Saturday, December 31, 2011
I have spent my life the object of ridicule for my over the moon emotions. I cry over TV commercials, you know, "We bring good things to life", wah. Strangely enough, as I have become more and more sober, 22 years now, that has simmered down a lot. I didn't cry, for instance, at my darling daughter's wedding, though I carried insurance with me in the form of a tiny silver bag filled with Kleenex. But a tear or two escaped at Christmas when the adorable couple gifted me with this album. Their photographers, Paco and Betty, are sooooo creative. This is the most dear album of wedding pictures ever put together, I am sure. Of course, it helps that the happy couple are beautiful young people, and happy as bears at a picnic, after waiting 11 years, finishing educations, embarking on careers, and standing up for dozens of their friends who walked this path before them. It gave darling daughter much to contemplate as she designed their day. The 13 months spent planning paid off handsomely, as it was just a delightful, thoughtful, precious event. I am lugging this album everywhere to show off the gorgeous couple, and my new kid. Just blessed here.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Please, no applause, but I framed four paintings today! Okay, they are little ones, and the frames are mega simple and not very expensive. Yet, they do look all dressed up, my little bird doodles, in their pristine mats under glass. I have mats and frames galore coming in the mail any minute now, and should have a nice selection of framed paintings to hang on a wall soon. Somewhere. I am trusting that the proper venue will appear. Of course, I am putting it out to the universe. And so far, the universe has not dropped me on my head. At this particular moment, I am looking at my new lyre easel, still folded up inside its box, waiting for me to begin assembling it. I think I will wait for the new year. No hurry. Much framing to do before painting can begin again, and that will keep things moving, because I WANT TO PAINT! New pastels coming too. A box of 80 of those suckers. It is going to be a framing frenzy, for sure.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
What with all this holiday frivolity, and the amazingly clean and orderly house I have been luxuriating in lately, with all the pretty flowers here and there, I have been loathe to get out my messy art stuff and begin doing stuff again. This morning, I was looking at this lovely new how-to book, Expressive Figure Drawing, that my daughter and son-in-law gifted me with, and thinking, gee, it would be great to do some of that. Then I got out a portfolio of drawings and found that, once upon a time, I did! Okay, I probably would not write a book about my figure drawings. And it took most of the semester to get this one, done fairly quickly, in ink with a wash, which strangely gave me license to do just about anything I wanted because, heck, you can't erase the stuff anyway, so who cares what happens, anyway. Nevertheless, I had something going when I did this. Have given up believing it can never happen again. This, or something even more delightful, will happen, once in every twenty or so tries. Andre Gide said that to find new lands, one must lose sight of the shore for a long, long time. Setting out on that kind of voyage here in the little yellow house. One never knows what one will discover.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
...all the pretty wrappings now reside in a garbage bag, sigh. Strange how that happens. The day itself, Christmas Day, I spent ignoring the holiday, as usual. I spoke at the meditation meeting this morning, then had a latte and a (usually forbidden and totally self-indulgent) cinnamon walnut croissant at the Cafe on my way to meet friends for the matinee of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. All of us were just up to our earballs with the fluffy, frothy Santaish fare being spoon fed over the last couple of weeks. We were itching for some blood and guts and vicarious violence, and this movie came through admirably. Plus one of the most riveting films I saw this year, and one of the best performances from the newcomer who portrayed Lisbeth, admittedly one of the most provocative literary characters in decades. Daniel Craig was not all that hard to look at, either. We felt satisfied leaving the theater, then headed for our sweet diner that is conveniently open on the holiday, for super wonderful hamburgers. Yes, it was one for the books, this year's forgotten holiday. Now waiting for the electronic sewer that is television to catch up and give me something worth sinking my jaded teeth into, too. Happy, happy.
