Sunday, April 30, 2006

Doing Battle

Yesterday morning I stepped outside to revel in the beautiful start to the day; the fruit trees in front of the house are in full, riotous bloom, and it is a real sprirt booster. (Here at our house, we call them the "cotton candy trees", since that is exactly what they resemble).

Stepping back for a better view, my eyes fell on my lawn, and I was filled with irritation. How can I call it a lawn, really, when it is 80% dandelions? Literally thousands of those scrubby yellow heads, in infinate varities, bobbing in the breeze. I decided it was time to wage a small war.

This required a trip to Home Depot for some weed killer. I already had a fabulous weed yanking device, almost like a walking stick with a vicious claw on the end that, when pushed down over an offending plant, grabs the whole obnoxious little entity and thoroughly evacuates it from the ground. Nevertheless, I meant business, and figured a follow up dose of something lethal would send a more serious message.

I got more than I bargained for when I reached the store, however. I walked down the hardware aisle (yes, I know weed killer is in the garden department; It's just that I browse Home Depot the way some women browse shoe stores. I love the smell of the lumber, and sifting through boxes of copper pipe fittings. Then there's the paint chips. ::shiver:::...but I digress.
All of a sudden a voice bellows,
"MY GOD. THERE she is!"

Oh no. Oh no, no...its Peculiar Dad.

Peculiar Dad is the father of one of my sons classmates. I don't think I can even remember his real name, and I have known him over two years. The last time I ran into PD was at the post office a few months ago. I walked in, surveyed the line of 20 or so people, and was ready to walk out when I heard, "MY GOD. THERE she is!", and yes, you got it, it was PD. He did not stop there, though...he waved his arms in the fashion of a band leader and hollered to the full lobby, "Is she not a SHOWSTOPPER? My GOD. If my wife were pregnant right now, she would be the reason. Hoooo!!" Whoa, hello...what?! What kind of creepy compliment is that? And why was he shouting it to all these people who were now staring at me? I did not know whether to be flattered, or to honor my body's request to go someplace quiet and throw up.

So here he was, waiting to pounce, and I could feel the innapropriate compliment he was preparing to launch building up momentum by the wild-eyed look he gave me.

"My God, look at her!" He grabbed the clerk to his left and pointed right at me like I was on fire. "Are you dieting to death, woman?? You look good enough to eat!" He turned to the four or so other occupants of the area, and roared, " She is a goddess, men, a GODDESS!" Oh, sweet merciful misery. I s it wrong my horror was almost eclipsed by my taking pleasure in the fact that this man of questionable sanity was publicly declaring my fabulousness? The man clearly needs medication (or is on medication with some serious side effects), but I could not decide if I should stay and risk more creepy praise, or run while the praise was still (relatively) inoffensive. I opted to run. Who knows where he could have taken that speech next?

Once home, battle began with great seriousness. I discovered I had purchased Weed and GRASS killer by mistake, due, I am certain, to being rattled by the PD. So, all that was left for me was the yanking device. For the first twenty plants, it was supremely satisfying. After the next fifty or so, I began to get bored. By the time I had cleared half the front lawn, I had a blister on my palm. All in all, it took over three hours of gouging and pulling with that weed wand before being able to declare victory. In addition to my sore hand, aching arms, and frequent sneezing attacks, I also have a fierce sunburn on my left shoulder. Yes, I should be pretty miserable. But you know what? Not only did I beat the weeds, but lets remember...I am a GODDESS!

Friday, April 28, 2006

My gratitude

I cannot begin to express how much I am bouyed by the comments and private emails you have all sent. Today is better; I seem to be moving on down the line away from anger and into acceptance. It is really good to have company along the way; I could not ask for better friends. I thank you all from my heart.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Diagnosis

As I reported earlier, we have been working for the last few months to get a diagnosis for the troubling behaviors of my five year old son. We got the news on Monday that it is as I suspected (and wished was not true) that it is a combination of ADHD and cyclothymia (a form of bipolar that in adults is "mild", and in children is considered a precursor to full-blown Bi-Polar disorder). I have spent a lot of time being really pissed off at the universe about this, despite being reassured that there is good news here, early diagnosis, smart kid, effective meds, etc. All true, but ......People, I have to say it...THIS SUCKS.

It sucks on so many levels I don't know where to start. It sucks because he's so little and has no friends. It sucks because in all likelihood his issues will become more extreme and there are few teachers/adults/friends with the patience to deal with him. It sucks because I am so freaking tired and even I cannot deal with him much of the time. It sucks because I already have struggled with wearing the Brave Mom Fighting for my Special Kid role with my oldest for years now, (he has a form of autism), and I am tired. It sucks because I am tired of labels, I am tired of meetings, I am tired of appointments, tests, committees, pills, bills, confrontations, humiliations, frustrations, putting a "positive spin of things", "looking at the bright side" or "hanging tough".

