Coming home after 5 days of work feels like falling into a big, soft pillow. Comfort, smells, home! I don't think I could not work, but I wish it did not feel like it took up most of my life. Right now I feel like I opened presents and immediately ran to work. Then James Brown died, Saddam Hussein and Gerald Ford.....and now finally back home, to see all the presents exactly where I left them.
Not only does my mom do amost of my hard work at home for me, she also reads the entire Sunday paper and gives me a suggested reading stack. She puts these selections in my purse now I might find time to read them at work.
Lastly, Miranda Zimmer. Engaging and colorful, Zimmer's miniscule paintings are more provocative to the reflective mind than a Rorschach test might be. Zimmer chooses brightly colored house paint sample squares as her canvases and then folds another color of paint inside each tiny square. You must see the small canvases that make up the installation.
Now if I could just go create something, I fill so full of inspiration right now ;)
"Peace" for Illustration Friday. Today was there was a story about polar bears losing their habitat with the threat of global warming. I started thinking about them stuck on one small "piece" of ice in the future. Click on image to see a larger size.
I finally made it to the mall! My first time there in months. It was wonderful to see all the people mulling about looking panic stricken, mom's being pulled around by their children, Christmas music softly cooing in the background of each store. I so love the Christmas season and the goodness that it brings out in us all. I spent an hour in Daiso (a new Japanese store that Paula had told me about but have not had time to visit it yet). That was FUN. If you are ever at Alderwood Mall, you must visit that little gem.
I bought myself some expensive eye rejuvenating gel (oil -- snake oil?) from the Dead Sea at Dead Sea kiosk and am feeling a little guilty about it. Mom pointed to the present she wanted and I purchased it, that was too easy. M all ready had his present up and running in his room (his turntable mixers). We will get D's after the rush is all over. Now it is time to start a fire, and snuggle down for a long winter's nap. Ok, just a long night at home, quiet, fire, wine, music. Some down time, family time, I am sorely in need of. I miss having family here this year, it seems too quiet. You guys are missed! And love to all of my family in Texas ... totally miss you guys.
The light outside is right now is so lovely. That blue light at dusk. I really love this time of day.
Merry Christmas to all of you. I am sorry I have been so lame about not answering my email, or leaving many reply comments. But I am so thankful for all of you, friends out there. You have enriched my life, I can't even express how much. Humor, compassion, understanding, creativity. I am still totally in love with "littlesomethings" and my blogging experience. And I wish we could all get together for one big party :0 with lots of food and wine involved. Until that happens, I lift my glass to you all and say, Thank You and Happy Holidays! (these are little plastic trees I found at Daiso to add to my Christmas tree collection).
I had an idea for my Christmas card many months ago. I did not have time to do all the illustrations the card required, although I started a couple of them. So I got down to the final days and decided I would go another direction and create a little book of bottle brush trees. I wanted to print the pages out on one page, several to a page and do an accordion fold, so the book would have two images on each side of the page, with minimal printing. That was around the time I deleted my files. Like a dog with a bone, I photographed all the trees again and reproduced the book. I tried and tried to get that accordion fold down so all of my pages would match up, without spending too much time on each book and never achieved that. I made a quick decision to ditch that stupid idea and move on. I made an easier accordion fold and smaller version of my tag, sans the cool script O. It is all still fun.
For me, it is the idea and figuring out how to accomplish that idea that is the most fun. I love the production, the measuring, the preliminary putting together. All of that is the most fun for me!
During the production, addressing envelopes, I wanted a family picture of us (which I had suggested we take weeks ago but never happened). I came upstairs to find my son in his underwear. I, had not even brushed my hair in several days and I thought D looked fine. Of course, mom was dressed and made up. I said, "Let's all just gather here and take a quick photo, no one will know you are even in you underwear!" So I was trying to take one of those self-portrait-type-photos. My son said he would thrash me if I blogged or printed it. My husband laughed and said family members would come start an intervention on us with we included that photo in the card. Insisted M take a shower, and sweetly suggested that I brush my hair. And we managed a quick family Christmas photo an hour later.
I always feel awkward about writing personal stuff on my blog. Ok, I write personal stuff about my grandmother or my love for my son. Sweet personal stuff, but not crappy -- this-is-the-shit-that-happened-today - personal stuff. Because, believe me, I know you guys have that crappy stuff going on and don't need anymore. You know how bad stuff, bad luck, bad things, come in 3's or 7's? I know as a teenager, when I worked at the nursing home, deaths would come in 3's or 7's. That is just the way it was, and we all knew it.
Since Halloween, I have been experiencing the 3's or 7's (is now moving into the teens). When my vacuum cleaner broke on Thanksgiving Day, I thought that was 7. Then the dishwasher went out , was that 8?. The leaky roof, the wall destroyed, my back door disintegrating from rain. ($9,000 for roof repair, $2,400 for a new door). Then many other things happened, some small and some HUGE ... and yes, God, Higher Being, I am keeping count. So my husband had surgery on three vertebrae in his neck and not having a smooth recovery on that. I was thinking now I am at 9 or 10? I have had a very stressful time at work and I was counting that into my block of 3 or 7 bad experiences. But my exhaustion was making my mind play tricks and I keep thinking my counting is off. 3? 5? 7? 11?
