Huntress of the Lens


Sunday, September 27, 2009

X, Y... No Zzzzzzz

Apparently I snore horribly. I wouldn't believe it if Michael hadn't taped it while I was sleeping and played it back for me later. It sounds a lot like when a chainsaw is applied to a particularly tough log that is a bit to thick for the length of its blade. Last night was a really bad episode according to my sleep deprived husband. The puppy cried all night, and when he let the dogs out to put them in the pen at four Jeff disappeared into the half-acre yard and wouldn't return. He was tapping on our window at five, right when Michael II the sequel was coming home from wherever he was. 

My Michael closed last night, and had to work an early shift this morning. He is beyond tired.

I'm really sorry for my part in your sleepless night honey, I wouldn't do it if I knew how not to. When I was looking for illustrations for this, all the pictures were of pissed off women and their men were the serial-snorers. I guess women don't often snore like power tools. I seriously doubt I have an overload of testosterone, it must be the medications I'm taking.  There are several interesting devices being sold to stop this problem, maybe I should try the ninja-face snore-stopper? To be honest I can't picture sleeping in something like this, I can barely be responsible for taking off my glasses and putting my book away, much less turning off the light. When does one apply this little fashion beauty? How would we ever get to sleep if we couldn't stop laughing? I suppose I could bedazzle it and just call it a dream accessory, but really? People wear these? If we're "till death do us part" is this what Michael has to look forward to for the rest of his life? I know he'll never leave me, he loves me too much. Oh, and I also told him that if he tried I would charge him for all those tattoos and go with him anyway. But I feel sorry for the poor man, to sleep next to someone who sounds like a gasoline generator every night for the rest of his life must be on par with the seventh circle of hell.

I don't know what to do about this, I could try the spray, or the nose devices that don't really stick to your nose all night but end up firmly anchored to a shoulder by morning. I just know that I feel really bad that I can disturb his sleep so terribly, even when he is wearing earplugs. I guess this is the "worse" part of "for better or worse."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dogs and boats, and just the right outfits.

The whole time I'm planning my anniversary wedding/circus/dragfest, I'm wondering if I'll be able to actually pull it off with such short notice. So far, the things I need and haven't found are: A corset that's not black. yards of the right fabric to make a skirt while my daughter (the captain of the sewing machine who won't even let me try to learn to use it) hates me and won't even come home (because this house is "annoying"), a full outfit of lederhosen to fit a six foot man, a terrible 70s prom tuxedo that's not powder blue, and a change of date by one day so my maid of dishonor can wear a terrible bridesmaid dress and show up with my best friend.

That's a lot of stuff to find. I have 27 days left to pull this off. I have done more in less time, but never have I felt this bad while trying to do it. The rings part. Do we take off our wedding rings and put them back on, or should we exchange something totally different? We've already done rings, so I'm thinking something different, but what? Something we'll make, I'm sure. I need to write a ceremony, and decide whether we'll read more vows or short essays. Can you hear how much I, I, I there is in all of this? I need to talk to Michael and let him have some input, which is not my style, I usually do everything myself and he shows up looking good and does his part. That's how our first wedding went. 

I put together an event for 160 people and wouldn't let anyone help me at all. It was amazing, it was grand, far beyond our means. I traded tattoos for so much of it. I am just now finishing the sleeve on my florist's husband that pays for the 2,600.00 flower bill. We were given so much as wedding gifts, I traded for the ice sculpture and the oysters on the half shell that adorned it were a wedding gift (along with the BBQ service for our main dish) from a friend of Michael's. One of our friends payed for most of the wedding cake, which was dark chocolate ganache, all shiny with fresh flowers adorning instead of white. It was classic, it was beautiful, and it stuck. We are still married.

This time is really an affirmation that after all two people can go through if you multiply three years by four kids we would still choose each other. Now that I really know who I married I have this deep desire to stand up and say again that I've found my life-partner and will be there till the end of time with him. That's just the wedding though, it's the marriage that counts.

So many of my friends would marry, either today or someday, if they had the opportunity. Ellen and Portia, Matt Morris and his husband, and about eighteen thousand other couples took that opportunity during the short window of time from May to November to do just that. What about my other friends and family who weren't in love yet back then though, when will they be able to plan their weddings, either classical or full of costume, drag and drama? Once again, it's not the wedding that really counts, it's the marriage. Why can I marry Michael as many times as I want to and people I know and love can't legally marry at all?

If Gay marriage is a threat to society, I would think people would hunt me down and wave their signs. It took me three times to find the right husband. With three husbands I am far more a threat to marriage and the good old American Way than any two women or men who wish to make that leap of faith and say "Yes, you are the one" and have it bind legally as well as spiritually. 

Actually, the marriage part took place in the courthouse records department when we purchased and signed our marriage license, the wedding was really just for aesthetics which is why it makes no difference if it's a white or rainbow wedding. Buying a marriage license is somewhat like buying a license for your dog, except it  requires two signatures and birth certificates. Oh, and the people have to be born "male" and "female". That is like only licensing certain kinds of dogs, and excluding others. I can't accept that we get to have the legal paper because we were born the proper breeds. It's ridiculous to me. It's a civil action to buy a license for a car, or a dog, a boat or a marriage. That makes it a civil right. Why do only certain people have this particular right? I certainly know Gay people who own licensed boats and the world hasn't come to an end yet.

I feel a strong urge to commit to Michael again, but also a deep desire to stand up and marry with any and all who want that for themselves. It's symbolic only, we can't be any more married than we already are. It also represents my deep belief that anyone and everyone who is an adult and is not under undue duress should be able to do the same thing. I think we'll get married every year until everyone can. It's a bizarre protest, but hey, I'm an Aquarian and no one expects the usual from me.

On that note, my friend Melanie was in my tattoo chair the other day. She had her first real date with her husband at our first wedding. She said it was absolutely beautiful, but she couldn't see any "Laura" in it. When I told her my plans for this party she said "Ah, now that sounds more like you." I covered all my tattoos in acres of white lace the last time. Why did I think I had to hide who I am? Now that I'm done with that dress I could stuff it and make a love-seat.  I guess everyone has the right to re-evaluate their ideas about marriage and what it should be like. This is a good thing, because if people can't find a way to do that then equal rights under the law where marriage is concerned won't ever be forthcoming for all of the people I love.

