Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Week of Art, Music and Drama (The Good Kind)

This past week and weekend were full of art, music and drama (the good kind).  Tuesday night I went to see my friend Sarah in the Vagina Monologues at OU.  The group she was with was helping to raise money for the Women's Outreach Center and to bring awareness to V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls.  Not only was the place packed, but the performance was excellent! I was so proud of Sarah and the rest of the ladies for what they did and it was my first time to experience any of the monologues so it was a great night.

Wednesday was my mandolin lesson and I've already written about that, but I have to say it was a highlight of the week.  Now I just need to practice, practice, practice!

Thursday was a day to get things done! I spent a little time cleaning, hanging pictures and getting ready for some special dinner guests.  Phillip and Patrick came up to help and I should say right here that it's a pretty pleasant experience to get ready for a party with those two.  They make everything beautiful! (And tasty!)

Friday was the Ghostland Observatory concert at Cain's and I boogied my rear end off! The light show did not disappoint and neither did the music! Jesse, Mick, Ross, James and I had a great time and here are some pics to prove it!

Cain's Ballroom Chandelier

Nobody can resist taking pictures of the light show!

Last year, a group of friends and I went to see them in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  Here's the video I made of the light show there.  I took the clips with my iPhone and then made a movie out of them.  I believe the light show is a brilliant art form and I love being surrounded by it and the music.  You're a part of it when you experience it first hand.

Yesterday my Material Culture class took a field trip to Forgotten Meadows, a place south of Norman in Cole, Oklahoma.  A man named Rich has been building this house by hand since 1977.  He has a background in setting tile and you can tell by all of the surfaces of the house, inside and out.  He doesn't throw much away, as it usually ends up being a part of the house.  It totally makes you rethink the value and purpose of objects and also how much we feel we need to discard.  He admitted to his influences including Bruce Goff and Antonio Gaudi, but Gaudi came after he had already been building in this fashion.  I think it's always interesting to see what likeness an artist has to another, especially when they've never even heard of the other.  Sometimes it's just all part of a collective consciousness. 

Here are some images from yesterday's field trip.  It really was a beautiful day and it was so nice to be outside, in the country, with friends and in such a unique place!

I love the tall grasses.

This reminded me of something out of, "Where the Wild Things Are."

The Curved Features are What reminded me of Gaudi

Looking Down into the Kitchen

Part of the Kitchen (Check out that Pink and Black Tile on the Floor. Love it!

Hallway Between Kitchen and Sitting Area

More Kitchen (There's an Organ in the Left Background)

An Organ in the Kitchen!

You Know...Rocks. :)

Ice Cube Tray Lighting

Tile Floor

Tile Floor in the Kitchen

Inside this Structure is a Small Pool with Goldfish

Top of the Stairs

Bottles in the Walls - These Could Be Found Inside and Out.

Netha and the Creature On Top of the House

Creature Keeping Watch

They Have a Trampoline! Look at Netha Go!

Have I Mentioned that I Love Trampolines Too??? 

Bottles in the Wall Behind a Screen

Same Image with a Hipstamatic Touch

Inside a Wood Burning Stove

Even the Dirt on the Windows Looked Like Art.

Stained Glass Window

Master Bathroom Shower - Soooooo Cool!

Cans on the Well

Rich Giving a Demonstration on How to Make a Rock.

This Place Has it All!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Slowing Down and a Light Touch = Making Beautiful Music

Last night I had my first Mandolin lesson and I have to say that Jon Knudson is a great teacher.  I'm so lucky to have such a talented, generous and gifted friend.  We went through strumming patterns, string names, scales, chords and bluegrass style. One of the things that I thought about on the way home was the fact that music is a great metaphor for my life...maybe yours too?

When I was growing up, I took piano lessons from the time I was in the third grade until my junior year of high school.  I can remember my dad asking me if the word, "crap," was written into the music because, while practicing, it would jump out of my mouth every time I made a mistake.  Most of the time I made those mistakes because I was in a hurry.

