Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Mon, where is my mania?

Hey people.  Ray is still completely controlling me with his emanating waves of cuteness.  I had to actually stop typing between the words "still" and "completely" to pet him some more and tell him how adorable he is. 

I switched my computer to the in-screen camera to show you all how irresistible he is all cuddled-up on my lap between me and the keyboard, but was so horrified by my saggy unmade-up face and frightening hair (went to bed with it wet-- the Russian roulette of hairdo's) that I became sidetracked by giving myself pretend face-lifts for several minutes.

I suppose it is best really, from a "being a good for-real person" stand-point, that I totally missed my window of ever being *hot girl*.  It's pretty funny to go along your whole life (not really thinking about it very much) but sort of in the back of your mind thinking ~one day~ you may suddenly peak and look mysteriously amazing and become imbued with that particular confidence the beautiful women possess.  Then one day you realize, "Mmm-- probably not going to happen."

Oh well, it really is best to worry only about what's showing from inside of you anyway right?  Radiance/happiness/coolness trumps high cheekbones & tight skin?  That's what I'm telling myself anyway.  Shhhhh.

Last post I talked about wanting to lose weight.  So naturally I spent all day Sat cooking a turkey dinner for two and making cookies.  Sound plan right?

But these cookies are different.  They have a bunch of healthy stuff in them.  Some naughty (translate delicious) things in them too, but really, if you're going to ~have a moment of weakness~, you might as well have it with these.  I call them "Sierra's".  They're inspired by a recipe I found years ago, but I tweaked and tweaked and now it's really my own healthy version.

The secret ingredient:  Nuked bananas.

You use these in place of butter and shortening.  Nuking them softens them to a very blendable paste, and almost caramelizes them a little, brings out the sugars somehow.

This makes the *dough* very wet, sticky, and batter-like.  You have to drop it by spoonfuls.

But they bake-up really nice, and are super yum.  Oatmeal, cornflakes, bananas. egg whites, whole wheat flour, a blend of amazing spices (another key component), and some sugars and chocolate and butterscotch chips.  What's not to like?

I love experimenting like this.  I've been figuring out there are a number of things I enjoy that are all rooted in the same part of my brain as the art/creative stuff.  It has to do with building-- fitting together invisible things, like snippets of arguments, evidence, ideas, ingredients-- and stacking and re-stacking them until they turn into an actual thing.

Remember the power lines devastation? 

I've been dealing with that again a bit lately, (and a whole host of other trail related stuff).   We're at the point where people are conceding that some things need to be fixed.  (This is slightly different than admitting "Hey-- we really screwed up and are terribly sorry" in that no one really admits anything.)

When I went over to take measurements etc I got pissed-off all over again.  See the huge stump in the pic above right next to the trail?  It's almost 20 feet OUTSIDE the easement.

See the stump in the foreground here?  See the pink flag on the left?  That flag is the easement.  165 trees were taken from outside the easement.  Not all were big, true.  Only 56 of them were of significant size.  56 big trees, right next to a trail intended to wind THROUGH a woods.

So that's the being pissed-off part.  The other part-- the "How do we fix it?" part, taps into that creating part of my brain.  Even the arguing about all this does too really, like moving things around on those huge fancy glass computer screens on CSI-- but the fixing it really does, because it starts with the nothing you see in these pics.

Then you begin thinking about it.  There is a tape playing, one of many, constantly in the back of your brain.  These tapes, unrelated, are all playing.  They are about every problem you have, every project you're working on, what you should make next, how to be able to still eat delicious cookies when you're trying to lose 10 lbs, whether you should put another teal streak in your hair, and Christmas preparations.  It's like having a bunch of lines in the water.

Then you feel a tug on one of them, and grab that pole.  You jerk it up, set the hook, and begin reeling.  As you reel you imagine what is on the other end, and as you do, whatever is on the other end begins to actually morph and change.  You keep reeling, and the thing keeps changing to match your unfolding ideas, and by the time it breaks the surface it has become an actual thing that you thought up.

THAT, is the coolest feeling in the world.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Seeking the level

Hey people.  Our log splitting session last weekend was a success.  The boss (cooltrailbossRich) wasn't around, but the core guys plus 2 showed up and we stacked double the amount we thought we would in record time. 

You either get the appeal of trailwork or you don't.  It's work, but I like it.  Because it's happening at the park it doesn't seem as much like work as doing stuff around your own place for some reason.  And there's the camaraderie.  It's just a good vibe.

In other Suenews, I'm on a mission to lose weight again.  I've reluctantly concluded that much like my energy surges and mood swings, apparently the cycle of getting in shape and to a weight I'm happy about, then getting complacent and letting things slide, and getting all disgusted with myself and feeling like a fat cow again---- is *normal* for me.  So the pattern continues.

 So here's some of the healthy stuff I'm eating.  Healthy can also be yummy.  (The gum is sort of a new habit.  Trying it out.  It seems to do the trick when I want a snack but am not truly hungry.)

Here's what i made for dinner last night-- spicy black bean burgers.  The bun got a little over-toasted, but it was still good.

And thankfully, it's clementine and pomegranate season again, and I really like those, so they are good treats instead of grabbing a cookie or whatever.

A friend was drinking a can of Slimfast recently and asked if I wanted any.  ~Blech~  I said, "I've never liked those," and they said, "I don't like them either!"-- like "who would??"  I guess that's always been my problem as far as eating goes.  I'm a hedonist at heart.  I have to like my food, and even while eating healthy food that is good, in the back of my head I'm still scheming about what delicious horrible things I'll have *once I'm skinny again.*

So, I've figured this out about myself, and will keep the bitching to a minimum.  I have a choice-- break this pattern or just accept it and shut up.  For now I'm walking the line of acceptance, trying to be nice to myself about it all, but get back on the healthy horse.  If it's always going to be a bit cyclical, I guess I'm okay with that, as long as the margins are sort of narrow.