Our celebration is over, thank you, HP. The house is all jollied up with red and white flowers, candles, crisp white tablecloth, little touches of red everywhere. The wreath was a gift from my son, and it is artificial, which is wonderful because I can use it over and over, and it is such a good one I will love having it on my door year after year. Our dinner was fine. One moment of OMG happened when I was trying to crisp up the ciabata bread and my daughter unlocked the mystery of the broiler, which has not seen the light of day lo these seven years, and was festooned with dog hair on the lid. And I thought I got the last of that when I dusted the ceiling fan. Best laid plans, busted again. My favorite gift was the wedding album the kids gave me. They had one made for all the parents, sweet kids. Beautiful. Wondrous. Precious. And then there are the Uggs, the real thing, all cozy and fuzzy and warm. Money from my parents means some shopping is coming up next week. Feeling really abundant. Then I went to the annual candle lighting service at the Center for Spiritual Living, where Rev. Edward told the Christmas story the way I believe it is meant to be understood, as a parable for the return of the light in the depth of darkness. It is, after all, winter solstice, when the days grow longer and the shadows shorter. We all filed up, very orderly, in the dim light, to light our candles and place them in the trays filled with salt, dedicating each to each person's innermost thoughts and yearnings. Mine was for my darling Boo, and for my father, though still physically present, really losing ground in being present in this world. Just a couple more days, like today and tomorrow, which is my 22nd sobriety birthday, and life can return to its normal, humdrum self in the little yellow house. Special gift to have it all cleaned to within an inch of its life and smelling so sweet, too. Many blessings in this weird little life I am leading here.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Little yellow house is getting a good cleaning and some little dashes of color, nothing over the top, we are not Martha Stewart here. I love this red crystal heart I found while I strolled through the Village, on my way to get a two pound box of See's for my mother to give to my father. Also picked up red towels, so festive. Red has been my accent here from the very beginning. Such an alive color, so sweet to have a room tinted all rosy from the red embellishments. Hurrying to get this stuff done, so I can do some ART. Delaying gratification has never been my strong suit, though Scott Peck assures me it will expand me spiritually. Counting on that as I keep slogging along.
Monday, December 19, 2011
My Artist's Way pals and I met this morning to fiddle around with our sketchbooks. Gee, this is just wonderful for the cowwoman. It is difficult for me to focus very long these days when on my own. One thing leads me to another and, at the end of the day, nothing is finished. But send me a couple of sweet gals, and we all settle around the table, tongues between teeth, and peck away, aiming for yet more experience and knowledge on our artistic journeys. Kind of precious, you know. We are all retired, over-the-proverbial-hill, coasting down the other side. Keeping our brains young and flexible is the ticket. Learn new things! Keep learning! It makes my heart sing, these moments with friends, pencil in hand, eraser in the other hand, trying to remember what I learned in school. Never a bad idea, to remember what I learned. Anyway, I feel happy that we did this, happy to be alive on this sweet day. And I have not felt like that for a while. Dreaded infection is gone, now doing lots of stuff to get into shape and not get another one. Yes, it is good to feel good. Good to keep drawing. Good, good, good.
