Uncle Epictetus

You know how most families have an eccentric aunt or uncle who is the keeper of the oral traditions?

Even the ones that everyone else would argue never happened?

In my family, it was my Aunt Em. She was my Gramma Elsie’s older sister.

(How much older is a matter of considerable debate!)

Aunt Em was full of stories. Many of them Elsie wished she wouldn’t tell, though we heard them pretty often growing up.

Today, though, I want to tell you about Great, great, great, great…Uncle Epictetus, even though you may have heard about him before.

He’s one of those uncles that you adopted because your family needed him, even though nobody you know ever met him.

Uncle Epictetus lived a long time ago. In fact, he passed on in about 135 C.E.

Born a slave, he grew up to become a Greek philosopher.

(As I mentioned recently, in my opinion Philosophy is a pretty hard thing to wrap your head around!)

If you look him up on-line, you’ll find that there are stone carvings of him, complete with curly hair and a beard.

I’d be kind of surprised if Hallmark has an Epictetus holiday, but if they did, in our house it would be this weekend.

You see, we’ve been pretty caught up in the, “do what you have to do” part of Uncle Epictetus’ saying, which was, ironically, one of my first painting projects, quite a while ago.

More stuff to sort and furniture to move and wires to hook up, all so I can come closer to being the artist and teacher I long to be.

I’ve dreamed and sketched and pondered but, in my world, I have to feel these things, so Bill and I have to shove this here and pull that there and wait until the sun goes down to figure out where I’m going to need more lights.

We’re making progress.

The dogs are having panic attacks.

I keep trying to explain that furniture moves but dogs stay. Treats help.

It’s all going to be ok.

Right now, most of my house looks like a combination of an antique store and a library that exploded.

And, in the midst of the sorting and toting, I keep stopping to check on a couple of friends who are having weekends no mammas/grammas should have.

Then I sit and feel the space and check the reach to my journals and the recycling basket.

We’re making progress.

I haven’t had a nap today.

Or painted even a drop. (Except in my head.)

There are lots of things that would be easier than this.

But I have said to myself what I would be and it’s time to do what I have to do.

I wish Uncle Epictetus were here to tell my girls that story.

I guess it’s my job now.

It might be your job, too.


I Forgot It Was Wednesday!

A friend asked me yesterday, over tea and Kleenex, how it was that I’m always so together.

At the time I was happily decked out in my painting clothes, sans makeup of any sort except the white spatters on my face, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fashion question.

It wasn’t a home dec question either. We’re in the midst of a huge project and this is not the stylish part.

I fell asleep last night during a video for our new Talisman painting. The one with the guided imagery adventure, which is actually pretty typical for me and a huge compliment because I just get so relaxed I wander off into a mythical place where insomnia does not seem to exist.

The dogs woke me early this morning. In the midst of Atlanta’s pea green pollen season, they spend a lot of time sneezing and licking their feet.

My Muse painting, who was finished last night, was no longer finished this morning, which sent me hunting through my Greek dictionary again. (Actually, you can look all that stuff up on-line these days which — just between us — would have made Baby Greek a whole lot easier 30 years ago! )

The FedEx guy showed up before my second cup of tea with 90 pounds of frozen dog food that had to be wrestled into the freezer which has moved recently, requiring a bit of logistical imagination to accomplish.

Did I mention we’re rearranging everything in the house?

I took down all the art in the room formerly known as the living room and spackled all the holes.

You guessed it. Everything is going somewhere else.

(Have you tried the stuff that looks pink in the container but turns white when it’s dry? Very cool!)

I fell asleep pondering how to get all the books moved which doesn’t require spackle but weighs a lot more.

Then, I woke to the unmistakable sound of a dog throwing up.

On the rug.

The only rug that hasn’t been replaced by rubber matting.

The next right thing was obvious. I’ll spare you the details.

About that time, my life was feeling way more random than the aforementioned together.

Then I remembered that it was Wednesday which means blog day.

Then I remembered a recent exercise from the painting I’m working on called Apothecary. A talented woman with a thought process I greatly admire has been posting little “nudge” exercises to help us along on the journey. One day recently we received an invitation to visit a  random object generator which, amazingly, is just what it sounds like.

Who knew???

Anyway, the task was to make space in our painting for the “objects” generated for us. Or, as our fearless leader pointed out, to look for the order in the seemingly random. (Which seems to be a theme for me these days!)

The link is below. It’s free, fast, fun, and interesting if you’re in a reflective sort of mood.


In case you’re wondering what I got, check the photo above.

And may your rugs remain barf free!


Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach