Thursday, January 31, 2013

Broken Hearts Club

I heard this amazing interview on NPR a month or so ago and it was inspirational.
I have put a link to hear the whole story yourself below
 To summarize, it is about a museum that only houses what is left behind from a relationship.
There are always things left behind after a relationship ends, that for some reason we hold onto.
Letters, or a shirt or a photo or REALLY random things like a cup the ex-loved one use to drink out of every morning or a photo they hung on the wall for you.
I thought this story was going to be horribly, sad but the longer I listened the more beautiful it became. There are sad stories don't get me wrong, but there are also sweet memories that are now gone with the person.
Like the woman who sends a flashing light for the dog they use to share,
so it doesn't get hurt when it walks at night.
I have kept things from old relationships, I am a collector by my nature, so it seems counter nature to get rid of some things...but then there are baby things.
This story made me think about a museum for us...a museum to send our last little things that we are ready to let go of. A ribbon, or a blanket that was sent to us.
(my mother keeps a blanket that was made for me for my baby)
I fear that, that collection would be ONLY heartbreaking.
So until then, we can focus on someone elses heartbreak.
Below is the narrated story and a link to the real place, in case you are traveling nearby and want to stop in. I would imagine it would be quite cathartic.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Easy as 1,2,3

Last year the Earl and his wife suffered a miscarriage. I was the first person they told when they got a positive test and the only call when things were not looking like it was going to last...The Earl, desperate to help his wife asked me to ask my IF "friends" if any of them had taken this hormone or that hormone and what the chances were of it helping stop a miscarriage. I was touched that he felt this close to me and I was heartbroken for them as the pregnancy ended and I could offer no help to stop it.

About two months ago, I got a call after dinner from The Earl again. "It looks like she is pregnant again. I suggested that she wait to tell anyone about it until it was much farther along this time." Last time she was 6weeks along when she told friends at a dinner out, within a week she lost the pregnancy.  I told him congratulations as I hung up the phone and thought of their other two children at the youngest was now possibly going to be a middle child.

The Earls wife comes from a line of woman who enter menopause in their late 30's. One sister had a child as a teen and now is unable to have another, and the other is in the middle of multiple years of IF treatments to create a family of their own. So the fact that the Earl's wife had gotten pregnant in her mid 30's twice in this last year was surprising on it's own.

Yesterday I picked up the eldest from school, with the younger one in tow, as The Earl and his wife went to the doctor for the 11 week confirmation ultrasound. I was asked to help because if our mother caught wind of a Dr's appointment she would ask a machine gun line of questions that they didn't want to answer yet. So I was the confidant again.

When the appointment was over and they came to pick up the children, they had no reactions on their faces. There were others here, and they were not able to speak freely or openly. None the less, it made my mind wander to the dark places, and  I imagined the worst scenarios....chemical pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy...still child.

Once the room was cleared and the children were shuffled away and en route to home with the Earls wife; The Earl showed me the ultrasound. In it, a kicking moving thing that looked like a baby kangaroo...flickering shimmering heart. I could hear the voice of the ultrasound tech, high pitched and giggly. I turned to The Earl and said  "that is what an tech sounds like when you have a baby in you? They sound so happy. Wow I never got to hear that..." He didn't say a thing....but maybe at that moment realized what this was like for me. I hugged him and said congratulations again and packed up my things to head home.

They made it look so easy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Don't be fooled

So a few things have gone down in these last few days...

I started my week (Thursday is the beginning of my week) at a HUGE convention center looking at art. The big city hosted the annual art faire and it was a chance to see what galleries are carrying and what is "hot, hip and happening" it was also a great chance to break in my new $24 payless tennis shoes and carry 20lbs of magazines out the door at the end of my visual overload. I went with two women, one I kind of know and the other was totally new to me. The common friend in this mix got the flu and couldn't make we ventured onward! We all looked at the work independently of each other and thanks to a free ticket (I answered an email and got a free one sent to me) I got a free catalog I was able to mark pages and think deep things about work.
this made me think veggies...

sex and art

large crumbled bills and a hushed crowd

There was a lot of STRANGE and silly work, but also a bunch of stuff that reminded me to "mellow out" and just make what comes out of you at any time.* There is a connection there, I will get to it later....when I tell you about Saturdays event.
The dealers were interesting and the whole place was the WHOLE HALL in a convention center was a museum...very refined, very subdued. I was really glad I went and really glad I am an artist...even though I was also reminded that it is quite a hard nut to crack, this whole let me get into a gallery thing.

