October 13th, 2014 | No Comments »

I remember when we were kids there would be these  silly phrases we’d use.  Off like a prom dress (HA!  I was such a goody two shoes back then, so that phrase never applied to me…)  Dwayne the bathtub, I’m dwowning!  Make like a tree and leave.  Or maybe it was leaf.

Anyway.

It’s October, and the leaves are falling.  It’s October, and I’m not falling apart.  It’s October, and I’ve turned over a new leaf.  It’s October, and I’m rewriting the script.

amidst a rain of falling leaves

I don’t want to plummet to the abyss every October, because October holds so many monumental griefs for me.  I didn’t really plan it this way, but Providence made it such that new hope and new joys are embedded in October, and these things have begun to eclipse the griefs of other Octobers.

Thank God and His holy heavens for that.

I used to love October.  I used to revel in the crispness of the autumn air, and rejoice in the breathtaking colors that emerged on the leaves of the trees.  Oh, how I absolutely loved October.

But I lost my brother in October.  And I lost a very dear friend in October.  And another.  My marriage ended in October.  And just the other day, one of my dearest lifelong friends moved to the other side of the world.  I took her to the airport and said goodbye.  Will I ever see her again, face to face?  I don’t know.  I sure hope so, but I don’t know.  So you see, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the weight of October memories and grief.  In fact, September was very difficult for me, because October was looming.  I will admit, I had some moments of deep anxiety in September, but September has now gone.

amidst a glowing rain

These are all such weighty matters, these October milestones.  But it was October of last year that I began (in earnest) my journey back to me.  It is October, here and now, where I find myself in a good place.  I have much to be grateful for.  I have new friends, and a new and well embraced sense of community.  I have a new sense of acceptance, in which I am at peace with the life that I lead.  Whereas I acknowledge it’s not ideal, it is a beautiful life.  And who am I to truly know what it is that I want and need?  I have so much already.  Even if there is no such thing as Mr. RightForMe, I have some beautiful experiences to cherish forever.  If I were to die tomorrow, I’d go to my grave with a wealth of rich life experiences under my belt.  I have a renewed sense of hope.  I may not understand the circumstances under which it has been kindled, but it is very clear to me that hope prevails and that I have been called to simply trust.

love, forgive, hope

T R U S T

I am making peace with my self and the life that I lead.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A word about the cheesy art…

I think I painted that glowing figure in the 90s.  It’s very juvenile, but I was thinking of immersion.  Immersion in love, in healing rain, in tears, in golden leaves, in grace.  I suppose the same sorts of things I’m always thinking about.  And even in the darkness, there is the light of healing rain.

Above a doorway are words to live by.  It’s rather sloppy, and didn’t turn out as I’d envisioned.  I still like it, anyway.  One day I plan to remake this as a mosaic, rather than a word collage.

Posted in art, depression, family, love, me, men
July 30th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

self portraitI’ve been on vacation all week, and it’s been fantastic.  I’ve shaken and sobbed for joy to see a long lost brother, and then again to see another brother’s first, last and only baby — a girl who looks so much like him that I can’t help but gaze in wonder and awe.  I’ve been to two states beyond my own, driven hundreds of miles, experienced sunsets, moonrise, glorious days, wildlife, wildflowers, forests, trails, beaches, lake swimming, campfires, and a thunder storm.  I drank one shot of smooth smooth whiskey and had one breath of something illegal and one breath of something legal.  I’ve played softball with the kids.  I’ve had endless cups of incredible coffee and tea.  I’ve washed mountains of dishes and mountains of laundry.  I’ve seen my children exhilarated, covered in dirt from head to toe.  I’ve read a book (Little Bee, very good).  I’ve napped.  I’ve painted.  I’ve worn shorts – the kind that show my legs.  I’ve stayed up until 3 a.m. juggling conversations with a handful of men.

It’s been a very happy week!

