Friday, December 28, 2012

quickly, quickly...

A few quick notes...
       The Holidays were full of love this year. They usually are, but this year in particular felt super charged with enormous amounts of loving gratitude and appreciation.
          I got a lock pick. Totally feel like Nancy Drew/Sabrina Duncan/Mata Hari. I also got a auburn fantasy-mermaid wig, so I feel changeable/blend-inable. And dangerous. In a really non aggressive way. I just want to be a lady detective and solve mysteries.
         I can't wait to ring in the new year with my two favorite people. My perfect match, and my best bosom friend. A quiet evening, some food adventuring, and champagne. A lovely way to welcome a year that I'm pretty thrilled to usher in.
        And I'm turning 40 in TWO WEEKS. Amazing! I figure, my 30's were pretty wonderous. My 40's are going to be even better! More on this later.

Off to prep for a lovely supper/evening with our favorite neighbors. Feeling chock full of love and gleeful gratitude.
*heart heart heart*



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmasy anticipation

Another holiday season is upon us! Nik and I have watched two versions of A Christmas Carol, and saw the play at Alleyway Theater. It's the perfect story of redemption and the spirit of Christmas. I love the story more and more as time passes.
Things I look forward to at this time of year..
*Snow. Of which we've had none. But I'm holding fast to the hope of some before Christmas. I distinctly remember struggling to learn my multiplication tables, and going for long snowey walks and my Dad helping me memorize them. The Tori Amos song Winter never fails to bring these walks back to me, and to make my heart ache until I cry from it. A painful beautiful nostalgic longing.
*Our tree. Big, colorful bulbs have replaced the little white lights I was into for years. A throwback to childhood, and I love them.
*Caroles. All of the old ones, anyway. Gimme a little Good King Wenceslas. Gimme a choir singing The first Nowell or It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. I will sing along, and it wont be pretty, but I will feel all sorts of joyful inside. Even as I reach for notes far too high for me to consider, I soar inside.
Silence. Last night I turned out every light in the house except the tree and sipped a cup of tea. I thought about childhood Christmases. I thought of my Dad singing in the church choir and how exciting that was. How proud I felt of his voice, touching all of those people. I remembered staying home from midnight mass with my Mom to snuggle up in tree light, quietly sharing the space and the anticipation of all of us being together the next day. I thought about my life today, about how much things have changed since last year at this time. I felt deep gratitude and so so much love in me. I felt happy and comfortable and blessed.

Off to walk with my best Uni-can friend and to call out to the snow. I hope it arrives soon.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Update-y and link-y and whatnot.

First, updatey stuff. Pappy is home and recovering from his Radical Prostectomy. I was able to be there to keep the dog company while Nik'l and Mammy spent the days at Roswell. It made me happy to be able to give them peace of mind about Miss Jesse Jane (woof), and to do things around that house in order to alleviate some of the duties that don't feel terribly relevant when you're taking care of a loved one who is recovering. There have been a few issues, along with the general discomfort and anxiety of healing from something so major, but all is well. I feel so blessed to have Mammy and Pappy in my life. I love them more and more, which is such an incredible bonus to loving Nik.We will be present as much as possible through the recovery process, which sometimes means being apart. I won't see my Nik'l until Sunday morning, which seems so far away. We've never been apart this long, and while I am very occupied (more below), I miss her so.

The Queen City Market was a ridiculous success. So much so that I have been making and making new things for the past 4 days. So much making. So much glue, the toxic good smelling kind as well as the pasty balls of glue all over the floor kind. Both Friday and Saturday I'll be at the Last Minute Panic sale at the WNY Book Arts Collective. I'm pretty excited about it for a few reasons. It is the first show I ever did, three years ago, so I feel a real affection for, and loyalty to it. Also, the people are wonderful. My friend Barbara Hart, who makes these amazing little wood people will be there..
http://www.etsy.com/listing/108019150/little-wood-mental-patient
And Chris from Fly Rabbit Press
http://www.etsy.com/listing/77827981/today-will-be-a-good-day
And Jan who makes quirky, eclectic jewelry that I love
http://www.etsy.com/listing/79914324/vintage-picture-frame-necklace-ooak
Also, Lloyd's Taco truck will be there, so..win win win WIN.

Last Minute Panic is Friday 4-8 and Saturday 12-6...come see great people! Buy cool one of a kind gifts! Eat tacos!
YAY!
Some favorite new ABC boxes!
R is for Regeneration
 S is for Saint (Catherine)


Back to work so that I can sit back tonight and sleep easy knowing I'm ready for tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

making and reading. a mini post.

Today I created a shadowbox, and I love it. Here is my favorite part...her story.

As she grew, her parents worked extremely hard to tame her. And as she was tamed her dreams grew wilder. Veering into silent dark places where she could fill the inky air with her voice. Here she birthed a stag which shred the very air with its great antlers until she could step through the tatters into more and wilder places. Her waking life was full of people bent on the taming of her, and she fought them all until at last she melted into the night itself. And escaped.


I also just finished reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making. It was so incredible. Deeply, truly beautiful. And at the end I cried and cried and felt inspired and uplifted and broken hearted and I want to name something September. I can't wait to read the second one...*sigh*

Sunday, December 2, 2012

struggle, creak, pop, shift, grow.

I'm not particularly fond of writing through a funk. It feels self serving, and I think that you'll think that I'm dull and whiney. Or, worse, that you'll not allow me the very real cycles of living and pigeon hole me in your thoughts as a "depressed" person. Which I have a deep aversion to. So I call it a funk, and avoid writing too much.
I spent many years living in near constant depression. That cycle began to slowly change in my late 20's. I've spent 10 years living in fluctuating states of self searching, growth, change, reflection, healing, and, subsequently, joy, delight, wonder, awe, gratitude, and peace.
But right now. I'm in a funk.
I love this season. I love the turning in, the darkness, even the weatherizing of our space which turns it into a dark little den of soft light and warmth. I love the freshness of winter air. I love snow for it's alchemical ability to re shape familiar landscapes into magical places. I love when it clings to every tiny thing and makes the world soft and sparkling and so so silent. This love of the season compounds the funk, because I so sincerely do Not want to feel it (in the midst of the mooost wonderful tiiime...of the yeeeaaaaar) that I deny it, and it gets all uppity and out of control until I am forced to deal with it.
Today there is rain. A near constant rain, and I have had a sinusy headache for two days and I feel so tired. I hurt my back this morning by coughing while I was bent over. I eased myself into childs pose and wept and wept there on the floor. Cat nip sticking to my forehead and feeling so sorry for myself, wanting (for over a year now) a massage, but denying myself, saying yet again that I can't afford one. I am full up on emotions, and have no more room in me, which makes me feel impatient and overwhelmed. So I need to express them. To release them and breathe into the space they leave in me to welcome ease, trust, comfort.

