Category Archives: Personal

Review of 2010

The Year 2010 was a JOURNEY. However, it was not an artistic journey. This blog has been gathering a LOT of dust this past year, as have most of the supplies in my art studio.

Instead, I have been juggling my many new, old and important roles in life.

Loganberry dog park

Dog Mommy: We adopted an 18 month puppy this June. Frankie is a Great Dane/ English Mastiff/ Greyhound mix. He is a bundle of energy and anxiety. He has adjusted and blended into our family mostly well. Charger is 13 years old now, and the new puppy has brought him back to a playful age. But the cats have been relocated to the basement. Training classes are going to be a part of the new year as we work on better leash manners and deal with separation anxiety.

middle school art teacher: 2009-2010 was a great school year but so far 2010-2011 has been a stressful year with over loaded classrooms and troubled kids, slashed budgets and more committees and responsibilities than ever. This part of my life takes up the most of my time and energies. I do make a bit of art in this realm when I am making samples of projects for lesson demonstrations. But nothing worth sharing here, usually I write about those happenings on my school and teacher blogs.

5 Mile Lake Triathlon 2010

Athlete: I have been working on being more fit and healthy over the past few years, mostly by participating in triathlons. In 2010, I really ramped up this part of my life. I worked towards a 100 mile bike ride, did 3 triathlons and really began to SEE myself with the new identity of an athlete. This part of my life has been a wonderful journey and utilizes a great deal of my time and energies, as well as finances. I blog about this part of my life quite frequently. As part of this journey, I have also been working with a nutritionist to change my food and eating habits, while also gaining a bit of a hobby in cooking.

jan 2010 WIP Beaded Journal Project

Artist: This part of my life has been in hibernation for over a year now. Part of me is very sad and misses this. But part of me is fulfilled by the new parts of my life. I did start the Beaded Journal Project in 2010 and did a couple pages. I tried to give myself a little word challenge over the summer. But very little got accomplished on either of these projects.

So what about 2011?

There might not be much eye candy or art action on this blog. I have many fitness goals including completing the Seattle to Portland Bicycle classic (A 2-day 204 mile ride in July) If you want to keep track of my progress on this goal, follow me on my fitness blog. I am not going to make an art related resolutions or goals for 2011, but will certainly allow space in my life for art and share it as it happens.

I hope you all had a wonderful year in 2010, and I wish you the best in 2011.


I have been living with a lot of “shoulds.” I should do this, I should have done that. These are both self-imposed and partially culturally imposed. An athlete should look like this, an athlete should act like that. All these shoulds are preventing me from fully enjoying my successes, along with holding me back from making more progress in other areas.

A lot of my current shoulds are holiday related. I feel like I should be decking my house out and having a holiday party with lots of friends and cheer. I feel like that should make me happy and should make me enjoy this holiday season. But really I WANT to cuddle with my pets, curl up in a blanket and read a book. I don’t WANT to fight traffic and crowds at the stores. I don’t WANT to expend the huge amount of emotional energy that it takes for me to be social. I am, on many levels, actually shy and introverted. Holiday parties, or any party for that matter, are emotionally exhausting for me.

So why do I think that is what I should be doing? Commercials probably have a lot to do with it. You see all those happy people at festive parties on the commercials. Also I recall my 20’s living and working in the city where I did the party thing all the time. But that was a different lifetime ago, and I am just not that person any more. Plus that was a lot of shallow and false happiness, not real or deep levels of joy. There seems to be a lot of cultural expectations and pressure during this holiday season that you should be doing something interesting and exciting. I even felt embarrassed when asked at work to share what I was doing over winter break…. ummm… nothing.

My other shoulds are fitness related. I make my weekly plans and goals based on these self-imposed shoulds. Then I am disappointed when I don’t do what I should. One of the biggest shoulds was what I thought I should look like after my 100 mile bike ride goal. Some how I had a vision of a thinner and younger version of myself that finished that ride. The ride ended up feeling so anti-climatic once I completed it, mostly because it (the ride and myself) did not look like how I have envisioned it. I didn’t really enjoy my accomplishment because it didn’t match my “should”.

SO, my ‘homework’ this week is to really listen to my body to what I WANT to do, and forget what I think I SHOULD be doing. To let go of these unrealistic, media driven ideas of what the holidays SHOULD look like, and instead celebrate it how I WANT to celebrate it.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday doing exactly what you WANT to do and not just doing what you think you should.


My identity is currently in flux. I have been an artist for most of my life, for over a decade I have been an educator, in the last 7 years I have become a dog mommy. But it has been a long time since I have identified as being an athlete. I am currently on a journey, I have been majorly changing my health habits. As I change what and how I eat, increase my fitness and adjust for ever higher goals, I have suddenly discovered that I am becoming an athlete. This is great and I am pleased with this change. But it also feels like it is coming with an unanticipated cost. The cost of loosing touch of the artist part of me.

