Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Big Fat New Years Eve Blog

Hard to believe that 2009 is less than four hours away! Those who have followed my other blogs over the years know that it's time to review my 2008 resolutions! Here we go:









There you have it. As for 2009, I decided that I wanted to do something different this year, so I have four goals that will be "mainstays"...those that I put on the list every year. Then I will have six goals for the coming year. Here they are in no order of importance:

The Mainstays

Maintain a healthy weight and keep blood panel numbers at an acceptable level by living a healthy lifestyle.

Stay involved in one or more charities/ministries.

Read more, write more, and learn more.

Be a good friend and relative.

Goals for 2009

1. Continue my education, either in college or with Bob Ross, Inc.

2. Find stable employment and reduce debt as much as possible.

3. Go to church regularly and/or schedule a weekly Bible study.

4. Utilize my time more wisely by developing routines and following a schedule.

5. Have a piece of art in a show or fair.

6. Try at least a dozen new recipes.

That's it! I'm going to do my best to achieve every goal on this list. Now one more thing...a friend suggested that I think about and post a few accomplishments, because remembering the good things that occured over the past year is a healthy and free dose of therapy. Great idea, Marilyn...thanks!

This year, I:

Went on my first road trip alone to a place I had never been before, and loved it!

Made my childhood dream come true by training in the Bob Ross painting technique!

Successfully taught eleven painting classes this year!

FINALLY completed my first semester of college even though I was very ill from a kidney obstruction, resulting in two surgical procedures. I managed to finish the summer semester with a 3.75 GPA!

Makes me happy. :) God willing, I will accomplish much more in the coming year. In conclusion, I hope everyone has a safe, happy, and prosperous 2009!

(You have the turn the volume WAY up to hear me...sorry!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Migraine part deux

Ya'll should see me right now. I have a migraine patch across my forehead, and two salonpas patches on each side of my jaw. Heh! I look dumb.

Migraine became unbearable last night. I checked my blood pressure and it was high, so I called the doc office this morning.

"She can see you if you can get here within 30 minutes".

"Well, I live at least 30 minutes away, so it would be a little longer than 30."

"Ok well I'll have to give you the next available time then. January 7th."

January in over a week from now. So I had to switch to plan B. I crawled out of bed and went around the corner to Walgreens, where I picked up my blood pressure meds and some migraine patches. I'm broker than broke again, thanks to Avapro which is over $2.00 a pill. When I do finally make it back to the doc, I'm going to insist that she switch me to a drug that comes in a generic form. She didn't want to do it last time I asked, but unless she gives me Avapro free of charge from now own, it's going to have to be changed. Paying $50-$80 for 30 blood pressure pills is a crying shame. I hope and pray that our new president will follow through with his promise to improve health care costs. Honestly...this is a serious problem in our country.

Anyway, I digress. Mentholated patches galore. My face is on fire, but I don't care. I'm sitting up now, attempting to eat something that I hope I'll be able to keep down. Unbelievable how debilitating migraines can be. As of right now, it looks like my New Years Eve will be spent at home, in bed. No big deal though...I've certainly been through worse. Over the years, I've lived on people's sofas and love seats, and even found myself sleeping in a car one night in 25 degree weather. I'll never forget that and I'm thankful that I now have a bed to call my own. May God bless those who don't.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to bed

Honestly, I probably should have stayed in bed...had a terrible day. It turned around, though, when I got home tonight and found my range installed and some grocery money in a card. I burst into tears when I saw it. I'm a mess right now, physically and emotionally. I'm going to use the money to go to the doc. I haven't been able to afford my meds (blood pressure, hormone therapy), and the migraines are out of control, so I've got to talk to my doc. There has to be a solution.

I'll be calling Dr. J in the morning. Another migraine hit full force today so I've been in bed since 6:30 or so. I'm sitting up in the dark checking messages right now, but even the light from the laptop is getting to me, so I'm going to cut this short. More later.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts, and a recipe

I'm applying for two jobs that I found first thing in the morning. I am extremely qualified for both, so cross your fingers for me!

Put a small dent into my to do list today...almost done unpacking and sorting, got some of my paintings out of the way, and on my way to Craigslist now. I also just recorded my Happy New Year VLOG, and will post it next time.

This recipe is a little late, but worth going out and buying turkey for it...I made it the day after Thanksgiving in 07, and will make it again as soon as I can.

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

1 cup grated carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
1 12 oz can low fat evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice (you can use a combo of wild with brown or long grain, it's all good)
1 to 1 1/2 cup(s) diced cooked turkey

Melt butter in 3-4 qt saucepan over medium heat and add carrots, mushrooms, celery, and onion; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Stir in flour, and gradually add broth and milk, whisking until blended. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice and turkey. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6 people. A 1 1/4 cup serving is 240 calories.