Today I talked mom into going Christmas shopping at the mall. I have taken off a couple of extra days because I am so behind on my seasonal shopping. She does not shop but I told her I really needed to "get-into-the-spirit" and she went along with me. She has been going through some very personal stress (which she does not deal with at all!) and having outward physical signs from that ... but agreed to go. So we are driving to my favorite shopping locale, when I look over and see her, pale, sweating, pupils dilated, having cold sweats. I turned the car around and headed to the emergency room where we just spent the last 6 hours. Blood test, x-rays, etc. I faced that fear I have had since I was a small child -- my mother dying. Seeing her lay there in a hospital gown, my scared child was really scared and nothing else matters when you are in that state of mind.
The great news is, I think it is only my mom's anxiety making her ill at the moment and her basic health seems to be fine.
With the extra couple of days I have taken off work to get caught up for the holidays - I have been working on my Christmas card. The most fun I have all year long. So I ran home from the emergency room to work on the cards. Not to go into too many details ... well, maybe I have to to make it understandable. I shot lots of photos to make a small book (O, Christmas tree). When I tried to put it together I realized it wasn't working , but then found 13 in x 19 in film that D had bought me some years back. The cd drawer in the computer I use all the time is broken (for many months ... kids pushed it in) so I saved all the work to the LeCie external and tried to burn a cd from another computer, so I could take the files to my other much older computer downstairs where I can print the 13 in x 19 in ...oh crap, this is not making any sense. The bottom line of this is ... I accidentally trashed and erased all the files for my Christmas card ... so is there the 9th or 10th? 11? 12? I don't know, but I am trying not to take any of it personally. Instead, think of some other idea I can do for my Christmas card that doesn't require to much work, or maybe a New Year's card.
What is that saying about God does not give you more than you can handle. I have kept that in my mind in years past, when my life seemed like more chaos and heartbreak than one person could take. And I am keeping it in mind this very minute. When I want to cry, scream, throw a little tantrum but telling myself it will all be okay.
The lights going out have been a blessing for our dull home! Lots of friends, friends of friends, dogs of friends ... a happy coincidence of power outages, games of scrabble wiht friends visiting for the night. Jim and Carla (photographers), Carissa (put Year in Pictures media together) and Chris (photographers and multimedia) and Amber.
Shash’s memory of her mormor hits a raw nerve I have with my most beloved grandmother. She was not a force but a gently breeze of nature. A soft wind that pushes your hair from your face and gently kisses our cheek. The voice that tells you when you have done something wrong, but never a critical voice. I have dreams of her. I am always sitting at her feet, listening to something she is telling us. I have on old, men’s wool trousers in the dream. She looks about the age I am now. We are talking, laughing.
She gave me everything natural, creative, giving, soft, forgiving that I needed as a child. She was fun loving, sweet to the core, non-judgmental and very active. She loved her grandchildren and would do anything for them. You felt safe with her. You felt like you could do anything around her, fun things, things to be laughed about, dig for worms, eat cookie dough, eat an entire pie. She only scolded you by saying something in a soft, southern voice, something gentle that said, “You didn’t really mean to do/say that”. She was like this with all of her grandchildren.
I have so many images and memories of her that it is hard to pick just a couple.
When I took her great-grandson to Texas to meet the family she must have been in her 80’s. She could hardly walk by then but when I wanted to stroll down to the waterfront of their lake house, she tried to follow to see it with me. We walked a little while and I realized she just could not manage it, but she thought she could. I convinced her to head back home.
As young children at my grandmother’s house, there was always a fold out sofa in front of the TV where we would all pile in to watch my grandfather’s favorite show “wrestling”. We would also watch scary movies. All of us, my grandmother in the middle piled into the bumpy, very uncomfortable fold out … watching T.V. and falling asleep, giggling, hiding our faces, scared, thrilled, in love with the moment. Somehow, we would all end up in their bed the next morning!
So, skip forward 20+ years. My son was an infant; my grandmother was an old, arthritic woman. We pulled out a sofa and there, we all slept together. My son, my Big Mama, and me… Big Mama and I holding hands as we fell asleep. That is one of my most precious memories of her. That was one of the last memories I have before her heart attack.
My grandmother was a fisherman. She would take us all out fishing. She had a portion of her garden allocated to her grubs and worms, where we all got to dig for them, putting them in a ventilated can for fishing. She taught me how to bait a hook. How to be patient while waiting for a fish. I watched her ring a chicken’s neck and was horrified that she could do such a thing. She spent hours watching us make mud pies, and using her flower petals for decoration. She was a collector of junk (I come by that naturally) and had a carport and garages full of stuff that we would shift through in fascination. She had rain barrels everywhere and all of them full of minnows.
She had a heart attack and valiant efforts were performed to keep her alive. (Please check your Living Will). From then on she lay in a hospital bed (in my aunt Lucy’s house, another un-selfish, loving woman … another heroic story, I will tell later), unaware of all of her grandchildren who came to gently kiss her face, tell her how much we loved and missed her. For a minute you would think she would recognize you, then immediately know she had not a clue. I was thankful when she passed away, not to be in that vegatative state anymore. That would not have been to her liking at all. And that is not how I wanted to remember her. I only remember the vibrant, funny, loving, active, strong, outgoing woman that she was. And miss her desperately. She gave us all freedom to be fun loving kids, to be ourselves.