I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

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:

1. Lose a minimum of ten pounds. I not only lost 10 pounds by April, I lost 13 more by October for a total of 23 pounds!

2. Complete all Certifications in progress and pursue further education. I received my Bob Ross teaching certification on January 25th! It's one of the greatest things I've ever done for myself and I look forward to teaching forever. As for my Microsoft certification, I complete all of my classes, but dropped out of the certification because Microsoft 2007 was released shortly after, and I hate it. had XP and Office '03 been the mainstay, I would have stuck with the certification. Instead, I enrolled as a Freshman at Bishop State College for General Studies.

3. Find an acceptable job while striving for a permanent career. I completed several temp jobs throughout the year, and I managed to get established as a painting instructor. Unfortunately, it barely pays a dime, so I am still in dire need of a job.

4. Get involved (and/or stay involved) in one or more ministries and charities. I stayed involved in all of my charities, primarily A Million Thanks, Homespun Helpers, and Penelope House Family Violence Center.

5. Be more health-conscious, make good choices, and improve my overall well-being. Thanks to Team Scheffy, I found the support and encouragement that I needed to make this happen. I reached my weight goal and improved my Basic Metabolic Panel numbers as well as cholesterol and triglycerides which are now in normal range. Considering my genes, this is practically a miracle!

6. Increase my level of social and organizational skills. Becoming a painting instructor brought me out of my shell quite a bit. I still need to improve upon my casual face-to-face interaction, and find friends in my city.

7. Read more, write more, and learn more. I certainly did this thanks to attending my first full semester of college.

8. Be a better friend and relative. This is always on my list, and I never really know how well I've done. I think there is always room for improvement, at least for me.

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 7th...as 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.

Saturday, December 27, 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?

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

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.

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.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

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 tweaking to "Blue Winter" before I teach it at 2pm. Procrastination at its finest.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

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.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ranting and Raving

Mercy, what a day! I couldn't begin to tell you how much walking I did! 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 well...it 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 limited...no 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 CEREAL...oh...my...gosh. At Walmart it is 2.98...here 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. KIDDING! I thank the good Lord that I live in the land of the free.

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 traumatized. One slice of bread and two glasses of Sunkist later, my taste buds are still cursing me.

Today's Score:
Reality - 1
Kelli - 0

Monday, December 1, 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!

Saturday, November 29, 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. 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 difficult 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.

Thursday, November 27, 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.

Wednesday, November 26, 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 troops...total of 95...will go to Shauna at A Million Thanks.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My New Motto

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 hospital administration job, I decided that life was too short to live a miserable existence 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), traveled to eastern Florida (my first solo road trip), 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 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.

Teaching a beginner class in 2008

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 blog...no 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. This blog may bore you, intrigue you, inspire you, or annoy you. Who knows? 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.