I’m not sure about this dating business.  I’m crap at it.  I’m great at having conversations with people, and we have fun, but I’m at a bit of a loss when it comes to sorting out whether or not there’s a connection, how much of a connection there is, how to part kindly, and also how not to be offended if the man ambles off after making contact and saying he’d like to get to know me better.  Blue collar men, white collar men, older men, younger men.  I saw one man a few times over the course of a few weeks, and thought he had potential, but have since rethought that thought.  He’s an executive and has his act together, but is a bit serious or maybe controlling or possibly both.  I told him I wouldn’t see others while I was getting to know him, out of respect for the getting to know him phase, but I think I’ve gotten to know him enough to know there’s no long term magic.  And I’m conversing with others and planning to meet one or more soon.  So I’ll have to tell him.  I don’t like that part.  There’s another man who I conversed with a bit before I got together with Skills, and he’s resurfaced which I find interesting.  It’s almost like running into an old acquaintance or a long lost friend.  He’s an Irishman, and I’m a total sucker for an Irishman.  I need to be a bit vigilant there!

Sigh.  I’m learning that people are people, and the men seem to think there’s more of a connection than I do.  How does one smile and say, “Honey, you’re a fine man, and I hope you meet a fine woman, but I don’t think we’re a good fit.”  I can say that.  And I can get along with almost anybody.  But I don’t want to force any issues.  I want it to be easy, and I want to feel magic, not just, I’m nice, you’re nice, let’s try this out.

I think that I want all or nothing.  And that’s a tall order to fill.  At least the all part.  Nothing is easy as pie.

October 30th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

My BB loves to draw, and I just love the things he comes up with.  I think he’s very good.  He uses different colors and makes designs and shapes and stays within the lines when he wants to, and beyond the lines when it suits him.  I love that!

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This drawing was a heart breaker.  It’s the first family drawing he’s made, and he did it the very day that Gadget left.  Look!  I have extra arms, because I do so much.  (Artistic interpretation taken liberally.)

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This one cracks me up.  He did this just the other day.  ‘Mommy, this is a sign.  It’s a no BB sign.  You put it on your door.’  Genius!  I swear, I have not taught him the sign symbol with the circle and slash that represents ‘do not’, and I can’t think of any on our normal routes.  Dora, Diego, or Sponge Bob must have taught him.  I do bark at him to stay out of the bedroom while I’m trying to put LB to sleep.  Every. Single. Night.  He just wants attention, but insists on demanding it at precisely the time when I need to be exclusive with LB.  Any distractions stir up the sleep cycle and the meltdowns commence.  It’s a precarious balance.

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“Mommy, this sign says ‘No running across the street and jumping in puddles or else you will get in big trouble because you could get hitted by a car and runned-ded over and have to go to the hobspital.’

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This one is very Van Gogh.  All the windows and lines.  I especially like this one.  The spaghetti sauce is a nice touch, too.  You know, real.  Authentic.

One problem about loving to draw is that one who loves to draw might, especially if he’s 4-1/2, draw on, oh, just about anything.  To help channel this love, I thought it would be good to provide an allowable space for artistic expression.  What could be better than a whole wall?!

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Chalkboard paint is a great invention.  It can even be tinted (within a limited palette), so I got blue.  Blue is, after all, BB’s favorite color.  Am I a thoughtful mother, or what?  BB being BB, however, was unable to resist the temptation to continue drawing on any available surface while waiting for the chalkboard paint to dry.  During this time he decorated my camera case and eventually had to do a little time for his crime.

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LB, not wanting to miss any of the action, joined him.  (How I wanted to get a picture of the moment when they were standing side by side, both noses to the wall!  It was short-lived, since the curtain was much more interesting.)

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Finally!  Let’s draw!  They had just come home from daycare and didn’t even wait to take off their jackets.

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He likes to draw aliens, lately.  These are inspired by ‘Galaxar’.’

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And here it is, in full splendor.  It makes me smile.

Posted in art, children, projects
July 21st, 2008 | 5 Comments »

Today I happened across a blog in which the author is a young (looking) gorgeous mother of three, who is a mixed media artist living in a showcase home in Long Island. I gaze upon the photos of her home and her studio and see nothing but success, and wonder how on earth can such a young person have so much (seeming) perfection in her life. The answer may be that she is married to someone who provided that incredible home, and that she is free to work her crafts, mother, and fulfill her soul. Or maybe she or they inherited. She has lovely craft, but it doesn’t seem to be the volume or price to afford such a home.

