I have a friend, let's call her Erin (since that's her name). She has lots of fun little catch phrases she uses regularly. One of these said phrases is, all the things.
Lately, all the things, seems to sum up my life. Life is full, and I am grateful, but holy jeebus.
I've been channeling all the single parents who work full time, raise decent mini humans, and still rock at life. I don't have kids, so this totally blows my mind. Seriously, how the hell are they doing it???
I have a regular 9-5 gig that requires scheduling clients, sending emails, returning phone calls, oh, and giving folks massages. And that's not to mention all the laundry and cleaning. Oh, the laundry and cleaning...
Then there was the sick dog and sick mom. Don't worry, both are fine now. But holy heart-heart-strings, Batman.
Yoga and/or treadmill most days. No, really. Most! Not today. Ok, not yesterday either. Actually, I haven't really excersiced since last week. But I will tomorrow. Promise.
Cooking, cleaning, and trying to maintain some sort of order in a somewhat helter-skelter situation of a home (it kinda looks like a warehouse/photoshoot.
There's my relationship with the most patient, supportive, and probably insane guy ever. I try to say hi to him now and then and do stuff besides chew food next to him on the couch.
I just dropped of 120 hand-painted switch plate covers to Sé Vende.
And then, this thing.
I've upgraded the website so that I can sell directly online and do a few more fancy-shmancy things. HOORAY! I love being fancy.
I've been taking consistent, cohesive product photos and editing them so they look like the actual product.
I've written product descriptions (some of them kinda cute, if I say so myself), logged inventory, written SEO tags, created SKU codes, and calculated shipping costs.
I've JUST finished uploading all of my inventory onto the website (and have a new batch of goodies to do next). HOORAY AGAIN!
I'm REALLY excited about all of it, but it is all. the. things. And when one person does all the things, sometimes things get overlooked...
What I would LOVE LOVE LOVE from you is if you could take a peek at my website and tell me how it looks! What needs to be fixed? Any typos? Your fresh eyes, and clever brain are just what I need right now.
Many thanks and FORWARD-HO!
Could flamingos wearing glasses be considered art? Would my silliness ever be taken seriously?
All I know is that working with a vibrant palette and breathing life into these critters brings me joy.
News flash: Joy IS deep. Joy IS an emotion. And joy certainly IS a part of us and our world. And flamingos wearing glasses totally provokes joy. ...I've seen it. Plus, why did I ever think that darkness equaled meaningfulness? Dumb.
And, I think we've all had just about enough of the dark stuff. And I'm not here to snuff out the darkness, or to overlook it, or to be passive and ignorant to it. On the contrary. I want to shine so much light on it that we see what a problem it really is. There's too much hate, violence, pain, fear, depression, anxiety, and division among us. We all desperately need to go on a Joy Crusade.
Ingrid states in her talk that when psychologists use the word joy, they mean an intense momentary experience of positive emotion.
The next best thing to creating my menagerie is watching people as they encounter my booth at a show. Usually one of two things happens.
It's at that moment I connect with that human. We've shared a positive moment together, and we're both appreciative of it. There are few things that make me feel better than this. Even if I don't sell anything, I feel privileged that I've brightened someone's day for even just a moment. To provoke joy into someone's life is a gift. To present something that brings respite from an otherwise heavy world is beyond awesome. My art, though at first glance seems silly and pointless, I believe now is anything but.
Ingrid informs us that color, in a primal way, is a sign of life, energy, and abundance and when introduced into otherwise stark environments such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and offices, can have a powerful positive effect.
Do I think by simply added color to our world, it will fix all of our problems? No, I don't. But I also don't think it could hurt. I'd like to challenge you to experiment with color in your life, be it doodling something cheery, buying a new piece art, spending time in a greenhouse, investing in throw pillows, or wearing a loud shirt. Who knows? Maybe you'll start your own Joy Crusade!
And because a major part of my life is spent with my head down, I lose touch with what's going on around me in the greater community. This makes me feel a little shitty about myself. And what makes me feel even shittier is when I've completely overlooked something genuinely fantastic.
