live while you live

long, long ago in a house far away from here I began this canvas. It is huge! 30" x 40". I started out one day by collaging papers onto the surface and then it sat. there were other things to be done.

before we moved I hit it with some gesso and there it sat. a few weeks later and I applied the yellow and there it sat. it is a piece that has pulled me in and the patience that I had with this piece is unlike any I've had before. I don't know why. then I found the words and scribbled them on some scrap paper. over and over they repeated themselves to me.

my son turned 21 a few months ago and we had a conversation about life and dreams. I love these talks. we can go for hours discussing dreams, plans and out of this world desires. as he revealed some of his goals to me I found myself listening to him and hearing myself. it was surreal. he is so excited about life and exploring the world and sharing his music. I adore that drive, but what it lacked was the next step. take the next step. jump in! go for it! do it! OMG! I was talking to myself! I was gobsmacked as they say.

this conversation stuck with me and I even talked to others about how it seemed like I was giving him the nudge to move forward with no fear and yet here I was feet firmly planted in the ground. I talked the talk well enough, but I needed to start walking the walk.

he inspired me to try something that I have put on the back burner for quite awhile. a couple of days after our conversation I walked the walk right into moksha yoga. I signed up for the 30 day challenge.

what have I done?
you signed up for the 30 day challenge...
yes, but what if I can't do it?
you can and you will...
but what if I miss a day?
you will try to not do that...

and so it began. of course, as they, say when you are busy making plans god laughs. mom ended up in the hospital and so the challenge was really on.

and that was over 30 days ago. I missed one day. the day that we readmitted mom to the hospital was the only day I missed. to make up for the missed day I did two yoga classes in one day. thus completing 30 classes in 30 days and I am still going strong.

throughout the 30 days things kept getting thrown at me. oh here, take this! lie down on the mat and breathe. wham, dog gets sick. breathe. a friend's sister dies suddenly. return to the breath. and so on and so on. I took each unexpected thing thrown at me and decided that my self care was SO important right now and my example of completing a goal till the end was something that I needed to prove to myself and show my son. there were many times in class when the instructor would say focus on something that will guide you today. I focused on my son. he guided me. he believed in me like I believed in him and now I needed to start believing in myself.

with all that has been thrown at me lately I have come to love these words "live while you live". to me it means that you should just do it. why wait? so as I plow forward trying to find balance in the chaos I know that I have done what I thought was impossible. I proved it to myself that I could step forward and keep on going. sure, sure there will be times when I step back. I am still cautious and there are still those voices telling me that I can't, but the drive to try is bigger now. I've learned patience and I've felt calm and I am determined to find out what else is out there waiting for me.

my oh my mama

this pic of mom from last night after we laughed, smiled and talked about what is to come. she is aware now that she is not going home. she is not happy about that and I believe that she still thinks that if she can walk better and eat regular food that she could still go home.

we delayed our trip yesterday until the errands were done. sometimes I feel like I am rushing out of there to get to where I need to go next so it was a great change of pace. she was in bed when we got there and ready to get up and go for a walk.

she started to tell us how the next door neighbour brought dad a cherry pie and how she loves pie. what is your favourite pie mom? oh, any pie! she used to make pies and would give us each a piece and pretty much polish off the rest herself. she has a sweet tooth and I am not sure that the "thick diet" includes much sweets.

so we are working at getting her out of the bed, house coat on, shoes on when I said would you like me to bring you some pie? would you like that mom? her response? fucking right! oh yeah! well we howled and finally got her out of bed. and it didn't end there. she kept on talking about how she wanted to see the doctor and ask for a day pass. your father, she said, is not attending mass without me and I need to make sure he goes to church. maybe I could call the home care office and see if there was someone that could take care of her at home? oh but don't call that home care worker cause she is a liar! oh my!

we made our way back to the unit and her supper had arrived so we fed her in the common area. a bit brighter and more room for all. she had a lovely dish of mushed turkey, mashed potatoes and minced peas and carrots with gravy. every spoon I filled for her I swallowed hard. oh I just barely kept it together. trying to make it SO appetizing for her. there is cranberry sauce mom! wanna try some of that on your turkey? bluck! tastes like jam she says. why would you put jam on your turkey. oh I said just a little bit of sweetness. no, no, no she said waving her arms around. how about some of this yummy rice pudding? a couple of spoons of that and then some thickened water to wash it down. oh my she looked just as disgusted as I felt. she barely ate a thing, but then when she was done I started to entertain her with my walker skills.

I used the walker as a seat to feed her and boy that thing has some power! I shuffled to one side of the hall and then back over to her where I twirled and smiled as I passed her. she laughed. what the hell are you doing she said? you are going to hurt yourself! well, if I do I am in the right place, right mom? and so I continued on back and forth zooming and twirling and making her laugh.

pretty soon she was tired and ready to get back to bed. she's hanging in there and I think that she is having more good days than bad. it's not the best of times right now, but we need to get through it. one day at a time and if laughing, smiling and swearing are gonna get us there then so be it!

an art filled challenge

there is no secret about the challenges that I have had in my life over the last little while, so when I attended our edmonton calligraphic society meeting in september and an art challenge was offered I went for it. I love challenges! we were offered a black garbage bag full of unknown items for two bucks. the deal was that in october we return with something made using the items in the bag. if you completed the challenge your name was put in a draw for fifty bucks!

my bag contained some very unique items and after a bit of swearing and regret I dove in. I started decorating some of the papers and just played. no thought or plan at the moment. as I went on I had several ideas. make a book? a torso? a purse? what the hell is a daruma? and then it hit me! pizza! I used the pizza box as my base and covered it in all the papers that I had decorated. tear, rip, glue, smear - again just playing. I ended up cutting a niche the size of the small box I had in the bag and inserted it so that the dolls would have a resting place. splattered some paint and smeared some gold lumiere paint and painted the sides and inside of the niche black. calligraphed the word "daruma" and layered some red, gold and black papers and ta da! done!
or so I thought cause I still had all of this left over:
and I couldn't throw it out! and I needed to release some frustration. and so the art therapy session began. there was a big sheet of paper in the bag and so I used it as my base. collage both sides. again rip, tear and glue - just play!
then I smeared some gesso on and cut the paper into strips. added paint, glitter and whatever else I pulled out of the drawer.
then I cut them into postcard size and rounded the corners. I still had the darn lid from the box so I turned that into a vessel to hold the cards.
and here is an example of what I did with one of the postcards.
great for an unexpected treat in the mail or birthday wishes.
so although I had NO time to play in the studio lately this was a wonderful opportunity to create and it was very therapeutic as well. confirming once again that art saves! it saved me tons in therapy and drugs! it was also wonderful to see all the different things that the other participants came up with.

this would be a great challenge for a group or even a mail swap. and a good way to get rid of all that unused stuff that is just sitting in your studio!