Grad School

November 12, 2009

So, yesterday I took a trek down to the University of Montevallo to register for classes for the spring. As I rode down there I kept thinking, “Am I really doing this?” For the past three or four years we’ve been working towards moving to Denver, that was the plan. I know I’ve said all this before but I suppose it’s still sinking in for me. If I’m really honest, it’s mostly pride that gets me down. I did well in college (a major change from high school) and my friends that also did well at Southeastern have gone off to terrific schools, most ended up at their dream schools. Now, in truth, Denver Seminary wasn’t my dream school but it was really high up there (Rosemead was their dream but we weren’t moving to California…). Montevallo wasn’t even on the radar. As time has gone on, I’ve become really excited about Montevallo. I don’t know how the classes will be and what the experience will be like but I didn’t know any of that about SEBC either. I was talking to Lynn Malick about it and she pointed out that I’ll get out whatever I put in to any graduate program and I like school so I’m sure I’ll get the most out of it. Also, all my friends that went to their dream schools want to be professors so when they go out looking for a job, where they went to school REALLY matters. Now, where I go to school does matter in terms of the education I get but at the end of the day, as long as it’s CACREP accredited, I can get my counseling license and that’s the whole point.

Anyhow, long story short, I registered. It was a pretty simple process, I was only there for about 15 minutes. My advisor actually laid out my whole degree plan – I’ll graduate August 2012 unless I bump up to full-time at some point. I don’t know if I’ll ever go full-time, all of their classes meet at night from 5-9. A major reason he laid out my whole program was due to the fact that next fall it’s going from a 48 hour program to a 60 hour program. For a part-time student that would add at least two more semesters. I’m glad I got in now!

I just can’t believe that I’m for real going to start grad school in just a couple of months. I left so excited, I love school, I love learning and I’m just thrilled that I’m getting closer to being a counselor.

As for the change of plans, I was reading the book of James the other day and I came across this verse, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – et you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is , you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16. Now, as we worked towards Denver I think we really were trying to seek the Lord’s will but I still have to confess how hard I’ve clung to it in spite of the Lord’s direction elsewhere. How humbling to see that planning is prideful when it is separated from God’s will. It’s even more humbling that I’m more concerned with what others will think rather than being at peace with where the Lord has me. Hmm…

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Round Magnets

October 14, 2009

So, the other day I was walking through Staples just kind of perusing the aisles (I have a deep love for office supplies) and I came across a small tub of round plastic magnets. I thought to myself, hmm…I could paint those. When I got it home I found that they divided perfectly into little sets. Two large, four medium, or five small. I drew a few sketches and here’s what I came up with. Well, I should say there are a couple sets not seen here. I worked on some little owls but they haven’t quite turned out right. The sets of five were little birds and they were pretty cute but when I finished them I realized that four out of the five in each set were all facing the same direction. Oops! As of today, my etsy shop has had two sales – I sold both of those sets of four below. More to come soon. The pairs are still for sale for $7/set.

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October 12, 2009

The past few months have been so crazy. I’ve forgotten what I’ve posted here and I’m too lazy to read back through so here’s some updates.

Along with working at Wellspring Christian Clinic, I’ve been interning at Southeastern Bible College in the Student Life department. I work closely with the dean of students and the campus pastor and pretty much do whatever they ask. My primary focus is on the female RAs but I also meet one on one with other students as needed. I love it so much. I love my college and I love the opportunity to keep being a part of things there. I also get to be a part of changes in policy and Student Life efforts. I’m using this time as a chance to see if working in student life on a college campus is something I’d like to do full-time. Whether I become a counselor or work in student life I’ll need a master’s degree and fortunately a master’s in counseling works for both as well. So, I don’t have to decide anytime soon but I’m certainly enjoying it so far.

Speaking of grad school, I got into Montevallo. UAB and University of Alabama didn’t accept my letter of petition. Did I write about that already? It’s so sad though, the only reason that SEBC isn’t SACS accredited is because of money – the academic standards are actually higher than SACS. Anyhow, Montevallo is an alright program as far as I know. If I go part-time, that’s two nights a week, (all their classes are at night) I’ll finish in three years. I could finish faster if I wanted but it’s nice to know that even if I go part-time, it won’t take me forever. Also, if James and I move to an area with a school I really want to go to, the credits will transfer into any standard counseling program. It could also turn out that the program is really fantastic. Oh, one major plus about Montevallo – it’s only $233/credit hour – that’s nothing when it comes to grad school.

