Saturday, March 31, 2012


Underneath large concrete benches I could see their mud trails etched into the damp soil.

While walking through the Museum Campus in Grant Park before work, I noticed the spanning walkways were LITTERED with worms.

I couldn't figure out why they'd travel so far out only to be trampled on by morning runners or pecked away by birds or dried out by the rising sun. Was it God's plan for them to be left aimless and vulnerable?

I thought of picking them up and moving them to safety but was afraid I'd be sending them in a direction they weren't intending to go. I just let them be as I didn't want to interrupt their journey. (Maybe that's what God does with us?)

Did the worms know where they were going or did they just think they knew?

The nerd in me checked online and started researching the migration habits of worms. Ugh!

Apparently if the soil becomes too acidic it can cause worms to look for more neutral land. Flooding of their underground tunnels due to rain also draws them out. And naturally needing to mate and populate new territory is another factor.

Is it wise to traverse all that way to be elsewhere, or better--safer--to stay where it's familiar? I think I'd die if I lived here my whole life.

A fellow blogger recently moved to another state and mentioned how much happier he is now.

Maybe that's what I need to do too. Move somewhere like Seattle where it's cloudy over half of the year. Or somewhere quiet and scenic.

I've been applying to jobs in Lexington, KY to be nearer to my ex but I'm not sure that's wise anymore.

How do I know which positions to apply for and which to turn down? Stay local or search nationwide?

What if I never meet anyone in Chicago? What if there's an amazing man but he lives in another city? How will I find him? How will he find me? There could be a fantastic job opportunity far, far from here.

Do I have to risk inching across the proverbial sidewalk to find what I seek in life or just stick with what I know? Should my mud trails always be from the same place or be scattered across this world of ours?

Life would be so much simpler if I were a worm.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mornings and nights.

It's hard to believe but I made it.

Last week marked six months since I started working at my university job.

I'm no longer on a probationary period which means I'm free to apply to full-time positions within the college.

Also, one of my coworkers there found another job and I asked if I could take on his shifts permanently....and I got them.

I'll now be working a true part-time shift of 20 hours per week instead of the ten I normally had.

The problem is it's still the night shift so I'll be at the crafts store in the early mornings and the unversity four nights a week.

It WILL be hard and leave less time for art, I know, but something inside me said not to turn down the extra hours and make the additional income while I can.

I'm very blessed to have that position. It pays well, is relatively easy and relaxed, and my student workers have been great to work with and make the nights fly by.

So very different from the arts-and-crafts store I work at where they run me ragged practically every day.

Now I just have to hold out until a full-time position opens up at the university.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Something all her own.....

I know my aunt still struggles with his death, at times mentioning not wanting to go home to that empty house....with pictures and reminders my uncle just about everywhere.

After almost two years since my uncle passed, I think it's important for my aunt to reclaim that space as her own. To add NEW memories and images to their home, so I made this painting for her birthday, which was yesterday.

Watercolor on watercolor paper - 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" (NFS)

It's supposed to be of a white rose (which are her favorite) but because I exaggerated the colors of the shadows it ended up looking orange instead. Ugh!

This piece was sooooo hard to do. I reworked it so many times I thought for sure it was a goner.

The photo reference was really small and the lighting was difficult to capture. Even after framing it, the artwork looks off to me. I know several months from now I'll look back and cringe at all the mistakes but hopefully it'll be enough of a gift.

The main thing is my aunt has something all her own. Something cheery and colorful to brighten up her home.

Happy Birthday, Auntie!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Like a phoenix.

I didn't have the desire or drive to create it then but I'm finally getting to it now.

Fellow blogger, Katie, sent me a very kind, handwritten letter last year and I wanted to send something in return. What better than Mail Art!

Since she's used the screen name "Phoenix" in the past and a firebird as a blogging avatar, I thought it'd be an appropriate image for my artwork to her.

Here's what I mailed out.....

Markers and ink on standard mailing envelope - 5 1/4" x 7 1/4"

I've been a fan of the phoenix mythos since childhood. My first exposure to it was from the X-Men comics when Jean Grey becomes the fabled firebird.

The challenge was to get the flames to glow yet still have depth using just yellows and oranges.

Additional colors were snuck into the dark background to help break up all that black.

A fiery feather on the backside!

This piece has special meaning for me too. It'll be the first artwork I've done this year and represents getting back to my art (slowly but surely).

Set to flame.
The past gone in a burning heap.
Only to be born anew from the ashes.
More vibrant and radiant than before.

Fly on, a phoenix.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I've been working at an arts-and-crafts store here in Chicago for about a year-and-a-half now's finally happened.

The unthinkable.

The unimaginable.

Musical paper punches?
(Better than that)

Blinking cardstock?
(Nope, though that would be so cool!)

I was chosen as their employee of the week!

The write-up described me as, "Timely, efficient, and very detail-oriented....we can always count on Dean!"

I find it rather amusing since the former managers (now fired) would constantly complain about my work and always wanted me to do more and more and more.

Even though it's somewhat overdue, it's nice that the new management notices my contributions to the store.

But the job still pays very little and appreciated or not, there's ALWAYS so much for me to do. It's hard to keep up when I fall behind every week.

Rest assured as soon as something better comes along I'll run out of there so fast my velocity will send all that fabulous glitter flying!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Chicago!!

From untamed swampland, it evolved into thriving towns, eventually becoming the beautiful sprawling city that it is today.

I'm talking about Chicago which turns 175 years-old this very day!

Being born and raised in the Windy City, I couldn't be prouder.

Happy Birthday, my love. You don't look a day over 150!