My mother never calls me. Well, sometimes she does, and that usually is bad news. Someone died. But, wait, even then, she doesn't always call me. Until, recently, when it became apparent that I have a car, a driver's license, and live in the bigger town that has all the fun stores, like See's Candies and Trader Joe's. Gee, lucky me. For many years, I thought that my mother had to change for me to be happy. Then I got sober, and that job fell on ME. Yes, I was the one who had to change, to let go of needing this very difficult woman to love me the way I think I SHOULD be loved. Placing an expectation on my mother is like throwing a grain of rice at a starving person. Just isn't going to do any good at all. If, by chance, she does give me a compliment, I could get all gooey and begin to think, wow, she's changed! Now we can get all touchy feely blissful together! And, yes, I still have those thoughts. Then I remember, oh, it's my MOTHER I am talking about here. That is so not going to happen. So, this morning, she called. I was dozing and didn't pick up. My chirpy little telephone told me it was HER. After I ate my French toast and sipped my Sumatra, I steeled myself and called her back, expecting calamity, like Dad died or little brother had another stroke. Instead, she wants me to pick up a 2 lb. box of See's soft centers for Dad. Okay, I can do that. I let go of needing her to thank me for this. That wasn't happening, either. All this angst left lines in the cowwoman's face, and a steely strength in her heart. It forced me to learn to love the one that is most important in this equation, ME. And now, I don't need HER to love me in that way. I can accept that she probably does love me. In her way. Never going to change. Doesn't have to any more.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Well, not this little painting. He is finito. Didn't come out badly at all. Always a dilemma how finished to get with these images. And the answer is just enough to get the drift. Here's hoping that eventually, I will know exactly when that is. So, my trip through cyberspace today yielded a few little gems. After feeding my virtual hamster, Balthazar, I learned that, wonder of wonders, the New York Times chose a Stephen King novel as one of the top ten of the year. Yes, I know his genre is a little low from most of the highbrows out there. Personally, I love his stuff. Never a dull read, that's for sure. And, as writer's go, he is a damned good one. His stories, bizarre as they are, always are driven by his thoughtfully render characters, often, as in Salem's Lot, a whole townful of them. And, unlike more literary authors, his writing is dynamic, never over-written like Jane Hamilton, or to emphatic, as in italics-lover John Irving, not too many sentence fragments, as Joyce Carol Oates is so enamored with, more colorful than my Trumanesque mentor, Ann Tyler. And he wrote a splendid book on writing, called, strangely enough, On Writing. Dear man. Let me end with a comment on the passing of Christopher Hitchens, wondering if he got undone once he left this earthly plane. I am sure God believed in him, after all. How arrogant to believe that the world begins and ends in one's tiny mind. Think about it. Every seven years, every cell in our bodies is replaced. What are we remembering with? It seems SOMETHING has organized this pretty amazing universe so that we can rise out of the primordial ooze to become folks who think they did that all by themselves. Whatever.
Monday, December 12, 2011
After I flush and brush and brew and sip, I turn on my nifty Dell and peruse my emails (little brother is wondering whether to buy a suit, as our father is failing rapidly, sigh), then head for Facebook where all my friends, many of whom I know (and if I don't, they seem to know ME) for my dose of Jesus stuff from one, pictures of others on exotic trips, baby pictures, invites to open studios, and a plethora of interesting YouTube wisdom. Today, I saw an article about George Tenet via a Sean Penn late night visit, took a trip through the Universe, which led me to a diatribe on how to use the brain to better effect (actually, by getting out of the way once one is clear, to let the superconscious do the work), all kinds of valuable stuff there. And my little gray cells began perking. I remember why I love Jane Austin. And how did I get to that from the aforementioned stew of stuff, you ask? Well, the other day I saw this saying "Don't worry about your reputation, it is just what others think of you. Worry about your character. It is what you are." That seems to be Jane's message, that your life is about your character. Elizabeth Bennet had sterling character. George Wickham did not. Nor did Lydia Bennet, who wound up married to George. Life is better when we worry about our character. I came from a family that was concerned with its reputation big-time. Underneath it all seethed the pain and wounds of prior relations, that could never be healed because that would mean admitting weakness. Now, I am happy to say that I have examined all that crap in my life, and can have compassion for my family, at least. Gee, if we were all willing to look into our own darkness, how healthy we could all become. Of course, though I shine a light in the world, it only shines outward. I need another person to help me by shining her light into my darkness. And it takes character to allow that to happen. I always thought a character was a comic, sort of a Red Skelton creation, like Clem Kadiddlehopper. Now I know, I am one, too. And continually working to be the best one I can be. Kindness. Tolerance. Service. Yeah.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Have just returned from the memorial service of an exemplary human being, who was stabbed to death in his own kitchen by his own, mentally ill son. Tragic loss for the family, and for the world. This was the most gentle, most loving man. So I have been hovering over my latest not diddy done done piece. And hovering is a good word. I heard it this morning in the share of a delightful man, who sees himself doing that in his own life a lot. Another devotee of my friend Eckhart, the NOW guy, and I understand exactly what he is talking about. It is that "isn't this interesting" thing, watching me do me in the world. And when I do THIS, when I let go and watch the art come up off the paper, it is ever so much more fun and the result is also so surprising. So, little puffed up guy, I hope I am doing you justice. Wondrous creatures in our amazing little world. I know God is taking care of my friend, and my sweet angel Boo, too. How can I deny that when I look into the eyes of my own creation? I could swear he winked at me just a moment ago.