Last night, I learned how to make a percussive sound on the strings without playing any tones.  (I always wanted to know how to do that!)  I realized that by pushing down harder on the strings, I was actually working against my goal and I would get an awful sounding chord.  But if I lightly touched the strings and strummed, I would get that snare-like, percussive sound I was going for.

Both of these lessons ironically apply to my life.  Because of all that I am trying to accomplish with finishing my masters, getting the building renovated, starting the non-profit and still having time for my family and friends, I find myself pushing and forcing, in order to fit it all in.  I understand the importance of working with people and getting to know them is mandatory.  I want to know the character of those that I will bring into my project. I also know that I can accomplish more for the people I want to serve if I work with other organizations, so it's imperative that I start to form those relationships now. It's all for the good of people, but I'm also realizing that if I don't take care of myself, I won't have anything to give.  And if I don't slow down, what I have to give won't be of much quality anyway.

This applies to school, work and even to those that I love.  It's easy to get caught up in pushing and pushing to make things happen, but people don't want to be pushed.  I know I don't.  So it's back to finding the balance between making things happen and letting people do their thing.  And I feel that if I slow down and if I have a light touch with others, it will make all the difference.  Thanks, music, for being such a great teacher.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stellar Work Day

Fridays are work days with James because I have class the rest of the week and need to be studying.  This was probably one of the most productive work days we've ever had and I'm excited about everything that we did!  We had our first meeting with the Oklahoma Center for Non Profits and I'm so glad we went because we learned A LOT! The meeting wasn't even that long but we were given so much information about how to get this school started and all of the steps we need to take.  We're so fortunate to have a place like this so close by because I know we're going to have a million questions, but the ladies we met with said that they were excited for us and wanted to see us succeed.  Yay!

Afterwards, we ate a late breakfast/early lunch at Classen Grill and reviewed what we learned, made a list of things we need to do and made a timeline for getting them accomplished.  It feels good to have a plan and some direction of where to go next.  We're pretty much just feeling our way through this process so guidance is a huge blessing.  One thing that we discovered today is that because we are incorporated with the Secretary of State, we are already allowed to start fundraising.  I thought we would have to wait until we received our 501(c)3 status, but for 27 months after you are incorporated, donations can still be tax deductible for donors, so we can really start making plans now and seeing what we can raise. And guess what! A very kind and awesome friend at Chipotle in Norman has contacted me because he wants to have a fundraiser for us. This could be our first one!  We'll have a meeting sometime next week to start planning it.  Have I mentioned lately how overwhelmed with gratitude I am? It's almost surreal how everything is falling into place!

After we ran a few errands, James and I met up with Justin Witte, Jo Wise, director of the Paseo Arts Association, and Diane.  We talked about all things music for the Paseo Arts Festival.  It's going to be so much fun! If anyone out there would like to volunteer, we'll need your help! The meeting went so well and I'm looking forward to working with so many great musicians.  Oh! And I've put a band together so we're going to start practicing very soon and we're going to perform at the festival too. I realllllllly can't wait for that! 

So to celebrate all of the goodness of the day, James and I went by the building to check out the new roof. It's hard to see in the pictures because it was only the flat part that was repaired and covered with TPO (Thermoplastic polyolefin), but this is an important step in our goal of energy conservation and efficiency so it's really just as big of a deal as the recycled material shingles that we're putting on the pitched part of the roof as early as next week!  The old gal is getting a makeover!  Here are a few pictures from today.

You probably can't see it but the white part of the roof (TPO) is in place and even reaches up the
 backside of the pitched roof a little. 

The woodwork is now in place for gutters too!

