Saturday, April 24, 2010
I also diddled away at this painting, doing a Monet thing, little crescent shaped strokes, and this may be the final product, because I am really tired of dippy-dabbing at it. At least for today.
I really thought this painting would be easy. I had this small canvas, already primed in a kind of nondescript green, and a picture of a bird . Then I started, and it just got nutso. The bird was too bland, the background too light, the whole thing just kind of said BLAH. But I had a palette laid, and I am pretty cheap about that, I need to use up that paint before it dries up into little ugly nurdles. So I kept poking away at the canvas, a little every day, and here it is at the moment, looking not at all like the original picture. The bird appears bigger, the atmosphere is more, well, atmospheric, the colors are now much more vibrant than they actually were in the reference. But I like the bird's expression, it feels more rich and it ever so much more fun than it was. It may be done. That would be nice.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
When I was new in sobriety, I felt like a big fat phoney. For about the first two or three years. I was acting like I was a)spiritual, b) kind, c) compassionate, and d) wise. And then it kind of happened, one day I was all of those things. Because I practiced, one day at a time. I also lost my ability to sleep through the night, so I have been meditating a lot in the wee hours. Or, at least, I think I was meditating. I did what I learned in classes, and what I read in books. But, because I don't have a PRACTICE where I sit for a requisite number of minutes at the same time every day, I thought maybe I wasn't doing it at all. Or at least, not doing it right. Then, today, I went in for an EEG. Surreal experience. She gooped up my head in 26 places and applied electrodes. I must have looked like the bride of Frankenstein. Thank HP I didn't have to look at myself till afterward. Anyway, Carla, this sweet woman, tilted me back in this big reclining chair with my feet up and told me to relax, with my eyes closed. I must have been nervous, because my eyes were way to busy even though not open. So I thought I would just meditate a little. And Carla yelled "Hey, no sleeping during the procedure!" I explained I was meditating, and she said my brain waves all just flattened out like a calm day at the lake. Wow! I really AM doing something right! I know I feel more centered than I ever have before. I have always attributed that to my somewhat unorthodox and extremely varied, non-scheduled and non-scripted attempts at calming my mind. Now I have evidence in black and white. How cool is that!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Have you ever noticed how the rough seas of life are often followed by the doldrums? That is where I have been, marooned by my own inertia, following a series of big blows that left me foundering and lost. For a while. And I felt like I had been run over by a steamroller for a while. Funny how depression can immobilize one, and the only way up and out of it is ACTION. I didn't go to the gym for almost two weeks. And then I got up and went, almost like someone had pushed a button, and it was miraculous how great I felt. Well, duh. Endorphins kicked in, yay. The regime is firmly in place again, gym 2-3 times a week, gardening when weather permits, lots of meetings to stay spiritually fit, time with friends who let me gripe, if that's what I need to do. Tonight is an abalone feed, and for those poor souls out there who have never had abalone, well, God didn't make anything this yummy under Her sun, not even lobster. I've already been to the gym, so I can chow down, too. Strange experience there today. I always keep an eye on the pool through the window as I do my little circuit around the major muscle group machines, and as soon as I got into my suit and all showered up, it filled to beyond capacity. I went into the hot tub, instead, thinking, oh well. Then a lane cleared, sort of. So I jumped in. It was a Biblical experience, painful and rewarding at the same time. I floated up and down the lane, pausing only ever so briefly to let this little round woman toodle by on her floaty tube that she rode like a hobby horse. I think my mother invented those. We had an old Navy flotation devise like a sausage, and she would ride it like that when cleaning the tile of our pool. Anyway, this was one of the most mystical swims I have ever experienced. The water felt so healing. I came away cleansed and strengthened. Not back to full capacity yet, but on my way. Oh, hell, I am always on my way.
Monday, April 12, 2010
It is always exciting when I get an idea, and begin to realize it in paint. Paint is such a forgiving medium, oils, that is. Watercolors remember every little booboo and you can never, never do anything about it. But here, I can just keep putting layer on layer on layer, and it can get better. It can get worse, too, so the primary decision, the one that makes or breaks a painting, is when to quit. I am not quite there, yet, but my Monetesque painting is looking pretty wonderful, if I do say so myself. I am not unhappy. This is such a wondrous creation, the egret. We had scads of them at the coast, but fortune smiles and we have them here, in town, too. I have seen them standing by the side of the freeway, in Novato. And I love when they wing over me, great white ghosts, so streamlined. I want to do my egret proud.
An old friend died a couple of weeks ago. I say "old" in the context that I knew him many years, since he was only three years my senior, and I do not consider myself old, not yet. I am still a baby senior citizen, after all. It was too soon for Bill. Just goes to show we never know. It was an interesting experience, the memorial service. Bill was a lifelong Espicopalian. Now, this is really the Anglican church, and being at this service was like being in Four Weddings and a Funeral. There were hymns, the numbers up on a billboard so we could look them up in the hymnals. And though they supposedly don't do the smells and bells, I detected the telltale hint of something incensey in the air. There were stained glass windows and an arched ceiling, and lots and lots of candles. The homily was presided over by Bill's lifelong friend, Carl, who I had met at the reunion I attended with Bill last year, his 50th. They played together as boys. It was stirring. And in some ways, it was old home stuff, too, since that old gang of mine was present in droves. We ate cookies and slurped coffee and reminisced. Bill embodied that old saying that if you can't be a good example, you'll have to be a horrible warning. Actually, he represented both sides of that equation with equal aplomb. What a guy. I will miss him, his crusty wit, his inner sweetness, the music we shared, the generation we grew up in. I will never hear the theme from a Summer's Place without his face rising before me, and wherever he is now, I hope he gets to meet up with Elvis, and John Denver.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Things change. Sometimes, there is no going back. My friend Bill died last weekend. I am devastated. He was just always there, kind of smirking, flying in the face of convention, griping, grumping, arguing for his limitations. Beneath that crust there was a sweetness that was beyond compare. He let me see it a few times, so I kept looking for it, always. Somewhere, there should be a banner that reads "BILL HAS LEFT THE PLANET". That is the impact he had on our little recovery community. Okay, sometimes that impact was negative. He was that kind of guy. And there is a lot of goodness in his wake as well. Most of all, I am pissed off at him. He never knew he was precious. He didn't take care of himself. I wish he could see all the sadness at his passing, and know that he was loved by many. And let's all take a lesson from this. There are folks here who would be crushed if we were to leave today, folks who count on us to show up. That is my focus today, to show up, even if I feel like eating worms.