Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fearless

Growling at the bears

My littlest niece is growling at the bears, 
fearless and unaware of anything except that she knows the sound that bears can make. 
I will be taking my ques from her as the year begins.


I had my blood taken again to see if the eating shifts and all have made an impact on my numbers.
Keeping me well away from medications and allowing me to be in control.
Sadly, no movement in the numbers.
only a handwritten note from my doctor:
" keep up the diet and exercise"

So I binged on three days that week....I ate food I would normally not.
I ate a piece of a butter ring on Christmas day.

I ate a some pizza after christmas:

 We made latkes and hosted a party for our nieces and nephews, 
so I has a few of those and had to have sour cream on them:

I was also introduced to Kahlua and cream/White russian

When the three days were up, I felt like lead...heavy and tired and oily.
I was only able to practice once the week of xmas and that made me feel bloated too.
As I walked to class yesterday, I wondered how my relationship with food had changed.
How it had changed with my own vision or reflection of my body...

In reflection, all the foods I binged on gave me only a moment of pleasure, and that mostly came from the feeling that I was "getting away" with something....like I was sneaking a treat in, but it never felt like a treat....it felt more like defeat.

I decided that I had crossed a bridge of sorts, the guilt from eating these foods had me frantically researching how to "detox", how to loose weight, 
how to do better, be better be perfect do perfect....
I caught myself spiraling and then I stopped.
Did I have a disorder with food? Did I see food as a reward, 
and a way to get back at myself or others? 
I got scared and living in the state I do, vanity and body image are distorted all around me...
it is a daily fight to make decisions that embrace who I am, and what I look like.
No plastic surgery, no tanning, no botox and no starving please.

Finally after seeing where all these destructive roads could lead I said out loud:
 I will eat the cleanest I can, I will keep up with my practice: because it makes me feel good. 
end of story. 
Selfish? Yes
Self preservation? Yes

I am no skinny Minnie, but I am stronger than I have ever been.
and
As much as I would like to make a voodoo doll of my doctor, I understand now, that her prompting brought me enough fear of death that I returned to a way of living that makes me feel better.
Food is not a comfort, not anymore.
I need to find comfort in my own strength, weaknesses, loves and fears.
I need to find what my littlest niece already knows about the world around her.

I will be stronger than I think I am,
 I will be happier than I think I can be
and my body will carry me for many more years.

I have shared this with no one, and now I share it here.
This is the start and the current of my body.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

And to all a good night

Thank you everyone for your lovely notes for The Barren....he was most touched.


Sometimes this is a TALL order,
but worth aiming for over and over again.


It has been a whirlwind of changes and stress and work, which is why I have been MIA from this beautiful wonderful place of love and personal growth.

I referred to it as my mourning dress,
as my relationship with ice cream has forever changed

To start with I made it through my gallery shows and this year for the big Warhol-ian event I wore this lovely number, along side new gallery shoes that didn't make my feet hurt at all...strait out of the box even! I sold work for the 5th year in a row...which in itself was a personal goal I gladly met.

I had a funny thing happen to me that has happened every time I met someone of noteworthy status...It gets interrupted or goes amok at that exact moment of introduction. 
Like the universe thinks, nope she doesn't really need to meet this person.

It has happened when I was introducing myself to this personal idol, that I had see give a talk. She actually walked away while I was shaking her hand and introducing myself to her...I finished my introduction by yelling my name across the crowded gallery to her....it was mortifying and I left in a pool of tears...vowing to never mention her name again. 
That was over 10 years ago...clearly I am making slow steps back to saying her name.

It happened again when I worked at a bookstore and I walked up to ask this person if he needed help or had any questions about inventory...except no actual words came out of my mouth instead it was a lovely line of gibberish that made him smirk and I walked away mortified.

Alas, it happened at this last event, except I laughed when I realized what was happening...
As a friend was introducing me to this person, and my hand was extended someone next me put two hands on my arm and physically pushed me out of the way....in such a way that when the friend and person turned back towards me (after motioning to my work on the gallery wall) I had literally disappeared into the sea of people in the gallery...swallowed up. 

I am trying to figure out what the universe is trying to tell me...or if I am just really bad at introductions and I purposefully stumble. 
I'll get back to you on that.

As for changes, The Barren and myself took the week of turkey to turn our whole house upside down!  The motivation started with me having a severe night terror that woke The Barren because I was screaming that someone was at the end of the bed...in his half awaken state he started thrashing and because I can not see without my glasses it made me even more frightened as I was waking and we were both screaming and hitting the air until we were both awake enough to realize nothing was there. None the less it made us think...we need to change shit around and get rid of this. So we burned sage, and hex remover (yep The Barren picked up a jar of the stuff when he was in 
Memphis) We had made a huge list of things we wanted to do in the house and felt that it was monumental to try and do half of the things...turns out we did almost all of them!
It started with repairing the garbage disposal, and then getting rid of a bunch of furniture, and then hacking some ikea stuff and making it into other things and then getting rid of clothes and extra things that we just never thought too much about.
I got rid of childhood things and came to realize that many of the things I was holding onto were for the invisible child we can't share it with...it was a hard real reality but I came to the understanding calmly and consoled myself by say "there is some other child that would love this, I am going to give it to them"
The end result is that our home feels totally different....like a new place.
It doesn't feel sad anymore.

