Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Vintage Bounty..................

I haven't gone to the beauty parlor since last August.  At that point I had my beautician give me a few highlights and a trim.  My hair has gotten quite long by now and as of this morning was sporting a number of split ends.  Torn between "hey, it's all going to fall out anyway" and wanting to feel good about what I see in the mirror right now, I found myself walking into a Bo Rics today.  I thought a rather inexpensive trim might serve as a good compromise for the time being.  I didn't want to get highlights as I'm worried about further damaging my hair before the chemo onslaught. 

Another reason for going to an unfamiliar place was that I didn't want to have to go through the whole story again with yet another acquaintance. As the lady cutting my hair went about her business, she began telling me about all of the specials they have coming up on highlights and conditioning.  Clearly she thought (and rightfully so) that my hair is in need of far more than just a trim :)  I finally had to explain to her why I wasn't going to be needing any more treatments in the near future thus defeating the whole purpose for my going there in the first place.

 But life is funny and God moves in mysterious ways.  The lady cutting my hair was quiet for a minute and then she began telling me that she had a cancer scare  herself a year ago.  She regrets having told anyone about it, because she noticed that people began treating her differently once she revealed her diagnosis.  The thing is, I've noticed the same thing.  There are people I've heard from and there are people that have avoided contacting me.  I'm sure it's a matter of not knowing what to say. 

There is no doubt that the people in my life care about what happens to me.  I don't want to feel isolated though.  I usually work these things out by myself. But it's different this time.  I need human contact in order to feel as though I'm still a part of the human race. I just know that I'm going to approach this kind of news about my loved ones and friends differently in the future having experienced it first hand.  When I've recovered......................

Monday, May 7, 2012

Life is Good..................i hope

I created this piece just a month ago when "life was truly good".  My art life was beginning to pick up, I was expanding my network of art friends, and my volunteerism was settling into a nice routine.  Goodness, things have a way of blindsiding you when you least expect it.

That's not true, I always expect life to throw curves my way and I still get blindsided when it happens!  Hmmmm...what does that say about me?  That I'm a hopeless optimist? Even now, with this nasty diagnosis hanging over my head, I'm filling out art show applications, planning for my winter shows, and generally thinking about the future.

Part of me has many moments of fear throughout the the day, but part of me wants to believe that I will get through this, that I will see my future grandchildren, that I will grow old with my husband, and that I will have the chance to live an artful life....................

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Ever Wonder Who "They" Are?

We hear it all the time: "they say you shouldn't wear white before Memorial Day" or "they say that chocolate is bad for you".  The idea of some universal panel of experts falling under the heading of "they" has always annoyed me.  I've never been very good at listening to what "they" say.    

I've always heard that "they" said that living a kind and noble life, avoiding excess alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs would result in a long and healthy run at this existence.  Wrong again "they". I found out that I have cancer.  

I know that there are certain phases that "they" say I will go through to deal with this new curve ball.  I am in day three of having this diagnosis.  I've already gone through extreme sadness, self-pity, guilt, anger, and utter determination.  I'm not sure how many phases there are in all, but I seem to be discovering them at a rapid clip.  I'm fairly certain that I will not only find myself dealing with new feelings, but that I will revisit the ones I've been hurtling through. Deal with them I will though.  I initially found myself completely paralyzed unable to even form coherent thoughts.  Well that sh----- just ain't gonna fly (as my oldest would say)!!

I'm going to follow my crazy thoughts on this blog and post photos of the art that comes out of this experience as long as I can.  In the meantime, I am happy to accept any positive thoughts that float out into the universe on my behalf.  And as far as "they" are concerned, I'm out!  Take your opinions elsewhere :)......................

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Joys of Swapping!

I have a friend in Virginia Beach that I have never met!  Veronica and I found each other through Blog Spot several years ago and have been art swapping buddies ever since.  We take turns setting a theme for the swap and then we give each other a couple of months to complete the challenge.  As artists, we have very different styles and yet we both come from a strong love of mixed media.  I learn so much from Veronica and the things she sends me.  

