-!
I read an article the other day that said that, to your brain, fear and excitement are the exact same chemical reaction-- the only difference, is how we choose to interpret it.
And I'm choosing the interpret it with hope.
Now, it's time to get back to it.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Today, I'm wearing dowdy black unders that are ugly, but comfortable, and likely to get me labeled a granny, if anyone save my husband saw them. Over that, I'm wearing comfortable black slacks, perfectly acceptable for grocery shopping without being accused of wearing pajamas, flexible enough to do my morning vinyasas, and if they ever had a crease up the front, my utter refusal to iron finally prevailed, and they've long since given up.
I'm wearing a nude sports bra, should I actually decide to go to the gym and get on the treadmill-- I'm leaning towards no right now, but the bra increases the chances, yes? Over that, I'm wearing a grey t-shirt featuring a tribute to the Never Ending Story, because at heart, I'm a nerd, and I love that movie.
I almost forget that I wear glasses, I've been doing it so long. This pair seems almost like magic when I think back on the thick glass, heavy plastic glasses that I wore as a child. They are frameless, so incredibly lightweight I hardly feel them on my face at all, with light responsive sepia turning lenses. I love not having to worry about sunglasses, or a little clip on to put over my glasses, and feel like I'm regularly wearing the future.
My ears are thrice pierced, but I almost never wear earrings in the middle holes. At the third and highest set, I wear white gold earrings that made the holes almost six years ago. It took three different attempts (at 16, 21, and finally again in my 30s) to get these holes to last, so I never take them out, save to clean them. One is dented, and a reminder I should probably go ahead and replace them-- It snagged on my hair, fell out, and was stepped on before I realized it was not where it should be.
In the primary holes, I was wearing my auryns, but they get heavy and I've since removed them. My earrings are one of the few things I actually use to accessorize my clothing. (Well, that and hair accessories.) Today, I wear my hair natural and unadorned, not a thing in it, save the silver white streaks time is finally putting there.
I wear my rings. On the left hand, a white gold, and star sapphire ring with swirls and waves. My momma bought this ring with her own money- her first purchase for herself, with her first paycheck from the Army when she was eighteen. There are tiny diamond chips that you only know are there because they sometimes catch the light. And in the right light, the sapphire is brilliant deep blue, with two milky stars that seem to float up from its surface. She gave it to me when I turned eighteen.
Paired with it, as though my mother's ring were an engagement ring, I wear my wedding band. It's not the first one we said our vows with--those were silver and had warped and thinned to unwearable within the first seven years. So we got these to replace those (though my old band still sits in my jewelry box, and my children adore to pull it out and ask about our wedding).
This one is titanium- It does not warp or thin. It will retain its shape long after my fingers are but bone (unless an untimely trip through the vacuum awaits in its future). At the center of this almost gray band is a thin scrawl of gold, a token tribute to the traditional wedding band.
And to round out the outfit, a pair of slip on, ballet style, black flats, with a little silver decoration at the bow, that jingles against the top of my foot as I walk quickly about.
Things I'd say to an ex:
How have you been? What have you been up to?
(I'm fb friends with the vast majority of my exes, and that's exactly how the conversations started, regardless of which one of us started it.)
On an amusing aside, my kids once asked me about 'before Dad'- and wanted to know every boy I'd dated previously. So I told them about the past and showed them how those men are doing in the present: That I celebrate their victories and milestones, wish them happy birthday, enjoy seeing their vacations or kids growing up, and worry for them when things are rough- because we're still friends.
My husband is still friends with his exes as well.
We've been together for 18+ years.
Our exes are a lifetime ago.
Four weird traits I have?
1. I don't typically consider myself weird, but years of experience have let me know plenty of other people do. When I was fourteen, my dad nicknamed me, "Weirdo" and thought it a compliment.
2. I'm an avid,vivid dreamer, with a high probability of remember my dreams.
3. I touch my nose when I figure something out, because I "knows" it (;
4. There is a lot of random information in my head. Not as much as when I was young, but I'm still regularly surprised by what all is in there.
