Saturday, September 3, 2011

Out of the blue

There are times in life when the things that make you the happiest are the hardest to bear.

This past year has been full of joy, love and caring people.  As well as depression, dismal health,
financial upheaval, and the on-going care taking of my sick mother.  I spend time with my sweet
grandson and leave like I could float above the clouds.  I smile like a maniac on the drive home
remembering the shining front teeth that have sprouted, four at once, almost over night.  The
 intoxicating smell of sweet baby.  Even under the lingering aroma of mashed sweet potatoes and pears.
The way splashing bath water at his grannie is the most fun experience in his whole day.  His unique
discoveries of how things work.  Like grannie's digital camera.  Or how the zipper on her purse is
resistant to his little fingers, futilely grasping the pull without success.  Then, on to something else.
Like my feet.  Pushing at them with his little "yabba doos" as if he is imagining the streets my feet
have trod.  The people I've met that he wants to know.  Always looking for someone new to
play with.  The tilt of his head and the intense stare when you just know he's trying to figure
out what all these big people think they are doing.  Getting in his way, stopping him from pulling
up to the glass coffee table, tellling him that "no" he can't crawl into the kitchen.  And, the one I
think he resents the most?  "Kohl, get away from the garbage can".

You really want to see him ticked off?  Clean up the floor around his high chair.  He throws his
dry nibbles on the floor and then comes back later to snack on them again.  When he doesn't find
anything, he will let you know how displeased he is that someone had the audacity to pick up
his food and hide it from him.

You know that tense moment in a parent's life when a child is trying so hard to speak?  When you're
waiting anxiously for that first word.  What will it be?  The age old standard:  "mamma" or "dadda"?
Who will be the first to hear their name from the lips of their dear baby?  Will he say "mamma" when
he's with daddy?  Or the opposite?  Now, what if the fates decide that the child's first clear, exact
word isn't either of those?  That in reaching to take something from another person, the child's first
word is: "GUM"?  Kohl did that to his mamma.  Tried to take her gum out of her mouth while saying
the word gum.  Clear, precise and of a volume that defied anything else being spoken.  Yep,
neither of his parents get to gloat!  I was there and laughed myself silly!

So, why with all these amazing beautiful memories am I so depressed?  I think because I don't "have a
life."  I didn't realize that anything was wrong.  Until one day a friend asked me what kind of art
project I was working on.  I looked around and saw the vestiges of art everywhere.  A canvas
on the counter.  ATCs on the table.  Inks, paints, papers, ephemera, various and sundry art elements
covered with a thin layer of dust.  "What?"  When did this happen?  Where was I when the Arizona
sands were making their way into my home?  Covering up the art doll that was a-l-m-o-s-t finished.
Sprinkling those gritty little particles over my art space.  Putting texture into the paint that I hadn't
planned on making texturized.  When monsoons, dust storms 100 miles wide and extreme heat
filled the weather forecasts but didn't register with me.

There were months that I have little to no recollection of.  I have the pay stubs to prove I was
clocked in at the bookstore.  I got paid for being there.  I must've been doing an okay job, cuz
I still have a job.  I just don't know what happened during those months, with ME.  I know I logged
crazy hours on Facebook, playing mindless games.  I even have the highest scores amongst my
friends.  I have a virtual pet that I spent ill afforded money on.  My little frog friend has some really
cute accessories.  I have an empty refrigerator.  I have past due bills.  I can't afford both my car
insurance and the bio-identical hormones my nurse practioner/gyn has me on.  I can put $20.00
gas in the truck but it desperately needs an oil change or the engine is gonna blow up.  But, I can't do
both.  Tires in Arizona take a pounding, mine are mush.  I drive anyway, everyday, to work.  The
bus system here is so unreliable that I can't chance being late, repeatedly.

Mom's health is such that her poor legs are beginning to atrophy.  They're pulling up, towards her
chest.  Making it hard to get her out of bed so I can change the linens.  Everyday.  She refuses to
see a medical professional.  While her body is treacherous, her mind is still very sharp.  She
knows all she need do is utter the words "I refuse medical treatment".  Then, no one can do
anything against her will.  And she is willful.  I think I have tied myself to her, originally out of love,
because she's a known entity.  Venturing out into the world to meet people is so hard.  There's
so little to trust anymore.  The times they have a changed.  Gracias, Mr. Dylan.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Babies Make Ya Think

Oh, yeah, it's true.  Everyday brings a new awareness to just how thoughtful I've become.  Not in any of the ways that are obvious, oh, no.  I still get up, go to work, take care of my mom, cook, clean, make a bit of art.  It's in the quiet moments, when I find myself pondering the big picture.  It's no longer a world made up of me.  I have a legacy.  Not something you hear women talk much about.  It's usually the men of the species who go for all that kind of stuff.  But, I have created one of my own.  Now, that "stuff" is important.  I have been reflecting about myself, as seen through the eyes of my grandson, in future years.  How will he perceive me?  What am I leaving behind that he will think of with pride and gratitude?  Am I leaving something behind?  Is there anything about ME that will matter to him, especially, after I am gone from this plane of existence?  Will he pick up one of my favorite books, read it, possibly, and find the same wonder in it that I did?  Will those handmade cards I've created for him still mean something?  Will his first baby book, made by moi, make him smile.  Thinking:  "My grandmother loved me enough to create this just for me".   Or, hopefully, he will reminence about the hard-working, persistant, creative, loving person I think I am.  Ok, so he'll also have to deal with the stubborn, procrastinating, sometimes mopey person I am too.  Poor boy.  He comes from stock that values all the traits that go into an individual.  Good, bad, ugly & indifferent.  Because, I am all of that, with pride.  So, I am happy to have this little boy be my prompt.  He gives me something to do in those aforementioned quiet moments.  Think.

