Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

A Little Late, But Here It Is…

I film a lot of video and I’m super good at saving it to my hard drive and then never doing anything with it. And I mean SUPER good. I finally got the idea to put together a compilation video, which seems a lot less daunting than making a video for each separate event I film. I say “film” like I know what I’m doing, but I don’t. I just turn the camera on and hope I get something worthwhile. This video is a compilation from all the stuff I filmed in Decemeber, which is a fun month for obvious reasons. Elliott is pretty much the star, but when you have a 5 year old that’s just what happens. This is also a lot more personal or family oriented than the typical things I upload to YouTube, but there is more to my life than making weird paintings.

Enjoy!
If the video below gives you trouble and doesn’t play then visit: https://youtu.be/MxFNzA-JJ_g

Somebody Get This Kid A Camera

So, it’s probably around 12:30am. Evelyn and I are sitting across from each other at the kitchen table. She’s on her phone doing whatever 15 year old girls do. I’m on my computer looking through video clips trying to figure out what to post next on YouTube. Evy sees my camera on the table and starts messing around with it. Being a Canon T5i it’s slightly more complicated than the camera she is used to on her phone. She’s pushing buttons and messing around with the flip screen and then tells me to look up. SNAP! She takes a photo of me. Just one single photo. No setting up or adjusting the light or anything. Just a simple push of the shutter button. After inspecting the monitor she says, “It sort of looks like one of those portraits.” I can only assume she meant it looked like a fancy, or possibly artsy, portrait. One that you might pay a photographer to do. Here it is. Totally unedited. No photoshopping. No filters. Completely spontaneous. Straight from the horses mouth.

I really don’t feel biased because it’s a photo of me or because my 15 year old daughter took it, but I think it’s a pretty good portrait. But who am I? Let’s get mom’s thoughts. After all, she’s the real photographer in the family. Here’s what Coral had to say.

“My first thought was – I love the lighting. I love how warm it is against the contrast of your black hoodie and the dark kitchen behind you. I also think it’s funny that you two are night owls together, and it’s kind of a quick glimpse into your relationship with her. You’re not scolding her to go to bed – or annoyed by her being up at nearly 1am… you’re just letting her mess around with an expensive camera, and do something creative in the middle of the night – because that’s normal for you. I also like how comfortable you look. You can’t get a portrait like that in a professional setting, or with a stranger.”

Naturally, when you’re messing around with a new camera you have to take at least one selfie.

What can I say, this girl has skills. Also, somebody get this kid a camera!

Oh wait, we’re the parents. That’s probably our job.

Thanks for looking!
– Jeff

The Live Work Love Podcast Is Here!


Podcast editing essentials: Adobe Audition, headphones, two chocolate donuts and a large Thai iced tea.
Location: SLODOCO

Coral has been dreaming about hosting a podcast since 2014. I finally jumped onboard with the idea and now “Live Work Love” is a real life thing in this world. It’s not “real” in the sense that you can touch it. You know, because it’s all digital and stuff, but you can certainly watch it grow just like a gaggle of sea monkey’s in an old mason jar.

What happened was this. A friend from high school posted a poll on Facebook, “Is sexting cheating?” I found myself thinking about it all day long, composing a lengthy response in my head that I never got around to writing. When I told Coral about it we decided that should be our first podcast. And alas, it was.

Oh yeah, I found out that “International Podcast Day” was on Sept. 30, so that gave us a deadline. We “officially” launched on Sept. 30 with two episodes and it totally blew up on iTunes.

Just kidding, iTunes doesn’t provide any solid stats to the publishers, so we have no idea, but we like to imagine that it totally blew up all over social media.

Anyway, give it a listen. You can stream it or download it on iTunes at
itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/live-work-love/id1159309526

And if you are so inclined, we would love some feedback. Please leave us a review on iTunes or at least give us a 5 star rating. Yes, I’m totally asking for 5 stars. No shame.

Oh, and if you’re anti iTunes, like by buddy Neal, you can stream or download the episodes at https://soundcloud.com/jeffclaassen.

Enjoy!
Thanks for reading (and listening).

– Jeff

It’s Not Just An All Night Party


Night time print making session at Viva Paso.

I love making artwork and I feel extremely fortunate that I’ve been able to make a living at it, but something crossed my mind while I was cutting these prints. I was thinking about my family at home and how I wasn’t there to tuck Elliott in bed and I won’t be there cuddling on the couch with Coral watching a movie after all the kids are asleep. Instead, I’m being an artist, which might sound glamorous to some, but it’s still work. As rewarding as it can be it’s not just an all night party. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I am truly grateful that so many of you have supported me through the years. It’s really amazing. Seriously, every day I’m amazed. Here’s what hit me while I was cutting prints and thinking about all of this stuff.