Here goes.
I feel afraid. I'm afraid of not making enough money at the QCM this Saturday. I'm afraid that noone will want anything that I make, and I will feel invalidated.  I feel afraid for Pappy's surgery on Monday. That he won't recover well, or that they'll find more cancer. That I'll lose him. That we'll lose him. I'm afraid of losing anyone else that I love, and I've so damn many people to lose.
Which brings me to anger. I'm angry that I live above people who walk around like they've got weights on their ankles. Seriously, I am woken from my sleep by their pounding through their apartment and they live below me. I am angry at an old friend for responding to my admission of having felt hurt by her with hurtful words. I'm angry at my landperson for still not putting a new roof on.
I am sad that an important relationship in my life shifted fundamentally the summer I got married. I feel sad that it feels so damaged, and lost. I feel broken trust and rejection and a myriad of old old issues all bundled up within it.
But if I stop spinning in the emotions, I know that our well being doesn't depend on the money I make this weekend. I know that I can stop denying myself the healing luxury of a massage (though I still feel the need to justify that it would cost less than 2 chiropractic adjustments). I know that there will be people who walk right by my table at the show on saturday, their eyes sliding over the things that I've created, and love. But there will be people who stop, who compliment, and converse, and encourage, and buy. I can do nothing but trust that Pappy will be fine. He will heal and we will be present and help and support and encourage. That I have many people in my life who I will lose, but whom I love. I love. And who love me.
As for my neighbors, the Ladies of Mighty Striding, they do their best. If I say, 'hey..you're rediculously loud right now and woke me', they're responsive and respectful. No big. I am doing my best, and with wishes for love and peace, releasing the old friendship which made her feel judged and made me feel peripheral and hurt. We'll get a roof. Or not. We'll move out of here. Eventually. I can love the lost relationship, and wish her so much love and peace and joy in her life.
I'm exhausted. I can't imagine that you've stuck in through all of this processing. I don't know yet if it's helped. I do, however, trust that I will move through this. I will learn from it and there will be wonderous little shifts inside of me. My entire life and the living of it will hold cycles of wonder, ease, adventure, peace, stumbling, loss, weeping, laughter, comfort, fear, anger, connection, joy, expression, creativity, sadness, and funks. And through it, I will always be growing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

ohhh, blech.

Another stretch between posts, and now I've chosen an extremely limited amount of time and space to write in. but at least I'm doing it. In between bursts of productivity and mind numbing overwhelmed-ness, there is this post.
 The Queen City Market is the 8th of December. Which is entirely Awesome. I've done enough shows to have a really clear idea of what I need to do to prepare. Yet, I've been awash in anxiety tempered with ambivalence. Wanting to get lots of merch made, but feeling less than passionate about what I'm making. Needing to do a few practice set ups, but being unclear about what I'm bringing, what I have, what what what.
Tired. I'm tired. Though I sleep deep, deep, long nights of sleep. I wake happy to be waking, to get up, to share the morning with Nik'l and kitten and Boris. Then I waft through focus into uncertainty, driven by a pointless determination to appear competent and busy...to the cats, since they're the only ones who've witnessed the last few days. I make things, and make lists, and never stop doing, but somehow manage to feel like I haven't done much. Which reminds me that I meant to vacuum today.
I feel off kilter, and un-centered and uncertain what it is, exactly, that I need. I am working on being compassionate, and open and present. I think that tomorrow I will walk. Breathe and move and let my mind clear. Settle into myself and listen so I can know what it is that I need in order to feel more myself again.
Struggly, achy, sludgy. At least I know that at the other end will be clarity, movement, and growth.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

possibilities

There was nothing that she couldn't do. Learning and practice composed the bulk of her days. Yet task after task, lesson after lesson, she had mastered them all. She was giddy with the power, the control, the possibilities. Her own brilliance amazed her. She had momentarily feared that the task at hand would be insurmountable when it was initially presented to her. But with only four attempts..Four..she had conquered her most difficult skill to date. Shoe tying. Incredible. She was Nearly Five years old, and the world was hers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

present.

I keep finding myself pressed up against the issue of housing. Where I live, where I want to live, and the chasm between them. This issue goes hand in hand with a mother ton of negativity, frustration, and a feeling of helplessness. I'm angry at the owner of my building. I want to have a roof that isn't (literally) full of holes. I want windows that keep the cold out. I want walls that don't grow mold, and that aren't crumbling (again, literally). I am angry because I cannot believe that it is a lack of money that prevents these things being done, but a lack of care. And I deserve care, respect, a safe place to live. And so I have cycled through and around all of this for over a year now. I packed most of our belongings. We gave notice. We stopped paying rent. We started work on other dilapidated apartments in exchange for it. I visualized and worked on manifesting my homestead. I accepted that this is where I am and unpacked. I re painted and re decorated. Recently we considered a temporary move of 6 months to a transitional space. Then we considered making peace with where we are (really this time) as we hope for the sale and subsequent salvation of our building.

What do I do? I create my peace, I create my life, I create my space, I choose how I react. I choose to stay, or to go.

Last night I spent a frenzied 20 minutes re organizing and randomly scrubbing at things with a magic eraser. Whipped up into a little tornado of anxiety. Thinking of the next day, the upcoming week, the things I want to do/need to do. In desperate need of some centering, I laid in bed and breathed. I let go of the next day. I felt warm, safe, quiet. I felt Nik'l reading beside me. I felt how perfect and complete the moment was, and slept.

Today is here. I'm trying to manage things further by staying present not just in this day, but in whatever I'm doing in any given moment. trying not to get ahead of myself. Some days this all feels so manageable, and some days I struggle. Patience. Patience on the days that I stumble. all is well here and now. All is well.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

nature ushers in...

We went hiking yesterday at Hunter's Creek Park. After having hiked at peak foliage season a few times this year, all I could see at first was the absence of leaves.
The woods seemed barren and bleak. Then we came to the creek, and I saw a heron, perched mid stream and almost perfectly camouflaged there. Seeing it was a thrill, and I spent a few moments wondering at how graceful it was, and how large. As we walked on I began to notice the pines leaning out over the water as their roots clung to the eroding bank.
And I breathed in the sweet smell of decay as I looked at all of the brilliance of fall foliage turned to one color beneath my feet. And I saw fallen trees turned a deep, rich red in their decomposition. I saw milkweed pods, burst open and spilling perfect individual parachutes of hope and life out onto the breezes.
And it was so beautiful! It wasn't the lush and supple that is summer. It wasn't the brilliant and vivid that is early autumn. It was the letting go and simplifying, the preparation for, the life cycle of late fall. And I looked at all of those empty branches again,and saw how they were perfect. And I knew that they were waiting to hold the thinnest edges of snow, which would turn them into magical, sparkling, delicate reminders of how perfect it all is.

And I felt humbled and grateful and bursting with joy at it all.
This is why we go into the woods. To feel connected to the earth beneath our feet, safely held by the trees around us, pulled out of ourselves and into something bigger.


Friday, November 9, 2012

A Happy Birthday

Nik turns 39 today! I get to celebrate all of the things about her that I find so remarkable and amazing every single day. But today, I get to do it louder!
A few things about Nik'l that make me proud...
 Her loyalty, which is deep. Her absolute sweetness, which is so apparent in her actions. Her authenticity and frank honesty. Her integrity, and willingness to stand up and speak out. Her brilliance, and ideas for helping people create more connection and joy. Her optimism and hope. Her big open playful spirit ,sense of adventure, her smile, and laugh. Her wonder and curiosity about the world...
I am so blessed to love her, and to fall in love more as time passes, and time passes sweetly and easily. Even when we argue, when life feels like rough waters, there is a deep calm place that is love. friendship. commitment. wonder. joy. gratitude.




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On aging

Once a month, I get the pms, and I believe that the issues which arise during this time are the issues I most need to look at, honor, heal, and release. But there is life to live, and there are distractions, and denial, and the fact that changing old beliefs is a gradual process. So, I get repeats, like accepting my own aging process. I briefly touched on this subject in the June 16 post My Naked Face. This month, I have decided to really focus on reassessing my beliefs about aging and beauty. Let's start with the old stuff...

