Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ew Boy

Yesterday I completely moved my oh-so-overdue-rehab studio to a new room-NOT. I started. This is going to be a big job: 1. third floor to basement; 2. total chaos to complete organization vow; 3. way too much stuff that hasn't been properly vetted for years; 4. again, two floors-two flights of stairs to move heavy furniture and lots of shit down. Oy. I've been wanting to do a cluster of lamps like this for a while. This is my start-my inspiration wall. Soooo much more to do. It's just peeing in the corner, which is how I begin things-I have to complete one small thing before tackling the rest. Pretty good start, huh? I saw it in a fabulous new magazine I found while in Balto. I'll share the magazine and photo with you when...well I won't commit to anything else right now.
Sadly, I inherited this room and the rest of the 800 square feet of a full apartment through my father-in-law's passing. We built this house in 1996 including the finished basement with lots of windows, its own entrance, and full kitchen, bath, living room, and bedroom. For 15 years he has been, comforting for all of us, right below our living space. Yeah, I'm trying to fill a void that can never be filled, but can be utilized.
Taking full advantage of having all my guys home yesterday, we tackled getting everything out of that room. These were "before" pics. Oh hale yes, I'm going to document this big project (and hopefully publish it eventually).
I still have some cute looks in my current studio. I've been in there about 3 years, heavy cleaning every 3-4 months but I've not been able to find things for months. That's when all the process comes to a stop-except in my head. Frustration out the what's-it.
I have made very few things in the last few months and during the biggest time to make money in the year. The last couple of years I have been fighting a complete lack of motivation and no energy due to the depression meds I was on. I hadn't made a change earlier because, well, I wasn't at the worst so I gutted it out-ugh. I changed my meds a couple of months ago-voila!-I've got energy and motivation back-whew.
The timing was good for helping our dear friends, as much as possible, trying to get through the worst of times. Time was so precious that nothing could come close to spending any free time with them. And, truly, when not with them it was hard to do much else other than think of them and pray. Priorities become crystal clear.
So, yesterday, off I went. This is going to be a long process, mostly because there's so much to do and partly because I want to do it right. I want to be able to get in there when it's set up and get some of these stored-in-my-brain things come to fruition.
Oh the humanity! This is what the studio really looks like and has for a while. I sit in the middle and dig and, most time, can't find what I'm looking for. That's always when I draw the line in the sand. Editing will be a big part of this process. I saw somewhere recently where to send art supplies that weren't being use. I need to find that info again. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Friendly Reminder

Please take time to appreciate all of your blessings especially family and friends. You never know what tomorrow or even later today might bring. It's human nature to take things, and especially people, for granted. If we didn't we'd be living more in the future and with fear than in the present. Just make sure you check your perspective often; it's so easy to get distracted by the minutia that gets thrown at us constantly. And please pray for those who are going through unimaginable pain, they need all the help and strength and support that we can give. Give the gift of love and compassion this holiday season.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reluctant Christmas

I realize this will all be backwards as I posted these in chronological order, so this is forces you to read the other posts if you want to know why I'm reluctant, at best, to "do" Christmas this year. I don't really care for Christmas as I did as a child when we had lots of family gather and other children to share the joy. Other than once Christmas in 16 years, we have spent all of ours at home with, mostly, just Paul, Matt, Art, and I. It's been years since Lucas and Justin have been home for the holidays and my family is all the way on the other coast and it's not a good time to travel. My fantasy for years has been no gifts and a destination trip. Be careful what you ask for. So, because of all the trauma we've recently experience, we are going somewhere for Christmas-after Christmas actually. But not a to-do as usual (pale is usual). Justin finally piped up and said he wanted to have the first "normal" Christmas in many years so I scrambled and did very different decorating than usual (pale anyway). No tree; a birdcage stand with a small tree, lights, baubles. Did the whole mantle when I usually do just a little. Anyway, I like how it turned out. There is a bit of a theme; can anyone see it?
Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy and embrace the family and friends who mean so much to you. Remember your blessings.

