In less than 12 hours from now Eric & I will be starting our very long travel towards Cheonan, Korea. We’ll be there for 2 1/2 months, doing volunteering with a church I went to when I lived there 3 years ago. So yes. That’s what’s happening now.
A while ago, over a year and a half ago, I created three paintings of three children very dear to me. I submitted all three to different exhibitions in the local area, and while the Susie painting and the Jaiden painting both got accepted into galleries, the third painting, the Kelly painting, was returned to me. I guess because of that I forgot to ever post about it on-line. It’s about time I completed the trilogy. Especially since I see the painting hanging on our wall every day, and am reminded of the sweet young girl that it’s based off of.
The painting is of Kelly, a girl I had in class when I was teaching art in Canada on the Naskapi reservation for a year before I got married. She’s a real sweetheart, and I wanted to capture her innocent kindness.
I also wanted to include some aspect of the area where Kelly is from, and that’s why I included the ptarmigan “halo”.
I’m very happy with how this painting turned out. Sad it didn’t make it into the exhibition, but happy that I get to enjoy it daily. I miss Kelly. (By the way, this is oil paint on a 24″ x 24″ masonite board.)
After our long spring tour we cut way down on shows for this summer. We wanted to give ourselves the time we needed to record the new Pocket Vinyl album (bee tea dub, recording is completely finished as of last week!! We’re waiting on mixing & mastering, but all the physical playing and singing is finished!!) as well as our Kickstarter and resting up before we take off from Korea in two weeks (that is coming up fast!). We did, however, schedule in a couple little local (ish) shows, and one took place last weekend in Chester, Massachusetts. We have some friends up there (Chris & Kate, they own three paintings already, including the one that inspired our current sticker design!) that are working for a tiny (and very old) New England church: Cornerstone Christian Church. They have a little basement coffeehouse and host musical acts once a month. Since Chris’ job is to book the acts, he graciously offered us the June slot! Eric & I headed up to Chester early for a delicious gluten-free & vegan dinner at Chris & Kate’s adorable apartment and enjoyed great conversation and entertainment from their toddler Alice before walking not even a block away to the church. It was a modest crowd for the show, but people seemed to really enjoy it and it was nice to be among friends. Kate was actually bidding on the painting for her friend who couldn’t be there that night, and won it for her. We found it amusing the put the sleepy and glazed-looking toddler as the person who’d won the bidding on the painting. Now, our very last Pocket Vinyl show before we head to Korea is actually TONIGHT! We’ll be returning to Torrington, CT for another show at The Desultory Theater Club. Info for tonight’s show can be found here.
I was debating whether or not listening to audio books counted as reading… You do get all the exact same information, sometimes even more so, like the correct pauses and emphasis as in something like David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day or a little bit of bonus material and acting in something like John Hodgman’s That is All (both books that Eric & I listened to in the car on this past spring tour… both very very good), where the author is actually also the one reading the audio book. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I have decided that listening to audio books can just barely squeak in with the “reading” category, but it doesn’t improve your intelligence as much as reading the words yourself does, which I will say is one of the highest aspects of reading… I made that up, by the way. But reading has really just got to be better exercise on your brain than simply listening… Well, anyways. All that is to say: Audio books are making their way into my summer reading list.
Here’s why I’ve recently finished an entire audio book, despite the fact that we haven’t been spending as much time in the car as we typically do on tour (when we do much of our listening to audio books and podcasts): With the warm weather and with, as I mentioned 10 seconds ago, us not being on tour for a bit, I have started running again. That is a lie. I have started walk-running again. If I say that I’m “going for a run” and I end up with a cramp, a twisted knee, and lungs that feel like they’re about to explode within 5 minutes, I return home feeling defeated. But if I say that I’m “going for a walk-run”, and I do walk maybe half the time, I’m fulfilling what I set out to do, not feeling defeated ever, and gain the confidence and stamina to possibly only walk a third or even a quarter of the time! Plus, the best “inspiration run quote” I’ve ever seen reads “Even a bad run is better than no run.”
Anyways, I use to make high-energy playlists and shuffle through them on my iPod to try to keep me motivated, but that usually would only last for a week (if that) before I was bored. So once we got back after this last tour I decided that I’d try out audio books! And it just so happens that my dad recently gave me all seven of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia on audio book by HarperCollins. I mention that it’s by HarperCollins not to do any buzz marketing but because there are multiple audio versions available out there of The Chronicles of Narnia. There is even a free version, but I’m not going to say anything about it since I have no idea what kind of quality that has.