We finally moved out of Cahaba Lakes!!! YAY! We ended up renting a house in Pelham. We’d love to buy right now but we’re just not certain enough about what our plans are just yet to commit to buying a home. Our new place is so fantastic – a great price and plenty of room. The best part is that it’s got a big, beautiful back deck that overlooks¬† a creek. It’s so quiet and peaceful back there – I love it.

As you know, I finally posted stuff on monsterappetite.etsy.com. I’ve actually sold two things and that’s pretty awesome. We’ll see where it goes. My goal is to add a new item each week but who knows. If you scroll down you’ll see that there are several new posts with all the items that are posted on the site. I wanted to use this blog to update on what’s new and write a little about what I love to do. Hopefully, you won’t feel like I’m always advertising for the site. I’ll keep updating on other things and it usually won’t be that many items in a row. I want to strike a good balance. I hope you like what I do but it’s alright if you don’t. I know it’s not everyone’s style.

Final update – I ran in the Race for the Cure yesterday. It didn’t go nearly as well as I had hoped. About halfway in I got a serious cramp and a shooting pain up my left ankle, knee, and hip. I injured my ankle several years ago and it creeps up on me some days. I walked a bit in the middle but was able to finish still running without too much pain. I just have to learn to slow down when I need to and not beat myself up about it. A part of me wanted to just run my way through the pain but I’m signed up for the Vulcan 10k and the Mercedes 1/2 Marathon so I can’t afford to injure myself. Long story short, I finished in just over 30 minutes – two minutes over my first 5k time. It’s a decent time but a couple of weeks ago James and I ran the distance in 21 minutes and I was definitely hoping for something closer to that. This just goes to show, I still need to work on my ability to enjoy the process rather than focusing on the end results – the story of my life!

Thanks to those that keep on reading in spite of my sporadic posting. I’m hoping to do a little better about it.

Here’s my most recent painting. It’s an odd one, I admit, but I kind of love it. Just think of it as the perfect painting just in time for Halloween… In the process their eyeballs just seemed a bit scary. I added a few little lines to make it look like their brows were knit – now they look a little worried too…less scary… By the way, this one was the most difficult to photograph. No matter what I did, the solid black picked up glare.

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Awkward Asparagus

October 12, 2009

This is my only vegetable painting that didn’t go with a recipe. I do love asparagus but it is extremely easy to overcook (and when it’s overcooked it’s gross) so we don’t buy it often. A friend recently requested that I paint something about asparagus being embarassed about how their pee smells but I felt that was too much a ripoff of Elf. The friend that suggested the painting does love all things awkward…so…I decided to combine her love of awkwardness with her request.

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Ok, so if you’ve been following this ever changing blog you probably remember when I did the cooking for losers bit. In all honesty, that took a lot of work with very little payoff. Anyhow, when I was doing that, I liked to do draw a little something in the very sophisticated “paint” application. The following were some of my favorites from that. If our laptop hadn’t been stolen I would post the original paint files but I no longer have them. (I should say that I could copy and paste those from the old blogs but that sounds like a little more work than I want to do right now.)

When I made roasted tomato soup I drew this little guy up. I should say that roasting does indeed bring out a little natural sweetness from the vegetable.

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Green Chicken Chili

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And New Zealand Sweet Potato Chowder – I love sweet potatos!!

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Square Canvas Magnets

October 12, 2009

So, these little magnets are kind of what started it all. My favorite art store in Alabama is Alabama Art Supply. A few years ago, I was browsing through and they had these little tiny canvases on sale and I ended up getting some and painting monsters on them. I’ve always been a little bit of a cartoonist and this kind of stuff is what I like to paint most. I painted some for myself, glued some magnets on the back, and stuck them on my fridge. When friends came over, they would compliment them so I kept buying more canvases and painting more monsters…and owls…and other stuff…

This one is my favorite and it’s had the most views on my shop. I love to bake so painting some cute little baked goods seemed obvious. Right now I have some 4 x 4 canvases and some 6 x 6 canvases with cupcake paintings started on them. When I originally started out with the idea to open an etsy shop I was definitely planning on focusing on cupcakes but these smaller canvases were much easier to finish first. Anyhow – a little cupcake love…015

Then, how about a monster with a toothy grin?