   I don't have vivid memories of how I viewed my physicality as a kid. I was active, and loved to do 'gymnastics' in the yard, and run and ride my bike and swim. I got my period for the first time when I was twelve, and it ushered in a world of changes. I went from super skinny to all filled out and it felt strange and uncomfortable. My first remembered compliments on my appearance came hand in hand with fear, shame, and a numbing sense of isolation.
   In High School I remember liking my hands. I read a lot (also known as constantly) and wore great big Cure and Smiths tee shirts. I remember Amy (I think her name was Amy) Hutton, who shaved her head but not her armpits, and loving that about her.
   When I was in my early 20's I was super skinny. Every day I smoked a pack of cigarettes, drank a few pots of coffee and ate popcorn for at least two meals, so that isn't much of a surprise. I had 20-ish year old skin, and it was lovely. I had some serious dislike for my face, and ignored, abused, and generally hated my body. I shaved my head, and wore enormous overalls with men's tee shirts.
   By my early 30's a few things had happened, helped along by lots of excellent talk therapy in my 20's and a driving desire to know myself, and to be happy. I quit smoking, gained weight, and freaked out. Having a soft pillowy body felt unsafe to me, and I missed feeling like I was a 'safe' assemblage of edges and lines. I started reading about and practicing self acceptance, and I eventually developed a connection with my body as something to honor and care for. I started to like my face, a bit more anyway. I learned to look into my own eyes and say I love you. When my mother died (which I wrote about in my July 26 entry Grief Takes Time), and I found peace and forgiveness and enormous reserves of love for her, I learned to love my face, in theory.
   So here I am. 39 years old. I still struggle with the body I am living in, and the face I wear. And I am tired of that struggle. I have wasted too much of my precious time in harsh judgement of my physical body. Wasted time. I will never be this young again. The little wrinkles? They'll grow up to be the predominant feature on my face to most people. The wee soft chin? It will likely (given genetics) one day rest itself upon my chest. I will get very soft, and cats and chickens will think they've found heaven in my lap and arms. I will get shorter. I will grow invisible to young people. I intend to stay active, and to garden and tend my chickens, and work my property, though I will likely do it all rather slowly. And in orthopedic shoes. One day I will look at pictures of me at this age and think, 'damn, what a looker'. So I may as well start doing that right now. Allowing myself to say I am beautiful, allowing myself to believe it. To feel gratitude that my body is beautiful, and strong, and capable, and miraculous. I carry my parents around in the shape of my face and the color of my eyes. And I love my parents, and I'm so lucky to see them when I look in the mirror. To see my face, not as a flawed thing but as a perfect one.
   I think this has helped. When I am tempted to be harsh with myself, I will imagine I am 60, 70, 80 years old and looking at my 39 year old face. And I'll look deeply into my own eyes in the mirror and say, 'honey, you're a looker'.
My face today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storms a'brewin'

It's all static and energy outside. The crows, who are always flying to roost at this time of night are speeding by, coasting on wild winds and looking for all the world like frenzied, happy things. It's exciting to be on the verge of a good storm. I'm sincerely afraid that our roof, or at least large portions of it, will blow off. I'm hoping we don't lose our electricity, or more importantly our heat! But if we do...there are candles, and the oil lamp, and neighbors to laugh with.
So, Bring it Sandy. I'm ready. Mostly..ish.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

ornamental anticipation

The weather has turned. Cold, rain, and grey grey grey. And i love it. The house is aglow with candles and soft light. There is a feeling of comfort and refuge from the weather. I am full of anticipation for Thanksgiving, and the magical season it ushers in. Nik and I are already singing caroles and talking about where we'll put the tree. I, of course, am slighty preoccupied with finding one that is NOT infested with aphids. I was a little traumatized by that last year and have No desire to repeat the great aphid tree experiment. *shudder*

I have two shows lined up for the holidays, too. And have begun making ornaments! Here are a couple of my favorites..

They are both currently at Studio Hart on Allen Street. But here is my absolute favorite, which I may not be able to part with..


Monday, October 22, 2012

want want

I have the travel bug. I want to hop the pond again, and I want to see Prague. I want to see Paris. I want to navigate and ramble and pick through flea markets and marvel at the history and revel in the food. I want to hear another language. I want to feel shaken and cranky and amazed. I want to feel so outside of my comfort zones that its scary..in a safe ish way. I feel nostalgia and longing for places I've never been and for cultures I've never experienced. I want to feel foreign countrysides the way I feel forests when we go hiking. To see trees I don't see here, and to touch their bark and feel their beautiful, strong root systems and feel connected and grounded and present.
Want want.
But then, I want lots of things. Our homestead. My chickens. A house that isn't leaking and neglected. A hammock in the woods, complete with mosquito net. I want smaller pores. Longer hair. A lobster tail and veuve cliquot. another pair of wool socks.
For now...I will eat supper with my love, and be present and appreciative.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Remembering Walter

I accidentally deleted this, an am posting it again.
Life has been full of motion and work and love of late. But I wanted to pause and remember my Dad today. It's been 25 years since he died, which just seems impossible. It's been so much longer...it was so much more recent...depending on the day. I've thought a lot about the day he died, 7 months after a cancer diagnosis. I thought of his choice not to have chemotherapy after the first couple of treatments. I've thought of the last few weeks of his life. But what I want to say here, is that in my child's memory of him, there is just so much love. And it feels unconditional when I recall it. And that is important to me, even if I am mis remembering. Even though my older siblings had much more difficult relationships with him. I realize that he mellowed a great deal, and I am grateful that in the path of my life I had his gentle, reassuring love for 14 years.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

brave monkey.

I read somewhere that if I don't blog for awhile, I'm supposed to jump right in as though no time had passed. Which seems impossible. Too much has happened. More than a month of days and nights of living and adventuring and creating.
I have not written, in part, because of a life event that has felt personal, and tapped into some of my bigger fears as well. It's incredible how my heart can beat harder as I write this, as I skirt the issue, full of tremulous anxiety. *deep breathe, and just say it..* My sweet dad in law has had a cancer diagnosis. It feels simultaneously manageable, beatable, and terrifying. What is to come will not be simple, but I feel confident that it will be all right. Yet my history makes me feel utterly tired of the word cancer and all of it's nasty implications. I feel like death is all up in my face, poking me in the chest and claiming every person I love as it's own.
But there is the fact that death is what makes life feel relevant, and beautiful, and precious. It is the thing that makes us say 'carpe diem' and drives us to create the lives we want to live. It's what makes loving sweeter, and joy brighter. The inevitability of loss urges us to be vigilant, loyal friends, to strive toward healing and growing as people. It encourages leaps of faith into our dreams.
Or does it? It can also make us isolate ourselves. To choose to live small, comfortable, familiar lives that don't invite the fear of the unknown. It can make us shut out the potential for deep friendships, deep loves, deep commitments in order to spare ourselves loss and grief. The irony is that loss happens. Whether we love one person or many, one pet or many. And when we lose one who we love, we are faced with grief. That great open space in us that feels unfillable by any but the friend, the beloved.
And it is that deep darkness that makes joy feel so miraculous when it returns. When sun bursts through black clouds and just brilliantly illuminates us for a moment. And through our healing and grieving we experience more and more moments of light. And then there is the blessed day when we can feel joy and love and gratitude while thinking of our lost loves. When their memory brings us comfort, and not pain.
It is cyclical, and fluid, and ever changing.
So. I finally said it. Which in some ways means having to be a brave monkey and accepting it. Pappy's diagnosis makes me feel afraid, but strong too. Knowing that I will lose so many people who I love in this lifetime reminds me that I Love. That I am capable of caring for, loving, losing, grieving, healing, loving more, and celebrating the lives of everyone around me. I'm so grateful for that.

