Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Warmly Lit Window in the Woods

I was on the back porch looking into the woods and I saw a warmly lit window. As I got closer the cottage looked like a memory I'd had once. The door opened and I was welcomed by a man and a woman - english gardener grandparents. The table was set for a pot roast dinner finishing up on the hearth. After pecan pie, I was tucked into a plump bed in a niche by the fireplace. This quilt-soaked feather bed was mine whenever I needed it. I fell asleep to the glow of the fire, music from the phonograph and the lingering scent of cinnamon.

So, that's where my heart is these days when I sit on th porch in the dark trying to make sense of my higher power and the lessons I am supposed to absorb. I want sanctuary so much. Only for a short time. Only long enough to snap out of this fear of my first step into another era of my life. I know the snap is coming soon. I don't feel prepared. My nerve endings remind me that I am so ridiculously grounded in a lack of resources that I am paralyzing myself and should be paying attention for signs of hope and abundance and be grateful at all times. Easy for YOU to say. . . So I should stop looking into the warmly lit windows, perhaps, and head for the open doors.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

When Life Gives You A Kick

Don't pray for fewer problems; pray for more skills. Don't ask forsmaller challenges; ask for greater wisdom. Don't look for an easy wayout; look for the best possible outcome.When life gives you a kick, let it kick you forward.

From: YOUR LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM, a free newslettersharing life, love and laughter, published by Steve Goodier.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ready To Make Sense of Things

It's been a long while since I've posted here. So many events and challenges. I will take the next few days to fill in the lost months. They have been filled with taking care of my mom in Rhode Island. Lots to explore. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Now I Know . . .

My heart is broken . . . I've been struggling with why I am here taking care of my mother during her lung cancer treatments. Ours has been a difficult life together and has been so for the past 6 weeks. I have been doing the driving to radiation everyday, to chemo on Tuesdays, following her around every market in town, browsing through WalMart, Target and a thousand other places as she tries to maintain her normal life. I have also been cleaning, taking out the trash, organizing her calendar, phone numbers, papers, and making her meals. At night I take it into her room on a tray where she is in her chair in her pajamas and robe watching the news, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and then American Idol or other "feature" of the evening. Tonight, when I took her dinner in to her, I had a moment of humanity. My anger for her suddenly disappeared as she looked up at me and smiled genuinely and said thank you. It wasn't any different than other nights except that this time I didn't see my beastly mother, but a frail, tired, helpless person who needed me. It broke my heart and I can't stop crying. It is a deep ache - for her, and the fragility of us all. I have been asking God to show me why I am the daughter who is here. Now I know.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Starting Now

Gathering my strength for the journey. Starting the packing tomorrow. Three more days of classroom visits in the Grow Up Great project this week. Hope to stay connected to it until the end of the school year and come back for the time of sharing event.

I'm thinking that the core of me understands what is coming up as a major life change far better than my heart or my brain do. That doesn't seem to make sense, but I can feel the foundation of myself slipping away from underneath me. Darkness. That probably doesn't make sense either, but I can feel it. As much as life in this current household has come to a crossroads and needs desperately to change - there are things I will miss. But it is time. I can't turn back from this road.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Art Supplies

As part of my process in being with Mother as she goes through her treatment, I am bringing some basic art supplies with me. Journal, sketch pad, acrylics, brushes, pencils. This is critical to the process - mine and hers. I will use art as a repository and work space for the emotions and thoughts I will be experiencing for those 6 weeks or more.

