Mar 16, 2012

Hello, my name is Clare!

Since my blog is new, I thought I'd take a minute to introduce myself, in case you're new around here.

I'm Clare (spelled with no "i").  Clare is actually my middle name, and my name is actually ridiculously long because when I went to the Social Security Office (kind of a sketchy place in RVA, by the way!) to have it changed after I got married, I waited forever and then was given lots of attitude by the woman behind the desk, so when I left, somehow instead of dropping my maiden name, I kept it and just added my new last name, giving me four names (one too many!) and way too many syllables.  Name change fail?!  Ha.  

Anyways... I'm a Southerner. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and went to school in Tennessee at Sewanee: The University of the South.  I've always loved art and was an art major in college.  I also love English, reading, writing, and art history.  

{Our home in Richmond where I grew up!}
After college I worked on a ranch in Wyoming for a little while.  Then I moved back to Virginia and started teaching.  I've taught at an after school program, helped teach Kindergarten, and have taught elementary school art.  While I was working I completed two grad school programs, the first was earning a master's degree in Liberal Arts focusing on Art & Western Culture from the University of Richmond.  I loved it!  I was able to design my own program and choose classes that I wanted to take: awesome English classes like Black Women Writers, From Folklore to Fiction, and Romanticism in Literature.  

I also did an independent study on the artist Kara Walker, took a film class, a class on Stephen Sondheim's musicals, a class on women in the Bible, a class in Democracy and Roman history, among others.  I wrote a million papers and read so many books.  I love being in school!  After I earned my master's I also went back to school to get my teaching certification so that I could teach art in public school.

{at Sewanee with some of my besties!}
In 2008, I married Charlie, my college sweetheart.  He's the other half of C Squared!  We actually eloped, and then he moved from Kentucky to Virginia.  Two years later, Charlie was accepted to medical school at Ross University down in the Caribbean.  Before he could officially start med school, Ross required him to do a four month training program in the Bahamas, so we moved there in August 2010.  In December 2010, we moved to the island of Dominica (Dom-in-eeka), which is actually not the Dominica Republic, and will be down here until August 2012.

{C Squared in the Bahamas.  We lived in a condo right on the beach - amazing!}
I am creative and always have lots of ideas.  I am a foodie and am also a good cook.  Living abroad has forced me to get creative in the kitchen and work with whatever ingredients I can find, which has taught me a lot.  I love to decorate and definitely picked that up from my mom who is a talented interior designer.  I am organized but messy, and I am not a good housekeeper.  I hate putting away laundry and unpacking suitcases.  Charlie is the clean and neat one, not me!

{Cocoa stick mustache! 100% pure Dominica cocoa, such a treat!}
I love all animals (except for bugs and snakes, sick!) and would probably have at least five pets if Charlie weren't allergic to most pets.  I am emotional and have a big heart.  I am also bossy and I have a hard time letting things go.  I am forgiving and kind.  I like a loud TV and sometimes I talk way louder than is appropriate.  I procrastinate and I like to save everything (I'm not a hoarder or anything, but it's the artsy side of me that says "oh, I could make something cool with this!" but I never do!).  

{The island dogs here know I can't resist 'em!}
I am obsessed with recycling and we actually composted back at our apartment in Richmond.  I also like to garden and hope that one day I have a really green thumb.  Charlie and I had a pretty awesome garden back in the states - zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, mixed greens, string beans, green onions, cucumbers, and tons of herbs.  We miss our garden! 

{Massive zucchini from our RVA garden!}
I am really good at art, but don't do enough of it anymore, which makes me a little sad.  I need to be in an art class and surrounded by artists to really create and be inspired.  I always tell myself that one day I will get back into it and become really good again - so hopefully that will happen!  

I would love to be a graphic designer or a successful artist (by successful I just mean creating meaningful artwork that I love, but if I could make a living off of it that would be nice, too!).  My favorite artists are Joan Mitchell and Cy Twombly.  Sometimes I think I'd also like to be an art therapist or work for a creative non-profit.  Or maybe a writer.  I think that Jacqueline Novogratz is amazing and would love to do the kind of work that she does.  I want to do work that will help people and make a difference somehow.

{Garden Party by Joan Mitchell}
I love the outdoors and love hiking, swimming in the ocean, lakes, rivers, whatever!  I also love the beach and being outside, even if it's just reading on the porch.  I love yoga and hate to exercise, but I try to make myself do it and am doing well with group workouts and workout buddies at the moment.  Bikram Yoga is the best and I always feel like a superhero afterwards!  I also love kids, but we don't have any yet.  Even though I'm 29, I feel like I'm not old enough yet.  At some point we'll be ready.  I turn thirty this summer and might freak about it.  Normally, though, I'm pretty laid back.  I'm also sarcastic and funny, and I have a weird sense of humor.  I also love to travel!  That is what I like to save and spend money on - trips and traveling!  Charlie and I spent our honeymoon in France and it was fabulous! 

{Hiking in Dominica}
I'm peppy and am an eternal optimist.  If you ever need a pep talk, I'm your girl!  I rarely get mad and I don't like to fight or yell.  I'm pretty sure I'm passive aggressive and I have a hard time standing up for myself (hence the name change situation).  I also have a hard time saying no to things and sometimes I got stressed out because I've overcommitted.  I'm learning to say no to things I don't want to do and am working on not worrying so much about pleasing everyone else.

{Me with one of my island besties, Mary.  We're wearing cool hats because that's what we want to do!}
I am close with my family.  I love my mom and sisters!  My dad passed away when I was in college, so it's just us girls now.  We love to travel together  My mom's side of the family is huge and I have lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I want to be just like my grandmother, Mom Mom, when I grow up! 

{My sister, Frannie; Mom Mom; Mom; Me - at my cousin Dasha's wedding in Jamaica!}
Thanks for reading!  And since my blog is new, give me a little love and join as a "friend" over on the right so it's not so lonely around here.  Merci!  If you're new here, I'd love to hear from you - send me an email or leave a comment - I love making new friends and discovering new blogs!

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