One way to ruin your day

Want to ruin your day and find out how convoluted your work processes really are?

Teach someone to do your job. 

Training my replacement (as I transition into my new role) has definitely been an eye-opening experience. Procedures and processes that I’ve taken for granted have to be picked apart and distilled into step-by-step instructions.

Some of these steps have left me scratching my head and wondering why we’re doing it this way in the first place. 

But it’s a good thing. 

We can get stuck doing the same things the same way because they “work” and it’s only when we try to explain what we do to someone else that we see room for improvement. 

Even if you’re not actively training someone new, take a stab at it and see if your processes make sense. You may find something interesting you didn’t see before. 

Murder Board?

Part of my job is keeping track of all our services and software and how they integrate with one another.

To visualize this, a few times a year I try to map it all out using a mind mapping program. This time around was preparing for next year, and including all the new stuff that came in to use since I did this exercise last.

It tends to be a little confusing for someone who’s not “in it” on a daily basis. So, during my one-on-one with the marketing team leader, she referred to it as my “Serial Killer Board”.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

The power of late night thoughts.

I listen to a lot of music. Mostly 🤘rock 🎸from the 90’s/early 2000’s in the vein of Jawbox, Jimmy Eat World, Sting, Toad the Wet Sprocket, etc.

🤷🏻‍♀️ Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m dating myself. 👵🏻

Anywho, there was a bass line that had been going through my head with zero other context. No lyrics, no melody, just a bass line. For MONTHS. I remember talking to a friend of mine who went through the 90’s with me about it earlier this year and he couldn’t place it either. It was quite amusing trying to replicate the bass line with my voice.

Last night I was drifting off to sleep and a song title popped into my head from a band called Burning Airlines (Ex-Jawbox for those of you who are interested). I queued up the album on Spotify and THERE IT WAS 🤯. The bass line haunting my thoughts for nearly 12 months finally in my ears.

I could have gone to sleep and forgotten about it in the morning and continued to be haunted, but I made myself get up & get my phone to look up the song. The room that song was taking up in my brain was now free! 🎉

In much the same way, I keep a notebook by my bed and write down those random thoughts at night – and have had some fantastic ideas come from those late night brainstorms. I don’t ignore those sparks, even if I’m 🤏🏻 this close to sleep.

Keep a notebook 📓with you wherever you go so you catch all those seemingly insignificant things that run through your head. You never know when inspiration is gonna hit, and if you don’t record it, it never happened.

And this is the song…

Parents, teach your kids early about gatekeeping.

Yesterday my son began a sentence with “A REAL Pokemon fan is someone who…” and then rattled off a list of things like knowing stats and attacks of all the Pokemon, building your own trading card game (TCG) deck, etc.

I said to him “A real Pokemon fan loves Pokemon. End of sentence. What you’re doing is called gatekeeping and it’s not fair or kind. I don’t know a quarter of the stuff you know, yet I’ve been a fan of Pokemon since the late 90s. You can’t say I’m not a real fan, right? I’m the one who got you into it in the first place.”

So we had a bit more of a discussion on being inclusive and kind and celebrating common interests regardless of how much someone knows about Charizard’s strongest attack in the TCG.

Yes, the kid’s got a rather encyclopedic knowledge when it comes to his interests, but that just means he can teach and lead instead of keeping people out because of some arbitrary test of facts and stats. I’m NOT raising Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. 😂

Think Different

Several years ago, we had Thanksgiving dinner at our favorite diner. They used to do a fundraiser every Thanksgiving for an orphanage nearby.

We know the owners as family friends. Teddy, one of the owners, sat next to my son who was 5 at the time, and started talking about what he was drawing. Not 100% sure how the conversation flowed, but she asked “Can you write me a check for $1000?”

He obliged, and proceeded to draw a huge check mark on a piece of paper in orange crayon with the number 1000 underneath.

We’re still laughing about it today. Kid’s still a joker and finds creative ways to twist words and ideas for laughs.

Looking at things differently is easy when we’re kids. We don’t know how we’re supposed to perceive and interpret the world, so we go on instinct. The result is usually funny, but always uses the kid’s natural ability to figure things out on their own terms.

When things aren’t working, are you still looking at the problem the same way you always have? Try putting yourself into a kid’s mindset – wide open curiosity – assume nothing – look at it with a beginner’s mind, and see what happens.

I Am A Martial Artist

Here I am at home in my uniform post-TKD class holding my belt. A little red and sweaty but really happy.
Here I am at home in my uniform post-TKD class holding my belt. A little red and sweaty but really happy.

I am a martial artist.

I’ve been hesitant using those words, afraid of incurring the wrath of MMA dudebros because I’m far from the picture of idealized female martial artists. I got my black belt in Taekwondo when I was 18, after practicing on & off for 6 years or so. I was at the dojang every day, and left it behind when I went off to college.