Something I miss: When I was a kid, I was always 'Here. Now.'
I didn't question if I could or couldn't do something - I did it. I didn't care what anyone else thought, I was assured and confident. I was open to the universe and followed my intuitions.
As a grown up, I am much more unsure, prone to skepticism, a touch jaded, personally timid, and occasionally insecure.
Here. Now. is so far between. I miss how easy it all seemed.
And I'm working on find my way back to it.
I dislike when the boy cat boobie traps the dog door. I dislike when the cat decides NOW is exactly the time I need to get up....regardless of the hour.
I dislike when the youngest grumpy child is particularly grumpy. I dislike when my oldest child is disrespectful. I dislike when my husband thinks he's funny when he's really, REALLY not.
And there are times that I'm mad at all of them.
But I don't dislike any of them. And I love them all.
Monday, June 6, 2016
If the day starts closer to the midnight portion of that scale, it will also include art in either 2D art form or writing/ editing. There's a lot of editing going on in my first dream journal. I'm editing the second one as it dreams along.
Once it hits about 6:15, I go hop in the shower then get dressed and feed the animals.
And then, if it's a work day, one of the kids has to get up to keep the animals company. If it's not a work day, the animals will keep me company as I get house chores started or spend some time in the living room, maybe even eating breakfast myself.
I think mine fit me, but I'm not obsessed with horoscopes. I don't check it in the paper or online. I tend to think of it more as a baseline addition to my personality than something so easily mutable as to require daily checking.
One of my favorite parts of growing up with both Eastern and Western traditions is that my family tends to count itself as having 2 signs-- both solar and lunar. And both of mine fit me, I think.
without the potential for pain?
in opening ourselves
to love another.
in finding our love returned.
or mana from heaven,
Love renews endlessly
the more it is given.
the universe shouts.
1. The safety and well being of my children and family.
2. Failure. I worry that I'm a fraud, not an artist, or writer, and that I'm a bad mom and wife, and one day everyone else will know it as well.
3. Success. I worry that if I am either an artist or writer, and actually achieve my dream of living by the work of either, it'll go to my head and I'll become a total douche.
4. Surprises. I startle incredibly easily and don't react to even good surprises well.
5. Crickets. Yes, any insect or spider that surprises me (see number 4), but crickets, even if they're not a surprise, can give me the heebie geebies.
6. I'm not afraid of heights. I'm actually pretty certain that no one is really afraid of heights. I am, however, afraid of the short, sudden, painful stop at the end of a fall from heights.
In fact, I wore all these colors...and matched my umbrella today!
Because really icky weather makes me want to wear bright and sunny things to cheer myself up through the dreary.
And because I don't really have a favorite color. My children are used to me saying, "My favorite color today is..." and my youngest has made it a game to try to guess, as the color I've got a preference for tends to feature prominently in the outfit of the day.
But I really did match my umbrella when I went out in the rain this afternoon (: It's black with polka dots in all those colors-- and my dress is black with swirling patters in all those colors.
It made me laugh. And the cashier at the bank told me I was like a breath of springtime in all the bad weather (:
And if that isn't a recipe for having a great rainy Monday, I don't know what is.
Ah me! I had planned to try to do these once every day or so, but real life gets busy, so there are about to be a LOT of posts! Because despite my inability to blog them consistently...I still completed them all. Now I just have to share them (;
. Wake up at 5 before the sound of the alarm clocks because the rain has started and the patter on the roof catches my attention.
. Give my husband a hug as he heads off to work.
. Attempt, unsuccessfully, to go back to sleep.
. Turn off the 6 am alarm clock and set a 6:30 alarm clock instead.
. Lay there daydreaming my to do list instead of going back to sleep.
.Get up at 6:30 and shower.
. Make sure the newest piece of art is ready to go in today.
. Feed the pets, then call up to the summer children-- one of them will need to make the sacrifice of waking before noon to keep the animals company. My oldest volunteers.