Friday, December 09, 2011
You kow, both my parents are still alive, and married to each other. They are 90 and 91 years old. Dad has exceeded his expiration date, and, after a hospitalization for an inflamed pancreas, courtesy of his many, many medications, Mom threw him into a nursing home. They threw him out, ferried him back to the hospital, after chasing him up and down the halls and wrestling with him. Seems they could not medicate him there. The hospital could only keep him for observation and were pressuring Mom to get him the hell out of there, too. So. Mom called me. This in itself is a monumental moment in the cowwoman's tiny life. Mom did not feel it necessary to call when Dad was hospitalized. However, cowwoman is a good daughter, after all. She called the Elderlink folks, got lots of great ideas. Off to my hometown to consult with the doctor, who said best that he come home. Mom was not having any of that. No way. Well, I suppose she felt after 69 years, she had paid all the dues. Now it was time for some relief. Next, I called the first number on the resource list given to my mother by the hospital's social worker, a facility counselor, and we got an interview with a residence here in my town. Just a stone's throw away, actually. Very nicely appointed, social model dealing with dementia. Perfect. Expensive, but, hey, they have it. Next morning, we met at the hospital with their nurse to get Dad evaluated, and, joy of joys, he qualified. Still needed the physician's statement. And, what a guy, he called us to tell us he had filled out the discharge papers. And I said we can't move him till YOU get your act together. I found out how assertiveness training really benefits, let me tell you. After a lot of logistical maneuverings, a mountain of paperwork, he was delivered to the new facility that evening. Yay. Except, now, he is back in the hospital with a kidney infection, from the catheter they put in him during his last stay. Honestly, what a nightmare. And what a learning experience. I found I really liked telling my mother what to do. And she was happy to have someone to do that, I think. Really, there is something to be said for dying young. Oh, did I mention that between the first nursing home and the hospital, his meds got lost? And his clothes were not sent with him, either? And, owing to the fact that we thought we were transporting him, he had no clothes at the hospital and had to come to his new home in his hospital gown? Nightmare, folks.
