Friday, January 18, 2019

how was your break?

 "How was your break?"  When you have a few weeks off from campus activities, this is the question you get to answer 47 times when you return.  Of course, no one really wants to know the details of your break, they just want to hear it was good.  But if you ask someone a question, you need to be prepared for the actual response, right?  I mean, don't ask a question you don't really want the answer to, am I right?

Ok, so I know you didn't really ask, but my break was really good.  Wanna hear about it?  Oh good!........

 You probably guessed it started with waffles.  

 And Metal Megan and Luke got married.

 It kinda snowed.  This was the brief view at my house before our little dusting of snow melted in a couple of hours.  Mom's house, about 30 minutes north of here, got several inches and lost power for a couple of days.

 Other than that brief winter visit, it's felt a lot more like a wet spring around here.  A very wet spring.  It's been really warm - like - running in shorts without a shirt kind of warm first thing in the morning.  And it's rained just about nonstop since graduation.  My running trail alternates between mud pit, small creek, actual river, lake and then back to mud pit in one lap.

 We had a sunny day to play tennis.

 And with more time at home I cooked a bit.  Violet and I had homemade pizza night and we even made up our own dessert pizza recipe...peanut butter, banana and chocolate.

 I got to see some old friends and have coffee with them.  It's always fun to talk to people over coffee.  That's Ashley "The Whisk" with her infamous butt drawing.

 G and I were able to schedule a breakfast date one morning after ditching the kids at school.  Biscuit Head for the win.

 Then Blue got out early because of exams so I got to almost eat with him.  He got braces in December so he was having a little trouble with the chicken.

 I got to hit Spill The Beans a couple of times.  Again, coffee is the best.  Coffee and sunshine.  I'm doing fine on my coffee intake this winter but my sun deprivation is pretty high.

 Bolt graduated.  I was very happy for her until we slogged for the first time without her this past week.  Now I miss her.

 Actually several art people graduated.

 When the kids got out of school, I became the Director of Activities.  All the good activities are outdoor activities so we put some really firm limits on phone and computer time and if it wasn't actually raining, we went outside and breathed in the real air.  They even ran with me once.
 We explored in the woods with BB guns and played in the ravine.

 I got to pet this cow and it was everything I hoped it would be.  I need a cow.

 And it kept raining.

 Blue and Violet got to go hand out gift bags and blankets to some nursing home residents.  It was really cool.

 Since it wouldn't stop raining, we made time to go check out the local waterfall and to look at the flooded river nearby.

 Any Director of Activities worth his salt knows to take the kids to the climbing place to help get that energy out.

 We did all the Christmas things too.  We looked at lights, decorated the house, hosted a party and played Bingo on the old military base Bingo cards from the 1950s at the family party.

 Coffee and sunshine.  

 The elf guy visited again.  Look closely to see him and his Barbie friends doing PiYo along with the video.

 This was what Christmas day brunch at mom's looked like.  Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

 That's mom, the founder of the feast.

 After brunch we slept off the calories and then headed to Waffle House for our fancy family Christmas dinner.

 Because Waffle House is fancy enough for us.

 We got another sunny day so we hiked at Croft State Park.

 We got to go to the beach too.  I saw a few of these sea urchins on my morning runs and when I found this one he seemed to be dead.  The shells are really beautiful so I picked him up and ran a mile or so with him to show him to the kids.  As they were looking at him in the room he started crawling across the kitchen counter.  So then I had to take him back to the surf and set him free.

 It only rained on us a tiny bit at the beach but we only saw a glimpse of the sun a couple of times.

 Even a rainy day at the beach is still awesome.

Violet and I got to ice skate.  It was a true southern ice skating experience though.  It was about 70 degrees that day, there was a large puddle of water across the surface of the ice and I was in shorts.  We were only a little bit irritated with the reckless kids and parents who endangered everyone on the ice with their nonsense.

 I had a birthday.  I turned 47 and a bunch of really awesome people ran with me on my birthday.  

 Did I mention that it won't stop raining?  I've gone through all my running shoes because they get so wet it takes a week for them to dry out.  

 And then Katie got married!

 The photos paint a picture of break being all fun and games.  Of course this is not accurate.  Don't get me wrong, I had a great time and did lots of fun things with awesome people, but I'm just like's not always cloud nine around me.  I didn't feel great every day, there was some sickness around and the break kind of started out with some general heaviness that's hard to explain.  The sun hid from me most days, there was the never ending rain and it's just harder to be happy when it starts getting dark at 4 in the afternoon.  But I got up and ran and felt invigorated and looked for things to be happy about.  I'm no doctor, but I highly recommend that for all your dark days.  Coffee and sweets help too.  
I also did a lot of actual work.  I heard a lot of "I wish I had four weeks off in the winter" from people in their most judging voices.  And really, I get it, heck, I agree with you and I do realize it's nice.  Not hopping out of bed for a 5:40am alarm is really great for 4 weeks.  But in the spirit of honesty...I did work a lot during my "vacation".  I shifted my schedule and when I started an hour or so later each day, I also ended each day at least that much later as well.  After catching up on a lot of chores that hadn't been done because of school, I was able to turn my attention to professional development and research, both of which are required by the job that gives me a winter break.  I went to museums, recorded things in the sketchbook and most importantly, started and finished 4 new large drawings before school started back.  I'm also kind of proud that I finished a book that's taken me a little over a year to read.  Not proud about how long it took.  Just that it was a tough one and that I made it through and may have learned some things.

So to get back to just captioning photos....that was one of the drawings I completed in it's early stages of creation.  

 I got to catch up with Ali for lunch.  No coffee this time but a pretty decent sandwich.

 A good friend asked me what I would do on the perfect last day of vacation before school starts back.  I think I did it.  I had been planning to go to the Columbia Museum of Art (about an hour away from me) to see the Jackson Pollock at some point during break but it kept getting pushed back.  So on the last Friday before classes began, I drove down and spent some time there.

I am not a huge Pollock fan.  I get why he's important and I did my part and watched the movie made about his life.  I've just never loved his stuff.  But I have to tell you, being in the room with his painting "Mural" was a really great experience.  I don't get emotional or weird looking at art.  I think that's important to state here because I've seen some great things by all the famous people, but I tend to look at it less as a tourist and more as an artist.  I look at how it was made and I see it from that perspective.  I'm not easily awestruck.  This exhibit was set up so well that by the time you enter into the large gallery with the painting, your anticipation has been sufficiently built.  And then there it is. Honestly, my heart rate increased because of the energy of the lines and the colors.  

I'm also a pretty quick art viewer.  I look, I assess and I'm ready to walk to the next one.  This is probably the first time I've been compelled to sit down and just spend some time in the presence of the work of art.  All total, I think I spent a little over an hour with this one.  There was a lot to see.  I happened upon two of the museum curators doing an interview (in the photo) and got a bit of a lesson on the painting which was great.  Later I got to chat with one of the curators more and her excitement about the work made the experience even better.  If you're a local or live in driving distance, it's up until May and you should check it out.  

So I'm glad you asked.  That was how my break was.

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