So to celebrate even further, we had a late lunch/early dinner at Iguana and sat on the patio.  What a fine, fine day it was.  I'm thankful for the weather and everything that we accomplished today.  Now it's time to get ready for some fun.  There are birthday parties and bands performing tonight. Can't wait! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Food Coop Work Day

Yesterday was full of ups and downs but I have to say the highlights were going to class, finding that the work on my house is winding up, and working a few hours at the Oklahoma Food Coop work day.  Today is a delivery day so all of the people who ordered this month from Oklahoma producers will get their food! People who belong to the coop work to make this happen and they get points for doing so.  Members can trade in their points for food. It's genius because it takes everybody to make it work.  OH! And everyone out there who thinks I''m a little princess (yes I know who you are!) should know that I cleaned bathrooms yesterday! Ha! It was not only fun to get to work with everyone but I realized how lazy I can be and blame it on being busy.  Hard work that connects you to your house or an organization you believe in is so important and rewarding.  But that's a little tangent I can save for later.

Other than making new friends and helping to get ready for today, one of my favorite parts of being at the work day was getting to feed some goats.  My friend and fellow member of the coop, Matt, brought his out to the field by the warehouse.  After watching his daughter and another little girl play with the goats, I immediately started getting ideas of how fun it would be to have Matt over to the school, along with his goats, to talk to the kids about the place animals play in sustainability.  Plus I think the kids would just like to pet and hold the "kids." Ok. Bad joke. I know.   Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thanks a Lot Squirrel!

Today marks a great occasion.  I think the renovations on my house (not the backyard, but the house) might be finished.  I have to say "might" so as not to jinx myself.  This place has been quite a challenge since I bought it back in 2007.  I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad to have an old, historic home and honestly, I'm happy with it.  In fact, I love it.  It's been my very expensive child.  I get that term from my dad. He calls me his expensive daughter, but I swear that I'm not that bad. It's just this house.  It's required a LOT of work since I moved in.

All the interior renovation and work has been finished, except for curtains. I'll be able to afford those someday.  The heating and cooling system has been replaced.  The new roof was put on twice, thanks to needing a new one when I moved in and then again when the hail storm hit. I've replaced the fence thanks to two fires and ice storms.  The green house has been torn down and rebuilt, also thanks to the hail storm.  And most recently, I got a new deck.

This deck addition was a result of squirrel.  "A squirrel?" you might ask.  Yes, a squirrel.  One day last fall I came home to find that the pumpkins on my front steps had become a feast for something with sharp, pointy claws.

Clawed up Pumpkins

One day, I pulled into the driveway and found the culprit!


Check out the size of that belly!

Right after the squirrel had his feast, I watched him scurry up the side of my house and disappear into my attic! Yuck! I could only imagine the mess he was leaving up there! Plus I began to wake up every morning to the sound of claws scratching the floor of the attic, which was right above my bed.  It was time to do something about it.

I called my friend Moses, who does such a good job helping me with the house and told him that we needed to repair the woodwork around the attic opening where the little rodent was getting in.  We were going to have to paint after that job, so I felt like we might as well fix up all of the woodwork that had been rotting around windows, doors, etc. for the past 26 years.  The previous owners hadn't really paid too much attention to that.  Well guess what we found in the sun room when we took siding off that needed repair.  Windows were coming out of the wall! The whole wall had to be taken down and replaced before we could paint. Ugghhh!!!

So we get that wall finished and in the process one of the workmen steps through the back deck.  Of course he did! The supports below and some of the wood on top was completely rotted.  Are you seeing a pattern here? One job has led to another and while I want to follow a logical progression of renovations, these were things that not only amounted to a lot of money, but also much more time than I had planned on giving.  What choice did I have?  None.  I couldn't very well have people walking around on that deck with the possibility of bodily harm.  So it had to be replaced, but I calmly explained to Moses that I couldn't afford any more projects so if he or his men broke anything while building the deck, he would be responsible for replacing or rebuilding it.  He very sweetly agreed.

Thanks a lot squirrel.

Aside from pulling up the concrete in the drive, front walk and around the pool, tearing down the pool house and rebuilding it, adding outdoor lighting, and a new awning and lights by the front door, I think I'm done. Haha! Seriously though, I'm done for a good long while.  This stuff can wait.