God, I really hope I can find the right corset and lederhosen, it's all about priorities, right?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just stay out of it Mom

Five years ago my oldest son bought his dream car. It's an older model RX7, and although I know nothing about cars I know that this one is special. Special in the drifting community, special because it's old and has so much stock stuff about it. He loves that car. To me it's an old silver car, but like I said, I don't know much about cars.

He bought it for cash, and got a receipt and some paperwork, which he hasn't been able to find for years. There were ten months left on the tags, so he figured he had plenty of time to register it and transfer the title. Four months later he got a DUI in it and it had to be parked until he paid the fines and completed the school that goes along with this. I felt really bad for him, he had been drinking but he had a friend drive him where he wanted to go and then stopped drinking for a couple hours so he could drive himself home. He was trying to be responsible, but he still blew a .09 when they pulled him over and since he was only 20 at the time they took him to jail and suspended his license. He then figured he didn't have the money to register it will all those fines looming over his head, and didn't do it at all. For five years. It took him four years to actually start paying the fines, and he just completed the school in March of this year. I had promised myself that it would be his problem to solve, but I ended up paying for most of that school, and guess what, it is not inexpensive. So, hey, now he has a valid license! Yay! 

He got a job after a year of unemployment and is finally ready to get his tags in order. Five years later. We do stuff like that in our early twenties, I know I did. Yesterday he went to the DMV to start that process and there are a few snags. One is the fact that the original seller has since died. Another is that there is a lien on the car from a credit union that no longer exists. The final wall he hit yesterday is that the new credit union, the one that bought or simply absorbed the old credit union will not talk to him, or give him any information on this lien, they say the seller's next of kin is the person they will talk to.

He spent a day of frustration trying to figure this all out, and then Michael found the dead guy's brother who is the next of kin in about ten minutes of internet searching. Oh, but the brother is not willing to be helpful because he doesn't want any of his dead brother's debt to somehow be assigned to him. He won't talk to the credit union.

That is really where this story stops, I'm afraid. You can read those paragraphs over and over and when you get to the part where the brother won't help you can start all over again.

The thing is, my son wants that car, wants to drive that car. He's been sharing Michael's truck with him because Michael has been very generous up to this point. There are bound to be scheduling conflicts soon, and my son needs a car that he can drive to work and all the other million places a twenty-five year old guy wants to drive. "Why don't you get another car for transportation?" I ask, as though that's a reasonable question. "I want that car, that's my car." says he. "But that car doesn't really belong to you, it belongs to the credit union that holds paper on it, and you can't get it registered." say I. "I don't want to talk about this right now." says my son who I think is realizing that he threw that money away all those years ago.

Round and round, like a dog chasing its own tail we go. 

I think this is a very expensive lesson he's going to have to just add to his resume of youngster mistakes. He is willing to keep going round in his head about this car and can't see how to move forward. His new job pays enough for him to contribute to rent and maybe pay me a little bit at a time the one million dollars he owes me. He wouldn't be able to save for a car anyway, whether or not there's a bad economy and there're tons of cars for sale right now. He's depressed, and he's on stop.

On the bright side, he's working five and six days a week, double shifts a lot of those days. He just can't see his way around the fact that he's not going to be driving the RX7, and doesn't want to talk to me about it. I had to let it go for the evening last night, but he's got to figure something out because he can't drive Michael's truck without being on our insurance for long, and he can't get his own insurance on a vehicle that doesn't contain his name in the title line, I don't think.

Round and round. I know my Dad was always able to un-fuck things like this for me when I was his age, but I really don't know what I can do for him. He doesn't want to talk about it though, so I guess I'm supposed to just stay out of it and pray he doesn't get in an accident and ruin our insurance for us.

Kids. The other white meat.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Do

Michael and I spent a lovely day yesterday just hanging out, heading to the beach and stopping at our favorite honeymoon location. The beach was foggy, and although Mac would have liked to try seagull, he was not at all sure about the wave thing. 

We got a final OK to have our anniversary party at the Russian River Resort, so I wrote the facebook invitation this morning. If you'd like to attend, please let me know and I'll send you an invite as well.

I really want to renew my own commitment to Michael, but I also have this idea that others will stand up with us and say "I DO" when the question is asked. I feel so passionate about equality in marriage. I don't believe there is anything about Michael and I that makes us more eligible to be married to each other than anyone else. I have sent my money to the cause of equality, put my body on the capitol steps with my daughter to protest the questionably funded proposition 8, wear the shirt, have the sticker on my car.

Does any of that really do a single thing to bring equal rights to all? I can't say whether it does or it doesn't. I get depressed sometimes when I think that this kind of discrimination still exists in 2009. Our renewal will be serious to us, our marriage is sacred in the Universe, but it's also a chance to stand with everyone, no matter who they are that want the same rights we were born with, simply by being opposite genders. I've seen and been around love that is so profound, so touching that it can only be savored and honored, and yet only some people are allowed to marry and have all the legal rights to go with the title. It's wrong, and I will never stop working toward equality for all of us.

We're going to perform a serious act, in the middle of a fun and silly party. In my mind anyone who chooses to stand up with us will also be declaring something very meaningful and valid. I invite all who wish to join us. To say in front of the Universe and your friends, and all who are there to witness "I choose you, and only you to live my life with, to take on all that comes our way until the very end of my life." is serious business. Because it's in a fun and party atmosphere makes it no less meaningful. Brides and their Brides, Grooms and their Grooms, or other Brides and Grooms (whether married already or not) will be welcome to affirm their lifelong commitment with us. It's my dream to have a whole group of us all standing for love, and when asked "Do you?" to say those magic words that bind even as they set you free: "I DO."

Monday, September 21, 2009

3:30am thoughts on Control and the Sacred Art of Tattoo

Today I won't be tattooing. I've been working every single day thanks to my good friend Holly, who told me she had hired herself to start doing the things I just don't get around to, or don't feel well enough to keep up on. My books are starting to be filled, straight blocks of green all across the calendar week (I chose the color of money for the tattoo entries) because she will only book me so much, and is willing to make people wait, where I have been taking them as they come. It's not wearing me out as bad to have just a certain number of things to do in a day, and I love the look of that full calendar.

Thanks to her, we now take deposits regularly, and have release forms going, and are keeping excellent records at the shop. All of these are ideas that Michael has proposed at one time or another, but I've always resisted help and don't tell me how to run my business. Surrender has started to infiltrate more than my recovery, and I've finally started to learn to let other people help me. I've always seen offers of assistance as implications that I'm not competent and can't do it myself, and my theme song has been "You're not the boss of me!" so I'm always in charge and we do everything my way. The only catch to this excellent plan is that lots of real-world stuff has been falling apart while I play the role of blissful artist. Holly hired herself for ten percent of the payments for the work I do, and she does the same for Shayla. She didn't like the title "shop girl" so she promoted herself to "shop manager" and now she works with me every day. I surrendered and I'm amazed at the result. 

