Friday, May 30, 2008

Freecycle, Craigslist and the kindness of strangers

I posted an add on Craigslist for Magazines, and got this HUGE collection of 25 years worth of National Geographics from a generous young man in El Cerrito. I also received 400 architectural magazines from an architect in San Francisco, thanks to my art sista Michele for picking them up and storing them for me until June so I don't have to make a trip to the city! I also asked for fabric and sewing supplies. I have recieved 3 bags of fabric, 2 sewing machines and 4 boxes of patterns from generous donors. I have been clearing out the yard at the Hall Closet by listing things on Freecycle. If you don't know about freecycle, you should. Go to Yahoo groups and join the freecycle in your area. I belong to five of them in my immediate area. They are listed by city. You can ask for something you need and offer something you want to get rid of. It is AWESOME!!! I even found out that Vicki, another Alterd Diva lives really close to me... she saw my add on freecycle. It is a great way to get rid of things without taking them to the dump or leaving them on your sidewalk with a free sign. I have only been unloading so far... but I intend to check it out and see if I can get some things I have been needing.

So in the interest of promoting the green/recycle/repurpose message, check out freecycle. See what you can get rid of, and what you can find that you have been needing. I love the concept! Please post your stories here. i love to hear about other peoples finds!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Been busy....

Working on "The Project" and decluttering our life... We are downsizing again... (big sigh) and I am moving all my art crap into a storage container at the closet to make room in my life. We are having a big garage sale Saturday to unload a bunch of stuff. Everything left over after the sale goes to the closet. I am doing flowers for a cousin's wedding on Sunday, and then we are off to finish clearing out the storage units before the end of the week. I hope to have one completely empty, and the other two pared down to a smaller sized one by the end of the month. This has been a large, ongoing, endless process.... So this is why I haven't posted much this past week. The funny thing is, for every box of "stuff" I get rid of, I feel myself getting lighter... I love the clearing out... I love piling everything in a box and taking it to the closet, where they can put it up for sale and the money goes to a good cause. I love that my junk has a purpose and is passed on to someone else who is looking for cool things. I love that I am learning to let go and be OK with it... Why am I holding on? Let it go and let it flow is my new motto... and boy does it feel good!

On another great note... the kids at the county day school are BEGGING for me to come back! That makes me feel so good! I am scouring the internet for cool projects we can do with them that will be fun and thought provoking. I think we will start an art journal... and I will teach them different techniques... I have a luncheon coming up again with the probation dept. End of school is in 2 weeks, then the Fashion Show with the girls at Chris Adams Girls Center... and still the big job of finishing up the biz plan so I can file legal docs and start applying for grant funding. Things are great, I am super busy, and have very little time to create anything... but I guess, creating this art program is a pretty big creation in itself. Thanks to my new best friend Danita Lyn, my cohort in this whole thing. My CIO and main sounding board. She makes things so much easier for me... just by being my friend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Some of you know about my fairy tale weddings. I met the man of my dreams on line when he lived in Barcelona, and we had an internet friendship for 6 months before we met in person. We were engaged 3 weeks after we met, and married 3 months later. It was fast, but it was perfect. We had 3 weddings... All of them unique and really special to us. The legal one was in Hawaii in November, and the 2nd one was in May at my parents house, and the third was in Spain, with all his family. Many people thought we were crazy to get married so many times. I kinda thought so too, but it was fun... The second was for the kids, they wanted to be a part of it.. the third was for him. He had never been married before, and he wanted a big wedding in Spain with all his family and friends. What's a gal to say? I look at it this way, I got 3 weddings, 3 honeymoons, 4 dresses, 3 wedding rings, and it only took ONE husband! I am truly blessed.

Now, mind you, our life has not all been a bed of roses.. It was a fairy tale, but more along the lines of Shrek and Fiona than Cinderella and Prince Charming. There were obsticles to overcome, years of conditioning to change, feelings that needed to be shared and resolved. There were tears and heartbreak and loss, but within all of that, there was great love, and magic and miracles. His is my biggest miracle. A partner who is so much like me sometimes, it scares me. A man who will take more than anyone ever has from me, and still stand there in the middle of the wreckage I create and tell me "I am here. I'm not leaving. I love you and we will get through this." Whether it is working together, traveling, cooking, garage saleing, shopping, or just lying in bed reading books... we fit perfectly. He is my soul mate, and all the things I wanted in a partner, and so much more I didn't even KNOW I wanted.

