Saturday, November 2, 2013

Voice From the Underworld

I get a bad rap at work for being strict with the kids and staff. I just don't understand why it's so difficult to follow the rules and be responsible (That mostly applies to the staff.) I don't yell or curse or belittle anyone no matter how much I want to at some moments (again directed at the staff.) I've only made two children cry in seven years and I wasn't even that mean. I tell them to be quiet and question them about what part of "be quiet," they don't understand. At the same time, I muster all of my patience when speaking to someone I don't necessarily have the time to deal with.  I take pride in my ability to stop an injured child from crying and even manage to make them laugh on occasion. I conjure up every ounce of goodness in me to speak in a calm, melodic and sometimes peppy tone of voice when more often than not, my internal voice sounds like something from the underworld. Perhaps I'm not doing so great at providing examples of what a sweet person I am. Although, I suppose if I wasn't a kind person I wouldn't even try to muster patience or conjure goodness and I would have many more crying children on my list.

I was once told that my day job appeared to be one of the more "glamorous" positions at the school. Let's rethink this.... I head the office in one of the top performing schools in the state. Excellence is demanded and anything less than perfect is harshly criticized. Be it one's outfit, report, table set-up, inability to be in two places at once, nothing is off limits. I am at the nerve center for the entire school: students, teachers, parents, staff, and district staff all come to me. I have to know everything and everyone. I have to supervise, coordinate, mediate, negotiate, direct, organize, decide, guess, hope and pray every day. Glamorous? Say that to me when I'm dry-heaving in the health office cleaning the mess of foul smells that have been tracked in all over the floor. You can use your imagination on that.

In the past five months I have had some exciting new developments at work. I literally have to pay thousands of dollars for two other people's mistakes (again why can't adults be responsible for themselves?) I was told that I don't stay at work long enough when I not only put in more than an 8 hour work day but, stay longer than my bosses. This while not being given a nickel of overtime or comp time! (Illegal much???) I've had the pleasure of being screamed at in front of a large group of coworkers because someone was in a bad mood. I have been stabbed in the back by a former coworker. I have the pleasure of being surrounded by a person or two who enjoy butting into other people's conversations, being lazy, and showing off their own stupidity. Said person/people also enjoy rewriting history, talking incessantly and insisting that Betty White was on the Gilmore Girls. ..Oh I almost forgot to mention the part about being sexually harassed by two employees and being accused of having an affair with another.

I come home from work physically and emotionally tired. Some of my personal relationships have become hot and cold (but mostly cold) which only adds fuel to the stress fire.The stress has become so much that despite my best efforts not to internalize it, I get physically sick. As much as I want to paint or work on my long list of projects, I can't. I'm too tired to put in the effort.

So yes, it feels incredibly awesome to be called a nazi, gestapo, liar and Carrie (yes, Pig's Blood Carrie.) I revel in the inappropriate behavior of coworkers, their ignorance and a sincere lack of respect by the higher ups.  Meanwhile, I am actually being much kinder than I ought to be at times.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ode to the Backstreet Boys

IAWLT- Irvine 2013

Friend: "Are you really going to a second Backstreet Boys concert this week?"
Me: "There are two things I don't joke about: 1. Michael Jackson 2. The Backstreet Boys!" :)
IAWLT- Irvine 2013

I have a long history with both MJ and BSB. I also have the kind of love for the both of them that most people will never understand. I don't necessarily blame them for not understanding how 6 men could hold such a place in my heart and have such an influence on my life when I've never even met them.
IAWLT Tour- Los Angeles 2013
I know it's slightly blurry but, I still like this one