My shop looks flawless, with everything in order, my books are not chaotic, she actually listens to the answering machine and returns calls, and every customer is being greeted personally instead of getting an over-the-shoulder "hello, what can I do for you?" while I tattoo. We're taking deposits, and people aren't standing me up any more. Things are running smoothly, and it's because I've allowed myself to accept the assistance of people who have ideas other than my own. 

When I married Michael he had all sorts of ideas about how my business could run better and be more profitable, but I have always been a control freak about how things run at Flying Colors, it's MINE and no one should be telling me how to run a business that's coming up on it's 17th anniversary. I've run it this long, raised three kids doing it, and don't try to tell me what to do. An excellent statement of independence, except I'm an artist and have no business trying to run a business. The truth is everything that Holly has come in and taken charge of are ideas that Michael has already proposed and I was completely threatened by. "Are you saying I don't know how to run my own business?" The truth is, I'm really not that good at the business end of it.

Learning to let people who have a real talent for certain things do them and leave me to what I'm good at has been very hard for me. I owe Michael a giant apology, and Holly a giant "Thank you." It took my illness to make this happen; yet another thing that actually makes it a kind of blessing, although I wasn't open to the idea that anything good could come from being ill when Dr. Gail first proposed the idea that eventually I may find some good in this terrible thing that has been happening to me. Who would have thought that anyone but me was right about anything? Certainly not myself.

All I have to say is "Holly, I've been meaning to..." and she just does it. Like yesterday. I've had four pieces of artwork that are copies of tattoo flash from 1908 and four frames I bought six months ago in a bag leaning against a wall. I've always wanted to frame them since I got them about ten years ago, but just never got around to it. At least one of the pieces is dated 1908, I think two of them are from the WWII era. I've had them for around ten years, and they've been safely flat in a drawer for most of that time. Within twenty minutes they were framed and looking fantastic. All I had to do was ask. 

Then I asked Michael to come down and hang them for me. That required moving a shelf and using the drill to do it. Too much trouble for me to ever actually do that, without him they would have leaned against the same wall, beautifully framed for another six months. He spent an enormous amount of time hanging them, or should I say preparing them to hang. They had no little fixture on the back for installation, he had to make do with what he found in the shop. Wire ties and an old mouse cord were the supplies, I was tattooing, I didn't see the actual mechanics of that. He used a level and a measuring stick, and they are really well hung. I said it that way so you'd have something to make silly comments about.

Holly and Michael worked on that project together, and it made me think of programs I've watched on TV about psychologists who say they can predict which couples will stay married by giving them simple tasks or assignments to do together. That's actually the thought that has generated all the preceding paragraphs, but why write a few when you can use ten thousand words? They observe couples doing simple tasks like building towers out of paper towel tubes and other silly fun projects. The way the couple work together, who's in charge, whether or not one becomes contemptuous of the other's ideas and methods, all of these things are predictors of the general success of the couple.

Michael and I can make fun out of anything we do. We can laugh and kid each other when our projects get tough, or something falls over and makes a mess. Holly and I can do stuff, but we do have our moments where we are both bitchy and have to point out how the other person is not doing it right. I was thinking of those success-indicator shows I've watched and came to the conclusion that there is no way Michael and Holly could ever be married; leaving out the most obvious reasons, just talking about the way they work together. They frustrate each other to an epic degree.  Holly and I could never be married, because the stress level rises, slower but certainly in the same way. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Holly, I'm saying that Michael and I are perfect for each other. We can laugh as we go along no matter what we're doing. Why in the world did I resist his help all this time? Because I've been a total control freak, that's why.

It took me being ill and totally depleted to allow Holly to walk in and say "I'm working for you now, and here's what you're paying me." It took me being flat on my back to let Michael say "This is what needs to be done, and how I plan to do it, is that alright with you?" I actually have a bright and functioning light on the ceiling over my station now instead of the really cool looking one I ordered from ebay five years ago, because I let Michael choose and install it. Granted, it's not as artistically cool looking as the one I chose, but it works very well and uses regular light bulbs which will be very simple to replace if they burn out, which they won't because he chose the right lighting fixture for the placement. I'm learning giant lessons about not being in control of every aspect of my life, and it's not as bad as I would have imagined.

I've spent years doing everything myself, feeling like I can't count on anyone to do things "right" and if it needs doing then I have to be the one doing it. I planned and executed a wedding with 160 guests, and didn't accept help from anyone at all. It was beautiful, I thought it was perfect. It killed me on my actual wedding day to realize that all the things I had been gathering and making would have to go into someone else's hands to set up, because I had to be the bride and stay in the bride-room in secrecy and preparation. I think I used a half-pack of index cards with instructions and arrows to make sure that it was set up exactly the way I imagined it. That killed me, I felt so much that I needed to do it myself. Everything was put together by me, but I had to let go of the set-up phase and trust others to manifest my vision. I could have learned the lesson all that time ago, but it slipped right by me in the glory of the day. How has Michael been so patient while I learned that I'm not the Queen of the world and that other people are competent to do for me what I always think I should be doing all by myself?

I suppose this blog is really just a time filler, it's now 4:30 and what else to do but write? It's a small statement that I can let other people help me and that I'm not in control of my whole world; for me though that's a huge revelation. I've even been letting Michael drive when we go places. That statement alone would amaze those who know me well. I'm amusing myself with my writing these things down, you're not obligated to read my 1800 words.

Thinking back to the original topic I used for my jumping off point, the idea that my art-form has been practiced in the western world with electric machines for around a hundred years now really seems thought-provoking to me. It's ancient, and yet we here in America have adopted it as a part of our culture for somewhere around a whole century now. It's brand new for me every day, but it is one of the older practices that we humans have been engaged in for as long as people have had skin.

