A Sad Day

 

 

I am devastated. Truly.

 

My country may recover, some day, but for now, it is more broken than ever. My fellow citizens have aligned their values with lying, sexism, bullying, racism and a host of other less-than-decent behaviors. Our presidential election is not only embarrassing, it is also shameful. And make no mistake – if you voted for Trump, your actions have absolutely aligned your values with his behavior. You’re kidding yourself if you believe otherwise.

 

I have blogged every day for a few years. Through illness and injury, through depression and struggles. But I’m gonna step away for a while. I’ve lost my footing. And my faith. I don’t know when I’ll be steady again. Or how to get there. I really don’t. Trying to find the art in life seems futile now. And I don’t have it in me to pretend, to act and write as if all is well. Because this particular darkness is unknown territory, I also don’t know when I’ll be ready to come back to these missives. I need time. Maybe a lot of it.

 

Yes – America may recover, some day, but for now, she is more broken than ever.

 

I am devastated. Truly.

Sink or Swim

 

 

It’s election day in America. Pray for us.

One More Day

 

 

I wish I was more positive about where my country has found itself. I wish I had more faith. But I’m not positive and faith is hard to come by. People I love have decided it’s okay to be openly racist or sexist. Some have decided ignorance is a worthy choice. After a ridiculous amount of time dedicated to tomorrow’s election, I’m heartbroken and tired.

 

I’m not nearly eloquent or well-spoken enough to verbalize a lot of my frustration and distress. So I’m going to let someone else do it for me. This Huffington Post piece, while completely outside my personal experience, is right on. The end of the piece is brilliant. Friends and loved ones will never ever follow through with the author’s wishes, but it’s brilliant just the same.

 

One more day.

 

 

Weld, Weld, Weld

 

 

Remember when I shared this photo? It’s a cowbell I made in a welding class. I bring it up now because I’ve started a new welding class: Oxy Acetylene Sculpture.

 

Can I please take a moment to extol the virtues of learning? The other day, well, I was depressed. From the moment I woke until I walked into that new sculpting class. My soul and my mind were heavy. When I arrived at class, I told myself to try and be present and pay attention. Honestly – that felt like the most I might be able to do, given my state of blue. So I paid attention. And I tried to process the information being given. By the end of class, I realized that the act of learning had taken me outside my sadness and had freed me – if only for a while – from my depression. Yet another reason for me to seek new knowledge!

 

Anyhoo – we’ll see how this class goes and if anything fruitful comes of it. I’m hopeful. And excited, if you must know. Creating is something I was born to do. When I forget that, or stray too far from that purpose, I become disconnected from myself. Those are hard times. Let’s hope this class helps me be in touch with me.

 

As a treat, here’s a link to oxy acetylene artist Cal Lane’s website. If this chick’s works don’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. She’s amazing!

Fairy Down!

 

 

Last week, at the end of the night (for us) at a fabulous Halloween party, I went  to retrieve my purse and saw this…

 

 

There were no children at said party and I’m not sure how this fairy came to be on the host’s bed. I’m also not sure if the fairy was trying to make it into my bag or not. But it’s sweet to think so. I mean, she certainly would have had a mild experience if she managed to live with Mister and me. But is that what fairies are after? Somehow, I don’t think so.

 

I’ll probably never know what was up with that fairy down.

Little Painting. Literally.

 

 

My painting buddy, Nicole, started it. She came in with tiny canvases so small, I could barely see them. Some are 2-inch squares. Some, I believe, are 1-inch squares. Just thinking about painting on something that small gives my brain a twitch.

 

But I liked the idea of little paintings. And I wanted to give it a whirl. But I knew I don’t have the lady balls to go as tiny as Nicole’s paintings. So I got some 4 x 5-inch canvases and set off. What you see above is the first attempt. Not very exciting, granted, but a nice learning experience. We’ll see what happens when I get it in a fat frame. After all, a frame can make all the difference.

 

Kind of like life, right? How we frame things is what tends to matter sometimes. Hmm…

Thursday Memories – Kutsher’s Resort, The Catskills

 

 

Ten years ago this month, I found myself hauling my guitar to The Catskills in Monticello, New York. I, along with a few hundred others, was playing a folk festival at Kutscher’s Resort. The festival was really about marketing. Almost everyone there was either a performer or a booker of gigs. It was only three days, but the schedule was jam-packed. I really had no time to explore the place, which was too bad.

 

A lot of folks believe Kutsher’s was the inspiration for the setting of “Dirty Dancing.” Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know. But the place was amazing, and it did have quite a history.

