Thursday, July 30, 2009

Painting Fauna

I've taken up a new hobby this year--acrylic painting. It began as a challenge from my brother. He wanted a piece of artwork from each of his brothers and sisters to hang on the wall in his living room. Not having much experience in visual arts, but willing to give it a try, I went out and bought a canvas, paints, brushes, and invited a date to paint with me.

Now I find that painting is a challenging and engaging hobby and I plan on doing more of it from now on. (Also, I don't buy Hallmark cards anymore; I make my own.) My favorite subjects to paint are wild animals and nature scenes. Here's one I recently did of a bluebird:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mid-Summer Update

In a previous post, I announced to the world that I dislike summer. After reading a few of your comments, I should clarify: I have nothing against warm weather or Mother Nature--the flora is beautiful--it's our man-made tendency to let our minds atrophy that hurts me so. Still confused? I shall now give an example from my personal life:

In May, I graduated with a Master's degree in English. I had three full weeks to look for gainful employment so that this summer I might continue, um, living. I had no time to look for work before graduation because writing my thesis had eaten up every sane moment of my life. I know what you, my fellow blogger, are probably thinking. If you were strapped for cash why did you go to England? I admit it looks like a strange thing to do, but I'm fairly certain it was personal revelation that prompted me to visit those London streets (and scroll through microfilm of about the same length as those streets). The point is that in making it my full-time job to look for work for the three weeks prior to my trip, I thought I had it covered. Alas, I spent between 6 and 7 hours a day at it for that long, all to no end. I kept praying for God to just give me something, but He had other plans in mind.

So as I packed my bags for England, I was also packing all my worldly possessions in order to move back to my parent's house as soon as I returned to American soil. It was a strange feeling for me, a 28-year-old who had been living on his own for several years. (My mom was thrilled though. Thanks Mom!) Sadly, I did not know if or when I would live in D.C. again and, to my surprise, I had grown attached to this urban area.

I wish I could say I redoubled my efforts in job hunting upon my return to the States, but I felt slightly defeated. Nevertheless, my earlier diligence was paying off and I started receiving e-mails and phone calls. In fact, of the three voice-mail messages waiting for me when my cell phone started working again (London is outside its range) two were about job interviews.

I started making frequent trips to D.C. from my parent's home in Virginia--a few hours' drive--to interview with potential employers. I was also looking for summer employment in this area, anything to keep me productive and financially self-reliant. I finally found work with a temp agency in Charlottesville. Reminiscent of the Great Depression, a horde of hopefuls and I descend on a downtown office every morning at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. for work. We wait in the lobby for up to five hours for our name to be called. If I am called, I can expect a full or half-day's work moving office furntiture or doing construction cleanup at $7.80 to $8.50 an hour. I collect my wage the same day, check or cash. If my name is not called, I go home with no pay, ready to wake again at 4:30 a.m. the next day to try again. I now have odd hours of wakefulness and sleepiness; also, I'm reading more these days....

But, thankfully, the job hunting has paid off. I am happy to announce that I am going back to school, only this time I'm the teacher. I have been offered two classes at Northern Virginia Community College-Annandale and another at Montgomery College-Rockville. All three are freshman English courses. I'm really excited. I will actually be professionally doing what I've always wanted to do. How many people can say that?

I am very grateful to my parents who took me in and for friends who let me crash on their couches in D.C. every now and then. But once again--and here's my point--just like every other summmer, I am counting the days 'til Autumn so that my life can resume.