Sometimes I connect for a moment with my ancient colleagues when I'm doing certain pieces. There is a very spiritual and ritualistic element to this very intimate art-form. It is a right of passage, it claims huge landmarks in the lives of some people, it is a sacred element of growth and grief a great deal of the time. There are sittings where I sometimes connect with the Shamanic aspect of the permanent mark, and I can feel the spirits of my elders over my shoulder as I perform the magic rights of tattoo. I did a piece that has very old roots that is a symbol of protection for someone this last week, and I found myself mentally working that thought into the lines as I laid them down into my client's skin. How often do I pray or meditate on the energy I'm infusing into my lines to create something that's more than just a pretty picture? The answer is very often. Many of the images I do are for healing, whether the client knows it or not, and I weave that energy into the act of depositing pigment under skin. These kinds of thoughts are maybe why I really should be leaving the bookkeeping to someone else, I have no business running a business, I am engaged in sacred arts, that's my place in the world.

I also feel I do energy work just by laying my hands on people, and definitely do a lot of counseling in my conversations. The whole thing is so much more than just drawing slightly painful pictures on people. Even in the design-creation phase when I'm consulting I get in touch with who a person is and what they're trying to say, and then weave the magic language of image into the artwork. All of tattooing feels like summoning magic for me, unless it's just another Raider logo or some tribal forms because they "look cool." Even then I feel I'm connecting in a very personal way with every client. They let me under their skin, leave something inside of their exterior boundary that will always be there as long as they inhabit their body. I know from experience that when you cover a tattoo it's still there, under the new design. Once I've done what I do, we'll be together until death do we part. Or until you meet up with a Q-switch laser.

I've not only come to accept that I'm giving up control of some mundane business aspects of the entity and empire that is Flying Colors, I'm getting excited about it. I have Holly, who is perfect for the position she has created for herself. I have Shayla who has joined me in the art, and Jim when he is moved to do it with us. Mostly I have Michael, who is devoted to me in a way that no other human (excepting my Big Daddy, but that is in such a different way) has ever been, and he's willing to give all of himself to help create the space I occupy as I practice my lifelong wish. How in the world have I resisted this for so long? Or isn't that the way most of us feel when a new thought or lesson really sinks in to the level of true acceptance and understanding? I felt this way about living in recovery when I finally got that too.

Thanks for sharing these early morning hours with me, I know I've taken you all over the landscape of my thoughts; without a plan, without a statement and a conclusion; just rambling about and pondering.

When the sun comes up and I've fulfilled my one commitment with my daughter I will have the chance to spend a whole day with Michael, just being together and talking and moving through the world. I'll have no responsibilities to tend to, noother people to be in my specialized kind of service for; just being with my most loved one and seeing what the day has to offer. If I had to choose a day in a week that I knew was my very last I would have one just like this one. I am blessed to have this life that I live, illness or not. My life has rich opportunities to be in service, and fine people to love and support me while I live out my dream. Does it get any better than this? Maybe, but I would be content if it were just like this for the rest of my days.

Except the headache, I am ready to be done with that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dream, a re-priming

It's 4:30 in the morning, and Michael just woke me up by removing my glasses, and de-booking me. Apparently I've been in the same position since I fell backward into my pillow, and haven't moved enough to disturb either book or glasses since. I woke with the sounds of chanting in my ears, and hear them still, as if they were all in the room with me now.

"I was at an event 26 miles from the sea with Bob and he let it slip that he had a pasty-faced red haired girlfriend who would be taking my place. They were horses not bikes. One blond man was going to take me away but he was gone when I had gathered my things for escape. "Is anybody left, is anybody left" they were all chanting and laughing and I ran through dirt and stones all the way to the water. I jumped in, got clean again. but there was nobody left. Bob followed me the whole way. I was barefoot and didn't think I could run that many miles. I tried him with knives, and axes, I even peed on their sleeping bags. They were all just laughing and chanting. I could smell the sea long before I got there, and my feet were bleeding"

When I wake I use my Facebook Status to record whatever shreds of dreams may be left before they evaporate. This one felt so important I had to wake all the way up to capture it, and even now I hear them droning "Is there anybody left? Is there anybody left?" while the dark-of-the-night coffee brews.

That dream woke me in distress, and is keeping me awake now because my headache didn't abate during the night, just gave me a leave of absence to visit sleep for a while. It was waiting for me when I rejoined consciousness. It hasn't gone anywhere. This is the first time I don't feel sick, like I may fall off the edge of the world, since the Neurologist gave me the Divalproex Sodium that has also been approved for migraine. 25mg. would be an appropriate beginning dose for an epileptic, and I was given 250mg. tablets. I don't understand. I don't have epilepsy, I don't have a migraine. The dream and coming down from two doses of that horrid medication broke through the wall around my writing, and here I sit, at the bottom of the wheel of houses, frantically trying to catch up.

I have been so very depressed since I returned from the Endocrinologist's office, after hearing "All your test results are normal." Not that I'm OK, per se, but that my tests show normal thyroid ranges. I broke down and cried, sobbed, de-constructed in that office where I've been treated for this disease since March. I feel worse than I ever have in my life, and yet suddenly and miraculously all my test results show "normal."

I've written too many times about how this headache feels to revisit the topic now. It's all-encompassing, It's growing, and it's the Big Bang from which my current universe began. Medication doesn't touch it, there is nothing to see on an MRI or CAT scan, and it was one of the first three symptoms I brought to the healthcare professionals back in January. Fatigue,  a  headache, a bulging eye. My recent love of Lewis Carroll quotes stems from my shared experience with Alice I'm sure, even the Alice that Grace Slick sang of. "Normal" and I inferred "There's nothing wrong with you, you're making this whole thing up." when I heard it, and having "disease" yanked from the sand of my consciousness allowed depression to well up from below and fill the void.

I was too ill to go to work yesterday; missed some real money I needed to earn. I believe that was the effects of the evil pill that warns "Taking this drug during pregnancy can result in the birth of a brainless baby." I had been professionally overdosed on this, and it shifted my world on its axis. I had Michael take it to his own doctor to dispose of it, I could 't bear to pollute the public water supply with a substance that may rob who-knows-how-many unborn of their brains. That's how we found out it was a "very big pill to treat a headache." and what dosage an actual epilepsy sufferer might be given to start treatment. I've decided without consultation that I won't be taking any more of that, it's poison to me. 

The depression was the result of an expectation that I've been holding on to, that a cause for these recent years of illness was simple to find, and simpler to cure. Graves' Disease is in the thyroid. Cut it out, get me on with my life. Years of symptoms, and months of treatment set me up for this, and I fell for it, the easy fix. The quick cure. Apparently that isn't to be the case, and my random thought generator created "This is nothing, this is everything, and I'm doomed to live and die this way for as long as it takes." In that dream that has me spinning long after the string is pulled, much like the gyroscope top I used to have as a toy, I have been rotating madly yet unable to move or create.  Waiting to topple from lack of energy, both wishing for and resenting my centrifugal force. Whatever ailment I have may not kill me, but prolonged lack of creativity surely will. 

