Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!



Well, here we are again! These new years come around surprisingly quickly, don’t they?

It’s been years since I made a resolution – felt like I was setting myself up for an annual failure!  And perhaps I was, but this year I’m feeling the urge to do it again anyway. What’s life without regular failure, eh?? ;0)  

In the past, the old favorite was to lose weight, and yep, it still makes the list! But now that 90 pounds are already gone, (and only four pounds sneaked back on over the holiday season, so yay!)  it is now just a determination that that last stubborn 15 will get the hell offa my butt!  
Clearly, that will change my life for the better. :p

But seriously now, in 2017:
I resolve to say no when I have to, and yes when I want to. 

 I resolve to listen to myself more and others less.

I resolve to work harder at my drawing, take tutorials, experiment and improve, improve, improve…and be less critical of the final work.  I may never be an artist who achieves photo-realism, but I know from the huge response to my art/craft fairs this year that I’m not too shabby at what I do either!

And I resolve to write more, be it journal stuff or blog stuff or whatever. It’s good for me!  And sooner or later, using Candy Crush as a stress reliever will have to come to an end, and I’ll need a replacement so I don’t have a breakdown… :o)  Write, write, write!

I saw a lady older than me the other day who was wearing crazy colors, had gorgeous turquoise highlights in her hair and the cutest red boots EVER!  She was color and glory and beauty on a dismal winter day and my gray on gray on gray ensemble suddenly seemed so….NOT me!   She exuded excitement, laughter and confidence. Her very presence made me smile and say hi!  And her enthusiastic response and consequent chatter made me feel as though she was some kind of insta-family.  My kinda people. So I resolve to embrace the inner hippie that I love so much! I never feel more at home in my own skin  than when I am wearing something a little bohemian and colorful, when my (untouched by hairdresser for over a year now!) hair is a little wild and unmanageable, when my eyeliner is a little too blue and my lipstick a little too purple. When I ignore the little (bitch!) voice inside my head telling me I’m too old for those purple tights with that shortish denim skirt!
If I have one life, then let it be filled with color!

I resolve to work on my ever encroaching agoraphobia. I am overly content to be at home in my much-loved studio. I am less and less likely to be out and about, and I don’t really wanna become that person, so I’ll visit more and hunker less. I’ll visit stores that are out of my neighborhood and comfort zone, but which beckon with all their treasures. (Dick Blick, Boston!! OMG!  Ikea, Stoughton!! ) 

And I hereby renew my lifelong resolve to never wear sweatpants, yoga pants or leggings except if I’m working out….so like, never… 
:0)

Happy New Year, folks! May your 2017 be filled to the brim with whatever makes you happy!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

BitterSweet



Last night I dreamed again.

And now, too early, I sit, hoping that this strong, hot coffee will kick-start me into action and chase away the doldrums. The season will always be bittersweet, and I embrace the sweet, and force the bitter into my internal lock box and throw away the key. But the bitter swells, the box bulges, the seams weaken; a slow leak begins to infiltrate…and I dream again.

And so I write again. 

I can’t be more than six. A hopeful, dreamy little girl, I watch the sunrise through my bedroom window, beautiful, harsh, blood red, cruel- and force myself to wait a few more minutes, allowing the excitement to build within.  I hear Mum begin the Christmas day food preparation. It’s already hot - too hot for turkey and Christmas pudding, but turkey and Christmas pudding it will be, because it’s always been. I hear Dad singing Captain Mac and my little-girl-heart fills up. Yes. It's Christmas.

And suddenly, dream-logical,  it’s me in the kitchen, up to my elbows in flour, sweating as I cook and cook and cook and cook in temperatures that demand nothing more than a cold salad, a glass or two of ice cold white wine and a dip in the pool. It’s Christmas eve and the children talk excitedly, endlessly.  Danny is bragging that he’s going to wake up at 1 am to open up his stocking. He teases that he will open theirs as well, and there are wails and shouts. Flour flying, I wag my finger, calm ruffled feathers and implement the ‘only one gift before everyone is up’ rule. He complains - it’s not fair - but the rule actually became a thing and stayed in place as long as stockings lasted! Now there’s a memory that makes me smile!