I haven’t made any art outside of my classroom for months. I still make little project examples for my students and that is fun, relaxing and still good. But not really “MY art.” I keep thinking that once school ends I will have more time to be both an athlete and an artist, but I will also be busy with being a gardener and a dog mommy. I can’t fathom ~not~ being an artist. So I will need to work to rediscover that part of me, find my muse, get back into the swing of things… or whatever.

Skagit Spring Classic Cycling Event

Until then…. I ride!

My House through the years

The Newest Color of Paint

The NEW purples

and a side view. I LOVE driving up the block to see this 🙂


A horrible in-between with purple and green still needing to be painted over, this was during the painting contract from Hell.

Purple House 2007

The Purple and Blue when it was finally horribly done. (The paint contractor basically did a bad job then walked out before it was done and disappeared!)

Purple and Blue 2007

Original Colors when I bought it, with the old chain link fence too.

Original House Colors

and a side view

Original House Colors

Haunting Weather

I wish I could say I made this video! It is sad to see the devastation of this flood at work, but juxtaposed with the natural beauty of life happening regardless along with the haunting music, this is a work of art! Reminds me of the type of films I was trying to make in college.

Found at See Diva Run, who lives in the area. I am thankful to have been far enough away from the flooding.

Surviving Thanksgiving and Holiday Parties ~Part Two

So you planned ahead, did some exercise on the days and hours leading up to your Thanksgiving or Holiday dinner, ate a normal breakfast and lunch, you even made some low calorie and healthy alternatives to the traditional foods. But now you are at the party and confronted with piles and piles of delicious fatty foods. What do you do?

Grand Central, originally uploaded by Steven Jareb.

Passing on the snacks and hor dourves

Continue drinking water or other zero calorie drinks before the meal. (Tea, coffee, crystal light) Find or create an activity for you and the kids that will keep your hands busy. (Games, crafts, a round of football outside) Chew some sugar-free gum to keep your mouth busy and full.

If you do plan to eat some food before the main meal, stick to the veggie platter but skip the dip or have hummus instead of the fatty standards. Consider dishing up a small plate of snacks and sit down (away from the food) to eat them. This will help you keep track of how much you have had and avoid the standing and grazing pattern.

If you are helping in the preparation of the food, avoid tasting, sampling and picking. If you DO need to sample, COUNT each bite and track for your overall calorie count. Weight Watchers suggests 1 point per sample.

Be assertive. You don’t have to say yes to every offer of food just to be polite.

Dish up your plate consciously

Remember your portion sizes and control how much you serve up. Think like a kid. Remember when you didn’t want any of your foods to touch each other? Make small islands of each dish but remember gravy is NOT your ocean. Fill at least half of your plate with healthy salads and vegetables. (NO, the green bean casserole with butter and French fried onions does not count as a healthy vegetable!)

Pick white meat over dark meat and give the skin to the dog. Have your gravy (and salad dressing) on the side and dip your fork in it before getting a bite of turkey or potatoes. This will give you the flavor without drowning your day in calories.

Pay Attention

As you eat, do it slowly and pay attention to your level of satisfaction. Listen for the groans and sighs around the table. These are obvious signs of fullness.

Don’t get distracted by multitasking while eating. Activities like watching TV or reading takes your focus off how much you are eating and your sense of fullness. Stop when you pause while eating or sense that you are full no matter how much food is left on your plate. Eat slower and drink water with a meal. Food takes 20 minutes for a message to get from your stomach to your brain that you are full so meals should take at least 20 minutes and preferably longer. Chew each mouthful thoroughly. (the dietitian)

Track your calories by writing down what you have eaten. Or write it down ahead of time, and keep the list close at hand to remind yourself of the plan. Look at your list before you go for seconds. Seeing those HUGE calorie counts can really help you avoid seconds.

After the Main Course

As soon as you are done, help your host by washing dishes, starting with your dinner plate. Excuse yourself to the powder room and brush your teeth. This is a great signal to your body and mouth that you are done eating. Or freshen your breath and avoid more nibbling with another stick of gum.

If possible take a little walk before the desserts come out. Again, select your desserts carefully. Pick ones that are special or that you never get a chance to have on a regular basis. Have little slices and savor the taste. Avoid the whipped topping and ice cream or have the fat free versions.

Leaving without Baggage

I really love Thanksgiving leftovers. But Thanksgiving is a holiDAY… and shouldn’t become a holiWEEK. So if you can, try to escape without leftovers, or conversely if you are the host, get rid of as many as possible. But if you end up getting stuck with some leftovers you have a couple of choices. As my Weight Watcher’s meeting Leader said, “They can go to waste or they can go to your waist!” She suggests stopping at the nearest garbage dumpster and getting rid of them. I was thinking perhaps hand them off to a needy soul if you happen to run across one (pretty easy to come by in Seattle.)

