Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Coming Back

It's been a few years since I have posted anything on this blog.  Life got in the way.  Taking care of a spouse with Alzheimer's (If you read my other blog),consumed me.  And then the loss, the transition of always being a partner, having a partner to the singlehood of living.  When we are young, we embrace it for awhile and then we start to feel the void and we seek our mate. We embark on that journey of discovery, sometimes joy, sometimes disappointment but all the while we have that presence besides us, giving us the security (as dysfunctional as it can be, at times) of not being alone

Something remarkable happens, when you lose a spouse, partner if you will.   You begin to live in a different world.   Things, people, events that you took for granted change.   You are no longer a couple.  Therefore your social life changes and your circle of friends changes.   You seek out others who are single, who are also in that community of oneness.   Your attention shifts to events that are acceptable for a person of your new position.   The home that you both so lovingly shared and cared for becomes a singular concern.  You paint a room but there is no one to care or argue about what color it should be.  You have a sense of freedom but it is bittersweet.  

It is said, that some people age quickly and become emotionally paralyzed, when their life changes this way.  Some become lost, wandering around trying to find their internal compass, some are successful, some are not.

And some like me, embark on a tiny lifeboat, hoping for rescue, allowing life to sweep over them like a big wave.  Some one wrote, "The wind that blew it's warm wet tears upon my face in younger years, a companion still to me must be, as I toss about on life's turbulent sea."

I have been on that turbulent sea, and I have been rescued.   By me.   It's been slow to return to a safe haven.   The changes are still coming at me but I have found myself again.   I have revisited the person that I was.   She's still here, a little older, no make that a lot older.   Life is not getting in the way.  Life is about making the journey with another partner, one's self.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finding one's voice as an artist

All artists strive for authenticity in their art. In the beginning, the fundamental need to create is the force that drives one to accept the challenges that come from learning one's craft. And as we grow as artists, we then begin to explore beyond the basic skills of our art.

I read constantly about artists who have worked in one medium for many years, finding new found joy in discovering another. A painter in oils, now has become a pastelist. Just as a majority of jazz artists who have classical music training, most artists start out as realistic painters and then start pushing the boundaries of their creativity. It has been said, one must learn the rules in order to break them.

The constant in all forms of art is the ability to engage others in one's point of view, to invoke a dialogue, to pull the observer into the piece, producing an emotional response.

As we grow, we begin to find our niche. One fellow artist, who had started out as a watercolorist and was now immersed in monoprint and collage said to me, "I guess this is what I was meant to do. I am having fun and am successful at it." She has now won more awards with her prints than she ever had with her watercolors.

The goal is for our art to become recognizable and identify us. And if we are lucky enjoy the process.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, how lovely are thy branches

My Christmas tree is an album of memories. This year as I went about putting up the tree and unwrapping the ornaments, I recalled the event and/ or the person that made that piece memorable; the small handmade house with our family name inscribed on it, a gift from a dear friend, the small Indian pot from our trip to the Grand Canyon, the Dutch shoes from our trip to Holland, the red satin balls with bits of lace and glitter that I made on my first Christmas as a married lady (We were too poor to afford really fine ornaments) and of course, ornaments that I bought to commemorate the births of my children and grandchildren .

Memories, sweet and bittersweet, flooded my mind and heart.

Still, I remember as a little girl, I was always fascinated by our Christmas tree. I imagined the branches were paths lit by the lights and the large shiny ornaments were little houses in a beautiful green village. Each ornament housed a family and each family had a story. As a child, my imagination was limitless, now as a woman recalling those stories, I find that they have taken on a life of their own. My ornaments have their own story, real, not imagined now symbols of my own life's story.

Years of collecting have now made the tree heavily laden with ornaments. It has been a few years since we finally succumbed to an artificial tree but I am grateful that I don't have to worry about broken branches or a toppled tree. It is still a lovely tree, but without the wonderful smell of pine. So I have traipsed out to the back of our property where there are several pines growing and I have cut branches to bring the aroma of the outdoors into the house.