It is important that I do not step out of the caretaker role to the 12-year old daughter role. I know things Mother will say and do will be triggers for me to snap back and surrender to the "yes-go-ahead-and-make-me-feel-less-than-perfect" socially cast out 12-year old . My goal is to put those reactions into my art work rather than lashing back at her.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Moving to RI

I am moving up to RI the weekend of March 10. I will be staying with Mom to oversee her cancer treatment, be the driver, the cook, the medicine woman, and what ever else needs to be done. My 2 sisters are not available to do this as they have full time jobs and families. My older sister lives near Mom, so she will be a very active participant in the process, talking to the doctors especially. I can only wonder that I am floating and available to do this for several reasons: I am the middle child and black sheep who never really got along with Mom. Now, life is giving me the gift of facing this head on, with the opportunity to become a better person. Other reasons? I miss New England and I will be grateful to see Spring in RI. It has a much more vibrant arts culture, and perhaps I will find a new life in the arts there. It will give me time to be with my older sister that I've been separated from for many, many years.

So I've started thinking about what to take with me. I could be there for many months, although her treatments are 6 weeks. I suspect she won't snap back immediately. I have decided to take a journal, a sketch pad and acrylics with me to provide an outlet, and help document the process for myself. Downside: my laptop died. Further downside: I am going to buy one to take with me which we can't afford. But I can't accept not staying connected to people and the world, so as much as it is a bad financial thing to to, I'm doing it anyway.

Maybe I'll have that billion dollar idea soon and I'll need that laptop!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Eight Principles of Fun

Check this out. It made me feel more like the creative fringe person that I am.

A cute kitten picture once in a while doesn't hurt either!

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Understatement of Misunderstanding

And it has begun . . . My mother called me to say that she could come pick me up on her way back from visiting my younger sister in Washington at the end of February. What's wrong with this picture??? The discussion I had with my older sister was about going up to RI to be with Mom when she gets tangled in doctor's appointments, gets sicker than she is now, or generally needs someone to manage medicines and daily life . . . my MOTHER has taken this to mean that I want to come live with her as a runaway mechanism . . . she wants to rescue me from what she perceives is my wretched life. This seems to have kicked in back in December when I was talking about the prospect of moving to Birmingham. Rather than "running away to Birmingham" I should live with her in RI.

Please note: I wouldn't choose to just go live with her. I would go live with her because I am the "available" daughter at this time, and only when she is sick enough to need me there. Otherwise, if I wasn't needed in that way, she'd be taking over my life, doing the 12 year old child thing, and generally being annoying. Then I would have to kill her.

So, it is better that my sisters understand that it's not about me. It's about Mother getting sick and needing someone there when the walls start tumbling down.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mother Has Lung Cancer

My sister Christal called tonight to say that Mother has lung cancer. She wants me to come up to take care of her if she has the surgery to remove the primary tumor. Then there is radiation or chemo and everything that comes with it. I can only think that God has been holding off finding me a job so I'd be available to go to Rhode Island to take care of her. . . I will know more after the lymph node biopsy procedure tomorrow which will indicate how far it has spread - it seems to already be in her lymph nodes and chest wall. I knew it was coming, but I didn't know when. Of course, the first thing Bob said to me was about asking my sister for money to replace the absent income from my job . . . do you think for one moment in his miserable life he could think about someone else? It could be a good thing, for a horrible reason, that I will go away to RI.

Apply, Apply, Apply!

I sent out three resumes today: Program Assistant, Fellowships at Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Program Assistant at Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts and Director of Education at Delaware Art Museum. Sent them snail mail, for a different approach.

The Lyrics

Show Me the WaySTYX Lyrics by Dennis DeYoung
Every night I say a prayer in the hope that there's a heaven But every day I'm more confused as the saints turn into sinners All the heroes and legends I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay and I feel this empty place inside, so afraid that I've lost my faith Show me the way, show me the way take me tonight to the river and wash my illusions away please show me the way. And as I slowly drift to sleep, for a moment dreams are sacred I close my eyes and know there's peace in a world so filled with hatred Then I wake up each morning and turn on the news to find we've so far to go And I keep on hoping for a sign, so afraid that I just won't know
Show me the way Show me the way bring me tonight to the mountain and take my confusion away and show me the way And if I see a light, should I believe tell me how will I know Show me the way, show me the way take me tonight to the river and wash my illusions away Show me the way, show me they way Give me the strength and the courage to believe that I'll get there someday And please show me the way And every day I say a prayer in the hope that there's a heaven

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wash My Illusions Away

"Take me tonight, to the River, and wash my illusions away . . show me the way"

This is a line from a hymn that my daughter sings from time to time, and it is one of those songs that touches a spot inside me. Not only does it make me cry everytime I hear it, it reminds me that I need to get clean and clear about what I want, and what I am asking for.