Her art is bright, lively, cheerful and generous.  I take something away from each and every piece.   In addition to sending me  awesome art pieces, Veronica is a supportive friend who is always willing to offer an ear when needed.

 I love swapping with my internet buddy and am grateful for the trick of fate that brought us together.
Thank you Veronica!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Coastal Retreat..........................

Okay, it's true.  I am retired.  So why is it, that this time of year still makes me think about vacations and get aways?  I feel the need to get out of dodge, rest, relax, and feel the ocean or lake between my toes.  Had a retiree given me this speech while I was still teaching full time, I would have listened politely but secretly chosen a view colorful phrases as I thought about how a retired person could possibly "need" a vacation!
I now have a different perspective.  Fearful of being bored and lonely when I first stopped working, I quickly found a number of volunteer opportunities that would insure continued interaction with the human race. In addition to running my art business, I volunteer for three separate organizations.  On top of that, are all of the typical events that arise when one is part of an extended family and I actually find myself having to schedule "studio" time to be sure I tend to my business.  
I'm not complaining about any of it.  I love my new life! I'm simply acknowledging that  even now I am busy and exhausted.  In short, I need a vacation; much like my two little baby bird friends above who have recently flown to the coast for a little r & r..............................

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Gift of Time................

I often used this phrase when discussing possible retention issues with parents of my students.  Concerns ranged from little ones identified as late bloomers in certain subject areas such as reading to an overall immaturity that could possibly impact successful completion of the following grade level.  My intention was to assist parents in accepting the additional time needed for their child to mature as a gift that they were bestowing upon him/her as opposed to an academic delay equating with punishment.  The debate goes on in public schools as to the validity of academic retention vs chronological promotion at any cost.  I don't know the answer and thankfully I don't have to make that all important call anymore.  I do know that the children (and there are less than a handful ) who were retained under my tutelage, had very positive experiences as a result of the decision.  In fact one young lady who repeated first grade with me and is now a married mother of one, maintains contact and expresses her appreciation for the "gift of time" I gave her.

These days, the gift of time concept has a completely different meaning for me.  Two years ago, after much soul searching and debate, my husband agreed to bestow such a gift on me by supporting my early retirement and subsequent new career as an artist.  I so appreciate his understanding of my need to do this for myself.  I gave public education 32 years of my life, dedicating long hours, personal monies, and total commitment to the cause of educating our young people.  In addition, I raised two beautiful young men and am now an empty nester.  This is my time and I hope to spend it wisely as well as creatively.  The above piece is dedicated to my husband for his complete support..............................

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Doll Factory..............

There's something fascinating about shadow boxes.  The little nooks and crannies that invite you in to discover treasures hidden when viewed from afar.  I like to think of them as different rooms in a mysterious house.  

When I was little, my grandparents owned a home in Detroit.  It was a bungalow in a very old neighborhood.  The upstairs attic was a typical bungalow "peaked" room that had all of these amazing little passageways and storage areas at a child's height.  The room was painted robin's egg blue and had hard wood floors.  I remember the room smelling of old paint and furniture wax.  

My grandparents kept a large steamer trunk up there which held treasures from their travels over seas (boy would I love to get my hands on that trunk now!)  The front of the room (directly under the peak) had a small window with a chair in front of it.  I loved looking out that window directly into the trees that stood in front of the house. I thought it was magical.  

The doll factory shadow box was inspired by that room....................

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quiet Moments.............

My thoughts typically turn to birds, nesting, and Spring while in the grip of a Michigan winter.  As a result, my art heads in the same direction.  With Quiet Moments, I envision a soft Spring morning with gentle breezes rocking the cozy little nest suspended from a branch.  Mama bird is watching from a lower perch and all seems right with the world.  These thoughts calm me as I look out the window at my snow encrusted world.

 This assemblage consists of an old box mounted to a piece of exotic wood, collaged with vintage and decorative papers, and adorned with natural elements such as a maple branch, moss, natural fibers, fleece, and found metal. Enjoy!