. Drive to work, listening to three different radio stations based on avoiding hearing particular radio personalities.
. Deliver my latest surprise me art piece (:
. Drive home, intent to meet the husband at the car care place.
. Receive new instructions to just come home first.
. Then we drive to the car care place-- the car is due for a tune up and we're off to borrow one of his parent's vehicles.
. Segway to Popeye's for dinner first.
. Let the know it's okay that it will take three minutes to cook the spicy tenders.
. Wait patiently for fifteen minutes.
. The cook had missed our order-- and so they gave us free banana pudding for our wait (: Patience IS a good thing!
. Visit with the parents before absconding with their truck.
. Beat my husband home on the curvy road.
. Notice that moss really DOES grow on the north side of the trees as I'm passing through town.
. Check in with the kids.
. Finish watching the last 15 minutes of Lost World: Jurassic Park with my boys-- we started it last night, but I got tired before it ended, and they chose to wait for me to see it (:
. Decide it's time to catch up on my blog posts-- 1. to finish a thing that I started! and 2. Because after the writing prompts, I have a really cool art post to make about my latest Surprise Me piece (:
. Share this post.
. Go to sleep (: (Or goof off on facebook for a little more. Entirely undecided at this point.)
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Three pet peeves
1. My -actual- pet, Peeve. Boy sibling to my striped tabby Spot. I didn't want a boy cat, but I sure did love him. He was sixteen when he passed. I had him from the time he was three months old.
2. Saying you'll do/not do something...And then not. I abhor not keeping ones word. Especially if you don't acknowledge before hand that something has changed and allowed time to pass with expectations of completion that aren't going to be met and then someone else has to pick up after the fact because there was no warning/ time to prepare.
3. Half-assing. Do it right the first time so it doesn't have to be fixed/ done again. Better- Do what you know needs done, is your responsibility to do, without having to be asked/ told.
My life in seven years
In seven years, my oldest will be in college or off otherwise adulting his own life. My youngest will be a junior in high school. My home will be paid off. And hopefully, so too will be my personal education debts.
I'd like to have several of the things that float around in my head a reality: publishing my dream journal(s), a variety of tongue in cheek not kids books, my own fairytales. Medieval games. Finish out my existing art series. Begin some of the others that are just ideas.
Get back to belly dancing and drumming. Rediscover my love of reading. Play board games regularly. Socialize more.
But another woman doing the challenge interpreted this one differently, and I adored it, so I did it that way as well (:
So here is my life in seven year increments (:
My life in seven years:
1. I was born on what is still on record as the busiest delivery day in the big pink hospital's records; I was tiny, but still I grew. I learned to walk, but that running into the ocean was frowned on. I learned to climb, but that trying to fly was frowned on. I thought the world was a cake for God and worried that he would eat the icing mountain we were taking our car on. I flew to Europe, and almost severed my Achilles tendon my first night there.
2. My name is Janin, it doesn't matter what language you speak. I learn German, but speak it with an Irish accent. I speak English, but even Americans wonder where I learned it. I tell them in dictionaries, where I made close friends with schwa and other phonemes. My cousins tease me when we come home to visit on summers because I call their mother's 'Aunt', while they call mine 'Ant'. Castles almost always have 365 stairs in their towers, my sister and I figure it's one for each day of the year. When we come back to stay, we learn that America has non-military / non-public service related commercials! We spend our first week stateside flipping channels to watch commercials. I memorize my first. It's for Tide. I can still sing it. American students don't visit castles and cathedrals on the weekend, and jaded teachers require you to prove you actually know what you're taking about, if they ask if anyone's been. It's funny to watch their eyes widen when they realize you actually do and have.