I guess I didn't realize that it felt sad in our house...
in the absence I became aware of the presence.

Now as we slide into the holidays...we are working strait on through them. I have to work on xmas eve and the day after xmas as does The Barren. We have decorated the house and got a little 2ft tree that we placed little resin birds and straw ornaments I got in eastern Europe a decade ago.
We have our menorahs out as well as a Krampus and some Buddhas for good measure.
It feels festive and today a new couch arrived...another on our huge list of things to make us happier.

As the night comes to you, know that I am wishing you a wonderful holiday
I send hugs and love to each of you and wish you a serene, and divine celebration.
xoxox
The Barreness

Monday, December 01, 2014

Thoughts from The Barren

I have invited The Barren to post as often as he would like,
as he is an amazing wordsmith and I love to hear inside his head, 
no matter how painful or sad. As we know, writing can help...so below is a piece he has been working on/through.
 
 

 
I fear I may be hiding within the empty lattice of a working life, focused on getting by each day instead of making this childless life my own. One way I see this is with how I react to questions about our childlessness - specifically that I'm left out of them. The cuts and calloused comments question only the woman I share this burden with, and in being ignored or feared by those careless questioners, the vacuum of any engagement leaves me feeling more alone than I would have expected. That part of me that wants to get angry at someone for the morning-news interrogations merely aches and folds back in on itself, without satisfaction or even the shame of an outburst. Does it rot there, stuck in the folds of itself? Or is it potential energy, waiting to be unlocked with the turning key of a kind or cruel thought?
Irrespective of my anxieties about folded emotions, I like to think it is the panoply of what each of us holds dear in that dream of having a child which gives rise to so many critiques - to the apparently obvious solutions and the baffled, furrowed, even scornful faces that accompany them.
A particularly painful accusation that is made by friends, family, and acquaintances with equal casualness is the "You haven't tried hard enough" comment, though it is never spoken so directly. It can be variously rephrased as a peppy "Don't give up" or the more bard-like rendition of "I had a friend in your situation, and they just kept at it and it was years later but you know what she got pregnant and now they have three kids and they are so happy I mean it's a miracle don't you think..."
There are many tangential lines to that initial focus on work-rate that expand the theme of not trying hard enough - not exhausting all options: "I'll have your baby, use my womb!"; "You should try IVF..."; Have you used egg-whites as a lubricant?"; "my sisters best-friend got pregnant after she went to an acupuncturist...", "I read on CNN that supplement X has gotten lots of infertile women pregnant, you should try that!"
Each solution caters to one or another price to be paid, but what they all hold in common is the end-goal: the acquisition of a child. This focus on the goal warps into pathology for many couples, with the result often being broken bodies, hearts, and unfortunately, many marriages. The goal is achieved! The couple acquires a child - success! And then divorces because of the immense stress and suffering caused by the process. Really? Goal achieved?
Inevitably the conversation turns to Adoption. Why don't we adopt? This question nags at me more than any other that I hear, because it assumes that the end-result is really what matters and moreover for the fact that it derives that end-result through commerce. Our desire was to create through the union of our mind and bodies a progeny, a physical manifestation of our love for one another and an expression of the universal mystery of life. In our case the end-result we were dreaming of was not just the child - it was the child created as a result of our union.
No path exists for us to achieve that end that does not compromise some essence of what is ultimately a matter of spiritual conviction.
The popular counters do little to answer or support this conviction. For example, the standard "...you will come to love them as your own...". A painful twist on this is promoted with heart-felt and honest emotion by the adopted themselves; after all, they can attest to the love and meaning that their parents brought to their life! See? The goal is achieved!
I do not doubt that I would love an adopted child with all my heart; that they would be my child and I their parent with all the associated joy, sacrifice, tears, and elation that any other child brings to the world they inhabit. My wife and I have spoken of our willingness to let such a child into our lives; our willingness to commit with our entire being to such a journey. But to buy into that experience? To go shopping for a child - a human life? To visit orphanages and adoption agencies with the same commercial details you would find in the purchase of a new car? To negotiate on a price? The dark-skinned children cost less. Older children cost less. They have been valued by the market and found to be...less?
I do not pretend to know a better way! The stories of Russian and Chinese state-run orphanages are stomach-churning and convincing enough to avoid any kind of centralized government method for finding good homes for the parent-less. All I know is that I can't participate in the current system. I don't begrudge anyone their participation! I just can't do it myself. This is a price I'm not willing to pay, to put it in the context of that most-common of underlying themes: "how badly do you really want a child?"
So this is the syllogistic critique of the infertile couple: "you haven't tried hard enough / you must not really want a child". It hits at the core pain experienced by an infertile couple - that they are to blame for the infertility - while at the same time trivializing that pain - it's just a decision to really want it, after all...what's so hard about that?
What's so hard, indeed...

