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

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bridesmaid invite gift boxes

I love custom orders. Natalie was sweet and open to suggestions but knew what she wanted. We came up with these...
 Five 'be my brides maid' gift box invitations and one 'be my maid of honor'.
Sweet:)
www.etsy.com/shop/flomade

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boxes boxes boxesssss!!!

I am officially Done making Alphabet boxes. No more until after the sale on the 28th. I need to see if there is a market for them, which I'm hopeful there will be.
 I have 9 Matchbox Shadowboxes left, and started with more than 60. Some of the remaining ones also happen to be some of my favorites..


And here are the finished ABC's..


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Heat and Memory

I wrote and wrote the other day about memory. About it's power and it's instability. About the wealth of joy it can bring and about the ways it can cripple us.
And then I lost it. I thought I pressed 'Save'...but nonetheless..it was gone. And I tried to remember just what I had written so that I could save it. But the lovely thing about writing for me is that it is organic, and it flows out and it cannot be re structured with the same grace it has the first time. So. One day I may again touch on the subject of memory, but it will not be today.

Today, I will write briefly about heat. It's so dang hot. I feel damp and cranky. Sleeping is a mixed bag. I go to bed cool..ish. I wake in a fit of heat that feels like I am the only source of it that there ever was and it radiates out of me in waves, in undulating rivulets of irritable sticky..heat. Living in the attic is for the squirrels...and even they move out in the summer.