Saturday, April 19, 2014

Listen to Your Heart

I learned a lesson about money
in the past couple weeks.

I don't have any and it's time I do something about that.

This past year I've been learning
how to budget my income.
I haven't ironed out the kinks yet.

Now I will learn how to save.
Because the buck stops here.

I don't have my mother to fall back on
to get me out of a jamb.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inside Looking Out

Here are some more journal pages. I've been having fun gluing papers with different textures together. I'm just relaxing and not making any demands on myself as I process my mother's death. My mother's twin sister has returned home to Grants Pass and my mother's condo now passes into the hands of my stepsisters, as it was originally purchased by their father (he died in 1991). My brother, who lives nearby, has been a strong fixture helping our aunt deal with all of the myriad details of dying. Now that the house is closed to us and Aunt Carol has gone home, my brother will begin the process of mourning. He will no longer see and hear our mother's visage and voice thru our aunt and he has turned in his key to the mailbox and front door. I have been keeping touch with him constantly to let him know I am here if he wants to talk (about anything). My brother's art is music and this is where he will mourn.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Art Journal Ketchup

Actually, it's catch-up time. I have several pages to show you.

Playing with odds & ends.

My wormhole person is Jabba the Hut.

Photo of Mom and brother at Christmas time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Turtle Soup

Many years ago I had a turtle named Sam. Actually I name all my pets Sam but that's another story. Sam grew big enough to shed his skin and I saved it.

My Artist Trading Card group has started making and I said I'd play along. So far it is turning into a favorable craze. While Spring cleaning I found Sam's skin and I found an assortment of postage stamps from Southeast Asia with turtles on them. I decided to put the two together.

Twinchies are two-inch squares. A new size for me to design in. I had fun. I put plenty of glue underneath the turtle skins so they would adhere without having to be flattened. They are very delicate. I did not want to cover them in a protective layer of glue because I want others to experience their delicacy.

Turtles shed as they grow, similar to a snake. The pieces slowly start to lift around the edges. They have no way to scratch themselves to assist unless they live in their natural habitat and can rub up against rocks in the terrain. Turtles are reptiles with an exoskeleton. I've heard they're good eating but you won't catch me at that dining table.

As a pet, they are quiet and unobtrusive. I find them fascinating to watch. My first trio of turtles, Hercules, Venus, and Samson lived in an aquarium my husband Tony built and maintained. Red-eared water turtles need a rock or a ledge so they can climb out of the water and dry themselves. Also, they breathe air but eat underwater. I fed them brine shrimp and freeze-dried worms (pet food stores). They lunge and bite into the food, then tear it out of their mouths with their long fore-claws, gulp it down and lunge for another bite. What's really fun to watch is when you put feeder goldfish in the tank. The turtle swims after them until they catch them and bite into the tail fin. This eventually slows the fish down so it can be eaten.

Although I never tired of watching, I did grow tired of cleaning their habitat. Their shit stinks and after a month the filtration system can get clogged. You can get salmonella but when you're done just wash with an antibacterial soap. The filtration system is not just to clean the water. Turtles need to live in moving water. Back in the day when you could purchase one-inch size turtles, they often died. Now that you can only purchase them at 3-4 inch size they are hardier. When I decided to let Sam go, my brother took him to a marine habitat for a check-up and then introduced him into the wild in San Pablo, CA.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Zen and Moments Like It

Not sure if you've seen these journal pages yet so I'll add a couple more down below. On Friday, my art group met at the Cordata Food Co-op, however only Bev and I showed up. 

She drew zendangles in her journal and I glued paper scraps into collages in my journal. I was so relaxed. Painting glue up and down a page and attaching just the right piece of paper or image. So restful.

I told her about the day I sat in my car eating a soft serve ice cream cone at Dairy Queen and stared out the windshield at the fast moving storm clouds. I had an idea for Christen about the little girls she draws. I imagined the girl and a large white duck, in yellow rain gear (hat, coat, and boots) and they're standing on a boogey board in the storm clouds holding onto a cloud with reins. And the words 'riding out the storm' came to mind.