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Remembered and Celebrated

Source Elizabeth Gilbert facebook page
If you haven't seen her TED talk about being a creative person
drop everything and spend the next 20min being enlightened HERE
 

the amazing sunset
 
I did something different this year and asked the Barren to join me on the anniversary of our first loss
to have a moment of quiet or reflection...
to just take a moment of the day together
and think of the little person that never manifested into a breathing being.
He of course agreed, and we took a sunset drive and ended up having dinner in a neighboring city to get away from the house.
The sunset did not disappoint and with the warm wind and sea air it felt as though we were cleansed.
I had taken time earlier that day to sit and meditate, it helped a lot to center my emotions and sit them into a more blissful state...sorrow seemed to be wrong choice and when I started to cry I found I was laughing as well. It was amazing and radiant.
 
We spent time talking quietly and toasting the ones that could not be with us.
I drank too much to drive and spent the car ride home in a marshmallow of thoughts and giggles.
We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary (22 years together) two days later.
What a wild ride it has been with this amazing man.
When we woke up on our anniversary, I asked the Barren if it felt like 12years,
he said no, it just feels like it has always been like this.
We have always been together.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Boo- this is your self doubt knocking!

Are These The 43 Funniest GIFs Of All Time?
 
I can not tell you how much I love this little GIF.
I don't care if it is real or not...it makes me laugh.
 
 
This is my favorite time of year, but I fear the drought will last though the year still....making the fall far from cold and rainy and windy...but instead keep us on our toes for fires and water restrictions.
I have become the water police in our neighborhood, calling landscape companies and hotlines to report water being wasted....it is scary I have become that woman.
I should wear my pointed hat on the next call....scary...ooo
 
This time of year offers a cocoon of sorts in my mind...the last of this years submissions are by weeks end and I am relishing in the fact that I can kind of rest my mind, cocoon maybe sew something or bake something or simply step away from the ledge or anxiety and fear and self doubt.

I have been on the verge of tears recently.
I feel quite raw, and fragile.
My mantras have been helping, and I can recognize when that self doubt is talking under an action.
I asked my brother today if he feel confident, in new situation or situation in general and he said no.
I didn't question further but I find it interesting as I only see him as self confident and ballsy.
Ironically, I visited with an artist friend who is very successful and she and a couple other friends were voicing their own self doubt as of late, I find their thoughts interesting...and comforting.

Artist friend #1:
As far as my attitude about my work…here goes…I seriously feel it is never good enough, pretty sure at the end of most days it is total crap and I wake up mostly in fear daily that I will never be able to have a good idea or at least not be able to paint one if I managed to have one. I recently found photos of a large painting that was going splendidly until I was totally unable to finish it as I wanted to…so, it turned into something completely different. Now, I am going to try that same idea again and demand better results from myself. 
"Paint what you love, paint a lot and find a good gallery…someone who shares your passion and respects what you do." That is my mantra.

Artist friend #2 forwarded this article " universal artist experience"
stating she was toggling between bargaining and depression:
 
Here’s an idea of what these stages mean to me:
Denial: This is not bad…not the painting I had in my head when I started…but maybe this will work…
Anger: Why isn’t this working? Why can’t I find that color? Why can’t I draw a horse?
Bargaining: OK, if you (the Art God?) just let me get this one painting done in time for the show, I promise I’ll clean up my studio and give up popcorn…and maybe ice cream.
Depression: This is never going to work. What made me think I could paint?
Acceptance: Well, this is not bad. This is going to work for now and the next one will be even better. I hope. I just have to keep working at it and I will get as close as I can before I die.
So I take comfort in knowing that we are all mad and sometimes crippled with self-doubt.
Comfort in numbers I guess.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Red is the color of power


OK, so this is the shade I finally decided on.
I wore it the night of the opening and felt confident, and sure of myself.
I was comfortable in my own skin and was able to speak about my work easily and freely.

I recommend this experiment to anyone who is shaky in their shoes.
I got my lipstick for .99 cents at the local drug store...low investment, high yield.

Beside my feet being beyond tired and sore the following day I was projected into a numb space.
I think I had put out soooo much the weeks prior, that after the spotlight turned off I went numb. I turned off the smile and drove home. We ordered Indian take-out and I sat on the couch and watched The secret life of Walter Mitty....it made me cry remembering how much I loved film photography.
This coupled with the amazing documentary I saw about Dorothea Lange not long ago; 
I was reminded of my roots and original goals for my life.

I am having what The Barren refers to as an existential crisis; I am feeling at a life crossroads.
Being an artist with a second job has me constantly juggling my mind from off ,to on, to off , to pause.

I met with a couple fellow artists yesterday, we are collaborating as a group to try and secure a location to manifest our personal visions and goals for our careers.
It has hit quite a road-bump, but when meeting yesterday, we asked of each other what is the "big dream"
What is the image we can hold on to?!
I went quiet in my mind.
I had lost sight of my long term goal...hence my existential crisis.
I have been working on making but forgetting what for...I got short sighted.
My response was to say that I would like to only have one job...
(the reality is still quite hard to swallow, but I want to put it out there)
A little voice in my head said, you don't deserve this....that is why you can't see it.

