Random Olio is just a few weeks shy of its 4th birthday, and yet today is my 1,000th post. Shocking. I can hardly believe that I have found 1,000 different things to talk about in those 4 years. How is that possible? Of course I often have rants and ramblings about women’s issues, creativity, family, life, and of course books and food.
There are days when I get ideas for weeks full of blogs and others where I think: “I do not want to even try to think about formulating a sentence.” Other times I wonder who would ever care to read a specific post on a topic I might find odd, or a bit off the wall, and then I receive a heartfelt comment that makes me so glad I listened to my gut and put my fingers to the keyboard.
Chris has been incredibly patient through all 1000 blog posts. There are times when the last thing he wants to talk about is my blog. Or, I wrangle him in to make a “Random Recipe” (hey, he gets to enjoy the bi-product in his tummy). It has taken countless hours of our life to design and redesign the site, let alone writing all the content. Earlier this year, Chris asked me if he could be surprised with the post each morning like everyone else. However, with pregnancy brain I need him to point out my careless typos and tell me when something does not make sense.
I am not sure how Random Olio will unfold in the coming weeks and months and if motherhood will inspire me to write more or less. Regardless of the next stage of Random Olio — I appreciate each and every person that has read, contributed, shared, and been apart of the randomness.
Being 37.5 weeks pregnant means I am not as mobile as I used to be — which means I am reading a bit more on the weekends. Since I have not gone for a run in 3 months (so hard for me) – it meant my reading had slowed down. We have filled our days and nights with planning and prepping for this baby boy to join us, but these last few weekends I have been reading more.
“First, we need to understand the power of conditioning. The following demonstration will make the point.
Right now, wherever you are sitting, lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and then start moving it in a clockwise circle. At the same time as you’re doing that, raise your right hand and draw a number six in the air.
What happened? Your right foot switched directions, didn’t it? Try it again. The reversal will happen every time!” page 4
Frustrated? Did it happen for you or were you able to get past it? It got me interested enough to keep reading (even though I skipped a lot of exercises). The real nugget I wanted to share was:
“Our energy follows our attention, always.” Page 69
It is true is it not? What we focus on we absorb. What we absorb, we ingest. What we ingest impacts our energy, our mood, our body language, and often what comes out of our mouth. Chris and I often talk about the energy we allow into our home. I think about it at work and with friends. We have a choice on what we focus on, what we attend to, and if we redirect — we might actually have a happier and more “energetic” life.
Somehow over the years I became a pen and notebook fiend. Well okay a snob of sorts. I am picky about the notebook (spiral versus bound versus so many other options). If I use a spiral notebook it has to have a double spiral. The paper matters too. I do not want thin paper where the ink seeps through. What is printed on the also paper matters. I am not a fan of ruled lines, as it makes me feel I have to keep between the lines and whether it is college or wide, oh that just makes my head spin. Give me mini blocked graph paper or plain any day and let me craft my notes, ideas, and messages as I wish.
Then you have the pen. That matters even more. The pen completely emphasizes how you write. Over time I began to learn that the thinner the tip the better. The thing with pens is usually the thinner the tip, the more design-esque the pen is which means that the tip can easily break. Then I fell in love with Muji. In the US you usually find that a thin tip pen is .5 mm. Muji makes a .38 mm pen. The tips do not break. I cannot leave home without mine. Chris brings me a bundle every time he comes back from Asia. It’s my only ask when he goes away on his trips.
Put the right paper/notebook with the right pen and it is pure zen in and of itself. Somehow the cards all fall into place and I feel I can let the creativity flow (most of the time). When I saw this article titled: “Why You Should Carry a Notebook with You Everywhere” from 99U, it made so much sense. Sure you can document your world digitally, but there is something about putting pen to paper. Whether you are bored in that meeting and brainstorm how to rearrange your living room or you map out how to solve a business problem, having a notebook with you means you probably encapsulate more of your thoughts on a daily basis.
I know I often go back to my notebook at work and find I connect the dots from different ideas. Too many conversations and ideas happen in a given day (and sometimes just within an hour of a day). Putting pen to paper can make all the difference.
I am from the Midwest. I have not been back home for over 11 years, but there are parts of Indiana you can not take out of me. There are pieces of my childhood (sometimes redneck and all) that are the fibers of who I am. When my language goes a little to that of an expletive nature, Chris has a saying for me: “How are you doing DC?” Those were my father’s initials. It is though he is channeling me. He was a trash talker and most likely is where I learned the swear words that come out of my mouth. Of course if I ever mimicked him as a child I got in so much trouble.
There are often articles and images and videos that are shared on the Internet that remind me so much of my childhood. We were poor. Indiana is, well, Indiana. It is the Midwest and things are just different. Creativity might look a bit different from say it would in San Francisco or New York City. You might not have the space to roam and ponder how to sit on your butt in a chair and not have to chase after every ball as you teach your kid to play baseball. Maybe you do not have batting cages in your town, or if you do have them, maybe spending the money is not in your monthly budget.
Whatever the case, a clever idea is a clever idea.
Over the weekend, Chris and I were out and about running errands in downtown Portland. I needed to pick up an item at a local boutique and while waiting to pay we look up and saw an amazing piece of artwork on the wall. While the piece itself may not be something I would put on my wall, I was fascinated and in awe of how the artist creates her art.
Rachel Mulder is a local Portland artist. What sets her apart from other artists? She creates her pieces on a typewriter. The darker areas are made by continuous strikes on the typewriter. As you can see by the screen grab I took from her website, there is an amazing amount of texture, color, and shading and to think it was all done via a typewriter.
I am always amazed and impressed when an artist does something so different and awe-inspiring. While I may not necessarily want this woman specifically on my wall it makes me want to think outside the box and find new ways of looking at the world. Who knew you could make such a rich piece by spending hours at a typewriter? I had to stand and stare at it for quite a while. It is worth taking a look at the link to her website above. (My screen grab is just a portion of the woman).
I would love to purchase a smaller installation of her artwork (the piece in this boutique was quite larger, but worth every penny). It makes me think about all the other creative and simple ways that we can make art. Her way is genius, and I love the energy and creativity it added to my day, and made me want to come home and paint. I did not, as the day ended up being full of catching up on life, but that desire is still fueling inside of me. I bet Rachel goes through quite a few typewriter ribbon tapes. Remember those things?
Here is to finding fun, new, and creative ways to express ourselves!