2. I saw the most beautiful red headed boy standing next to this really tall Asian boy at the bus stop. At my first high school, I'm in the top 600 of 2000 in my class. At my second high school, I'm in the top 6 of 102. At my third high school, I graduate in the top 80 of 600. I only apply to one university: Scholars College, and my entry paper on the most influential book I've ever read is about The Tawny Scrawny Lion. I'm accepted, and learn that ALL of my future teachers read it, curious to meet the girl who chose a children's book. I fall into theatre. (It's not that I didn't being there, only that I hadn't intended to get there.) I love dance, and dance an average of four hours every day. I can't spot turn, but I don't stop trying. The drinking age in Louisiana is 18, until one month and one day before I turn 18, then it's 21. My parents respond by having me come home on the weekends to mix drinks. Together, we discover that I hate whiskey, but love dessert drinks. Every weekend, my friends and I go dancing at the bar. I'm the youngest, but I always go up and buy the drinks. I am never carded. I also never drink. I'm the designated driver. On my 21st birthday, when I finally drink something I've bought, the bartender (whose been serving me for four years) finally cards me, blinks, hands me my card back, and wishes me a happy birthday. Everyone wanted to celebrate with me. No one didn't drink. I confiscate all the keys and we, all twenty of us, tipsily walk the fifteen miles back to the dorm. It was awesome.
4. I discover the beautiful red headed boy has become a beautiful red headed man. I finally confess my love to him. As we prepare to wed, my mother asks how he proposed. I stop, he stops, we exchange a surprised look, and shrug. "He didn't." He nods. "We just (both shrug) assumed." We watch our dancing bean on the baby monitor. We are both charmed by the magic of this little life inside of me. We have made our own Samwise. He's born with his father's red hair, and my mother's lavender eyes. Two years pass and I plant forget me nots for the child that will never have my Boyo for a big brother. Three months later, we are surprised to find we're pregnant again. We have two names we like, we can't decide. We let my oldest name his brother. Considering Titan A.E., Willow, and Sinbad and the Seven Seas are his absolute favorite movies, choosing 'Kael' should not have been a surprise. He is also born with his father's red hair, but blue eyed.
5. My oldest is a brunette with curly hair and brown eyes. People say he looks just like me. My youngest is a blonde with pin straight hair and eyes that change between stormy blue, grey, and hazel. People say he looks just like his father. I go back to school and finish my degree. I start with over 207 credit hours. It still takes 2 1/2 years. I triple major with a BFA in 2D art, 3D art, and theatre. My father, my husband, and my in laws comes to my graduation. I'm the only graduating BFA this semester. My name is butchered mercilessly...even the Wise. We laugh about it over lunch.
6. I vow not to be a statistic- I continue to make art after I've graduated. We don't make enough for me to be dedicated to my arts, and we're waiting for my husband to finish his degree as well. I get a day job in an office, where I have found friends and sisters in the women I work with. This job was never meant to last very long, it has no future and no benefits. Our plans change and my husband wants to stay in Alabama. Two years pass and I'm almost asleep when I sit bolt upright in bed, grab my phone and start searching for houses. When we show our boys pictures of the three we're considering, they inform us the third is our house. Less than two months later, never having planned, nor expected to be buying a house, they are proved correct. This is our house. And moving here is exactly what we needed. We love this city, this location, this house. We are starting to make it our own.
My daily commute is almost an hour, one way.
Not that I normally notice the whole thing.
I notice the cars around me enough to drive safely. I notice the changes of the scenery, both regularly to have a general idea of where in my commute I currently am, but also the changes in sky, light position, color of the trees, which flowers are blooming, intensity of the wind, additions and subtractions made by mortal man, the growing seasons, the passing of birds...And the world peripheral.
What I see out of the corner of my eye that is always, -Always- more interesting than what it is viewed directly.
My cellphone might as well be off. I play a game that I use to teach my boys a bit of safety, and pretend that when my car is on and I'm the driver, my hands are glued to the steering wheel, so I couldn't possibly answer it/ check it. They know from years of experience, if it makes nose, they're going to have to get it, or it isn't being gotten.
Sometimes, there's music. The radio or my cell phone plays an eclectic mix of all genres. Or I sing. With or without music to keep me company. The same is true for car dancing, usually at stop lights, either to an excellent tune others can hear, or merely the music in my head.
