The Before Times

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When I think of great times we’ve had, it includes our tiny, crazy wedding from which we rode away on on a 4 wheeler after being pelted with bird seed, cozy dinners in small Ecuadorian or Scottish restaurants, or knee to knee with a family of three that didn’t speak our language or we theirs inside a gondola on a mountainside, and when their son’s game beeped we always thought it was a signal from the gondola …. or at an Inn where they serve family style meals and you share delicious food with strangers. Share the same bowl, the same spoon. Long airplanes, completely full. Me listening to you chat up strangers as if we were in Texas. Then leaning in to share their stories. Lean in closer so we can hear.

Some of the best fun we have had was in the Before Times. My son calls them that. In the Before Times, just going out to breakfast together on weekends made my week. Dragging past sniffling people through the hoards at Falling water, the Andy Warhol Museum, The Botanical Gardens. That winter we were shoulder to shoulder with the gang in the small Italian restaurant just off Broadway. The chance of a short impromptu conversation, heads close together, hugs. The beautiful young man who ran and found his partner to show him my tattoo, then had his picture taken with me. The 2 year old baby girl, when we were iced in at home in the DFW Dallas Ft. Worth Airport, 15 minutes from our house. She toddled over to me with confidence and patted her pursed lips. Her dad said, She would like to kiss you, is it ok?” Yes, yes, yes, she is still in my heart.

The times I tripped because I was looking through my camera lens instead of at the sidewalk. Texas State Fair with it’s throngs of people and me limping. But we saw lots of colors and had those pork chops that we ate with our hands.

I miss hugging and kissing my loved and beloveds, and all those strangers… but every time I don’t hug you, I am hugging you. Every time I don’t kiss you it is because I am kissing you. There are people I wish I could hug at work. Just to tell them they’re doing a good job and that everything will be okay, but I won’t.

All the past was hand in hand. All the future has to be heart in heart.

Categories: Love and Compassion

Kellie Snider, MS

When I was a young child, my father, my grandmother, an uncle, and a teacher noticed and complimented my talent and interest in drawing. My family didn’t know how to help me make a career in art, but they made sure I knew that my art was a good thing. I was fortunate to grow up in a time when the arts were still considered an essential part of a well-rounded education. I had a very good art teacher in elementary school, and I was able to continue studying art throughout middle school and high school. I even ventured a couple of years of college-level art study.

My education in art did not include the business of art, so I went off and got a traditional job as a draftsman, the kind that drew with pencils and templates on sheets of vellum, spread across massive desks. (I always named my desks Carlisle.) I worked for an oil company, a shipyard, a power company, and for NASA’s Johnson Space Center TV Department. I was there during some pivotal moments in space history. I also met the man I would marry. I stayed home to raise our kids for a few years, and while doing that I worked as a freelance writer and did some freelance art as well. But then I got a deep interest in animal behavior thanks to an aggressive cockatoo we had, got an advanced degree in behavior analysis and launched a career in animal welfare. That career lasted nearly 15 years, and it nearly did me in. The burnout and compassion fatigue was overwhelming.

When I was laid off from a director’s position in animal welfare during Covid Times, I began to paint to help ground myself. People began to show an interest in my painting and I got many requests for commissions. That was when I realized that I could learn the business side of art and be a real live artist full time.

I have never been happier in my professional life. I wake up every day, have a lovely cup of tea with breakfast, and head to my studio. My days are rich and peaceful. I’ve come home for trained as a behavior analyst, but I am what Barbara Sher called a Scanner. I'm interested in a lot of different things, and once I learn a lot about them I'm ready to learn something new. But all the things involve somebody's behavior. This blog is about how behavior and different activities intersect.

Constructional Approaches will be discussed a lot.