With the exception of a five year affair with Alaska, my entire life has been right here in Lincoln County, Maine. My childhood was spent in the little town of South Bristol, and after my return from Alaska, I made roots in the neighboring town of Bristol. Both are tiny rural towns with no lack of fishermen or artists. A lovely mix of artsy and grit, this area is pretty great. However, if you need anything like groceries or something from the hardware store, Damariscotta's your girl. "Scotty" is a vibrant town with lots of little shops and eateries as well as a hearty art scene. She's shiny, busy, and very popular. It's hard to overlook her.
But oddly enough, this blog isn't about Damariscotta. It's about Waldoboro.
some stupid shit, but since graduation has managed to clean up their act and become personally successful. But depite their own personal successes, everyone who knew that kid still refers to them as "a delinquent" or "a loser" or simply just "rough". And because of this totally lame reputation, Waldoboro seems to be chronically just a few steps behind total epic-ness. And I'm gonna ask right now, how did Waldoboro get this reputation in the first place?
Though neglecting Waldoboro had been my modus operandi, I have to tell you, I've recently fallen absolutely in love. The Narrow's Tavern serves up a decent burger at the fraction of any Damariscotta price. Sorry Scotty, it's true. Some of the most luxurious (and badass) bath and body products are made and sold by Long Winter Soap Co. There's a new super rad farm brewery in Waldoboro now called Odd Alewives. And I've recently come to learn about the Waldo Theater, quite possibly one of the biggest diamonds to exisist in midcoast Maine.
*NOTE: writing in red was straight-up stolen from the Waldo Theater's website
Yup, that's right, the same fellow who helped design the Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and Sydney Opera House designed the Waldo Theater (which is in WALDOBORO, MAINE!). How cool is that?
Schlanger designed the Waldo Theatre with an Art Deco interior and a Greek Revival-style façade with seating for 400. Many local families took part in the theatre’s construction, which was overseen by Master Builder L. Myron Neal of Friendship and Master Carpenter Clyde Winchenbach of Waldoboro. Cooney installed projection and sound systems identical to those in Radio City Hall, and the theatre soon became renowned for its acoustics, earning it a reputation as Maine’s Little Radio City. The theatre was described by the Association of Motion Picture Owners of America as one of the best designed small theaters in the nation.
The building fell into a state of disrepair and, in 2017, was placed on Maine’s List of Most Endangered Historic Places.
Wait, what? Total disrepair? Why?
have the capacity to conceive, to create, and to nurture. We've stopped noticing Waldoboro. We've forgotten the Waldo.
Luckily there are folks out there who give a damn about Waldoboro and who've asked, what about the Waldo? These small town heroes are combining their strengths to preserve the beauty and magic that once lived in the heart of Waldoboro. They're dedicating themselves in restoring something from the past, but more importantly, they're investing in the future.
I hope you'll join me in the creative soul revival of the Waldo Theater! I'll be setting up with my wares at the Waldoboro Artwalk Saturday, July 14th 4pm-7pm. The theater will be open for tours and educational purposes, and I hear there might even be popcorn!
For more information about the Waldo Theater, Raise the Roof Fundraiser, and the Waldoboro Artwalk , please follow the links below.
The other night I attended a town meeting to discuss the matters of saving the dam and rebuilding the fish ladder in Bristol Mills (Maine). This little hot spot is literally 30 seconds away from my home, btw.
The Mills primarily serves the following three things:
We'll call Saving the Dam, "Option A".
The alternative to Option A, is of course, Option B; drain the dam, reroute the fish, and give the marsh a significant makeover.
Both options require a load of cash. Both options demad a ton of man hours. They both provide a passage for alewives, water for the fire department, and a place to swim. And I won't lie, Option A presumably could run a bit higher on the financial charts, but I believe this is when we need to define the word "value'.
When you look up the word 'value', this is what you get...
Ok. Now that we've defined "value", let's talk a little bit about Bristol.
Bristol has been a fishing community since about 1625, so we understand, need, and love our fish. And because of the dependency of these scaley critters, it behooves us to take good care of our little peninsula, including the dam. For generations we have done our best to be good stewards for alewives. And like any other technology we humans have created, the earlier stuff kinda lacked in sophistication and efficiency. Our dam is no exception. But thanks to science, evolution, testing, and all the other stuff that has seriously improved things such as phones, medicine, and automobiles (I mean, could you imagine if we still had to hand-crank our cars? No thanks.), we can upgrade the dam and get those lil' fishes swimming safely and efficiently.