In honor of all of the accomplishments of many, many people here (Patrick, Phillip, Moses and his team, Me, and many others like the other Patrick, Dan and his crew, Imants and I'm sure I'm leaving people out) here is a clip from the movie Money Pit. I posted it on my Facebook page earlier.  It pretty much sums up the whole experience, complete with the "I just lost my mind" laugh at the end. I can relate. :)

Oh and here's a picture of the almost finished product.  It is so close to what I imagined when I first bought the house and what I wanted it to look like.  So I'm grateful. Almost as grateful as I am to be able to take a break from all of this work.  I have a few other things on my plate. :)

Home Sweet Home

More Progress

Yesterday James and I drove past the building to find workmen on the roof! Thanks to the weather being nice, we're back in action! Right now they are laying the TPO on the flat part of the roof, but the shingles are ordered and should be here soon (for the pitched part of the building) and the first round of windows will be delivered later this week or early next week.  They just need stain and paint and then they can be installed.  We ordered the windows and doors from Wewoka Window Works.  They're the best!

I think in a couple of months, the outside of the building will be finished.  That should be enough time for the building permit to kick in and that's all we need in order for us to work on the inside! This is really happening!!!! So excited!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paseo Arts Festival Music

Because the blog I just wrote is a little more personal, I thought I'd add something that's more business related.  I was asked a couple of weeks ago to head up the music for the main stage at the Paseo Arts Festival this year (May 28, 29 & 30)! I'm so honored but I'm also thrilled to be able to give musicians an opportunity to be seen and heard.  The person who had generously run the smaller stage for the past five years also gave up that post so I asked my friend Justin Witte to come in and help with that and I know he'll be great because he already books music for the Red Cup (one of my favorite places in OKC.)

My brother, Thomas Young, who I really admire is also going to be on board. I'm not the only one who respects Tom.  I'm the oldest of three, so when we were growing up in Ardmore, for a short time my siblings were known as "Amy's brother" or "Amy's sister".  But in Norman and really in the musical population of Oklahoma, if people have met Tom, I'm now "Tom's sister."  And I couldn't be happier about that. I'm so proud of his talent and the kindness he shows to all.   We'll complete the team with James and I think we'll have what we need to make the musical experience at the festival great!

We haven't had our first festival meeting yet, mainly because the snow storms of the last few weeks have hindered getting everyone together. However, as soon as I know details, I'll be posting them here, all over Facebook and wherever else we can think to share the info. If you're a musician or you know a group that would like to play the festival, let me know! I'm ready to get this ball rolling!

Valentine's Day Love

This year has brought a big change in my life.  I guess it's really a change that has been brewing over the past year, but it seems to have been brought into realization sometime in the past couple of weeks.  Usually around this time of the year, I've just recovered from the holidays and I'm feeling better about wherever I am in life, only to be bombarded with reminders of being alone.  There are reminders of Valentine's Day through commercials, movies, little signs on restaurant tables telling you to "Book early", etc. and then there were the flowers. Ladies, you know what I mean.

But this year is different. I haven't even thought about Valentine's Day until I see a sign or something.  I know that my life is in a good place and that I'm following my passion, so that could be a big part of why I'm feeling better in general, but there's more to it.  My only New Year's resolution this year was to love myself as fully as I love others in my life.  It's only been a month and a 1/2 but I can tell that it's working.  

It's funny.  What started out as a resolution to protect and take care of myself has given me the ability to actually give more to others. My heart is as open as it's ever been, and not just to romance but to people in general.  I find that the more I respect myself, the more open I can be with everyone else.  It's wild.  And the proof is in the interaction I've had with men AND women.  It's easier to be more loving to other women when you aren't so jealous or worried that someone is going to show you up. I've always been able to see the value in other people, but I'm starting to realize how special I am too.  I don't mean that in a haughty or stuck up way, but in a "I have something to contribute to this world that no one else can because no one else is me" kind of way. 