Kelli's Top Ten To-Do's of the Week

1. Fix my schedule so that I'm not up all night and napping in the day.

2. Find temporary or permanent work if at all possible!

3. Continue to sort through a lot done this weekend but still more to go.

4. Take bags of stuff to Goodwill.

5. Call City of Pascagoula and the Press about classes.

6. Email new flyer to Hobby Lobby and schedule another demo.

7. Get on Craigslist and request donations of yarn, fabric, and craft supplies for charity.

8. Take photos of my recent paintings, then find a place to store them.

9. Go to the library and check out a book or two. AND ACTUALLY READ THEM.

10. Either find somewhere to go on NYE, or find something fun to do at home on NYE. Either way, do a video blog whether I feel like it or not, and post 2009 goals.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas has come and gone...what's next?

Well, I survived on no sleep and managed to have a good day. It was so dang hot outside...I ended up changing into a t-shirt and jeans before it was over with. Didn't feel like Christmas at all. And now this weekend, it's supposed to freeze again. Welcome to the Gulf Coast.

I had a very busy day in Grand Bay and Pascagoula. Went to four houses and didn't have a minute to spare. The gifts that I received were thoughtful and very useful...a lamp, two drinking mugs, thick house slippers, a pretty blanket, a couple of canvases, a cool bulletin board/photo holder hand made by my sister, a knitted handbag from my friend in Iowa...yay. I love handmade and practical stuff. I also received a little bit of money from family and friends and I thank you all very much. It was badly needed and will be used for food and gas.

I planned to spend some time at Penelope House's drop off location today to donate some stuff and see what I could do to help, but I was too late again. Sometime soon, I will schedule a time to do some volunteer work. I was in no condition to work yesterday, running on no sleep and with such a crazy schedule, but it will happen soon. I will make sure of it.

So I can't believe we've come to the end of 2008. This is the week that I analyze my resolutions for the year and decide whether or not I'm a failure at life. Then I come up with more resolutions to lethargically strive for in the following year. I'm wondering if I should revamp this annual tradition in some way. It's always the same thing...revisit the 8 resolutions I made, tell whether or not I achieved them, and make 8 more, some of which are the same as the year before. I think I want to do something different this time...suggestions?

I'll always make goals and resolutions, because it gives me something to strive for with a deadline of one year. I think it's a healthy thing to do. Finding the motivation to get out of bed and function with a purpose in mind is always good.

Well friends, I hope you all had a good Christmas. So what's next for everyone?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Blessings

To all of my dear friends, old and new, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Thank you always for being here for me in good times and bad. I wish you nothing but blessings now and in the coming year.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Back with a vengence

Day 2 of one of the worst migraines I've ever had. Darvocet is the only reason I'm able to sit up and type without throwing up, but there's no way I can get up and function in this condition. My Christmas plans may very well be down the drain.

I'm so tired of this. Something's gotta give.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ok I didn't lay down... least not yet. But be assured, I'm curled up as I type and my head is ready to hit the pillow. But first, a recap of today...crossposted from one of my other blogs.

I painted happy trees ALL DAY LONG at Hobby Lobby today. I am so exhausted, even my pinky toes hurt, but what a blast. It was neat to be in the front of the store, in the middle of all of the chaos, and watch busy people stop in their tracks to see what I was painting. Sometimes I would sense someone behind me, turn around, and a little boy or girl would be standing there in awe of what I was doing. Kids were dragging their parents over to my corner all day, and were sad to leave. I heard one kid whine loudly "Nooooooo! I wanna watch da lady paint!!!" HA! It was sweet! I had similar responses from Bob fans...those who knew exactly who I was representing the minute they saw my work. Some took a nearby chair (that was on display, for sale LOL) and sat down by me and watched me paint. We talked Bob. We talked painting. Five people registered for my class on the spot. About two dozen others took my info and said they would be back. So even though I feel like I've been run over, it's so worth it. My first class is already half full, with almost a month left for people to register. Not a bad start, and I wish I had scoped out the Mobile market months ago. So between Mobile and Pascagoula, I have four classes scheduled for January!

I'm so relieved that it went well...thank you Lord. I didn't run into any problems at all (except for the little boy who put his hand on Blue Winter, thus resulting in a new lovely blue-stained hand...haaaa!), and my migraine had thankfully subsided the day before. I also finally met one of my internet buddies and his adorable wife and son. Super fabulously nice people, and they blessed me more than they know.