This is my third time going through The Chronicles of Narnia, they’re good “read again” books (though I guess I’ve only ever read them once…) When I was little my dad read the entire series to us. Both my parents did a lot of reading novels aloud to my brothers and I, and I highly recommend doing it with your own kids someday (I’m going to assume everyone reading this doesn’t have kids yet, just so I can relate to you). I then decided to read the books for myself during skipped classes of my senior year of high school. Yes, so rebellious to skip out of Digital Photography class to go sit in the woods and read a metaphor for Christianity…
So now I’m listening to the audio books. I just finished The Magician’s Nephew (read by a perfect British guy who made me feel like C.S. Lewis himself was telling the story) and quick note: I only ever read them chronologically. It does not matter that Lewis published them in a wonky order, it makes sense to start with The Magician’s Nephew, then hit up The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe.
The Magician’s Nephew explains the “creation story” of the land of Narnia, including the magic behind the wardrobe and the evil that enters Narnia. It’s pretty fascinating history (even if it is for a made-up world), and the descriptions of Aslan “singing” Narnia into existence is really beautiful. Plus, as I mentioned the metaphor for Christianity point, since I last read these I’ve also read a handful of other C.S. Lewis books and (separate of that fact but also related) I’ve very drastically changed my entire view of Christianity and what I personally believe about God, the creation of the world, faith, love, and hell. So, listening to these books with fresh ears has been fascinating. Recommending The Chronicles of Narnia seems like such a silly and given thing. Why on earth wouldn’t you read these books?
I’ve already begun listening to The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, so I’ll end off this post with the perfect little video clip relating to that story:
P.S. Not a huge fan of the movies. Just gonna put that out there.
I’m realizing I have a whole bunch of “potential” blog posts in my photos and stuff, and I really need to get on posting these things! So here’s one that I’m very happy about: The second in my five year long series of Christmas ornament nesting dolls.
Eric & I decided to give each other a handmade ornament at every Christmas, beginning when we got married. Years ago I got a set of blank Russian nesting dolls, and during the Christmas of 2011 I decided to paint the smallest of the dolls to look like Eric. You can see it here.
So for 2012 I did the second smallest doll:
I again did a portrait of Eric, again filling it with little details that remind us of the year of 2012: He’s sitting behind the wheel and in the driver seat of our Camry (because of all the touring we did in 2012), he’s in his sleeping bag (because of countless night sleeping in the car on tour), he’s wearing his Ron Swanson breakfast t-shirt (designed by a friend over at Pop Prints), and he has a bottle of Dr Enuf on the dashboard (from our love of Johnson City).
I look forward to the adventures of our future years and how the next three nesting dolls will turn out! I really do love this idea, if I may say so myself.
…I’m not even going to comment on how little I’ve been blogging lately.
Last month one of my best friends from college, Leah, got married, and it was glorious. Her (now) husband, Phil, also went to our college and the wedding was anticipated as another big college reunion for all of us. I feel we all really lucked out on the amazing friend group that we came up with during our years at college, and despite the ridiculous debt I’m in now, I seriously wouldn’t have traded those years for anything. I love all these people so so dearly.
Despite Leah & Phil currently living in Rochester, NY, the wedding took place above NYC, in Lagrangeville, near her parents’ place. Eric & I showed up early on May 16th, the Thursday before the wedding. He dropped me off at the hotel for the bachelorette party and he went off to go camping with another husband and boyfriend. It was so much fun, and as awesome as the wedding itself was, a lot of us wished the bachelorette party could’ve gone on a lot longer, just so we could have more time with just our small group. (By the way, check out the amazing tea infuser that was my bridesmaid gift!)
On Friday before the rehearsal we all got mani-pedis together.
Because of her love of old black & white films, Leah had settled on the 1930s as the theme for the wedding, and it came together amazingly. All us girls had different gold floor-length dresses and we had fun trying to find hairstyles and jewelry to match the time period.
-A big part of why I love being a bridesmaid is because I get to watch how weepy and adorable the groom’s face is. Phil was so cute!
-Eric is getting very beardy isn’t he? The positive feedback he got from our friends over his mustache was wonderful.
-The table favors were wooden puzzles! Such an awesome idea! Also, they were very difficult to figure out.
-I reeeeaally love that last photo, taken by the wedding photographer.
So yes, it was a completely amazing wedding, with lots of wonderful dancing, staying up late at the hotel, and a long leisurely breakfast with everyone the next morning. Seriously wonderful. Also, I think this might’ve been the last wedding I’ll be a bridesmaid in… Kind of bittersweet, but of all weddings to finish with, this was definitely the most perfect one.