Friday, September 14, 2012

PMS. Or, soybeans and cake for supper.

I heard something shocking recently. It started with my little list of 'what the heck is going on with me' symptoms. It ended in this exchange..'Oh, dear. How old are you?' '40 in January.' 'tsk, it sounds an awful lot like perimenopause'. After all of my joking, has it actually begun? I took a quiz on Christiane Northrup's website, and have 'moderate' symptoms, which they go on to explain means I'm 'already in the throes of hormonal imbalance'. This makes me laugh, because it's so dramatic it sounds like I made it up. But I didn't..which is still funny.

I'm also in the throes of PMS right now. My best love and life-time partner-in-living has sweetly given me the next 24 hours to take care of my needs. Which include eating two bags of edamame and a slice of chocolate cake with French butter creme frosting. Watching a documentary (Young At Heart) that my most vibrant bff promises will make me 'sob and sob' but in the good, affirming, heart-full way. Soaking in a lavender epsom salt bath, and reading until I fall asleep right in the very middle of the bed.
Having said that, I really want to unplug right now! So I'll wrap up real quick by saying, whatever the state of my hormones currently, I'm so flippin' happy to be living my life. I feel so loved, and so much love flows right back out of me. I get to be creative in my work every day, or to help someone I love, or to go for an adventure with my favorite person. I feel accepted and safe in my relationship, even in the scary stuff, like exploring healthy ways to express anger. I feel completely supported on my stumbling, leaping, growing, reaching, changing path. In return, I am a safe place. I am loving, and supportive. I practice every day at becoming the most brilliant shimmery unican friend and partner and sister and daughter-in-law that I can be. And I get to keep on succeeding and failing and practicing..every day..right up until the very last one that I'm blessed to live.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When it rains..

It pours! And we are currently being happily saturated after too too much drought. It's been ages since I've felt this perfect state of in-the-house coziness. It's absolute reading on the couch weather.

There has been much working and adventuring of late. Not a lot of creative work, and the slump has made me feel, well... slumpy. I've experienced ebbs and flows in my creative energy before, but this one has felt so drawn out. I haven't the inclination or energy to make anything new. I'm tired to death of matchboxes, and can't stand to look through my dwindled cache of materials one more time. I've also been beset upon by...Insomnia (dun-dun-dunnnn). I've always been a great sleeper so it's disconcerting when I have trouble. I've had several nights in the last couple of weeks that end up with me in the bath with a book at 1am. The results are irritability, *extreme drama over undramatic events* (what to do when I spill water down the front of myself? Why, weep of course), and afternoons of zoned out, stingy eyed staring into the middle distance. Nap? No! If I nap then I might push myself further into the sleepless spiral and never, ever recover!(see: drama*)

In order to assuage my creative block anxiety, Nik and I took a couple of day trips this week. We walked out to Bird Island..
 I ate a bunny dog at Old Man River...
 We went to Old Fort Niagara which I Loved, but got charged a roaming fee, though we never crossed the boarder into Canada which I did Not love. We are going back for the ghost walk/candle light tour!
 I also got my first wedding favor order! Here is a picture of the sample I made.
They're getting married at the Southernmost Hotel at the end of Duval St, so I got to put the exact location on them! The back will have their names and the date. I'm super excited about this. In a really tired way. :)
Huzzah, huzzah, huzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Introversion/Extroversion and Fiction

I am exhausted and hiding. I know full well that I am an introverted person. I enjoy the company of others, I am capable of being funny, engaging, and partaking in all sorts of conversations. I also know that a stretch of sociability leaves me so tired. So in need of quiet space and time alone. I am here, in this very quiet space, and utterly grateful to have it.

I started writing this awhile back, and am thinking of re visiting it...

'Helena found the world to be a nearly impossible place in which to function, and this was alright, as she had the time and proclivity to create one where all things were possible. A world where there was no end of monotonous tasks to be accomplished. Where there were always coins to be sorted and drawers to be tidied. She especially looked forward to cleaning the lint trap in the dryer.
She found certain comfort in repetition, and so she created lots of it in her life. She scoffed at the psychiatric shoebox labeled 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder', though she appreciated it's much tidier and space saving acronym of OCD. She hadn't a dis-order, but rather a particular affinity for order. A fondness for order. A desire to create it, and to shape it.
When Helena did leave the house, it was for the requisite food and sundries for herself and the cats' comfort. Gustav and Uma ate nothing but sardines packed in oil, and consumed them in alarming numbers in spite of Gustav's lack of teeth. The kittens ate kibble, and were indiscriminate in their tastes.
This venturing forth always took place very early on Saturday mornings. It pleased Helena to find the store as unpeopled as it would be at 3am, yet at a perfectly safe and respectable hour of the day.
It was on one such Saturday that Helena found her calling. She thought of it as such rather than as, say, a gift. She saw what she did as something akin to illusion, or slight of hand. It never really occurred to her that what she was, in fact, stealing. The merchandise simply felt like the reward for a job well done. When she performed well, she had earned it all, and besides she always paid for the milk and eggs.'

More tomorrow, perhaps...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moonrise kingdom and stuff

Healing is slow, but I feel better every day. Anniversary plans have been spread out into an anniversary-palooza. three days of mini celebrations and couch time for me.

Moonrise Kingdom was lovely. Wes Anderson makes me feel nostalgic and dreamy. His visual realization of sets is brilliant. I can't imagine I'll ever get tired of it. Even The Life Aquatic, my least favorite of his films has that amazing scene which brings you through the boat as a cross section...moving through the rooms and levels fluidly and giving you a voyeuristic glimpse of what each person is doing in any given space. A lot of Moonrise is outdoors, but the colors stay true, soft with pops of red tones. It's so darn pretty. And then there's the great, looming loss of innocence, the verging on adulthood, the examples of adults in Sam and Suzy's lives that seem so limited and sad to them. There is Sam's familial loss and Suzy's familial discontent and a longing to create a family that will accept them as they are. I love that the Island is this place full of possibility, but it's also isolated and finite. Also, there is a kitten.

I am happy to say I've started working on something new..ish. I'm still using matchboxes, but using antique photos, and writing small vignettes for each image, which will be on the outside of the box. I'm still playing with what to wrap the outer boxes in, having grown tired of my current paper selection. I have some handmade paper, but it is too...current? I feel like I want to stick with the aesthetic and use paper that feels and looks old. But maybe the juxtaposition of modern, bright paper would work? Signing off to go work that out. Pictures to follow...


Sunday, August 12, 2012

flo-flu-fog & one beautiful day in a lifetime

I am writing this from deep inside the flu fog. Upright and mobile, if gingerly, and slow moving.

On my wedding day, I woke early in the loft and looked at Nik, and felt completely at ease. We had breakfast and while she started in the kitchen, I headed for the tent. My brother Patrick and his wife Ja'Nene arrived from California the day before. We had strung lights and decorated and ate a big, delicious feast of Mammy's pasta and meatballs. So the morning of the wedding my focus was on setting the tables with all of the odd china I'd been collecting piecemeal over the previous year. And the ball jars for candles, and the flowers we had grown..
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Danielle and Mike arrived and pitched right in. Carra arrived, Pat and Ja'Nene, Bryn. We frosted cupcakes, cut fruit, had a quick ceremony run-through..
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And before we knew it people were arriving! The weather was ideal, there was so so much love imbued in the entire day. My brother Joe and our family friend Mark sang one of Joe's songs. It was perfect..
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The ceremony, written by Carra was incredible, it felt so personal and relevant and both Nik and I cried at points, feeling so known and loved, and we felt full of such appreciation for everyone assembled. We exchanged our written vows and rings before Debra and Jayme wrapped us in the quilt that our friend Amber made us. Everyone that we invited mailed us material that was incorporated into it..
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And we were Married! Carra pronounced us and I was beyond giddy and overcome with joy..
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I freaking love my family..
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The food was incredible, and there was so much of it! Between Nik's beautiful endeavor to serve our guests by cooking that day, and peoples contributions of lovely side dishes and pies, it was a feast. There were games and walks and ease and love and so much hugging. It was a full moon, and we shared our first dance later in the evening..
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Before sitting around a camp fire in the back field. We were exhausted and happy when we finally called it a night.

I would marry that Nik'l again and again. And we do..in different ways we re commit and re declare and re affirm our love. Pretty much every day. I feel so grateful, and happy and...woozy..I think it's time to crawl back to the couch.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thank you, Penelope Handmade!

I wanted to send a Thank You into the Blogosphere for Liliana at Penelope Handmade for featuring me in her friday Interview!
http://penelopeonline.com/blog/
Woot!
Liliana's blog is really really beautiful, and she features lots of creative etsy sellers. She also has her own etsy shop!

ennui, paper, scissors

I've had a stellar day. I have clearly identified my ennui as the result of the inevitable fallow period between creative bursts. So I dug around all of my supplies today and have some new items in the works. Happily happily!
Soo, I'm in love. I'm a happy monkey who gets to spend my days with my beloved friend and sweetest love. And it pretty much rocks.We'll be celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Monday, and it feels impossible that a year has passed. I'm pretty excited about our day, as we've planned some real treats for ourselves. We're actually going on a date..like with dressing up and everything! A movie (squeek! I love going to the movies and it's been ages) and appetizers at the bar at Left Bank. Ohhhh, man. We haven't eaten there for more than a year, and appetizers at the bar are the way to go. Best Calamari in the city, tuna tartar, prawn on artichoke hearts etc etc. The absolute best part is that Nik'l and I get to spend it together! She was so busy with the food at our wedding, and we barely hung out that day, it was such a happy blur. Our anniversary plans are our gifts, but we'll also be making a paper chain out of the ceremony. Year one is Paper:)


Today I paid for a haircut for the first time in a year. And it was awesome. I went to the Fawn and Fox on Delaware Ave. Firstly, the space is really beautiful. I started to get all anxious as I waited because of course I was early. I walked there and thought it would take longer. So I started looking through one of those hair cut magazines and got the giggles because whoever did the airbrushing was super obsessed with making the whites of peoples eyes really white. I mean, every picture..and as soon as I noticed it, it was all I could see. Just really poorly airbrushed eyes. Anyway, Kristin was amazing and she was interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. Best part? Cute hair! Helmet hair? Banished! Huzzah! She also took it in stride that I don't use shampoo. I only told her this because I recently did my 10 day baking soda wash and then I did the vinegar conditioner last night and I smelled like salad. 






Thursday, August 9, 2012

This cat I know, he's sort of my friend...

He was a little rough around the edges. He'd had more fights than he cared to remember, and all the scars to remind him. But he was sweet. He moved through the world with a big tenderness that came from the core of him. There was no pretense. He was most genuine in all of his interactions.
I see him nearly every time I take a walk. In part because I seek him out. There he'll be, most often sleeping. When he hears his name he makes a show of casual stretches and yawns. His excitement betrayed only by the eventual trot to me. His broken and useless front paw making him limp, but not slowing him down. Then we settle in for the loving. He's a drooler, unfortunately, and also a licker. He makes a production of climbing into my lap if I sit on the sidewalk in front of his house. I wonder if his people think I'm crazy. Or if I'm just one more person who they hear calling his name from time to time in the course of a day.
Some day, when he's failed to appear too often in the course of a week or two, I will print and deliver the pictures of him I've taken. Many pictures over the last two years. And I'll think of him every time I pass his house. And I'll miss him. But today...I think I'll take a walk.




Wednesday, August 8, 2012

embracable vous.

Once and for all, I am embracing the moment. It's been really clear in recent months that I am deeply content in the present moment. Lucky for me, I'm always in the present moment. Unless my mind drifts back in time where I get into arguments or attempt to re-write events. This is, of course, pointless. It causes anxiety and the one sided arguments in which I get so engrossed that I am actually (silently) arguing, gesticulations included, are embarrassing. My mind also wanders out ahead of me where it creates glossy fantasies about bug free sunsets on the back porch, me in my apron and Nik smoking a pipe as we hold hands on the porch swing and laugh at the chickens pre-coop antics. These are nice, until I begin to think about mortgages and wearing deet and foxes in the hen house and being far from friends and family and I start to feel like it's impossible and I am flooded with uncertainty and anxiety.

So. I work at staying in the present. At least staying centered within the actual day that I'm living. Because in any given moment, all is well. We are healthy and able bodied. The bills are paid. There is lots of beautiful food in the house. We have shared a sweet, easy morning together. I've also decided to embrace where I am. I am here. In this apartment. Right now. And it is cute, and there is a cross breeze and when it rains through the roof it isn't into my actual apartment. I'll re paint the kitchen and bathroom this week (see  how quickly I get ahead of myself? It's easy to do!).

So. Right now I'll press Publish, and take the rest as it comes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

laughing till you snort. In public.

Tonight I spent time at Spot coffee, reading and enjoying a sugary and overpriced beverage while nik'l caught up with an old friend at our house. I finished Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, also known as The Bloggess. I guess that what follows is basically my review of her book. It made me laugh, which was expected. It made me laugh until I nearly cried of out-of-control like. Not so expected. But Eddie Izzard makes that happen too, so...hey..awesome. I kind of like that 'teetering on the edge hysteria' from laughter.  
LPTNH (I'll just call it that to simplify things, and so I don't have to press the shift key so much) also made me really sad..which was so Not expected. There was loss and struggle and really painful stuff. And I felt sort of ticked off at first, because it's supposed to make me laugh. Not feel all empathy induced anxiety-ey and distraught. But I got through those parts, and opened up to Jenny as more than a vehicle to laughter, but as a whole, beautiful, complex person. And I feel better for it. And then she made me laugh until I snorted in my effort not to be laughing alone and on the edge of hysteria. In Public. Again..Awesome.
Buy this book. Or borrow it, but not from me because book lending makes me all nervous and then your name will be on a list and I'll have to keep checking in to see if you're done yet and eventually it gets awkward.
Jenny Lawson is amazing. And makes me want to stroke her hair sometimes and say, 'there, there...it's oookay..'. and then I also think I want to get drunk with her, then hide under a table together and ask leading questions about ex-lax, and zombies, and I want to bond with her over Hamlet mice.
heart heart heart.

Monday, August 6, 2012

pretty don't equal stable.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again..what a difference a day makes. Today I am able to take a step back and feel grateful for the living situation we're in. To know that it is not permanent and that all things change in the direction of our intent. I will move. I will be able to unpack all of my favorite things. I will have space that feels grounding.

