Thursday, June 18, 2020

fighting against it all

We attended a Black Lives Matter rally two weekends ago.
We paraded around (in the car) the protesters with hand-painted signs of support.
(this was our social distancing version of protesting)
I am reading new books and learning how to be a better anti-racist.
but there are people that didn't support the cause...
one of our favorite Vietnamese take out places put a Black Lives Matter sign in their storefront window and some customers asked him to take it down that it made them uncomfortable.
He refused...and thankfully he mentioned it on his social media page
and received a load of support!
PEOPLE!! Seriously!
I am feeling the water creeping closer to my head in this fight...

I was reading what other countries are reading and understanding about the US.
and I was not surprised.
We are a train-wreck and then this happened...


This is why Americans are still dying and contracting the virus.
This is an example of people I live near.

I fight everyday to think the best of people, believe that most people are good.
I do hold that as my starting point.
This is why it is questioned every day and why I am terrified to go get groceries.
Thankfully the city council voted to mandate masks 
for all indoor businesses, and government offices, it was a close vote though!!
4-3 for masks
My town is on a watch list now, as we have had a spike in cases.
over 100 new cases over the weekend and an increase in hospitalized cases.

This is how the US is dealing with the virus.
we have a peeing section in our pool.


If you are outside the US, know that there are millions marching against this.
We have more registered voters than ever before.
Most of us DO NOT WANT this reality.
MANY of us believe in equality and justice.
We want a change to the establishment.
WE ARE FIGHTING.
if you are an american and live abroad
PLEASE VOTE!!

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Twisted


I have been keeping up with my home yoga practice.
Many days it is like pulling myself through taffy, other days it is total joy.

This practice is healthy for me, as things are upside down in my country.

I am ashamed, angry, heartbroken and yet still hopeful.

I have begun a re-education of myself and some days it feels as though 
I am studying for a huge exam. 
I am learning to understand where and how my white privilege has benefited me.
I am understanding how many of my brothers and sisters have been denied opportunities and treated differently because of the color of their skin.
I am not talking about simple understanding; I am trying to understand the depth that white supremacy has taken a hold and been a part of culture here in the US.
The scary stuff, the hard stuff....the deep understanding of what I don't see and why.

Example one:
I am a hippy kid, a child that was raised in a multicultural neighborhood.
I had friends from all backgrounds and my mother made a point that we 
be "color blind".
I realize that was a mistake now, that by not seeing the beautiful color of my friends, 
I overlooked/ did not acknowledge, the beauty of their skin and missed out on their cultures.

I am looking into my fears and prejudices and trying to understand where they come from and if they are from trauma or outside influences.
It is hard work, but I know the hard work needs to be done to make big changes.
For myself, my relationships and our future.

I was exhausted and was watching Former President Obama speak in a town hall. When he came on the screen, I felt my whole body relax....like the safety of a familiar friend had arrived.
Then, I listened to Dr. Bernice A. King speak and say:
" don't be afraid to make mistakes"
I am feeling the responsibility of the world,
a frantic need to understand everything from everything all at once...
these words made me feel a little better.

In my readings I have discovered so many beautiful wonderful non-profits.
Amazing artists, beautiful poets and writers.
Activists and support systems.
It has been a supreme enlightening, like turning a page in a story and discovering so many new treasures just around the corner.
Even on my meager income, I am thrilled to become a donor to a number of groups.

We are attending a peaceful protest rally tomorrow.
I am looking forward to it.
Masks, glasses and social distancing in place.

We are starting with "parading" which is driving around the protesters with signs of support..
then if it appears safe for us to join the crowd*...we will.

*There are new cases and deaths from the virus every day in my town. Two weeks ago my city was one of the first in our state to open up patio dining, beaches and parks... and so floods of people from larger cities descended into our little beach town....ignoring many precautions.

I am working on so many things right now mentally.
I am trying to be an artist and create things,
but have found that the pressure for an artistic response about:
 the virus 
the Black Lives Movement
the isolation
the loneliness
has made creating impossible for me.
During meditation the other day I came to understand that...
I don't think I have processed it all or enough yet to create a response yet.
I am recalling Elizabeth Gilbert's Ted Talk about the "Elusive Creative Genius"
and taking heart in it.