Stay safe & Keep thinking,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Art Journal

In my last post I mentioned that I was starting an online visual art journal class, along with 1200+ others, hosted by Pam Carriker, for Strathmore Papers.  Week one was supposed to be about recycling older art journal pages into a new, more exciting art journal.  Since I didn't have any old art journal pages, or even any old art to begin with, I did what any self-respecting non-artist would do.  I cut up a bunch of magazines, sorted through my stash of stuff and glued a bunch of stuff down.  I did the first page with somewhat decent results.  I figured that I would attempt a second page to see if I could actually follow directions, this time!  Started out A-OK.  Then, the yucks took over.  Just wasn't feelin' it.  Set it aside for later consideration.  Take up page 3.  This one, well let's just say I stepped way outside my comfort range.  I don't attempt masculine pages very often.  But, with a little man child who will, undoubtedly, take up lots of space in future art projects, I knew I had to take up the personal challenge.  One of the questions asked on the forum was "Are there any men who do art journaling"?  Lo' and Behold.  There are 2 men in the class.  So, I dedicated the third page to them!  Kinda goofy, I know.  I asked them for any opinions they may have on my attempt at doing a guy type page.  Now, let's see if I can load any pics of week one and week two homework!

Ok, so I got the first page up and running.  Wish I knew how to do that cool slideshow thing.  Anyway, I will show the third page later.  Tired out from playing with baby man all day.  Got my first smile too.  Coolest day ever!   He smiled at me like 5 or 6 times, but I only caught the one on camera.  Elusive little suckers.  Can't wait to see more smiles from him.  Love that little dude.

Stay safe,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Things Flow

These past weeks have been full of the new grandboy.  This new year's beginning is no different.  Still enjoying being a grandmother. 

I was reading up on the posts from blogs I follow and came across one that started with a quotation from a grandmother.  It goes something like this:  "Be careful what you do on the first day of the new year.  You will be doing it all year".  This is a saying I have heard for as long as I can remember.  I know MY granny said it as well as some of her friends.  I suppose I even heard my own mom utter it a time or two.  I didn't remember it though until reading it on: Good thing I was having a joyous day!

I slept in, then went over to my kids' house to see the babykins.  I took over lots of cleaning supplies so I could give them a hand with some housework.  I can still remember how grateful and thankful I was when my own son was born, when my mom came over to help out with the stuff that I just couldn't seem to catch up on.  Dishes.  Laundry.  Taking out the trash.   Bathroom and kitchen were the focus.  All was going well until the toilet sucked in my cleaning rag!  Took it right down.  Since nothing came back up I thought all was well.  Until my son came home and flushed!  Right up and over went the water, thank goodness that was ALL!  After trying on our own to clear the obstacle, my son had to go and roust the maintainance man.  The only time I was glad to see a "snake" brought into the house.  Three minutes and all was right with world again.  So, back to mopping the floor, which I had just done, now ALL. was perfect with the world!  Fed and played with Kohl for a while.  Packed up some laundry and came home.

To start my very first online art class!  Pam Carriker is hosting a Visual Journal class at Strathmore Papers.  It runs for 4 weeks.  Once a week lessons.  Large turnout for it too.  Well over 800 people are signed up.  Oh, the best part:  It's FREE.  Some of those classes are so amazing but too pricey for this ol' gal.  It's nice to get an opportunity to see what I've been missing.  And, of course, learn from a great teacher.  Bonus: the others in the class are very supportive and informative.  Willing to pass on tips and show their own artwork.  I am still stymied by my camera/scanner/printer and can't show any of my own, yet.  That's a New Year's Resolution for me...get savvy with the technology.  I'm so tired of feeling all dumb and ignorant.  I WILL know stuff this year!!!  I am putzing around online reading different how-tos and trying things out.  Mainly behind the scenes.  Once of my experiments was getting those pics of the baby up.  But, I don't know how to re-size them and he takes up a lot of space for such a tiny man!  Oh, well, I'll keep at it.  (I just did a preview of this post and it looks like the two top pics are missing!)  Wait!  I just remembered that the only way I could get the pictures up was to post them like a regular entry.  I guess that means they'll be at the end of this post.  Probably looking all amateurish. "Sigh".  I don't want to delete them, but it may come to that.  Did you hear/see/feel the "Sigh"?  Ditto that. 

I hope all of those who stumble upon this have a unique New Year.  No overflows.

Stay safe and creative,