Oprah did a show about "The Secret" the other day. In essence, the 10 panelists seemed to describe a way of life that was about grace, gratitude, bounty, opening up to a better life, and vibrations. I'm not sure how it all pulls together, but I'm interested. I know that there is no silver bullet, no quick fix. no bed of roses and no pill. I think that my biggest fear is that I will not see the moment I'm supposed to see, the opportunity I should be grabbing, the fortuitous crossroads . . . can that happen? Or will "it"keep presenting itself until I act on it, whatever that is.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Got A Snow Job

One thing I've become great at is spending time on the internet in search of creative sites. Can I list this skill on my resume??? I spent the afternoon creating 50 snowflakes for future use in my art work . . . Check out this site where you can make your own snowflakes and prepare for next week's weather. Thanks to the folks at Barkley Interactive for this.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What Would YOU do?

The job, Director of Education, that I was hacked from at DAM in 2004 has just been posted . . . should I apply? What would you do?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Renewing the Mission With Playdoh

Back to the classrooms! I have a schedule for now until the end of May with some tweaks along the way. I am renewing my mission in getting teachers to use Playdoh more creatively, and making the literacy links: Forming letters, spelling words, connecting words in stories to three dimensional objects, etc. I do love cookie cutters, but I just don't think they are the ultimate tool for learning in the Playdoh realm. Building the lesson plan, making the letter cards, samples, maybe even a poster.

After all, I've got to believe in something . . .

Friday, February 02, 2007

Back to School

I wish I could say that I was going back to school to get my Masters Degree . . . but I'm actually headed back into the preschool classroom on Monday for the PNC Grow Up Great project. It's been 5 weeks since we've had any activity on this thing. I'm on a mission with literacy and PlayDoh. This job just isn't doing it for me . . . I need an alternative. An alternative life. By the way, God, what is the deal here? You've been ignoring me, or testing me, for waaayyyy tooooo loooonnnggggg now. I need a break!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Time for Thanks

It's time for me to thank those friends who have been pillars of strength for me. Those who have been sending me kind words, reminding me about my good qualities and abilities, and generally cheering me on. Thank you for the job leads too. Onward and upward.

For the rest of you . . . and you know who you are . . . I don't know what to say. It is kind of revealing, this job hunting process. It seems to confirm that people are okay associating with other successful people. Those who are down, well, there isn't much of a payoff to be in our circle, is there? I can't offer any job-related favors, get you tickets to anything, give you inside info or take you to lunch.

Bummer. No phone calls from my trip to the career fair yesterday. I feel like I'm in the same circle as that poor homeless man who lived in my favorite archway under the railroad bridge in Wilmington. I was reserving that archway. I had a source for cardboard boxes. I had an interior design plan. Well, maybe he won't mind. It would kind of honor him, wouldn't it? If I'd know he was there, I would have visited him and brought him stuff and talked with him about it all happened.

Anyway, thanks to those who are still with me.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Oh, The Career Fair!

Well - the best part of the day? I got up and got dressed. Only because Valerie called to meet for lunch. She had such funny stories to tell, I was all psyched to be a real person again, so I went to the Career Fair at the Chase Center at the Riverfront today, armed with 6 copies of my resume. It was chock full of companies looking for telephone customer service people, computer techs, food service workers and sales people of insurance, health plans and wealth management plans. Jeez. I was on an administrative office position mission . . . I did hand my resume to a few companies while asking about openings in their administrative offices. Five companies now have my resume ((can't remember which ones they are)) with the words Admin Office written across the top. Their note, not mine. Perhaps the only event that will come out of this adventure is a visit to Ranstad for basic office skills testing. In a month I'll probably find myself numerically filing employee license plate numbers in a security office . . .

