Saturday, July 31, 2010

Noticing...



A long, difficult week has come to a close. There has been much to process, to ponder and to pray about. Children who are now men with children of their own, people from the past who we have not seen for years, both friends and family, new family members met. Information exchanged, sadness about how we only see each other at funerals. Suggestions on how to change that ...but I fear we will not, we will probably in most cases carry on with our lives.

I am very tired, weary even...but still much to do, much I want to do, and will do. Maybe that is what makes all the difference. Not to sit in sadness but rather to put it in a sack and bring it with us if need be, but to 'carry on'. Very important to keep moving through life, one foot in front of the other. Birthdays, Water Fires, studying, Grandson headed back Tuesday to base after his leave before deployment in August to Iraq



...as I said much to pray about, much to do these next few days and always writing in my journal...thoughts, some flower petals, and an obituary, all pieces of one's day are entered. Even my empty loom is glanced at, longed for...thinking it would be nice to sit and weave and start up a rhythm to life again. Maybe pull out my paints, wet my brush...find those parts of me that have been shelved for a variety of reasons. Not a good sign when one's paints and brushes must be 'pulled out'. They should have been out. But I am feeling like I want to do these things, so all is not lost.

I turned to Mary Oliver this morning and found this poem from out of her book, Thirst. I think it speaks well to where I am this morning.

Heavy

That time I thought I could not
go any closer to grief without dieing

I went closer, and I did not die.
Surely God had his hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was no where to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave among lions),
"It's not the weight you carry

but how you carry it-
books, bricks, grief-
it's all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down."
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes,now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled-
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love to which there is no reply?

-Mary Oliver



So carry on today and have a wonderful day of noticing and admiring...I am looking forward to my day of noticing and smiling and sighing with gratitude that I am here to admire.
Thanks for reading

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Live and Find Joy...



I guess one only feels like they can only post on their blog when life is smooth and one appears with their best foot forward so to speak...but sometimes life just does not cooperate. Some people seemingly have an easier time than others but I realize that is only on the surface in most cases. So I post this morning in the midst of choppy waters, approaching storms, and maybe some calm after the storm...




There is always the clean, calm that appears after a storm. I just need to climb on, embracing what is, and see where I end up.


I am tired,mostly emotionally but physically as well. I finished the Spring semester well but exhausted, then turned around and registered for Summer sessions, both of them to take the two out of four art history classes I need to take. Not exactly drawing and painting or generally making art... No, quite the opposite...massive reading, quizzes, midterms, finals, papers, all times two. It is pretty intense because these are classes meant to run 16 weeks of a regular term and it is being squeezed into 6 weeks which leaves me no time for anything. Yet, I am enjoying what I am learning in spite of myself. It is answering some questions as well as confirming some thoughts I have had. I am still amazed that prehistoric people had the drive to make art...of course it was not art at the time but rather a recording of life and artifacts that were made as functional objects, yet I am awed by it. I wonder what they were thinking as they were drawing on the cave walls. Actually they put charcoal in their mouths along with water and saliva, chewed to mix and sprayed...can you imagine us in a class, spraying...sorry, I digress. Just amazing, the creative drive has always been a part of our DNA it appears. Some of the drawings of the animals are quite accurate. One can tell the power of observation was at play as well as memory.

Sometimes I get pretty discouraged, not a hard thing for me anyway. This is different though...I get differing responses from people and some of them sting. I have a degree so the question arises, why do this again? I explain and the blank look is still there. I really am not 'doing this again' because I am 'only' ( I jest ) have to do the art requirements, 51 credits plus some, but I am not at that place yet...I would like to work for a BFA which is a professional degree and used for going on...but I do not want to get ahead of myself. Suffice it to say I can't get there from here unless I do what I am doing. A BA in psychology won't do it for me. But then there are the friends and family who do hold me up and push me forward. Who understand I can't be in two places at once. Who don't care what my plan is but rather they just know it is very important to me. I can say to them what the hell am I doing? And I have those days where I ask that question. But then you have a friend that answers that question with a few words that can make all the difference.

