Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday night fail blog

You know you're married when a trip to Target on Friday night is considered a fun activity. 

Up until last night, Chas and I haven't felt ready for friends yet. Being so busy and little love dove newlyweds, we've much preferred just being together at home after a long day at work as opposed to hanging out with other couples. We are definitely still love doves but last night, after going to the temple, we. were. so. bored. So bored, in fact, that we started getting a wee bit loopy/cabin fever-y. At about 9:30pm, when I looked up from eating a banana nut coconut muffin at the dining room table to Chas marching around the coffe table/ottoman, shirt pulled up, slapping his tummy loudly, I thought two things: one, how much I love that weird boy and two, ...well, I guess there was mostly just that one thought. We looked at each other, laughed (a little nervously), and knew that we had to get out and do something. 

Target it is. And even though it's always good times to go to Target simply for going to Target's sake, our late-night trip had a real reason behind it as well. We don't own a single game and we wanted probably change that. Once there, and browsing through the game aisle, we decided that neither of us could bring ourselves to shelling out $16+ for a board game so we spent $5 and bought a deck of cards and some dice instead. Much better. We also got a lint roller and a box of root beer ice pops from that random $1 section at the front of the store.

Now all that's left to do is for me to learn to like playing games with cards and/or dice. 

Oh yeah, and we should probably try to make some friends.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

chop chop!

I'll admit, this was the first time I've ever felt nervous-y about chopping my hair off. I almost totally backed out a few times in my mind the last few days. 
 But, as always, I'm so glad I went in and was able to say, "yup, all off." 

I kinda like it a lot.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

sick day at work day

Today it felt like I had a tennis ball in my throat every time I tried to swallow. But don't worry, I had three- yes, three- child inpatient groups and then an evening adolescent inpatient multi-family group so there was definitely plenty of time to relax and rest my throat from talking. Dang jiggity. At least I have a Chas to come home to. He had dinner all ready for me and a back tickle afterwards. And listen to this- he even braved a lone trip to Smith's for some medicine. Believe it. He takes care of me.

Oh yeah, and today is the last day for having long hair.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Even though I have a killer sore throat,

today was a good day. Productive days always feel good.

I only had one adolescent group this afternoon so the morning was spent sleeping in a bit and playing clean the apartment game. I vacuumed, washed windows, the dining room table, and all the dishes. I even had time to start reading a new book (more about that later, I'm sure). After work, we forced ourselves to do what we hate most in this world: grocery shopping. It's seriously the worst. This morning, I texted Chas, "I love you like we hate Smith's." We always go shopping together just to give each other the moral support. Strength in numbers. This time, even though our shopping cart ended up looking like we'd be feeding a family of five, we were actually done rather quickly. Now our fridge, pantry, and storage compartment under the dining table bench are stocked full. A little after 9pm, Chas suggested we make banana nut coconut muffins. OK, I love you. We turned on some music and whipped up these lil' pups. Our first real baking experience was a surprising success.

I'll have two please.

musically, spiritually, and dessert-ally fed

This is my old roommate, Kara. Adorable, right? Chas and I got to see her and some of my other old roomies on Saturday night rock the casbah at Velour- only the coolest hipster part-ay in Provo, Utah- if you didn't know. This girl is a true creative inspiration to me.

We spent the whole weekend in Provo with the Kellys. We went longboarding with the Zimmers along the Provo River trail and ate yummy hot dogs with all the fixins after. On Sunday, we sat in on Chas's mom, Khaliel's Sunday school lesson. Getting to hear her teach those teenagers is always one of our favorite parts about visiting Provo. I love it because it takes me right back to when I was that age, in New York, and Khaliel was our seminary teacher. Getting spiritually fed by her every morning was like putting on my armor before having to brave the wackness that was the hallways of Eastchester High School. Chas loves listening to his mom's lessons because he gets to play a little seminary catch-up for those mornings that sleep overcame him in class...including the time he was caught drooling. I love that I have that memory of sixteen year-old Charles.

Another favorite reason for visiting Provo is eating. Khaliel is magic in the kitchen. By the time Sunday evening rolled around, I had eaten six root beer cookies and four pieces of cake and I was the one ready to be rolled around. But, in my defense, I declined the In-and-Out cheeseburger.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

on love and myself

The last few months seem to have been a continuous exercise in learning to accept myself. While I hope and aspire to be a many great things in the future- great things that I am not right now (smarter, more compassionate, less judgemental, etc.), it's been a bit hard to love myself for the Sam Kelly that I am right here, right now, today. 