After our meeting, I drove home in silence, and then my brain got so loud and overwhelmed with thoughts that I collapsed and took a nap for 20 minutes.
On waking up I was shaking, I needed to find my goal again, 
I needed to remember what I was working for or towards.
I needed to know why I was hearing a voice tell me that I didn't deserve success?!
What allowed that voice to enter me, sabotage me and make me question all that I am?
I was at a loss and wasn't sure when that naysayer became part of my internal conversation.

Like many things in my life, when I get scared I say what is scaring me out loud. 
I learned this when I was preparing for surgery. 
Buddhists laugh in face of fear, as it reduces the power of the fear.
I call it out. I say it out loud....
If I say it enough it becomes mine again.
I deserve success, 
I make art that is loved by people other than my family and friends.
I am good enough for this

I am declaring it like I did with the lipstick.
Fear ME little voice, I will silence you!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I have been working...in two places and I fear that I am at the stage that I need a push...
I am tired and making lists like there is no tomorrow...when I get overwhelmed I start dropping things...literally and metaphorically. So lists help me feel less chaotic.
I have a hair cut appointment tomorrow in a feeble attempt of self care.
I only get my hairs cut maybe twice a year as I find it to be a decadence, 
one I can often overlook and choose car oil changes instead.
My grandmothers would go weekly, my mother gets her hair person to come to her home monthly 
to color and cut her hair.
I am a low maintenance kinda girl with dreams of being a fancier girl.
Every 6-8 months I go crazy and buy some new makeup that almost always ends up living its life in a bin under the sink because I either try it once and freak out that I have makeup on, or chicken out or forget about it. I keep the makeup next to the hairdryer and curling iron...two other rarely used tools.
I bought red lipstick today...
I read that it subconsciously makes people (including the wearer) believe that you are powerful :
I adore this woman!

I am feeling anxious and nervous about this upcoming exhibition.
I have a comfortable dress, and shoes for standing long periods of time on hard surfaces. 
I have a room that I can crash in after the event it over and I don't have to drive for hours afterwards. 
In the middle of the preparations from afar I am feeling less than confident... 
you know, the whole question your abilities, your drive, your reason...
and so I thought I would try out the red lipstick theory.
It feels comfortable but it is arresting to see crimson on my lips. 
I am wearing it now in fact, in a strange way I think that if I can wear it and forget about it, I can ease into the idea that it is not such a foreign part of me and I can pull it off for opening night.You know?!
I am thankful that I am still a risk taker, even if the risks seem small and silly


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

daily reminder


Not to diminish the daily toll of infertility, 
but to remember that you are not meant to struggle 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Things seem

source
OK, how could I resist this image?! 
It is creepy and so funny at the same time, and quite frankly sounds like a lot of fun!

Things seem to be back on track of sorts.
I have a tight deadline ahead of me, as I am in a three woman show that opens in about two weeks.
In fact, right now I am suppose to be making the last pieces, but instead I felt compelled to be here.
Reading your blogs and procrastinating.
I think it is what I do under pressure, add more pressure!
***
I worked until midnight last night and finished some work this am after breakfast.
This next week and a half will be framing and label preparations...
The venue is several hours away, so I need to be REALLY prepared as I can not simply grab something from home if something is forgotten. I think that freaks me into procrastination a little.
I have gotten a shitload of administration things done in the last week which has allowed me to relax into this next week and a half...haha relax...and I am so relaxed that eye twitch is really just an involuntary wink.

A massage from my mate sounds like just the ticket.

I am eating pretty well, trying to get real sleep and doing my practice
My second job is a little less intense, and as the year winds out...
I have a second deadline in place once this show is hung.
Which allows for my wheel to keep spinning, my plates can keep swirling and I can keep staring at the sky.

I did catch a little bit of a movie the other night, while procrastinating...
You know, andy warhol use to say everything is potential inspiration:
FEBRUARY 1, 2010 Warhol Photos Distributed Across Nation
From the Associated Press
"Andy Warhol kept boxes upon boxes of soup cans, receipts, fan mail and many other items, including thousands of photos he later used as inspiration for his giant paintings. Now more than 180 colleges and university museums, and galleries around the nation are benefiting. The New York City-based Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has donated to them more than 28,500 of Warhol's photos, worth $28 million."
By Carrie Antlfinger


I am gonna steal that and stop calling what I do procrastination, but instead research
yep, I was researching on the couch the other night....I caught a little bit of this movie:
It had John Cusack in it and I am a sucker for him, plus it was quirky funny.
The parts that made me giggle were all her realizations about bring creative/writer/artist and the reality associated with them. It was entertaining and kept me up later than I should have been and I didn't get to see the beginning or end...so I can say the middle part was good, and that is really the meat of a mediocre film. 
I would like to see the whole thing, regardless

So today, today I am doing less research and more work...really
I better get to it now the daylight is ticking away


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let's start again....

putyouinabettermood.com via http://ift.tt/1oOEdGB
Put you in a better mood

This little GIF makes me smile, so I wanted to start with that.
SMILE

I realize that my last post was a bitch, not mean, just bitchy...
I am working hard to move past it and let it go.
really....
Things around here are intense,stressful and in general, thick.
The Barren and I are on different schedules and it makes life during the week strange.
We are often like two ships crossing paths, so by Friday it is more like..."Hi you're cute, wanna have dinner with me and chat? Then maybe we can have a drink and a roll in the sack before the next week arrives and we are strangers again?"
Works ( I used that on purpose, as I have two jobs) is intense too....
one has been an exercise in patience and careful footsteps. 
The other is a never ending cycle of positive affirmations and small steps.
By the time I get out from one and arrive at the other I am exhausted and it is an uphill battle to stay moving.