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I think owls are adorable and I completely admit that they are a bit trendy right now. This is the first of many owl works to come. I’ve got some owl paintings going but I’ve also got some nesting dolls that I plan to paint like owls. I’m particularly excited about those.

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Now, I come from a long line of law peoples the closest of which is my lawyer father. My dad is a southern man and has owned himself a few sear-sucker suits in his day – full on Matlock style. His signature look is the bow-tie (some of you will find this funny knowing that one of our profs was a lawyer who favored the bow ties). Anyhow, in one of my days of sketching I came up with a little strawberry with a sophisticated nose and, of course, a stem which looks a little bit like a bow tie. So, this one’s for my dad and all the bow-tie wearing lawyers out there.

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Here’s another of my favs. Not a lot of explaination except that I like that he’s a little dingy looking. Plus, he loves you.

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This one turned out cuter than I expected. The colors are just as bright in person as in the photo.

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Hi friends.

I can’t believe how long its been since I’ve updated this! When I wrote last, I let you know that I would soon be opening a shop on etsy.com. I thought it would go pretty simply but OH MY GOODNESS it has not. It’s not etsy’s fault. They make it pretty simple to set up shop. It’s me. It’s hard for me to get motivated in the first place because I’m nervous – what if everyone hates it? As a good friend reminded me recently, some people will. Oh no! I mean, it’s ok if people don’t like my art I guess. It is kind of weird. Anyhow, there’ve been other road blocks as well. Have you ever tried to photograph a painting? It is so difficult! When you’re trying to sell a piece of artwork it’s important that the buyer has a real idea of what the colors and textures are like. I was trucking along and getting the hang of it and then there was about a week of rain! Good, natural light is essential. Rain makes this impossible. Then I’ve got to figure out what my shipping will cost, what my actual artwork will cost, what my store policies will be and so on and so forth. I’m getting there and I really think it should be up and running this weekend but it’s been a discouraging process. Oh – by the way – we moved in the middle of all this too. I’m so tired.

Anyhow, I need a little help from my friends. Among other things I’ve written for the shop today, I’ve written a profile. It’s supposed to let people know a little about me and my art. Do you think you could look it over for me? What do you think? Does it communicate me well without being awkwardly personal? Should it be funnier? At the very bottom I’ve posted a couple of my paintings to give you an idea of what kind of art will be in the shop – the first is an 8″ x 8″ painting, the last two are both hand painted magnets. No critique of the art necessary – I’m not quite ready for that yet :). I would like to know if my profile goes with the feel of my art though. Let me know what you think either in the comments or you can email me at monsterappetite@live.com – THANKS!

Oh, monster appetite is going to be my store name…

Welcome to Monster Appetite! It means so much to me that you’re willing to drop by my site, poke around a little, and get to know me and my work.

My mom is an artist on the side and for as long as I can remember she kept me in paints and colored pencils and crayons and construction paper and whatever else I needed to create what was in my little head. Although I toyed with the idea of pursuing art as a career, I ended up doing a few other things with my time.

A few years ago, as I was plugging away at my undergrad, I found my way into the only really great art store in my area. (At least, the only great one I’ve found.) Seeing all the canvases and paints stirred up those longings again but I didn’t have time – or money! Then I saw these tiny 2×2 inch canvases. They were adorable! They were cheap! They were doable.

What to paint? I often sketched landscapes, abandoned houses, trees and so on. I’d even painted a few in my limited spare time. But, when I looked through my sketch book and, more importantly, the margins of my class notes I found that my idle mind enjoyed things much more silly. I loved drawing monsters.

Monsters…how ridiculous. What about monsters with cupcakes…no, that’s silly. These were the thoughts in my head. But, against my better judgment, I went for it. I started painting silly things. I made little magnets for mine and my husband’s fridge. They were cute. When people came over, they liked them.