I have wondered at my impulse last year to begin packing for a move which I wanted, though it was only an idea. Since I can remember, my space has been important to me. I want to be surrounded by beautiful, inspiring things. I want cleanliness and order in my space. These things help me to feel grounded, secure, and at ease. Living with most of my favorite items (including my books!) in boxes stacked behind the couch in our living room makes me crazy. And yet...I am the one who packed them.

I've forced myself out of my comfort zones this year. There has been so much uncertainty for us in so many areas of our lives. But it has been good for me, in lots of ways. So I gently remind myself that I am well and safe and that some boxes behind the couch will not undo me.That I am inspired by beauty everywhere. That I am safe within myself. I still can't wait to unpack, and to live with all of my favorite things in view. But until I do, I'm okay.

I'm tweaking my etsy shop (flomade) this week. Trying to make listings clearer and adding some new things. I keep wanting to make more abc boxes, but feel compelled to sell what I have first. Looked into Art-O-Mat, which is a company that sells art through old cigarette machines. Here is me at the Art-O-Mat in Key West 3 years ago...or is it 4?

Also looking at the possibility of more shows and art festivals in the area. Good stuff..forward momentum..huzzah!



Sunday, August 5, 2012

grr. arg. sigh. smile. breathe.

My desire to move has crashed into me today. I feel shaken and frustrated and desperate. The pouring rain pouring in has my adrenaline flooding me. Fight or flight, and I want to do both. I am no longer holding out for the 'big move' to our little homestead. It seems unattainable and terribly far away right now. And yet, some interim place seems unattainable at the moment, too. ohhh, puddle of me, all despairing and wanting to scream until the walls shatter and I bring this entire place down around me like the House Of Clennam.

On the bright side, Nik'l and I finished painting and cleaning the entire carriage house in 19.5 hours over the course of three days. Two of which broke heat records here in Buffalo. We burned an insane amount of calories between us, and were too hot to eat, so I may be able to fit into my wedding dress for our anniversary after all.

I'm amazed that we'll be celebrating a year in just one week! It's flown by and has been full of so much creativity and love and some adventuring. We pulled the rug out a year ago, and have managed to not just live, but live well without 'formal' employment. We're both doing what feels most enriching to us. This year I've watched Nik become more patient, present, healthy and happy than I've ever seen her. Every morning we choose work, or creative endeavors, or to help the people we love, and we live each day as we please. It's been challenging and exciting and I've loved living it with Nik. The one drawback to it all is not being able to move yet...which brings me full circle, back to paragraph one.
Thankfully it doesn't always feel this way. And, as always, my frustration will pass..thankfully.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

dog. cat. buffy. sleep.

I'm tired. Dog tired. Why dog tired? My cats sleep an awful lot. Sometimes they can barely raise their heads to acknowledge me. Cat tired. Maybe it's because dog's are tired due to physical exertion and cats are tired due to...genetics.

Today I...scrubbed the grease off of a refrigerator, a stove, a wall, and a hot water heater (which is sitting right in the kitchen,next to the stove). I scrubbed cupboards, counters, and a kitchen sink. It took four hours, and it's a fraction of what has to be done by...Friday?! I thought I had till Saturday...but I was wrong. Next there will be cleaning the bathroom. Then...painting. Usually when we have to paint a recently vacated apartment, that means a room or two. No. This little two bedroom carriage house gets paint in every room. Every Room, Every wall. Oh, mercy. I'm not the spring chicken I once was, and here I am. Complaining to all two of you. I can't help it. I'm tired. Photos on Instagram tomorrow. Not of my exhaustion. Of the carriage house.

I can only briefly touch on the fact that Carra and I finished watching Buffy. And it was terrible and wonderful and there was hope and loss and all of the potentials become powerful girls and women and it made me cry.

And now..to sleep. Perchance to dream..of paint colors and Magic Erasers...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Buffy..and the beginning of the end.

*SPOILER ALERT*

We have finally arrived at the final 5 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer..season 7. Last night we watched Andrew filming his documentary, 'Buffy, Slayer Of The Vampeer' (laughs), we watched Spike re-live his Mama trauma (tears), we watched Faith get all snarky (eye rolls). We watched Xander and Anya give it one last go (sigh), and we met Caleb (shudder), which led to us watching Xander lose an eye (ew). It was a big night. Carra was full of dramatic vocalizations of despair and an occasional wailing of 'I'm sorry, Flo!', as well as flurries of commentary about Caleb's utterly repulsive evil-ness book ended by stony silence and a refusal to look at me when I asked questions. I've taken to just making wild predictions and then staring her down. 'No! Spike can't kill Principal Wood...he's got a soul now!!' Staring, staring as Carra breaks a sweat trying not to give anything away.
We've decided to watch the final five episodes in one day. Or to try anyway. We'll start early and take breaks to cry and process. We'll eat really healthy food and drink lots of fluids to stay strong and hydrated. We'll have a safe word for the very real potential of grief and horror overload. I offered to watch the end on my own, but Carra won't let me. It's too traumatic and beautiful to watch alone.
And so, I sing...
 'What can't we face if we're together?
What's in this place that we can't weather?
Apocalypse... we've all been there,
the same old trips, why should we care?'


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grief takes time.

As a girl, my mother seemed vast and distant. Much like the African desert, or Siberia. A far off place that felt unreachable. When we were alone together there was an unsettling distance to her. She was there, with her eyes averted just slightly so, as if there were something drifting in the middle distance over my right shoulder. A place she would rather be. A daughter she would rather have.

I know that my mother loved me. I also know that each person's capacity to feel love and to express it to others varies. I've been outrageously blessed to love people who are decidedly loving in return. Open, gentle, kind, full of forbearance, compassion and empathy. Wonderful people who inspire trust, intimacy, loyalty and commitment. I've also loved people who've loved me conditionally, and doled out parcels of acceptance and affection as though love was a teeter totter, the weight of my actions determining the love I received.

My mother loved me. Conditionally. She also feared me, hated me, depended on me, trusted me, and, at points, felt betrayed by me. After my father died, it was just the two of us, my five older siblings grown and gone. I woke in the night when she cried out in her sleep, and I comforted her in her grief. I held her and listened and soothed her when it was especially bad. I clung fiercely to my surviving parent as she lamented that she to continue to live. I felt soft as sandstone, worn with loss and also secretly bearing a victims mantle. I tried to keep it together while being slowly abraded by her sorrow and rage. I needed shelter from her as much as I needed nourishment and comfort. I needed to be soothed and to be heard. I needed to grieve.

There is so much that is so intensely complicated in the relationships between mothers and daughters. It terrified me to see in her a potential future self. A friendless woman. A sad, frightened, lonely woman. A self-loathing, scarred woman in whom survived a very small child full of terrible shame and unchecked anger. I saw very little of my mother's joy in living, or wonder at the little things, or curiosity. Being raised by her with all of her unhealed parts wreaking havoc left me with so many pained places of my own to heal. I was so angry at her, which made it nearly impossible to look at her with compassion.

