Categories
Kids Parenting

Noticing transitions

It’s almost nine o clock, and I’ve been trying to get one of the kids to bed for over an hour after spending the last two running bath and book duty. I narrowly escape falling asleep in their bed but eventually make it out and down the stairs, only to run into a sea of dirty dishes calling. I’m annoyed that I can’t now do, you know, MY THINGS, and say something less than perfect and frankly not very loving to my wife. It takes a while, but eventually the air is cleared, and things resume a desirable shape. A lingering feeling remains though, that this is a pattern that I repeat all too often.

What happened? I was enjoying the time with the kids. I actually enjoy laying bed with them and running through my playlist of bedtime songs or playing a news reporter reporting a news story for the day. The mood was blissful just a moment ago. But something happens in between being a Dad and the next thing I do as a husband or maybe as a friend or one of the many other roles that I play.

Categories
Parenting Work

Shifting (rituals) with the season

Daylight is in abundance now in the far northern reaches of Scotland. It’s light out really early now, and although I love the mornings regardless, it’s more pleasant than usual to wake up early. As a result I’ve started another seasonal shift in my morning routine, and even more that than that, a bigger thematic shift in the expectations I set for what I do when during my days.

“You make doing what matters most a priority when your willpower is its highest. In other words, you give it the time of day it deserves.” (Gary Keller, Jay Papasan, The ONE Thing)

I’m now running first thing in the morning rather than later (mostly), and am trying to pay more attention to letting my energy guide my routine rather than my willpower.

Categories
Art Misc Parenting Work

Big rocks first

I’m not sure how this became a longer thing than it is. Maybe that’s because prioritization, the subject of this piece, is a longer, harder thing to do than it seems at a distance. Anyway, this illustration started as a little morning drawing of an idea that I revisited from a book excerpt and grew into the series of illustrations below. It’s been a fun exercise in playing with a brush pen, seeing how I could talk about an idea thorough pictures, and put together disparate pieces of each into some sort of whole (using GIMP for image editing). Here are the different illustration “parts” explained with the compined composite I created at the end.

Categories
Misc Parenting

50 things to do

A list not about working from home but what I’m doing or am aiming to be doing. A list in no particular order to go with all the other lists out there. Hoping you find some inspiration within and are not one of the unlucky ones with serious things to do like look for work or care for a sick family member.

This is the list of what I’m telling myself to be doing (subject to change at any point in time for any reason whatsoever):

  1. Look at images from the great museums and art collections of the world. Here is a list of open-access galleries: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/open-access-image-libraries-a-handy-list/.
  2. Read a book, or two, or three. Here is my list from last year: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/12/16/books-i-read-in-2019/.
  3. Tidy up.
  4. Listen to Philip Glass: https://open.spotify.com/artist/69lxxQvsfAIoQbB20bEPFC?si=2Z1Kfi6ASj2dQjQKxsXYlg
  5. Be affectionate.
  6. Listen to an album you never have listened to before. Here is a helpful list to get started: https://www.kexp.org/kexp-top-903-albums-2019/
  7. Start a blog. Here is a great place to do it (and it’s free): https://wordpress.com/
  8. Get a helmut: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/02/20/get-a-helmet/
  9. Make a mini-zine: https://austinkleon.com/2020/03/04/how-to-make-a-zine-from-a-single-sheet-of-paper/. Here is mine: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/07/four-little-fires/
  10. Doodle with Mo Willems: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%23MoLunchDoodles
  11. Do some watercoloring.
  12. Build a fire.
  13. Take a walk.
  14. Go running. Better yet go running in the rain: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/11/07/running-in-the-rain/
  15. Write some thank you cards.
  16. Get 8 hours of sleep.
  17. Write a letter to someone.
  18. Read some poetry. Start with how to be a perfect: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57243/how-to-be-perfect
  19. Listen to This is Water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI
  20. Play hide-and-seek.
  21. Cook something you love, and cook something you’ve never cooked before.
  22. Learn to cook.
  23. Meditate. Here is the app I like currently: https://wakingup.com/
  24. Build something with legos.
  25. Have a wrestling match.
  26. Bake some bread.
  27. Have a camp out in your living room.
  28. Watch a documentary.
  29. Take care of your plants.
  30. Eat healthy.
  31. Read the Burrito Rant: https://medium.com/@jackdire/dear-guy-who-just-made-my-burrito-fd08c0babb57
  32. Try to learn something new. And then write about it: https://getonwithit.blog/category/willw/
  33. Bake some cookies.
  34. Make a collage from a magazine, old wrapping paper, or a book.
  35. Host an online meetup using Zoom: http://zoom.us
  36. Draw something. Try a drawing a day: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/01/04/a-drawing-a-day/
  37. Use this list of ice breakers to generate a fun conversation: https://zoom.us/
  38. Write in a physical notebook.
  39. Practice gratitude. See the 5MJ questions for a good start: https://www.intelligentchange.com/blogs/news/the-five-minute-journal-questions
  40. Search Twitter like Google instead of looking at your feed.
  41. Look at pictures from previous trips. Here is my most recent: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/01/notes-from-islay-and-jura/
  42. Update your resume.
  43. Think of something you can do to help someone else.
  44. Reach out to a person who you haven’t talked to in a while.
  45. Give yourself a foot massage.
  46. Look at the stars.
  47. Read The Tail End: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html
  48. Be gentle with yourself.
  49. Relax.
  50. Stop looking at your phone. Call someone.
Categories
Art Kids Parenting

Four little fires

I like to think of art projects like little fires. First you gather your wood (the materials), you built it (get everything set-up) and then you light it. When inspiration strikes, you get burning.

I love the process of gathering the materials from the store (art, craft, book, hardware, etc) and have them all ready, meaning out and in view, so we can work when the mood strikes. Until I have a dedicated studio space this means transforming our dining table over the weekend, but here’s proof that it’s worth it: four projects done over the past four roughly four weeks that just sort of happened because the fire was ready to be lit.


The mini-zine

I got this idea from Austin Kleon. I never knew how to fold and tear a piece of paper like this until now, and it’s a little detail that makes it super easy to transform any piece of paper into a mini-zine. No idea where the story came from either.


Mixing by hand

Me: “Sam you want to do some painting?”
Sam: “Yes daddy!”
Slide out some large sheets of card stock. Squeeze tubes of different color paints on. Watch him mix. Repeat!


The paper laptop

Vivian created this paper model of a laptop complete with fold out keyboard, sitckers on the case, kick stand, and laptop sleeve with handles. It’s just like what her parents use, and she even drew a browser on the screen showing “Google: Unicorns” on it with the search result.

No one helped her, no one even knew she was working on it. We were just going about doing chores while she was busy doing something at the dining-table-turned-studio.


The box critters

Kav made these with the kids, starting with some cutouts from a magazine and expanding into homemade hands and eyes and tails of all sorts. Reusing materials from around the house is a bonus, as it the fact that this art gets named and played with after. This genre of art project (box critter-making?) is an underrated wellspring that we’ll be sure to tap into more often.


I love art projects. Keep burning those fires!