And my thoughts are a constant companion. I keep myself very entertained on my drives.
Two words/phrases that make me laugh
Every time (: Partly because I adored Mary Poppins. Partly because when she was younger, my momma looked like Julie Andrews. And largely because it's a made up word that they actually defined (:
I entirely blame this one on The Three Amigos. To be honest, I quote that movie way more frequently than you might think would fit into normal conversation.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
My current relationship with myself is largely love/ apathy.
I love the things I can do, when I'm actively out doing. But I don't have much patience for myself when I -don't- have the time, energy, or motivation to be doing.
I feel like I'm running out time with too much needing done and clearly not enough time to do it...so why bother?
But the longer I procrastinate, the less time for doing there is. And it doesn't give me any more time or energy, and I just end up feeling guilty that I'm not living up to my potential.
There are people entirely happy to work forty hours a week, come home, watch television, take care of house and family, surrounded by pets and loved ones. And it's enough. I KNOW people like this. And it's enough. For them.
Why can't it be enough for me? WHY do I have to feel the need to do more? Make more? BE more?
I don't know.
But it isn't enough.
I would like to be able to live by the fruits of my creativity. Regularly. Healthy. Like a real job. But I don't want my passion to become a tedious real job.
So I create as I can, in which ever medium I'm currently drawn to (lately, it's words), and try to be more forgiving of the moments when I have to accept that I'm human, with all the failings that can entail.
A fruit I dislike and why:
I don't like the taste or texture of star fruit. I don't like how hard it is to get into coconuts and pomegranate. I don't like the seeds on strawberries and inside watermelon. I don't like the hair of mango or the mushy, seed filled center of cantaloupe and honeydew.
But I'll eat all of them.
Except star fruit.
Those are just gross.
My feelings on ageism
Looking back, I can tell I was an ageist. (Most little kids are.) It's easy to reduce it to your little sister being too young to ride your bike, and the elderly neighbor being too old to skateboard. But that's largely harmless ageism (except from my sister's perspective, when I wouldn't let her tag along).
It becomes more complicated as you, ironically, age.
In college the first time, I thought teachers were too old to hang out with/ date students, and that students were my age, and was shocked by 'real' adults coming back for their education.
As parents, we tend to have pre-existing social limits and laws that we must adhere to, that are entirely, and literally ageist: back facing child seat until 2, booster seats until 5, when to start preschool, and their birth date MUST fall in this range to start that grade...
And when I returned to college to finish my degree, I was on the other end of my first trip, and could see both my teachers and classmates as peers, and in hind sight, wished I'd had the ability to do so a decade prior.
As a working adult, I know people who aren't hired because 'they're too old'. I know that I'm not that far from reaching the age when hireability becomes harder, in this ever hardening job market.
But it's subtler as well. My friends all used to be within five years of my own age.
Now, they're up to twenty years younger, and sixty years older, and I love that we can have them all to our home in a mixed party, and everyone have a good time because age doesn't matter.
But I'd be naive to think that an absolute.
Because outside, in the population at large, we still have ageist policy and practice:
Age to vote.
To buy alcohol.
To run for president.
Ageism is an ingrained part of our society. But it's largely harmless...Right?
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Despite the fact that my mother, both of my sisters, and my husband, have all offered to get my tattoos, I have none. It's not that I don't want one, per se.
I'd love to have a shoulder cap lotus in black, white, and blush.
I'd love to have tributes to my children in the form of their birth flower paired with their Chinese zodiac.
But I have conundrums.
First, as an artist, I don't like the idea of being someone else's canvas. (I figure if I designed my own tattoos and found a tattoo artist who's work I appreciate/ could trust to do my work on me, I can probably get around this one.)
Second, I have incredibly sensitive skin. My husband teases that the princess and the pea is about someone like me. I can feel a mosquito land on me before it bites. Sometimes, I have to put my hair up, off from my neck and back, take off all of my jewelry, and reduce the amount of things touching me because I'm being overwhelmed by the sensations, and they're starting to read as pain. (I understand how tattoos work, and I don't know if I can get around this one.)