When she was dying, after years of living with Alzheimer's, I went to see her. It had been a very long time since my last visit. I sat beside her and spoke quietly, asking if she would just wake up long enough for me to look into her eyes. I called her Lucy (as I had for years at that point) and spoke as if she were a child or a small, frightened animal. I just wanted to see her eyes so I could say goodbye, and leave. I expected vacancy, and fear. Distance and depression. An averted gaze just over my right shoulder. Instead there were her beautiful eyes, clear and lucid, her hands on my face and her tears, and my tears, and her face pressing against mine as she kissed me and I kept saying 'hi Mom', and each time I said the word 'mom' I felt cracked wide open, painfully and joyfully. And there was laughing through our tears and kisses and her beautiful eyes. Clear and looking into mine. And forgiveness happened, and deep gratitude and love bloomed in me. And it was effortless and unbidden.

I did say goodbye and leave that day. I also returned and stayed there with her for the last few days of her life. I spent it with my siblings. I held my mother's hand and listened as my sisters sang to her, sweetly, in harmony. I cried with my beautiful brothers. I felt present and calm and honored. I felt exhausted and impatient and sad. I thanked her for my beautiful life, and we talked about our father, and told her he was waiting. Handsome and in love and eager to be done with the long wait for her. In the end it was easy. A softening and a slowing until at last she released the long awaited mate to the first breath she ever drew.

And I can say this now. I love my Mom. I love her so much, and while I am, at times,  full of aching for the difficulties she carried in her journey through this life, I hope that there were brilliant moments of joy for her as she passed through. That there were secret pockets of wonder and gratitude and self love in her. I am grateful that she tried her best, that she bore me and raised me, and in the end forgave me as effortlessly as I forgave her.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Buffy!! And painting stuff...and Buffy!!!

A much better day. I spent it with my Heart's Desire, painting my Sparkling UniCan friend's kitchen. Win win. The paint job was sort of on the agenda, but also unmentioned the last few days, so C will come home to a very scrubbed clean, re painted, re arranged kitchen. I do hope she likes it!

When I don't mention Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I get about the usual amount of blog views. But if I just mention Buffy randomly, and don't talk about the fantastic plot, brilliant dialogue, intense character development, or really bad clothes (and hair..really, what's with Xander's hair in season 7?! BAD HAIR), then people will look at my blog, falsely lured, and be angry. Not as angry as Willow was when she opened the portal to retrieve Buffy this season, but still..angry.

Okay, time to shower, relax and wait to hear from C about her kitchen. I really hope she likes it. And that she doesn't read this before she gets home tonight. Aaannd that she likes it.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Random, unfinished, and sidetracked.

I am balanced on the knife blade edge between a hormone whirlpool and my last nerve. I keep writing and deleting, writing and deleting. So now, as an exercise in frustration, I am forcing myself to write in constant stream of consciousness and I will not delete it. Alright, perhaps I will if it veers too far from the civilized and loses itself in a thick dark tangle of ramblings. If I begin to weep all over this white screen with it's marching black letters...blah blah, sniffle snick march march march.
I created a shadowbox this morning. Now I need to write the story behind the images in order to finish it.
I'm going to jump right in because I am terribly close to dramatic despair today and am likely to end up in a small circlet of Flo, lying on the couch watching My Cat From Hell on animal planet.
So Here we go..

Mama hated her name, which was Hortense. She understood that Gran had no clue the years of abuse she would take from her peers for having what sounded like the word 'whore' right there at the start of it. She escaped the name when she turned 19, at the same time she escaped the town. She high-tailed it to Florida with $11.00 and her best smile. No forwarding address. No note goodbye.
She found work as a side show mermaid. Mama nicknamed herself Holly and smiled her brilliant smile from the chlorinated tank, waving to the wide eyed and water-distorted tourists. She loved the job. Her eyes were bloodshot, but not from tears. No more tears for Mama. She would do this forever, she thought.
When the operation began to lose business, they brought in an alligator wrestler named named Bertram. Mama watched his first act from the stands, and was breathless. She approached him after several weeks with a well thought out argument for why he ought to let her join his act. But all it took was , 'Bertram. I want to wrestle alligators', which she did until the war started in 1940.
They were in love, married, and off to join the war together. Mama as a Red Cross nurse, Pa as a soldier. They spent long spans of time apart and afraid for one another. Pa wrote.. 'Holly my darling, I am cold and must apologize for both my penmanship and the mud on these pages'. And from Mama.. 'Bertram, my own, There seems so little time to take pen to paper, but I am writing to you constantly in my thoughts. Can you hear me? Whispering to you?'


I can't finish this. I've gotten totally side tracked reading about lady wrestlers in the 40's...Check out Gladys Gillem!
 






Saturday, July 21, 2012

An old card and Buffy gets the Love.

Firstly, the Buffy post got so many views! More than any single post ever...by a Lot! I'm thinking of mentioning Buffy The Vampire Slayer in every single post now.

Here is a favorite card from February. Really, I think it's the wee small summation of Charles'  life that I love best. I may re visit his story to  flesh it out a little.

 Here is Charles. Perhaps as a boy Charles was encouraged to write verses, as he showed some talent for them. But Charles reeaalllyyyy loved millinery. He loved to watch his mother shop for hats. He loved the way they sat upon her sleek head. He loved their extravagance and elegance and ohhh, their beauty. But the educational system in which Charles was raised limited him to writing verses. Alas.


 In his 20's Charles visited Paris. He apprenticed with a milliner. He fell in love with Everything. This great love burnt in his breast his entire life long. And he wrote verses about sleek heads adorned with exceptionally beautiful hats.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Monkey see.

I love the monkey. Gorillas, and Rhesus and those super tiny ones that fit in one hand. oh, and those great ones that live in extremely cold climes and hang out in hot springs? They're pretty great. I have a big monkey portrait tattoo on my back, frame and all. I would love one as a pet, but they ought not be pets. They ought to be swinging around in the wild, living their lives within their own complex social structures. Maybe the low monkies on the totem pole would be happier as pets, but who wants to chance it? Angry monkies have been known to fling bodily waste, no thank you.
That said, here is a card that I made in January, which I loved a lot...



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Buffy season 7 is like...wasabi.

Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is killing me. Okay, exaggeration. It hurts real bad, though. There has been So much trauma and grief and fear, but also hope (except for the very clear 'it just keeps getting worse' messages I'm getting) and strong beautiful relationships and, and...trauma. There are about 8 episodes left. C & I average two at a sitting, with tears, brief spates of rapid fire questioning (from me) met with averted eyes and silence (from C). I can remember (oh so fondly) when we watched 8 hours of Buffy in a single snack filled day, way back in season 3. In spite of the angst and ache of last nights episodes, there were still glorious snippets of dialogue such as...

Buffy: On the Hellmouth. All day, every day. That's gotta be like being showered with evil. Only from underneath.
Willow: Not really a shower.
Buffy: A bidet. Like a bidet of evil.

I mean, that almost makes Spike's agony and Principal Woods childhood scars easy to take..ish.

To sum it up, watching Buffy is like eating wasabi because it's wonderful, and hurts intensely and causes tears. And it's wonderful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

to write or not to write...

I've spent my day in activity. I've walked and painted and cleaned and walked and run errands. And now I am home. Alone. I have wanted some time to myself for the last couple of days, and now it is here. And I am tempted to keep on with the busy-making because it feels productive and productive is good. Or I could spend this time doing what I've felt itchy to do for days, which is write. I can say to myself, 'It's okay to write, it has worth simply by being a pleasure'. Right, yeah..It's okay to make it personal, or random, or fictional. Or to write randomly personal fiction. And now that I have permission....

