Life Moves On

I have friend, she landed in Paris this morning. I have another who is burying her dad today. One friend facing probably one of the worst days of her life, and the other experiencing immense happiness. The world never stops. Sunday I went to a concert, but as we drove there I thought about the friend of mine who just that morning had lost her dad. I was reminded of when my mother died. I remember thinking about how in a single moment my life was changed forever, yet for the rest of the world outside my family life was continuing on as normal. I remember thinking, “How can this be? Shouldn’t everyone know that a beautiful person had just left this earth?”, but here I was on the way to a concert, my friend’s world changed forever, mine continuing on. It’s a strange place to be. You know your life will never be the same, but the people who see you on the street have no idea of the profound loss you’ve just experienced. For the friend that is burying her dad, actually her step-dad (you know those unsung heroes that step into a family and make all the difference in the world?), I am sure she is in a similar place to where I was. I think I have posted this poem before, or at the very least mentioned it. I heard it in the movie Four Weddings and A Funeral and it stuck with me since:

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It’s been seven years since I lost my mom. When my friend sent a text to let me know her dad had passed I cried. I cried for her loss, but also for my own. Reopening a wound a little. I still wonder about the world that continues on without my mom. I still ache to her voice, to wrap my arms around her, to give her one more kiss. Monday was a little cold here. I grabbed a scarf from my drawer, it was my mother’s. It still smelled of smoke, hairspray, and of her perfume. I haven’t washed it in all the time I’ve had it, and I never will. It carries traces of her and if that is all I can have I will treasure it forever.

To my friend in Paris. I love Paris, I hope you will love it as much as I did. Treasure that you are there with someone you love, I hope you have thousands of beautiful memories.

To my friend who is burying her dad. I think I’ve told you more than once, my mom knew how much I loved her. In some small way that helps. Your dad knew you loved him. He knows you are a fine and good woman. Dark skies ahead, but time truly helps, focus on the good stuff, the love, the laughter, even the stuff that annoyed the heck out of you. It’s life, it’s moving on, it will continue to move on, it will be a little emptier, but he will live on in your heart and mind. He has left this world with the gift of your love and the love of your family, and in return has left some love of his own. Prayers are with you all today.

 

Before I end this post a word about stepfathers. My husband is one, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Like my friends dad he made sure that my daughter knew he loved her. Most stepfathers love all of their children, not just the ones that are “blood” relatives. Stepfathers usually end up in the movies as creepy guys who are up to no good, when in everyday life they are men made of something special. It isn’t easy to step into a family, and when your stepchild loves you immensely it means you have done something really right. When your stepchild refers to you as “Dad” it means you have crossed the boundary of blood lines and brought something wonderful into the life of someone else. I’m not forgetting the step-moms either. My daughter has a really terrific one named Valerie, who is one of the finest women I know, and my very dear friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better influence in Jessica’s life.

Life will move on. Stop breathe, appreciate, offer gratitude, and most of all love. I never want someone I know to leave this earth not knowing what they mean to me.

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Regaining Control

I’m usually pretty good at coming up with a title for a post. They come to me quickly, and I usually never second guess my choice. Today is a little different. I wasn’t sure whether to title this one as I did, “Regaining Control”, or my other thought which was  “Misconceptions.” What I need to get off my chest has a little to do with both. As I’ve pointed out before, this blog began as a way to force myself to work on my art. The unfortunate situation that we found ourselves in changed that. I still plan to return to my work, but there isn’t much time for creativity these days unless it is in the form of packing boxes. This blog instead has become a catharsis for my emotional well-being in a time of struggle. Pent up emotions do no one any good. I am a very “in your face” kind of person. I don’t believe in hiding the truth, I feel better when I am honest with people. That doesn’t mean that I go around insulting people by telling them something negative about themselves, some things are best left unsaid, but when I am upset with someone I don’t let it fester. When you don’t release your emotions I think little things tend to build into great big things, and then all kinds of unnecessary drama can ensue. I don’t know most of the people who read what I write, and that works for me. It just feels good to let it out, and if by chance someone else relates and it helps them in some way, that is amazing. I also don’t write looking for pity, which believe it or not I kind of think some people who I do know believe that I am. I’m a writer as well as an artist, so I am doing what a writer does, I write. I started keeping a journal at twelve, of course back then we didn’t have fancy names like “journal”, it was a diary. You know the kind where you talk about which boy is cute and how you hate your parents that day? I actually kept that diary for almost seven years. I’ve written a lot over the years. I’ve never attempted to have anything published, that lovely “you are good enough” voice that resides in my brain held me back. Short stories, poetry, and a few children’s books are all in a box. Someday I may let them out, but for now I write here. So with that rather long introduction I will begin.

