Where Has the Time Gone? – Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

Where has the time gone?  I go through periods when i can’t face the keyboard, my thoughts, the world.  I doubt my worth and convince myself that i shouldn’t waste space on the internet with my words and photos.  I make myself appear all artsy, and whimsical online, but in real life i sit in a cubicle all day, do my chores and go to bed most days.  Nothing artsy or whimsical going on here folks.

But when i go back and read random old posts, i realize what’s here is exactly who I am. Writing here helps me connect with that person when i feel so far away from her.  I can go back in time and revisit my happiest, saddest and most whimsical moments any time i want to.   The time i spend doing what i love is rare and fleeting, but in those moments i have hope… hope that someday i will live as the me that i am.  True North.  Someday. Before my time is up.

I recently said goodbye to a very fine man, who really made the most of his time in this world.  He was on this earth for a very long time, and he touched so many people… did so much good.  I wish i got to know him better.  My husband, this man’s grandson and namesake, was recently given some boxes of his old papers… a glimpse of the people he touched, the work that he did.  Old letters when stamps were 15 cents.  Old documents created before computer was even a word.  He painstakingly gathered and documented his family tree, rivaling anything you could find on Ancenstry.com.   I look forward to learning more about this man as we delicately explore the treasures he left behind.

I hope we will find that he lived his True North.

We are so grateful for the time we had you with us, Pop.

“A thousand times we die in one life. We crumble, break and tear apart until the layers of illusion are burned away and all that is left, is the truth of who and what we really are”

~TEAL SCOTT

Goodbye Poppy Time

xo skyblue

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Living Art: Nicoletta Ceccoli’s Delicious World

One day, your favorite piece of art — a famous painting or sculpture, the graffiti next door — comes to life. What happens next?

Every time i look at her art it feels like I enter a different world.  If, heaven forbid, someone told me I could never look art again, but they would let me choose one artist that I could still look at and i had to do so within 30 seconds… I would have to say it would be Nicoletta Ceccoli’s art. I can look over and over, and each time I feel like i’m entering a world that i might get lost in.   A world that is dark and terrifying, but so enticing and whimsical there could be no turning back.  If I could eat her art, I would be three thousand pounds.

Enter at your own risk… and sugary delight!

Is there an artist that makes you feel this way?  (writer, poet, dancer, musician…?)

xo skyblue

inspired by the Daily Prompt: Living Art.

Art is my child. It’s a girl!

You don’t have any children… you couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like.  You have no idea what tired is.  You have no idea what stress is.  You have no idea what responsibility is.  You have no idea what pain is.  You just have no idea…

These statements, have been shot my way now and again… and while in my 20’s and 30’s, it didn’t sting too bad.  I still had time.  It’s what I wanted most in life but I still had plenty of time. But now as I approach my mid 40’s, health issues have claimed my fertility, and there is little to no chance of adoption.  And that hurts. Bad.  I often have thoughts that I deserve it for breaking off my engagement at age 24, to a guy who couldn’t wait to knock me up, several times over.  He was a really amazing guy who wanted lots of kids.  And I wasn’t sure if I was “in love” with him.  So I left to see if I could find my true love.   Being the “awkward” girl who couldn’t just bat my eyes to get any guy she wanted, it took me a while to find another one who could compare.  And when i finally realized I had found him… i wasn’t letting go.  Eight years younger, he wasn’t exactly ready for fatherhood, and I never wanted him to feel pressured… by a certain someone’s biological clock.  I knew in the back of my head, every day I stayed with him my window was getting smaller.  I knew I might be choosing him over possible motherhood.  And before I knew it, the window was closed.  Not locked, but seriously closed.  And I chose this, with zero regret.  I would not trade my beautiful husband.  But, it still hurts.  Especially knowing the man you love might never have the chance to be a father.