So now I can put painting aside for a couple weeks and get back to unpacking. Can you feel the excitement? Still gotta get those bags of stuff to Penelope House Domestic Violence Shelter too...hopefully their drop off location won't be closed again next time I'm in the neighborhood.

Vlog coming soon if I can get my camera to cooperate. Nighty night.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Demo Day

Registered five new students. Over twenty-five requested more info, with several saying that they definitely want to take the class soon.

Not a bad start! It was a hectic day and I feel like I've been run over, but it was tons of fun and very worth it.

More later. Must lay down.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Canz Seeeee!

Ahhhhh...a new, bigger font. Tanky you, Blogger!

more animals

Monday, December 15, 2008

Need HTML assistance...

I want my background to be a photo of do I do that?

I am HTML illiterate. I have the photo background ready, but don't know how to make it the background here. Help?

P.S. - I just made this my main website by forwarding my domain at to come here. Yay.

Down for the count...

My body is absolutely freaking out on me again. Sometimes I think the pain is going to drive me out of my mind. I don't have a dime to go to the doc for further tests, but somehow I've got to figure this out. Social security won't listen to me without a well defined, incurable diagnosis, but nobody wants to give me a job when they see how physically incapable I am. So what in the world am I supposed to do? It's hard to feel hopeful when there is no relief in sight, especially when the refrigerator and gas tank are empty. I'm going to have to ask my stepdad for help again, and that's really depressing.

Nevertheless, I am going to try my best to function and get some things accomplished this week. I still have a lot of unpacking to do, and have to prepare for my upcoming demo. Thank goodness I won't be on my feet for that...they are setting up a table for me to sit at with my table top easel. That's a relief.

As far as volunteering at the shelter on Christmas Day, the only way I'll be able to do that is if I'm given a sit down job. I'm going to ask and see what I can do. If it works out, it works out. If it doesn't, I guess there's next year.

Things are going to get better. Somehow, they will.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mission (Unexpectedly) Accomplished

I subbed high school Botany today. We watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas. *YAWN* Yes, I do believe I have had my share of movies in high schools this year. I like the 'ol Grinch, and I even like High School Musical, but after the 3rd or 4th round, I'm over it, peeps.

After school, I went into midtown Mobile to drop off stuff to Penelope House Domestic Violence Shelter, but the drop off location was closed. Almost a wasted trip, but I decided to stop in Naman's Market and ask if they knew where I could find Muffaletta bread. I have been looking for Muffaletta bread in Mobile for two years to no avail. But voila, the ladies at Naman's pointed me to a tiny international food mart down the road that I didn't know existed. The business is so small, they prefer cash and charge a fee to swipe your credit card! Ha! But I struck gold with this little joint, because not only do they sell Muffaletta bread, they also had fresh ground garam masala and cumin, which is something that I was also looking for. Eureka!

When I have money, I'll go back and actually BUY the stuff!

Off to bed. It's nearly midnight, I have class tomorrow, and still have to do some tweeking to "Blue Winter" before I teach it at 2pm. Procrastination at its finest.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A few paintings...

Saturday's class painting - sorry it's blurry. My camera is a punk. This is our super duper wintery cold painting of the year. It is done with only white, black, and Prussian blue.

This is blurry AND crooked...sorry. This is what is considered Bob's standard with clouds, mountains, foothills, water, foreground, evergreens, colorful doubt inspired by the years he spent in Alaska. This was done quickly as practice for my upcoming demo. It looks a little washed out here. Must get new camera.

The following has nothing to do with Bob. It's acrylic on 8 x 10 canvas, and it is my Christmas gift to my brothers. Seth (age 14) has a bedroom decorated in orange and blue. Layton (age 34) loves black and red. I also did a black and red one for my brother John (age 20). They are all serious gamers, with a specific appreciation for martial arts and Japanese animation. This is the symbol of peace. Sorry about the's from the not-quite-dry varnish.

Feel free to ask about prices and shipping if you are interested in a painting of your own. I will post some of my more detailed paintings (as opposed to the ones that I teach beginners) in the near future. I do landscapes and seascapes in wet on wet oil, and abstract and symbolic pieces in acrylics as shown above. All landscapes and seascapes are considered original pieces due to the nature of the wet on wet technique. Acrylic pieces are either original or limited and numbered. All pieces are signed and dated on the back.

So I got a lot accomplished today, even though I spent most of the morning in bed. Tomorrow I can focus on preparing for Saturday's class. I'm sure it will be a blast as always.