Third, I'm fickle. It's not flattering, but if I can't be honest with myself, life would be much harder. I am a creature of change...And tattoos don't. (I'd probably need to have them where -I- couldn't see them to get around this one.)
And fourth, I'm very much a 'feeling' kind of person: Gut feelings, intuitions... when the thought crosses my mind to get a tattoo, I've yet to have the feeling that the time to try is right. When that happens, the rest of my objections won't matter. (Even if all I learn is that I can have the outline of the start of the lotus for my shoulder cap, and know for certain that I can endure no more.)
Friday, May 6, 2016
Someone who fascinates me and why...
When something (or someone) fascinates me, I learn everything I can, because I want to know more. Right now, at this very moment, there is no person I am fascinated by. But I can respond to this in past and future tenses.
I was fascinated with Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Anne Maxwell...in respect that's two men and a trio of Annes, but that's purely incidental. I loved (And still love) their books, their writing, their word choices.
I was fascinated by M.C. Escher and Albrecht Dürer, and the pieces they would create that required looking, and looking again, and looking a third time, and still seeing more, and still wanting to see more.
I was fascinated by Bruce Spiner, James Marsters, Leonard Nimoy, and other actors for their incredible character portrayals. But with further research, I found myself even more fascinated with Gene Roddenberry, Steven Spielberg, Jim Henson, Joss Whedon - the minds that turned ideas into stories, into massive collaborations made tangible, visible reality.
I was fascinated by the most beautiful red headed boy I've ever seen, and again when he turned into the most beautiful red headed man I'd ever seen, and again when he said I do, and again when we became parents together, and again when silver started sneaking into that beautiful red hair, only making him seem more distinguished, and I'm sure I will again when the sunlight catches the green of his eyes and the crinkle of his smile, or the warmth of his laugh surrounds me like a comforting blanket...But right now, he's asleep, and snoring, and mundane, and comfortable, and it's a nice counterpoint to fascination, because fascination is exciting and thrilling and new, but life needs balance and the quiet, boring, humdrum is just as welcome.
A place I would live but have never visited...
When I was a child, my mother was in the Army. I grew up hearing 'Home is where the Army send you', but believing 'Home is where you hang your curtains'.
We got used to making home wherever we were currently assigned.
Growing up semi transient, most military brats develop a wanderlust, whether they join themselves, move frequently on their own, or just rearrange their homes more often than most.
As an adult, I quickly realized that 'where' matters much less to me than 'who'.
As long as it is in good company, I could live (If only for a short while) anywhere.
But given my druthers, I am entirely happy where I currently am.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Ten interesting facts about myself...
1. I've written, and deleted, six sentence trying to come up with a number 1, (because I'm with me all the time- I don't find me particularly interesting).
2. My hair grows an inch per month.
3. I can wiggle my ears.
4. When I was little, my sister and I were very much looking forward to getting body hair. We wanted to have French braids running down our leg hair.
5. When I can't fall asleep, I make up fairy tales, or play with words, or write out to do lists. (Example: M I double S I double S I double P I... T E double N E double S double E Double 'U' (W) I double L I, AMS.)
6. I frequently, and sincerely, use jazz hands in celebration. I also literally jump for joy, and break out into all manner of happy dances.
7. When I figure something out, I tend to put my pointer finger on my nose, because now I "knows" the answer.
8. I have a love/hate relationship with puns: I love them, my husband hates them.
9. I love seeing the world peripherally. What I catch out of the corner of my eye is always much more exciting than what is there when I look straight at it.
10. I still pick dandelions, count paddidles and tiddilywinks, the first star at night, and shooting stars to make wishes. Sometimes, those wishes are for me or those close to me. Sometimes, they are for all of us. Sometimes, they're a thank you. And sometimes, I offer them out into the universe for the next person who needs it more than I.
My first love, and my first kiss...