"The studying really sounds grueling, but I would definitely stick with it. In the end, I'm certain it will open up new opportunities that you don't have now. Who cares what other people say or think. They are not you! Those off-handed comments can be defeating, I know, but we just need to ignore them"

...and ignore I try. Thank you my friend...

So onward to reading a few more hundred pages this week...on tap for this week are Jewish, Early Christian and Byzantine Art, Islamic Art, and Art of South and Southeast Asia before 1200. Three chapters a week on average...studying for tests weekly and the paper that needs to be written...This session is finished August 13. Need a break.

Then 2 weeks of some errands and orientation as I have been accepted into the college officially as a Second Degree Student...I need to get near the water and put my feet in, after all this is the Ocean State. You can not live here and not do that...it's a rule.

All of this seems all the more poignant to me today. Life is fragile and goes by with the blink of an eye...My brother in law was removed from life support this past week end. His sons wanted him surrounded by family as he slipped away so we stood there with him...I still have not processed this yet...He had back surgery, developed pneumonia and mercer and just never came back. Two of my children were with us as my husband said what he need to say to his older brother who was a father figure of sorts. They had been estranged... as families some times tend to do, fractured and split. Unfortunately we are both from such families...Hard.

This photo of my youngest daughter on here third birthday with her cousin, Steven, three weeks older than her twirling joyfully and just having fun on a day when we were all together. Steven lost his dad Sunday...





So all this to say Live and find Joy...live your life on your terms and work on those relationships...family and friends. Some of those friends are your family I know in my case they are.

Rest in Peace, Bobby...


Thanks for reading. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Paths


I decided a few weeks ago to take a couple of classes. At the start of every semester I agonize over registering but get over whelmed by the enormity ( in my head ) of the task. So I usually let the beginning of classes pass by and I tuck it back into the far edge of my brain, in the area of things I really would like to do, but usually just ignore. Take them out occasionally, look them over, dust them off and return them to the someday shelf...I have a degree, I am very thankful that I have it, but the major I chose never excited me, fed my imagination or was part of a larger passion. I earned it while raising five teenagers and all of their collective angst and as well as my own...

Fast forward to this past fall where sometimes the sadness was so overwhelming that I could not move. Those teenagers are adults moving into their own directions. I came across a program on PBS that I wrote about before, Unstuck, with Dr. James S. Gordon. I proceeded to get his book. The first sentence in the Preface read as follows,"...the end point of a pathological process. It is a sign that our lives are out of balance, that we're stuck. It's a wake up call and the start of a journey that can help us become whole and happy, a journey that can change and transform our lives." Well, I thought, that sounds hopeful. But something in the first chapter spoke to me, very loudly in fact..."calls us to question aspects of our personality, of our ways of looking at ourselves and the world that may themselves be the problem...is there something that needs to change?. adjustments in how we think...it tells us we are on the wrong path.Over time, this second note becomes more and more insistent..." These few thoughts kept rolling around, in the backdrop of all that I was doing in a day or I should say, not doing... is there something that needs to change...that question alone was paramount.



So a few weeks ago I mustered the courage and in the pouring rain ( love rain ) I ventured to a local college and began a new journey, asking questions, directions, and the learning curve began. Last time I did this, one registered for classes in person, pretty straight forward. Now one has to register for a password and ID name and go home and register on line. Then one learns to play computer tag and keep checking the classes in question that are full and wait for people to begin to drop and one then immediately sign in and registers...so both of the classes I needed were full but I learned this little gem and registered 2 hours before my first class and then the next one I needed opened... 1 spot and I was in! And I am off on a new journey. I am beginning to answer for myself the question, what needs to change. I get tired and discouraged. sometimes. My brain is fighting the new information and in some cases I am starting over with drawing being in Drawing 1...quite the phenomena actually. I took these beginning drawing classes years ago but they have to be less then ten years in order for them to count for what I may do...So for now I am starting to work through what is known as Art Foundation classes, a series of drawing, design, and art history classes. I have some thoughts about where I would like to go... but for now a day at a time, a class at a time. But as tired and frustrated as I get, as soon as I get to class and settle down and begin to work I think how happy I am to be there, so very stinken happy, you have no idea, then maybe you do...I have 12 hours of actually class time and in theory we are told 12 hours of homework time. So it is beginning to impact my life in some ways but it is new and I am still trying to work it out and find my way through this so that I can do some more regular weaving and maybe actually paint...ha ha. Again, day at a time...I noticed in the picture of the girls below, their bed needs some serious repair...they are so sweet. One thing to add to
my long list of things to do.


