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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Slow down and enjoy the process


The first time I remember anyone saying “Enjoy the process,” and having it resonate with me was back in about 1992. I was living in Chisholm at the time and had the opportunity to work in Eveleth with Iron Range artist/writer Gladys Koski Holmes. She operated the Windfall Art Gallery and Framing shop that is no longer operating from a grand old building on a Main Street corner that no longer stands. 

I don’t remember when I first met Gladys with her sincere warm smile and twinkling eyes, but I learned some valuable things from her such as seeing color. I mean REALLY seeing color! We would be in the process of selecting the correct mat or combination of mats for a particular piece of artwork to be framed, a no slap-n’-dash task for Gladys. She enjoyed this process. She would select several mat samples, set them one at a time near the art-piece and then formed a small square viewing-box by bending the fingers of her hands up in front of one eye with the other eye closed. Then she would take time to study the art-piece with the mat. What was simply tan to most untrained eyes, would draw out a comment from Gladys such as, “There’s too much red in this one!” followed by “Can you see it?” At first I could not, but after going through this process with Gladys repeatedly over months I too developed “Color Eye”!

On more than one occasion as she taught me, Gladys would play with the process. She’d set a red object by that same “tan-being conquered-by-red” mat and you could see the influence. It was truely amazing to work with her. To this day when I am looking at a paint strip at a hardware store, particularly when trying to find a nice tan shade...I hear Gladys saying, “There’s too much red in that one.” Another thing she said to me once when I was rattling on about a project I was annoyed with at home and as usual was rushing through to the finish was, “Enjoy the process.” Wow, that is loaded. Slow down, move through the various steps....and really ENJOY THE PROCESS! Of course.

For most of my younger years I would take on all kinds of projects and be hasty to finish them, eager for the finished result. I’d get the desire to sew an entire square dance dress on a Friday and wear it to the dance in Gilbert the next night. One dress I recall, was green plaid and had a Scottie dog appliqued on the front. If you understand applique, this is pretty labor intensive. A bit of a big project for a day with cutting it out, doing a machine applique on the front of the skirt, gathering the skirt,  sewing it on and then adding a ruffle to the bottom before putting upper bodice and sleeves on too. I don’t do that so much anymore. There were painting projects, knitting, crocheting and all kinds of crafty-wafty things that came and went.  Nowadays it has become profound because I realize to not ENJOY THE PROCESS means not to enjoy my days, simply life. The days are all filled with process and processing. Sometimes unpleasant things come our way that are not to be enjoyed but rather endured. This I know, too, but for the most part I find that slowing down and being in the moment as I create and accomplish things is where it’s at! 

A recent process Bill and I are enjoying is the building of a deck on our house. I can certainly visualize it all finished and we have been sitting out in the morning sun having coffee. I have been enjoyed designing it, getting the materials with Bill, along with purchasing some new tools and seeing him happy. The process has been influenced by some over-zealous helpers/sidewalk supervisors from across the street with their own agendas, but I have adjusted my process to accommodate theirs. 

I’ve been enjoying another process along with the deck building and that’s getting in better health. I started doing more walking in March and have gained some lung capacity and leg strength for sure. Last winter I sat around taking care of my old female cat for about three months, sitting and hugging her in the rocking chair through the end of her days and was noticing my balance was even starting to decline. No time for any of that! I got on my hiking shoes and have not noticed any balance issues any longer. When its drizzling I toss on my rain poncho and go.

An outrageous process this spring has been trying to get my pontoon boat on the water. I got it last spring and it needed some work, having survived a big storm on Lake Vermilion. My sweet, Texas-born husband Bill... and a friend... inadvertently used up the entire summer with intentions of getting the boat in the water but it roosted in the driveway getting its issues taken care of until the snowflakes fell. I fell prey to some light hostility in response. We had a hassle getting it registered too, making a couple trips to the license bureau. We even had to haul the owner in with a death certificate because the title couldn’t be found in the registrar’s office.

So recently, with summer ‘19 knocking at the door, Bill asked me where the sticker tags were for the boat. After looking in my office, I honestly couldn’t remember having had the tags in hand so I called the Virginia license bureau agent and gave him my name. “We have nothing on record for that name,” he said. “What?” I chirped. “Is it possible it’s in another name?” he asked. I said “No.” 

I was a Stone and nothing else when I met the pontoon.

The next step was to take a camera shot of the license numbers on the boat, which I did, then called the agent back. He said, “Those numbers belong to another craft, far from your location, in a name I cannot disclose to you due to privacy issues.” My heart sank! This was turning into a nightmare real fast with my summer boat plans getting shelved like last year’s ugly Christmas sweater. The agent then told me to look for the boat’s hull ID number and said it was, “somewhere on the boat....usually hard to find.”

Oh I called Bill. I was ready to snap. Bill was busy building the deck with his crew of sidewalk supervisors, but he set down his drill and went hunting for the hull ID. He took a picture of a number he found which turned out to be the same as the boat license numbers stuck on the side of the boat, however, the last 2 digits were transposed. Someone associated with the previous owner hadn’t put the stickers on in the correct order. That night I returned to my messy office and found the purchased license tabs for the boat in a misplaced file folder. Sloppy deal, I know. Memory then returned, I did transfer the title, I did get the license tags but the name on them was my previous name, Lynn O’Hara. God, not again...spirits release me from this hell!  Ms. Multi-name spoke to the agent at the license bureau and was immediately calmed when he explained the DNR was often slow to update name changes in their data base. He made the call to them, had my name updated to S.S and it’s all good to go. Well, I didn’t enjoy that process...not at all...but another one will come soon and have my name on it...the correct name!

Until next time, walk, talk, paint and do what you do but slow down, breathe deep... and ENJOY THE PROCESS. 


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