Monday, December 05, 2011
What a day. It began with cowwoman escorting visiting dog outside, broom in hand, to shoo him back in should he get all barky. Then a big piece of coconut cream pie for breakfast. The bed got made, this is always a good thing. Then Mother called, and things had gone from awful to disaster with Dad. I drove over there with a prayer on my lips, and hope in my heart. The nursing home he entered after his hopitalization kicked him out as he was too agitated. Gee, I thought they would know how to handle dementia, what's wrong with this pickture? He is back in the hospital, and they want him gone, like yesterday. We met with his doctor, who recommended he go home. Mother is not having any of that. So, we started from scratch, and, just like eating an elephant, we are doing it one bite at a time. I called a facilitator recommended by the hospital, we met with her at a local facility that specializes in his problems, toured it, and set up an evaluation tomorrow at 11 AM. It is looking like this is doable, and this facility offers respite stays, so we can see if he can regain some of his self-care and come home again. Hey, anything is possible here. He may be 91, but he has managed up till now. I think he is just confused being in strange surroundings. However, Mom mentioned he shot a gun off in the house recently. Gee, think she should have told the doctor that? Maybe his recommendation would have been different. I want to go back to my old routine of watching my soap opera and diddling up prosaic little pastels like this from my Trader Joe's arrangement. I didn't get to check my Facebook page till 6 PM tonight. I need to know which is cuter, Ryan Gosling or a puppy. I need my update from RMF Classic, in Polish. Learning different things at the moment.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Yes, the fish is really colored thus. Oh, I may have gotten a little carried away. But. then, in my process, that is not a bad thing. Taking my mind off stuff by working at the pastels. Good things happening here, too. My daughter's dear mother-in-law loves the pastel I did of her dinner table, so we will be meeting up soon for a little lunch to present it to her. I had mats cut to the proportions of the painting. She wants to frame it herself. All is good. The refrigerator got cleaned, yay. Ideas abound for the Christmas list, which is decidedly more frugal than usual, which makes me go to my gray cells (and online catalogs) for inspiration, never a bad thing. Visiting dog, Beany, is becoming more willing to come in from the backyard, which he guards zealously. Little sucker has no off button. Barkety bark bark. And he is getting the idea that, just because he saw him leave, his master is not on the other side of the front door. It helps that he has spent a few lonely moments on the porch. If the rice and chicken diet cures the Pickle, and the Cipro cures the cowwoman, we may be back up to snuff in the little yellow house soon!
Little Pickle has the runs. And since little Pickle has a very fluffy butt, this means many trips to the sink for sudsy moments with much rinsing. Very humbling, washing the Pickle's butt. Here she languishes on the bed while the tower heater wafts over her. I have been online and looked at all the possible ailments of which this could be a symptom, but none apply. She doesn't have distended abdomen or lack of appetite or any of a dozen horrible things going on. In light of the recent loss of Boo, I am a little frazzled and frightened whenever things don't just perk along normally with my Pickle. She is only three years old. I expect her to be around at least ten more years, longer if she dodges the mitral valve defect that took Boo so suddenly. And she is precious, my Pickle. Glamorous, too.
Friday, December 02, 2011
Well, the Artist's Way says that to become an artist is to be willing to make bad art. If I want to do big scenes, more better to do them on big paper, too. Crammed this onto my small pastel pad, and now ready to say UNCLE. Lumpy cows, on cotton candy field. Save me! Oh, and pretty little fluffy-butt Pickle has diarrhea, occasioning many sessions with her hind legs in the sink, shampooing her little pooper shooter. She is on a rice and chicken diet for the duration. Also not a good idea to close the access to the back yard for very long. Well, I suppose that is why God made Resolve.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
You would think from looking at the surface of things that life in the little yellow house would be serene, if just a little cluttered. The clutter, actually, is books and music and art and dog toys and the usual pile of shoes by the bed. All good things, yes? And yet, last night, my head exploded seven time. Yes, I am one of those rare humans who had exploding head syndrome (a very real thing, Google it if you don't believe me). I had thought it was through with me. The Sleep Association says it is entirely stress related, they think. What could be causing all this subterranean stress, the cowwoman wonders. Perhaps it is because it is freaking December and she has not bought a single Christmas gift? Could it be the massive avalanche of leaves in the front yard, as well as in the gutters? Could it be the sinful refrigerator, happily growing wonder drugs on long forgotten produce? Could it be the fourth round of mega-antibiotics that have her limp as an overcooked noodle and as ambitious as a rock? Could it be her father languishing in the hospital, weak as a newborn? I am just so glad that I don't have to stress that this is temporal lobe seizures, since I had an EEG last year that showed, wonder of wonders, my brain is NORMAL! You could have fooled me about that. I am just going to keep swimming, here. Maybe tackle the fridge today. One thing at a time. Get out the easy Christmas carols and noodle at the piano for a while. Start a new pastel. Take a bath. Help someone else this afternoon. Warm milk tonight before sleep. Calm down the earthquake within. Yes. Oh, and pray.