I’ve had several people tell me to focus on the good in my life. Things such as, “Count your blessings.”,  “Look at all the love and kindness you’ve received.”,  “Stop focusing on the negative.” …and so on. The implication of course being that I spend my life in a complete state of “woe is me.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I guess I’ll address misconceptions first. I am grateful, I do count my blessings, I don’t always focus on the negative, and so on… This blog became a way to vent emotion. My lovely husband was struggling in his own way with his identity as the man of the house, the bread-winner, the guy who took care of everything. Did he need to be burdened with my worry wart ways? The answer is of course not. Venting here allowed me to blow off some worry as well as steam. Not that Dan didn’t always know what I was feeling, but this took the edge off. When I said that I felt my prayers weren’t being answered it didn’t mean that I suddenly stopped being Catholic. Trust me when I say I sometimes envy the faith that some people have. Mine is just a little shaky at the moment. I also believe something my sister said about God giving us free will. God does help them who help themselves, it’s just tough to get it going when no one will give you a chance, because guess what? The multitudes of people who turned Dan down for a job have free will too, the free will to not give him the job. I also in my beliefs think that God is a little busy right now with Gaza, the Ebola virus, the current crisis in Iraq, and the millions of poor starving babies in the world to be worried about whether or not I get to keep my 3000 square foot home. I wouldn’t expect that kind of attention. This is where the regaining control part comes in. I’m a self admitted control freak, and my life was way out of my control, that means I turn into a “basket-case”.  This was never about losing my big house, it was about worrying that I would have no house at all. This was about watching what the situation did to the person that I love, admire, and respect most in the world, Dan. It was about being scared. Loss of control is a big issue for me. It’s why I’m claustrophobic, I need the keys. The house will be on the market within a week. I’m exhausted, as is Dan, but (dare I say) we are also beginning to feel a little excited about the future. We went out last weekend to investigate potential places to move to, and quite frankly we fell in love. I won’t go into detail as of yet, but I am feeling hopeful, and just a little bit more in control. Now that there is a plan of sorts, it means that all is almost well in my world. We are helping ourselves and letting God take care of those who can’t and need Him way more than us.

Finally on this lovely Sunday morning a few words of wisdom from me.March 13 2010 079

 

The Home Stretch

Perhaps I should have titled this post “The Loss Of Home Stretch”. That’s where we are. I had sorely underestimated what needed to be done around here. We are both overworked, overtired, and feeling sad. I’ve given up hope, given up prayer, and am just waiting for it to all be behind us. I need to move on, I need some answers. For those of you who I know will feel the need to address my giving up prayer, don’t bother. I have prayed, I have prayed every single day for more than a year. I’m tired. I don’t have enough time to take a much needed soak in the tub, much-less wait for divine intervention. I have been, and I have waited just long enough to be at risk of being homeless. Dan and I need to take care of our own destiny, whatever that may be. We have had a lot of advice, loving, well-intended advice, but the bottom line is that we can only depend on ourselves. As you have probably guessed by now, today is not a good day. It is another day where I find tears streaming down my face at their own will. I know what is important in this life. The most important part is upstairs right now trying his best to apply for everything and anything. I have also made mention of my “Stuff”. The thing is, it isn’t just stuff, it’s the pieces of a life that has ceased to exist. It is memories of birthdays, and Mother’s days and Christmas. It is deciding to let go of some trivial little thing that represents a happier day. It is packing up our life into boxes that have no place to go. The other day I got the mail, and then the thought struck me that I will need to stop the mail in the (hopefully) very near future. I have no new address to forward it to. To say this is hard is vastly understating the situation. Dan apologized to me this morning. Why? Because he feels he has let me down. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He is my life’s saving grace. He is responsible for nothing more than making me a better person, and loving me far beyond what I sometimes feel I deserve. I’m off to continue working. I needed to take the pressure off my breaking heart for a moment. It helps to talk, even if it is only to this page.