Practice is still three times a week, and it helps tremendously with my mental health and willingness to sleep.
This morning was a series of heart openers and after we were done I just wanted to sit and cry for an hour...but alas the works were calling and I had to just keep moving.
I have a bottle of wine in the fridge that I plan to partake in with dinner tonight...
well not the whole bottle but at least a glass!

A lot of good things are bubbling and that is good, thing is, when things are good it all comes at once and I am getting really good at storing those good times to keep me going when things are quieter or not as good.
I have been seeing "list three positives" lists appear all over social media and it is interesting to see what people list...So I thought I would try the same...
Aside from the obvious things I find quite positive, like, I woke up, I am breathing, I am in love, I have clean water to drink and food to eat and I am healthy...

* No one I know died this week! so that is good, really good
*I got a baby shower invite and I am waiting to respond, I am gonna feel this one out
* I am able to heal. I smashed my foot and lost a chunk of my toe and sliced open my finger yesterday all before 5am, today I have a scab on my thumb and my toe is working on the same.

I feel badly that my last post seemed like a downer...I am feeling alright, fragile at times but really OK
I seem to be spending a lot of time recently worrying about other people and that gets hard after a while.
So I guess that is something else I need to back off on, worrying doesn't change things
and I want things to change not stagnate...you know?!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Ignore the woman crying about cheese

NOT my only wish....
OK so firstly, I am not gonna mince words here:
I am sad about food right now.
I am a foodie, and this last bit of veganism is hard and heartbreaking.
example:
this past weekend was a long one for many in the US, it was labor day 
this is my favorite visual to go with that day of thanks:

I live in an agriculture center, and so daily I am reminded of the many that are laboring much harder than me for the food that I eat. I made sure to point out to my niece and nephew what food is grown where, so when they pass those fields, they recognize it as food and become conscience of the people working so hard to bring it to our tummies.

That being said, when the Barren and I were thinking about what to make, BBQ and snack on this weekend, the Barren suggested a caprese salad...one of my favorites and it makes sense to suggest it as it was a go-to for SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO long.
Except, this time when he mentioned it I began to cry; a sad silly cry...and then I became mad...at him for no reason and then suggested we just go home and I would eat the drywall instead.
I was possessed by a bitter, self-loathing demon, who wanted me to feel as horrible as possible about holding true to my health concerns and desire for self-preservation.
Thank goodness the Barren recognized this and simply let it all play out and then when I resurfaced and apologized for it, we went to the store for BBQ fixings.
He in his wonderful way, ended up putting soft cheese into the basket for himself...but did it with puppy-dog eyes of "I'm so sorry I am putting this in the basket, I know it haunts you"
We got home and when it was time to fix dinner he realized he got the wrong type of cheese for a salad and told me " I got the wrong kind" I said you got burrata huh?, it is creamy and super soft and delicious on toasted bread with tomato and basil...
He smirked and I just smiled and sighed.

I am having a hard time with this last stretch of vegan; dinner out is hard, dinner in is a constant dance of what to make, prepare and plan for. I'm exhausted from chopping veggies and reading recipes.
After a long day, it would awesome to have an option to just pick up dinner on the way home...but there is no real way to do that, and to add insult to injury, I have a soy sensitivity, so tofu or soy products are a no go for me... by sensitivity I will weigh the pros and cons of how intense a hot flash will be if I eat this or that.
So I am often eating soba noodles with veggies or a microwaved yam with peas and walnuts.

When my parents asked if we could do dinner together last night, as the Barren was working late, I just about burst into tears again...but instead said : I would love to but food right now is really complex and once I figure it out we will..I just have to work on it a little longer.
I have been trying the mantra: it is just food, you are fed the rest is decoration.

I went to an art opening last night and when three girlfriends asked if I would like to join them for dinner, I was ready to say thanks but no thanks...but it turns out they wanted to try a new VEGAN restaurant in town....I felt self conscience thinking they were suggesting it as they knew I was now vegan....but it turns out the place also serves gluten free which two of the three were sensitive to! 
We were a group of special food needs people, it was my tribe of particulars!

We all had a dinner together, I was able to relax and talk art with the others who are also artists and when the ordering happened I was not the only one asking what this or that was, everyone did! 
below are the obligatory food photos...in case you want to see what was tried.
top was gluten free the bottom was not...but both were vegan
STREET TACO. CACAO BLACK BEAN. JACKFRUIT ‘CHORIZO’. BLUEBERRY CHIPOTLE SALSA. CARAMELIZED ONION. HEIRLOOM TOMATO. SUMAC. JALAPENO SLAW  $10
BLACK BEAN, WALNUT AND GRILLED KALE BURGER. FLATBREAD. PEA TENDRIL. PICKLED WATERMELON RADISH. TARATOR LEMON TAHINI  $15  
the rings are breaded and fried preserved meyer lemons...weird salt/sour experience
the red smear was SUPER spicy chipotle sauce that had me gasping for air
I came home feeling a little less excluded from food culture...