The picture with the papers on the floor just about put me over the edge...the beginning of perspective drawing. Drawing those flat pieces of paper so the do not look like they are floating but actually on a floor. We all had to redo it...thank God I was not the only one that did not do it successfully. There is comfort in numbers...

I just finished the assignment for tonights class. I draw intuitively along with checking for angles and accuracy but perspective drawing has taxed me...so my left and right brain have been in a struggle and taking me along for the fight...I know this is normal, still none the less, disconcerting. I know I am learning because that is really what the fight and the frustration is...so I take comfort in that...so we will see where this all leads me. I read a quote somewhere and it visits me occasionally...it is not the things accomplished we think about at the end of our lives, it is the things we wanted to do and didn't that tend to haunt us...hmmm. So I hope you will follow me along on this new path.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
1 Thessalonians 4:11


I also have been taking a 4 week tapestry class with Jan Austin, a local tapestry artist of 25 years. She is also a member of the Weavers Guild of RI which is how we met. She knew of my interest in tapestry and invited me to take her class in her wonderful studio. We have one more week left. I would love to continue with her but my budget at this point is not impressed with my art pursuits. But I can continue on my own and just keep working at it. It is all good...

Have a great day and thanks for reading. Peace.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Real Soggy Bottom Boys, Man Of Constant Sorrow

No Rest For the Weary...

Yeah, now there's an attractive picture. Last night came home from a meeting and just needed to throw myself on my bed and watch a movie, eat some popcorn and escape for an hour or so with Under The Tuscan Sun...I have been working hard physically and emotionally on many things and was just spent...but alas, it was not to be. Something caught my attention in the corner of my bedroom, so I pulled my bed away from the wall to get a closer look, which meant my bookshelf needed to be moved, which of course meant my books had to be moved.


Mold, mildew all along the baseboard. The floor was wet, beads of water were on the baseboard. I could have just cried right there. This house has been nothing but stress and unhappiness on so many levels...Constant mold issues.



Clean up one area ( basement in September) then something else crops up in another area. We have absolutely no idea why this is happening. So obviously at 9:30 PM, I was moving things out of the room so I could work and spray the mold with bleach and wash it down.

It is no wonder why I feel like I get nothing done and I am always behind because I am always doing things like this, not to mention I have been sleeping with that stuff right under my head for I don't know how long. Discouraging...very disheartening. The background music for this post should be Man of Constant Sorrows.

Then when I can finally sit two hours later... I finally put the movie in and decided to knit a little and try to relax. So I began to knit, with the bed in the middle of the floor, my books everywhere, oh what the heck... everything was everywhere...but knit I did. The movie ended with me wishing I was in Provence with Francis and the sunflowers...Then I looked down at my nearly finished sleeve with satisfaction thinking I might actually get to wear this soon, just a few more rows to go...wait a minute, what is this? That does not look right...where is that chart. My brain for the second time last night went into overdrive...Then I saw it, I had knit the whole sleeve incorrectly right from the beginning. I thought what to do, what to do...I was not going to start over but I knew me well enough that I would not be OK leaving the mistake...so there was nothing left to do but rip back the offending stitches, that would be twelve times 19 inches. I am going to re-knit that area, annoying but better than starting over. Ah, so disappointing...This is what it was suppose to look like...

Instead this is what I am dealing with.



This evening we checked my Grand-daughters bedroom and the same mold and mildew problems are all along the molding and the floor as well as it all wet. We have no idea what we are dealing with. So more bleach...

I made myself a big pot of Minestrone to drown my sorrows...


Thanks for reading. Peace.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trying to do the right things...