Wednesday Rambling

I finally completed inventory on all of my Bob Ross class supplies. So now I know what I'm looking at as far as ordering in the near future. Here's hoping that I'll somehow have the money to do so. Next class is Saturday, and my all day demonstration is the following Saturday. I'm going to see if my cousin/assistant Tyler is available to take a few pics and some video on these days. This Saturday, I'll be giving two of my students a Joy of Painting attendance certificate for completing a dozen classes. We'll probably have some goodies too.

I came home from Pascagoula to find a raccoon hanging out in the driveway. Turns out that he's a regular visitor, along with his wife and kids. They eat cat food with the rest of the animals that come strolling up to the porch each day. I've decided that we're a soup kitchen for strays.

Speaking of soup kitchen, I'm hoping to find a place to volunteer on Christmas morning. I think I'm going to call Pascagoula's soup kitchen, Our Daily Bread, and see if they have something for me to do. I'm sure they'll be serving food on Christmas Day, so I imagine they need assistance of some kind. I emailed Penelope House Domestic Violence Shelter to see if they needed a volunteer but the email bounced back to me. Oh well, I'll be going down there on Friday to drop off clothing so I'll just talk to them when I get there.

I'm still looking for a part time weekday job. There is just nothing out there right now, not something that I'm physically capable of doing anyway. I hope something will come up soon. I've got to find something asap, as I am several months behind on bills at this point. I'm really hoping that the gig at Hobby Lobby will turn into a nice part time job. With their schedule, it's not going to be easy, but maybe I'll get lucky and have at least 10 students a month. Ultimately, I need about 40 to make it, but I'll take whatever I can get.

The weather is yucky here right now. They are saying that we could actually get snow flurries over the weekend, which only happens every four or five years on the Gulf Coast. It's not really like real snow, it's more equivelent to slushy ice that you would find in a snow cone. But we coastliners think it's cool nonetheless. I'll have the camera ready in case it happens.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mountain Madness

Last night, I painted Bob's "Blue Winter" for this Saturday's class. Darn it if my snow covered mountains weren't perfectly symmetrical! I never plan it, in fact I try to avoid it, but my subconscious mind somehow makes it happen anyway. What's up with that?

It is a beautiful painting, though...a very cold landscape using only white, black, and blue. It will be a nice way to end the year, and I'm happy with my version of the painting with the exception of those aligned and centered hills of mine.

Will be submitting a painting to Hobby Lobby this week to be diplayed at the front of the store. I'm not dead set on which one that I will submit yet. I wish I could give them one of my paintings from the past week, but they are soaking wet. That's the only disadvantage to wet on wet oils...they take a very long time to dry, especially in my incredibly humid neck of the woods.

Pictures eventually...don't have my camera on hand right now. It's probably in a box or bag somewhere. I hope to get more stuff unpacked and sorted through this week.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ranting and Raving

Mercy, what a day! I couldn't begin to tell you how much walking I dogs are barkin' bigtime! I had a good class and their paintings were super. Mine...well as I was finishing it I accidentally touched the mock matting and it ruined the painting so I ended up stripping the canvas right then and there. Ha! Oh was fun anyway and when I got home, I painted again! I just love it. Next class is next Saturday.

In other news, I've gained a few pounds because my diet is crap. I'm broke and living on peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles, with the occasional canned or frozen dinner thrown in. I look forward to having a stove and oven soon as well as getting out of this slump somehow so I can buy decent food again. I was floored when I went to the grocery store (the ONLY one in town) the other day. It is extremely hummus and pita chips here, peeps. But the thing that got me was that a lot of their food was more than DOUBLE the price of city stores. Campbells soup? 60 cents at Walmart in Mobile, 1.40 here. Turkey burgers 4.98 at Walmart in Mobile, 8.95 here! And At Walmart it is it was 6.09!!! FOR A BOX OF CEREAL! And in the country ghetto at that! Calgon take me away...

Sadly, there was an INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE between the price of healthy food vs the junk. And people wonder why this area of the country is number one in obesity? I've been telling people for years why that is the case...those below the poverty level (which is the majority in this area) can't afford to commute to the nearest big city for groceries, and most of the time we don't have the funds to buy the good stuff anyway. This little podunk grocery store is the perfect example. I feel like writing Congress, but what's the use?

Sorry...I guess that is my rant of the week! Tune in next time to hear Kelli rant about something else that this country does wrong. OK JUST JOKING! Ha! I thank the good Lord that I live in the land of the free.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lentil Gumbo

Yes you read that right. I decided to attempt lentil soup in the crock pot (since I don't have a stove yet). Come to find out, when lentil soup slow cooks for six hours, the broth turns into the exact consistancy of roux.