Christmases, joyous, celebratory and filled with warm moments and others , filled with heartbreak and loss, difficult to get through at best, each season comes again with its own distinct identity. What type of holiday will it be this year? So many changes, so much to mourn and yet so much to be grateful for. I take out the ornaments once more but this time with a singular purpose...to make it count, to share this moment with my family, my husband, and myself and be grateful for another season, another Christmas with those I love.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The $350 Tomato

So I had this wonderful plan, create a beautiful garden to go with my newly planted expanse of green lawn. I hadn't grown a vegetable garden in a few years and after seeing my best friend's tomato plants produce the most wonderfully tasting homegrown tomatoes, I was inspired to try again.

I humbly admit, I have a green thumb. I can grow almost anything from store bought to "appropriated" seeds and cuttings. Yes, I am the one you see on walks, snipping or pulling off seed pods from neighbors curbside gardens. One day I will have a crime sheet of arrests for plant theft. My son, the judge, will have to bear the shame of sentencing me to community service (I hope), perhaps working in a community garden. Although, after all the times I sent him to his room for time out, this would be his chance to get even and send me to a cell for my own time out.

So I bought my seeds after pouring over seed catalogues, went to the nursery and bought larger plants (As I have said before, I am an impatient gardener). My landscaper built an elaborate raised bed with a drip irrigation system and filled the bed with the best garden soil for me to plant my soon to be prize vegetables.

I planted and waited. I was delighted when I discovered my little plants starting to put forth their small blossoms and tiny fruit. I pictured the late summer "al fresco" dinner for friends with all the harvest from my glorious garden, a roasted pepper salad, grilled eggplant, a basil and tomato antipasto, stuffed zucchini and a melon sorbet. Yummy!

And then I awoke one morning to devastation. All the plants had been consumed down to the bare stems. Every leaf, bloom and small tomato had disappeared. I sat down on the grass and cried. Yes, this strong, resilient old lady cried. There I was with my morning coffee, in my pajamas and my "Pippi Longstocking" hair, sobbing for all to hear.

I soon discovered the culprits, squirrels...those cute furry little "bushy tailed rats", as my husband calls them, had invaded not only the vegetable garden but had eaten all the flowers of my petunias and lobelia. They didn't touch the @#% weeds...gourmands that they are.

So now I was forced to not only replant but also build a barrier around my garden. I have tried all kinds of repellents but they kept coming for their daily feast. I had even in a moment of desperation considered a bee bee gun. My bird netting and the stapled wire fence is so impenetrable that even I cannot get into my own garden. I will just admire the ripe tomatoes from afar. My neighbor has asked my husband to let him know when I try to get into the garden....he wants to bring his camcorder.

Now there is new fruit on the vines and I am once again optimistic. But after adding up all the costs of creating and preserving my garden, I figure I will be the proud owner of the first $350.00 tomato. I will relish every bite.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Impatient Gardener

This year I have decided to create and plant a garden. I love the late spring and early summer here in California, everything bursts into brilliant color and plants grow as if on steroids.

My mother was an avid gardener. If there was a patch of ground, no matter how small, she managed to grow flowers and/or vegetables on it. So it is in my genes.

As with art, gardening is wonderful creative therapy for me. I find most artists are also gardeners. I think because the concepts are similar. One must think about composition and color, shade garden, full sun and where to place a "victory garden" etc. Gardens are a reflection of our lifestyles, our personalities, our emotions.

I have planted red, white and blue petunias in the sunny corners of our yard in preparation for the Fourth of July. In the shady spaces under our trees there will be shades of burgundy and gold of coleus and impatiens. I have moved azaleas to better places and agapanthus where they may grow undisturbed. I have even created a "Zen Serenity Garden", a gazing globe surrounded by colored glass and white stones in a side corner of our yard. It will be where I will escape to read, write, paint and meditate.

And this year, I have planted vegetables in raised beds. I am growing several varieties of heirloom tomatoes and Asian eggplants and to satisfy the tastes of my husband and youngest son, four varieties of "hot" peppers, jalapeno, habanero, ancho and cayenne.