As a childless woman, do I know what tired is? Yes.  For reasons other than parenthood, I absolutely know what tired is.  But lucky for me, it might not last eighteen+ years.  Do I know what stress is?  Yup.  Been there, done that.  Again for no reasons related to hearing the word “mommy” 3000 times per day, or keeping a teenager out of trouble.  Responsibility?  Sure.  I am responsible by choice… it just didn’t take parenthood in my case.  Pain?  Yup.  I’ve lived in the world of “excruciating”, or more than I thought I could possibly bear.  I obviously haven’t done the whole childbirth thing, so I’ll give anyone that whole-heartedly!  That business, preceded by the 9 months of pregnancy business, and proceeded by 2+ years of painful breastfeeding? I can’t say I ever really longed for those experiences specifically.  But the chance to be someone’s mother?  I knew I would absolutely, and gratefully suck it up for that opportunity. And when cancer takes your breasts, you become acutely aware you will never know the joy, or pain, of feeding your child.

Sad Girl in the Rain with Daisies

Sad Girl in the Rain with Daisies

My whole life has been void of any confidence, except when it came to the thought of being a mom.  Would i be clueless about things like diaper rash and breast feeding?  Of course.  I wasn’t going for any mother-of-year awards.  But I always felt confident that I could be a good mom.  I just knew I wanted to be there for someone, like my mom was there for me.  I wanted to give someone life, or a home, and show them how to be kind and make art. I wanted to tell someone they could be anything they wanted to be, and they could do anything they set their mind to.  I wanted to know the agony and elation of watching them grow up, and setting them free to start their own family.  I know I was hoping for a lot, but nearly everyone I knew was or was about to be a parent, so I naturally thought it would just happen in my life too when it was time.

I am sure it’s very difficult being a mother.  And I certainly can’t imagine how challenging it is to be especially to be a single, and/or working mother.  But what I’m trying to say is that it is also really difficult not being one, and being surrounded every day by people who are, who constantly remind you of what you are not, and what you now know you likely will never be.  You know that inside, you are a mother too, but you have no child. There is nothing.  No one.

Of course none of this is intentional, but people who have kids, mostly talk about their kids.  And understandably…I would too!  Kids are awesome!  And I LOVE all the kids I have been blessed to know.  When you are in these shoes, you’re genuinely happy for all of the parents and their beautiful parenthood stories, and you genuinely feel for them when they are faced with the challenges of parenthood…(i really can’t imagine what some parents have gone through!),  but simultaneously you feel a stabbing pain every time kids comes up in conversation, and everywhere you go surrounded by parents, children and families.  You feel a thousand times more pain when you see a child that is mistreated, neglected, or considered a nuisance by their own parents… and you would have do anything to have been a good mom to that same or any child.  The pain never goes away.  Or at least it hasn’t yet for me.  And I expect it only gets harder as you age… to get old and never know the joy of meeting your first grandchild either.  What are you supposed to do with all this love you were dying to give?

Lately though, I have decided to pull my shit together and move on.  I will still, no doubt, have my moments sobbing in my cubicle or the supermarket… it really SUCKS not being able to have a child.  But it’s time to change my focus entirely and let go of that dream.  I don’t have to spend money on diapers, school supplies and college tuitions.  So I can spend it on books and art supplies… and that’s a lot of art supplies!!  Art is definitely my other passion in life, and it somehow got lost along the way.  I think I had the twisted belief that once I became a mom, then I would go back to my art.  Silly.  So now I intend to pursue it like the dickens!  And so far it’s working.  I’m doing it.   And I feel better!  I haven’t sold more than a handful of things…  I may never be able to leave my day job to spend my days working on it, but I do it whenever I can.  My chest feels less constricted.  I’m learning more than ever.  And I’m putting myself out there for the first time, knowing that it’s OK that I didn’t go to art school, and that I can still be an artist. It’s ART for heaven’s sake!  I don’t agree with some of the formal definitions of art… I believe it’s whatever comes out, in whatever medium, with any level of skill, applied with varying amounts of emotion, thought, instinct and effort.

That is the beauty in my story.  Maybe if I became a mother, I would have forgotten about art entirely.  And that would have been superb… because hey, there would be an amazing little person in my life whom I would be happy to sacrifice everything for.  But I must believe there is still much good that can come of my life, and I am learning to find “meaningful” fulfillment in other ways.

Art is my child.  I’ll create it.  I’ll nurture it.  By art, I mean painting, drawing, sculpting, dancing, writing… Sometimes I will keep it tucked under my wing.  But then I’ll send it out into the world and hope that it lives on and will make others smile.