I allowed a Jesus lady place her hand on my throat and pray for my healing the other day. I was at work and she was an account representative for the phone book. Strange and inappropriate in the professional world, to say the least. How we got around to my malaise and her christianity in one sales call isn't the story, it's that I let her touch me and say "In Jesus name"  which are two things that are not normal behavior for me. I did that for her, because it was good for her and on some level I envy, it did something for her. I am this desperate, and yet still able to give a stranger that out of kindness or whatever it is that drives me to still identify the needs of others and work to serve them from an empty larder of my own.

I'm starting to have a diminishing resentment and anger for the "Code word Jesus" people, maybe I'm just too tired, or I'm noticing that we believe many of the same things and each have our own vocabulary to describe it. I believe that focused intention can change the state of things, she likes to drop Jesus' name. I think we're both doing the same thing. The reason I know it was ritual and not healing is that I feel just a little bit worse every time I check in with myself, rather than a gradual improvement.

Have you ever heard a radio-controlled airplane flying overhead if the engine isn't functioning correctly, or it's running out of fuel? I'm writing with the same sputtering fits and starts as that sound, but I will pilot this blog until it lands or crashes anyway. I'm writing. Except for one small gift I made for Christi and some engineering and preparation I've done for one of Molly's sewing projects this is the first urge to create I've had in days. I'm going with it, it may be the smallest symbol of my return to who I am but I'm clinging to it nonetheless. I've felt so lost, so deep in the belly of a capricious old-testament God's whale that I will take what I can get. I couldn't paint to save my life at the moment, but I have some words priming the pump and that will have to stand as an acceptable start. I've missed me. 

The symbols my mind used in my dream are not important to anyone but fish in the school of Freud I suppose. The urgency of my waking and my need to chronicle them are more like who I've come to be though, and 4:30 or not I committed with coffee and sat in this chair to begin. I feel my normal fatigue, and the onset of the pain medication I swallowed with my first cup, and like Alice I'm sure that this little journey down the rabbit-hole will yield little more if any sense.  I've been in the black for three days though, and unless one is an accountant that is not a promising state to occupy. I thought for a moment or two, of simply giving up. The idea of living with this physical state robbed me of my will to continue, which was the litany I sobbed repeatedly to the doctor. "I can't go on like this, I can't go on like this.

Michael's calm yet frantic state of concern when I reach boiling point makes me feel guilty; makes me wish that as I had for so many years I could clamp down and hold in the truth of my experience. I don't have that ability any more. I've become too real, and in the ongoing experiment that is my marriage I am truthful all the time, even when it's ugly. I wouldn't hurt or distress him ever, if given the choice. The previous statement belies that statement even as I type it. He is hurt and distressed that I am not well and declining, and that fact has no pretty face to wear. 

I may have ground this topic until all the gears are stripped now, and be ready to close. I don't have a waking awareness of why the dream-chanters chose "Is there anybody left?" to drone repeatedly, there certainly are  plenty of people who care about me and how I am doing. It's a symbolic statement of something, and maybe after the sun comes up I'll be able to decode it after all. I do still hear it though, a message from myself that woke me and my drive to string words for such a long time. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Art where you'd least expect it

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

My friend Jessica posted this on facebook, and it fascinates me. I often see design and form where it is seemingly random, but I don't read music so I would have missed this one.

I go to the doctor to ask/beg/plead for surgery this morning, and I don't feel much like writing another word about that right now. I thought I'd share some unplanned beauty instead.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Unwelcome guests in the bone house

It's the dark hours right now, even my all-nighters have started their slow even breathing. I've spent over 24 hours in bed and have no more sleep left. No more lying flat, sitting up, curling on my side. It's alarming when I get that uncontrollable thing that pulls me down to dreamless unconsciousness, but at the same time it's kind of nice, when I leave my body I get to leave my mind as well. 

Pain is such a loyal companion. It may wander as far as the other room for a drink of water or to stretch its legs, and I think "Oh, it's going away!" but then it returns to lay it's hand on my forehead and reassure me that it will never leave me. It's like a creepy one night stand that I invited home  in a blackout. It moved all of its personal belongings in while I wasn't looking, and now we live together. It's friend depression is starting to hang out with us even though I thought I had made it clear that it wasn't welcome here. There are no pills to help me with any of this any more, I swallow my daily doses like a Catholic takes communion. I know it's not doing anything at all, but I do it out of habit and out of the hope that in some way I'll find salvation.

I can't stand to be touched right now. Michael wants to pat me or rub my back or my leg and the extra physical stimulation is just too much. I want to scream "get that off me!" but then I remember that he loves me and is feeling powerless and wants to make me feel better, and he can't; I tolerate it for as long as I can. He says "It's just your thyroid, they're going to take care of it for you." and even knowing that and agreeing does nothing at all to sooth the current moment. There are no more blackberry bushes for him to uproot and tear out in substitution for clearing this tangled thorny mess in my head. In a way I've left him alone.

Everything irritates me, everything. Usually sleep will sneak in and take me away, but it gave me an ultimatum: "It's the pain or me, I won't share you in this relationship any more." and the pain just sat, fat, in boxers, eating chips with its mouth open and laughed. It's not going anywhere. Now I have no sleep, just the dark in the middle of the night and this unwelcome guest in my head who is too large for the space it occupies. It crowds out words, and art, and anything else I would normally use my head for. It has taken up blacksmithing as a hobby, and I am such a convenient anvil. The things it makes are sharp and useless and it just leaves them laying around on the floor of my mind so that no matter where I think I'm tripping over one creation or another.

I can't think or remember, I trip over words just like I bump into doorways and grab solid objects for balance. The world is like a ship that sways and dips under my feet. I can't even read, I find myself repeating the same sentence three or four times before I give up. I can still write, but it took me almost a minute to remember the word "occupies" in that last paragraph. When in my life have I ever not been able to escape any bondage by reading? Never is when. I usually go through a book a week or more and I've been on the same three pages of my current read for days now.