It sucks because it is costly. It sucks because the meds are tricky, can have side effects, can be expensive, can even send him into psychosis. His brothers can barely tolerate him, his classmates are a bit scared of him, his teacher is fed up with him. It sucks because I love him with every cell in my body and half the time I cannot stand to be near him! He radiates such an unnaturally high speed, frenetic, exhausting output of sound, energy and intensity, it feels like drowning. He is a blast furnace of thought and movement.

Let me be clear: I love this child fiercely. I know he is the same little boy he was last week, and I will always strive to be the best mother to him I can be. His diagnosis will never define him, and I will not think of him as limited in any way. I sense his potential. I just fear I have so little left to give him.

Today I am just feeling the pain of what we now truly know. There is work to be done.

I realize we have been given the gift of time, hope, and multiple other blessings, and to those wonderful friends who have reminded me of this, I thank you. Please do not let this virtual pity party convince you I am ungrateful for loving words.

Right now, however, I am celebrating an unapologetic angry funk.
I am feeling really, really pissed off at the newest cards dealt from the deck of life into our hands. My heart is more than a little bit broken, as is my spirit.

Give me a few days to rally and I am sure my poor sportsmanship with improve.
It has to.
As I said...there is work to be done.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

April Showers

And so damn many of them! It rained the whole flippin weekend. Still managed to get myself to the beach, as crazy as it sounds. The beauty of going to the beach when it is 50 degrees and windy and raining, is there is not a soul there. I had a whole long, magnificent stretch of Atlantic coastline to myself. I did share the experience with some redwinged blackbirds, however, and has one glorious moment where a snowy egret exploded out of the marsh next to me as I walked along the footbridge to the sand. It seemed close enough to touch, and after I recovered from the shock, I laughed myself silly. It was beautiful.

Down at the waters edge the surf was roiling and the wind nearly blew me backwards, but I felt like I was flying. I was listening to some favorite music and, taking advantage of the solitude, danced on the sand and sang at the top of my lungs while the rain pelted me in the face. Heavenly.

This latest watercolor was inspired by a friend who has recently found love thanks to the magic of the internet. Her joy is so evident, and she has waited a long time for something this meaningful. I chose a number of symbols and languages/cultures, because I had so much meaning I wanted to cram into the image, but still give it universal appeal. (I know, there's a hint of overkill there!) For now they live far apart (ok, one state apart, but still), but I am very hopeful for them both. Blessings on you both , K&J.

Clicking on the image should give a more detailed view of it.

The words around the dreamcatcher are translated as follows:
Agan mein awas hon to tum mera geet ho. (Hindi) "If I am a voice, then you are my song."
Mo anachara, A chuiske mo chroi. (Gaelic) "My soulmate, pulse of my heart."
Tehila okablaya kiciyus. (Lakota Sioux) "Lovers freely holding one another."
Concero (Latin) to connect, join, twine together.

The green Celtic knot (a form of sacred geometry that symbolize the interconnectedness of all things) that forms above the heart becomes symbiotic double helix of sorts, to reflect the natural state of loving and being loved, in balance. The lotus behind the heart is a symbol of wisdom, purity and beauty. The dreamcatcher offers protection from bad dreams and disapointments; its red jasper beads denote courage. And the two hands? Like I need to explain that to you, silly!

Now all it needs is a title. Any ideas?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Photo: after the storm, Maine, 2004
Feeling a bit sorry for myself today. This upcoming reunion reminds me of the changes I have been through over the years, the friends who wont be there.
Gretchen, my sweetfaced and impish friend , Anita, sassy woman who always made me laugh, Wendy, whose gentle heart was such a blessing be near...thpough it has been a number of years since I lost them, it still creates a hollow ache to know I could never see them again no matter how far I traveled on this earth.
Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes, and all we can do is hold on until the next embrace reunites us with the ones we love.
And hold on to hope, knowing that those that matter will find us again one day. Somehow.

" If I were a painter
I would paint my reverie
If that's the only way for you to be with me
We'd be there together
Just like we used to be
Underneath the swirling skies for all to see
And I'm dreaming of a place
Where I could see your face
And I think my brush would take me there
But only ...

If I were a painter
And could paint a memory
I'd climb inside the swirling skies to be with you
I'd climb inside the skies to be with you."