And if somehow that window opens again to let a child in, I hope I can be half the mom that my own mother is, and I know that we will do lots of art, together. Lord knows I have the supplies!

I hope that this writing will not offend any of the beautiful moms out there who have given everything selflessly for their children.  I do hope it will touch someone else in shoes similar to mine, and help give them the strength to move past the pain and toward a truly fulfilling future.  Love can be given in many ways.

me and my mum.

me and my mum.

… i wrote this post in October 2013, when i was having an especially hard time with this whole subject, but was feeling afraid to put myself out there in this way.  My husband sent me this article today, that had me thinking about it again. The article made me feel less alone.  I thought maybe i should just put this post out there, in case it, or Melanie Young’s article, can make just one more woman feel less alone.

xo skyblue

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition | Toolbelts and Daisies

My husband loves this word… Juxtaposition.  And by “loves this word”, I mean… he mostly likes to make fun of it’s common use in the artsy realm.  He’s got nothing against this realm.  He would just much rather build robots, or make stuff explode with his pellet gun.  And he likes to find any silly reason to use the word “juxtaposition” in his sentences and daily banter.  It’s part of his funny way of entering my world for a few moments in his busy day… where he might stop and hug me and make me laugh.  We bicker a lot, like any couple would, but it always comes back to laughter.

IMG_9299

We, him and I, are in fact… a juxtaposition… of epic proportions.  We couldn’t be any more so.  Him with his power tools, technical savvy, and “guy” stuff…Me with my paint brushes, and belly dancing, and “girly” stuff… we are just that.  Juxtaposed.  Our personalities are very distinct, but somehow complimentary spices in our recipe… our relationship.  It’s peanut butter an jelly.  It’s apple sauce and pork.  It’s red wine and pizza. It just works.  I am not sure if it works because we are opposite, or if it works in spite of it.  Maybe it’s because he can cook. And I am terrible at it.  🙂  But don’t get me wrong… this little juxtaposition we have going on here can be incredibly frustrating and utterly exhausting. 

PB & jellyIt terrifies me knowing that someday… one of us will inevitably go.  Yup… that’s just part of it all.  Morbid, I know.  But I hope until then, this juxtaposition will be strong enough to withstand life’s tumultuous, yet so very delicate nature.

In the end, it’s the one that matters most.

IMG_5593 IMG_5592

IMG_5595xo skyblue

This post was inspired by this weeks WP Photo Challenge.

Graveyard Photos: walking with my friend, also my belly dance teacher, in a cemetery near her house… Probably taken with one of my digital cameras. 

Other Photos: stuff in my house.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts: When life was black and white.

The company I work for was founded in 1934.  This week’s Writing Challenge reminded me… there are a bunch of old manufacturing photos in my office that I have never really stopped to look at, even though old black and white photos usually stop me in my tracks.  I mean, i know they are there.  I walk past them several times a day.  I know I looked at them when I toured the building on my 3rd or 4th nerve-wracking interview a few years ago.  But I probably haven’t stopped to look at one since.  Who’s got time for that, seriously?  It’s work. Your working.  And 60 minutes is barely enough time to change my clothes, get in a workout, shower, get dressed, call back the debt collectors, pee and choke down a cheese stick… so stopping to look at photography isn’t exactly on my mind at lunch-time, or any other time I might walk by. But I saw the challenge and decided today I would stop.  I would find a couple of moments during lunch to stop and notice one or two of the cool old photos, that I know are there.    I stopped, in my tracks, and thought to myself, life must have been so much simpler then.  Before computers, and smart phones, and Facebook.  Much harder, I’m sure… but simpler.  I can’t believe this all looked like that! b&w manufacturing1 I enjoyed these few moments, losing myself in the black and white images.  Thinking about the people that may or may not still be with us… that made all this around me happen.  Pretty awesome when you see what goes on here now. And when I was done, I even had a minute to spare…  in which I thoroughly enjoyed my cheese stick. … I typically would have taken some photos, of the photos… but I wasn’t really sure if I was supposed to and I chickened out.  I couldn’t post without photos thought… they looked something like the ones in this post which are all part of the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria, in Victoria, Australia... which were really interesting to look at too! b&w manufacturing2 b&w manufacturing3Anything like that where you work? Find out more about the WordPress challenges here at thedailypost.wordpress.com. Have a nice weekend! xo skyblue

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts #eatinghealthysucks #gymselfie

Let’s not kid ourselves. Giving up sugar, donuts, french fries, soda, coffee, donuts, bread, pizza, fast food, ice cream, donuts… it all sucks.  I’ve actually given up NONE of those things… but I have tried hard to cut back.  It’s all I can handle.  An Apple Empanada from Taco Bell is about as exciting as my life gets!  I’m much too weak to say never.