But, I am an impatient gardener. I am one of those who plants seeds and then very delicately digs around a week later to see if the seeds have begun to sprout. Once the seedlings peek their heads above the ground, I check everyday measuring to see how tall they have grown. I wait impatiently for the young green tomatoes to start their first blush of color. I check each blossom on the plants to find the tiny vegetable fetus forming to become the lush pepper or eggplant or tomato.

Yes, I am impatient as with life...waiting for something to happen, to grow, to show life, to reward my labors. But as with all things of God and Nature, everything happens in its own time and we cannot rush the outcome, we can only anticipate the bounty.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A New Year with resolve

After spending the holidays and the last of 2008 with my son and his family in the snowy weather of Utah , I am home now dealing with the strong and unseasonably warm Southern California winds. While I enjoyed the soft white powdery snow (No wonder skiers flock to Utah) and a wonderful white Christmas with family, it was good to be back in the warm environs of California. Coming home is always comforting (nothing like sleeping in your own bed) no matter how pleasurable your journey has been. But as always, there are the ever present tasks that await one.

And of course, facing the new year and the myriad resolutions that accompanied this homecoming.

I immediately started in with my mental list; organize my "stuff", create a budget, and of course, like most, lose weight, exercise more, eat healthy, etc, etc. Then I stopped...in my tracks. Realizing that this is my usual annual to do list which is not new or particularly challenging (Well, maybe the budget will be, given the current economic situation), I opted to do something different this year ...really challenge myself.

I resolve to become a better person for my family, for my friends, for my community and, of course, for myself. How I will go about doing that will be the challenge...finding the core of who I am and improving in the best way possible. I really look forward to this. We all want to clean out the clutter, organize closets and straighten rooms. It's harder to do that with one's own being. There is so much clutter in our heads and so much straightening out to do in our lives. I have read many articles about care giving and the emphasis on taking care of oneself in order to be a better caregiver to others. It made me think about this resolution.

I vow to work at educating this brain, nourishing my soul and curiosity, improving my skills with practice and patience, and resolve to awake each day with gratitude and renewal. Life has its "bumps in the road". How we maneuver it is up to us. I plan to put on my "rose colored" glasses and drive the best I can. Taking the time to stop by the side of the road and enjoy the scenery is allowed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Proud moment

Forty-three years ago, I welcomed a beautiful baby boy. I never imagined as I held this precious life in my arms for the first time that he would one day become a judge.

Today on his birthday, he has been appointed to the Second District Court in Utah. He received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University in 1990 and his law degree from the same in 1993. He worked as a judicial law clerk in the Second District Court before joining the Davis County Attorney's Office as a Deputy County Attorney where he worked as a prosecutor, serving as the lead attorney over domestic violence, juvenile drug court and adult drug court, as a Section Chief over the Narcotics Division and as the Litigation Section Chief over the Criminal and Juvenile Divisions. He also works as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah.

And I am so proud of him.

He has proved to be a delight and wonderful son ...and a lifetime challenge. My family called him "the white tornado". To harness his energy we enrolled him in every sport imaginable...track, baseball, football and figure skating. He excelled in all sports, as well as academics. His limitless energy still remains to this day. He is a triathlete, having been an "Ironman triathalon " finisher and runs marathons for fun. He is the devoted father of five children, all of whom have inherited his boundless energy. As their grandmother and sometimes nanny, I have had many "deja vu" moments. I am also fortunate that he has made wise choices in his life...the best one is the beautiful daughter-in-law he gave me. She is my best friend. I must also attribute some of his success to her invaluable loyal support.

I have had many discussions, some arguments, a lot of anxious moments with him and always, he has disarmed me, grounded me, and comforted me with his ability to sort through it all and offer sage and objective counsel. He never ceases to amaze me with his perspective and wisdom and to that end I know in my heart he will excel in his position on the bench.

I have three sons, all of whom I am very proud. This page is devoted to one. I will in other pages, write of the other two.

Sometimes, when life seems to come at you with challenges, it is wonderful to have family that provides these moments of clarity and joy.