from my the house across the street

live, love, laugh, and remember to play everyday!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do you see the heart in the peeling bark? I hope so! To me, it's obvious, but some just can't see it, no matter how hard they look.
I snapped this photo on a day in August, 2004, when I thought my heart was breaking. Feeling absolutely miserable, I drove to St. Louis on the spur of the moment. After some impulse shopping at Archiver's, I decided to spend some time with my younger daughter. As I was telling her about the experience I'd had earlier in the day, I looked up and saw this heart. To me, it was a comforting sign that I would survive, that my heart would mend.
You see, I had been "dumped" earlier that day by the man I believed to be the love of my life. I had met him in April, and by the end of May I was starting to fall really hard. We had a lot in common, from our career choices to our love of Jimmy Buffett's music. We talked on the phone a lot, saw each other frequently, and had a lot of fun together. Unbeknownst to me, he had begun seeing another woman. Of course, we hadn't made any commitment to see each other exclusively, but he had not been open with me about the fact that he was still our looking around.
I walked around, wounded, for a few weeks, but as promised by the heart on the tree, I healed. I knew I had become much stronger several months later when he came back, did the same thing, and found only a tiny scratch on my heart. I let him into my home, but not into my heart, when he showed up a year later.......because I knew what he was all about, and I like to believe that I know what I'm all about. The last time he attempted to connect with me was a mere few days before his wedding. I asked him to never imagine, now or at any time in the future, that I would have any interest what-so-ever in any kind of further contact with him. He made that promise, and has kept it.
There has been plenty of opportunity to reflect on that experience, and to learn a lot about myself. I know that I really liked the relationship I thought we had, and I know that I enjoyed the parts of myself that surfaced during that time. I learned that I can be hurt, and I can heal. When I told him that I didn't want him to attempt any contact with me, I thought I was saying something important about my feelings toward him. But it was really more about me.........isn't it always? I realized that seeing or speaking to him would put me in touch with my own vulnerability and humiliation at having been deceived. Now I feel much lighter as I think about that person, the times we spent together, and I realize that humiliation is totally unnecessary!
This post didn't go exactly where I thought it would when I sat down to write, but I guess it went where it needed to!
peace always...............

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Collage Play

I took a break from working to have some playtime yesterday. I don't know how my collage process differs from, or is similar to, how others approach this medium. There are two desk-top 2-drawer storage units filled with a stockpile of images, somewhat sorted and organized into categories. There is a stack of 3x5 cards with backgrounds already done. I quickly choose an image or two, then begin gluing. For these, I found words that relate somehow to the image, which also serve as affirmations/mantras.

Enjoy what you see here!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

What You Didn't See!

These are the parts unseen in yesterday's post..... the unsorted, unorganized, unpurged, the things that don't yet have homes.

It's okay! I really do focus on the parts and pieces that are finished and orderly. The unfinished is not entirely out of my awareness, I just choose not to emphasize that part.

My approach to life in general is revealed in what I just said. Unless there is something that has really pulled my attention to the negative, my focus is on the positive. It's a much more peaceful way to do things. The negative is not entirely out of my awareness, I just choose to keep it in perspective. Depending on what my priorities are on a given day, I might tackle the negative with a problem-solving approach, setting into motion a process of change. Or taking the next step in the process. I guess what's important is to remember that change is a process, sometimes going quickly, sometimes slowly, and to be aware of being in the process. Whether the process is bringing order to my studio, working through relationship issues, changing a bad habit, or healing a painful shoulder injury, it's all a process. And as long as I'm in the process, it's all good!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Excessively Excessive or Simply Over-abundance?

Do I have nearly enough ribbon??? Six hangers full............I mean, is that really enough?

This is how I is never enough, because if I use it I won't have the possibilities and potentials of it anymore. Or, what if I don't get enough to finish a project? It seems, at the time, like it's much better to over-buy than run short. It's important to prepare for the possibility that I will be lacking in inspiration, but if I have an abundance of raw materials I can look and touch, and become inspired. The one thing wrong with this plan is that I've spent so much time trying to get inspired that I'm too tired to create anything. And I've usually made so much of a mess that there's no physical space to create!

My second "bedroom" has three walls lined with cabinet and bookcases, with shelving up to the ceiling. The fourth wall has my work table placed in front of six feet of windows. There is a center island made from industrial shelving and cubbies. I've spent much of my spare time during the past 6-9 months sorting through, and organizing, papers, fabrics, tools, paints, books, magazines, found objects, and supplies. The following photos show some of the fruits of my organizing and sorting.

The studio closet has been outfitted with cubbies and drawers to contain my fabric stash and sewing supplies. Fat quarters have been separated from the 1/2 yard pieces, which have been separated from the 1 yard pieces. Quilting fabrics have been separated from dressmaking fabrics, which have been separated from the home decor fabrics, which have been separated from the fleece! When the time comes that all the cubbies and drawers are full, I'll have a self-imposed ban on buying fabric!
I'm working on changing my ways............I've begun buying only what I will use immediately, rather than seeing something that I think will be really cool for "someday." I'm really working hard at making it ok to use a favorite fabric or piece of paper. After all, using something makes it possible to enjoy and appreciate the object it's become.
Because this is an important issue in my life, my guess is I will re-visit it from time to time. In the meantime, seeing something that I could "do something cool with someday" doesn't mean I have to pick it up, buy it, or stash it away........