I am riding out the storm of my mother's death and my sinus/lung ailment. I'm sort of in a holding pattern, circling above the fray. I'm calm, relaxed, open to wandering thoughts, memories, anything my mother wants to show me or tell me. I'm writing poetry and I'm creating collages with her in mind. I am smiling.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sequel to A Wayward Wind

It is Spring time in the Northern hemisphere inciting everyone to get outside to watch cherry blossoms bloom, clean out their closets of all the wintery colours, and sign up for classes. Yep. Dirty Footprints Studio is offering a new version of 21 Secrets and the price is now $98. I'm pretty sure when I took the first one it only cost $25-$30, but I may be wrong. Prices rise because everyone wants a piece of the pie and then they want more pie.

I looked over the teachers and class list and was pleased by the variety. There's classes on painting, drawing, and journaling five different ways to Sunday. Everyone has their own approach to the blank page and if you try it for this one low price you will have lifelong access to the tutorials, videos, pdf's, and the group Facebook page. Some of them are very inviting.

I almost clicked the button...

Fortunately, I remembered very quickly that I don't have to. First of all, I already paid for these classes years ago taught by the Innovator who "discovered" it, who is now selling product with their name on it. That makes the 21 Secrets teachers part of the 80% percentile I mentioned in an earlier post. And from experience, I know that I pay my money, save the pdf's, and then not do another damn thing. I read the pdf. Oh yeah, I remember how to do that. I don't have to do that. I already know how. Then I move along to the next one. It's insidious, their ability to make me think I'll be like them if I do art like them.

Believe it or not, I do the same thing with marketing courses. Even though I have a Bachelor's degree in marketing and am working on my Masters, I signed up at Skillshare to take a class from Seth Godin, my guru, for the low low price of $19. I downloaded the first pdf and haven't gone to the site since. I'm sort of disgusted with myself and I'm telling you this so you can learn from my mistakes. Not that you're going to.

Like I said, I almost clicked that button. I'm here to tell you I just saved $98 and no, I'm not going to buy anymore art supplies or marketing books. I'm going to save it for a rainy day. I'm going to go out and smell the roses instead of painting them.

Recent journal pages:


Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Map

A new poem for my mother:

The Map

In my dreams I see you in a different house
And I can’t find it on the map.

When I first began looking for you
It was so we could live together
But you insisted I fly on my own
And would not let me near the nest.

I asked the bus driver for directions
But the way was too difficult to remember.
When I got to town, I’d walk up to total strangers
Asking where I could buy a map.
None of them knew.

In the manner of dreams, the town changes.
Sometimes, when I think I know where I am
Road construction magically appears,
Altering the map as I go. Today there is mud.
The unpaved road widens in front of the bus
And within seconds I am lost again.

There are two routes I take frequently.
Through the narrow street of cobblestone
And the drizzle of the rain I hunt for a small red door
A haven from wanderlust.
This tiny key opens the lock as I enter
Safely, quietly, hidden from view.
This is my secret.
No one can judge me here. No one visits.
It’s a 2nd floor walk-up
And I keep all my personal things here.
I love to sit at the little wooden table,
morning coffee in hand with my journal,
And glance out the deli curtains
To watch passersby. I secretly hug myself
In anonymity.

The second route leads to you.

          And here's a couple art journal pages.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Wayward Wind

I was just ending a coughing spell from the airplane crud I picked up on my flight back from California when the wind picked up last Saturday and blew a speck of pollen into the back of my throat. Now I have a cold. I spent my first day of Spring lying on the couch in a drug-induced haze, a clear memory of the last time I was sick was with the flu back in January 2011. 