If you want to make it in this game you have to make a lot of sacrifices.

You can’t just paint on the weekends or when you feel “inspired”. You can’t wait around expecting to be discovered. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to launch your website or open a store or whatever, you’ll be waiting FOREVER because there is no such thing as “the perfect time.”

And back to my original thought about having to make sacrifices. If you’re young and single, take advantage of the time and the freedom you have because you won’t have it forever. If you have a family you’re going to have to make sacrifices and they don’t just affect you. You need a partner that’s willing to accept that you might not be at home every night. That can be really hard for some people and it’s hard to find the right balance. If you want to make it in this game you need to find that balance or you’ll fail. Somehow I got really lucky finding Coral because she’s willing to put up with my late nights (among other things. Thanks, honey!)

I could go on and on, but guess what, I need to get back to work!

– Jeff

Coral Totally Took The Wind Out Of My Sails

For some reason I was home alone on Saturday morning, which doesn’t happen often. I think I even slept in a little, which happens even less. These two things made for the beginning of a great day. It got even better when Coral texted that she was coming to pick me up. That sounds weird considering we live together, but it was exciting because normally when one of us comes home that is exactly what we do. We park the car and go in the house. This idea of getting picked up seemed so spontaneous. Romantic even. Visions of hot cocoa and chocolate chip croissants filled my head. Where could she be taking me, I wondered. Feeling like an excited little boy on his way to the candy store I grabbed my backpack and camera as I ran out the door. Whatever cute adventure she had in mind I wanted to document it.

This photo was taken in May 2015 and has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but since I’m writing about Coral I should really have a photo of her. Anyway…

I get in the car full of excitement and as she begins backing out of the driveway I ask where we’re going. She very naturally says, “Oh, we need to put gas in the car and I need you to pump the fuel because I don’t want to.”

I’ve been walking around in a lifeless zombie like state ever since. With a single solitary tear running down the side of my face.

Sometimes It’s Best To Not Teach Your Kids.

This is an actual conversation I heard the other day between Evy (14) and James (16). So, the situation was James and Evy were downstairs. I was upstairs and could hear that James was singing. I couldn’t tell what song he was singing, but he seemed pretty into it. Also, he wasn’t singing along with music playing. This was straight up a cappella. Evelyn interrupted his singing to ask:
“What dees is that from?”
From upstairs I thought, “What is she talking about it?” while simultaneously fearing that maybe I was too old and uninformed to have heard of some new style of music. Luckily, James asked, “What?”
Evy: What dees is that from?
James, still confused: What do you mean?
Evy again: What dees is that from…you know, like 80’s or 90’s?

And that’s when I almost spit cereal out of my nose and had to rush to my room so they wouldn’t hear me cracking up. This next thing I’m about to tell you is one of those situations where my ability to be a good parent could and probably should be questioned. Naturally, my first instinct is to help and educate by teaching Evy the word “era”. For example, “What era is that song from?” But, I’m also human with a questionable sense of humor, which means I thought it would be more fun to not teach her and hope that she says “dees” for years to come. I especially hope she says it while talking to a boy she’s trying to impress.

Sometimes, as a parent, we need these things to keep our sanity. Now get out there and not teach something to your kids today!

Polar Bear Dip 2016

I grew up in SLO and had never heard about The Polar Bear Dip in Cayucos until about 10 years ago. Probably because I was off in the mountains snowboarding and snowmobiling. Oh, how I miss those days! The first New Year’s after I met Coral she introduced me to The Polar Bear Dip and we haven’t missed a year yet. The funny thing is we’ve never truly participated in the dipping part, but our kids do and it’s become a family tradition. I think this year was the kids’ eleventh year of running into the freezing surf. Their grandparents even drive up from San Diego every year to join the madness. Also, it’s James’ birthday so it’s just a big party all around.

You can click the photo at the top to see a movie I put together of the event. I also made a short movie documenting Elliott’s first Polar Bear Dip (it’s only 1:29). We did not anticipate that he’d take the plunge so he braved the cold ocean in his Lightning McQueen underwear. Click this photo to see that video:

Enjoy!
– Jeff

An Actual Conversation I Had With Evy

As a parent of teenagers you often ask yourself, “Why do I even try?” Do I have an undying curiosity about the ins n’ outs of Ultimate Football? Not really, but I do like conversations with my daughter that don’t involve telling her, for the 100th time, to clean her room. And honestly, I did have a vague curiosity about Ultimate Football and had assumed it was the same thing as Ultimate Frisbee, but with a football, because I’m not a total idiot. The thing is, I couldn’t, and still can’t, remember for the life of me how to play Ultimate Frisbee so I asked. I may not have gotten the answer I expected, but I did get a conversation worth sharing with you. Nobody else in the car seemed to see the humor in it, but based on the conversation you should get a sense of the people I’m dealing with here. If it doesn’t go over their head than it goes in one ear and out the other.