It's black outside the window, literally that darkest hour before dawn. It's black in here too, but no sunrise will make it any brighter for me. I feel as if I'll be stuck on an old stained couch with this fat, obnoxious companion until it sucks me dry. I would leave myself, just abandon the belongings in my head; the vocabulary, the potential drawings and paintings, the memories of the births of my children and just start over. There are no doors or knobs in this bone-room though, the walls are round and no matter how many times I pace the perimeter I end up back where I started, ankles and shins bruised and bleeding from tripping over my thoughtless blacksmith's creations. I have iron filings in my eyes. Orbs that are swelling again, because there is too much pain in my head to be contained by mere bone and those are really just safety valves, the first soft things to blow out if the pressure gets too high.

I'm hot, then I'm cold. I'm awake, then I'm not. I was foolhardy to say I didn't want any more narcotics to help me with this, a hapless hero, the first guy down on the alien planet in Star Trek; the one you know won't make it to the end of the episode. I turned down the only weapon I had to fight this thing, in the name of recovery. So I still have all 2,108 days, all 50,597 hours to call my own, courtesy of a Higher Power that freed me from one frying pan only to throw me in the fire. When you watch a movie, and the girl hears a noise outside the cabin and grabs a ridiculously large knife to investigate; when you're thinking to yourself "NO! Don't go out there, it will kill you just like all of your other screaming and dismembered companions!" Do you ever think, as the dramatic music swells that she should set down her knife? NO! You look at your watch and see if, based on the running time of your average movie she will be the one left to survive until morning after slaying the bad guy. I set down my knife. Cut myself off from my only weapon, went up against the Big Boss with no armor and no buffs. 

I feel as though I've just had boiling water poured over my head, I'm shivering with a chill. The window hasn't lightened even slightly, and I'm alone in this night, just me and my big, fat, unwelcome guest riding out the dark beginnings of yet another day. It's just my thyroid. So fucking what. Everyone I know is so solicitous, and caring, and wishing me the best, and guess what? I can't feel it! I appreciate it, and the small kernel of who I was just days ago loves you for it, but it doesn't get in here with me and this agony. I'm not even dying, or I already have and this is hell, one of Dante's circles in the shape of a skull with only two fleshy eyes to keep the whole thing from pouring out like lava, like the waters that over-ran the levees in New Orleans when their dear friend Katrina came to leave her mark. 

Since it's just you and me here, I guess I can admit that depression is not just a visitor, really. It has its own drawer in the dresser and friends helping to bring the rest of its stuff so it can move in with us. How is it that things get in here and I can't get out? Anxiety is calling every hour or so to see if there're bunk beds here so it won't have to leave once it arrives for good. I don't bother to explain that there is no need, sleep barely looks in the window any more, we may as well just commit to playing Twister for good, if we can clear all this sharp metal shit off of the floor.

I am never, ever hungry, and I have gained 8 pounds. That's some comfort anyway, right?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Paper Airplane

I have come to relish these early morning hours, and I never thought that possible. When the alarm used to go off at 6:45 so I could fight with Molly about getting up and getting ready to go to a school she hated, for a day she would hate and complain about later. It seemed like a cruel joke that morning came at the same time every day and that I would have to fight with someone who didn't have to be anywhere for over an hour. This morning, like many, I find myself awake well before the alarm I set last night, and since I've left everyone else in the house to their slumber I get to have some solitude. 

When I was a teenager doing hard time in solitary confinement in my room the word alone was just the collection of bars on my cell. For four years my body was confined to one room for failure to comply; my only escape the words I could take in, the words I could write out and my weekly parole to my Dad's house. I hated being alone, I would dream of having a sibling to talk to, or a regular family, or the courage to sneak out. As an adult I will still sometimes punish myself by sending me to my room. I've heard of lions, moved from concrete cages to their new grassy habitats that still pace the confines of their former area. I've sometimes been like that.

Now solitude has taken on a different flavor, and it's savory and sweet at the same time. I can hear myself think. I can write without answering questions or feeling compelled to throw my two cents into a conversation. In the best moments I can just sit and let the silence speak to me. There is very little silence in a house with six people living in it.

This morning I'm pondering my health, and what may become of it as summer gives up her fight and makes way for autumn. I see Dr. E on Tuesday and get to hear lab results from a blood test that was taken a month too early to be current. I will once again ask him to take this renegade gland from my throat, not knowing if that will really make me feel better. When I went to see him with Nadia the other day he asked how I was feeling and I said "I've never felt worse in my life." and he said "Well, you've still got that smile." as if one's ability to smile were an accurate gauge to well-being. 

Yesterday while I was getting my hair done, I wasn't able to stay conscious. Shayla and Molly laughed at me and called it sleep, but it was different from inside where I was. I was completely out during my whole cut and color, and only vaguely remember any of it. I could hear them talking, but couldn't keep my eyes open or my head up. Molly took my picture and I don't look asleep I look dead. I wanted so badly to hold my head up and open my eyes, and I could do neither. It's happened at the nail salon as well. I think it's the sitting still that does it, I just get overcome by exhaustion, or whatever it is that forces me out of my body, and I have no control over it. It's the thing that happened the other night when Michael rushed out and bought a blood pressure cuff, because he was afraid I was crashing again. Thank God it's never happened at work, or that I haven't been able to fight it off while driving. Is this the "illness" that I have been diagnosed with? Will taking out my thyroid enable me to be or feel normal again?

I have this work person I become. Smiles and interest and production. It's as if my clients are sky hooks I can hang from to stay in the now. When I get home it's different arts that will hold me, if I lay down I'm toast. I blame it on my thyroid, because there is nothing to be seen in an MRI or CAT scan that says there's anything else that's wrong with me. I want it out, because it's a symbol of everything that isn't right with me, here in my physical body. My spiritual body, that glowing egg of light that surrounds me from the inside out is healthy and growing, but that little physical core that is at it's center is failing me. I feel fear, but I can let that go sometimes. I know I won't just become pure awareness and leave my physical body, because I am anchored here by the pain in my head and the lead in my limbs. 

These are the real moments of my life, these solitary bits where I don't have to smile or show interest, don't need to actively participate in loving anyone because it's just a state of being. I'm tired though, so very tired and here in my morning quiet I can just be that. I can choose to share or hide the torment of being physical, I can find one new idea to fold into a paper airplane to fly for one more day. I secretly cherish the hope that if I offer the sacrifice of my evil malfunctioning thyroid I will get my life back. Not that I want my old life back, but a new life where it feels good to inhabit a body and I can be and do all these things that for now I only feel. Both my clients for today cancelled, maybe I'll redo my thigh and let that other welcome pain anchor me for a change. It's old and needs the water to be made solid and bright. I haven't tattooed myself for a while, maybe that's today's bit of flying origami.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Ole' Baby

Ok, so I'm up at 4 in the morning to blog because this house is in chaos. Forget about whatever spirituality and healing I wrote about yesterday, that was a whole different day. 