This is the last week of Financial Accounting class. I'm off for two weeks then I start Financial Management. I have set aside this time to continue writing my book proposal but right now I'm not finding it easy to concentrate with the coughing and headache.
      I recently discovered I have misplaced one of my journals in a bag with art supplies and a folder of images. This is a great personal loss to me as well as the replacement value of the art supplies & images will be costly. I've called everywhere but to no avail.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Learning Styles

I don't know if I've ever told you how I learn things but what I do is saturate myself with information. I buy books, subscribe to magazines, take classes, buy all the supplies and soak it all up, in some cases like osmosis. I pretend I'm Edgar Casey, the old evangelist, who could read books merely by sleeping with them under his pillow.

This is a labor of love. It is also labor intensive, costly, and time sensitive. Why is it time sensitive? Because timing is everything. If you enter a new world phenomena at the beginning, you learn with the rest of us. You go through all the bumps in the road, technological and engineering mishaps that every new person encounters. You also get to take part in the glory of being an innovator. First at-bat. You can make a lot of money in this position and you can fail miserably.

If you enter the game after it's ironed out its kinks you can save a lot of time and money listening to what the movers and shakers learned. Of course, you're paying them money to learn because that's what makes them the experts. They were there in the trenches. They get to make their living off you now. And you still have all this wonderful stuff to learn about this new world phenomena so you go happily about your day ensconced in the fact that you belong to the 80% percentile.

If you're a late bloomer or an old stick-in-the-mud who prefers to not learn what has taken the world by storm, there is still room for you to play. All of the 80% percentile folk are your friends & family, neighbors, and co-workers who happily tell you all the things they are learning and telling you what you are missing and try to get you on the band wagon. The first-at-bat's are trying to find you in the marketplace but very few will actually have the wherewithal to seduce you.

Why is this new labor of love costly? Because no one has put all the nuts and bolts into nice little cost-effective packaging yet. You have to buy all the pieces individually and learn how to put them together yourself. And this is what makes it labor intensive. Practice, practice, practice.

I once had a physics professor tell me practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent. You can practice imperfection until it's permanent, or you can play until you find your voice.

So, back to how I learn things. I've spent the last 17 years and thousands of dollars practicing a lifelong habit with new tools. Let me say that again. I've been keeping a journal since I was a teenager. A habit I was happy with. And 17 years ago I "discovered" a new world phenomena called art journaling that turned my world upside down. And my life. And for the past year I have been confused and unhappy. But now I know why. I've reached the end of the learning curve. I've reached the point where my voice must take over.

The 80% percentile are now blogging about it, teaching classes about it, writing books about it, and demonstrating techniques to use. I got stuck here. I got to thinking I should be one of these people making money doing this and this is what made me unhappy because I was already leading the life I want to lead. Why strive to be the same as everyone else when there is only one me?

Believe it or not, my mother's recent death taught me my one, true voice is already out there making a difference in the lives that matter to me. I'm good to go. I don't need to look outside myself for permission, or confirmation of okay-ness. I have everything I need right here.

And so do you.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Thoughts on Envisioning My Mother in a Coffin

That’s not you.
I’d know you anywhere
and I know that’s not you.

You’re wearing my mother’s wedding dress;
twenty-four years in mourning
waiting for unification.
I suppose he’ll recognize it
when you arrive.

Why are your hands laying on your lap
folded as if in prayer?
I’d know you anywhere
and you never sit with your hands folded.
Oh, but you’re not sitting.

Say, are you wearing shoes? Do they put shoes on dead people before burying them?
Which ones did you take, the black Mary Jane’s or the powder blue tennis shoes?
You’re not supposed to go in my mother’s room, you know. It’s off-limits.

I don’t want to look at you lying there.
too much make-up and the wrong shade
of lipstick for the color of your skin.
I’d know you anywhere
and I’m pretty sure you’re not here.

February 10, 2014

The background is a gelli print. The first layer was bronze. The second layer was green with the leaf stencil. The focal point is one of the cards my mother received while in hospital. The flowers on the girl's cress are 3-dimensional and I knew I had to use it in my art somehow. Around the outside are die cuts of shiny black foliage. I used the flower part of the die cut on another project. I think the dual layers of leaves are a good effect. I stitched everything down with my sewing machine on straight stitch and tried to make a pattern. When I finished, the girl reminded me of Kelli, a massage therapist I know. I think I might give it to her.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

26 Words

26 Words

I witnessed God
Combing you in her hair
As you lay in ICU,
Embraced by beeping machines
And pick lines. Your
Eyelids fluttered
In graceful repose.