You may have noticed the 6th word in that last paragraph was community. I want to talk about that a little bit now.
I'm not sure the last time you checked your calendar, but when I did, it said it was 2018. At the medium-ripe age of 40, I can hardly believe that such a futuristic date has come to be. Can you remember all the Y2K-End-Of-The-World craziness eighteen years ago? What the heck? Any way, I can't help but think that though this futuristic time has brought us incredible technologies that are literally improving and saving lives, I feel like it has also watered down our sense of community, especially for our kids.
I used to own the little diner that sits just past the dam. One of my fondest memories of that place was when I got to listen to the "old timers" talk about the "good ol' days". There were dances at the grange, roller skating at BATMA, drag races along John Hall stretch, and swimming at the dam. With the exception of our beloved swimming hole, all of these activites have gone extinct and that breaks my heart. Well, maybe I'm not so sad about the drag racing, but you get where I'm going with this. Places to gather and have fun are diminishing. And though this is just a hunch, I guessing that the more gathering places there are, the stronger the community is. We're able to interact with one another in real time and real space. It's weird that this is an issue at all, but in our modern times, sadly, it is.
Now, you might be asking, can't they just swim at the Option B location? I'm going to answer your presumed question with a question: Do you like swimming in shallower water filled with reeds and leeches? I'm guessing, no. Plus, it's harder for parents to keep an eye on their kids since the layout is kinda weird at the Option B location (plus I think there's probably more ticks over there, too).
Lastly, let's talk briefly about this fire truck filling situation. The fire chief himself made several points as to why relocating the water source would be a bad decision. I have nothing to say about this because he's the pro in this department and if the pro says it's a bad idea, that's good enough for me.
ALRIGHT! Back to value.
I think the dam has importance, worth, and usefulness on multiple levels. It's important for our community's ecosystem, safety, and sense of connectedness. Does this come at the cost of significant time and effort. Of course it does. But anything worth preserving does, and personally I think Bristol deserves it.
To follow along about the Big Dam Question, you can read more on Facebook.
So, we're all kinds of crazy up in here on account of the spring cleaning.
Windows, yard work, compiling PILES of goods for a yard sale, dusting under things instead of just around them. You know, like the couch 'n stuff...
Any way, we're all abuzz with the tidy-bug, and I can't help but notice that it's spilling into other areas of my life.
While I literally declutter the physical world around me, I'm finding there's a little more space within myself. (Was that too new-agey?) And much like the windows, with their new found clarity, I'm noticing my inner light shining a bit more brightly. (Yeah, that was total cheese. Sorry.)
But it's also very true.
I'm sure there are some scientific studies that support my theory; that when things around us are spacious, clear, clean, and orderly, a similar experience happens psychologically, and maybe even physically. But I'm too pooped to look for it.
In any event, I want to scub everything and invest in proper storage units, and then GO. OUT. SIDE.
How's this spring-a-licous season treating you?
I was listening to the news this morning and perked up when I heard the reporters announce that today is Nation Pet Day.
I think we actually celebrate this every day in our house...
But the mention of said observance day prompted me to reflect on the life of my little fur baby a bit deeper.
Liesel, a.k.a. Noodles, was adopted four years ago this very month. She was living in a kill-shelter in Florida when she was rescued by the Underhound Railroad. Once she made it to Maine, she bopped around between foster homes until our souls met.
And I totally mean it when I say our souls met.
I'd seen her floating around the internet (Facebook mostly) and kept thinking, that's her. That's my dog. But since I rent a home where dogs weren't allowed, and the massage gig demands a quiet environment anyway, I kind of just wrote it off to another one of life's great let-downs.
Then my guy and I went to Boothbay, Maine to the Fishermen's Festival.
Sitting there, on a cold gray day, was the Underhound Railroad, with this little dog I fell so deeply for.
I ran over, forgetting I was with my guy, and asked, "is this Liesel?"
I held her for at least an hour, and began to fill out the extensive application. I was texting my landlord photos and behavior reports about this little nugget, asking for permission to let her into our home. We bonded quickly, Liesel and I. Our souls met.
