Monday, January 1, 2018

2017... It was quite a year!

I began the year with the plan to do a drawing everyday for all of January. I began working in a new sketchbook, and was successful in drawing a lot. I continued through February as well. I planned to walk a mile a day for the entire year, but started out by doing very little walking. I did a few treadmill workouts, and took a few photo walks. Donna and I started doing yoga and walking for fitness at Northeast Middle School. My weight at this time was hovering around 230-235 lbs.

Still drawing everyday. Continuing with yoga and occasional walks. At work I was nominated for MN Teacher of the Year (my second time). Near the end of the month, as I was being interviewed and filmed in my classroom for a news story, I received a phone call telling me that I did not make the cut for the finalists. Strange coincidence.

I went to Marshall to do a presentation at the MNWE conference. Storm drove with me and I really enjoyed spending the time with him. We shared the driving, drank gas station coffee from Hector, chatted, went out to eat, and played some fun tennis. In the midst of all that, we went over to Southwest Minnesota State University and I did a creative writing presentation to a tiny but enthusiastic crowd. I was quite nervous of course, but it was good to have Storm along. He advised me. He helped me. First bike ride of the year: 2 mile to Silver Lake.

Back to Marshall. I was keynote speaker at the Creating Spaces Creative Writing Awards Ceremony. Again I was nervous, but the very recent MNWE presentation helped me feel like I could handle it. Donna and I drove together and enjoyed the day. The ceremony was attended by more than 200 people! There were many students and their families, in addition to professors and administrators from SMSU. My presentation went really well. I received quite a few compliments following the ceremony, speech, and presentation of awards. This month, we saw Sondre Lerche at the 7th Street Entry. Great show! At one point, Sondre came out into the crowd to dance. As he danced past me, I squeezed his sweaty shoulder. I wrote a poem a day this month.

Mayday Festival this month. I’d been making art, riding my bike, playing tennis, doing weekly yoga and drinking beer. Poem a day, second month of the year.

Saw Sunday in the Park with George at the Guthrie. It was beautiful and emotional and excellent! I started some major efforts to lose weight. More bike, tennis, yoga and walking. On June 21 I started with a Fitbit, recording calories in and out, daily steps, exercises, goals, sleep patterns, etc. Highly motivating! My weight had been around 235 lbs, and after a few days of Fitbit, I had already dropped to 226 lbs. Minneapolis Pride Festival this month.

Sunday in the Park with George again! Weight loss going great. According to my Fitbit, I was no longer considered obese by the start of July, and I was down to 208 lbs by the end of the month. I reached about 150 miles of biking by this point, but mostly stopped in favor of walking a lot. Better calorie burn! Fourth trip to Marshall. I had 2 photos in the MAFAC photo show. I brought home my mural paintings and 7 of my painted journals. I did my third Owa'mni Falling Water Festival with Donna and Storm. Invited to be a demonstrating artist at the MN State Fair. Marianne Murphy Zarzana invited me to a literary retreat event in northern MN near Canada. I had to turn it down due to Owa'mni. Poem a day, month 3. Honor the Earth Powwow at Lac Courte Oreilles.

I tried unsuccessfully to paint everyday this month. I was still focused on walking a lot, and had a lot of preparation to do for the Studio: HERE event at the MN State Fair. The event was amazing! I spent 10 hours cutting and gluing Cub bags, and drawing with charcoal while hundreds and hundreds of people streamed by, sometimes asking questions or making comments.

Weight loss goal achieved! I dropped below 200 lbs! In early June, I weighed 235 lbs and I intended to see my weight drop below 200 by the end of 2017. Once I got on the fitbit and started walking nearly everyday, the lbs just kept coming off. In no time I switched my goal date to my birthday in October. I planned to maintain this level through the end of 2017, but only managed to stay that low for about a week and a half. Nevertheless, I made it to 200 lbs for the first time in maybe 25 years! That was an accomplishment! YAY ME! Back to work with new students.

I turned 50 this month. Making art. Native American art display at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.

Native American Heritage Month art show at Community Grounds coffeeshop with Marlena Myles. Native artist residency at Kenwood Elementary.

Looking back at my 2017...

Lots of art...
  • ·      Two months of drawing everyday.
  • ·      Ahab - Digital manipulation of original painting . (Cover art for Carter Meland - Stories of a Lost Child).
  • ·      Owa'mni Falling Water Festival
  • ·      MN State Fair: Studio:HERE artist and "Juicy Fruit" shown and sold for $1000
  • ·      Shepherd of the Valley: Native American cultural display
  • ·      Kenwood Elementary: Native American Artists' Residency (with first graders)
  • ·      Community Grounds: Native American Heritage Month, show with Marlena Myles. (Sold: Stone Arch Bridge photo for $50 and Seven Crows ink for $100).
  • ·      One ink drawing accepted for 2018 Bring Her Home at All My Relations Arts 

Publications this year...
  • ·      Diaphanous Journal: Swoon, Cthulhu Alight in my Underpants, In the Long Stillness of Quiet Days, "...though this loft be of a blushy bent," Scrawl in the Herbal. "Pink James in Faux Knuckle" (digital photograph).
  • ·      Midway Journal: Thumb
  • ·      Texas Review: Therein My Slender Button, Of Misakakojiish.

Favorite memories...

  • ·      Spending time with amazing friends.
  • ·      Walking nearly everyday, often with Donna, Storm, Bette, Ikhlas, Kristin, Jennifer, Diane, Faye, Sharon or Dale. Mostly though, I walked alone and found out that I really enjoy it.
  • ·      Many trips to Marshall and Superior/Duluth.
  • ·      Losing quite a bit of weight. I had lost 35 lbs at one point and got below 200 lbs. I didn't quite manage to maintain that level, but I ended 2017 weighing about 25 lbs less than I did at the beginning of the year. That's where I start 2018 now.
  • ·      Making lots of new art and writing 100 new poems.
  • ·      Theater: Sunday in the Park with George (2x), A Christmas Carol.
  • ·      Concerts: Sondre Lerche, Bishop Briggs, Alt J.