around here in late November…

sunrise in November
sunrise in November

Ack, it’s been over two months since I last updated.

I do have an excellent excuse for my absence – on a whim, I decided to re-enroll in Flora Bowley’s “Bloom True” class for the second time. For those unfamiliar, it’s an online painting course consisting of five VERY FULL weeks of painting instruction, plus a lot of inspiration on general well-being and creativity as well. Both times I have taken the class, I devoted a significant time and energy into it, and both times there was so much content and information that it wound up filling at least six weeks of my life with painting and journaling and reading and different creative exercises. Classes ended over two weeks ago and I’m still working through the last week of videos and content.

As far as why I took the class again… back in September, I was kind of feeling like I was spinning my wheels. I wanted to start painting again, and wanted some sort of serious project to focus my time and energy on, but I was having trouble finding the right thing. And having trouble committing to anything. I didn’t feel like anything I wanted to do was a valid use of time (which is ridiculous, I know…)

Then one evening I sort of *toyed* with the idea of taking Bloom True again, simply as a way to kind of force myself to start painting again. I knew if I invested the money, and made sure everyone knew I WAS TAKING A LIVE CLASS (for some reason my family is good at giving me space when I’m taking a class), I would paint. And once I started considering taking the class again, I just couldn’t think of a good reason *not* to. So I signed up again, and I’m SO glad I did.

I wound up getting a TREMENDOUS amount from the class. Even though the material is exactly the same as it was last year, it was a completely different experience for me. I’ll talk more about that in another post…

So, the last two months have been mostly about Bloom True and painting and getting my hands on everything and anything related to acrylic painting.

In other news:

Gracie’s in third grade and has started playing soccer this year. She was doing swimming and choir last year, but swimming has always been tricky for her because of the weather- her asthma and lung problems make it really easy for her to catch a cold, and so whenever she’d go and swim at the YMCA with the team in the cooler weather (which we had a lot of last year), she’d get a little sick and then wind up missing a week or two of practice. This year we decided to try the local soccer club and so far (two practices and one game), she’s loving it. She even makes Tom take her to the park every weekend to practice.

I can’t believe HOW FAST fall has gone by. I have to admit, I’m a little melancholy that it’s almost December. Argh! Fall is by far my favorite season and I kinda feel like I missed a lot of it by spending so much time in my art studio, painting. Now that it’s a *bad* thing, but I think if I take Bloom True again (which I am planning on…) I might take it in the summer, when I need something to get obsessed with to keep my mind off the weather. I kinda miss going outside for sunsets and reading out there.

The garden is coming back to life. The summer is always the “down” time for the garden- it’s so hot and wet and dark that the plants basically stop growing and go into survival mode. Even though I’ve been gardening for a few years now, I’m always super surprised when autumn comes and the garden COMPLETELY changes from a few sticks with a few anemic, curled scraggly leaves on them to actual big, bushy, green PLANTS.

There’s a ton to do out there, and I’ve been trying to do it in little increments. And there’s always more to do… but that’s part of what I love about it.

The weather has been sort of crazy this autumn. Usually in Southwest Florida during the autumn, it’s high 70’s in the autumn pretty consistently, with a few days of cooler (or higher) temps and a few days of rain. This year the temperature has been more in the 60’s every day, even dipping as low as in the 40’s. And it’s been gloomy and raining. I think it’s going to be a cold(er) winter, and to be honest I’m fine with that. I like the cold- as long as the pool heater is working and I can swim, I’ll take cool weather any day.

One thing I’ve found myself bracing for is tourist season. I’m literally dreading it with every fiber of my being. I live on an island that’s actually a vacation destination, so from January to May, it’s like a zoo around here.

Normally I wouldn’t care because I live in a residential area, but the new owners of the house next door to me have made it into a cheap vacation rental (especially when compared to the hotels on the island), including a super loud stereo system in the backyard. Last spring it was crazy- large groups of people piling in and out every few days, and then the cleaners coming by to repair the damage. I’m so *bummed* about it. I didn’t realize how much I loved how quiet it was around here until that went away. Last spring was basically living next door to one giant house party that lasted months, just with different people coming in and out and playing different varieties of music and screaming about different things.

I’m praying that this season it’s better (maybe if it’s cold they won’t come!), that the tenants are respectful, that maybe there won’t be as many. Or that the new owner sells the house to a quiet couple or someone who only comes down and uses the house once or twice a year, like my other neighbors.

If that doesn’t work, I am getting my own outdoor speaker and just blasting white noise or ocean waves or bird chirping sounds. Seriously. If I have to listen to Miley Cyrus or bad hip-hop, they can listen to my nature sounds. I want my peace and quiet back, please… (rant over, sorry about that!)

– In happier news, I’m still reading a lot (review books plus re-reading all of Alexander McCall Scott’s Isabel Dalhousie series, which I *lovelovelove*- the reading has been very good this fall!), drinking a lot of excellent tea, swimming, and generally doing my thing.

I am also obsessed with two new magazines- “Sunset” and “Coastal Living”. I love magazines but I’m not in love with a ton of them, but these two magazines are *so* pretty to look at, and so interesting to read. I just love getting them.

– Um, I actually *really* like Taylor Swift’s new album. I listen to it while I swim. I’ve never listened to Taylor Swift before, but I am getting exposed to all this different music via Gracie. I’m also listening to David Gray’s new CD on repeat (since it came out) and Liz Phair and Laura Veirs and Neko Case and Sinead O’Connor and Edie Brickell, which makes an eclectic but fun mix when I paint.

We haven’t seen as many movies as we normally like because things are busy– Tom has stuff at work and karate  and I am still finishing Bloom True (the last week is really, like, FOUR weeks of content jammed into one week). I’m hoping we can catch up in December. We missed “Whiplash”, which was playing for only a week. That I was a little bummed about, after hearing about it for so long. And I didn’t get to see “Big Hero 6” with Gracie and my parents because I was sick.

I *did* get to see Interstellar and it was amazing. I loved it.

But there’s still lots of great things to see- Birdman, MockingJay, The Theory of Everything, Exodus, Horrible Bosses 2, The Hobbit, Into the Woods, Unbroken, and a bunch of others. I gotta stop feeling like good movies are an obligation (I get antsy when there’s lot of good movies at the theater because ultimately I want to see ALL of them) and remember that it’s FUN and that I just need to go and see what appeals to us and what we have time for. The rest we can definitely catch on DVD.

I can’t even start thinking about the holidays. I’m not freaking out because we’ve been working on paring down the holidays a little bit every year, so I know it’s not some giant “holy crap! so much to do!” thing. But there’s still a bit of planning and preparation that goes into it. But I’m not quite ready to let go of fall yet. So I won’t. 

If you’re still here, you’re awesome. Thank you, as always, for reading 🙂 More very soon!

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