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Curse on Birmingham!

Didn't get that job either . . .

I did get an email from Gail Andrews, the Director of BMA, that was meant for her assistant who had to respond to my "Have you reached a decision" email. It said: "I guess tell her we don't think we have found the person."

Then I got this formal email from her assistant, Amy Templeton: "Roberta, After a great deal of thought, we have decided that we need to extend our search for Curator of Education. As you and I discussed when you were here, our Education department is at a turning point and trying to find exactly the right fit for our particular needs is challenging but extremely important. Our Board and staff members enjoyed meeting you very much, and did feel you were a stong candidate in many areas. We appreciate your interest in our Museum, and wish you the very best in your search. Amy"

I would much rather have received an email that said "We will never hire you. You were sweating when you arrived because you didn't dress properly for warm Alabama weather. Additionally, the world will end if we don't hire a candidate with a Masters Degree, and you don't have one. We recommend that you stop applying for jobs you are not credentialed for. On a personal note, we would never have hired a Yankee either."

Off to the job fair at the Chase Center on the Riverfront tomorrow. Maybe I can land a secretarial position somewhere? If not, they are now hiring pizza delivery drivers at Pizza Hut just up the street.

Someone, please, just shoot me now. Right now. Or hire me now. Right now.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Need A Real Job

The time has come. I need a real job. Would someone please hire me? Click on the newspaper for some resume information!
In the meantime, I've been finding fun stuff online. Visit this site for your own fun - make a sign just like my You Need Art banner.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The State of the Union speech made me angry. This stupid man must learn not to smirk. He could use some theatre training. The clapping - just another absurd demonstration of American ridiculousness in the "famous person" genre. It so takes away from the credibility of continuous thought.

I think that the Pres glossed over so many issues that are important to me, and other average Americans. I know I am stupid about the war in Iraq, and my heart bleeds for the military that are there, but I really really really need someone to explain to me why I should care about Iraq and democracy there. I feel very strongly that there is so much going on in this country that needs addressing. I don't understand why this money can't be spent on defending our own country from the inside. Why can't this money be spent on health care, education, more jobs. Families like ours who are sinking quickly out of the middle class. People who lost their jobs, who no longer qualify for unemployment or job training, no health insurance, no prospects for a job within their field. I am in a field that is in such critical death throes - art museums. Can I tell you how much this administration doesn't care about arts and culture? How much he doesn't care about the fabric of society being ripped apart? What is he thinking? What is going on in Washington? Do you think the Democrats understand that America is falling apart because of our attention to and funding of other countries? I think they do, and I am counting on them to rebuild this country. I apologize that I don't care about aids in Africa. I apologize that women in Iraq can't go to college. My own kids can't afford college! I apologize that I don't care about people in other countries blowing themselves up. America is falling apart. My family is falling apart. Will someone please tell me what's going to happen here in this country that is for the people right here?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cosmic Reckoning

Had dinner with Judith and Isabelle tonight. Judith is the new Curator of Exhibitions at University of Delaware Museums, formerly at DAM. She is back and has recovered from the 2004 slash, better than ever. Her first day included a meeting at DAM and it meant cosmic reckoning and the completion of a journey for her. For the rest of us, it is a victory that she is working back in the museum field, with a better salary in a better position. For me, it could mean some future work on U of DE museums' outreach/community connection initiative.

CCAC project seems to be stalled. Too bad. I was just getting into the groove. Worst part: no hours, no paycheck.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ten Things I Would Take With Me

I've started the list of the 10 things I would take with me. Clothing, hygiene stuff, medicine and my studio stuff don't count. This was launched from a discussion that Valerie and I had about the 10 things you would want in your bag if you had to become a bag lady. That discussion was launched from my idea about having an artist/architect competition to design a cart for homeless people; it would want to include a sleeping place, storage, maybe an awning, maybe a place for cooking, etc. Then I would seek a foundation/corporate grant for creating them. Then I would pass them out to homeless people who needed them.