A few months ago I found that I had graduated college and a few plans for the future had fallen through and I was in limbo. What could I do? Hmm…I could paint! I could do it for real!

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been painting and creating and exploring my style and point of view. I’ve also been trying to learn the art of photographing a painting, coming up with a good description, figuring out how to ship something fragile and so on.

I’m nervous as I open up this shop. I love what I do. It brings me so much joy, especially when a friend sees my stuff for the first time and they laugh out loud. I hope you love it too.

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This has been a little about me – the artist of Monster Appetite. Before you make a purchase, I would love for you to peruse my shop policies where I give the details of how this shop operates.

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Coming soon…

July 14, 2009

Hi all! I know my faithful readers will not be shocked to learn that this blog is going to be taking yet another new direction! Thanks for sticking with me so far. Our plans have been changing a lot lately – mainly, I’m likely not going to be in school full time this fall. We’re going to be staying in Birmingham for a little while longer. I’ll probably begin Denver’s counseling program online – taking what I can before we’re able to move out there in a few years. Still, I’ll only be able to take one or two classes. What will I do with the rest of my time you ask? Well, I’m working part-time at Wellspring Christian Clinic – not a lot of money or hours but it is good experience. I’m also going to be interning at SEBC focusing on the RAs and girls dorm. I’m excited about this although there are moments where I wonder if I shouldn’t be going back to SEBC so soon. It’s probably just my own insecurity – that people will think I haven’t moved on. Anyhow, I think that’s going to be a really great experience.

Last but not least – I have been and will continue to do a lot of painting. I’m working on getting enough items together to go ahead and open up my own Etsy shop. I’m pretty excited about it. The shop is going to feature things like monsters, cupcakes, vegetables, nesting dolls…a lot of silly and fun things that I love to paint. I’m hoping to incorporate all that into this blog. Updates on what I’m working on, how the shop is going, and also how life is going. I’m quite the procrastinator so I’ve had James withhold the clothing budget until I finally list everything on my store. I’ve still got a ways to go but I’m much more motivated. I hope you enjoy!

So, it’s been a long hiatus but I have finally returned to blogging. I have plenty of updates to deliver but I suppose I will stretch those out between a few posts. I’m also going to put those on hold because I have some business to attend to.

As some of you may know, our apartment was broken into last Friday. Much was stolen but those details are to follow. Because I think it will be cathartic and because I think it will be entertaining (maybe in a weird way) for you to read, I have decided to write a letter to the thieves here. I hope you enjoy.

This version of the letter is rated G.

One more thing. This letter is for the purposes of getting some things off my chest. It is not intended to be some kind of picture of how I think God wants me to respond to this person.¬† Again, the purpose is catharsis and entertainment. Now, I’m ready.

Dear Stupid Person (or persons) that stole our stuff,

I dislike you very much. I think you’re lame and selfish. A part of me hopes that you have lots of children and are quite poor and perhaps need the money that you could get from selling MY belongings in order to feed your children. But you know what? I don’t really think that’s the case. Besides, I don’t want you teaching any children this kind of crappy behavior.

I think I know who you are. Without going into incriminating details, you had opportunity to see the valuables in our living room.¬† Did you see the BRAND NEW PS3 remote sitting on my coffee table? Did your pupils dilate as you saw the evidence of the expensive object? Did you hear the bolts collecting on the TV from my game of Ratchet and Clank (A GRADUATION PRESENT FOR ME NOT YOU)? What about my laptop sitting on the sofa? Did you see that too? I’m sure you did, it’s always there. But you would know that. It’s exactly where you took it from. I hope you enjoyed browsing through the pictures of the greatest Thanksgiving ever. We went on a little hike, built a fire, heated up some Thanksgiving yummies, and cut down a small tree which became our very first Christmas tree. You have pictures of all of that now and I’ll never see them again.You also have bookmarks to all of my favorite recipes that I had been trying and accumulating over the past year. Thanks a lot. I hope you enjoy the peanut-butter and nutella brownies. Good luck making a souffle though.

FYI, if you are some kind of professional thief I have a suggestion. I think it would be kind of you to make a backup disk before you steal a laptop. It would be easy enough. Think about it, you could come in, start the back up process, walk out with the various larger items you’re planning on taking and by the time you’re done, voila! A back up disc to leave for your victims. I feel that it would help in the fight for a more favorable reputation for all thieves.