If you stuck with your plan and survived the meal, give yourself a big pat on the back. But if you didn’t brush it off and move on. Tomorrow is another day and the holiday should not derail your overall health and fitness plans.

Next, Part Three The day after!

Surviving Thanksgiving and Holiday Parties ~Part One

We interrupt our normal art programming with some special articles on food, stress and heathly living through the holidays.

by cococello

Holiday Cookies Photo by cococello

Thanksgiving and the holiday eating season is upon us and personally I don’t want to be ‘thankful’ for extra pounds afterwards. So I have been collecting tips to avoid excess eating and weight gain. I fully intend to enter the January “resolution” season with a total pounds lost, not gained scenario. I realize that all the pounds I have gained over the holidays of past years continue to haunt me.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most Americans can expect to gain at least one pound during the winter holiday season. One pound of weight gain doesn’t sound all that bad; the problem is that most Americans never lose that one pound. As a result, we gain 10 pounds every decade of our adult lives, and that contributes to obesity in later life. (Check out for more holiday eating tips)

First some tips for before the event, dinner or party.

Usually, I would avoid eating any breakfast or lunch prior to the annual thanksgiving feast. The theory being that I was saving my calories so that I could splurge at the meal. I have since come to find out that this is actually not a good plan. Think about it, what happens if you go to the grocery store when you are hungry? Personally, I will deviate from my list, get more food than I need and make unhealthy choices, simply because I am hungry and everything LOOKS good. Healthcastle agrees that going to a thanksgiving or holiday meal hungry will only cause you to overeat and make bad food choices.

Don’t go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry – therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time. HealthCastle is the largest online nutritional database run by registered dietitions.


In addition to eating in a normal healthy way, prior to festive meals, you should also exercise in your normal healthy way. This is completely new to me… since exercising with any consistency is fairly new for me. Most health sites and resources these days will tell you 30-60 minutes of exercise per day is required to avoid holiday weight gain. But moving even just a little bit can get you into a positive movement cycle. I plan to continue my weekly 3-5 days of exercise throughout the holiday season.

One great thing about the holidays is we often have vacation time away from work and could have more time for movement. Although family events and trips might be part of those days off, if you plan activities that center around movement you can keep your fitness built into your day. Winter sports such as sledding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and even just crisp winter walks can be a fun fitness treat when done with friends and family. I look forward to some jogs around Greenlake with my nieces, walks to the dog park with fellow dog lovers and even some ice skating.


Know what will be served at the meal and think about what you will eat. If you are hosting, make low calorie healthy versions of old favorites. Try this low-cal Pumpkin Pie and compare to the evil cheesecake version of almost 500 calories! Look for calorie cutting substitutions for regular recipes. Or if you are going to a meal, offer to bring healthy alternatives, like salads, low calorie or even sugar free desserts.

Know your serving sizes! has some great visuals to help you recognize a healthy portion size. Usually, we are eating 2 or even 3 portions without even realizing it, especially if you are eating at a restaurant. Using inanimate objects as a size reference is one way to keep realistic with regards to portion sizes.

  • A serving of cereal is not whatever fits in your cereal bowl-1 ounce of cereal (1 serving) is the size of a tennis ball.
  • A computer mouse or deck of cards is the size of a medium 5-ounce (150 g) potato that’s equivalent to 2 carbs and a small bar of soap is the size of a 3 to 4 (90 to 120 g) ounce serving of chicken, fish, or meat.
  • If your meal plan calls for 1 ounce of cheese, that’s the size of four dice.
  • If you’re eating spaghetti, 1 serving (1/2 cup or 1 carb) portion would be about 32 strands.
  • A hockey puck is about the size of a 3-ounce (90 g) bagel (1 serving or 1 carbohydrate).

Plan to have those foods that you only get this time of year. If you love your Aunt’s special sausage stuffing and she holds the recipe top secret, plan to enjoy and savor a healthy serving of it. But forgo the chips and dip, since you can have that anytime of the year.

Lastly, don’t forget WATER! Drink it, lots of it. It will keep you feeling full and help your body flush out the salt and toxins ingested during your holiday meal.

Next, tips for DURING the holiday meals and parties.

Local Washington Voters

We now take a break from our regularly scheduled art content for a political message.

Local Washington Voters, Please be sure you are also educating yourself on the important local election issues!

Our current state superintendent of public instruction needs to be replaced. If you support teachers and education you will want to support Gov. Chris Gregoire for Governor and Randy Dorn as the new state superintendent of public instruction.

Randy Dorn, is a former legislator, teacher and principal, who is executive director of the Public Schools Employees of Washington. Randy Dorn:

The teacher’s union has put together their list of candidates to support if you are interested.

If a dog was the teacher

Charger with a hat

If a dog was the teacher you would learn stuff like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

360 view of Studio Sheba

Why is it always so messy? Revisiting work habits!