It wasn't too bad. It wasn't good either, but it wasn't bad.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Note To Self

Never ever again break open a softgel supplement and put it into your food with the expectation that you won't be able to taste it.

Nastiest chili I've ever had in my life just now. My tongue is trauamtized. One slice of bread and two glasses of Sunkist later, my taste buds are still cursing me.

Today's Score:
Reality - 1
Kelli - 0

I love pandas...heh!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Bob Coincidence

The funny website that I recently posted the link to, which is mostly photos of animals with funny captions, is currently talking about Bob Ross! What a coincidence.

Amazing how many people were impacted by him. I feel like I'm in the company of millions. I joined the conversation to answer a few questions about Bob, and told them that I was an instructor. People are going on and on about him. Would they think I'm super cool if I told them that I had the priviledge of painting on Bob's easel? Same one he used on TV? Sometimes I forget about that, because I'm not really into the whole "ooooh ahhhh celebrity!" thing. But I guess that is kinda a big deal. I mean, how many people can say that they used Bob's easel? I'm not special was simply the luck of the draw. :)

I've been painting like a mad woman tonight. Finally. Gosh, not painting for six weeks threw me off a little. My paintings turned out a little better than I expected, though, so that's a plus. I'll take a pic of them when I find my camera. I wonder if someone would be willing to shoot a video of my public demo coming up. I HATE myself on camera and get really nervous, but it is something that I need to get over. This would be a good opportunity to see how I paint from someone else's perspective and analyze my methods. There's an idea.

Speaking of coincidence, it turns out that one of the kitties here at the new place is named Bob. Bob loves to sit on the hood of my car, and I've discovered that he fears no one...not even the stray dog that occasionally approaches him looking for food. Bob doesn't blink an eye. He thinks he's in charge, as most cats do. And he appearently is. He's like the godfather. Ha!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Just got back from Hobby Lobby. My all day demonstration is set for December 20th. My first workshop is scheduled for January 17th! Weeeeeeeee!

I am very lucky to land this position. Why? Because their current acrylics instructor is also Bob Ross certified, but chooses not to teach it. You should have seen the shock on my face when the class coordinator told me that. Anyway, she asked me to bring a painting to display in the store, and be ready to demo on the 20th! I am so there!

Busy busy

I spent half the day in Biloxi, Mississippi yesterday, and spoke with the manager of Hobby Lobby about teaching there. He said that they are pretty much booked with classes of other types (watercolor, cake making, etc) but that he would talk to some people and see about fitting me into the schedule. He has my card so I hope that I will hear from him soon.

Today I'll spend the day in Mobile, where I will also talk with Hobby Lobby about teaching there. This is probably a bad day for them, as they do inventory and ordering on Tuesdays, but I only need 5 minutes of their time so hopefully I can make it happen.

I still haven't unpacked, so I'm surrounded by boxes and baskets. My car is a disaster area...looks like a tornado did backflips in it. I don't know when I'll officially get "settled" but I hope that it won't take me too long to get it together. For now, I need to focus on my upcoming Bob Ross workshop. I'm going to be teaching "Cabin at Trail's End" for the first time. I like cabin paintings, but I seem to have good days and bad days where cabins are concerned. So I need to kick it into high gear and get some practicing in before Saturday.

I want to thank everyone for the recent comments. The kitty isn't mine, and although there are half a dozen stray cats living on the porch, they're not mine either. Haha. I visit a website of funny captioned photos every day, and occasionally share some of them. The site is called I Can Has Cheezburger and here is the link:

Off to Mobile. That's pronounced mo-BEEL for you non-locals. Named after a French dude.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Naps and the net

funny pictures of cats with captions

This happened to me today. I was sitting here on the laptop and all of a sudden, I woke up three hours later...ha! I wish I could do that at night, but my body insists on being nocturnal. I've struggled to sleep at night since toddlerhood. It is one of my earliest memories.

So here I am at 1 in the morning, wide awake. And yes, I'm online. Thanks to my aunt, I have a rockin' wired connection. Yay for modems. I'll eventually be wireless again, but until then, this is fine and dandy. I'm relieved that I have internet at home. It will save me a lot of time and gas money, since I was having to drive to the city to WIFI.

Anyway, tomorrow I will be talking with Hobby Lobby about teaching. I'm broker than broke to the point of having to borrow money for groceries, so I have got to get well and find a job. If I can land a couple more teaching positions, it may be enough to get by. That's what I'm hoping. But I have to be physically able to do it. Wish me luck.

Um, No.

I thought I would recycle a few canvases by tearing off the used canvas and restretching them. I wanted to do my part for the world and be a good little recycler chick. But heed my words, Kelli will not be stretching canvases ever again. No sirree Bob.