Over the next 20-odd years I tried to go back, and finally did in November of 2017. I was at my highest weight ever, had gotten some scary news from the doctor, and I needed to start moving again. I am not a runner, a walker, a yogi, or a gym person in any way. But martial arts, I can do. Fast forward, I’ve released nearly 50 lbs since I started and I’m feeling better in every way.

The physical benefits are only a small part of why I love martial arts. All my life, I’ve felt powerless, and unable to take control . As a woman, and one that takes up “too much room” according to society, I feel powerful when I practice. I am not too much, too loud, nor do I “think too much” in class. I am a student and an assistant instructor. I am confident, strong, and capable. In a world where things rarely make sense, TKD makes sense.

And I can kick some serious ass.

I highly recommend martial arts – any of them – to everyone, especially those who identify as female, non-binary or otherwise not-male. Fitness is a secondary benefit. Confidence, taking up space, grounding, being able to protect yourself, and the feeling of power far outweigh any physical benefits.

Hello 2019

I was ready to go conquer 2019 on the 2nd of January. Then on the 3rd, family drama got me riled up and I kicked a box I thought was empty with all my might.

The box was full. Of 50 lbs worth of steel-encased studio monitors (aka f-ing heavy speakers).

And I broke the third and fourth metatarsals of my right foot.

What a way to start the new year. Stuck in a “walking” boot for the next 6-8 weeks, and banned from intense activity (I’m already missing my TKD classes) until around the end of March.

So I’m taking it as a sign to slow down and finally deal with stuff I’ve been putting off, as like resurrecting this site, making more art, and figuring out what to do next.

So here’s to 2019. May you suck less than you already do…

Merely a messenger

It’s incredible when you see yourself through the eyes of someone who is touched by what you do. It often seems like I’m tossing stuff into the ether, losing it to the void. But when it lands, when somoene is touched and tells you about it… It’s humbling. And encouraging. And sometimes even terrifying.
Square painting of a sunset view from the road with a tree in the forground

But I remind myself, it’s enough to do the work and show the work. The rest is not up to me. If I put too much energy and thought into something that I can’t control, I’ll make myself crazy.

It’s only mine to do the work and show it. The rest is not my problem. I am merely a messenger.

Several years ago when I went to a conference called the Gathering of Artisans (for Christian artists) where during the welcome event, an odd man insisted on calling me Angela when I distinctly and clearly told him my name seconds before. After I corrected him, he smiled and said he wasn’t wrong.

Angela means Messenger. I suppose all artists are messengers.

Currently, I’m reading a couple books that reinforce the artist-as-messenger theme:

Both say pretty much the same thing when it comes to your work, your art. It’s enough to do your work, to create, and to send it out into the world. The rest is beyond your control. Devote yourself to your work. Share your work. But don’t place any expectations on it.

So that’s what I’ll do.

100 Day Project update…

94/100. That’s where I’m at, nearly 2 months past the start date of my 100 Day Project.

Some would say I failed. That I’m a flake for not finishing.

But seriously here.  I drew 94 faces. NINETY FOUR.

In a span of slightly over 100 days. I’m far from an expert at realistic portraiture (not that I was attempting that to begin with ), but I can draw a pretty decent face whenever I want, straight on, 3/4 and profile. If you count the faces I doodled on my desk pad, I probably got the whole 100.

I did achieve what I set out to do, and that was to challenge myself in a way I haven’t before. So what if I’m 6 short!

The ‘last’ face (so far… I think I’ll go ahead and complete the 100 just for continuity’s sake) that I put up on Instagram was one I drew in a rare kid-free moment on my vacation in Greece this past summer.

I think I’m completely over my phobia of signing on to challenges. And besides. I’m not competing against anyone (neither are you), so if I “fail” at something I decided to do for myself, who gives a shit? As long as I get out of it what I intended to begin with, I call it a success.

Reached the half-way point of the 100 Day Project

Yesterday was day 50 of my 100 Day Project, and here are the first two days and the last 2. It’s cool to see the progression.
I am accomplishing what I set out to do in the beginning of this challenge. I’m seeing a style develop, I’m making it a point to draw these faces every day, and I’ve committed to a daily practice, that although has been interrupted a day here & there, I have come back to it.
I have had trouble in the past committing to a challenge—I couldn’t even get through a 10-day vlog challenge a few years back—but here I am. 50 (51) days into a challenge that’s the longest one I’ve ever attempted and I’m loving it.
That’s not to say I haven’t had my moments of utter boredom, but as I seem to have created a habit, I have pushed my way through and made it fun again.
I stopped the daily blog updates mainly because I felt like I was cluttering up my site. However, I will be updating this page with my latest efforts every so often in these last 50ish days.