My first love was warm, soft, caring, gentle. She watched over me, though my mother tried to stop us from sharing a bed. She was older than me. Wiser. Kinder. And infinitely patient. It mattered not a wit that I was incredibly allergic to cats, that calico slept with me in my crib every night and every nap: me softly sneezing and coughing all over her, and her purring and cleaning the ever running font of mucus my nose presented in protest.
My first kiss...
My first kiss was when I was born and they placed me on my mother's stomach and she smiled and kissed me in delight.
My first kiss was when I was two and he was two and we were in his mother's lap and the grown ups told us to blow kisses, and laughed in delight when we did.
My first kiss was in fifth grade, when I was hanging up my jacket after recess and the boy I liked, tripped, and his face bumped into mine, and his lips ran painfully into mine, and I returned the surprise with an indignant slap.
My first kiss was my then best friend and we were both in eighth grade. He asked me out and I said yes because we were already always hanging out. But then we were sitting on the couch and he put his arm around me and kissed my cheek and WHOA! That was NOT what I'd signed up for! And we were no longer dating.
My first kiss was in tenth grade and he was in eleventh, and his lips were soft and warm and the peach fuzz on his lip tickled my nose, but then he tried to put his tongue in my mouth, and all I could think about was the way that earth worms mate: all mucus out of holes in the ground and flailing against each other making a mess, and I hadn't signed up for -this- either! So we were no longer dating.
My first kiss was in spring in the south and we were in eleventh grade. He was showing me a local sand bar and the sunlight was romantic through the green leaves of the trees. A gentle breeze whipped some of my hair about my face, and he gently caught it, taming it. His hand warm on my cheek, barely touching, hesitant. He looked into my eyes and leaned in, and briefly, I panicked: Am I supposed to tilt my head? What if we bump heads? What if I have bad breath? What if -he- has bad breath? Maybe I'm supposed to hold my breath. But then when do I breathe?!? What if I pass out? What about spit?!? What if... And then his lips were softly on mine, hesitant, testing, respectful, questioning, warm, pleasant, new...And I forgot all about my silly questions. And we didn't bump heads. And I tilted a little to the right, but so did he. And I didn't notice his breath, because all I could focus on were the two spots where we met: his hand, warm and gentle, cupping my face, and our lips. And I can't remember if I breathed, but I didn't pass out. And I smiled, and opened my eyes shyly, and so did he. Then he showed me the minnows and how they'll come to tickle your toes if you put your feet in the shallows.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
My earliest memory is watching the eruption on Mt. St. Helen, on May 18, 1980.
I was in my mother's arms, as she bounced me and walked across the floor behind the couch, when she suddenly stopped, and turned slowly towards the little television across the room. The television is a small rounded box with rabbit ears on the corner of a counter, and all the adults in the room go silent. Their silence frightens me, and I burst into tears. I am 2 1/2 years old.
It's only because I can put a date on it that clearly marks my age. (A mountain exploding tends to stick out!)
Another early memory, I was four. We were visiting family in Arizona and stopped to see the Grand Canyon.
I remember standing near the edge with my Aunt Charlene, and specifically wondering what the view looking up looked like, and thinking that the fastest way down to find out, was right off the edge. I never even considered that it might be dangerous.
But as I prepared to find out, my Aunt Charlene called my name, once, sharp, with a hidden 'No!' in it, "Janin!".
I blinked and stepped back to her, and she told me to stay away from the edge so I wouldn't fall. Once she told me I couldn't, I couldn't. Aunt Charlene said so. But I remember being really wistful that I had missed my opportunity to know what the canyon looked like from below.
Maybe that means I need to plan a trip back to show the canyon to my boys, and from the bottom... but do it safely (NOT right over the edge) (;
As a way to get back to regularly blogging, I thought I'd share my responses to a daily writing prompt.
I've been focused on editing my dream journal this year. So far, I've edited about 40 of (slightly over) 365 dreams. It's the way less interesting cousin of writing and having the original dreams, but there are decidedly fewer spelling errors (;
So here's the first post of 2016!