Monday Memo:

Order Pre-Stretched Canvases from Bob Ross, Inc.

Make boxes to hold plastic, paper, and aluminum cans.

There. I'm being a good little recycler chick after all. :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Made the move, now back to life

This weekend has been a whirlwind. I am officially moved to Grand Bay, thanks to my cousins Edward, Tyler, Eric, and Doug. Between the four of them, they had me out of Mobile and into the new place within hours. I will now spend the month of December unpacking and sorting through all of my stuff. Tyler is meeting me at the house today to help me set up my art room and stretch some canvases. I haven't painted in over a month due to Ryan's death as well as three trips to the hospital with my back. Leaking spinal fluid is no walk in the park, and if I had to take a drug test right now, I would fail it miserably thanks to the cornicopia of epidurals, dilaudid, zofran, and darvocet that I've been given over the past few weeks. It has been a very depressing time, but I'm recovering and I've got to get back to life and painting. I've scheduled two Bob Ross workshops in December to try to make up for November's cancellations. I'm also still looking for a part time weekday job and working on plans for kids art classes in 2009.

No internet at home until further notice. I'm sitting at Panera Bread right now, wrapping things up in Mobile. I already miss being in the city, but I realize that my current arrangement is necessary. Maybe even ideal. I will be closer to my classroom, and an hour away from Hobby Lobby in Biloxi where I hope to land a teaching position. I will be talking to them this week.

Hope all is well with everyone, and I'll talk to ya soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Movin' Out

Looks like the move is happening tomorrow. Yikes. I better get my stuff in order and ready to move by the time the truck arrives. Thankfully, it's just my furniture and clothing. Everything else is already waiting for me to unpack at my uncle's house.

This is going to be a big change...leaving the city to live in the country again. I'll be trading crazy traffic for stray animals. Life is always changing for me. I don't have a clue how I'm going to make it, since I'm not currently getting an income, but I suppose somehow it will work out.

No word from the doc yet. My aunt thinks no news is good news. I hope she's right, but I think I'm going to show up on his doorstep tomorrow afternoon if he doesn't call in the morning. He said the results would only take a week, and it has been a week and a half now. It's hard being left hanging when it's something as important as this. Hopefully I'll know something tomorrow.

My back has improved, thank goodness, so I managed to get a couple of things accomplished today. I'm still in a lot of pain and on meds as needed, but it's gradually becoming tolerable. I expect to be able to resume life as usual by turkey day. As always, I'll be bouncing around from house to house eating my weight in dressing and chocolate pie. It's just one day, though...not gonna give myself a hard time about it. My healthy lifestyle (as opposed to using the word "diet") will resume this weekend. I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be able to remove "lose weight" from my new years resolutions. As long as I stay on track in December, I'll be able to replace my number one resolution with something new for the first time in years.

Back to packing now. Oh, I don't have internet where I'm moving, so I may not be online every day...just depends on whether or not there is free wifi within 10 miles of me...which is unlikely.

Either way, I'll be back soon.

Mountain Analysis

I've been looking at my mountains lately and trying to figure out what I can do to improve. Seems that a few of them (especially the ones that I recently posted) slightly resemble the pyramids of Egypt. Oops.

Then again, they used to look like big fat slices of coconut cream cake, so at least I'm moving up in the world. Pyramids aren't really what I'm going for, however, so it's time for reanalysis.

My conclusion is that I'm trying too hard. I am kinda OCD when it comes to things looking symmetrical. I say kinda because I don't believe I'm that bad. But it's enough to notice, so I think I will attempt to address the issue next time I tackle a mountain range.

I hate that I had to cancel my November classes. I'm having to drop two paintings that I really wanted to do. I guess I can always do them next year. In December, I plan to teach a super-duper snowy painting...can't remember the name or number off the top of my head, but it's one that only uses white, black, and blue. I think it will be a good way to end the year. It will be my 12th class, and two of my students (who have attended every class) will receive Joy of Painting certificates. I decided to give my returning students an attendance certificate once they complete their 12th class, so that will be a neat little thing for them. We'll probably have cake too. Another returning student will probably get his certificate in January. I love my students...have I said that already? I've heard horror stories from others about their classes, and I thank the good Lord that I have been so lucky. I have had nothing but good times as a student and as a teacher. I sure wish it paid the bills, but I love it nonetheless.

Well it's going on 4:30am so I guess I'm gonna wrap things up for now. Until next time, I leave you with coconut cream cake:

Hahahahaaaaaa! I thought this mountain was awesome when I first did it. Then a couple months later, I looked at it again and was like "What the heck, dude? It looks like CAKE!" Haaaaaa!