I often hold myself to an unreasonably high standard and when I fall short, which happens a lot, I am too hard on myself. Like this last weekend, for example. I got some results back from online student evaluations for the past semester. And while there were many, many glowingly positive comments about me and my abilities as a professor, there were also a few negative remarks. I know this is normal and to be expected. I also know that I can't please or be liked by every single person but...I still want to. I couldn't help but take the negative comments as direct personal jabs and then all but forget about the happy, good comments. I ruminated on the bad and negative for pretty much the rest of the day. When Chas sang me Winnie the Pooh it only helped a little. Yeah, it was that bad. And that's just one example. Something similar happens when I come out of leading a therapy group and, for whatever reason, it didn't feel like a lot of progress was made. Almost automatically, I start questioning my abilities as a therapist, even my ability to help people just in general. I hate that feeling. 

Erickson would probably shake his head at my still struggling with the psychosocial task of identity formation requisite for teenagers. Whatevs. I blame it on research that says my brain won't finish fully developing before age 25. I've still got a few weeks left before I hit that mark. So there. 

But have no fear, because starting with today, for some reason, things seemed a bit clearer which is to say, I'm starting to feel more grounded in who I am. Today I felt confident and, even better, comfortable in my own skin. It's slowly, very slowly, starting to sink in that just because I don't know every single thing about counseling theories and art therapy practice doesn't mean I'm a bad therapist. For being 7 months into my first professional post-grad school gig, I'm actually a pretty dang good art therapist. Correct assessments of behavior, comments, and artwork are all starting to come more intuitively. I know more than I often give myself credit for and when groups don't feel warm and fuzzy I've accepted that that's totally fine- normal, even. 

Today, my supervisor reminded me that as a therapist, I am only there as a mirror. My job is to reflect what I see back to the patient, and that's all. I don't put on the makeup, I don't brush the teeth or comb the hair. I just observe and reflect so others can begin to see and confront reality as they do their own work and strengthen their own muscles and abilities. So if a patient or group is struggling, that is not a reflection of my ability but merely a reflection of where they are right then in their own process. This realization has been a long time coming and man is it appreciated. It feels like such a weight of unnecessary responsibility off my shoulders. Speaking of which, I don't think I've mentioned what a tender mercy my weekly supervision sessions are with my amazingly brilliant supervisor. It's like being in school again only I'm the only student in the class and the class is Sam's Work as an Art Therapist 101. Love it.

And that thing about the negative evaluations comments and subsequently feeling like a bad professor? Bleh. I can just chalk all that up to whiny UVU kids. Oh yeah, and let's not forget about that one particularly difficult student, too. Man alive, she really hated my guts. But then again, she was basically crazy so I can read what I'm almost positive are her comments and just laugh a little to myself.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

let it be known

that tonight I exercised. Chas and I took an hour-long evening jammie walk. This is was the destination.

We love living in the Avenues.

You should also know that we jogged for the last few blocks. Totally serious.

just because

This morning I went to a school for children with mental disabilities to help out at an art fair. I think being a parent of a disabled child would be, hands down, one of the biggest challenges. Hands down. Wow. 

Then I came home, had some red velvet cake-flavored yogurt and started work on a new painting. When I had to stop sooner than I wanted because my eraser ran out, I decided to take a nap. 

And tonight I will go into work to lead the adolescent multi-family group.

The end. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rockstar Diaries giveaway painting

speaking of stress

I kinda went through a period in my life about two years ago where I had a lot of it. It was constant for about a year straight. Even though I'm outta that place now, my poor hair pretty much got destroyed. The stress caused lots and lots to fall out. I really love having long locks but it's looking more and more gross and stringy these days. I also have this thing I do where I grow my hair out really long and then chop it all off. It grows back crazy fast and it's always refreshing to have a new look. So I'm thinking if I get rid of the damaged part, it will have a chance to grow back healthy and happy. Also, my hair is recently doing this fun new thing where it wants to be naturally wavy. A shorter cut will equal less overall weight which will hopefully translate into more wave action. 