I made the Underhound Railroad promise that they wouldn't pass her along until I heard back from my landlord, wrote them a check, and returned to my guy and the festival.
"Were you even going to talk to me about this dog situation?" asked my guy.
"Nope," I replied.
That evening I got the call back from my landlord. It was a green light. She was ours to bring home.
Since this tiny bundle of love has come into my life, she has provided so much joy, affection, and therapy to not just me and my guy, but to my clients.
Sharing is caring, and I totally care about you, so I MUST share my latest obsessions...
I've been IN LOVE with Will Smith lately. He's grown way beyond the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and he's a super dream boat when it comes to inspiration. I've been watching these super short videos for a few weeks and it's been helping me to get my head in the game. Not just with the art gig, but with many of my personal goals. Goals like managing my stress, reaching out to friends, exercise, and food control.
I feel like a boss.
Will Smith Video One
Will Smith Video Two
The OTHER thing I'm totally gaga over is this Essentrics exercise. I had sent out an email to our little CMA Community (you should totally sign up if you haven't already, it's free and easy and at the top of this page...), and it was great, but JUST THIS MORNING I dug a little deeper into the Essentrics world and struck GOLD.
This is way more suited for a wider range of fitness levels, and is delicious. I'm not telling you to do it (because I'm not your doctor), but you should at least go gaze upon it's loveliness.
That's it for now my friend. I'm off in a bit to meet up with my art rep lady, Sarah, to see what the future holds for my critters on cards.
...several hours later...
I just got back from my meeting with Sarah at Sherman's. We went over the cards and journals. O. M. G. I'm so excited. She'll be wheeling and dealing these items around to brick and mortar shops around New England. I'm super jazzed about having these little guys out in the world. We've been using Hallowell Printing Company, and I love the quality! Yay!!!
And, of course, as well as business, we also talked a lot about authenticity, and doing the stuff that makes us juice up. It's hard, you guys, to find that YOU you once were. That YOU that used to make time for the learning, painting, planting, whatever. It's so easy to fall into roles that seem more important (usually as a care taker or as an employee). I get it. But man-oh-man, when you take even just a little bit of time to do the stuff that makes you sparkle? Damn, that's when life comes together. It makes you whole. It makes you better at playing those other roles.
So do me a favor, and entertain the idea of tapping into that stuff that makes you happy. We'll ALL benefit from it. xo
While I totally feel like this:
I also feel like this:
I've been taking myself (and this art gig) super seriously...well, within reason of course. I am a major goofball after all. But I've been treating myself and the gig with some wicked respect.
We both deserve it.
And wouldn't you know, like anything that's been given respect, I/it/we have been flourishing. I'm exhausted, but proud.
I want to discuss this further, but for now my eyes are about to bleed and I hear my bed calling.
So I leave you with this:
Go look up the word 'respect' and go treat yourself that way.
I met up with super nice lady, who's also pretty like a super model (we're actally kind of friends, but I've only met her a few times and hadn't seen her in years). She bought three of my books and hit me up on Instagram, looking for me to sign them.
Um, of course?
So we yakked it up good, recapping years past, and formed - dare I say it - an actual friendship. It was lovely.
But, what's even more magical than this new budding friendship, is what happened in the rest of this establishment.
Someone sneezed, and everyone said, 'bless you.'
A couple of folks were talking about needhams (a down-homey coconut/potato/chocolate confection), and everyone joined in the conversation.
Someone else ordered pizza and asked if anyone else wanted in on sharing it. I joined in.
It. Was. Awesome.
So simple, so lovely. Today I love everybody.
I'm gonna get out of my walls more often.
*DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS A BIT LONG
So. Many. Things.
I can't possibly tell you everything. It's too wide, too complex, too freaking bizarre.
But I can tell you, I saw a shamanic healer roughly two weeks ago, and it freaked me the f*** out. And in its insaneness, it may have just saved my sanity.
Before I get into the shortest version of this story I could possibly tell, let me preface by saying, I'm totally a science geek. I like facts. I like research. I like data. I like explanaitions that make sense. And as I may have mentioned before, despite being a massage therapist named Crystal, I'm not especially new-agey. I'm also not especially spiritual.
But I AM open.
Who the hell am I to declare what is real or not?
