Thursday, May 31, 2012

What now?

James and my cabin at The Canebrake. We escaped to recoup after the Paseo Fest!

The last few months have been jam-packed full of work, pressure, stress and accomplishment. I am more than grateful that everything went well and that I was able to accomplish my goals. Everything I did, from finishing my masters to planning and orchestrating the music for the south stage at the Paseo Arts Festival,  all fit into a plan that has been in place for a few years now.

I actually started grad school about five and a half years ago, almost exactly to the date when I started working at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art as an education curator.  I had left teaching music at Lakeview Elementary school in 2004, having just finished my bachelors in Art History in December of 2006, and was set to get my masters in a couple of years, but when the job was offered to me, I couldn't pass it up. I knew that it would bring valuable administrative experience, lending even more ability to accomplishing my dream of opening a little school for art and music.

And then I met James. He had just moved back home from California after getting his degrees in Architecture and Film at USC. We met through mutual friends and were renovating our houses at the same time. He would come over and we would compare notes on design ideas and covet each other's new appliances. Ha! We would sit in the green house or on my arbor swing, drinking wine and talking about our dreams for the future. His ideas of renovating an historic structure for the purpose of serving the community fit nicely with my idea of a school for art and music, so we decided to join forces. The combination of our intentions has resulted in something bigger than either of us ever imagined and I couldn't be more grateful. We now have plans and a location for a community center that will offer classes centered on art, music, film, cooking, gardening and all things related to sustainable living.

Over the past couple of days, I've found myself even more worn out than when I graduated (not surprising at all considering the pace of the Paseo Arts Festival) and I think I might be experiencing something like postpartum depression. I'm so proud of everything I've done and I'm more than grateful for everyone that worked alongside me. There is no way that I would have been able to achieve my goals if it weren't for the support and work of others like James, my family, friends, professors and countless volunteers at the festival. So why would I be feeling like this? Shouldn't I be celebrating and breathing a big sigh of relief?

I am celebrating...mainly by catching up on rest. I have napped and slept as late as I could, but I find myself so tired that the slightest sadness or sweetness will have me shedding tears in no time. My friend Romy told me this is normal. She said that when you push and push for something, it's easy to feel some kind of let down after you've reached your goal, even if it goes really well.

I don't want to be a negative person or someone who can't enjoy their successes. I want to be someone who celebrates with all of the people who helped make it happen, but I think that months and years of stress can do something to a person's personality. So I'm taking a little break before I jump back in to planning for Sixtwelve. I'm excited by the thought that I can now devote all of my creative energy towards our dreams and sometimes I honestly can't stop myself from the dreaming and planning, but next week, mom and I are leaving on a trip. We're going on a cruise around the British Isles and I can't wait. Not only will it be great to spend time alone with her (we never get to do that anymore) but I think it will be the perfect reset button for my attitude and energy. I want to give everything I've got to James, Sixtwelve and our community, but I've got to fill up that tank of goodness so I'll have more to give.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Paseo Arts Festival Music!

Holy guacamole, it's been a long day! I was out on Paseo Drive giving an interview with my awesome friend, and soon to be sister-in-law, Camille Harp, at 8:20 am. She is one talented lady, so when Fox 25 wanted me to invite one of the musicians from the Paseo Arts Festival, I knew who I wanted to ask. Have you heard her perform? Now I know that I have a bias here. Anyone who even thinks about ethics knows that family ties don't always influence in the best way when making business decisions, but I'm serious. Have you heard her perform??? The quality of her music speaks for itself. She doesn't need my help. In fact, it was quite the opposite today. I am proud to say she's family, but I'm even more grateful that she was willing to get up so early and help the Paseo out before she went to work.

After the interview, I spent the day organizing my book for the south stage, running a few errands, greeting artists and setting up the music stages for the weekend. I'm so excited about the music that I'll get to hear this weekend that I can't sleep. We finished setting everything up at midnight tonight and I am still wide awake because of anticipation. (Hope I can wake up at 5:30 am to start the day as planned in the morning!) I'm not nervous; I'm just really looking forward to the performances and hopefully all the visitors will enjoy themselves.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend is working with such wonderful people. I love our committee and the harder we work together, the more I love them. And can we talk about how honored I am to be a part of the music that happens at the festival? A couple of days ago I found out that Andy Artis is going to be playing fiddle with M. Tim Blake. When I heard the news, I thought, "This is so cool! I know Andy and Tim, and they are generous supporters of the artistic community in OKC. How cool for them to be collaborating!" I think it's pretty special when talented people join forces for good. :)

Then it dawned on me. In the past year, I have met and spent time with some of the most wonderful people. I love the art and music communities in Norman and OKC.  I have barely scratched the surface on knowing who is out there and what they can do, but I believe we have some incredible talent and creative minds right here in Oklahoma. (Won't it be fun to research that?) And I think we have a pretty great representation of that on the north and south stages during the festival.

Casey Friedman of Acoustic Oklahoma planed the north stage. I thought it was only fitting for someone who is working so hard to document Oklahoma musicians, playing acoustically in his studio, to be in charge of that stage. Man, what a line-up he's put together! I'm going to have to sneak away from the south stage every now and then to listen, but that will be hard because I love the people on my stage too! What a great dilemma to have. So grateful for Casey.

I guess the point of this blog is to say that I am just so glad to be a part of something I believe in. Moreover, to be experiencing it with people I care about and admire just makes every second of hard work worthwhile. Yay for Paseo Festival!!!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graduation - Just Keep Going

I am so excited! I reached my goal! I graduated with my masters degree in art history! Yahooooo!!!! Graduation was last Friday night and Saturday morning. Here's a little pic.

I can't tell you how many sleepless nights or how much fear, worry and self-doubt I worked through over the past month. I know that it's common for students to feel that way, so I don't think my experience was extraordinary, but goodness, that was hard! There were times that I actually thought I might fail, but I just kept going. I'm so glad I did.

I now find myself a little run down and I'm still having those dreams where you wake up in a panic because you think you've forgotten a deadline, a form or failed your defense.  It's so nice to wake up and realize that it was just a nightmare and not reality.  I'm having a little trouble with my energy level too and I can't really take a break because the Paseo Arts Festival is coming up.

I'm the chair for the music committee again this year and I've got a lot of organizing to do, but it's coming together. I had all of the bands for the south stage planned while I was still in Savannah and my friend, Casey Friedman, of Acoustic Oklahoma scheduled the north acoustic stage before I had mine finished, so the groundwork has been done for a while, but there is still work to do. There is always work to do.

I'm really excited about the festival and I'm looking forward to all of the great music, but I have to admit that I'm looking forward to a time when I can finally relax, a time when I get to take a nap in the middle of the day. I can't wait for that. In the meantime, I'm celebrating with everything I do. I did it and I'm proud of myself! Prouder, maybe, than I've ever been. So it's time to get to work and put that education to good use. I have to just keep going!