Monday, January 03, 2011

Waiting chairs, East side Cozumel. What a wonderful spot for watching the surf, catching the sunrise, or feeling the sun set on ones back...................

This is Mezcalito's, a fun and funky restaurant/bar on the East side of Cozumel. Al fresco dining at its was great, the al fresco even better. If you want visual stimulation, you could sit for hours reading messages written in sharpie on every possible surface. The ceiling is covered with t-shirts left by travelers (there must have been lots of topless folk staggering out of the place at various times!), fishing floats, fishnet, rope, and anything maritime. Just to the south of the dining area hang three hammocks........a temptation after devouring the best quesadillas in the world.

Cindy, Keith and Clayton set off down the beach looking for sea glass and other small treasures. I stayed behind, enjoying my view of the endless surf. It's not often that I give myself over to the bliss of relaxing--no book, no tv, no phone conversation. Directionless thoughts, drifting on the invisible salty mist. No problems to solve, no serious thoughts being pondered. I don't know how long I sat, but it didn't seem to matter.......2 minutes or 20 minutes, I think it was all the same. Even though my mind was active, and I was keenly aware of the pleasure in sitting, I simultaneously lost touch with my thinking brain. All that I was aware of was the coolness of the shade, the sound of the pounding waves, the salty mist, and the warmth of the breeze. There was no time, there was no "me," there were only the moments of breathing in and out during which I was connected with the breathing in and out.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

So what does this photo have to do with endings and beginnings? Nothing. No, wait a second, that's not quite right. I was standing at the edge of the beach (the East side of the island of Cozumel), watching the waves roll over my feet, bringing sand and broken bits of things long lost with them. No sooner would one wave recede than another would wash up. Sometimes a wave would have just barely washed away when the next would be swirling around my feet. At other times, I seemed to be waiting, waiting, for the next wave to arrive. Some endings are subtle, others are not. Some things begin with little warning, while other times the waiting for the new beginnings is filled with the tension of anticipation.

Endings and beginnings seem to be appropriate topics for this weekend. After all, 2010 ended, and 2011 has begun. I've spent most of this weekend in bed with a bad cold, with the hours coming and going, having little awareness of time passing. I had to give it some careful thought to realize that this is the second day of the new year already. For me, the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 melded together in a fog of time.

I suppose lots of people give thought to endings and beginnings at this time of year. I know they certainly think a lot about beginnings--after all, what are New Year's resolutions for?

For anyone who has read my blog in the past, I'm sure it seems as though I had ended my blogging days. No, it wasn't an end, it's just been a really long pause between waves! But this, today, is a beginning, a return to blogging!

So what is it that I have been doing for the past 2+ years during this pause between waves? I struggled for well over a year with ill health that turned out to be exposure to some serious mold. In the midst of that, I made the decision to buy a house, because I had come to my quarter-century limit in my apartment. I bought the house very quickly, moved, then found myself surrounded by boxes and boxes of stuff that made me feel like a hoarder. What's one to do when one moves into a 900 sq. foot house with virtually no storage? One lives with lots and lots of boxes full of stuff while the place looks like the house of hoarders! In the meantime, one builds storage as time and money permit. And one sifts through stuff and stuff and more stuff, giving away, putting away, and throwing away. Two years and two weeks into the process of moving has left me with one small corner of the livingroom stacked with boxes. Most of the contents will begin living in the two storage cabinets that will make their way to my home in the next couple of days.

My house is actually featured in one of my long-ago posts (sometime in the Spring of '06). It is shown being put into place with a crane after being delivered on the backs of two semi's. I watched its arrival from my studio window, and watched as the finishing touches were put on it. This lot had formerly been home to a very large mid-19th century brick house that burned back in 2003. It was demolished after the fire, and the lot subsequently sold to someone who put up a little green house which was promptly put on the market. After 2-1/2 years of watching it be empty, I decided it must be meant for me!

Other than two large trees that give some shade from the late afternoon summer sun, there was absolutely nothing on this lot. The seller had done no landscaping other than having someone come with a riding mower (!) to cut the weeds every few weeks. Since living here, I have begun loving summer (not the heat or humidity, but the season in general). Once it gets warm enough to start getting outdoors, that's where I can be found any time I'm not at work. I love the long evenings of summer when I can spend several hours outdoors every day. During spring and summer, my energy goes into landscaping and yard work. Fall and winter find me indoors, working on "home improvement" projects.

I've learned not to be scared climbing a ladder to clean out gutters. I've learned how to hang shelves so they're level. I figured out how to change the "builders' grade" vanity light fixture to one that is more my taste. And I've learned about taking off baseboard without turning it to splinters. I've had the experience, with my sister's help, of building a storage shed.

Finally, after two years and two weeks into this process, I am beginning to really feel that this space is mine! Mine to enjoy, to express myself, to take care of, to live my life and love the freedom I have here.

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