Still on my high from Wednesday's show at the Gibson Amphitheater in LA and last night's show in Irvine, I have to take a moment to acknowledge how much I love Brian, AJ, Nick, Kevin and Howie. I first saw them 15 years ago at the Universal/Gibson Amphitheater on their Backstreet Boys Tour and my life has never been the same since. From that time on, I haven't missed a single tour. My sister and I have driven across state lines, gone to talk show tapings, attended solo projects (Nick and Johnny No Name) and even (with friends) dressed up and made our own BSB music videos hoping that one of the shows we sent the tapes to would take pity on us and give us a chance to meet our 5 favorite guys. (Instead they showed a small clip at the end of TRL one day)

Unbreakable Tour- Los Angeles 2008

This Is Us- Gibson Amphitheater- 2010

I often paint and work with their music on in the background. I put on their cds when I need a little comforting, when I'm hyper or at the gym, when I need a little inspiration or when I just want to sing really loudly in the car. I am at my absolute happiest when I'm at one of their shows. I can't begin to fully explain the influence they have had one me. Through all my ups and downs they have been an absolute constant for me these past 15 years.
Unbreakable Tour- Los Angeles, Nov 2008
Kevin surprised the audience at the end of the show!

NKOTBSB Tour 2011

  Brian, AJ, Nick, Kevin, Howie:  "I want to say just for the record, that you still got my heart and my soul, and though we're worlds apart, I gotta let you know, you are the piece I can't replace, you left a mark that won't erase... cause you left a permanent stain on my heart and I've been feeling it, never mind what people say cause they don't understand how you left a permanent stain on my heart, you're never leaving it"
Our Polaroid Contest photo shoot circa 2001

Never Gone Tour- Las Vegas 2005

NKOTBSB Tour - Los Angeles 2011

IAWLT Tour- Irvine 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Crown Series Completed

The Crown Series

Have I mentioned how much I love staying home and painting??? It is amazing! I only wish I could make this my full time job. At any rate, the time I've had off from the restrictions of my day job, has allowed me to finish my short series of paintings, that I am not-so-creatively calling my, "Crown Series." Each painting was inspired by a well known queen.

Elizabeth I of England:
Elizabeth, aka my favorite historical figure, inspired the first canvas. Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth transformed England from a bankrupt country to one of the wealthiest in the world. England's navy flourished under Elizabethan rule and defeated Spain's "Invincible Armada" in 1588.
"Young heads take example of the ancient."
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France

Austrian princess Antione, arrived in France at the age of 14 where she began to be referred to by the more formal, Marie Antoinette. Shielded by the luxuries of Versailles, the French monarchy was out of touch with the struggles of it's people. Food shortages, high taxes and the newly independent U.S. set the stage for the French Revolution that ultimately claimed her life.

Isabella, Queen of Spain

Isabella and husband Ferdinand are most famous perhaps for funding Columbus's expeditions. But, they believed their most important feat was driving Muslims from the peninsula. Under her rule the Spanish Inquisition began as a way of purifying the faith, finding those who claimed to convert to Catholicism meanwhile still practicing their own faith in secret. 
Mary, Queen of Scots


Due to the many marriages of Henry VIII, a failed alliance and the English Reformation, many believed that Mary Stuart, was the rightful heir to the English throne instead of her cousin, Elizabeth I. With the death of Mary's father occurring only days after her birth, she ascended to the position of "Queen of Scots," while still in infancy. Years later, Mary was suspected of being involved in the plot to kill her second husband. She fled to England and requested help from Elizabeth. Instead she was imprisoned. Mary was vital in the Catholic plot to assassinate Elizabeth and ultimately executed for her role.

The Crown Series

"Mary" detail

"Isabella" detail

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Work in Progress

In Progress: "Antoinette"

The past few months at my day job have been weary indeed. The stress and pressure have unfortunately caused a longer break from my posting than I would have liked. That being said, I'm officially on vacation now and look forward to more painting, posting and projects in the near future!

Lily critiques the unfinished "Mary" canvas
When I was awake enough to fit in some much needed time to relax and paint, I worked on a few canvases that I'm calling my Crown Series. As it stands right now, there are four canvases in the series; each inspired by well known, historical queens. The final canvas is still in production. While I wait to bring you the series in it's entirety, allow me to share a few photos of the works in progress.
Lily loves art
My studio assistant, Lily! She's perfectly positioned under my canvas as I work.