Anyway. I expected to hear from Birmingham Museum of Art by now. I have had a gut feeling that they are going to defer to their in-house candidate. . . we shall see. Primarily I think it's because I don't have a Masters degree, and I'm a yankee from New England.
How do you know when you've hit rock bottom? Is there a rock bottom?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I tried to call my friend Eddie tonight, who is dying of pancreatic cancer. There was no answer. I have a gut feeling that he is in the hopspital tonight. Sadness just keeps coming.

Monday, January 15, 2007


I can feel the rumblings . . . all the bad stuff is piling up . . . there's an explosion coming. Bob has been looking for Armagedon in the world around him. Little does he know that it's probably going to happen on the homefront. Among other things, my RI sister called me and screamed at me about why the hell would I move to Alabama . . . I should come home and let her help me rebuild my life . . . that my children are out of control - she almost called the police on my son . . . that my husband is an idiot. . . all a result of my mother's "report" after her holiday visit. Is is not great to have such a supportive family?! Whoa. Just wrap a plastic bag on my head right now.

Ariel's friend Sean has moved in, having had an incident with his parents. Bob is all askew about this. Dane seems to be in self-destruct mode. I have been job hunting to the point of tears. I now think BMA is going to defer to their in-house candidate, and this would be fine. CCAC project is slow and paychecks few. Finances have crashed. I am standing on the edge of the abyss, watching the molten lava bubbling up, feeling the rumblings . . .

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Back to Preschool

Training day tomorrow for CCAC teachers. Only have 1.5 hours with them so it will have to be action packed. We will focus on implementing an "Art Work of the Month" in the classroom which will be the foundation for ongoing literacy activities. Kim also wants to talk to me about the newsletter idea. Anyway, I'm going to email the teachers right now, to see if anyone would like to bring in an artwork for sharing. Onward and upward!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sweet Home Alabama?

My visit to Birmingham was fast and full. I have never been treated so well by a prospective employer. All my expenses were covered including a rental car for a day (Saturday) so I could explore housing options. The BMA is stellar - a real treasure. The staff was passionate and remarkable. The education staff is a group of unsung heroes . . . I usually know right away if a job is a fit for me, and I usually feel very strongly one way or another. This time, I am unsure. It would be change - which I've been looking for. I could definitely live in the area near the university- 5 Points or Avondale. Very hip, chic and rather inexpensive. Downtown Birmingham is dismal. Lots of gray buildings. I think I found the loft district, but there is not much of anything happening downtown. I expect to learn about their decision within the next two weeks. I am, of course, at a disadvantage because I don't have a Masters degree. It was listed as a requirement, but since I've gotten this far in the intrview process perhaps it isn't a disadvantage at all. I know of one other candidate - someone on staff in the education department, whom I did not meet for obvious reasons. I'm leaving this one to destiny.

I visited the Civil Rights Institute which was an amazing experience. I couldn't stop crying. It was painful, but I felt hopeful when it was over. So powerful. Lots of technology tells the story, but so do the school desks, the church pews, the jail cell, the bus . . . there were very few visitors there on Saturday morning. As a matter of fact, I could have stood in the middle of the street outside for 10 minutes before any cars came by . . . It was the quietest city I have ever seen. Almost eerie.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'm Going to Birmingham!

Thursday night I will be winging my way to Birmingham for an interview on Friday! I will stay Friday night to explore the city on Saturday. Fab.

On another note:

I am not turning into my mother. I am my own self.

I am not turning into my mother. I am my own self.

I am not turning into my mother. I am my own self.

I am not turning into my mother. I am my own self.

I am not turning into my mother. I am my own self.

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