I have an appointment a week from Thursday. Just enough time to back out if I really want to. I'm thinking of going for something like this 

or perhaps this.

sick day

Chas decided that the two words to describe this past weekend were relaxing and productive. We loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, that late last night I started dreading Monday morning...a lot. I kept thinking over and over again how I didn't want it to come and how I just wanted every day to be a weekend day. Chas reminded me that I would probably start hating life after a few days of not working (true) but I still kept stressing about having to wake up early the next morning and start another long week of groups- which, don't get me wrong, I love doing- but sometimes you just need your two-day weekend to be three days. 

So I laid there in bed and couldn't turn off all the thinking and dreading. I got four hours of sleep. In the morning, my tummy hurt. And since I've been known to make myself really, really sick from stress, I decided it would be best to get my groups covered and spend the day resting...and painting.

When Chas comes home I'll ask him to hug me and sing me the Winnie the Pooh song. He does that whenever I need to relax and feel better.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

to remember this

Some days I come home feeling like not the greatest art therapist. Some days I come home feeling like a medium-good art therapist.

Today I came home feeling like a really, really great art therapist.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A birthday tribute for the Queen Master Composer of birthday tributes!

"Such a small name for such a person." (Movie trivia....Little Women, duh.)

This is my magical (yes, magical) sister-in-law, Eliza Dawson. And today is Liza's birthday. Hooray!

Now down to business. First off, why is Liza magical, you ask? I will tell you. Liza is magical because she she can make anything fancy.

And it's not just fancy for look's-sake. It's fancy for good, fanciness-sake. As you will soon see, Mrs. Dawson is a beautiful human being and I think her affinity for all things darling/fancy/walking the precarious line "between Anthropolgie exquisiteness and dish-towel-ness" is because there is just way too much loveliness to be adequately contained within one person. The life she creates for her daughters is beautiful. I'm sure it's not perfect all the time. I'm sure that lots of days she really does want to "poke my eyes out with a blunt stick." However, I am also sure that, more often than not, creativity, imagination, and twirling is usually close at hand. The magical goodness just can't help but overflow out of Liza and subsequently touch the likes of not only the dinner table and her daughters' wardrobes but, more importantly, the lives of pretty much anyone she comes in contact with.

I am just one such lucky person with whom Liza has come in contact with. And not just since I became Samantha Kelly, mind you. Liza has been a blessing of love in my life for many, many years now. (It's ok, you're jealous- I know.) Remember how my family and Chas' family have been bosom buddies ever since we moved out to New York when I was a little pre-teen? At that time, Liza was probably twenty-something years old. How many twenty-somethings do you know go out of their way to truly befriend and love a dorky thirteen year-old? Well, now you know one who did. I remember talking to Liza and feeling totally validated, loved, and accepted during every conversation. It meant the world to me that Liza Kelly cared about me and considered me a pretty alright human being. When my family moved from New York back to Utah, Liza and her sister Brynn bought a Tiffany's bean necklace for me because I "just couldn't leave New York without some Tiffany's." I will always, always remember the feelings I had when those two giving me that necklace. They were the greatest of great feelings. I still have notecards from Liza and copies of letters that I'd send to her from Utah. And just because life moved on from my time in New York and we both went on in our seperate lives, doesn't mean that Liza ceased to be a support to me. A little while ago, I suddenly found myself in a hard, scary, and lonely place in life. Liza immediately reached out to me once again. She sent me heart-felt and much-needed emails. She sent me inspirational books. Basically, she sent me her love at a time when I needed it dearly. 

If you haven't noticed, Liza has a way of showering others with love and what's great about the way she gives love is how genuine and joyful she is with her loving giving. Even now, I'm smilling from ear to ear just thinking about the emails I got when Chas and I first started dating. Something about her wanting to "dance uncontrollably in the streets" at the thought of us being together. Love that. 

Then, when Chas and I were engaged and I had had a particularly rough day, Liza gave Chas some almond flavoring (because apparently Starbucks is too cool to carry almond flavoring any more...dirty hipsters) along with instructions to take his fiance right away to Starbucks and buy me an almond steamer. She had also printed off a picture of a tiramisu cupcake (yeah- she really knows me) and written me a letter of encouragement for Chas to give me en route to said almond steamer land.

And seriously, these stories of Liza's love is barely only scratching the surface of what she has done for me over the years.
Love you like the dickens, Lize. Happy Birthday!