Feb 1, 2014

I made this collage while thinking of my mother.

The background is a gelli print. A 4x6 inch photo of the underside of a large mushroom has been cut up into four pieces. A tatted lace doily I picked in the Fall of 2013 at the Lynden Antique Arts & Crafts Fair for about $1.25. In the center is a gold heart which is a new shape that will be appearing in more of my artwork in the future. It stems from my mother. The butterfly on top of the heart is an homage to my mother.

It's been a month since the funeral. I feel at peace. I think, for the first time in my life, I've been released from any kind of censorship. My mother told me she was proud of me. That I had earned it. That I was doing what I needed to do to move forward with my life and that she loved me.

No matter what I do or where I go I know my mother is proud of me and she loves me. A peace that passes understanding has come over me. I'm gonna shake my tail feathers and soar.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014



After a trip to Guatemala
I cast aside your venerable speeches
And lofty platitudes
About how long to wear my dresses
And nice girls don’t part their hair down the middle
And surrendered to
The self I discovered on the sandy beaches.

In a casita without walls
My self stared in open vestibules
Of sand and hammock
At lovers’ legs entwined like vine
And knew the boundless joy
For simple’s sake
A bottle wine
A ripe mango or two
And the non-judgmental nest of
My lover’s arms

I left your breast
And grew up.
I make my own bed now.

Feb 1, 2014

I made this collage for my mom.

Some of the paper scraps are from Graphic 45. The background is a William Morris print wrapping paper. The circle is cut from a Christmas card. I have a whole stash of these circles cut to made placemats by volunteers from the DAR. I tossed most of these. I saved everyone with writing on the reverse side, where a loved one wrote a letter to the card's recipient. I chose this circle because of the handwriting but it turns out the message is about a mother with physical disabilities who never complains. Fitting, I think.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sound Anyway

Here's another poem I wrote for my mother. Actually, I'm writing these for me. I wrote several in preparation for her passing. I wrote a few years ago in angst. Now that she's gone, all my anger is gone.

Sound Anyway

I registered the sound of your dying breath

and the SILENCE

            that surrounds it.

As it approached me like a wave

A crest to surf and cruise upon

A trough to lie fallow and cradled by,

I caressed your left cheek with the back of my hand

            Felt the soft hairs bend under the weight

            And knew you were a prisoner to my touch.

As long as I live

I will remember you allowed me close enough.

February 6, 2014

More recently, we've had snow and I love to take pictures of it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Airplane Crud

The official name for the cold/bronchitis a person gets after flying is "Airplane Crud". There is no getting away from it. It has to do with all those bodies so tightly fit in such a small space being pressurized as we soar through the air at 10,000 ft, 25,000 feet, and 33,000 feet which was cruising level. It's actually when we were landing in the little puddle jumper that took us from Seattle to Bellingham that I felt the pressure in my sinuses.

The seat belt sign is on and we've been advised to have our electronics turned off but I couldn't help myself. I just had to take photos of the land underneath me. This gave me a view I don't get a chance to see usually. Man, we have a lot of trees!!!

So, while I recover from the, here's some gorgeous views to feast your eyes upon:



Saturday, March 1, 2014

What I like about Facebook

What I like about Facebook is seeing photos by family members. As I watch my first cousin once removed plan outings with her grandchildren I am reminded of excursions my family went on when we were kids. We would go for long drives in the mountains or to the beach, sometimes we drove into the city and looked at all the lights.

What we could have been doing is having a spaghetti picnic in our front yard.

Doesn't this look like fun? I think so. My cousin Starla is very lucky to have her family around her all the time. I believe she makes the luck. It's not happenstance her family is close. I envy her.

Here are some more photos of my recent trip over Skagit and Whatcom counties: