Who Are You?

“Yet in my lineaments they trace
Some features of my father’s face.” Lord Byron

As a kid, people said, “Martha Ann looks like Bill.” (My dad) In my late forties/early fifties I realized how much I looked like my paternal grandmother. And NOW? In later life the invisible internals of those people begin to assert themselves.

Genetic science is interesting, but, of course, you have to pay to find out the really good stuff, stuff beyond your eye color, hair texture, whether you like cilantro or not (I do), etc. You know, stuff you already know. Except I was pretty excited to learn that I have the “sprinter gene” which means I run fast for short distances. I did. And, beyond that, I see the benefit in that when escaping from Smilodons and such back in the day. I haven’t paid and won’t.

Maybe in the future, it will be part of a kid’s first medical exam. My dad and I talked a lot about death and one of the things we agreed on was that it was better that he went through his life until age 35 or so not knowing he had MS and where that was likely to lead. We pondered how a person would live life if they knew at the get-go when and how they were likely to die. The upshot of our conversations on this topic was always that death isn’t the important thing. Life is the important thing.

I wonder, though, how much personality is genetic. I’m a very tough, resilient and optimistic little person. Was my personality the result of my own lived years, or did I come into the world with this as an edge against the bad stuff that was going to happen? My mom used to say of my paternal grandmother, “You’d think that the life she’s lived would show but it doesn’t. It seems to pass right over her like nothing happened.” I can’t speak much to that because I don’t know the details of my grandmother’s life other than her own mother dying of diabetes when my grandmother was still a little girl, marrying my charismatic but alcoholic grandfather, living through 2 world wars, grandpa going to prison for 2 years, her son getting MS and dying at 45 — wait, do I really need MORE than this?

And IF these traits are passed on genetically, how would they track them? This adds a new dimension to the whole question of the invisible and ineffable.

In daily news, I brought home everything from the museum yesterday and put it away. The best part of yesterday was seeing 30 or so Sandhill cranes circling above me as I unloaded my paintings. I don’t know why I love those guys so much, but I do. ❤ I ordered new notecards for the museum and my Etsy store. They should be in stock in a week or so. I don’t know what art project is on the horizon. I expect to use these unseasonably warm January days to cut plywood.

Paintings I’ve converted to notecards (so far) there may be others…

The featured photo is my paternal grandmother — Helen Berggren Kennedy — my brother and me sometime in the early 1960s. The little tree on the end-table is a tumbleweed I flocked and hung little red balls on. My mom saw it in a lady’s magazine and sent me out to find a tumbleweed. It was a cool — and beautiful — project and I still think of doing it again every Christmas. 🙂


Quotidian Update 3.22.xii.b

Teddy is a little rapscallion. Actually he isn’t, but… Yesterday my friend Elizabeth and I took a beautiful walk out to the Refuge. The light was dazzling, the sky bright blue, no wind, temps in the high 40s, pretty near perfect in my book for a late fall day without snow. It was Teddy’s first walk in a year with ANOTHER PERSON! OH MY GOD! He even had to ride IN THE BACK OF BELLA for the first time EVER! Naturally, he was over-the-top happy to see Elizabeth, and periodically had to tell us both how happy he was by jumping up for a hug. We all had a great time and a fun conversation, all worthy of that gorgeous moment in the Big Empty.

It’s been a good season in my little Etsy Shop. I’ve sold a lot of stuff, mostly cards. As I didn’t KNOW there was a “statement” feature on the site, I never looked at it. I found it a few days ago and opened the link and saw that — not even considering what it costs to have cards printed — I had been operating in the red, but now I’m in the black again (huh?). I have not figured out HOW that happens, but there it is. I sold $54 in cards in one order a few days ago and netted only $27. What???? So, thinking that my business model is obviously flawed, I saw that what’s going on now is that I’m taking a little course — an independent study — in retail management. I also decided that since I DO sell things, I might want to get better at it, like not accidentally buy two shipping labels for one order (though the PO DOES refund me). Etsy’s statement is clear, complete and informative and a good place for me to start. I saw that fees and taxes take about 30% of my sales, 2/3 of that is shipping. My shop policy is free shipping which we know is not free shipping. I just set it up that way because when I shop online I like to know straight up front what I’m going to pay.

I also realized that whenever my printer has a sale, I should stock up. From that I realized that retail is just a big gamble, just as Louise, who runs the museum where my paintings and stuff are for sale right now, said not long ago. She and her husband owned a store for a long time.

Paintings are unlikely to sell through my Etsy Shop, but they show my work to people and that’s probably a good thing. And, next year, I should have a stock of Christmas cards by Halloween even though, judging by this year, people don’t really get moving on that until then. Then I asked myself the question, “Is it worth it?” and the answer was clear, yes. It’s not just a store, it’s a way for me to get paid and to arrange shipping very, very easily. Most of my income has come from custom orders for garden signs. I guess my job this winter is to get ready for that by building up a stock of garden signs. At the very least it keeps me off the streets… 😉

I’m grateful for advice, by the way. Thanks for reading my “thinking out loud.”


Stocking the Store…

My Etsy Store is like any other store. It has to be stocked, so today I ordered some stock to replace the sold out notecards and decided it was time to put garden signs in there — but I had to paint some.

So now there are two. More sunflowers and I’m starting to paint autumn things. You can see them here.

It’s just amazing how much the sunflower garden signs vary from each other because of the texture of the wood they’re painted on. It’s cool not to be able to totally predict — or control — the result.

I am taking custom orders, too. 🙂

Etsy Shop

I decided to reopen my Etsy shop. I first “built” it in 2011. Then Etsy changed, becoming more complicated. I didn’t have the mental stamina to deal with one more complicated thing at a certain point in time, I think six years ago or so when I was retiring, moving, etc.

Anyway, I’m slowly “stocking” it. So far there are only four paintings in it.

Here is a link…. Martha Ann Kennedy Fine Art

At this point, I’m offering free shipping which Etsy is using as a marketing tool (good idea) and I’m not selling internationally (because of the free shipping). Interested people who don’t live in the US just need to contact me.

Hopefully I’ll be adding note cards and paper versions of paintings, too. I just don’t know what I have on hand yet. I also have work I haven’t photographed, so the shop is going to grow. In the past I also sold Christmas cards when the season came around. 🙂