Friday I got called into work and came home with a HUGE headache and the unending desire to want to puke, but was unable was lovely. I had an event to attend that night, so I took a lot of migraine pills and went to the event solo. It was the opening to the new little shop that is carrying my trinket...the place is adorable and looks like Etsy exploded in there....I wanted to buy EVERYTHING. Do you ever get that way when intoxicated or feel icky? I spend money on silly things and discovery them the next day. I hear ambien can do that to you too. She didn't have a sign for the store still so it also reminded me to keep knocking on doors and get my trinket into more shops....I am still waiting to hear from the buyers at two other places.

idea for my own panic room

Saturday, was filled with submission panic attacks, making silkscreens and then going to an event in the nearby town.The event on Saturday night is part of the art salon group I am part of. We go to a new venue each time and hear lectures from artists, or designers or curators about how they do things. This evening we heard a lecture from a painter, who is the mentor of our host. The Host is an amazing painter and he is an eccentric lecturer. I joined about 30 other women in a "screening room" in the house (It was another MANSION overlooking the ocean) and we listened to what I can only in reflection describe as a performance art piece. I had a notebook and was I glad I took one. The painter had two glasses of liquid; one whiskey, one water-liquid courage I would assume. He spoke of the creative process and at the mid point it became a stream of conscienceness conversation with the ether and I figured there was going to be a gem in there someplace...I mean think about how brilliant you are when you get intoxicated and have epiphanies! I also started to have a giggle fit and used my notebook as a way to avoid laughing out loud! I was sat between a curator and a painter and needed to act like a lady and not a child...while I scanned the room, others were stunned or dozing.
The painter kept saying no one believed him and he BEGGED us to believe him about his theory.
This is what I wrote down:*
All artists have a rational capacity/rational facilities
these have tyrannical mechanisms
where we have internal dialogs of destruction in unnamed numbers of ways.
The Unspoken unnamed "one" is the creative force.
You are creativity itself, it can not be any other way!
It will take you two years of work to let go and be who you are,
and then you will not know what you are doing, but you know who you are.
Struggle gives you authority, suffering drains you and destroys you.
Struggle through your work...don't suffer.
and the key to mastering any creative feat:
slow down
repeat often
be mindful
slow down more
After the lights came on, I thanked the host, passing her Rembrandt etching, and Picasso drawings, walked under her Venetian glass chandeliers and returned my glass to the marble topped counter kitchen sink. I was escorted out by her kind husband who lit the way for us as the "landscaping wasn't done yet, so there were no lights yet" on their terracotta slabbed steps to the driveway.
 I sat quietly in my dark car, on a dark road thinking,
"what the hell was that!?"
Then I drove to get dinner and drove home, in the quiet of the night, watching storm clouds and listening to my new favorite CD.
As I distance myself from the event, I realize WOW there were some gems in there.
AMAZING indeed

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bang Bang

Thanks everyone for the kind encouragement about my shop owner experience. I mentioned it to my businesswoman's group and it was agreed that I was on the right path, and for the price I am selling my trinket, it is silly to ask for exclusivity.
The shop owner is looking at the other shop and will get back to me.
I am TOTALLY fine with that.
Plus I have two other shops I will visit once the following task is under way to a whirlwind speed!
you ladies are the best
I finally broke through the creative wall and have begun the long and never ending task of submitting artwork for this years exhibition schedule. Thank goodness, on both counts!
It requires creating a lot of new passwords and user names, as most places are now only doing online submissions and then the shipping follows after you know if you are in or not. It reduces the amount of CD's that arrive to a juror and they can instead look at a computer monitor and select a show.

I would say this first collected stack has a 50/50 send in/ do online ratio...
I do see far more online ones coming in though. It is easier if you can constantly think of names and then keep track of it all...

It is a good way to spend a day, the hum of my lightscribe etching my name into a CD and the smell of a highlighter and tea.

I hope to get back to the press VERY soon and get some new work created too....until then.
I am here, with magnified glasses planning my year!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Testing the waters

The Barreness doing shock treatment

So yesterday I was tested, well, I was challenged for sure!
I mentioned before about these little trinkets I make; well someone decided they wanted to throw a wrench into the works and ask to be the only shop to carry my little trinket things.
I spent the day wrought with anxiety:
I had already delivered and committed to a shop, a new lovely shop, and this other well established shop was trying to take the monopoly over the whole downtown zone, and my abilities to sell anywhere else nearby too!
I felt stuck. I felt sad, I felt very UNHAPPY

I drafted several emails and went home still not sending a response. When I got home, I asked The Barren if I could read him what I had written, he said sure. I read what I had written out loud to The Barren- who was also sorting things in the kitchen. Then he said "I think you are imagining this, it doesn't sound so bad".  I about collapsed into a pool of tears! I took several deep lungfuls of air and visualized myself stepping back from the chaos that was swirling at my feet.
The Barren mumbled something about "I changed your mood, I think I made things worse."
At that I opened up, calmly but defiantly and said:
"I Feel like I was asking for your attention and you didn't engage in what I was saying and then when you did you defended the other person and not me. You are always suppose to be on my side." He was shocked to say the least, I mean he was rinsing lunch boxes and opening a beer and apparently Pandoras box too.