In progress "Antoinette" and a little Midnight in Paris for inspiration

She has her own way of mixing paints

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Valentine Spirit: The Valentine's Day Massacre

Valentine's Day is just a few days away. We all know I like to be festive. But, as a single J.HistoryGirl, I loathe this holiday beyond compare. For my Valentine's Day there won't be any cupids or candy. Instead, we're going to focus on a topic that resonates more and captures the real Valentine spirit (for single people anyway) : The Valentine's Day Massacre

Picture It:   The Roaring '20s  -  Prohibition  - Chicago  -   American gangsters

It was a cold and quiet morning in Chicago on February 14, 1929. Seven of George "Bugs" Moran's men were in a garage where the Irish gangster conducted his "business."Seemingly out of nowhere, men dressed as police officers entered the garage and announced a raid of the premises. Moran's men were ordered to line up against the wall. They cooperated. Once they complied, the men were fired upon. Over 90 bullets were fired on that morning. As the seven me lay dead or dying the fake police officers drove away in a look alike police car.

No arrests were made for the massacre. The perpetrators are thought to be men who worked for Moran's long time rival, Al Capone. Moran was the last man standing between Capone and his coveted role as crime boss of Chicago. Moran however was unharmed in the attack. He slept in that morning instead of heading into the garage. Capone was across the country at the time of the attack and denied having any connections to the murders.

Happy Valentine's Day {Massacre}

Sunday, October 14, 2012

You Know You're a History Nerd When...

You Know You're a History Nerd When:

-You have a favorite historical figure 
            -Mine being Queen Elizabeth I
- You name your car after a wise patriot  
              -My Toyota is named after Ben Franklin
-You have a favorite war  

-You equate moments/conversations in your life with historical events 
             -My friend said that hopefully one day, he and I would meet in the 
              middle on a certain issue. Right away I thought, "Oh ya, like Promontory Point."
             * Promontory Point is the site where the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined 
their rails in 1869. One company started laying down tracks going east from 
Sacramento, Ca and the other, westward from Omaha, Nebraska.

- Your trainer at the gym encourages you to add "more weight," to what you're already lifting and those two simple words provide an instant thought of Giles Corey.

                        * Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Hysteria. Instead of being 
                      hanged, he was pressed to death. Instead of confessing to witchcraft, Corey, with
         his last words requested more weight to be added.

-You think the very name of "The History Channel," is false advertising considering the sincere lack of shows with historical content on that station
                        * Ice Road Truckers is not historical. American Restoration and Counting Cars, is not historical. You're pushing it Pawn Stars.
-You challenge yourself to memorize things like the Gettysburg Address or the chronological order of the presidents
-You name your computer after one of your favorite English characters/monarchs
             - King Arthur

-You get upset that you can't crack the code to the puzzle in your Smithsonian Magazine
-You have a subscription to the Smithsonian Magazine
-Your favorite genre of literature is historical fiction

-If you were given a super power, you'd choose the ability to time travel, and you already have a short list of events you'd like to visit.
         - A taping of I Love Lucy, Boston Tea Party, Watch Leonardo DaVinci paint...
- You quote John Wilkes Booth's famous latin phrase of "Sic Semper Tyrannus,"  when you're upset with the higher ups at work. 
              - Better to repeat the phrase in your head as I do, than say it directly to a supervisor!
              * Sic Semper Tyrannis translates to "Thus always the tyrants."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Side Note - Disney Exhibit

It doesn't take much to get me excited! A few days ago I noticed that my sister and I had our photo included on the D23 Disney fan club website. I had to share my joy and post a screen shot from the website.

Anyway, it's time to get back to my French lesson and then another session of genealogy digging on!

Happy Summer