 

I speak of Kutsher’s in the past tense because it’s gone. It was torn down last year and all that remain are memories. There’s a fantastic group of photos in this Gothamist piece, and a lot of what you see there isn’t much different from what I saw ten years ago. The dilapidated parts are worse than anything I witnessed, to be sure. But the place was old. Real old. Regardless of its heyday heights, it definitely declined.

 

Take a look at the photos in that Gothamist piece. They’re kind of amazing. Not just for the decay, but for what once was. Kutsher’s seemed, to me, like a dream. It was so many things I imagined, but never actually knew. Family vacations. Summers in The Catskills. Ten years ago, simply being there was crazy. And cool. And now it’s just a memory.

Trees

 

 

The photo above was taken in Louisiana. They have some pretty spectacular trees there. Lots of places do, really. Los Angeles is no exception, either. We have some mighty fine examples spread about town.

 

But yesterday my next door neighbor had his trees raped. He would probably say they were trimmed, but those poor trees would surely say otherwise. And until they’ve had time to fill in and grow, those trees are gonna appear pitiful.

 

The construction project that’s going on in our neighborhood led to the recent death of a grand old tree. The scrubby shrubs and spindly specimens meant nothing to me. But that giant, beautiful old tree – that was another matter. I about cried when they tore it down.

 

It’s funny that I’m nostalgic for trees at this time of year. Leaves are falling, leaving nothing to appreciate but bare branches. And a lot of varietals are nearing winter slumber, where they’ll stay until spring’s buds decide to show their fresh faces, like young girls wearing lip gloss for the first time. Maybe I’m not nostalgic for trees. Maybe it’s the change of season. Or rather, the time when there should be a change of season.

 

The other night at a party, I was talking with someone about our extended southern California summer. She said that if she complains about it to anyone outside Los Angeles, she’s reprimanded for not appreciating what we’ve got here. She and I went on to discuss how challenging our “perfect” weather can be. Maybe that’s what’s weighing on my soul today. That and the knowledge that there’s one less majestic tree in the world. I really could just about cry.

Stuff

 

 

I’m trying to get rid of stuff. It isn’t that I’m becoming a minimalist or anything, I’ve just reached a point of accepting certain realities. Namely, stuff and stuff cannot occupy the same space. Practically, that means I can’t squeeze one more book onto an overburdened shelf, nor can I ram one more hanger onto an already packed rod. I’m not sure, but this urge to purge may be seasonal. It’s getting to be that time of year when we hunker inside. That means the inside of home needs to be comforting, not stifling.

 

I’m a big fan of stuff. Truly. Like most folks, I tend to appreciate some stuff more than others, and that’s okay. Some stuff is so dear, I wouldn’t dream of relegating it to a goodwill pile. Certain books are like that. Sure – after I read some books, they simply don’t belong in the house (or in my memory, for that matter). But once in a while a book comes along that needs a permanent spot on one’s shelf. Maybe it deserves to be reread. Maybe it just needs to be touched or held once in a while.

 

Other stuff can be meaningful and important to a person, too. And those things are worth holding on to. Those are the things that, when someone asks to borrow them, we waver. Personally, I’ve had to learn hard lessons about precious things. Like when someone asks to borrow a few of your records, then moves away, taking your vinyl with them. Or when someone borrows one of your nicest dresses, rips it, and blames you for the damage. Yes – this is asshole behavior, and perhaps one shouldn’t be loaning stuff to jerks in the first place. The problem, though, is that you don’t always see that kind of behavior coming. Some folks are trustworthy right up until they’re not. And once I learn that about someone, yet continue to trust them, I’ve no one to blame but myself. Fool me once is enough, y’all.

 

Now that I’m getting better about knowing when to lend things out and when to not, I’m happier. For me, my new basic rule is this: If I ever want to get something back, don’t lend it in the first place. When someone asks to borrow a book (or anything else), I think about it long and hard. Is it a book that needs to reside with me for all time? Or can I let it go – for all time? If and only if the second question’s answer is yes, do I lend it. Short and sweet. Because here’s the deal, friends – no one will ever appreciate your stuff as much as you. Even if they openly cherish and respect their own belongings, they will probably not extend the same courtesies to yours.

 

So as I prepare for the end of the year and try to make more room in my life, stuff is being sorted and discarded. It feels good, and because I’m honoring my needs, it feels honest. I will always be a gal with stuff. It’s in my nature. But if it isn’t useful or beautiful to me, I needn’t keep it. Here’s hoping I can purge the right things, and that I don’t even notice their absence.