The dream is about food mainly, and Danny features heavily. I am the cook/ he is the cook/ Mum is the cook. Mum cooks traditional sausage rolls and mince pies, light, heavenly. Danny encourages us to try his bacon and egg ice cream. :0)  And me?  Everything I cook burns. Everything. And I don’t mean I overcook the beef slightly. I mean I open the oven and every single thing is a small, black unrecognizable chunk. And I stand in the kitchen alone -always alone- and I have to go in and tell them all that once again I have ruined Christmas, that we have no food, and I know the carefree laughter I’m hearing will stop, and they will stare at me, waiting for me to fix it - and I can’t fix it, ever. And the panic grows, stealthy and steady and strong.  But dream-Danny opens the oven and says ‘no, Mum, look. It’s not burned, it’s fine.’  And just like that, it’s fine. And the laughter soars, and outside  the frigid, white world becomes a hazy, humid, blood-red and fierce summer day…and I wake up with my heart pounding,  thoroughly lost in Christmases past, and the bitter swells and finally bursts the seams of the lock box and I miss him so, and I lie curled up with pain and sorrow, regret and longing and self-recrimination washing over me like ocean waves, and I stop fighting and allow it.  Because now is the time. 4am Christmas eve. Still dark. Silent. I consider gathering up the bitter and stuffing it back into the box immediately.  I can do it. I’m really good at it – it wasn’t TAUGHT, as such, but it was just what we did in my family. Stiff upper lip, and all!  But as I lay there this morning, breathing deep and searching for calm, I decided on a re-blending exercise instead. So for each bitter, I deliberately seek out a sweet and allow that memory to thoroughly wash over me. I recall the minutiae – hear the sounds, smell the smells, and slowly, slowly feel life settle itself back into the balance of light and dark  that it is. It's enough...

Busy day today, in traditional Christmas Eve style.  I will have Aussie Christmas music playing as I cook, and I will sing and think and reminisce and feel a slight longing for 100 degree temperatures! I probably won’t burn anything black this time, and tonight I’ll talk to Danny and Mum, a million-trillion miles away, and I will raise my glass to Daddy-man, gone now for thirty years, and wish happy/merry/birthday/Christmas to him, and I will continue to braid the bitter and the sweet together as so many people must do at this time of year. Loss bites hard during Christmas, that bitterness taking little sharp nips out of the sweetness at unexpected moments. But we persevere because...well, because...

I am calm again. The coffee is deliberately crazy strong and I am wide awake and jangling! The dream is receding. Nothing is burned beyond repair, the season seems bright and cheery again. The sunrise is not blood red and fearsome, but soft, a peachy glow over the snow-white. Gentle. I am feeling the sweetness return in full force. I embrace my beautiful life here, feel the loving arms of my husband around me. My calm. My rock. My love. Tomorrow LOTS of family members will gather here, and we will eat and drink and laugh and love and eat and drink some more.

Sweet!  

As I put my computer aside and re-don the apron in preparation for my Christmas Eve, I am feeling once again the happiness and hopefulness of the season, and I can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow!

Well…almost everyone… 

To anyone who has stayed with my ramblings...!  Hoping your sweet overwhelms your bitter – Merry Christmas, happy holidays, love and great good wishes to all family and friends, near and far - but Danny in particular! WISH you were here. Xoxo



Friday, November 25, 2016

See ya...!

If love be your creed-
And forgiveness for the 'sins' of the lost and the desolate is not only conditional, but sends you into a frenzy of misguided self-congratulation, if your own behavior runs parallel to that of the condemned, and if it's not the first, the second, or even the third time it's happened - look deep.
Time to clean housešŸ˜¢

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This Silent Day



I am up early on this treasured day off!  I have about a thousand things to do, and I’m going to fly into action soon. But I was sitting here, eating a huge breakfast, considering life, death and all that comes in between, and I began to think about people, near and far, close now or close once.  And I considered the interesting/painful/joyful aspects of relationships, why they start, what they bring, how they end if they end.  

There have been failed marriages, but I still respect and even like those two men in many ways, and I decided long ago that where there was once love, there need never be hate. Seasonal relationships, I guess!  :0)

There have been good friendships that have solidly survived long periods of non-communication, with understanding that sometimes traumas/depressions/fears/anxieties/busy lives get in the way. True friends remain friends – loyal and compassionate and empathetic, and we love each other more for that!  Lifetime friends, I would say. <3

And there have been a couple of good friendships that couldn’t survive those times.  These are painful, especially when they’ve been very important for a time.  I struggled terribly with these, as a part of me wanted desperately to  reason with them, challenge hypocrisy, fight for the continuation of the relationship, but I understand, by their lack of sensitivity for my times of intolerable, torturous pain, as well as by my own inability to be there for them, that we’re all done.  Truth is, we failed each other, and I’m sorry for those mutual failings.  I loved them truly, these friends, who turned out, sadly, to be friends for a reason AND a season, I suppose, but not a lifetime.  :0(

There is silence in my house today. Peace. Calm. No TV.  No music.  Sweet, blessed silence as I sit and think and let my thoughts meander along, taking me hither and yon!  Life has become busy, kinda mindless in some ways. These quiet times are precious and they’re filled with thinking and art and writing.  And as I so often do when I hop off life’s treadmill for a minute and really feel the next breath and pay attention to my strong and healthy (knock on wood!) body, the thought crosses my mind… how incredibly, impossibly lucky am I in this life?  It’s good to quietly sit and remember that from time to time!

