Friday, March 27, 2015

giving back

I think it's important to find a way to give back when you can. And I think it's often easier to do than most people imagine. You do not have to write a giant oversized check to a good cause. Sometimes it can be just a donation of your time. Volunteer organizations always need extra hands. Earlier this year I donated a piece of artwork to the Town Theatre project in my town. This is a project near and dear to my heart and I've worked on saving this theatre for the last couple of years. But that's a story for another day. It's the end of March, and we're all thinking Spring is around the corner - despite getting another snowfall this morning.

April is Autism Awareness Month. 

Truly, it is no cause for celebration in my house. Thing 1 is on the severe end of the spectrum. Everyday, every single day, we are very Aware of Autism. April is his birthday month. He will be 15 this year. Where did my tiny little monkey go? 

My sweet little monkey aka Thing 1, age 2

He's a big kid now. A big massive, hulking kid, although still very small for his age. He doesn't know his own strength. He's non-verbal and not quite potty trained. Thing 2 wishes his brother was more fun to play with. Thing 2 often wishes he has his own room on nights when Thing 1 just can't seem to settle down.  Yes, we are all quite Aware of Autism here.

Each year for April, I try to give back. I donate 10% of my sales for the month to the National Autism Association. Locally, the NAA offers grants to families to help offset the never-ending high medical costs associated with caring for someone with autism. The NAA is also behind the Big Red Safety Box, tools for parents and caregivers to minimize wanderings, because kids who wander are often kids who die. Children on the spectrum do not recognize dangers. Thing 1 wandered away from school last December. It's scary. 

This year, I will be donating 10% for autism from all of my sales for the month of April, except for my latest work which will be at the Towle Theater in Hammond. This show was installed today! I will be donating 25% of sales from this show. 

at the Towle Theater

To find out more about my 10% for autism challenge, and where you can see my artwork, click over to my art blog.

To donate directly to NAA, please click here.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

the garden begins

It's a fantastic 43° here today. Of course we're still covered with snow and my sidewalks are all one ginormous puddle, but spring is coming!

So I started the garden.

Well, I started plum tomatoes, red peppers and pickling cukes. And it's actually on time to start them. For once. We can generally start planting outdoors at Mother's Day where I live. I admit: I do not like gardening. Not even a little. But I do like eating. A lot. And what's in the produce department at the supermarket does not compare to garden fresh veggies. And so I want a garden. 

I also want a gardener to do the gardening for me.

Last year, I started everything late and ended up with some sad containers instead of full garden. The year before I didn't manage to get even that far. To say that the garden area is overgrown does not really cover it. Our yard is constantly trying to return to its native prairie state. Mother Nature is tenacious, and, I think, senses our weak will-edness when it comes to lawn maintenance. Our neighbors have the best maintained yard on the block. 

Sometimes I feel bad for them that they have to live across the street from us.

I'm hoping for raised beds this year. I'm convinced it will help with weeds and hopeful that it will deter some of the critters. As I was planting these seeds today, I thought I am going to have raised beds if I have to kill someone to get them. And then I laughed because I'd need to kill at least four people for each bed. 

Remind me of this post when I wonder why no one will come to my house.

Monday, March 2, 2015


I have had some serious doubts about the smartness of this blog in the last month. If I already have difficulty with two posts a week on my art blog, how am I going to keep up with a whole other blog? Did I just add another thing onto my to do list? Yes, yes, I did.

I have still been thinking about the whole gratitude and simplify ideas. And while I do have another post about gratitude, this one is all about simplify. I really want less. Less to do, less to want, less to need. 

I have a small house with too much stuff. Too much I don't want and don't need. And I have come to believe living with less will give me more peace.

The pantry has been cleaned out. (Pantry sounds really fancy. I have a closet in the dining room.) And the hall closet, too. You know what was in the hall closet? A broken vacuum. And some kids shoes that were probably 8 years old. And a winter jacket that was almost as old. A single cafe curtain rod (brand new, with hardware) One toddler winter boot. Four umbrellas. More. Do I need all these things? I can now see the bottom of the closet floor, and I feel relieved. The coat is being washed and will be donated to charity this week, with the shoes, and some other random things I found, that I have no use for, but someone might. The broken vacuum has been tossed.

I aspire to something like this for this closet, because we don't have an entryway/foyer or a mudroom. And the kids' coats/backpacks/shoes are out of control. But for now I've made a good start.