The three days of snow, bitter cold, and wind seem to be over. It is sunny out there and looks to be pretty calm. I did not let the weather stop me though this weekend hearty soul that I am...proud New Englander...ha ha. Went to meetings on Friday and Sunday night and a great Fortieth Party for Sarah on Saturday night, for women only. It was fun. Lot's of food, wine, conversation, music and ambiance with the background music and lighting. While there was a snowstorm mixed with ice going on around us outside we were warm and cozy inside enjoying each other and the evening, a respite from the seriousness of life. We all need that...I know I certainly did and I traveled very slowly through ice and snow to get there and celebrate with my friends Sarah's life and evidently the the others did as well. Happy Birthday, Sarah and thank you for a wonderful party.



Yesterday I awoke to more snow and cold with a beautiful Payne's Grey sky...I ate breakfast, wrote my morning pages ( which I had let lapse) and decided on a walk rather than church this morning... reevaluating many things these days...so for this morning I attended the service of the snow, in the cathedral of the trees and I came home after an hour more refreshed than any, and I mean any service has ever left me. I communed with my Maker in His creation of which I am a part of. I walked through the empty streets nearly whited out basked in the quiet and I loved it...reminded me that I used to do the very same thing as a child. I thought and prayed for peace for me, for my family and for the world...We all carry so much brokenness...I know I do and that is all I can speak to. But that brokenness spreads from me like a pebble in a pond...



Then back home...to more of this. Spoke to my 80 year old Uncle yesterday...he was on his way out to shovel. Thank you, Uncle, for blazing a path for us that are behind you...learning that one does not stop until they stop, if you know what I mean. I've had some good role models on both sides of my family who I have learned this from.


I am happy to write that I am winding a warp for a shawl made of wool and llama that I had spun years ago. The tapestry loom is ready. My sweater is quickly nearing completion. It is all good...


As I write this I am listening to Yann Tiersen on Pandora who is an amazing French composer of many wonderful movie scores and music in his own right. Find him and enjoy...

I leave you with a quote that kind of speaks to where I am right now...Her writings usually leave me kind of awed that someone can actually put to words some of the things I think and feel.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. -Anne Lamott


Have a great day...and thanks for reading. And I do enjoy comments...Peace

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thoughtful... On This First Day of the New Year



The first day of a new year I find I like to be alone and quietly working things out...in today's case I showered, knit, watched movies , made vegetable soup, some cabbage and beans, walked my dog and made it to a meeting I need to attend more frequently than I have been, note to self. My husband slept the day away and my granddaughter was away for the weekend. What was really happening, while doing all of those quiet things, was thinking...I thought about things I am concerned about, all that is on my many plates, and thinking about the awarenesses that have come up this week and have been journaling and praying. I have realized many things are just not working for me any more...maybe they really never did. So I look at today as how I feel each morning, it's all new, wide open to possibilities, full of potential. Of course by noon on a daily basis...I am ready to hit the skids...but we will see. Came across a program on PBS called Unstuck and after watching I was able to get a hold of the book by the same title. Half read but the kind of book one would want to work through. Lot's of good information, healthy, helpful and encouraging for some one with a well, let's see, like me who seems to be under a big black cloud most of the time...Funny thing is, I really love stormy skies, the bigger and blacker the clouds the better.
.
I have cleaned and organized my studio so it is more workable. I hope to get a warp on the floor loom and also get back to teaching myself on my tapestry loom. I am no longer in this room, but love this photo of Milo and I weaving. I miss weaving and Milo...it has been a difficult year...I need to return to the things that gave me solace. More painting and drawing on a regular basis...get the ideas out of my head and onto the paper.

I am almost finished with my Aran sweater, doing the final decreases of the last sleeve! No more pictures until it is off the needles and finished. The plan is to empty the bags with half finished projects and to get serious about some other things. Things came and went this past year, and I was not ready for a variety of reasons...but maybe this year.

I will end with these few lines from one of my favorite poets...I seem to fall upon it a lot lately. So maybe I need to answer the question that the poet poses to us...the question to be asked on this first day of the new year is...

...how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?

from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver