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Space - Illustration friday

Space – Illustration friday

In December 2011 I finished my Library Information Technology A.S. degree through Minneapolis Community and Technical College. This marked the completion of the first thing I’ve done that was entirely of my own doing, my own desire, my own design. I’ve done a lot of things, had a lot of really good experiences, but most were born out of a reaction to something, or a product/bi-product of some “should”, a lot pretty thoughtlessly. This, however, was and is entirely me.


Filmstrips… remember those? Anyone?

It started when I was visiting family in PA a few years ago. My sister in-law was reviewing her college transcripts. She was sitting focused on the papers, considering going back to school to become a nurse. This was something she had always been interested in doing. She was there for the birth of my two kids and her bedside manner was a blessing both times; it made perfect sense to me. Her focus that day created such a clear and poignant memory. Here she was, facing the possibility of doing what she truly wanted to do. She inspired me.

Over the years I wanted to “go back to school”, but really had no idea what for. Something clicked after that visit to PA. Everything came together – one of my favorite responsibilities in my previous work was library research; I enjoyed volunteering with kids before I had any of my own; I loved children’s books; I am kind of a big kid. I noticed that I knew several happy librarians. I also remembered that my first ever volunteer gig was when I was in elementary school – I’d go to the library and make sure filmstrips were correctly rewound and filed. The library was a little refuge.

So I started and finished my LIT degree with the intention of working in a public elementary school. During my studies I considered other types of libraries, but I came back to elementary schools… this is where a lot of kids first connect with books, reading, learning. The library is or can be at the center of all of this. The school library can be a refuge, a quiet place, an inspiration.

I ended my education with an internship at an elementary school in Minneapolis under the guidance of a terrific Media Specialist who let me get in there and explore. I was planning on a long job search, but had excellent luck when I found a job at an IB Primary Years Programme school in Saint Paul the same month I finished my internship. I love my job. I read to kids, I explore kids books, I organize information, I assist in research.

The other day at school I was looking for something in a cabinet. I opened the door and out fell a filmstrip canister. We don’t have filmstrips in our Library Media Center anymore. This was a missed or ignored remnant from a kit. Geekily, I smiled and got teary eyed… I’m not kidding. This, I decided, was the universe reminding me I was in the right place.

By the way, I also have a soft spot for microfiche. And, my sister-in-law is now a nurse.

2.5 years

I like where I was originally going with this public journal. It wasn’t about the down and dirty dirty nitty-gritty (I’m private despite the blog), nor the fluff (I’m not sorry if you think it’s fluff). It was an expression of expressions. And boy does it look cleaner and more poignant when the snippets of life are placed within a well-defined and formatted page – thank you WordPress and “Motion” by Sam@85ideas.

So in the next few days I’ll lay out some of the less than personal nitty-gritty and greater than fluff of the last 2.5 years. I am doing this because I want to get back to expression; I was at my all around healthiest when I used this as an expression of expression. After posting the past 2.5 years (which really boil down to a few key areas) I will go forward with whatever expressions are in front of me.


Superior Hiking Trail near Kadunce River Wayside. August 2012.

shred it and forget it?

I cannot sleep, so sketched a few giants.

hidden giant, sleeping giant, giants on my mind

dressing giant, dancing giant, standing on one foot giant

"paisley" for illustration friday

Incomplete, but wanted to get it posted before Friday.

The prompt “paisley” got me thinking about the origins of paisley. When I searched I found this picture:

This made me think of peacocks and inspired this watercolor in progress. Fun to work on.


When awoken by “hoo hoooo” I will sometimes try to see the source of my alarm. I wipe and widen my eyes, but I rarely get a glimpse of the animal. The early morning shades of black, gray and blue blur my vision against my ears and minds attempt to produce an image.

Brower Hatcher, Prophecy of the Ancients, 1988. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

It’s a perfect day. A slightly-off-to-the-side sun shines brightly. The wind is just strong enough to gently push and disperse a cloud through the bluest of blue sky days. The temperature hovers around 70° or so. There are only sounds of the wind, birds, frogs and toads, and occasional squirrel chatter. I have a book that has the ability to deliver me to its envisioned locale, and the time to go there and be there for more than the usual few tired minutes at the end of the day. It’s the middle of the day and I am outside with the time to read and drift into sleep and back out to read some more. This is my vision of a lovely little “staycation.”