Now a word from our Chas:
My sister, Eliza Julia Dawson, is a most extraordinary person. Today is her birthday. I love her ever so much.

Those who know Liza, know that she has a really great, fun blog that allows those who love her to get an up-to-date small slice of her life. These updates (blog posts) are practically ALWAYS admonition of Paul type material. Just good good praiseworthy, virtuous, amazing (dare I say 'dawesome' stuff. And of course, it wouldn't be a legitimate manifestation of Liza if it wasn't filled to the brim with L-O-V-E!! During the past year-plus that she's had her blog, this amazing mother of two toddlers somehow found time to make the most thoughtful and genuine of birthday tributes where her loved ones were showered with her flattering and loving compliments--down to their very cores. They are always a treat to read (especially if you know the person) because Liza is so good at seeing and tapping into the goodness of the people around her. She is just so great.
While I can only wish to have that same ability to convey the downright goodness of others through words as Liza does, I will nevertheless attempt, however feeble the results may be, to pay my dear sister a Birthday Tribute of her own. It's only fair that the Queen-Master-Composer of Birthday Tributes gets one for herself, never mind how inadequate it will surely be. (Thankfully, my awesome wife and fellow A #1 Fan of Liza J. Dawson is helping me out here.) Here goes.
The first word that I associate with my big sister is LOVE. She loves and she is loved! And as she loves, she doesn't beat around the bush, but rather, she beats you over head and your heart with her love! I've so appreciated how she is always reaching out to me and others, always ready to lend a hand, or an ear, or kind word--always packaged with love. If you're kind enough to give her an inch, she will take miles of interest in your life in the best possible way. She helps and she advocates and she puts others before herself. It is amazing.
Liza is a wonderful wife. Just ask her appreciative, loving and amazing husband, Jan. She completes him and compliments him. In addition to making him many a fine meal, she makes him laugh and makes him so so happy, just as he does to her. They are a powerful duo. I'm glad I'm related to them.
Liza is an amazing mom. She has two little girls that she adores. Not surprisingly, they adore her. She, feeds, bathes, changes, hugs, plays with, disciplines, kisses, laughs with, cries with, cares for and nurtures them 24/7 and I tell you what, they are very fortunate and special girls for getting a mom like Liza. Liza is in so many ways like my mom (and that's a high compliment, FYI), so I KNOW Mille and Clara have had and will continue to have wonderful lives ahead of them. They are in good care and I got a feeling that they know that. (But don't hold it against them if they forget from time to time. They're just little kids! Adorable, fun-lovin', bright, energetic little kids at that!)
Liza is the Primary President of her ward. And she does much better than just wrangle the little tots. She heeds the voice of the Spirit and is getting through to them. They are learning the gospel. 'Nuff said.
Liza is a great sister. She loves her family. She knows what's going on in their lives. She prays for them. A lot (as well as for a great many other people). And she does so much for them. She is so very thoughtful. I'll never forget the generous birthday gift she gave me when I turned 7--my own personalized scrapbook with pictures and drawings of the events of my life. She spent an entire day putting it together. And you know what I just realized: she was a teenager!! How many teens that thoughtful do you know? Yeah, that's what I thought. And Liza's only gotten more thoughtful since then. Chew on that one!

Liza is a dear friend. Those fortunate enough to call her 'friend' (and they are many) know that they are lucky souls. Liza is always looking out for her chums. She has fun with them. She is there for them. She writes glowing tributes about them on her blog (as well as for her family).

Liza is also very hip. She's got excellent taste and it shows in her kids' wardrobe, as well as her own. Not to mention her darling house. Only the finest decorations that help in making one feel so at home. She's always appreciated the good, fine things in life because those are the things that make one feel at home. And close to divinity.
Liza is fun. Homegirl knows how to have a good time and enjoy life. This can be explained at least in part by her affinity for riding in convertible cars. Like I said, the good things in life.
Liza is beautiful. In every sense of the word. Her wonderful looks are only enhanced by the glow of the Spirit she has with her constantly. 'Tis a sight to behold, indeed.
Liza is a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. She constantly strives to do the right thing. And then she does it. She is a prayerful daughter of God. She knows and loves her Father in Heaven and that's evident in all the ways she lives her life (see all of the above). She is such a good example of being someone who is constantly learning from the scriptures and from the words of modern day prophets and apostles. I'm sure she'll be more than happy to tell you the latest thing she's learned. Liza is always finding the right ways to improve her life and taking out the distractions.

