faves on friday

I so want to see this!

I have been listening to her music for years and then came across this beauty.

who's going?  raise your hands!

and this is simply adorable and has me thinking up more ideas!

and I am so building this the next time my nieces come to play!

have you watched this?  who knew she was on it?

from inspired 2009


 I encourage you to:
 writing messages for surprises in the mail

I want you to:
 message from a friend

all around us today there is:
handmade cement block by me

take some time today to:
page from my journal
writing with bleach

trying out a technique from somerset studio

 get outside and:
writing with bleach

appreciate the magic...
tomato plant gift from deb

breathe in the smells...
unexpected flowers

be grateful for nourishing gifts
salad pot gift from francie

take the time to be still...
 w.i.p currently on my easel

and remember to:

writing with bleach

look! you are surrounded by:
 my fave sweatshirt
 left over bits from valentine's day

observe calm
 joey hanging out on the porch in the sun

seek peace
 pair of shoes mama thought I needed to have

 and give yourself permission to rest
joey on the bench in the studio

I survived!

ah yes, "I almost died" are words that are often spoken around here.  I didn't almost die, but rather survived a six hour power outage.  oh I know people!  there are those who have survived longer power outages, but this is my story and how from the "lack of power" so to speak, I pondered a bit about a life with no power.

so the power went out unexpectedly this morning while the pot was boiling in preparation for two glorious eggs ready to be poached to perfection.  the slices of bread upright in the toaster waiting for their pale white to be turned golden.  the coffee machine whirring and warming up.  I reached for the soy milk and filled up the milk container.  I was ready to create a scrumptious breakfast fit for a "queen".  all of the sudden boom.  not a loud boom, but a boom like you know shit just went down and who's shit is it?  the coffee machine stood before me with no sign of life.  I was still holding the milk waiting to start steaming it to clouds of foam for my cappuccino.  hmmmm...put the milk down and see that the stove has also died.  the microwave - gone.

well, this is probably short lived I say to self.  probably those construction workers have something to do with this.  it will be up in no time.  meanwhile I will grab a shower.  flick the light switch - no power dumb ass!  leave the door open to let in the light and worry that the temperature of the water will also die like the power.  nope, nice and warm.  all clean and let's dry the hair - no power!  ok, fluff and go I guess.  power still isn't on and so I think I'll just google power outage in edmonton and see what is what.  oh, yeah, no internet.  hmmm...i-phone to the rescue!  I end up calling the power company and am told that I was notified that there would be a six hour power outage today.  I was notified?  with what?  carrier pigeon?  cause the bird didn't stop here.  ok, well - release that which you cannot control.  fine.

and there sitting on the kitchen counter are the eggs.  shattered dreams of a lovely breakfast of poached eggs on toast.  I'm not a quitter!  I have a BBQ!  while I am outside with the pot on the burner and the toast on the grill my neighbour comes over to ask if I knew about the power outage.  nope and me neither she says.  we chat about breakfast and I find out she has had her coffee.  yeah, well, I had a few more minutes of shut eye - bring it!  I tell her I am poaching my eggs and grilling my toast anyway.  she laughs and says she will probably grill some chicken.  blah!  chicken for breakfast?  AND she HAD her coffee?  didn't make sense.  needless to say the eggs and toast were not perfect, but I was proud of myself for not settling for cereal.  I thought about the coffee and how I could crush the beans caveman style and boil some water on the BBQ and toss the coffee bits in.  steam milk?  warm milk? I finally let the coffee thing go and settled for an iced chai latte.

so tap, tap, tap go the fingers.  now what?  no internet!  no power!  I hadn't had my coffee so my mind was fuzzy and I just couldn't think of what to do.  everything I thought about doing involved power.  whoa nelly!  let's pull back those reins and think about this for a minute.  power outage?  lack of power?  no power, no idea of what to do.  POWER!

ok, so then I started thinking about when we are lacking in our own power.  when we shut down.  when we don't stick up for ourselves.  when we don't say what we want to say.  when we shrink down till there is no sign of life within us.  we get so tiny that we don't know what to do.  where to go next?  what's the plan?  plan?  no plan?  if a coffee machine has no power = no coffee.  if we have no power within ourselves = no life.

how do we turn that power back on within ourselves?  well, I think we need to start with being honest with ourselves first.  no finger pointing till you own up to the mask you have been sporting.  do you feel like you need to embellish the truth to make yourself be better than the other person?  and we all know that embellish is a pretty word for LIE!  do you tell the world that all is perfect in your house when really your house, as in your insides, could use a little cobweb clearing?  you are not fooling anybody!  most of all you are not fooling yourself.  first off you now need to keep track of all the lies you've been telling other people.  oh my, the stress of trying to remember what you said to who and when and about what.  all that is doing is sucking at your power.  be you!  what is so wrong with you that you need to pretend to be someone you are not?  what is the fucking deal?