And as for men, well...I've never had more attention in my whole life.  It's like there is a mirror being held up to what I'm putting out there.  If only I had known this about life when I was younger. For so long, I thought that there was something wrong with my appearance, that I wasn't smart enough or that I wasn't worthy of someone else's love.  I thought I had some flaw that was holding me back from love. The only flaw was that I didn't respect myself. I didn't give myself the freedom to learn from my mistakes because I thought I had to be perfect. I was my worst enemy.  I have worried that I wasted time over my life focusing on the wrong thing, but we all learn at our own pace.  Plus, now I realize that life isn't about finding someone. It's about learning, growing and giving as generously as you can to others.  

Don't get me wrong. I'm terrible at dating. In fact, just last week I finally went out with a guy that I thought was more attractive than anyone I'd met in years.  I was so excited about just eating dinner with him but I actually botched up the whole night with my anxiousness. I am positive that I put off the vibe that it was more about what that guy could do for me than the opposite and I hate that because it's not at all what I feel. I was just nervous and a little out of practice because I had taken myself off of the market for the past few years.

I won't share the stories here out of respect for the guy and for me (ha!) but I'll just admit right here that I did and said some things that I wouldn't repeat, given the chance. The main difference now is that I'm taking the experience and learning as much as I can from it because I know the lessons will be valuable down the road. I'm no longer focusing on the embarrassment over my actions. I have peace because I know I'll get better at this dating stuff.  I just need more experience, so I'm allowing myself to go on dates and not take them so seriously. And really, I was just grateful for the opportunity to spend a little time with that guy, whatever happens in the future.  We really only have whatever moment we're in anyway.  

So if anyone is reading this and feeling a little blue about the state of your love life, just know that you don't have to loose 20 pounds in order to get someone to love you.  Do that for you! (I'm working on that myself.)  The main thing that will get your love life going is to love yourself.  This doesn't just mean making a list of your good qualities, although it's a good idea. This doesn't just mean having more confidence, although that is really attractive and will do a lot for your appearance in the eyes of others.  It means having the courage and peace to be open.  

Give to others through kindness, love, patience, a genuine interest in their life and a selfless generosity that means you truly care, no matter what you get back from them.  Because in the end, it isn't about what they can do for you.  If you are loving yourself, i.e. being patient with yourself as you learn and grow, taking care of yourself, realizing your worth and beauty, you'll have so much to give back that people won't be able to stay away. I promise. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011 - Round 2!

Patrick and Phillip came up last night to stay with me and keep me company during this second Oklahoma snow storm in the past two weeks.  After Phillip made us some yummy omelets, we all bundled up more than the kids on "A Christmas Story" and walked to 7-Eleven so Phillip could get a coffee.  Here are some pics from the walk.

Leaving the House

Walking Up My Street

A Snow Obelisk

Frozen Grass Peaking Through

Was Tempted to Stop at VZDs for a Burger

Kings of the HIll

Yay! We Made It!

Guy and Patrick

I Love This Picture of Guy. 

Seriously One of the Best Dogs I know

Amy and Patrick (Don't you Love that Art Deco House in the Background?)

We spent a little time in the greenhouse when we returned and found something really great! A Praying Mantis egg case is attached to the side of one of my hanging planters. It holds 100-200 eggs so that a lot of potential for natural bug control.  I really hope that they all make it! I think they'd be cool to watch too.

Praying Mantis Egg Case

In the Green House

Patrick and Phillip - I love these guys.

Patrick, Phillip and I renovated my house together about 3 & 1/2 years ago.  Well, that's at least when we started the project.  I'm still working on it! Ha! But I've realized something lately.  This is my art.  This is what I think about when I'm being creative, aside from music. It's design and decor. My degrees are in music education, art history and now art history again for my masters, so I don't have a lot of education in that area, but I know what I like and what I want so it seems to work.  Patrick majored in interior design so I love to hear his opinion on things and Phillip just graduated with a major in Botany and a double minor in Japanese and Spanish so we've got the plant and landscaping thing down too.  They are both exceptional people who care very much about learning, creativity and me. Plus we just have fun together! I'm a lucky girl to have their friendship.