Life Is Short

Monday, November 24, 2008

Details and Dreaming

I've been making use of my sleep deprivation lately by planning future Bob Ross Workshops. In fact, I dare to say that I've planned the next twenty-four! Who knows if I'll actually teach twenty-four workshops in 2009, but if I do, I'll be ready. I struggle with the time factor, though. Don't get me wrong, my classes are always on schedule, thankfully, but I wish that I could incorporate more into each painting. Bob's paintings are much more detailed than what I'm capable of teaching in three hours, so in most cases, I have to scale down his paintings in order to fit them into my workshop. It's kinda a bummer, but it works, so it's what I have to do. I have explained this to my students, and they are fine with it.

An alternative to my half day workshop is to offer private instruction. I've already given this info to my students, and hope to eventually advertise it. I actually prefer the classroom setting, but I would like to make myself available to those who can't attend class. Private instruction would also allow the student to complete a more detailed painting, which is nice. We'll see how it goes.

I am also considering contacting Hobby Lobby about teaching there. I haven't talked to other CRIs about their experience with Hobby Lobby, so I don't know what the conditions are, but I feel at this point that I should seriously consider it. Once I get moved to the new place, I will be 25 minutes from one HB, and an hour from two others. It would be a fair amount of commuting, but it may be worth it to have the business. I suppose it depends on gas prices, however.

Most of all, I've got to get my health under control so that I can continue teaching. It is physically hard on me, but I love it and have every intention of teaching forever. I received the 2009 certification schedule and would give anything to go to NSB for Florals, but it's just not financially possible. I'm not going to give up, though. Someday I'll make it happen.

The time I spent in FL is on my mind continuously. I wish I could go back, even if only to visit. I fell in love with the entire area...NSB, Daytona, Ponce Inlet. I'd drive there tomorrow if I could. I've never felt that way about a place before. I like the gulf coast, but eastern Florida is love.

A Million Thanks

Homemade cards for the of 95...will go to Shauna at A Million Thanks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Green Stuff

I ate greens tonight. Not just any greens. Turnip greens.

I should have taken a picture, because I'm sure no one believes me.

I realize that I'm from the South...the DEEP SOUTH, even...but when it comes to green stuff, I usually pass. Ok not usually...ALWAYS.

I've gotten better, though. I've had asparagus a few times, and I eat spinach now. That's right...SPINACH! My mother is shocked and awed. Kelli and greens are equivalent to cats and water, you see. But yes, I have cooperated with the food police (that would be my uncle) and tried several green veggies since living under his roof. He also talked me into sampling tuna steak, which I have to say didn't go over very well. He claims that he'll have me eating medium rare beef soon, but I can assure you that he will not win that battle. No sir. My filet mignon shall forever resemble a hockey puck swimming in A1 sauce. Well done, thankyouverymuch.

The lingering flavor of turnip greens resides annoyingly on my taste buds, therefore I shall retire to my chocolate now. A lovely evening to one and all.

My New Motto

A few of this year's paintings...

Mountain Stream - Original - Taught October 25, 2008

These are some of my best non-snowy mountains, and my students' first encounter with a mountain range. I showed them how to mix phthalo blue and sap green to make a turquoise color for the stream, and really focused on the correct size of the mountains and grassy hills in an attempt to create depth. It was challenging due to the fact that the stream was not "drawn", but defined only by the layout of the grass. Mountains take a great deal of time to teach, which is why there are no trees or other major elements in this painting. This is a good example of a painting that is an original creation of mine, but inspired by several of Bob's put together.

Rowboat on the Shore - With Changes - Taught July 19, 2008

Sorry that it's crooked, I'm not a photographer by any means. I absolutely love this painting. It is based on Bob's painting "Rowboat on the Shore", and I made a few changes to it so that I could fit it into my half-day workshop. This was my students' first "seascape" painting, as well as their first painting with the mock matting. Mock matting is created by taping the edges of the canvas and then pulling it off after the painting has been completed. It leaves a nice border around the painting and creates a "wow" factor. This is by far one of my favorites and I plan to frame it.

Sunrise Cove - Original - A version of this was sold this summer

I have received more feedback on this painting than any other one that I've done. It was spontaneous, which is rare for me as I'm usually an OCD-planner-extraordinaire. I love the colors, and sunrises/sunsets are my favorite type of sky. I'm not alone in that, because three people asked to have this painting and I eventually sold a version of it to a friend in Virginia who, interestingly enough, lives only a hop, skip, and jump away from Bob Ross, Incorporated.