I have enjoyed this experience a few times, although less frequently in the last decade or so of child rearing, exhausted sleep time, and more recently the reading requirements of my continuing education. (See pics from Costa Rica below; not a “staycation” but certainly a fab “nap space.”) Now that my kids are getting a little older and I’m moving along in my studies, the fantasy is reemerging with more regularity.

This piece from the Walker Art Center‘s Minneapolis Sculpture Garden may have planted the seed of my desire for leisurely outdoor reading and napping. I very clearly remember my first thought upon standing under this way back when was “I want to put a bed under here.” The other photos are of a few reading nap spaces (reflecting areas more private than Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.)

image from and item for sale at Tim Laursen's Etsy shop

image from photo gallery by R.L. Martino. Botswana.

indoor bed, but imagine the windows all open. Sonya's Garden, Phillipines. Image from

La Bella Serina, Manzanillo, Costa Rica, 2007. We slept on the top floor, screens all the way around. When it rained, the rains were heavy and made for excellent daytime reading and napping. Rental info:

books in hand, ready for a little hammock reading, a little napping...

The idea of being carried into and out of naps on the sounds of undisturbed nature, as freshly impressed words move through my brain is most wonderful. To have this space (in all senses of the word) a couple or a few times a month would be fabulous.

Not sure that I can read them all, but I have collected a list of suggestions from friends (many thanks, friends) and from book reviews. Some I purchased via Better World Books. I ordered a couple new books through my local bookstore. And, the library has the rest.

They are all listed here Summer Reading (still wishing LibraryThing and could work together.) I am particularly looking forward to and anxiously awaiting my copy of Primeval and Other Times by Olga Tokarczuk. Here are the publisher’s remarks:

Tokarczuk’s third novel, Primeval and Other Times was awarded the Koscielski Foundation Prize in 1997, which established the author as one of the leading voices in Polish letters. It is set in the mythical village of Primeval in the very heart of Poland, which is populated by eccentric, archetypal characters. The village, a microcosm of Europe, is guarded by four archangels, from whose perspective the novel chronicles the lives of Primeval’s inhabitants over the course of the feral 20th century. In prose that is forceful and direct, the narrative follows Poland’s tortured political history from 1914 to the contemporary era and the episodic brutality that is visited on ordinary village life. Yet Primeval and Other Times is a novel of universal dimension that does not dwell on the parochial. A stylized fable as well as epic allegory about the inexorable grind of time, the clash between modernity (the masculine) and nature (the feminine), it has been translated into most European languages.”

I am one-half Polish, but for various reasons I have never taken much time to explore these roots. Perhaps this work of fiction will spark some non-fiction exploration. And, hey, I just got a call from Excelsior Bays Books letting me know my copy has arrived! Spooky.

When I was a kid I used to run distance and then stopped… and started and stopped… and started and stopped and so on throughout my adulthood.  I had and have bad knees, and now bad ankles and touchy hips, a neuroma on my left foot and a tendon pull that seems to never heal. I creak (literally), and have a lovely snap, crackle, pop thing that seems rather excessive for someone my age. Still, I want to run.

Running shoes have always been problematic for me. I know several people who have taken up running in those Vibram running shoes/sock things, and have seen and heard about people running barefooted, but have never had an interest in either. I figured with all the injuries to my knees, ankles, and so on, it would be crazy to run barefooted, “unprotected” from the impact of feet on hard surfaces. Last weekend I read some posts from Barefoot Angie Bee, a barefoot runner, and then did some further reading on Jason Robillard’s blog Barefoot Chronicles. And this week I decided to give barefoot running a try… on my treadmill for now.

I’ve run four times this week, starting slowly because I am VERY out of shape. Today I pushed my pace pretty hard and felt a bit of twinging in my feet, but ultimately, so far, so good. Although I am watching this tendon carefully, nothing that “hurt” before feels any worse. And to tell the truth, I love just throwing on my running clothes and going without putting my shoes on. Sounds silly, but it’s one less “thing to do.”

No big goals here other than to try something new and take in how it feels. It might be crazy, but I’m thinking I might take these bare feet outside for a run… in June.


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