Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Local Treasures, Ancestral Landscapes

Light house Fort Worden State Park  

I am totally fascinated by the way studying to become a Legacy Specialist brings together all my interests and skills. One contact leads to another, and All I have to do is Ask. 

Today I had an orientation/interview at Jefferson Historical Society's research center. They have and do All the cool things I've only seen in pictures and lectures to date...all the archival materials, sliding storage shelves, custom-made archival boxes, photo stations, data base, and server...Too Much FUN! I think that Marsha and Becky were happy that I share their enthusiasm, and I'll be back, to learn to catalog, archive, and preserve...organize artifacts and solve mysteries. There is a moment in college that I can still recall vividly--an advertisement for a fabric conservator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts...If only I'd rejected the health care career then...oh, well, we can't go backward, only forward and enjoy the present, and it's exciting to find a place where I feel as if I FIT after all these years.

Windy Self-portrait on the beach

I came to Fort Worden for art classes during my Heroine's Journey in 2002. I still lived in NY and assumed I always would. LD somebody taught a self-portrait class, and since I've had digital cameras, I've made it a habit to document myself. Not quite as difficult as listening to my voice, but it takes courage to see the outside change relative to the inside. I have been painting portraits, still...what is revealed?

Looking across the water to Whidbey Island

 I was alone on the beach except for sea gulls, until I was stashing a few rocks I was planning to relocate in my car. A woman from Olympia stopped to talk with me, concerned that if she parked to look at birds, she would get a ticket for not having a Discover Pass. People talk to me wherever I am...I don't mind asking curious questions, and am used to being able to do that from working in health care. She realized that since she was in a rental car and didn't remember her actual license plate number, she could probably get away without one. When I drove away, I realized that the one I'd put up in my car was expired. I think I have a current one buried in my glove compartment. Yes, the state parks are a good cause to support. I never get tired of being near salt water.

A primal scene for me, the edge of land against sky

My Hastings name is all over the Jefferson County Historical Society, and buildings and streets in Port Townsend. My branch of the family was all from Massachusetts and Vermont, as far as I know. Maybe I'll look in the geneology books some day.

I was watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey last night, and when the family went to the highlands of Scotland, I saw many scenes like the one above...a landscape arrangement that has felt very primal to me: slice of field against sky, from the first painting I ever wanted to buy, when I was in high school. I saw that scene over and over in the episode of Downton Abbey in the Scottish Highlands, and again today, beach grass against sky. My Scottish ancestors calling to me through the genes...I have never felt similarly drawn to haggis, though.

More Adventures Unfold...


Monday, October 28, 2013

Patience and Ripening

It's Monday, and I'm out on my back deck, taking a photo of the pink geraniums and purple petunias still in bloom. It's going to take me a while to get used to less Work-for-Money and more Work-for-Love. When I worked for myself for all those years, no part of the day or week was sacred, and I had/have to remember to take time off to Go Outside, or read, or exercise, or cook or visit the beach or friends.

I appreciate that I've spent half my life managing my own schedule...few people my age have practice with not allowing Work to structure their lives. I remember the importance of stopping to look, to rest, to appreciate what all the work is purchasing in terms of time and enjoyment of Life...good thing I've had lots of practice with living frugally.

The four kinds of winter greens I planted in pots on the back deck are finally starting to grow...It has cooled off enough and I've given them doses of fish fertilizer between the rain storms. They like the protected southern exposure. I've already used some of the outside leaves in cooking--lentil and barley soup, a low-cost, high-nutrition food, which is even more of a priority now that I must keep myself healthy because I can't afford to be sick.

I'm even considering setting the wake up light and radio for 7am, instead of 6am, at least for the dark days of fall/winter. It's hard to avoid the superstitious thought that I must receive punishment for being happy and fulfilled. My new career, as a Legacy Specialist, does not normally require getting up early. I don't need to be waked up in the season of light. I like morning work hours...I save the hardest things for morning, but I don't find it necessary to start before daylight any more--How Nice!.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Savor the Moment

Spiderweb plates trap fog beads  

My generation, trapped between the Fifties and the Sixties, our mothers repressed by the Depression. We're coming into what might be a time of reward and fulfillment...if we weren't so worried about having enough money to survive our "golden" years.

When I was a child and reading a book, my mother put me to work, "since you aren't doing anything." I took off three decades during my peak earning years to be an artist, and developed an iron sense of self-discipline by necessity, in order to survive. I wasn't able to save enough to retire on, so had to spend twenty or more years doing health care.

Last peppers of Fall

I've never really been happy working for anyone but myself, or doing anything but Art, and now my financial planner/friend, says I can afford to take a chance on Art and myself long as I don't develop any extravagant living habits. Freedom is my highest extravagance, and I am slowly unclenching, and slowing down my pace to savor every bit of life, from the Farmers' Market fresh kale, shallot, and chanterelle omelette with a cranberry/lemon scone, to the seagull examining me from the rock pile at Ediz Hook on a foggy Friday, to the radio song like a jewel, stopping me from getting out of the car.

Seagull against fog, Ediz Hook, Friday afternoon

Now it's OK to lie in bed, reading a semi-trashy novel, instead of jumping up to Get Ready at 6am. I can spend time looking through the piles of books on my dining table and doing drawings, taking notes. I'm still getting used to this new pace, threatening to fill up my time with new Projects. Delighting in my successes now that I am taking the time to pursue opportunities.

Maya, picking up her portrait


And I am wondering why I am "entitled" to this time freedom? I have been working and saving for over 50 years, letting the government use a share of my earnings. I don't own a flat screen TV or an SUV, but I DO want  the modest living I've worked for, health care if I need it, like the other "advanced" nations of the world give their elders. I am NOT Willing to give my hard-won security to the Tea Party or any other oblivious government functionary just to make a rich corporation a little richer.

Nancy with portrait of her and James

Exquisite food, not expensive, good friends, appreciating what lies around me, putting effort into staying healthy and being a responsible citizen, doing work I love and sharing it with others. And I'll work on not feeling guilty about taking time to enjoy my life. 

Won't you join me?