As far as exercise goes, I'm kind of in the same place.  I've always liked it, ever since I discovered how good it makes me feel mentally as well as physically, but I've learned totally killing myself over it doesn't pay off.  I just get burned-out, and it doesn't produce results really.  I'm best off keeping it fun.  Yesterday I hiked with Trusty Pam.  Were my lungs exploding?  No.  But we got out in the beautiful woods and moved and caught up.  It was awesome. 

A little every day, or a couple times a day, is the key for me.  Sometimes I feel like hitting it hard, and then that is fun too.  I just go by how I feel that day.  

Today I'm going to my Mom's for Thanksgiving, and kicking off the holiday season, which isn't always that easy for many of us.  This year I'm going to really make a point of trying to enjoy the good parts of it, and not let the things that bug me about it get too me too much.

I hope all of you have a wonderful relaxing weekend doing whatever it is you choose.  Remember-- lots of the hype and craziness is your option.  :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How much wood can a woodsue chuck?

Hey people.  I planned to post a really cool video of my whole process of making the little groupings of trees, but all I have to show for my days of shooting is this one-eyed Lincoln.

This is what happens when you keep $ in your welding shirt pocket.

That video would have been really cool.  I got some great close-ups of some sweet sweet welds too, but you'll have to take my word for it, because my computer ate the entire upload.  It hiccuped and actually froze my whole external hard drive, with ALL my pictures and videos on it.  For some reason I didn't totally freak out.  I didn't really allow myself to *go there*.  I just figured somehow it would be able to be recovered, and lucky for me it was, all except the last upload.

Oh well.  Maybe next time.  Maybe I'll show you my next brainstorm-- little lit-up tree houses.  We'll see...

In other Suenews-- I'm fat again you guys.  I know, I know.  I'm not really.  But everyone knows how it feels when you put on a few unwanted pounds.  No one likes that.  And I have a super small frame, so on me, seriously, 3 to 5 lbs is the difference between, *normal*, and *kind of porky*.  I can't understand how this could have happened!  (~Ahem~ Halloween candy on sale much???)

Oh well.  Life goes on.  Back in the saddle, so to speak.

Really, what I'm most anxious to do, is just get back to a regular schedule of getting out in the woods an MOVING.  I've been working so much, and with it getting colder it had gotten pretty easy to blow off my nightly ride or run and just *keep working*.  Tomorrow I'm going to spend all day at the trail tidying up for winter, and am really looking forward to it.

Sunday I'm actually leading my second ever trailwork session-- restocking our firewood pile.  So far no one has answered the call for volunteers.  Hopefully they're just playing it cool and a few will show up.  If not--- gauntlet =  thrown down!  I will personally stock the biggest frigging woodpile those guys have ever seen just so I can bug them all winter long about being out-worked by a girl.

Prepare for impressive pictures of our team of lumberjacks in front of our massive wood supply-- even if I am the only one in the picture.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Art Life

Hello people.  If you are looking for the artist who makes these trees, you've found her.

If you want to contact me my email is right at the top of the column on the right of this page under "Talk to me".

Right now I'm working on some commissions, and restocking the galleries I work with for the Holiday season.  If there's something you'd like before Christmas, you'll need to get on my list within the next week or two or I won't have any openings left.

The things I have left from the 60 on 50th show will be going to galleries in the next couple of weeks, so if you were on the fence about anything, there is only a short amount of time left to purchase them from me personally, at the reduced prices you saw at that show.

Okay, now that I've gotten professional stuff out of the way, I can talk about how it's been for me being in the past two shows.

I had two pretty close together this fall.  I worked like crazy getting ready for them, and was left feeling like I wish I had produced more for both of them, but also like I had worked as hard and fast as I could.  Being an artist is a really different profession.  I've done other work, and have always been sort of an obsessive person.  When I was in management, I was all about that--- thought about it almost every waking moment, read tons of books about it, made constant notes on where improvements could be made in our system, etc etc.  I've similarly immersed myself in advertising, landscape design, horsemanship, mountain biking... so it's no surprise I'm this way with art too.

I don't like to talk about it very much.  I've never been a super academic person, and theory doesn't interest me much.  I think the image part of my brain works differently than the verbal part maybe.  When I say I'm sort of always working on art, it's because if I'm not actually making something, I'm filling my brain with images.  Any down time I have, while watching t.v. or whatever, I'm always cruising image banks on the Internet, just sucking it all in.  The mix tumbles around without me over-thinking it too much.  That seems important-- letting it roll around unimpeded.

Wow- I said I didn't like to talk about it and I'm going on forever!

I guess I'm trying to get across most of the art thing happens in my own head.  When I'm talking to people or goofing around online, it's not about art, but that part of my brain is always on and filtering and sorting and building faint ideas of ideas, like white noise.

At these shows so many people attended who've bought my art over the years, or who've just always wanted to.  Art isn't affordable for most people.  Wealthy people buy it, and people who really love it and aren't wealthy make a lot of sacrifices to own it.  You can't imagine what that means to me.  The fact that there are people out there who bother to follow my art, who stop by to tell me about a piece they bought perhaps years ago, and where it is now and how it makes them feel to look at it.  It's like they've taken a little of me into their life.

What an amazing compliment and honor.

I don't know how or why I can do what I do exactly.  Mostly what I've learned over the years is to try to stay out of my own way.  I wish everyone out there could have a job where it felt like they were doing something they were built specifically for, and they could receive the kind of accolades I do for their efforts.  All I know is I feel pretty darned lucky.