Glinda told me to follow the yellow brick road…. but where do I begin?
Three weeks ago, I quit my job. (The real one ~ with the bi-weekly paycheck and navy blue/khaki uniform).
It was an amicable parting; I had verbally told my supervisors in late June that I would be leaving, and I gave written notice three weeks in advance.
It was a bittersweet ending to a nine-year partnership with that company…. which included 6.5 years of 40+ hour work weeks in management, and 2.5 years of part-time 16 hour weeks. I hesitate calling it “a career”, because that sounds too much like a commitment, and my plan was never to stay permanently.
However my initial excitement to embrace self-employment, focus on my future art business, and even to home-school my 5-year-old daughter, was tempered with the reality that I would be leaving behind a team of people who felt like family to me.
In fact, when I started working at the Waynesboro, PA location … Joe and I were still dating. These guys have known me nearly as long as my husband has!
During my final days at work, as I hugged dozens of people good-bye, it felt like I was breaking off a long-term relationship every half hour.
I’ve stopped into the store once or twice each week, though it’s a 30-minute drive from our house, because I haven’t fully accepted that I’m no longer part of the system. I feel drawn back to work, as if the last three weeks were an extended vacation.
They tease me about being bored at home, but quite the contrary!
I have finished the Six Wives of King Henry VIII, and I will start painting the portrait of Henry himself this Saturday, the 28th, at the Carroll County Farmer’s Market.
I will be attending every show this winter! Since I no longer have a retail job forcing me to work holiday weekends. ;)
[see sidebar for show dates]
I can spend Thanksgiving at home for the first time in years ~ instead of producing enough cupcakes for everyone in the North Eastern US, or guarding a pallet of cheap office equipment.
I will also be participating in the upcoming 8th annual “Art for the Animals” charity auction to raise money for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. You can check out their Facebook page for details, and I will be updating with pictures from the opening reception on October 5th.
This is the 3rd year I have donated artwork for this fundraiser. “Africat” was my contribution in 2011, and the “Duke and Duchess of Welfurrd” were last year’s submissions.
This year, I decided to paint four 5×7 paintings in a series…. and asked my Facebook friends and fans for suggestions. Everyone had wonderful ideas!
From the Fab Four and Kiss Kats… to Civil War soldiers, the four seasons, and my daughter’s favorite: the cast from Les Miserables.
Someday I will have to paint them all!
One popular theme was The Wizard of Oz, and it was the idea that inspired me most…..
Perhaps because I’ve been identifying with Dorothy lately, lost in a magical land, surrounded by wonderful and caring friends (and a few wicked witches, too!), but all the while just trying to find her way back home.
I’ve never had a sense of belonging to any place, any person, or any job.
Nothing felt quite right.
Even this townhouse we are currently renting has lost the “glow” it had when we first moved into our subdivision…. now that I know our neighbors, the defects of the building, the cost of utilities, and did I mention the neighbors?
If I had a pair of ruby slippers to click together, where would they take me?
Will I wake up tomorrow in an old farmhouse in Kanses?
Or will I… like Dorothy…. realize that I’ve been carrying HOME along with me the entire time?
We already celebrated Halloween on Friday, the 26th of October, in Funkstown, Maryland.
Lydia was attending a sophisticated party for 10-year-olds, while I accompanied my two toddlers in their homemade My Little Pony costumes; Mia was Pinky Pie and Jacob was Rainbow Dash.
It certainly wasn’t a Martha Stewart project, rather they kept changing their minds until the very last minute.
Joe grudgingly went along with the rainbow-colored yarn tail and felt “Cutie Mark” that I fastened to his son’s rear….
Although he grumbled, “Aren’t there any boy Ponies?”
“Why, yes, in fact ~ There is a male unicorn called Joe! His Cutie-Mark is an iced doughnut. Wanna come Trick-Or-Treating with us, Honey?” ;)
I’m actually On Time for a Halloween post this year! Although Hurricane Sandy did her best to knock our cable and Internet offline for a couple of days, and I was worried this post might not go live until next week ~ we were obviously lucky! We even managed to keep our electricity throughout the storm.
Last November, I wrote a slightly belated Halloween post about decorating vampire fanged cupcakes with blood-shot eyes. I had just transferred to the bakery as a part-time cake decorator to bring in extra income for the holidays.
This year, I took the bakery manager position while Joe was out of work… so my plate was full this October.
I still had to worry about producing enough cupcakes to fill the main display (I have three cake decorators to help me!)… but also needed to keep this wall of featured goodies full….
And this other display….
I personally decorated these Jack-O-Lantern doughnuts. 106 boxes so far…. and they’re selling like crazy!
Artwise, I’ve finished up two commissions, and am ready to jump into a third. I can’t share the finished portraits yet, because they are meant to be gifts.
The wait is excruciating!
The charity auction at Howards’ Arts and Frames raised over $3,000 for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. My two Baroque-style portraits netted $20 (to the same bidder ~ so thank you, mystery cat-lover!) and I won my bid for a beautiful mixed media collage by Kate Williams, incorporating one of Shel Silverstein’s famous poems:
Listen to the Mustn’ts, Child
Listen to the Don’ts
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts
Listen to the Never Haves
Then Listen Close to Me ~
Anything can Happen, Child.
Anything can Be.
~ Shel Silverstein
This inspiring piece deserves a special space on my studio wall, because it truly sums up how I’ve felt this year ~ with all the set-backs and difficulties we’ve experienced (some which I’ve shared online, and some I’ve kept to myself) ~ I believe that having the right attitude makes a world of difference.
I could listen to that inner voice (and a few outer voices) that tell me to “give it up” and accept my future as a retail employee, or return to college to earn a sensible degree.
Or I can continue to push myself further into this uncertain world, head to Megacon in the spring, cough up entrance fees for bigger shows, and see what happens.
I do enjoy my job, though. It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any discarded grocery lists (I still find them, and read them!) … but I did uncover a list of my own, stuffed in a pocket, while I was doing laundry. I thought I might share with you, because my short-hand is rather funny.
This is a work list of items we needed in the bakery a few days ago:
- 8″ Rain
- RV – 2
- Boston – 2
- Lemon from Steps
- Sliced Marble
- Rasp Thumb
- Oat Tub
- Dutch Snicker
- Dutch Peanut
- Gooey Pump
- Devil’s Holes
- 4ct Blue
- Asst Mini Family
- Mini Snicker
- Haw Bread
- Hall Cookies
My bakery associates are so awesome, they can actually interpret my list!
Well, except for the 8″ Rain … I had to explain it was an 8-inch Rainbow Layer Cake for the cake showcase.
Heaven knows, we don’t need 8 more inches of rain!! :P
I wish I could take my ladies with me to help with the fall Farmer’s Market this Saturday in Westminster. They’d have a blast!
Unless the venue washed away in the flood. It’s better to be safe and dry at home, than risk life and limbs to sell art in a hurricane.
Although I will take advantage of the next severe storm, and channel those 70-mph gusts of wind to promote my work…. I will tie my prints, in weather-proof cellophane bags, onto strings of helium balloons, and let Mother Nature distribute them across the East Coast. One might land on the penthouse balcony of a famous art director or celebrity cat-lover.
Hey, anything can happen, Child! Anything can be!