Five problems with social media:
1. Although it's a great way to peripherally stay in touch with various aspects of our life and the people who shared those times with us, at its heart, all social media platforms are businesses. They don't charge us...because we're the product.
2. Because social media is a product we aren't charged for, we have little to no say in how it is changed and tailored around us. I've yet to meet a person who would prefer to see the most commented on posts over the most recent.
3. With all the various platforms, social media can feel like an obligation- congratulate the newly engaged, the new baby, the big job/ condolences for the accident, the illness, the death or misfortune. It's not that I'm not entirely sincere with each of these, but it feels like you HAVE to stay connected to even know.
4. I used to make a point of wishing everyone a happy birthday, or go thorough and thank each of the service members that I know at veteran's day, mother's day moms...etc.
But then two things happened: Facebook put a cap on the same kind of posts you can do in a day, and treats you like spam if you reach their quota. The exact warning is that you're not using Facebook the way they want you to. And second, I decided that I could just as easily replace them with actual cards, or my voice...so if I didn't have their address or speak to them, they didn't actually need my birthday wish because I'm just one in a sea of many and Facebook won't actually let you SEE all of your birthday wishes anyway.
And 5. Between pages, suggested posts, advertisements, and what's popular, you really, REALLY have to look to find people's posts. To help deal with the algorithms they have in place, I set most pages not to send me anything, and if someone crosses my mind, I visit their wall, send them a post that they'd like or that makes me think of them, or send them a message.
That said, there are actually a lot of good things about social media, so here's five.
1. We ARE connected to people from every aspect of our life! They are literally just a click away.
2. Groups! I love, Love, LOVE that there are groups. It doesn't matter what the group subject in, these are people as passionate about that thing as you are. And they are communities that help and support each other. Groups are what social media used to be, before the marketing.
3. Social media is an -excellent- platform for small businesses, artists, bloggers, authors. Pages are a lot like groups and if you don't worry about trying to farm likes for numbers, what you have are people who are sincerely interested in whatever it is YOU are doing.
4. Cat pictures. (And dog pictures). Flowers. And sunsets. Photography was always an elite...but people are documenting the wonders they encounter daily, and even a cell phone can capture beauty.
And 5. Inspirational memes and world news. I'm a believer in synchronicity and the world conscience. With so many people connected, social media is now more frequently ground zero for breaking news because real people, actually there, are telling their friends about it, who tell their friends, and six degrees of Kevin Bacon later and you know about the earth quake in Madrid before CNN does. Or the posts/memes in your feed resonate with you on a deeper level, because they also resonate with the original poster. Social media tends to help me sort myself out when I start to feel adrift.
And so I would say that social media is a microcosm of the world itself (well...because it IS), filled with both good and bad features, and imperfect people trying to navigate and find meaningful connections.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
BUT, I have had this idea rattling around in my head for the last two years, imagining a young Hoggle getting started in the goblin world, and decided tonight would be the perfect opportunity to capture it in a sketch!
I look forward to fleshing it out in the future (:
Friday, October 2, 2015
And I couldn't resist.
So here's "The (Robot) Devil Wears Prada", colors pencil and pen and ink on acrylic paper.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Today, I decided I'd participate in #drawlloween. It's been a while since my last month long creative participation, and I like the idea of this one.
I don't have long each day to create, so they're going to be quick.
So without further ado, I give you "My Pet Peeve" acrylic on watercolor paper. For day 1 of #drawlloween 's ghost (:
My Pet Peeve
by Janin Wise
He was descended
of Egyptian Gods,
But not too proud
to bring me murder presents
for my birthday.
He was my Peeve,
But never my poltergeist.
He kept me company
for sixteen years,
But was always as spry as a kitten.
And when his time came,
his body passed quickly,
But his spirit lingered.
Waiting for me
to find another fur baby
Waiting for me
to be ready
to say goodbye.
And on that night,
he snuggled close one last time,
then gently padded away,
giving his warm spot to our new cat.