So I am starting back at square one and beginning my walk again.
What is important to me
What brings me joy
what do I love to do?!
I am ready to twist myself into whatever shape I am suppose to be.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Alone with my rants

I think the isolation in starting to get to me.
I am sleepy a lot and not really feeling creative.
I have taken to making more masks. 
I had to stop last month because I made my neck spasm from looking down 
at the sewing machine and ironing board.
© The-Barreness.blogspot.com

When I finally stopped I had made close to 90 masks for family and friends.
This time I am breaking up the parts and so far it has protected my neck.
I am up to about 25
I am hoping to sell some...my other job is non-existent even after installing a remote desktop to try and capture anything that might fall through the cracks.

***
Silly rant to follow
***
I am cleaning/tidying up a lot too.
It seems to have totally fallen onto my shoulders.
I cook 90% of the meals, clean, do laundry and the shopping.
I think it is starting to become too much,
I test the waters every once in a while to see what would happen if I didn't stop in the studio and dinner time arrives...it arrives and then I am asked what I was thinking of making...and then I end up stopping and making and cleaning up dinner.
The Barren has taken to baking bread regularly and often I end up cleaning up after that too.
After dinner my dishes are collected and then I find them stacked on the counter, left for cleaning.
I clean them as I find a full sink in the morning massively distracting...
so I am trying to perform an act of kindness for myself.
I am not going to complain about it as I figure it would only leave to an argument and I don't want that energy in the house.
OK rant over...a rant about silly things!
***
-Second rant-
I went to pick up online orders for groceries yesterday. It was a warm day, and I was SHOCKED by how crowded the beach was, the streets were filled with people.
I mean I guess as Americans, just like all the memes I've seen:
we got tired of the virus, so it simply does not exists anymore.
As a rule follower, I am short circuited, by this.
I see new cases every day in my county, and there was a rise two weeks after Easter, and now I expect there to be another two weeks from now.
People have died locally, and still so so so so many people ignore the request to wear a mask.
It is still "suggested" that you wear one.
***
Onto Uterus news:
I made some gifts for two baby showers that are coming up.
I made them and then made sure to get them out of the house ASAP
I didn't mind making the burp cloths and printed onesies, 
but my gosh, I could not have them stay here.
Virtual baby showers!
I mean is this a new hell...??!!
I normally do not go to showers...that is my no-go line in the sand, but
The Barren RSVP'd that we would attend a virtual one...so I am going to a baby shower.
OMFG

I am thankful that it is just us in the home.
We have a small place and the idea that a kiddo would be here too pacing and trying to do school and be occupied is a scenario I can not imagine.
So in that regard, yeah for being Barren.

Also my period is 26 days late so far...
Aside from a pandemic, it appears that I have officially kicked open the peri-menopausal door
Struggles of Having 3 Young Kids | POPSUGAR Family

I feel a little shaky mentally
I am taking everything slowly...and methodically 
I guess I am grieving the loss of what was, and realizing that it will be a long time before I can go to art shows, or galleries or museums.
It will be a long time before things seem like a new normal.
Maybe it will never be a new normal.
I am just kind of lost for an anchor of okay.

My yoga studio is moving to streaming classes next week...
that might be closer to like being social kind of...
it all feels off.

I do hope you are all feeling less lost and shaky.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Half a century

I chickened out and stayed away from my parents home.
It broke my heart, but I understand that even if we never got near each other it was a risk I was not willing to take in their health or ours.

So I had a Facetime call with them followed by a zoom call with some friends.
I had sent out invitations to join the call and half way through got self conscience and stopped emailing peeps and then with the gentle nudge of The Barren, 
I sent it out like a crazy shotgun blast to a bunch of people.
Everyone said they would attend and then I freaked out again....
but like parties of the past, not everyone showed up, which was fine.

I did my hair and wore something other than a sweatshirt...and had a pre-meeting freak-out about how everyone was going to be looking at me and I suddenly looked like a tired old woman.