Moral of the story: Who knows…I guess it’s don’t pick Evy to be on your Ultimate Football (or frisbee) team.

– Jeff

The Veggie Slicing Instrument

When it comes to spelling and grammar Coral is a master. Every once in awhile I get her though and it’s both shocking and glorious to me. The fact that Coral dropped an f-bomb only proves that she knows I was right, but tried to play it off.

The sad truth is, she was actually right. Again…
damn it. But here’s the thing, how clever is the wordplay in the title of this post? Yeah, I did that all on my own with no help from little miss word slinger. You see, the mandolin is an instrument for making music. The mandoline is an instrument to slice veggies. Either way, you are talking about an instrument. Seriously though, why am I even talking about this? I’m so sorry you wasted your time with this nonsense. On the other hand, maybe you learned something here tonight and that would be pretty cool. Thank me later.

– Jeff

Elliott Upgraded His Playpen

Elliott finally upgraded to a new playpen. It’s much more roomier than the one you might remember from last summer. The only thing I can think of that would improve on this new set up is if we crane lifted it upside down and set it over Elliott. It would be like when we used to put the laundry basket over my sister’s cat and called it Kitty Prison, except this would be with a trailer and human.

Just A Couple Of Check Out How Badass My Kid Is Pictures

I’d like to say that Elliott can now teeter-totter, but if I said that I’d be lying. I totally did all the work. I mean, look at his feet. He’s not even trying to fake it a little.


And here he is flying a helicopter. He’s not going to let a little rug burned chin stop him from being a badass. Nope, not this kid.

Lazy James, The Origin Of Cashews And Something I Don’t Understand

The title says “something I don’t understand”, but when it comes to James, I don’t understand any of it. I might be going a little too far by posting a photo of his underwear, but oh well. This kid kicks lazy up to a whole new level. Actually, kicking takes too much energy. This kid drops lazy to a whole new level. It’s literally been years of telling him to remove his belt from his pants before putting them in the wash. I didn’t even realize this was something I would ever have to tell another human being. The underwear intertwined in the pant legs is just a bonus for all of our viewing pleasure. Speaking of bonus, there was a Starbucks and Taco Bell gift card in his pocket. Which is now going in my pocket, cha-ching! I’ll admit, occasionally I forget something in my pockets and Coral fishes a screw or bent staple out of the washer, but I literally found the same Starbucks card in yesterday’s wash. I told James he forgot it in his pocket when I handed it to him just last night. You’d think that a Starbucks and a Taco Bell card would be like gold to a 14 year old, but James seems to dismiss it like yesterday’s dirty laundry. And today’s dirty laundry. Did that joke land? I’m not quite sure, but I’ll leave it.

Anyway, Here are a couple of “Jamestories” I’ve collected this month.

Jan. 2
James: I don’t like peanuts/peanut butter or cashews or almonds.
Me: I don’t like cashews either. (In my head I’m thinking, “Awesome, father-son bonding over the hatred of cashews.)
Then Coral walked in and I said, proudly, “We don’t like cashews.”
James (to Coral and I): Do you know where cashews come from?
Me: They grow on a tree.*
James: No, they come from papayas.
Coral and I shared a look we often share with each other when James is being James.

Jan. 14
Me: What are you doing in our room?
James: Using the mirror.
Me: Use the mirror in your room.
James: But I can’t see my socks in my mirror.
Me: Seriously?
James: You wouldn’t understand.

And he walked out of the room. Kind of unrelated, but the next day he wore a Rasta shirt with matching Rasta earbuds. I should mention that I have never seen him wear earbuds to school before. And I should mention that he hasn’t worn them since. This is where the sock conversation comes into play. I know he has a pair of Rasta socks somewhere. I guess he just couldn’t find them in time to wear with the outfit he orchestrated for the day. This reminds me of one of my earlier posts from when James was 12. It’s called, “James Prefers Fashion Over Function” and, although I’m biased, it’s totally worth a read.

See ya!
– Jeff

* As it turns out, cashews are very interesting in that they are actually a seed to the cashew apple. Personally, I think they’re kind of weird looking because the cashew nut is on the outside of the cashew apple. So yes, they do grow in a tree, but they are attached to a fruit. As much pleasure as it brings me to make fun of my kids, I have to say that in James’ defense, although the cashew does not come from a papaya, it does come from another fruit.

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