This one started with my husband yelling at his son when it was really my son that he was angry with. My one particular son has no idea of communal living, and is in my opinion very selfish. He'll come home in the wee hours of the morning and decide he needs to make some noise. The only reason to come home that late is if you've been at the bar or at a friend's house, so he's usually a little drunk, or maybe high. He shuts our bedroom door as a courtesy, except Michael has told him about 47 times that if he does this it will wake him up. "Well, I was going to be making some noise in the kitchen." was the reason he gave this morning. This is someone who sees no reason to contribute to the food bill, because he "never eats here." Except at three in the morning, then he wants to cook.

He stomps, shuts doors very loudly, and I had his hearing tested twice as a child because I thought he might be partially deaf because he talks so loud. One guy is quietly playing World of Warcraft in his room, even though he has to be up at eight to take Michael to work to use his truck, the other is watching tv in the living room because he's awake. Two of them regularly stay up all night and one of them sleeps all day usually. Michael often has to work at 4:30 am, or eight or nine, and doesn't like to be awakened in the middle of the night. That's fair enough. It happens quite often and tonight he blew up about it. Unfortunately he yelled at the wrong one, his kid was just watching TV. Mine was already upstairs after making whatever noise he felt was OK at this hour after coming home. 

He works, and pays three hundred dollars a month for rent. This is help we desperately need right now, but since the other two aren't paying any rent yet he likes to say "I pay 40% of the rent here, and I don't even get to act like an adult, I have to live with rules that are better suited to kids living with their parents." He feels that since there are other adult kids living in this house with no jobs (except for Paul just got a job, so he's now exempted from this complaint) they should have to do all the housecleaning jobs that would normally be shared in a communal situation. He feels perfectly justified leaving the kitchen a mess, "Let one of those guys clean it up, I pay rent here." He's paying way below market rate for his room, makes no contribution to food or utilities and feels entitled to do whatever he pleases here. My husband is beyond done with this situation, and I am starting to feel so mad that a person as brilliant as he is can't figure out how to live with other people without being so thoughtless or rude.

Paul will get a paycheck eventually, and start making real tips, and he'll start paying his way here. Michael's son will never get a job if all he does is stay up all night and sleep all day. When he was invited to come couch it here my idea wasn't that he would take over the entire living room with his stuff and sleep on the couch all day. When I invited my son to come and live here to get back on his feet my idea wasn't that he would turn into a giant three year old who throws a tantrum every time someone asks him to change his behavior. 

So I was awakened by my husband yelling at the wrong kid, or at the right kid for the wrong reasons. All of these guys just need to get their financial situations figured out and move into their own houses, this is driving me crazy. Just feeding this many people is running me dry, and to be honest I don't even really try to keep food in the house on any regular basis any more, except for Molly, who's 16 and has a right to expect to be supported. I don't want to feed adults who should be buying their own food. I don't want to provide bathroom supplies like soap and shampoo and toilet paper for adults who should be doing that as well. I am sick and tired of the way things are around here, and I don't feel well enough in general to just keep doing this.

Don't get me wrong, I love Mr. Entitlement. He's brilliant, we have great talks. He's always been "My" kid since he was little. I want him to do well in life, and visit me often. But I don't want to live with him any more. He's the worst roommate I've ever had. He's supposed to be moving in with a friend of mine, and we'll see just how much they like it when he gets to "finally have his independence and live like an adult with no one telling him what to do." I want Michael's kid to find a job and get off my couch, which won't even be there because it belongs to the other guy I was just bitching about. Paul's a sweety, but he won't help with anything household related unless asked, and then usually reluctantly. They've all just got to get it together and move out of here. 

If those hundreds of Magic cards are not off my coffee table by morning I will put them into one box and set them somewhere... whether or not it took three days to sort them all out. Better not leave even one shoe on the floor, Mac is a chewing machine and I won't cry for you if your shoes are in pieces. We've been working so hard to make this house nice, and it seems like someone is always leaving a mess.

So let's say they all go. We'll have to get roommates, we can't afford this house and my shop overhead on just what we're making right now. Grownup roommates who buy their own food and shampoo. Who sleep at night and work during the day. Who are able to clean a kitchen after they cook their own food.

I'm ranting, I know, but it's quarter to five and I'm awake, and to be just a little honest I'm pissed. Michael is back to sleep and here I sit, wide awake and irritated. Maybe I can catch a couple of hours before my 6:30 alarm goes off and pretend that this was all a dream. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lucky Charms, they're magically delicious

I slept through my alarm this morning. For some reason I was cuddled up all over Michael last night, which is unusual for me, sleeping is a solitary thing and I cherish my dream space. I had to be in contact last night though, legs all wrapped and fitting together as we do so well. I suppose I just love him too much to fit into a day, and needed some night to finish saying what I left unsaid while I was awake.

I spent my evening at my creation center, my desk of joy, in the midst of happy young people. I was making a magic charm for Nadia. She is going to face some fear today, and I am going to go with her and hold her hand, or if that puts me too much in the way, see if they'll let me place my hands on the soles of her feet. I intuitively chose my materials, and only researched their meanings this morning. At the desk, I was only concerned with beauty and balance, and making something pleasing to the eye and soothing to the heart. The laughter settled into the piece hopefully, that's like glitter and adds an extra shine.

I stole a bit of something she gave to me, and used it as my prayer stone in the piece. She loves me and I love her, and I gave a bit of that back and made it the center grounding point. I hope she doesn't see it as me destroying a gift that she gave me, I want her to know that I will remake her gift into something that is incorporated with other magic things and worn in a way that I will draw great power from.

Nadia has some health lessons going on, much like my own. We are going to go through them together, because she is my sister, my daughter, my friend, my random Universal gift. I think part of staying connected with Michael all night was to charge up the love I need to be there for her this morning in the way that will best comfort and serve her best. I am rapidly growing late in my process of getting ready to go on this mission, so today I will be short.

Here is a short list of the materials I used to make her talisman.