But sugar… I’ve really got to get serious about eating less of it.  Middle age has it’s way of telling you that.  I was recently shocked when I started paying attention to all sugar i was eating.  And that was just in my yogurt and my oatmeal!   And how fun is yogurt and oatmeal anyway?? If i have to eat that every day, then why I might as well get a donut!!

Frosted.

But instead of giving up all sensibility for a daily chocolate glazed (which would be f*cking awesome!)… i decided i could have the occasional root beer, Happy Meal, or mmm… donut… if I just simply get the sugar out of the things that are, let’s face it… pretty lame anyway!  No offense yogurt and oatmeal.  You have fantastic health benefits… but you are not a donut. 

yogurtIn all seriousness, I really do have a lot of respect for those who choose to eat consciously and stay active… no matter how moderate or extreme their habits are.  I am terrible at it!  But we all don’t have to be #cleaneaters and #fitnessmodels.  Right?  If I can just make a little more effort today than I did yesterday, and a little more tomorrow… maybe I can get somewhere with this.

I HAVE to get moving too.  I sit all day, and it’s soooo not good.  And lunch is the time.  For me, that’s the only time I can even hope to stick with it.  And it keeps me out trouble (like driving to the store for a donut).  This week’s WordPress challenge asked us to look around at lunch and document what you see (i paraphrase)… and this is pretty much what I see every day.  And it’s not horrible.  It gives me a chance to listen to gangsta rap.

It hasn’t been an easy week… I am almost done with my first week of plain yogurt.  Ugh.  I didn’t want to do it.   I have to throw a bit of honey or raisins in it, but it’s a start.  The oatmeal was a much easier adjustment.  But it’s gotten easier through the week, and I’m pretty sure I can do this.  In the name of name of longer life, and tighter buns.

#gymselfie

#gymselfie

now where’s my donut?

xo skyblue

p.s. sorry I didn’t post at lunch… I was a little busy listening to Pitbull and trying not to think about donuts. 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/weekly-writing-challenge-lunch-posts/#more-66914

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window

IMG_5908Predictable, I know.  More cats.

… but when I think Window, I can’t help thinking about my cats.  I sometimes wonder if I’m doing the right thing, keeping them inside… not letting them roam free in the woods and the streets.  I figured the least I could do, when we looked for a new home, was make sure our first cat, Stewie would have plenty of sunny windows to lounge in.  He had no windows to enjoy at our last place, since the ones we had were all tightly covered for safety and heating purposes.

Now Stewie and his younger sister Olive, have plenty of windows for sunbathing, birdwatching, and catching a breeze.  It makes me happy to see them in their windows, enjoying the warm sunshine and sniffing the fresh air.

This one is in our front room, where they like to watch cars and people go by, and the birds flying to the old maple tree and the feeder.  This is also where we often see them waiting for us when we come home from work, right before they arch their backs in a lazy stretch, and jump down to greet us at the door.

Who waits in your window?

xo skyblue

Paint Palette Cookies and Planning Your Cookie Project

I had to add these beautiful cookies to my art blog. Created by Jennifer of Jadore Cookies. And so cool how the cookie artist shared her planning process.
Enjoy more of her creations here – http://jadorecookies.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/paint-palette-cookies-and-planning-your-cookie-project/
xo skyblue

paintpalettecookies2

Cheer! Happy New Year!

I never thought I would do a painting of a cheerleader. But there she was on my art table… she came out of nowhere.

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Cheer ~2013

… and the adorable note from the young girl who inspired her.

photo-2Since putting the finishing touches on Cheer in mid-December, I have not touched a paintbrush.  She made me super happy though while I made her, and looking at her brings back those butterflies.

What will 2014 bring?  And what will I bring to 2014?

Cheers!  Happy New Year!

xo skyblue