For so many, the mere act of providing a home, any home, is nearly overwhelming, and in order to do so, one often has to sacrifice one’s crafts, one’s self-expressive dreams, whatever they may be, to make the ends meet. And we make nice homes for ourselves, with what we have within our reach. They may not be showcases with gleaming surfaces and architectural intricacies, but they are the places that we call our own.  And our lives may seem harried, with the strains of mothering, working, and wifing consuming us, leaving us spent and too weary to pursue our craft with the purity we’d like to afford it.

How I imagine I’d love to have a showcase home, studio, and life!   Not to showcase, but just to love and enjoy. Because I love beautiful design and style. And quality. My home is an average suburban home. It’s a comfortable and lived in home. A showcase home is not within my immediate means (without taking on substantial debt). Some day, perhaps… …but not now.  And a showcase life may never be in my stars.

I’m not a business woman, so the peddling of craft is a mystery to me. I’d so much rather give it away. Something about putting things up for sale takes away from the joy of the craft. Or maybe it’s because the price I’d want for the effort and love and thought put toward something is so much more than I’d feel that I could or should ask, so I’d rather just not ask. (Also, the quality that I’d produce most likely wouldn’t pass my expectations, so I’d not entitle myself to price things anyway. Perfectionism can be a curse.) Idyllic as it seems, if I crafted for a living, perhaps I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. I’m not sure that I’d know how to marry business with pleasure.

There was a brief twinge of jealousy, while browsing that blog. Living in a beautiful home, working one’s art, mothering and wifing. It seemed so ideal. And so far away. And reading of recent events in local blogland as well. Other people’s lives. They seem so charming, or so full, or so successful, or so something. Something that mine is not.

It’s crazy, though, because my life is actually incredible, and full to overflowing with blessings, if I’d only take a moment to count them.

sleepingboy.jpg

For instance.

January 20th, 2007 | 1 Comment »

acrobat93.jpg

Don’t believe what you hear
Don’t believe what you see
If you just close your eyes
You can feel the enemy
When I first met you girl
You had fire in your soul
What happened your face
Of melting in snow
Now it looks like this

And you can swallow
Or you can spit
You can throw it up
Or choke on it
And you can dream
So dream out loud
You know that your time is coming ’round
So don’t let the bastards grind you down

No, nothing makes sense
Nothing seems to fit
I know you’d hit out
If you only knew who to hit
And I’d join the movement
If there was one I could believe in
Yeah I’d break bread and wine
If there was a church I could receive in
’cause I need it now

To take a cup
To fill it up
To drink it slow
I can’t let you go
I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And don’t let the bastards grind you down

Oh, it hurts baby
(What are we going to do now it’s all been said)
(No new ideas in the house and every book has been read)

And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out
You can build
And I can will
And you can call
I can’t wait until
You can stash
And you can seize
In dreams begin
Responsibilities
And I can love
And I can love
And I know that the tide is turning ’round
So don’t let the bastards grind you down

Acrobat Lyrics
U2, Achtung Baby

Acrobat Painting
Sueeeus, 1993, Acrylic on artboard, 8.5″x11″

Posted in art, ego
November 12th, 2006 | 4 Comments »

Today we broke from the normal mundane weekend full of chores, catch-up, and to-do lists, and went to the museum. Because I have a tendency to overlook opportunities, and take far too many things for granted, this decision was quite a departure from the norm. After looking up the admission prices, Mr. Gadget was quite surprised that I remained agreeable to the venture. I am, after all, Ms. Penny Pincher Party Pooper Fun Police, and adult admission was $24. Each. Each! Okay, it’s been a long time since we’ve been out, so I don’t know the going rate for these sorts of things, but I just don’t recall paying fares like that for the Louvre or the Uffizi or the Smithsonian or any number of amazing museums I’ve had the opportunity to visit. But Leo’s in town. So off we went.

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It was quite an exhibit with great models built from his drawings.

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Some of the models were interactive and child-friendly. There were flying machines, gizmos, gadgets, war machines, and even a robot. Oh, and the first escalator.V. impressive.