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thankful...beyond these little words

When my brother called me this last weekend he started by saying: So I just came back from the ER
I said what? you are joking right?
He said no and his voice began to crack...

this is the text I sent to my bestest:
Noon today: gunpowder flash, 8-10ft fireball, brother dropped and rolled, 
then drove himself to the ER.
Second degree burns, no damage to his eye, he sees the burn specialist tomorrow

When he started to describe what had happened, I blurted out : I am soooo thankful that you are calling.
then I went deaf, and I think my heart stopped...he needed to take another call at the same time 
and I asked him to call me back.
He called back and as telling me the details be began to cry and tell me how silly it was...and there is soooo much work and now he couldn't do any of it. I told him that there are many people to help and we want to help in any way we can....he heard me, I highlighted all the good from the outcome.
He was alive, he did not damage his eye, he did not burn his lungs...
when I hung up the phone after he assured me he did not need me to come over, our mom and his family was there to keep an eye on him,
I sat motionless, wanting to flee, but I chose to be present...shake and race around my mind.
Then I began to cry, as there was nothing I could do to "fix" the situation...
This was the most painful part for me...knowing he was in pain and sitting waiting for the next step.
Then I texted all my medical and doctor friends to see if anyone knew a burn specialist...
I got responses but none were referrals, well wishes instead...which was an easy reason to call him back and hear his voice again. He sent me a photo of himself so I could see his face...It was comforting, he was home resting and taking selfies...and running through the scenario over and over again...telling me his thoughts about it.

We are four and a half years apart and are now the closest we have been since childhood.
I called several times to see if he was sleeping, or needing anything.
..until I was soothed into a lull from my crazy monkey mind.
The Barren stayed with me, and simply sat and kept me company as I raced in my mind.


The following day was my nieces 1st birthday. 
I had made all the cakes and we headed in early after an early am call, 
to see if he slept and how he was feeling.
My brother was given pain meds at the ER but refused to take them...he found it reassuring to feel everything, calming his fears of nerve loss, and not wanting to surrender control.

Aside from the party, he was set to meet the burn specialist and get his burn cleaned...
he took some advil and headed to the hospital with his brother in law to get it cleaned, leaving his daughters birthday party and the guests behind; all of us sending him off with well wishes and prayers.
He returned two hours later, wrapped and with photographs of the damage.
Seeing him walk in again, and hearing the assessment of his burn was reassuring, in a strange way.
Second degree on his hand and arm, deep second on his index finger and thumb. First degree on his face, neck, ear and scalp. He has a burned star-burst pattern on his face from where he squeezed his eye shut when the flame hit him. There was stubble all over his shirt, from the singed hair on his head... from the removal of his head-wrap.

He was alright.
We left about an hour later, and drove home in a quiet car.
I ate a little dinner and then fell into a deep sleep

Cleaned arm with biobrane sleeve in place 
I awoke early for work the following day, my brother came in soon after me.
All day I heard the story, I got to repeat it first, and after divulging the details I ended with:
I am so thankful he is here; he did not lose his eye or burn his lungs.
When it was time for my brother to tell it to the relatives that were calling to check on him, he ended the tale the same way...over and over and over again.

I held it together, I stepped out once when I thought I was gonna cry...
He is moving slower, but still has taken no pain pills...he is working, and doing what he is driven to do.
He is in good spirits and is watching his arm for signs of problems....
Sunday is the next hump, he finds out if the biobrane (synthetic skin) is taking on his forearm and he can avoid a skin graft.

I admire him, and adore him beyond words.
He will always be my little brother, no matter our age
and I will always want and strive to protect him.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordy Wednesday


go outside and breathe the air, 
even but for a moment sweet lovelies

Friday, August 08, 2014

Self Preservation

** warning, melancholy posting **

some of the 15 nuns that packed the local frozen-yogurt shop

I went and had my annual ultrasounds and mammogram. 
I have had mammos since I was 34, as I found a lump then (it was nothing)
 and have just never stopped getting annual ones.
I look at it as a mark of pride, I am taking care of myself.
This year was different, as I requested an ultrasound of my breasts as well. The read from last year said that my dense breast tissue was hard to read and an ultrasound was recommended for a better view.
I booked my pelvic ultrasound that same day...I spent two hours having wands in my vagina, having my breasts compressed and then pressed and pushed on with copious amounts of warmed jelly.

While this was happening, a friend from high school passed away after a 5 year fight with breast cancer.

I am still shaken by her death, I saw her just before my surgery almost two years ago. She brought her daughters to a shared art studio so I could explain an art-making process to them. 
She was vibrant, her daughters glowed from all the love she showered on them. I followed and spoke to her via social media and then, she was not commenting on things. I started thinking about her more and more and then the messages started to appear on her page, and I asked if something had happened. Her mother posted that she was in hospice care and that it would not be long, as she was ready to go.
She passed two days later.