Ancient Egyptians used the amethyst guard against guilty and fearful feelings. It has been worn as protection from self-deception, as well as a protection against witchcraft. The amethyst has long been used to open the spiritual and psychic centers, making it one of the power stones. It is also used as a meditation aid when worn as a necklace.
Carnelian is an energy booster. It helps the insecure person to find strength within them so they can come into their own. 
Lapis Lazuli is used with other stones when parts of the body need to be purified and cleansed and should be only used by a healer. Lapis Lazuli has high intensity and can open many of the chakra centers. This must be done only with love in the heart and comprehension in the mind and wisdom in soul.

I love you Nadia, and together we're going to be fine. Know that with every stone I placed I said a prayer for your well-being.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A gift from beyond, yet right down the street

When my friend's mother died, alone in her apartment full of stuff and empty bottles it was his job as her only son to go through it all. Take some home if it seemed to have value, throw a lot of it away, fill recycling boxes with the empties that were so profuse. We bonded a long time ago around the idea that our mothers had no idea how to mother, and had no business having us in the first place. Neither of us have any siblings, but we have plenty of memories. I know my mother didn't really start drinking until my older years, I'm not sure when his did. We both can tell plenty of stories of drunken mis-behavior from the women who held us hostage until we were able to get up and out of there.

So his died alone, and brave man that he was, he walked into her cave of loneliness and dealt with her stuff. Some of it got a cursory glance and was brought home as-is, because he was not sure if there was anything of value in there, for him or for her. Were Dottie to drop dead I don't know if I could do the same thing, not without a lot of help. Just to smell her again, that cheap perfume, that old lady floral miasma that has existed long before she was old, it makes me shudder. I suppose parents, if left alone long enough go on with their lives too. They write things and save things and clip things out of newspapers, God only knows what you might find. 

One part of her story he's never really told me is that she was an artist. Maybe not a painter, but an artistic type who seemed to work a lot with paper of different types. He grabbed three or four bags of that sort of thing and it's been sitting at his house. If that kind of thing were left over from Dottie's life I know I would hear it ticking, but maybe he had it stored in the recesses of the garage or something. He brought it all to me yesterday. A dead woman's art as yet unmade.

There were sheets upon sheets of interesting paper, some handmade with flowers pressed inside. There were many flowers that had been pressed to dry after being first taken apart. If one knew what kind of flowers they were then they could be reassembled into their original shapes. They are old, some of them are so tissue-paper thin that a breath will lift them off the page and send them drifting. I imagined her hands, picking those flowers, carefully laying them between sheets of heavy paper to dry, and the years that must have gone by since that happened. I can feel that she was younger and happier when the flowers were originally picked and carefully laid flat. There are many of the same type, and I can see her in a field of flowers gathering in sunshine she planned to preserve and use for art later. There is some hope pressed thinly between those pages, but it's old hope, long gone and only a wisp of it remains.

The paper; oh my God the sheets of delicious heavy paper that were there for me to find. Heavy, some with fibers visible from the back. Some that look like slices of geology, the way you can see thousands of years in one rock if you cut it or wear it away with time. Heavy, hand-made, thick paper with flowers embedded just under the surface. She made that paper. While my friend was busy needing a mother her hands were creating this beautiful paper. Maybe she made it after he had left for good, some substitute of beauty where it was love that had been called for in the first place. All of it jumbled into bags, as though the process of creating lost interest for her, or she stopped believing in beauty all together.

There are hundreds and hundreds of greeting cards, thick blank, colored paper, with the blank white insert for writing on the inside. More envelopes than even that. Who was she going to write, or thank, or invite? Maybe she was going to make and sell. The jumbled nature of the bags clouds my pictures, and all of those are overlayed with the stories I've heard of her. I have a different image to add to her in my mind now though; former elegance gone to seed like those large roses that bloom and then become overblown and only reluctantly drop their petals. Bags of  potential art, all stuffed into there on top of itself. Did she keep it that way in a closet somewhere or was that the way he packed it for transport? Gold-foil sea horse and butterfly stickers by the dozens. Stars, dots, long strips of decorative paper just waiting to be applied to who knows what. Bags of junk, weighted with the past for my friend, a pirate's chest of treasure for me.

It was joy to not only discover each new thing, but to watch his face as he saw how much I wanted, no, needed to have this stuff to add to my own collection of art supplies. There are things in there that are old, too old to go re-purchase now. The paper itself was worth the carrying of those bags through years and distance to lay at my feet. 21 brass bells, of varying sizes and tones in one bag, what were they going to be? I had to string them all up on some found winery oak that Michael brought to me just the other day. I didn't hit my bed till one o'clock until the bells were in place waiting for whatever they will become. They may already be what they will be, in rough draft. If they are going to live like that they are begging me for some beads, wooden and rustic, and a better alignment in height so that none touch each other. I couldn't find my rest last night until they were out of that bag and hanging though, they carry an importance of their own.

Now what I need are boxes. Unfinished wooden boxes, or that kind of pasteboard that is strong and holds its shape after you paint it and add layers of image and paper to it. He asked me what I would do with all that stuff that just looks like stuff to him, and I showed him my file of words and images that I've been carefully clipping out of magazines for years. The envelope of mouths, the one that has only eyes, the random images that grabbed me, like the rat being injected with a syringe or the giant scorpion, the head with a heart where the brain would normally be. And words. Thousands of words and phrases all cut with precision and waiting for the time that I would combine them into a kind of poetry on objects. Paper, words, they call to me like a sailor to the sea. Since he's never seen or received any of that kind of art from me he had no idea of the value I would find in those bags. It was a gift of major proportions.

Now I have a dead woman's things, and I'll make him something. I'll channel Annette (That was her name) and try to give him just a little of what she had yet withheld, for whatever her reasons. I'll make something beautiful out of his dead mother's bags of jumble. Then I'll go on doing it until I die myself and my own kids have to figure out what to do with all of the leftover art supplies I've never managed to use. There's no accident that I've slowly taken over almost one whole wall of the living room with my art desk and neatly arranged supplies, I was able to make it all fit right in and there's no extra mess to be seen this morning. A month ago I would have pawed through the bags and said "Thanks" and it would have gone in the  pile with my own chaotic things. I prepared a space for it and it came.

Thank you Cheng. Thank you Annette, I'll make beauty out of your chaos, and I'll love and connect more than you ever did. Maybe I'll make a piece for you and leave it wedged into a piece of driftwood at the beach, or feed it to flames that it may carry it's spirit to wherever you are now. I'll forgive you, since I can't forgive my own mother yet, maybe that will help me on my own journey. In the meantime I can't wait to get into all that paper, it is calling my name even as I type.