Back to the shaman.
I brought an egg (as directed by said shaman) that would be the new keeper of my woes. The shaman would read it much like a mystic would read tea leaves, and then clean away said woes with a feather. And wouldn't you know, the very second the shaman cracked the egg, I, myself, cracked...big time.
Actually, l didn't just crack, I crumbled. I sobbed like a baby.
Ok, so the shaman did their shamany work. My sobbing waned to weeping, and waned again to a place of stillness. A place that felt, dare I say it(?), peaceful.
Woof. I exhausted.
After drinking some water and giving my nose a good blow, it was time to find me a power animal.
Yup. For real.
This is a process that involves something called a journey. My role in this process is very passive. In fact, I got to just lie down on the couch (thank goodness, because I was wiped out) and listen to what the shaman experienced in their travels through realms I'll never understand.
I'm telling you, this stuff is crazy.
To make a long story short, I was appointed a mountian goat.
At first I kinda giggled, but then quickly got a little nervous.
My very first Thanksgiving meal after bravely making a solo move to Alaska at the ripe age of twenty-one, included the sinewy proteins from, you guessed it, a mountain goat.
Shit. Did it come back to haunt me?
I expressed my fear to the shaman, and they assured me that the mountain goat had my best intentions at heart.
Cool. Let's proceed.
The mountain goat came to me because I needed to be sure of myself, of my proverbial footing through life, sure of my voice (somewhere along the way my bravery has turned into doubt). It also arrived because I needed to be more playful (I appear to be very playful on social media, but the truth is, I'd actually become quite serious, anxious, and depressed while I was forcing myself to 'figure it all out'.).
Where's the joy, Crystal?
My homework was to do things like, dance with my mountain goat, thank it for walking with me through the day, trust that my mountain goat will come to me in my times of need. I was also assigned the task of doodling hearts. My heart needed a little extra TLC, too.
*thanks for haning in there, this blog post is a long one.
So, I decide to get to it. I tucked myself up in my little studio and started painting a picture of a heart.
And I labored over it.
I found myself hunched over my heart, clenching my pen, critiquing every line I made. ...guess who showed up.
I'm not even kidding.
In the middle of my first heart exercise, absorbed in my rigid, judgey, mind, came an image of a mountain goat.
It jumped around and shook its ass at me, then spun around and looked me square in my mind's eye.
At first I felt like a crazy person. But then I said, fuck it, and blurted out in laughter.
Lighten up, Crystal.
So, this is where Mountain Goat came from, but what about Big Mama?
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not especially spiritual, and I'm certainly not religious (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my jam). There are, however, times in life when exexplained greatness has happened. Moments in which one might (dare I say) divine intervention was at work. For these episodes I've appointed a conductor called, Big Mama.
Big Mama feels loving, and strong. She also feels like she's not going to let you get away with any shit. You know, tough love.
God terrifies me. I mean, people are literally killing eachother over the definition of God, so I tend to stay away from it/him/her. The God concept seems too messy for me. If you're into the the God thing, however, kudos! You know, if you're in it for the 'love thy neighbor' stuff and not all the passing judgement crap. Well done. But for me? I've got Big Mama.
Anyway, the times I've tapped into my tiny, minuscule fiber of Big-Mama-ness, she's provided. But for whatever reason, I falter in my devotion.
But this goat...
I've made huge strides in just two weeks with letting go of some stuff that no longer serves me. I'm finding ways to allow joy back into life. I'm practicing being sure in myself and exercising my voice. And I swear, it's mostly because of this goat.
AND THIS BRINGS ME TO THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS BLOG....
For SOME reason I'm having an easier time latching on to this power animal thing than I am to God. Maybe it's because in my vulneralbe state (post egg-cracking-sob-session), I was with a person who I trust, and was told that I can have this creature that only wants the best for me, that believes in me. Maybe the mountain goat doesn't represent anything threatening or judgemental. Maybe it's because the mountain goat is all my own. Maybe it's really truly there. I don't know.
What I do know is that when I'm vulnerable, when I let go of control, when I surrender to the unknown, when I allow joy and love into my life, I'm all the better for it. Life seems a great deal easier and desireable, and I'm totally willing to dance with a mountain goat for that.