I was not close with her in high school, and I lost all contact with her afterwards..and something made us find each other many years later, maybe a reunion or something silly.
Our high school was a small one and in many ways everyone pretty much knew everyone.
The loss of a classmate, even one you are not close with seems big and close.
The memorial is at the end of this month, and although it is an open invite to all who knew her, 
I feel it is too intimate and I am choosing to not attend.
Instead I am making a donation to a charity she held dear.
Call it self preservation, I can not bear another heartbreak right now. 
I am grieving in many ways for her, she is the fourth woman I know in this last year to have breast cancer. 
It is a lot to witness.
clearly nothing like having to live with, but right now witnessing it is almost too much.
I feel conflicted about my decision, but guilt should not be a motivator to attend a memorial.

I have been reflecting a lot about what is important to me; 
this latest loss has only highlighted again who and what is important in my life.

I spent last weekend with my bestest-bossum-buddy.
She was in town visiting family and to my surprise she worked a WHOLE day away from her people 
and we just spent it talking, uninterrupted and openly and unabridged.
It was a treat for us both and when I came home I found myself in deep withdrawal.
I get to see her again in a month and a half or so...
we live many hours away from one another

All of this made me reflect, deeply and clearly into myself.
it has me feeling raw and open and melancholy as well...but,
I started to think of the superhero, the one I am making of myself.
If I remember correctly, most comic book heroes have:
 extreme heartbreak (check)
isolation (check)
determination to change themselves (check)
a bumpy road of learning (check)
revelations in unexpected places (check)

I guess I am on the right course.
plus my pants finally arrived:


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Wordless Wednesday



There are no words for this....just smiles!
Happy Wednesday lovely ladies

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Inspiration Wednesday

I follow this photographer on social media, and really find daily inspiration from the people he meets.
This one in particular sits deeply in me and made me cry the first time I read it:

"What's your favorite thing about your mother?"
"She loves life more than anyone I've ever known. I hope she doesn't mind me telling you this, but recently she's had some health problems. And her health got so bad at one point, she called me and said: 
'I was starting to wonder if there was any reason to go on. But then I had the most delicious pear!'"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Building my superhero

source
I am building my inner super hero....I have decided it is time to take a bigger step, and act fearless.
I am struggling with feeling good again.
I am still going to class three times a week, and sitting in my studio for hours a day, and working at my second job...and doing all the other daily stuff that life requires to function, 
but something wasn't still linking up.
So, I was wandering around in my brain yesterday and found that maybe, just maybe I was cushioning myself...unbeknownst to myself, I was still protecting myself from getting hurt or pushing too hard.
In everything.

So I started to construct my symbols of strength...
I got this shirt and wore it to class today.
I pushed myself harder, lunged deeper, and stretched farther.
I carried this positive affirmation in my mind the whole time.
I have new pants coming too..when they arrive I will reveal them as well.

It seems I am still afraid, I am still shy..I don't know why. 
I just found this corner the other day and opened that door wide and let in sunlight. 
I don't want to be afraid anymore, or tentative.
I want to feel strong and sure and powerful and confident.

I am finding that as time passes and I still wake up at 4:30 am, I like this ritual.
It allows me to wake up with the sun, I get to be in my own head and feel strong from the first moments of the day.
ideally enough to carry me through the rest of it. 
When I feel weak, or tired, I drink water and cry or wish I would cry and 
sit and contemplate what is making the monkeys go crazy.

All this was put to a test the other day, my father was forced to retire.
He is still "young" but a situation arose in his company and that was the choice he had.
He did and then made calls to me and my brother, assuring us that they were fine and that there was no big debt to fear....I think he was really assuring himself, as I was far beyond freaked out (in my head)
and I remained calm and cool until I hung up the phone.
Then I just stared at the wall for several hours...thinking of all the scenarios in my head, flipping through each of them like a rolodex...meeting each freaking scene head on and then letting it pass through me.
Acknowledge and let it go

It seems to have worked, for now.
It was like a scanner, scan then pass it along.
No harm no foul
Superpower?

I am faced with another weekend sleepover, this time with our 10year old niece.
Last weekend was the 6 year old nephew.
I don't know what to expect, or be prepared for but I am looking forward to the time.
I want to be a SUPER Auntie, and be cool and calm and neato
So my focus is to be present:
have super listening skills
be strong and supportive
able to leap to no conclusions
Be her bird or plane 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

National attention

the latest issue of Time Magazine set to hit the stands
This caught my eye yesterday and I wanted to post a couple things here to see if any of you had heard this too?! I was surprised and quite interested reading it myself.
Here is a response on Huffington post,
and here is a great video,


I LOVE how the newscaster starts with 
the Time editor who is also child-free and dismisses the writer speaking first because she has three kids.
It does bother me that they mention how much it costs to raise a kid, I am not sure why, maybe it feels dismissive about the choice...but that might be just me.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you



I celebrated my one year anniversary with yoga. 
According to my yoga teacher I had been there over 165 times in the last year! 
That is a half year in the yoga studio! holy guacamole...
I tried to keep the celebration to myself but to my surprise The Barren noted this as well and got me a gift certificate to a yoga boutique. 
You know the kind of place I would never venture into myself to purchase clothes.