A joyful/painful life that is racing along at breakneck speed!

And now…putting aside the thoughts, the writing and the overload of coffee, and onto the real plans for today!

Sending out waves of love, joy and goodwill to all, whether they be relationships of reason, season or lifetime!  

Thankful for all we’ve shared!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Senses of 2015 and onward!



In 2015, I have seen the human spirit recover and thrive again and again, even after the worst that can happen, and it has given me hope for better times ahead.

I have heard all of my adult children tell me they love me, and knowing that I did not always make life easy, and knowing other families where forgiveness and loving familial feelings are not so readily given,  I am humbled and grateful. My love for them knows no bounds and I am endlessly proud of all four. They’ve overcome their own battles, they’ve proven to be decent people and they are my heart. 

I have smelled the bright, sharp, earthy eucalyptus scent of a koala in its native land and it lingers in my mind and infiltrates my dreams. It was a moment for me. The koala looked bored with all the endless tourist photographs, and my beautiful son was laughing, and I was laughing even over the huge and unexpected lump in my throat, as the incomparable Aussie sun beat down upon us. Funny what our minds pick out as being so note-worthy. There were a thousand little moments during my trip to Australia this year, and they often replay in my mind, but this, this was just…a moment.  




I have tasted my Mum’s pumpkin scones, her fruit cake, her date and walnut slice, her sublime pastry in a perfect pie. I have savored them and have understood what chefs mean when they say the secret ingredient is love.  But there’s love in those goodies from the taster as well! I had a much greater reaction to all those things than just yummy sweets on the taste buds, for sure!

I have touched my mother, when only a year ago, I wondered fearfully if I had missed that opportunity forever.  And I have touched my son in Australia, whom I see so, so rarely. It is my one great sadness, so it meant everything to me.  Just everything! And, so there’s no more to be said!





I have felt great sadness and great joy. There was a loss in 2014 that had a deep and long lasting effect on me, and I learned how to sometimes do the old ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ routine to get through to the next day. I have felt the joy of family gatherings, though seriously marked by the absence of some precious loved ones.  Sitting in my Mum’s lounge room, I have felt the old music coursing through my veins like lifeblood as my siblings and cousins performed the oldies, and I was lost in nostalgia as we all sang the familiar choruses. 
I have felt the urge to pick up the guitar again the last couple of days. It hurts my bad neck and the finger that I once stuck under a mower (yep!) is not as strong as the others – AND I’m pretty sure the guitar resents being relegated back to halting beginner status after being the instrument used in a boozy night of rollicking Irish folk tunes played by someone who REALLY knows what she’s doing! (Loved it SOSOSOSOSOSO much, Pat!! What a great night!) But….I shall continue, and perhaps one day I’ll figure out what I’m doing!

And I have learned that I’m an artist. A wonky artist, where things are often almost right, or nearly as I pictured them!  I have returned to the crazy colors, with secrets or poems or songs scribbled somewhere on the canvas. It’s what I did as a kid, not that anyone knew, as music was the art that mattered most in my family, and I don’t think anyone really knew that the colors and the words were my music!  It’s ok though. I was a bit of an odd-bod as a kid, I think! Spent a lot of time sitting up a tree ... 
These days, people actually teach that way of painting, considering it a form of freedom, a expression of inner truth.  To me, as a kid, it was just bad art, never to be shown to the world!  Haha! This is my favorite of the moment – called ‘Secrets in my Garden.’ Indeed, there are secrets galore hidden under all of that color and I look at it daily and feel all kinds of emotions coursing through me. 


I have learned that I have no attention span and it’s getting worse!  Haha!  No sooner I “master” (hohohahhahahahaHAHAHA) one new craft/art, I’m bored and onto the next. I mean – I may never wrap wire again, but I’m rather in love with this evidence of a few bored days! Lotta wire in there....LOTTTTTTAAAA wire! :0)

And a little more evidence of a bouncing mind – here is one of my home-made’s for the girls this year. Rachel, in Florida, photo-shopped (ugh, very badly. Must work on that too!)  in because I always want to imagine her here with us!  All that design and applique was fun, for sure, but will I ever do it again??  Who knows?  :0)

Yep, I am an artist!

I have felt the love of my husband in every moment, in every action, in every word. I have seen the love he feels for my children, as complete and true and real as the love he feels for his own child, who also accepted us all as her own family, and even readily allowed me to be Nana to her kids. We don’t use the prefix ‘step’ much around here.  We are a family! How impossibly lucky are we??  

Happy, happy new year to all family and friends, here and away. May your year be peaceful, joyous and filled to the brim with all the excessive love I’m feeling right at this moment. Nothing like a morning of quiet nostalgia to get the cup overflowing!

Cheers!!
xox