YOU are beautiful.  YOU are enough.  YOU are you and there is no one else like you.  so why would you deprive the world of your unique self?  you have gifts to offer to the world that no one else has.  rip that mask off, put on your shiny cape and flex those power muscles!  own it, be it and share it with the world.

yeah YOU!  yay YOU!  love YOU!  and this 3:00 pm morning coffee tastes pretty darn awesome too.

faves on friday

crazy beautiful!

Kilian Martin: Altered Route (a Skate Film) from mb! by Mercedes-Benz on Vimeo.

have you read?  I found his transformation incredible.  strip yourself of everything and get naked.  who are you really?  loved it!

mark bradford!  swoon!  "I don't come from an art background.  I come from a making background".  saw his exhibit at SFMOMA and fell in love.  check him out!

this emotional life worth every minute!  a very interesting look at our emotions, relationships and the resilience of people.

one of my most recent reads is very real, twisted and kinda funny all at the same time.  I devoured it!  her website is full of videos and writing.  it will keep you busy for awhile.

so I gave ya something to watch and something to read.  wish I could give ya a happy friday hug for all your love and support!  have an amazing weekend!

tidy up...


yesterday became a day of transformation for joey and mama.  joey normally has long hair.  when we first picked him up from the rescue shelter he looked like one of the muppets.  I like to keep him short and tidy.  it is easier to clean him up when he comes in covered in mud.  he was reluctant to go with the groomer to the back.  it was as if he was saying "no mama I want to be with you" and "I promise to stay clean".  truth is he has been smelling like a dog and in the new place I still haven't figured out how to give him a bath.  in our old house we had two big wash tubs in the laundry room.  it was great.  wash in one, rinse in the other and start the dryer while he was still contained in the sink.  it didn't matter if he shook trying to get dry.  it was the laundry room after all, but here it looks like the bathtub will have to become his new wash vessel.  so now he is clean, tidy and smelling like a rose.  you can see his eyes and he looks into your soul and sometimes I think he is talking to me.  I imagine him saying "I love you and I am here for you to cuddle with when you feel like shit on a stick".  dogs are incredible like that.  they love you no matter what.  you can be angry, smelly and rushing around, but they remind you to stop and take time to rest.  I love to cuddle with him and his puppy kisses melt away all the worries in my head.

after I dropped him off at the groomers I went to work on mama's hair.  I found her in bed and located a nurse to help me get her into her wheelchair.  she looked tired.  I explained to her that we are turning your room into a salon today.  she smiled.  she seemed weak.  I pulled out my iPhone and hit play on my italian music selection and began.  then I remembered what a friend had said about taking pictures.  thank you jeanine!  so I thought I would take a before and after.
it was tricky.  I removed the back from her wheelchair so that I could get to her hair.  I used a colour rinse which may only last a couple of washings.  her hair is so soft.  I remember it always being dry.  I used to colour mom's hair all the time.  then I would curl it and set it.  I remember her hair being dry and brittle.  it was soft and the colour it had become reminded me of my nonna.  I coloured, I dried and I curled.  she is very rigid so moving her around is like moving around a bag of grass clippings.  you think you have it and then it flops over.  I kept asking her if she was ok.  did she need anything.  she sat there and nodded off and on.  at the end I turned around to face the mirror, but because of her neck she couldn't see.  what to do?  so I took a pic with my phone and showed it to her.  "ah, yeah" she said.  "good".

I don't know how long the colour will last.  I think they may be giving her a bath today and so there go the curls.  the thing is at first I was pissed at my dad for wanting her hair coloured and yesterday as I was wheeling her to lunch and everyone was saying how beautiful she looked it hit me.

I was given a gift and I never even knew it.  all those years of doing her hair and "playing salon" have been moments when it was just the two of us.  she was "stuck" so to speak in the chair which was rare for my mom to ever stop and sit.  she ran around all the time.  she was cleaning, cooking, washing clothes and stirring soup all at the same time.  for those brief moments we were chatting and laughing when I would ask how the kids were and we are all done now maria!  time to go to the front and pay.  

 mama & I
I spoke to dad this morning and he sounded happy.  he said mom's hair looked good.  hmmm...  it's really a little thing, isn't it?  a little thing that made a whole bunch of people stop and smile.  oh we may be in a puddle of tears tomorrow and mom's hair may be a mess, but I am starting to realize that those little moments are really quite huge.

I did learn (cause there is always a lesson) that when and if I end up in a home that I will probably just shave my head, lose the bra and braid my chin hairs.  now let's not get crazy!  I will still need a cappuccino maker on my nightstand.  :)
most recent picture of mom may 17, 2012