Just when I thought I would never find love. In my darkest hour, when I had no hope, and thought I would be alone forever... he came bebopping into my life. Anyone who has ever watched him walk knows, he bebops... A cute little bouncy step like a child. Sometimes, my love of him consumes me... it fills me so completely that I can't see anything else. It is scary, and thrilling and comforting all at the same time. and here we are, still just as much in love as we were on the first day... Here are some photos of us at our various weddings. Today is the 2nd of our third anniversaries.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Riches

I received an email from several people about motherhood today. A beautiful poem about before I was a mom, I never did... all the things we moms do for love of our children. I was feeling very open and raw and vulnerable today. Emotions were right up in my throat. I cried several times, or bubbled out as my little Kayleigh says... with excess emotions. Missing my grandma, who was such a big influence on my life, and like a second mother to me. Worried for my own mom, who has been going through some tough times, and due to her incredibly empathic nature, seems to get ill when she is overwhelmed. Thankful for my beautiful kids. I felt so proud when my neighbor Bob told me last night, "I gotta say Karan, you have done a wonderful job raising them, they are all really great kids. Each so unique, and yet all of them great, respectful and funny." That made me feel really good. I take my job as a mother seriously. I know there have been those in my life who thought at times (in my single years) that I wasn't paying enough attention to them, or giving them what I should emotionally. Each and every one of them has thanked me, in their own ways, for being their mom, for being the best mom a kid could have, for being there for them, and for loving them. They are my gifts. They are my legacy. When I trip on how I have not accomplished enough in my life, I think of all of them, how wonderful they all are, and how they contribute. How they all are ecology and green conscious, they all want to be activists, and make a difference in the world. I just think of them... and I always feel better about my contribution to the world. How many lives will they touch in their own lifetimes with their beauty and love? How many people will feel better just for knowing them? If I had a chance to do something over in my life, I wouldn't change a thing. If I knew going in about all the pain I would go through in the relationships with their fathers, I would do it all over again if the end result would be those four incredible human beings. I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what I have in my life. I have everything I wanted. Today I feel full, of love, of hope, of gratitude, of joy, of pride... When I define who I am as a person, the first thing I say is, I am a Mom... for me, that little three letter word means the world.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Community Day School part 2

Day two was hectic. I didn't have any helpers and they are a very hands on group. There were many more kids there today, and the ones who didn't get to do the project the first day, wanted to do it the 2nd. I told them I didn't bring the things for that part of the project. There were a handfull of kids that were into it. They listened, and created some really beautiful things. The rest were loud and disruptive. It was a great lesson for me on teaching this age group... most of these kids are 7th - 10th grade. We will make the program available to 10 kids at a time. It will be taught in another classroom, as a priveledge based on attendance and behavior. I only want the kids who will participate and get something out of it. Maybe offering it as an incentive, knowing that some kids get to go do art while the others have to stay in class and do math and english, might motivate some of them.

I also learned I have a lot to learn about working with at risk kids. They are street smart and very mature for their age. They are into things that I would never even dream of doing. There is gang affiliation, peer pressure, drugs, sex, they test and push you to see where your boundaries are. For many of them, who have parents in prison, Juvenile Hall is a badge of honor, and a stepping stone to prepare them for prison. What kind of life is this for a kid to live? I don't pretend to have a Pollyanna attitude of Art is the answer to the root of all evil... I am just saying that if you can tap into a kids creative side, you can engage them, and get them to have a broader vision of what their life could be. By inspiring creativity, you spark entreprunerial thoughts, that make kids think outside the box to a bigger picture.

I do have a lot to learn. There are a lot of kids out there who need programs like this. I have many people telling me that it is a great idea, and they are behind it. I am ready to receive all I need to fund this program Universe... I am ready for the corporate donations to come in. I am ready for the grants to be approved, and for the large contributions to come in to help fund all we need. I am here with an open heart, creating a system, developing a plan, making connections, and receiving all the good things the universe is sending me to support this program. Thanks to all of you for your comments and support... It helps me stay focused.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Community Day School

I did the very first art projects with the kids at the Community Day School... It was harder than I thought on one hand, and on the other, it went really well. The kids are all going there as a last effort to get school credits before dropping out. As students go, they were pretty well behaved, considering these are the "difficult" kids. There were levels of participation, some were really into it, others felt intimidated and just gave up. This was good to see where they are at. Most of these kids are the tactile learners. I had to show them over and over what to do. This was a lightbulb moment for me. As they take away more and more of the hands on classes like art and music and shop, these kids really fall through the cracks of the education system. More than ever, I see the need for the program I am developing. Partnering with the community, and the Probation Department makes sense. Giving these kids a chance to explore their creative self expression is an incredible thing to watch. Their creativity amazed me. Most of them asked if they could make more than one of the projects. I had 3 helpers there going around the room with various supplies and offering assistance. Here are some of the things they made. I was really impressed with their creativity. Some of them were able to achieve the look of carved jade and flourite with the colors they used...
I am researching other art programs in communities around the country. If you know of an art program in your area that benefits kids, please post a link here!