-Norah Jones

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I signed up for many more art swaps than it was wise to do, but I am grateful in a way. I have not done any art in weeks; even my ebay sales, which were doing so nicely, have ground to a halt. There are multiple roadblocks on my ususal ink-and-mica covered road, and here, for your perusal (or perhaps to your dismay) is a partial list:

1) We are in the process of seeking a diagnosis for my youngest son, now 5, in light of years of difficulties in social settings and in life in general. He is a font of imagination, creativity and passion, quick to erupt ith either joy or rage.Since real kids find him a bit larger-than-life after a short time, his most frequent companions are his imaginary friends Elizabit and Apple. So....We will know on Monday if we are dealing with ADHD or early onset Bi-Polar disorder. Or, God Help Me, both. Having all 3 boys in the house for Spring Break this week has really helped me see why he winds up, despite being a humble kindergartner, in the principal's office at least once a week. Which brings me to

2) Making plans for my 20th high school reunion here in CT the weekend of May 19th. THIS I am excited for, not only to revisit a time in my life when less pressing issues consumed me, like was I going to die a virgin, or panicking when I misplaced my favorite lipgloss. The other reason this thrills me is I will be ALL ALONE, no hubby and kids, God love em, but just me in a quiet hotel room for not one but TWO nights! Technically, the second night is a gift to myself. The party will be all but over Saturday afternoon, but I decided not to drive home that night but enjoy the sanctuary of silence and a kingsize bed, maybe a candlelit bubble bath (I wonder if the hotel has candles I can borrow? Might have to bring my own!) some soothing music, some room service, and a chance to reconnect with the quieter part of my mind. I look forward to seeing old friends, and will be sad for the ones we've lost along the way, or those too far too travel...though I would urge them to make the effort! It has been too long!

3)SPRING! Getting out and breathing in the breezes and the sun is unspeakably delicious. I love the months of April and May (could it be my May bday?) adn am planning to spend at least one weekday in the next few weeks at Silver Sands State Park, a beautiful beach in Milford, without the kids, just by myself, beach combing and BREATHING. It is a wonderful place for long walks, and if you have the right company, long talks, and I look forward each year to spending a handful of hours there before the sunworshippers overrun it.

4)My new duties at my job keep me very busy, but happy busy. One of my favorite new duties is being on a panel of esteemed judges for the poetry contest. Not only does this give me the honor of seeing first hand some wonderful written work, but has inspired me to start churning out new poems of my own, and revisiting old ones.
Just because I like you, here is one now:

In my palm rests a certain shell;
Ordinary to most eyes, its curves and sunbleached linen walls
Yet, I sense that you would know,
If I placed it in your hand,
What a gift from my heart it was, as all I have to offer,
A relic that survived the seas embrace for a long and uneasy ride.

The palest ribbon of loss
That for so long bound our deepest bones
Now flutters like a flag of surrender over the dunes;
Truly would you cross over to where I stand?
My bare feet set at the water's edge,
I breathe in salt and memory.
Would you close those open miles
And reach across the sea
To linger next to me
For the next few sunlit hours?

The seabirds wheel and dive
On the watercolor sky, while
The restless ocean glitters, mineral and wet,
In this sunshine,
This transient gift of fleeting gold.

Short Beach, Stratford, 2005

Monday, April 17, 2006

Watch out, Shakira...

No really, I might injure those around me when I attempt this...
I have decided to learn to bellydance. Two weeks ago while out at a Turkish Restaurant in NYC I got to watch some dancing up close. It was fabulous, so sensual and sexy and female and seductive. Working out at Curves has its place; it has been helpful, no doubt, but I am getting bored, and this seems like a fun adventure, so long as I don't herniate a disk in the process. Of course, this could all be a ruse I am creating just to have a reason to wear something like this...or this...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Morning

Drifting into Spring...

I have been promoted! I am now the Administrative Assistant at Artella Magazine. I am so proud to be working for such a creative resource. I can honestly say I have never enjoyed a job more!

This morning I was up at 6 to hide eggs in the yard for the children. It was chilly and the sun was just creeping up; I wandered the garden and peered at all the green buds, blossoms-in-waiting and other signs of renewal. It was a quiet wonderland of moss, cool breezes and birdsong. It was just the sort of alone that makes me deeply happy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What it means to be foolish...

Don't we all have our weaknesses? Certain indulgences, or people, or feelings best left unfelt? Envy, shame, regret, misplaced affection...
I wish I could explore these things artistically. Instead I tend to merely indulge them emotionally without trying to build something tangible from them. Truth is, I am terrified to let the chaos out on paper. Because perhaps, secretly, I enjoy my rage and my heartbreak, and wallow in it with a sort of bitter joy. As though this is what makes me alive.

I am trying to work up the courage to do more than just indulge my silly emotional binges, get braver and look them in the eye and maybe even try to wrestle them onto canvas. Why am I such a fuckwit about this?

Art does not always have to be cute or pretty; perhaps I am afraid if my art shows its uglier face, the pretty things I make will resonate as hollow, rather than sincere?

To pretend I am nothing but a basket of pretty feelings and precious, tender hearted sentiment is to believe in rubbish.

I ache and I seethe and I rage and I burn and I collapse and I break and I erupt and I wail.

Why is this warrior never seen or heard?
Why does she paint flowers?