Potato

I don’t know where this came from, but Abby is obsessed with potatoes. Not eating them, but with the idea of them. She will tell people that her name is potato, that she is a potato, that she comes from potato-land, and she has a language based on abbreviation and phonetic mispronunciation that she calls potato language. Abby does drawings and sculptures of potato citizens. She made a PowerPoint presentation on the history of the potato for fun…My favorite though, is hearing her school friends call her Potato like it’s a normal and natural name. They accept her eccentricity because it’s genuine, and she’s charming as heck. The thing I don’t think I’ve ever heard about being a parent is how…weird it is to see myself in my kids. Amazing and worrying, I see so much of myself in them.

We got the best snow here that I’ve seen since I was a kid. It packed perfectly and made the perfect snow people. The temperature was cold, but totally warm enough that none of us felt terrible about spending an hour (or two) out playing in it. Then drinking hot cocoa and baking cinnamon bread to warm up. *Grin*  

The kids got off the bus on Wednesday exclaiming “You’re wearing a tie today! Why are you wearing a tie!?” I had an interview with a recruiter at an art staffing agency this week. I haven’t worked outside of my home in nearly a decade and honestly didn’t know how to start even looking for something. So I am so thankful that my friend, Stephanie pushed me to sign up with Creative Circle to let them help me find a good fit. Basically how it works, is I send them my resume and portfolio, fill out a questionnaire about my skills and job preferences, then I go and have a sit down talk with a recruiter so that they can get to know me and how to best place me. When a company “hires” me, they do it through creative circle and I’m functionally an employee of the staffing agency with payroll and benefits coming through them.  My interview went really well! He said I was a great designer and all my work looked really good. That I was asking for way to little money and wanted me to try for senior designer and junior art director jobs. It was really kind of bonkers hearing someone that has zero vested interest in me saying good things about me. *blush*

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

11 – This is my friend. He brings things to do while he waits.

Sally laughed at me the other day when I met her for coffee, saying “I love it that you not only have a clipboard in your bag, but you have two of them!”  I pulled two clip boards, my calendar, and a small notebook out of my bag. hahaha

When I was in middle school, I was late more often than I was on time. As an adult, I dislike being late to the point that it actually makes me anxious and irritable. Living basically in Narnia in comparison to all my friends, and the things that we do together means that it’s hard to gauge how long it will take to get there and I often end up being early. So I always have something to do. Little sketches, lists and breakdowns of projects. Or just reading. My bag has me covered.

12 – This is my dad. He cooks eggs every morning.

Things I am bad at: Not eating candy that is in a bowl on the counter. Not saying yes to things because it’s easier than saying no. Not hitting the snooze button for two hours, because I’m dreaming and don’t want to get up. Not talking about problems, because I don’t want to explain the back story. Not asking for help. All of these things sound like choices that I’m making…but they’re really choices I’m not making. They’re Robert Frost’s road traveled, because it’s well worn and easy. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with well worn and easy. As long as I’m actually choosing to walk down that road for a bit.

A couple of years ago, I made a new years resolution to start living my life more intentionally. Making actual decisions about things instead of just letting the default choice be the one I go with. This started with breakfast. Actually getting up and making breakfast every morning instead of just eating cereal. So breakfast is my first choice of the day, how am I going to cook them, toast or tortilla, fruit…? Making actual choices first thing in the morning ended up setting the tone for the whole day. 

I decided this week that someday soon, I’m going to take the time to make Eggs Benedict.

13 – This is our dad. He’ll be what we need him to be.

One of the first things I decided about being a parent is that I would always have time for my kids. I’ll play with them. I’ll make sure they’re fed. I’ll stop what I’m doing and help them cover an entire piece of paper with scotch tape. 

There’s a delicate balance between giving them the space to explore and feel independent, but also keeping an eye on the two of them and making sure they’re safe. Recently they’ve discovered roughhousing, hahaha. Which is loud and annoying, but such a great space to learn about consent, communication, body autonomy, and awareness. There’s a point where I’ll step in and ask them to dial it back or put the Kibosh on it for now. For the most part though, I’d rather hear their shrieks and giggles than a toy that is just a button that you push.

Plus, I get to pretend to be a giant robot, a princess, a duck, dinosaur, monster, zombie, queen, mother, grandpa, cat, dog…sometimes in quick succession. It really is my favorite job.

14 – This is my best friend. He dances like a plastic sunflower.

I love to dance.

I am not a good dancer.

That’s part of my charm. 

15 – This is my dad. He’s seen The Little Mermaid more times than he’s seen Star Wars.

The Little Mermaid came out at that time in my life when I was really figuring out that drawing and cartooning was what I wanted to do, forever. ALSO at that time when I was starting to notice girls. I will always have a place in my heart for Ariel and company. I have a lot of things to say about that movie now that I’m older, and a dad. A lot. of. things. Partly because I see it through a different lens as a parent, and partly because I’ve seen it somewhere in the realm of 300 times. 

My best friend, Sally likes to get me started talking about the Little Mermaid when I’m drunk. She says I’m like a college professor talking about it to a lecture hall. And she laughs. I could write a whole series of posts on the film, but I only want to say three things today.

The movie lost a lot of it’s luster when I watched the opening sequence of The Land Before Time the same day as I saw the opening sequence of Mermaid, and realized that Disney spent the 90’s trying to be as good as Don Bluth, and kind of failed terribly.

The story’s really about Sebastian the crab. It’s his hero’s journey. He’s the one that learns and changes.

King Triton is a terrible dad and ruler. 

16 – This is my brother. He’s getting better at asking for help when he needs it.

The original caption for this one was “He has trouble asking for help” and then my best friend Sandy pointed out that I’m getting better at it. Asking for help is hard. I tend to think that I can take care of all the little things myself. Making my asks kind of big, more likely to be things that people can’t or won’t help with…and I make that decision for them. 

BUT! The good news is that I’m getting better, and it’s a weird mental leap. If I ask for help with the little things that are easy, then there is less weight during the heavy lifting of the big stuff. Added bonus is that then I also have more energy to help others and they’re more likely to make the time to help me…

Getting help starts with asking for and accepting help.

17 – This is my friend. I worry about when there’s no one there for him to help.

My friend Natalie said this to me a little over a year ago. It came from a place of concern about my general emotional stance. I try to keep it in mind, and be aware that I’m allowed to do things because I want to do them instead of because someone asked me to.

And I worry about withdrawing and becoming self destructive if I don’t feel needed.

I’m going to try to not end next weeks drawings on a downer, hahaha. 

Love you all, and appreciate you for being here with me as I ramble through my personal stories. I’m working through accountability goals this week, and am excited about talking about that on Monday with my accountability partners.

Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,
Jeffrey

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