So I imagine you came back for the PS3, something that my husband and I have been wanting for such a long time and have had for less than a month, and the laptop. Imagine your delight when you rounded the corner and saw one of my husband’s most prized possessions – a 37″ flat-screen TV for which he had saved for months. JACKPOT! Oh wait, there was more, in the TV stand sat a beautiful white Wii. The joke is on you sucka because we’ve still got the Wii-motes. Yeah! Try to play de Blob now! Oh, and wait until you realize that all of our PS2 games that you stole can’t be played on our PS3. Yeah – it’s not one of the versions that can do that so HA!

I should thank you though at this moment. I mean, I appreciate that you left the soon to be obsolete PS2 and GameCube. I mean, you stole all of the games for both along with all of our DVDs (good luck selling those to a pawn shop since you don’t have a single one of the cases) but still, we’ve got the old consoles. Also, you left the old TV in our second bedroom. At least we aren’t totally without television.

I’m pretty cheesed that you took the little monitor from our bedroom. We used to hook the laptop up to it and watch movies in bed. That was nice. But, hey, you took almost all of the movies so the theft was well rounded. Oh, but you did miss some of the movies. Yes, you grabbed the ginormous 100+ CD case full of movies and games but you missed a small green one on the above shelf. You see, I had recently taken out all of my favorite chick-flicks and some cartoons for a roadtrip with a girlfriend. You may have taken Gladiator but you will never have my Mona Lisa Smile! HA HA!

Hey, while we’re talking about the bedroom – I think you’re a creep and kind of stupid for taking one pillowcase and one sheet off of our bed. I’m sure you wrapped up a bunch of my property in them but come on! Is it really less suspicious to walk out of a building holding a flowery pillowcase with geometric bulges? By the way, they were dirty – that’s right. Plus, if you’re ever caught with my pillowcase I’ve got the other one and, just like cinderella’s missing slipper, it will be a dead givaway. Ha ha ha!

You did walk right past the Nintendo DS in our bedroom. Was this another one of your benevolent acts? You probably couldn’t have gotten that much for it anyway, the screen is scratched.

Thanks for leaving my mom’s ring. Or, I should say, thanks for never looking in the jewelry box in my closet. Also, thanks for not taking my Kitchen Aid and my food processor. I don’t think you know how valuable they are and that’s alright with me.

Oh, and thanks for not taking my cats. Well, you at least didn’t let them out. I don’t trust that you were kind to them – they were quite scared when we got home. But, they were here so that’s good.

Hey, that crack you made in the drywall around our door when you beat the door in and broke the doorframe is really just lovely. Our apartment really needed more character.

While we’re on the subject of the door, thanks for robbing me of my sense of security.

I mean, that’s the worst of it all. I hate that you made me a victim. I hate that your acts make me less trusting of people. I hate that when I’m at home alone and in the shower, I think about the fact that someone could just beat my door down if they wanted to. Until now, I didn’t realize that the deadbolt was just to discourage you from pushing harder. Naive, sure, but hey – ignorance is bliss.

But there are some things you didn’t take. Well, lots of things really. Most importantly though, you didn’t take me and you didn’t take James. I’m so glad I didn’t come home in the middle of this. I don’t know what you would have done. You took luxuries and that’s alright (OK, not alright but survivable). Well, the laptop was kind of important. We can’t replace the files you now have. Also, how were we supposed to watch this week’s office?!? It’s alright though, we were looking to get a new one soon anyway and we found one for cheap on Saturday.

I’m not sure what else to say to you. I hope you sell our stuff to a pawn shop and the serial numbers are entered into the police database. I’m not as concerned with catching you as I am getting our things back. No, scratch that, I want you caught. I don’t think it’s a revenge thing – I really want justice. I want you to be punished for your crime and I want you to be discouraged from doing what I think you will most certainly do again. I want your life to change. I don’t want you to feel the need to steal and I don’t want you to hurt any more people. So, yes, I want our stuff back and I want you to be legally punished.

With much irritation,

The person whom you victimized who is actually doing alright considering – a person who remembers that there are more important things in life than stuff – something she hopes you learn someday.