Sunday, March 14, 2010

Welcome to our world, Eva Belle.

I was busy uploading recent pix in my last post, but my computer and I both ran out of steam, so the post ended somewhat abruptly! And I never got to the really cool bit of recent family history, which is the arrival of grandchild no 4 and graddaughter no2, Eva Belle Hoppe.

2 days old
I hope life gets a bit more exciting as i get older!

Welcome little lady (she has already earned the nickname "Eva the Diva" due to her demanding night time antics!) we look forward to watching you grow and getting to know you, even if it will be in dribs and drabs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Howdy Strangers

I am sitting here in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because of a million loose ends jangling in my mind... and decided to visit my blog. How weird is that... as I typed it I realise that it describes exactly how it feels, like I am a guest here, a stranger popping in to visit! I used to post daily, long rambling posts full of pictures, thoughts, a journal of my life, travels and ideas. I met some wonderful people around the world, and at one stage it felt that I was closer and more in touch with some of my cyber friends than with most people in my "real" life.

I hope to save this blog for posterity, who knows, maybe one day the great, great grandchildren will be surfing the web (or whatever its replacement is by then!) and say "wow, that old bird was really into a lot of varied stuff!" But from now on it will probably be, at best, an occasional update for the record books. I feel bad that I can no longer spend the time i used to, visiting, commenting, soaking up fabulous facts and photos from around the planet, and also sharing some close friendship along the way. I still find myself wondering "how old so-and- so" is getting on, or did "what's-her-name" ever solve the issue we were discussing...

One reason for the decline in my blogging was taking on way too many committments simultaneously, and finding real life rudely intruding on my cyber life. I almost reached burnout point a few times last year, and writing a blog post, instead of being recreational fun, became an ordeal of trying to wade through the exhausted cotton wool left in my brain after punishing days of decision making and networking. I would fish around in my brain to find something worthwhile to write, and come up empty.

Another reason was utter frustration with blogger, I see it is now sorted, but at that time i was having huge issues uploading photos, and simultaneously discovered that I could quickly upload big bunches of photos on facebook. So I found myself spending more time there and less here... until i just got out of the habit of coming here.

I said to Max-E just the other day that, with the Chairmanship of the local Community Art Centre, I feel like a vampire has attached itself to my neck and is sucking the life out of me. It has been a tough but rewarding year at the helm, taking something that was basically ticking along, dead in the water, turning it around, revving up the engines and getting it going in a fresh direction. it has involved an enormous amount of relationship building, networking and risk taking, and it has paid off handsomely.

The Society is growing at an amazing rate, we are becoming financially viable for the first time in years, and most important, because of this, we are finally able to start making a real impact on the working lives of local artists. We are currently running a New Signatures exhibition, and the standard of work from a variety of emerging artists was so high that the University has agreed to sponsor Exhibitions for 6 winners!

However, it has also had its downside. At the end of last year we discovered that the Gallery Administrator had been stealing from us over the last few years, and we had to fire her. That in itself was traumatic, no-one wants to be in a position to fire a lonely old woman who, no matter how annoying, rude, abrasive or dishonest she might be, is still a sad human being who will end up struggling to find another job and place to stay...  However a lot of the sympathy has evaporated in the succeeding months of wading through the admin nightmare she left behind, by stealing the original receipt and invoice books to cover her tracks, and uncovering the extent of her lies and theft.

As she was the only paid employee, and the Society is run by volunteers, not everone has been able to commit to the time needed to build and maintain momentum, and a huge amount of admin has landed on my shoulders. (Very uncomfortably, I might add, I loathe admin and bean counting!) Before you get the impression that I see myself as a victim in all this, let me hasten to add that I am fully aware that we make our own choices, and the vampire is sucking me dry because I am allowing it to do so!) It just seemed such a shame to have worked so hard to turn the place around, and then let it all go down the tubes because of one selfish old woman. The task of getting back on an even keel has been larger than expected, but we are almost there, and just in time too.

We heard this week that a huge funding grant has come through, and we are finally in a position to impliment a lot of the community-based projects that were previously just part of a long wish list. This is going to take even more time and energy, and I would be lying if i said i wasn't a bit afraid of burning out in the process of putting structures in place to handle it... but all year things have been falling into place as they needed to, the right people have come along to fill gaps as they opened, so I have no doubt this will continue. And if we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of local artists, it will all be worth it.

So this long and navel-gazing preamble is to explain the gap in this blog, and what has been going on in the interim.

So here, in no particular order, are some photos from the last few months....

My friend Esme and I, along with 2 other artists, held an exhibition called 4 women in November. One of the things we did was to paint in the gallery during the show, which went down very well with the visitors.

we also attended a fab 4 day art workshop led by Greg Kerr, and although it caused a bit of stress due to the timing, which coincided with our exhibition, it proved to be a really worthwhile exercise, and we both came away having learned a lot!

My friend Julie and I took a day to spoil ourselves at our favourite spa, Casa Mia in Addo, and the timing was perfect because my favourite trees, her avenue of jacarandas, were in full bloom.

SCARY!!! (But feels fab!)

Max-E and I also went to Jeffries Bay for a Karen Zoid concert, love her music and sense of humour.

In October we had a visit from the Sudan kids, which was great. it was such a good opportunity to get to know miss Millie, who had turned into a real little person with a definite mind of her own.

We had some fun outings to the beach, game parks etc.

 In December we went up to Lesotho to visit the West family, who live in a remote rural village. It was great catching up with them, and my sister and b-i-l at the same time.