it's early monday morning.  I can hear the beep beep sounds of the construction trucks starting their day.  the phone rings and it is dad.  he is wondering if we can do anything about mom's hair colour.  I cringe.  I know that this is something that I will have to figure out.  one more thing to try to "fix".  I'm the one to call and I am the one to succeed or fail.  I am the one making the decisions.  I am the go to girl.  this used to be mom's job.  she was good at it.  she kept everything and everybody in their place and she always had a place for everything and everybody in her life.  she did it effortlessly.  we used to call her the energizer bunny.  go, go, go.  you couldn't keep up.  I am not good at it.  it's funny cause I am a leo and leo's are known for leading.  I will stand by you and support you.  I will cheer you on from the sidelines, but please don't put me front and centre and ask me if I think we should go with a feeding tube or not.  yes, I am not good at it, but I'm doing it.  I'm learning and I am trying.  I am clear on what I decide and I go with my gut.  I could do more, sure, couldn't anyone?  some people say I should do more.  I should be there all the time.  I should have kept her home.  I should have hired round the clock nurses.  some people say I am doing great.  I need to take time for me and not feel guilty about it.  I will go crazy if I am there all the time.  and some people need to understand that my shoes don't fit them.  "walk a mile in my shoes..."  really?  cause last time I checked I was walking in my shoes and I don't have the same size as you.  your life is not mine and although I can understand - I simply cannot know it all.  which reminds me...I need to get the summer shoes out.

mom spent mother's day in the hospital with severe dehydration, two serious urinary tract infections and I thought for sure it was the end.  I sat by her hospital bed wondering who to call.  the priest?  final rites?  my dad?  it was late at night and as the hours passed they began to treat her and run tests.  I felt helpless and very small.  I needed to step aside and let the doctors and nurses do what needed to be done.  she was admitted to hospital and although her speech returned she was unable to feed herself or get up at all.  since her return to long term care she has been bed ridden except to get her in the wheelchair for meals.  meals which consist of a meal replacement drink and mushed up groceries.  she has no energy.  her arms and hands lay on top of her legs unable to move.  her speech is weaker.  she talks very slow and very quietly.  sometimes I can make out what she says and other times I just say "yes, mom".  oh but her mind is good despite the doctors saying she has dementia.  she is hanging on by a thread.  for me it is a waiting game.  this whole process has been a game of sorts.  I am one of the pieces on the board.  I think of the service, the readings, the prayer cards, the people, the eulogy.  I feel ready.  I feel at peace and I don't want her to suffer anymore.  three years ago when she began to lose her independence is when she would have wanted to die.  she never would have wanted any of this.

my father is the other piece and he wants her hair coloured.  he wants her to gain weight.  he wants her to move.  he wants some resemblance of "his" maria back.  he too hangs on by a thread.  he's not eating enough.  he is not sleeping well.  he is in pain all the time.  he is grouchy and will get himself all twisted up if one of her nightgowns goes missing.

we asked him to join us for lunch/dinner yesterday to spend some time outside of the facility and he declined.  I was crushed.  my father did not want to spend father's day with his daughter.  I baked him chocolate chip cookies and gave him a card.  he asked why so many cookies.  who is going to eat all these cookies?  I don't give a shit who eats the cookies.  I am just trying to remind you that you are loved and you are not alone.  dan tried to bargain with my dad when he offered him a cookie.  I'll eat one nonno if you eat one.  good job dan.  there ya go.  but dad said no.  he just ate and he didn't want to upset his stomach.  oh, so you ate?  like "lunch"?  like where "we" just came from?  I need to let it go.

people tell me to be patient with him.  to not take it personally.  he is fragile and depressed.  yes, I know that.  I do.  I understand that, but when that little tiny voice inside me just wants my dad; well, I guess it is the same thing.  I want my "dad" like he wants his "maria".  I want the dad who would jump on his bike and we would ride for hours together around the neighbourhood.  I want the dad who would let me pick up the hammer and hit the nail into the wood and make stuff.  I want the dad who sat beside me while I learned how to drive a stick in the middle of a field.  I want the dad who would cut the grass with dan and his play lawn mower right next to each other.

michael tries to hold us altogether.  he tries to keep tabs on dad,  comfort mom who loves talking to him and keep me from running out the door.  he plans get aways to keep sane and allow me to recharge.

we are all pieces in this game.  there are moves to be made, but everyone is sitting there trying to not do the wrong thing.  none of us know what the right thing is.  we all try different things to keep us afloat, but realistically we are the small child in church clasping their hands together really tight so as not to squirm.  none us want the other to suffer.  none of us wants to do the wrong thing and upset the other.  

there are crumbs in my freezer drawer and that is bothering me.  I was upset yesterday when I realized he bought small garbage bags instead of large.  I tried to help by moving the car out of the garage, but he parked so damn close to the side that I had to forward and backwards a million times.  why does he do that?  these are the things that roam around my head keeping me up at night.  the serious stuff and then the stuff that just doesn't really matter.  crumbs in the freezer?  who is going to see that, but me? 

the thing is it's not about the crumbs, the bags or the car.  we are all just trying to hang on to something or we are trying to get something back. we have lost our leader and we are all trying to find our new place.  we are shuffling around like the pieces on the game board.  roll the dice; woo!  move two spaces forward and pick a card!  my heart goes out to everyone who has been here or is there now.  you are not alone and you will make it through.  you will.

faves on friday

it's been crazy around here lately.  in the meantime and in between time I wanted to share some faves of late:

found this through lisa!  so beautiful...

wanna go with me for tea?  I could totally see my son doing this!

what a wonderful idea!

colourful and inspiring all at the same time.

and if you want to watch a wonderful story.