Sunday, March 29, 2015

40 Bags in 40 Days Update

The purge is in full swing! I delivered a car load of treasures to a friend that is having a garage sale and now I have more room to get rid of more stuff!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Music is Good for the Soul!

I've been playing around and painting just for fun.Well, actually, all my painting is just for fun, but my music series of paintings is really just completely fun and freeing!

Here is my first one.  It is 2 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

It is currently hanging in our school office.  It's nice to have a "gallery" space to hang my oversized artwork! (and I like for my students to see that I create too!)

This second piece is actually a rectangle as well, but I posted a picture of it on instagram, so it is cropped to a square. My dad is a guitar man and this painint is for him.  I have painted this on top of a different painting, so the layers underneath provide great depth.  I can't decide if I am finished with this one yet. 

My goal is to paint three or four more music paintings before I move on.

But.. Remember this "selfie" Kylie took when I was working on her painting?

Look at it edited in black and white.  I'm thinking I'm going to have to create something with this!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Khan Academy.. A FABULOUS tutorial site for education!

Have you heard of Khan Academy

If you have kids or just want to learn something new.. you should check it out!

And just for the record, there isn't anything for me in this post.. I just want to share a GREAT learning resource!

Here is a snapshot of what my kids are up to.  Nope, Kylie hasn't been on this week. Given that Kylie is only in Kindergarten, her access is limited to when I or her sister's can supervise!


One of the cool things about this site is that I know what my kids are working on and for the most part, they enjoy it!

So if you look at Lexi's profile you can see exactly what concepts she is currently working on and what kind of progress she has made.

You can even breakdown the summary into individualized skills.  This is great if they are struggling with something at school, or if they are interested in a certain area you can select that topic for study.

They earn badges and energy points for working.

As an adult, I can learn new things as well.

I can coach my children.

As a teacher I can create classrooms and have students work from here, but I can see what they have accomplished, what they are individually struggling with and how much time was spent on a problem.  This is a huge factor in student success because if students spend a ton of time working on something and then get it wrong, they become very frustrated! This site allows you to ask for a hint on a problem and then gives different scenarios to teach the concept in a different way.  

It is amazing.

So all that to say, I am a huge fan of Khan Academy! 

If you haven't used this site before, I challenge you to try it.  

Oh.. and the best part.. IT'S FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

You are welcome.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Looking at Life from a Different Perspective

I'm working on a new painting of Kylie.  Here it is below.

Yes, I am currently painting it upside down.  There are a couple of reasons for this..

The biggest reason is that I was frustrated with it and mad at the paint, so I flipped it upside down to change my perspective (and my attitude!)

Why? Because I was moving right along with my painting and enjoying the process when the paint on the face started bubbling and being weird. 

See. So I scraped off the worst of it.. 

And that led to this.

A mostly scraped off creepy painting!

Ugh!! And very frustrating!!

So I flipped it over and decided to start again.  I knew that if I embraced the canvas as it was, the colors would provide a wonderful depth to the piece that I would like.  I just had to look past the current issues.

So I got some new paint out and got to work.

A little fresh paint and clean paintbrush can totally change an attitude!

And why do I go through the process? 

Cause this little girl is watching me.  I want her to know that paint (or life for that matter...) sometimes doesn't do what you planned. That sure, we can just give up and throw the canvas away, or we can scrape off the crud, turn the situation around and keep going!

And when you have this face for inspiration... how can you give up? Kylie took this for me because she saw that I was going to work on her eyes and she wanted me to see their color! 

Oh how I love her!

Friday, March 13, 2015

8 weeks later, 6 hours of grad school complete!

When I decided to just take the plunge and get my principal's certificate and another master's degree, the program I found at the University of North Texas looked perfect.  As in, completely online. I somehow missed the 12 hours in one semester part... OH MY!

Over the last 8 weeks I have written more papers than I wrote in all of my previous grad classes combined. Well, at least it feels that way.  It could be that since I finished my MFA in 2000, I have blocked the paper writing memories....

Anyway, this first semester back in the world of grad school has kicked my butt. I took Instructional Leadership and Campus Level School Law. We started January 20th and I submitted my final exam this morning. It has been a crazy 8 weeks. I now have 10 days off and then I'll start Organizational Change and School Improvement as well as Management of School Resources.

Over these next 10 days I really need to clean my house. The volume of junk that can collect in a mere 8 weeks is incredible. If I don't take control of the house now, it will be a year from now and we won't be able to find the door! We will become hoarders by default. ugh.

But.. I'd really like to paint instead. Or maybe even sort scrapbook stuff. (that's cleaning.. right?)