Dad, Pop-Pop, PD, Art

It's still a nightmare; one we know we won't wake from, but it still seems as though this has all be completely impossible. On November 15th, literally when we arrived home from hospice and Glynnis' passing, Paul found his dad having a stroke. We never did determine how long he had been slumped, dressed in the bathroom in a very uncomfortable position. No speech, right side completely paralyzed, but somewhat alert. As we stood in the front yard watching the paramedics load Dad into the ambulance, we were sure that it was IMPOSSIBLE for these two major life changing experiences could occur in the same day.
Art had been raking leaves that day and the day before. He was still cooking, driving, grocery shopping, everything except hearing. He would have been 93 on January 24th. Two points of view. One, the fact that he was able to be so active and healthy for so long was a blessing, but, because of that, it gave us a false sense that he would keep beating the odds for many more years. So, even though it may sound strange, it's a shock and surprise that he's gone. Other than six weeks in Hopkins six years ago for heart issues and ten days of hell (hopefully more for us than him) in the hospital then two days in hospice, he was amazing. We do take things for granted, it's human nature to do that, otherwise we would be focusing on the future rather than the present.
He was the only life-long constant in Paul's life. He had lost his mother when he was 18 and she 56. But his dad was always there for him. And, that he lived with us for the last 15 years, makes his absence constantly obvious. It doesn't matter how long one knows that a person is going to pass or if it is sudden, it is still like being hit like a truck.
We all love and miss you so and always will.


On November 15th the world changed and not for the better in my and many others' minds. This beautiful, graceful, glamorous, intelligent, hilarious woman, wife, mother, friend, and overall human being left this life. She was the poster child for great health; the quintessential anti-cancer candidate. She was thin, ate well, exercised, did any "bad" things in extreme moderation. She found out almost seven years ago that she had breast cancer. She "got away" with a lumpectomy and chemo. She lost all of her hair but handled it with such grace and actually made it very creative. Her hair grew back as this fabulous white that had been her signature since. It just further highlighted her gorgeous blue eyes.
And this is the love of her life, Ron. And she was the love of his life-hands down. Frick and Frack; they were a wonderful couple and a great act together. Always making get-togethers worth every minute. Last March she was once again diagnosed with cancer; this time in her shoulder, lung, and somewhat spread to her bones. She immediately started chemo again. Once again she was like iron woman, going through chemo, loosing her hair, but able to continue to function and live her life, and things looked really good. In late September she found out that, instead of killing the cancer, the cancer was aggressively taking over her liver and the areas surrounding it. She began an equally new aggressive treatment which made her quite sick and miserable but without improvement in her progress. The writing was beginning to become clearer on the wall. It was not good.
Glynnis loved Halloween as a grand understatement. Cancer be damned; she and Ron borrowed my truck to pick up an extra big ladder to put up some of the higher Halloween decorations. It's impossible to describe how much Halloween decor they had. Outrageous. Wonderful. So, to our surprise after I'd been with her two days before when she was violently ill, the Halloween party was on. Paul and I discussed our surprise on the way to the party having thought there would be a call at any time during that day canceling the party. My theory was that even if Glynnis had to just sit on the couch and watch the party, the party would go on. But, as you can see above, she was having a good day (at least by appearances). There were a few times she had to sit and rest but she was dancing and having a great time.
Absolutely partners in every way including crime (puns are always intended), in the form of fun and delight and dedication to each other.
While I watched this photo of their family being taken, I was painfully aware that this would probably be their last family photo. I made myself push it out of my mind and just tried to soak in the moment as much as possible. They knew, everyone knew. But they BLEW IT OUT that night and I sucked it up and did my best to do the same-a joke-we all had a fabulous time. We danced and sang loudly (in my case badly) and played. It was perfect. TWO WEEKS BEFORE SHE PASSED AWAY.
Things went down hill shockingly fast. Paul and I were so blessed to be among the family and friends who were with her as she left her earthly body and experienced the most personal of experiences with her as a final gift. And she was a gift; one I can't begin to describe.
This is 1996 on Asilomar Beach on The Monterey Peninsula at our going away party when Paul, Justin, Art, and I moved Maryland. Classic. Signature (at the time) short, red hair and (always) chucks.
This is the arrangement I made for Glynnis' memorial service. She had a little clay angel above the window in the t.v. room of their home so this woman kind of reminded me of that and of Glynnis and all her grace and beauty (and a bit of wacky)-inside and out. Now, please pray for her family, friends, but especially her children, Bryn/21 and Peter/19, and most especially Ron. He has lost his other half, his heart is broken, he is devastated and lost but he is putting one foot in front of the other. He needs all the strength and support and prayers he can get. I miss you and love you so Glynnis.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hello, my name is Stephanie and...