Letting Myself Go Online Shopping | Gin & Lemonade


I moved the ipad and swallowed my pride and got on camera.
It was lovely..and SUPER SURREAL!!
I offered my homemade cupcakes to the crowd...
my brother had made a snack tray and had nibbles on camera at his home, 
a neighbor couple wore green mustaches, 
another couple of people had glasses of wine, a cousin showed off her new baby chicks. 
We took tours of each others living rooms and yards.

Then something absolutely humbling happened....
everyone started to show off artwork they had of mine.
I was floored and so deeply touched!
I mean really touched and humbled.
Someone suggested they sing happy birthday 
and the song sounded like it was being sung in a round...which was super funny.
When the call ended I took a shower and fell into a nap!

Two days later I got a gift delivered from a painter friend.
I had sat for her in 2013 while she explored options for a portrait project.
She gifted me the study she did of me.
It is a good likeness of me and I sent a photo of me next to the painting to her 
and she posted it on social media.
I feel like I need a manor home to hang a portrait of myself, it seems very Georgian.
Today I received another gift from another painter friend of poppies.
She said that I came into her mind when she was making it and felt I should have it.

50 is full of surprises so far
It was not what I thought it would be, or how I thought it would be celebrated.
It felt nice to do something with my hair and "dress up" 
It was fun to make myself a birthday cake
and have a local bakery deliver cupcakes to my parents so we could still do our annual birthday cake for breakfast together (apart)
I could actually feel my heart refueling from the love that was shared with me on my group call.
Never mind the high level of anxiety, I was aware of the feeling and took a moment to feel it all and soak it in.
I am thankful for that!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Normal heartbreak

This is my youngest niece.
She is in first grade and this is her new normal.
I made her mask and never imagined I'd see a photo of her like this.
This is her back yard...I am thankful she has safer outdoor space but this just breaks my heart.
Her teachers and principal did one of those drive through the neighborhood and waving to the kiddos that are all now homeschooling. The teachers miss their students and this is their way to support them and show their love. What a crazy new way of seeing the world.

I have been distracted by making masks and mailing them to loved ones far and wide.
It is replacing my normal birthday karma*, and I am happy to do it and it has been a sense of helping in this whole crazy. I have made close to 80, but that number is about to go up as I am making a new set this weekend.
I am using all my old hoarded fabric from when I use to make kids clothes.
Talk about a cathartic turn.
I am watching these beautiful fabrics shrink as I send every new package out to full families.

* I give gifts to loved ones for my birthday every year, recently it has been a piece of artwork but this year it is masks.

The Barren and I are getting along just fine. 
I am thankful for that and I think it really highlights how we can really make this work for another 150 years together.
My birthday is the 25th and I have decided to make a cupcakes, drive the 40+ miles to my parents home and sit across the street and eat our annual birthday cake for breakfast together, apart.
That is the grand plan, that is what 50 will look like for me.
The Barren has agreed to come with and participate in the cake eating celebration.

I continue to listen to the science and plan on this taking longer than expected and getting scarier.
I continue to be thankful that my family and friends are healthy and following rules.
I am thankful for a lot of this upside down version of life.
I am just taking it one step atta time.

I fell twice in less that two weeks here at home; two good bruised up falls.
 As I move slowly and watch my body heal and ache, 
I am thankful that I am able to heal and have the space to do it slowly.
One was a slip on the tile of the bathroom (the same tile we've had for 20+ years) 
and the second was a trip over my work chair that had me land on my ass.
Twin bruises below my butt and a skipped down the rib-cage and stab into my side bruise,
 thanks to a framed artwork.
Thankful I didn't land on the cat who was right beside me !
Also thankful for the extra padding on my body...
as I was wailing in pain, I started laughing and confused The Barren.
He asked if I was mentally alright...
Through laughter I said, " My fat saved me!" 
So yours truly is shaking off this final year of her forties and in a deep metamorphosis into a 
MOTHER FUCKING BUTTERFLY
in time for my birthday!



Friday, April 03, 2020

Busy time

Snail feeding continues

We are about to finish week three in quarantine:

I survived my cycle, and it was "kind of no big deal" 
and it marked one year off birth control.
I made myself period cookies and charged kisses 
from The Barren if he wanted one.
I got a lot of kisses.