As for today, we are looking at a few houses and going out to lunch!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Commemorating Cowtown in a watercolor

We had ANOTHER snow/ice day Thursday. I'm really tired of this weather, but an extra day stuck at home meant I might as well paint.  

My painting studio is not heated. So my acrylic and oil paints were not in any condition to use.  

So I decided to use one of my canvases and commemorate last weekends race.  

Kylie and Lexi "helped" by offering lots of suggestions and feedback. They let me use their pencils and erasers..

Here is my drawing.  

It's a compilation of Libby running here and the picture that I took of the course the night before the race... with a few artistic changes. :)

I used watercolor pencils and laid down the first layer of color on the canvas.  Watercolor pencils on canvas is weird because the pigment flakes off the canvas as you work.  

I then painted the watercolor on with water and brushes. 

I was planning to go back in with tube watercolors and maybe even a black pen to push details, but I really like the painting as it is. 

So is it finished? 

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cowtown 2015

One of the races Doug and I do together is the Cowtown.  We make a weekend of it and enjoy staying in a hotel for a couple of nights and doing things we want to do without our children.. and we race on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Well... except for this year. We had ice and snow for DAYS! This isn't a big deal if you live in areas that get this junk for entire seasons, but in Texas, we get it for 30 minutes and then it moves on. But this week, it lingered. And then it came back.

Saturday's 5k and 10k races were cancelled. We will complete a virtual race in the next week or so in order to complete our challenge race. But early Saturday afternoon the ice started melting, so we loaded up and fled our house while we had the chance!

We got to Fort Worth and this is what we found outside the expo. DANGEROUS!!!! It was sooo icy! 
picture by Libby
But as you can see, we weren't the only crazy people! These are the lines for packet pickup! This race normally has thirty thousand runners for the weekend of races... with the weather, everyone needed to pick up their race packets in the same 12 hour window. insane.

About 5pm the race directors cancelled the ultra and the full, but decided to keep the 1/2 marathon. Doug and I drove the course.  It was BAD! 

At that point, we decided that there was no way we would be able to run.. It just wouldn't be safe. So we ate a big mexican dinner and chilled. 

BUT.... workers for the city of Fort Worth and the race worked ALL NIGHT and put down 14 tons of sand.. so we decided heck, we are already nuts, lets just race.
from Cowtown's facebook page!

It also helped that my sister Libby and my running friends were going to go ahead and try.  

So at 8am we found ourselves standing out in front of Will Rogers Colosseum in freezing temps and drizzle getting ready to run 13 miles in slush.  And we were excited about it. Normally on Sunday morning, there are about 15 thousand runners.  While it wasn't as packed as normal, there were still a lot of us out there!

Libby and I were in corral 4 and Doug and my BRF's (best running friends) were in corral 5. Cowtown changed up the corral structure and start this year and it was SOOO MUCH BETTER!! In the past it was a free-for-all at the start and you were lucky to not get trampled. This year the start was slower and more methodical and you didn't feel like you were going to get run over before you made it to the start line! It helped that there were fewer people, sure, but it was a significant change for the better.

The course was slushy and at times dangerous.  But there were volunteers or cones at almost all of the super slick areas. I'm calling it an adventure race and Doug has labeled it a Steeplechase as we jumped many a water obstacles!

Prior to the race, Libby and I went in hoping for a time goal.  But Sunday morning, we knew that a PR was not going to happen! Our goal was to finish without falling.. and to have fun. 

The first mile of the course is insanely packed with people. 

from Cowtown Facebook page
And then you turn and go down into the park. oh my! 

You can't even tell that it is Texas here!! 

And here is Doug on the course. So glad Alisa took pictures too!

Along the way I made Libby stop and take pictures! 

And looks like I accidently took one at one point trying to put my phone away... see I'm having fun.. I'm smiling even when the camera isn't on me! :)

Here we are getting ready for the dreaded Mile 9 Hill!  

We ran up almost the entire thing. 

And finally, here we are at mile 12. It was still soo cold! 

FINISHED! We ran it in 2:22. Not a PR by any means, but we had fun and didn't fall! We were sooo cooollllddd at this point!

With my running peep at the end.

And celebrating another completed race with Doug.

And I'll leave you with this picture taken by MarathonFoto. I LOVE it.  

I am buying this (and the entire package of my race pictures for that matter..)

I think this picture sums up who I want to be, and be known for.

I love my life.
I'm not afraid to do hard things.
I embrace challenges.
I don't work hard becuase I think I'm going to "win"
I work hard becuase I find joy in the process.
I have already won.