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There was an original piece from his codex, which was quite something to see. Pssst. It’s backwards, whispered Mr. Gadget, concerned that those idiot display managers had posted the wrong side of the codex. Yes, Dear, that’s his characteristic mirror handwriting. It’s supposed to be that way. It’s his thanggg.

LDV also did sculpture. I quite liked his horses.

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But this is the stuff I really like.

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And of course, there can’t be a Da Vinci exhibit without Mona.
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All in all, it was a nice exhibit. Very interesting. But the paintings were all reproductions, as were the models, and I find these things somewhat disappointing. I think the only original work was the one sheet from the codex. It was quite something.

The rest of the museum was full of airplanes. I like the old ones best.

oldplane.jpg

So many things to see.

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So many buttons to push.

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So much fun to be had.

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What a beautiful day.

April 9th, 2006 | 8 Comments »

I think it was (Amanda) Soule Mama who started a corners of my home theme.  I like the idea, and the phrase.  I think it’s a flickr group, but I haven’t joined.  I get chastised enough for the amount of time I spend blogging.  Which heralds in the far too easy to assume tidings of guilt.  I was raised Catholic, after all.  Actually, I was pondering guilt in general, and thinking of writing something in the Sunday Confessions theme, while sitting in a chair that I recently placed in the corner of what used to be the dining room, gazing at the photos on the far wall, and that led me to want to talk about the corners of my home.  It’s all related.  I find rearranging furniture and rooms to be quite cathartic.  I’ve been participating in the office pool weight loss challenge and have only lost 5 pounds.  My doctor suggested that I exercise at least 45 minutes, 5 days a week, and don’t eat anything after 5:30 p.m.  I don’t even get home before 5:30, so this is not the easiest thing for me.  My coworker, who is charting the group’s progress, also pointed out that his trend analysis shows that I won’t meet my goal.  Nice of him, wasn’t it   My life and lifestyle being what it is, I don’t want to give up watching TV.  To compromise, the treadmill is now center stage in the dining room, along with my reading chair.  From the treadmill I have an excellent view of the television.  From the chair, I have a view of my photo wall.  (It’s not hard to see which ones are within reach of a certain very busy and curious one-year-old.)  Which brings me to the corners of my home.  Like I said, all related (in a very convoluted way).

Photo Wall

In my home there is a wall of photos. Photos of family and friends.  Photos that bring back memories of life experiences.  I see Pea Soup in bloom with number one.  She is radiant.  I see my brother, the young sailor with hopes and dreams of family and fatherhood, of happily ever after.  A young man who lost hope.  I see brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents.  Children.  I see myself in times of love before love went sour.  Only three of the photos are new (Mr. Gadget’s kids, and my Boo, not visible in this image).  The others span about forty years, between 1956 and 1996.  I see a high school photo of my mother, a young beauty with hopes and dreams, so different from the woman I grew up with.  I see a brother as an infant, an innocent babe with a sparkle in his eyes.  Before life changed him.  Changed us all, with its ripples. My heart cries for the people in these pictures, wishing none of them had ever suffered any pain.  Wishing they could all have kept the sparkle, the twinkle, the effervescence of youth, of hope, of life, of love.  Wishing all their best dreams had come true.  “Life is pain, Princess.”  That’s what the Dread Pirate Roberts said to Buttercup.  He’s right, and it’s not all bad.  Pain brings with it lessons.  Lessons that open us up to the possibility of bigger and better things.  Had my own path not been what it was, with all its bumps, bends, turns, and sorrows, I wouldn’t have my precious Boo.  I can’t even imagine a life without him, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about the road that I have walked, if it meant I couldn’t have my Boo.  But my heart still cries for the sorrows of the people I love.  I wish that I could wish their sorrows away.  I wish that I could rain love down on them.

Rain Love

March 26th, 2006 | 4 Comments »

(still procrastinating)

la vie en rose tattooLa vie en Rose wants a crowned bird tattoo, so I thought I’d try a sketch.  This is based on a stained glass suncatcher mobile thing that I have.  Sketching is much more interesting that itemizing tax deductions.

Posted in art