Art by Black Apple; frame from Hobby Lobby
...I am a sentence finisher. This has become a thing in my house. Okay, let's do a recent inventory. My almost-93-year-old father-in-law who can't hear anything (not great for conversing)-check; my husband who needs hours to tell a short story (well, so do I but that's because I tell so many details) because minutes go by painfully between word-check; my boomerang 25-year-old son who, although quite delightful, is not really chatty-check; then my 14-year-old son who is-well-a teenager-monosylabic-check. And me? I've always been a talker. And I hang out with other women of a certain age who often need help remember rarely used words such as "bread" and "parking space". It drives the guys crazy. Trying to interact with them drives me crazy. I told Matt (14) the other day that one of his friend's fathers is sooooo good looking. "Oh, Mom, you need a woman to talk to!". Ya think. Thankfully, most women I hang out with me know my situation so they patiently allow me to talk too much. Thanks girlfriends-you save me.

Twin Sister Birthday

We knew each other a few months and I know I adored her the minute I met her. Who couldn't? Then I found out she was from Oklahoma and HAD LIVED IN TEXAS MANY YEARS. Hello. Janine called me one day a few (many, as I recall now) years ago and asked if I could work for her on her next scheduled shift at our coop at Oella Mill. I looked at the calendar and said that I would do it any other day but I really didn't want to do it that day. She pushed, ever so little, more and I finally said I didn't want to work because it was my birthday that day. She asked me if I was kidding. Do I ever kid? Okay, she asked me a reasonable question. I said I was indeed not kidding; it was my birthday. She said something like, "Holy crap-that's my birthday too!!!". Okay, so not only did we adore each other, we were now twins-sistas from another motha. We have celebrated our birthday in one form or another ever since.
Not to make any other birthday sound trivial but we had, I believe, our best a few years ago. We were doing a show at The DC Big Flea. We did it as a group; Karen, Mellie, Janine, and me. We all shared a hotel room and this trip was no different. Our birthday was on Saturday; we had set up the day before but hadn't worked the weekend yet. When we all woke up, Karen and Mellie made Janine and me stay in bed and brought gifts to us and Janine and I exchanged gifts. In our jammies and in bed!!!!! Just what my family did when I was growing up. We were all giggles and giddy; SO MUCH FUN. Like getting to live out one of your best childhood moments as an adult. Amazing.
This year our birthday was on Saturday again but Janine was all booked up. Most years we do work around our families. So birthday on Saturday, November 5th we had our birthdays with our families and it was great. We could only get together by Tuesday. We'd gone to Cafe' Hon in Hampden (Balto) a couple of years ago, loved it, and wanted to do that again this year. Well, really long story (I'll spare you this once), Cafe' Hon wasn't open that day so we started walking around. We went into one shop-great one 'cause I got...umm...something that holds me together when otherwise I would have gotten it online and paid shipping. The woman there told us there was a great restaurant a couple of doors down so we checked out the menu on the board outside. Very nice place, reasonable prices, and...wait for it...THE BEST MONTE CRISTO IN THE WORLD. I have a bit of experience with Monte Cristos so I know a little of what I speak. Unlike the usual which are battered and deep fried, this was dusted on the outside with powdered sugar with a little lemon in it and cooked like French toast. Okay, enough-I'm a foodie, not everyone is. It was good.
I guess we had mentioned to our waitress that we were celebrating our birthday but we were so full after lunch that instead of bringing us more food, she brought us Sprite with a huge blackberry in it. Wonderful. We toasted and drank, and ate that Sprite soaked berry-yum.
And before we left the area, we saw these last remnants of time before winter.
I love you birthday twin.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Narrative to come...

During Part 2

Narrative to come...

During-How Fun is This?

I did some research before I left for Texas and discovered that I'd be driving right by the exit where Julia, a.k.a. Miz. Juney, works. So I programed my garmin as soon as I got into the rental car and off I went. Right after I made my first stop, What-A-Burger (dur), I surprised her. She had just stepped out of the store for some fresh air and voila! I'd been reading about the store and Julia had actually taken me to the first Magpie's over 25 years ago and now she's working at their newest location-Cypress.

I was raised right and knew to be polite and buy some great stuff while I was there as a compliment to all. It's also quite patriotic; helping the economy. What a great place and so fun to get a short visit with a wonderful bff.

What is a visit without some goofiness? We were mimicking the woman in the picture behind us. Guess whose idea that was? Check Miz Juney's blog.