I’ve shared very little on this blog about my life other than the corner of it that has to do with beading and wirework. I guess my philosophy has been “start a blog up and figure it out as I go.” I don’t think this is an unusual approach. I’m also pretty sure it is not the best approach. At this moment I am at the moment of life transition – children growing up and moving on and changes in my job life. It occurs to me that if I’m going to share any of this with you, the person reading this blog, the best thing to do at this point is to introduce myself.
I live in Juneau, Alaska,but I am from Oregon originally. I was born in Portland (a wonderful city) but my home town is Bandon (a small town on the southern coast that was an amazing place to grow up. I came to Alaska in the early 1980s to work at Denali National Park. I meant to have a fun summer and ended up with one of the few year-round positions in the company, worked six summer seasons, and met my husband there before we left Alaska for urban life in Seattle (another fabulous city). We returned to Alaska – Southeast Alaska this time, in the capital city of Juneau in 1991, and Juneau is still home to me and our younger daughter. The older daughter has launched her life and is in…Portland! Circular symmetry if you look for that sort of thing.
My family is creative. My parents are creative, my siblings are creative, and our Juneau group is creative as well.
My husband: Poet. “Real job”: Works in HR for a shipping company.
Older daughter: Painter.Costume Designer. Great at photography and hand lettering, “Real job”: Student and Barista.
Younger Daughter: Drawer and painter. Cartoonist. Writer. “Real Job”: working in a tourist gift shop as she gets ready to leave home for school.
Me: Mixed media artist with a love of beads. Real job: Medical transcription contractor.
My tongue is in my cheek with the “real job” idea of course. But that is where the transition comes in, for me. I have a degree in art but my life’s reality has always been “I need a paycheck, a paycheck I can count on, regularly. When I graduated from college, without a trust fund or rich husband on the horizon, art got placed on the back of the stove in favor of rent, meals, transportation. When I lived in Seattle I became practical: I took some continuing education at the Art Institute of Seattle and set my mind on commercial art – the perfect compromise! Jobby but artistic! Aesthetically compelling but with a paycheck! This was working for me. I had a job I loved at a printing company that was creative, compelling and steady. I did free-lance work in graphic arts and calligraphy. I was able to continue all of his after we had daughter #1. Then we moved.
Like most creative people – creating is part of me, so there have always been projects, creations, expressions. But moving to a different community and the realities of my desires as a parent meant an end to that identity. In Seattle, my husband and I had rigged a sort of unusual but very successful tag-team family existence, caring for our daughter ourselves. I found that moving to Juneau didn’t make me any more eager to put her in daycare and work for 8 hours a day for someone else. I started here with a nanny arrangement where I spent my mornings with my daughter and my daughter’s new friend, and later learned medical transcription so I could work at home. That’s pretty much my resume.
Recently I’ve had to reassess my priorities, not an uncommon endeavor during times of transition. I’ll leave sharing the nature of my transitions to Part 3.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!