The Barren is working long stressful hours at work, as the learning curve
 for his department is almost 90* straight up...
but there is progress every day.
His company announced that everyone will be working from home 
for the unforeseeable future.
There will be no new hires, no promotions and no wage increases.
Everyone is still employed.
***Good news***

I on the other hand, am still trying to figure out how to make a buck or two.
I want to promote a sale on social media, but I feel guilty about it...and so I seem to find reasons to not do it. Would it be uncool to offer art at discounted prices??

I have not hit the portion of this alone time where I clean like a mad person.
I like the idea but, when I think of doing it, I think I could be doing this other thing instead...
hahahaha
I am not a domestic person, but I have become a full time cook and laundry lady.
I am averaging one trip out of the house a week...
this last week was farmers market and the health food store.
It was surreal and I started to wonder 
Will what we remember of society ever be again?!

I awoke this morning from another strange night of sleep, or a sleep-like night.
My dream was that I was photographing for an architectural firm, starting with taking head-shots
and then moving onto a series of stock images for them...but I kept hearing people whisper about me and how I had dirty clothes on.
I was smiling and keeping it all professional the whole time and then someone said to me, 
"you do know that your shirt is stained in back and that you have blood on the back of your skirt!"
I looked down at my beige mini skirt and turned the fabric around, 
and saw that there was blood oxidizing on it and I was confused.
then I woke up saying
" well that is really disappointing"
So how are you sleeping?!

I think the distance is starting to weigh on me and my heart.
This is the longest I have not seen my parents, or brother since traveling many years ago.
I speak with them daily, and have encouraged them to call via facetime...but a traditional phone call seems most comfortable for them.
I am feeling sad I guess.

I have food, a home, clothes and I am healthy.
My close family is healthy, they are fed and safe.
For all that, I am happy.
I guess my heart hurts a little today.
I am acknowledging it and letting it move through me.
That is the healthy thing to do.

I might watch some more youtube videos of people 
walking though the great museums of Europe 
and wonder if I will ever be able to see them again.

what are you doing in your lockdown?


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Meanwhile...

With very few exceptions (one farmers market run, one grocery store)  I have stayed indoors, 
at home since the 15th of March.

My yoga studio has been creating videos so that we can continue to practice at home.
I have been doing classes. I find that I get lazy at home and 
it makes home practice a true challenge for me, 
which is why my practice at a studio was so important.
I am doing classes daily, but they are different and I tend to not push myself.

I continue to be the go-getter for the home. 
The Barren is still employed thankfully, and our kitchen has become his office Monday-Friday.
His whole company went virtual on the 13th at 5pm...which is wonderful because they have offices all over the world. So every office community is now safer because of it.
My job has stopped, as has my income, which was a trickle to begin with...
I have items on EBAY, and Etsy but nothing has moved in a long time.
I am trying to not think about how I have no income
*stay calm*

I am quite emotional today for some reason.
Hubby thinks that the isolation is starting to get to me....
but the real thing that is starting to get to me is the expectations!
I am an artist that now has every hour of the day available to make work, 
meaningful work, important work...and lots of it!
I am not able to focus.

I have work in progress, but I seem unable to turn my attention to it.
All the shows my art was suppose to be in have been cancelled.
I have no venues to show my work in.
* breathing, thankful breathes, to be breathing *

I have two other artist women that text a couple times a week to report on all the work they are doing.
all the paintings they are working on and completing.
How it is like they are preparing for a solo show, work and ideas flowing like rivers!

I scanned a vintage photo from my collection and have drawn it 
over and over and painted it different each time, here are the first two.
I am trying but...I am not a painter

Meanwhile, I am carving little stamps and make hand-stamped postcards for people.
(until the postage I have here at home has run out)
Love bombs, that make me feel a little better imagining my niece getting a card she can color in the mail...or the great-grandma on lock-down getting a little love note from a stranger.

In an effort to escape from myself this morning, I watched YouTube videos of a random person walking through major museums...just to remember what it was like to walk those halls in my past.
I was weepy and wouldn't make eye contact with The Barren.

Favorite quarantine activity:
I have been feeding the snails on my patio and learned that: 
they do not like carrot greens but do love
lettuce, kale and my potted plants.

I hope that this miserable post finds you all healthy
beautifully sane
and maybe still a little hopeful