Liza is simply DAWESOME!!
I love you so much, Liza!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

just another Thursday night with homeboy

Tonight, Chas came home from playing a little bball. He was wearing his baggy bball shorts. And what do ballers with baggy shorts do best? Rap.


As I'm on my laptop typing this, he is sitting on the home computer next to me. He's rapping. We've been rapping for a little while now tonight. When you're rapping, it's important to know how to move your arms like your in a hardcore music video.

Here's our playlist:

B.O.B (feat. Hayley Williams and Eminem): Airplanes, Part II
T.I. (feat. Rhianna): Live your Life
Keri Hilson, Neyo, and Kanye: Love Knocks you Down
Coldplay (feat. Jay-Z): Lost +
Eminem: Lose Yourself
Justin Bieber: One Time*

*Chas does not endorse this being added to the playlist but, let's be honest, I love me some little JB.   

on my bedside table

I'm weird, I know. But seriously, this book is amazing.

The first time I saw for myself the evidence left behind from years of self-injury I was pretty shocked and maybe even a little scared. Now, while it doesn't shock me nearly as much and certainly doesn't scare me, I still have been wanting a better understanding what it's all about and how to best work with kids who do it. When I came across this book at Barnes and Noble, I just couldn't help myself. 

in case you can't make it out to Thanksgiving Point

You can still see what my display table looks like!
(You're so excited you can barely stand it, I know.)


I'm actually pretty pleased with how it endeded up coming together this time around. I also kinda love just standing, looking at everything, and thinking to myself how strange/happy/curious/wonderful it is that all this art came out of me. Regardless of whether or not the art sells (fingers crossed!), those strange/happy/curious/wonderful feelings makes the Beehive Bazaar worth it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

reading + art = love

Literacyhead is a new, subscription-based online magazine geared toward literacy educators. Their goal is to provide educators with weekly instruction ideas that explore the connections between textual literacy and visual literacy. Basically, they use art to help teach different reading and writing concepts. This, in my art therapist opinion, is genius. The same part of the brain that is in charge of learning to read/write is also in charge of creativity. There is research that suggests a strong interconnection between the speed and ease at which a child learns to read and the frequency of art done by the child. So yeah, pretty awesome.

Anyways, the editor of Literacyhead contacted me last week to request the use of one of my images for their newest issue. Ummmm....yes, please.

Can you spot my art?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

of late

The biggest news of the day is that after almost two months of a bare left ring finger, my ring is back where it belongs. On my left ring finger, that is. The only, and I mean only, downside of a beautiful vintage ring from your husband's darling grandma is that all the prongs were worn down and had to be rebuilt. So we started saving up the monies and, in the meantime, I took it off my finger for safe keeping. A part of me wondered if I would just get used to not wearing a ring again. But I didn't. I don't think a day went by without glancing down at that finger and feeling a little sadness and longing inside myself. But the sparkle is back, my friends. Now I'm looking down and feeling giddy happy. It's so pretty.

Other news of late is that I've been thinking a lot about getting more education. You know, like a PhD. Yikes. Sometimes I think I'm crazy, and I might be just a little bit. There seems to be something inside me that thrives off of constant motion and change. This leads to getting a Master's degree just as I turn 24, being really efficient when I want to, working hard and then harder still, and building courage. All these are good things. What the Energizer Bunny mentality makes difficult is living in the moment. Even when the moment is totally and completely wonderful, I catch myself looking forward to the next big thing, the next challenge. Chas is supportive. He loves me. He encourages me to pray about it and I know he'd be there for me 100% if I decided to take the PhD plunge. So I keep thinking about it, weighing the pros and cons. The thing is, I'm not sure wanting to get a PhD is even really about getting a PhD. I think it's more about ego (let's be honest), proving to myself that I can do it (why do I play this game?), and having a hard time with just being...still. Perhaps therein lies a challenge that is, in some ways, greater than becoming Dr. Kelly. Being 100% present in the here-and-now and living mindfully.  

Oh yeah, and the Beehive Bazaar opens tomorrow night at Thanksgiving Point.