I told him I would no longer ask for his help on this matter, that I would figure it out on my own. "Please lets not talk about it anymore."

I took a few more gulps of air, changed into my pj's and plunked back onto the couch. Then I calmly turned to him and said: " I am not feeling very happy right now, I think what it all comes down to, is that, I don't want to sell to this shop exclusively." I started to laugh, at the sound of my own voice, and then mentioned to him, how silly this all was in reflection, I am freaking out over a small thing, a trinket.  " I am just so afraid of making a bad choice, the wrong choice, that it paralyzes me. In the big picture, this is not the end of the world. "
If I make a bad choice will you still love me?

I wrote this email response this morning:

Hello Shopowner,

I try and place my work in unique venues but, I make sure they are not the same types of stores.
I have committed with shop#1, so I am standing by that commitment.
They are close-by but, specialize in only handmade items.

At this time, I am not able to offer you exclusivity of the product.

I am sure you can understand that as an artist, my job is to get my work seen by many different types of viewers.
This is indeed a unique item for visitors and locals, so making sure that it is available to many different types of shoppers is paramount to its success.

I do hope we can still work together.
Thank you again,
The Barreness

After hitting the send button, I felt lighter, brighter and happier. I was standing my ground, being true to myself and honest about my feelings to not only the potential client but myself.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Along the bunny trail

So I am still hopping along this bunny trail.
I am working on being HAPPY.
Like the deep, real kind of happy, it sounds silly when I say those words like they don't really reflect the way I am working on changing my essence.
I do indeed feel daily that I am making choices to be happier.
I am able to let go of the small stuff A LOT easier
(cause what is the point of saying small stuff when you have no idea what is now small stuff to me)
I sell a little trinket locally to a shop that is smack dab in the center of the tourist zone.
Great gig, a little cash every month...
Well, she decided to close up shop and I only found out because I called to check stock.
She didn't call to let me know to pick up the final pieces.
That is my job I know, but it was strange.
Needless to say, normally I would be angry about how the shop-owner dealt with it and grieve that
I am now without this little extra cash.
Monies I use to enter art shows with or buy a splurge item.
Instead I wondered if it was worth it to still pound the pavement and distract myself with making these trinkets for tourists. One of the things I did was join a business group and I consulted a fellow shop owner, she responded so strongly that I should continue, that I made three times the amount of them (so I have plenty of stock) contacted a new shop and I am visiting today to try stock there.
I am also stopping by an additional shop to speak with their buyer.
I didn't let any of it stick...I just kept moving.
I also met with a fellow artist for lunch, I know her, but I don't KNOW her.
It was a new thing for me, I am being SOCIAL.
I had a wonderful experience and the reason for meeting was that we were exchanging artworks!
Remember that BIG art thing from December, my goal post surgery to attend.
Well she is also in that exhibit and she mentioned opening night that she was in love with an artwork she had seen of mine from last year and wanted to buy it. I was floored and flattered and then had a stroke of genius...and listened to that little voice saying "ask her "
I asked her if she would be willing to exchange artworks instead of monies?
I had this vision of our home being filled with works by my peers and how cool would that be!
Then The Barren and I could be like Herb and Dorothy except taller.
Much to my surprise she agreed.
I framed my work, she brought her painting and we now have each other on our collectors list.
During this lunch she pushed pretty hard for me to leave my "other job" and simply pursue my art full time plus...she gave herself as an example and how when she left her job her work and interest in her work tripled! I love that idea and want that too, but I have yet to figure out how that can done financially. I kind of got the impression that she is not a paycheck to paycheck kind of gal to begin I listened and took all the good things, ideas and visions she shared with me.
She very much would like to do a show with me...I would LOVE that!
I left the lunch feeling like there was a fork in the road (this is that moment daily when you choose)
I had two very clear feelings:
              1. I am a little fish in a big pond with lots to learn and you are no where near your goals yet.
2. You have another artist who adores your work, she sees value in it and you are working in the right direction! Keep on working hard girl!
I chose the second felt better.
Slowly everyday I am making choices and feeding my 40%
Some things are harder to let go of, and feel free from.
My SIL posted a little newspaper clipping about how childfree people should understand why friends with children have no time for them. And when they do, their friends might not be the first call or fourth call, so just get over it. They are raising other people and you are not.
I wanted to say something to her, like WOW this from a woman who claims family is everything yet NEVER calls to say hello, or sends a thank you card for any of the gifts, love tokens, school purchases, or general kindnesses that are sent her way or the way of her children. Way to teach !
She constantly talks about how important morals are to her and how she is teaching those to her children. Apparently thank you cards are not moral or proper enough.
Clearly you can see this upset me, and I weighed the pros and cons of holding it...and decided I am letting it go....It doesn't make me feel good and I will continue to do what feels good to me.
" How people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours"
I am walking, and continuing to embrace my happiness, one little bit at a time.