Well I was eager to get a new pair of pants and top, as mine are now having the subtle smell of bleach and tea tree oil and mildew....they have been washed every day after class and hung to dry so as to be ready the next day...but after a year I think the fabric just gives up.
I went to the boutique; assured by The Barren that the women that were working there were not the "typical" yoga body people. It was warm outside but I was wearing a sundress and felt fairly cool...I was greeted by a woman who was very nice and eager to help me find the perfect gift for myself. She was not a beanpole so she understood the "junk in the trunk" issue for finding pants...she told me which companies she liked and I grabbed two pair of printed leggings one with UNICORNS on them!
get them
I was eager to try them on and feel super special. 
I grabbed a tank to try them on with and headed to the changing room. 
I was now sweating
The store was warm and the fan really did nothing to cool the air.
I checked my purse three times for a rubber band to tie my now wet neck hair up...no dice.
I then proceeded to peel the dress I was wearing off, and try with GREAT effort to put on the pants.
It was like trying to get a pair of pantyhose on while sweating...plus my lovely Popeye style calf's would not allow the pants to glide over them so by the time I had jumped, hopped and wiggled my arse into the butt of the pants it was and I was a HOT MESS. 
The door of the changing room was not a door but a light piece of fabric, 
so as I jumped it swayed open. I am sure it was a great show!
I peeled off the first pair and looked at another brand thinking maybe they would fit differently.
This time I tried on the top first, well tried, as I was dripping sweat and no matter what I did to pull that top over my shoulders and avoid the pits, as I didn't want to stain the shirt too...
I was stuck, the fabric had rolled onto itself, and would not give way
My boobs were half in the shirt, half begging to be freed of the shelf bra.
I ending up bending in half, and wiggling my shoulders free of the fabric and hanging up the shirt to admire while trying to tackle the second set of pants. topless this time...
When I started the effort, I stopped at the calf again...resigning to the fact that I was not built to wear these leggings either. I fought extreme disappointment and negative voices about my body.
The clerk asked how I did as I emerged from the dressing room.
I am sure she saw the WHOLE thing...but was kind to say that another company was available to try.
I am a glutton for punishment, and so I tried on another brand of pant. 
It took far less effort to pull on and so I got a pair in FUCHSIA, and picked up a tie-dyed tank from the same company without trying it on...I feared what might happen.
I left with credit remaining and a punched ego...but a new top, pants and yoga mat towel.
Following this dance I was due at a business woman's art gathering.
I got in the car, blasted the air conditioning and drove to the meeting location.

I was cooler when I arrived, I had my yoga bag in the back seat so I added a new layer of deodorant to my pits and fluffed my hair and went into the home that was hosting.
I sipped a glass of bubble water and waited for another couple of friends to arrive. I was beginning to heat up again (for reasons unknown to me) and I went to the bathroom to splash some cool water onto my neck and chest...in an effort to cool my body a little more. When I emerged a couple of friends had arrived and I met them in the hallway. One was one I hadn't seen since May and when I saw her then I thought..." I think she is pregnant" turns out she was...and is due in December. 
She was glowing, I mean radiant...it was of no surprise to me.
Joy creates that, and she was filled with glee and joy.
I congratulated her and we joined some other women outside in the shade to chat before the meeting was set to start...I was standing and sipping my water and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back, over my tummy, down my legs. I hoped no one else noticed...but I also realized that I was with a group of women, ans MANY had already gone through menopause so this was nothing to be embarrassed about.
We eventually moved indoors, and sat ourselves for the hosts lecture.
I think it was half way through that I felt the heater turn off in me. 
When the lecture was over, my newly pregnant friend rose from where she was seated and I was struck.
She is one of the most beautiful people I know...I mean goddess beauty.

High cheekbones, tall, lightly freckled skin, quiet and graceful, her hair was now down from her hair comb and cascaded into gentle curls around her chest...beauty!
It sounds like I have a girl crush on her, but really I was just so taken back at her beauty.
It was mesmerizing, and I was just admiring how beautiful it was.
She floated across the floor and I realized at that moment, how obvious it was that we were at two very different stages in our lives. She was making a new person and I was in pre-menopausal.
I returned to a quiet home, The Barren waiting to hear how the day went.
I modeled the new clothes for him, as I was not sweating anymore and the new pants revealed that they are not only a fantastic color but also create an amazing camel toe! ahahaha and the top is a little big.
Go figure
That night I dreamt that I was pregnant, and I needed to tell people.
I was so sad about it, I was thinking to myself in the dream 
" but I was just getting use to this new child-free life, I am so old now to be having a baby"
It was a mixed bag of dream emotions.
Upon waking, I was washed in the feeling of bitter-sweetness and remembering.
It was dark still and a yoga day, so I put on my new camel-toe pants and went to class to sweat it all away.