  Grenadine lived by the river all of her life. She had been soothed and oddly tempered by it as a child. She loved her good fortunate to live so near, and yet she feared it's ability to overflow it's banks and swallow the few but precious things her family owned. This possibility, in her mind, was somehow dependent on her behavior, and she rarely ran wild with her siblings. She respected the river and loved it with the same deep reverence she held for her Gran.
   In her youth the river fueled imaginings of 'away', of floating like a leaf downstream to a place that held less toil and less poverty and boys that didn't chew, or smell like their daddy's hogs. She looked askance at the river sometimes, feeling resentful of it's freedom and apparent enthusiasm for life. All of that bubbling and rushing, when she was young and bent to one task or another. It also filled her with a secret thrill to think that maybe she could be free like the river. That she could rush past her family and her home and be the embodiment of movement and light.
   In her adulthood, married and raising her own children, she hated the river for a span of years. Raged against it in her heart, filled it in with angry words. Rather than free her, it had kept her there. She cared for her father in his old age, and, one short year later when her mother died she found herself feeling years beyond her age, and deeply tired, and weeping on the riverbank. And in a cruel prolonging of her grief, the river took one of her babies at just 3 years old.
   In September she turned 91, (or two, she had lost count). She felt that the river was part of her, that it had become her family. She knew it so well, and loved it so completely. She had hated it at points, but when she allowed it, the river could soothe and heal her. She was comforted by the cycles of the river that passed in spite of her losses or her joy. In winter it was almost entirely silent, and moved at the same tedious pace she herself had acquired in recent years. In Spring it danced with the thaw, singing the song it had always sung, releasing into the air the same sweet scent from it's banks. In the depth of summer it cooed and laughed and promised cool, deep promises. Come autumn it was a wind blown quilt, rushing gold and pumpkin and crimson leaves toward her, and past, and finally, it took her away...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rain At Last!!

It's Raining! Not a paltry little spritz of moisture, but a good solid rain that's been falling for about a half hour so far. It has been a dry, dry summer everywhere. The lawns are mostly brown and burnt, Bidwell Parkway looks like hay has been scattered on it. Everyone is thirsty. This rain will wash all the dust off and give the green a pick me up. Then everything will look a little like it does in Spring, when you're thirsty for the color green and your eyes feel happy to soak and soak it all up. Huzzah!!

We had a car scare yesterday. We packed the car for an overnight in the ADK's, and were all psyched up for a Road Trip(yay!!). When Nik'l started the car, it just made a clicking sound. The second time produced a terrible, grindy noise that was cringe worthy. The third time it started (phew). But...she thought maybe it was the starter. We went to get a beverage for the road and to the bank, and the same thing happened when we tried to start the car. Bah. Much discussion ensued about our ability to pop the clutch if the starter really died, whether AAA would rescue us from a rest stop if needed, how much a starter would cost($125?!?!), and what we thought the trip would cost with gas and tolls. Sad to say, we headed home. No road trip, no ADK's. The good news is..(bear with my lack of technical accuracy) it had something to do with the clutch, and the cruise control(?). The battery checked out just fine and Pappy, dear Pappy was able to 'fix' it..and didn't even charge for labor! Thanks, Pappy.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A & B and some ways to be

A lived with sadness. She called it her pet, and carried it around, tucked quietly beneath the left hand side of her ribcage. When she met new people, it peeped out at them, tremulous and shy from her eyes. The people she knew best, and who knew her were very familiar with the sadness. They watched it dampen and diminish her. Some of them accepted it, and some resented it. It drove people away, which in several instances made the sadness grow. It sat behind her ribcage like a pouting child when she was occupied or distracted with anything that made her happy. It would pick away at her internally, the way it would pluck at her sleeve had it the ability to exist separately from her. But it did not have this ability. It was enmeshed with her. Her pet that she created and nurtured and nourished. It was hearty, her sadness. It had been sheltered from do-gooders seeking to show her a path to happiness. It had been fed a startlingly heavy diet of terrible stories from the news. It's appetite grew and it urged her ever forward toward more tales of gruesomeness, of injustice, of pain and despair.

B lived joyfully. She felt buoyant and vividly colored. Her happiness lived in her, sometimes tucked beneath the ribs on the left side of her chest, sometimes in her limbs, sometimes it coursed through her in torrents of energy like electricity. When people met her, they could see the joy glowing in her eyes, and they could feel it's energy as it moved through her. She felt to them like a cool breeze, or like sunlight, or like the fragrance of fields in summer. It depended on the person. Everyone who knew her smiled at the mention of her name. She had cultivated her joy. She fed it from books about hope and wonder. Films about redemption and love. Stories that ended in laughter. She was constantly aware and attentive to her joy, and it thrived. She lived fully in the moment, and found that it is the place where contentment resides.

A and B met, randomly and though a mutual acquaintance. As A watched B speak, there was a shift in her. The sadness did not recoil immediately as it so often did. It lifted it's dark and worried face briefly to B's warmth and felt a shimmer of something like hope before it hid away. A's heart pounded. She felt confused and a little angry. She felt a lingering warmth on her skin like sunlight dancing on closed eyelids. It was a very small shift to be sure, but a shift nonetheless. And when the women parted, and went their separate ways, they carried with them the lives they had created for themselves. A held her sorrow. B held her peace.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Standing still at breakneck speed

I am stuck. But I am not stuck, lest I believes't I am (see paragraph 2). I am craving new space to live in, to call home, to thrive in. I am still here. Moving forward infinitesimally and stopping every millimeter in wonder and doubt. How to make it work? By letting it work, of course. By trusting the process, trusting my life. Trusting that both Nik and I make decisions from our hearts and from a place of care and love and hope. I dream of streams and sweet air and black earth. And wake to crumbling walls and city sounds. And cry to dream again...(pure drama!! I'm paraphrasing the Tempest. Because I have geekiness). I feel better for having written it. Amazing how we can move through emotions so fluidly, and move beyond, and let go.

The Tempest!! We watched the film version with Helen Mirren as Prospera! It was stunning and the bonus materials are incredible to watch. Russell Brand has a scary brilliant mind, and rattles off an entire back story to his character that made me stand there with my mouth agape. Crazy, rambling, breathless, seamless, improvisational genius. Helen is aged and gorgeous (I cannot stress this enough, she is so beautiful in this film)and powerful. I loved it. Ben Whishaw is absolutely beautiful and wonderful. We're watching it again with C soon. I'm really looking forward to it, the second viewing of a great film is always better than the first. And now I doth desire to express mine dearest thoughts and inclinations as thou woulds't in Shakespeare's day.

Off to the air show to watch Pappy ride in the plane that first sparked his interest in planes, oh so many years hence. I'm excited for him!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The business of creating

I'm working on some ideas to help me make more sales. I get plenty of people who 'like' my items, but not a slew of sales, so I asked for help. I wrote to a few random people who have added items, in particular ABC boxes as 'favorite' items. I asked, in a round about way, for feedback on why they 'like' but didn't purchase. Cost? Shipping? Uncertainty about how to display them? I got some great feedback, which I'm really grateful for. Dar, who has a beautiful etsy shop here:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/akimbaMade?ref=pr_shop_more
helped a lot, not to mention being a Vermonteer and sharing some things about her journey to living there.

So, for July I am offering free shipping on the ABC boxes to see if it helps make a few sales, and to get these wonderful little boxes into other peoples homes.
A is for Accordion!
 I'm also working on a way to hang them, like a little shelf that can be bought separately for display.
 K is for kitten..in an orange shirt.
 N is for Naked ladies.But tastefully so.
B is for Brassiere.
Yay!
www.etsy.com/shop/flomade