**I am growing in some way, and I will do my best to not evangelize during the process...blogging is thinking out loud in many ways. Clearly if you find something I am doing beneficial to you, sweet!
Blind leading the blind.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

New Eyes

OK two things...for some reason I can not load images...blogger is farting or something
and I ramble a little but, I think in the end I make a point.

So it is the new year, I still haven't sent our holiday cards...or thank you cards...
I am working on the later a lot more than the holiday ones.
I think I am sifting through the emotions and feelings of what it really means to have stage four endometriosis and be a family of two. There have been moments in the past week or so when I get this real "real" moment. You know those moments, when you realize that one day you will die,
and all you have is now.
I get those enlightened moments often...I remember the first one was when I was walking alone on the beach with my family, I was in Junior High school and it hit me that I was not going to live forever, that one day I was going to cease. It scared the shit out of me and I think most of that night I spent terrified in bed, hiding under my covers trying to soothe myself back into that lull of everyday living.
This new year has been waves of those moments.
The "wait! Can I get a do-over? I really wanted this or that to happen when I was much younger"
and "I don't have time for this bullshit, I am moving the next great thing."
I got the Barren a gift certificate to the local museum to see the space shuttle, I have found that no matter his mood, this man has a gitty boy inside that explodes with glee and light when around space ships, airplanes and all things science. I wanted him to fill that reserve, so we went today. I am not a huge space and engine sort of gal but it was interesting, really wild and it kept my attention and lit some curious questions.
This same museum also has an ecosystems permanent exhibit. One of them was the kelp forest: I became that little girl, totally hypnotized and quiet. Standing before the floor to ceiling seawater tanks, watching sharks and schools of flickering fish, eels hissing from rocks and kelp swaying in sunlight.
Whenever I get that panic of "I'm not going live forever" I think of floating under the sea, being carried by the waves and swimming with the turtles and fish and it calms me.
This museum was filled with children, but in all honesty I don't remember any of them. I was not distracted by watching them, or caught dreaming about having them. There was a moment when I heard a child screaming from one of the far off exhibits and I turned to the Barren and mimicked the screaming child but instead of frustration, I had made it into a battle heck ya, I am awesome! I turned it into something that was funny to me, it made him laugh and it made something that normally upset us into something about us and no one else.
 I spent the night watching documentaries and eating leftover Italian food on the couch. One of the films was about measuring happiness. It was an interesting film...there were a few points that I found personally interesting from all the psychologists that were interviewed:
1. tragic events often allow people to become happier
(the example they had was a woman who literally lost her face in an accident and she explained how letting go of the friends that couldn't handle her injury allowed her to free herself.)
2. people have a baseline level of contentment...that accounts for 50% of your measured level.
Another, 10% comes from external measures, like work and status etc...
and then we have 40% of which we control with actions!
AMAZING...almost half our own happiness is based on internal choices.
3. the most rewarding "food source" to that internal choice was acts of kindness....
helping others, as simple as that! Not huge acts like funding a school or sponsoring a research project.
Something like, helping someone carry something. Telling someone they look nice, bringing dinner to a friend who is sick. Little acts make up a HUGE part of our happiness.

It made me feel like I was building in the right direction: love bombs, food to friends, planting flowers for neighbors...I am building my own happiness. I can have power of things that make my life what it will be now. Today these concepts sounds huge and bright and hopeful. I drank a little too much at New Years, but I was telling 2012 to get the hell away from me she was quite a little bitch. 2013, I have plans for you, and it involves a lot more happiness for myself and my life and our future.
Today I am not going to die and tomorrow is not a good day either!