Frosty Winter Morn - 2301 - Taught May 17th, 2008

This is probably my best painting, if I'm judging it by Bob's original which can be found in book number 23. It's not as easy as it looks, but I think I pretty much nailed it. My students agreed, and were excited to try a painting of Bob's where no changes were made. This was my largest class, with nine students, and it was interesting to see how each student interpreted the painting. That's the cool thing about Bob's technique. A group of people can learn to paint something, step by step, yet no students' paintings look the same. Each one is an original, and that is what makes it so special. I had this one professionally framed and plan to display it at a local art gallery.

My next class is hopefully December 6th. I had to cancel November's classes due to my stepbrother's death as well as my hospitalization due to complications from a spinal tap. I'm still recovering and can barely walk, but I hope to be back in gear by the end of the month. No results from the spinal tap yet...they are checking me for Multiple Sclerosis, Leukemia, and other things. I should know by Tuesday. Prayers are appreciated.


My Childhood Dream

This man is a genius. From the time I first saw him on television, I was in awe of what he could do with a paintbrush in a mere thirty minutes. Somehow, at the age of five, I understood and appreciated this man's talent. I remember thinking that I wish I could paint happy trees like that. Unfortunately, I grew up with poor motor skills and zero artistic talent. I got a D in Junior High School art. It was rather pitiful, really. But after resigning from my miserable hospital administration job, I decided that life was too short to live a miserable existance with a career that I hated so much that it was making me physically ill. I needed to make a change.

So I took the biggest risk I've ever taken in my life. I went into debt (unheard of for me, being a former bankruptcy paralegal), took a road trip to eastern Florida (my first trip alone), and trained at the official Bob Ross Art Workshop. Not only did I learn how to paint like Bob, I learned how to teach his technique to others. I spent three weeks with 20 strangers in a place that I had never been in my life to do something that I wasn't sure I could do. Crazy? Maybe. Worth it? You better believe it. It was a childhood dream come true, and even though I am broke and struggling, I am happier now than I was in the corporate world making $10 an hour. If I could rewind time and revisit this decision, I wouldn't change it for anything.

I returned home to Mobile, Alabama a new woman. I spent three months practicing and planning, and taught my first Bob Ross Workshop on May 3rd. I had eight students. It was scary and exciting all at the same time, and I didn't run into any issues whatsoever. My hours upon hours of planning paid off, and everything went great. Three of those eight students returned for further instruction, and I couldn't ask for a more loyal and friendly trio. I am a lucky, lucky woman. Even though I'm broke, my students make me want to do this for the rest of my life.

It is amazing what putting paint on a canvas does for people. Bob got it. He knew the joy that it could bring to people's lives, and he worked hard to make it happen. That first day of teaching, a student approached me and thanked me for giving her the opportunity to take a Bob Ross class. She told me about her cancer, and said that she had always wanted to learn how to paint like Bob but never dreamed that she would get the chance. I still cry when I think about her. She never returned to my class because she was about to start chemo. I hope that she is ok, and that the four hours of amateur instruction that she received from me gave her a moment of joy. That is what it's all about. Bob knew it, and now I know it too.

Thanks, Bob. I hope that I am making you proud.


Life Is A Journey

Life is a journey, indeed. For me, it's more like a roller coaster. People have told me that I have the worst luck of anyone they've ever met, and that drama follows me. Like it or not, they are correct. So I've decided that I'm going to ask Santa for a drama-free life for Christmas. I'm going to go to the mall and sit in his lap and everything.

Ok not really. Although maybe I should.

I love the inspirational photo above and felt that it was an appropriate beginning to this new blog. Over the years I've learned that life is fragile, and that when its all said and done, what will matter the most is this: Did I find my purpose, and did I make a difference?

This certainly isn't my first sir...I'm what is called a serial blogger, and I've been sharing the ups and downs of my roller coaster life online for many years now. Feel free to find my other blogs via google or other search engine. I'm quite easy to find, as I use the same username everywhere. Doing that is a great way to keep a person honest, and honest I am.

So anyway, the purpose of this blog, at least as of today, is to spare you of my bored rambling that you may find on other blogs. I hope that this one will prove to be more interesting. I plan to share some of my paintings and thoughts about my life as a Bob Ross Instructor. I am also a writer who hopes to be published someday, so I may dwell on that from time to time. I will discuss my interests in art, music, and charity work. I love photography, so there will most definitely be photos. I love food, so stay tuned for recipes. You never know what I'll blog about next...I'm all over the place, and I'm guessing that will either intrigue you or annoy you. Whatever the case, I am who I am and I'm ready to launch yet another blog. Look out, world.

Welcome to my roller coaster life, and thank you for following me on this journey.