 

I wrote the above post ten days ago. I didn’t publish it because quite frankly it depressed me. Things are moving ahead here. I can actually see the finish line. On a more positive note it seems that there may be some hope on the job front for Dan. I hate to say that I’m afraid to even write these words. I’m afraid that something will get in the way yet again. I’m afraid to hope. We should know some time in the next day or two. In case you care, I haven’t given up praying, but I think that I understand the meaning of  “Doubting Thomas”. I am second guessing myself on every front including my ability to communicate with the Man upstairs. I’ll keep you posted…

A Quick Update

When I was a little girl my favorite show was Bewitched, you know she of the wiggling nose? Samantha only had to twitch that little nose and everything was magically in its place. I need that nose. I need that ability. We are still buried here at Chez Zuckerman. Our dreams of having our house up by August 1st are laughable. There is so much more to do that I am overwhelmed, overworked, over-tired, basically I’m over it. We are currently in the kitchen, packing and cleaning, and did I mention repainting the HGTV recommended neutral palette? The painting is done, but now we have to finish putting the room back together, less cluttered (HGTV), less personal (HGTV), essentially bare, boring, and not us. We have put a few pieces back on the walls, and of course books, books, and more books, but even those are whittled down quite a bit. We are racing the clock, and I fear we are losing. I woke at 4:30 this morning with a list racing through my brain. I jumped up, came down, and didn’t sit back down until nearly 7:30 this evening. (If memory serves me there was some implication that I don’t like work) I’m beat, Dan’s beat, our not so young muscles and joints are protesting, but we can’t stop. We can almost see the finish line. It makes me sad in a way. As tired as I am, once this is done the house goes up. We heard today that houses in this area are going fast, again good and bad. I don’t really want to leave, but we need to.  I’d just like a few more evenings in my beautiful garden before I have to say goodbye. Still no idea where we will end up. Just an update tonight. My fingers hurt as much as the rest of me. Enjoy your Sunday everyone, we’ll be here cleaning and packing. Here’s a shot of my beloved garden.

 

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And something on the vine…I will miss it so

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Borrowed Words

Dan and I were working on the house today. We are halfway through painting our kitchen/family room. We are “neutralizing” yet again. Amazingly as we work to turn our home into something that isn’t us, hoping to sell before time runs out, we laugh and joke, and talk. Sometimes we even talk about our unknown future. Without jobs, or without knowing where we will end up when we sell this house, we do it as one. We work well together. As in every other place in our life we are in sync. We stop what we are in the middle of to lend a hand to each other, we take turns making meals, we worry over the other working too hard. We also listen to music, his and hers. Usually Dan’s, only because for the most part I prefer quiet, and I like much of his, my taste is all over the map. Years ago I made a mix CD for my car. Guns and Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, right next to the Henry Mancini instrumental version of the theme to Franko Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. (All I can say is it works for me) Today we did a little singers and songwriters selection. Some Neil Young for Dan, and for me, Billy Joel. I’ve been a fan for more than thirty years. I’ve actually only missed two concerts since 1979. I love words, I love story telling, and I love good song lyrics. I love hearing a song and feeling something. I love relating to the emotions that are shared human experience, like love and heartbreak. I’ve been attempting to write something for a few days to express some of what I am feeling. I’m not giving up, it’s just that as much as I enjoy writing there are times when the words of another find a home in my heart. I am on the verge of losing these four walls and a roof, but when this particular song played I turned to Dan and said, “This is how I feel.” He said he feels the same. So thanks Billy, for putting my thoughts into words, I hope you don’t mind if I share them here. For Dan, who really is my home.Your My Home

Breathe

Today was another good day. I think I have resigned myself to the loss of our home. No more crying about what I can’t change. Not that the day I hand over the keys won’t be a difficult one, but I also know that it will be the first day in months that I can breathe. This home I once lavished so much love on has become an insurmountable burden. We can’t move forward or figure out our future until it is gone.

Before I begin to write about today I wanted to write about Sunday. It was a wonderful day and deserves to be remembered. Sunday’s day of rest turned into a very long day, something we hadn’t counted on. Our friend’s flight was delayed, and delayed, and delayed, she didn’t arrive in San Diego until after midnight. I felt for her, it was an incredibly long day of traveling. As for Dan and I, the picnic was wonderful and long overdue. Good food, good wine, and an incredible sunset. Who says my life is bad? (I know… mostly me) For awhile we managed to forget about the not so great stuff in our life and focus on the moment and each other. Then when we realized that we had four hours to kill before the flight came in, we decided to splurge and go to a movie, Begin Again. A very appropriate title for us. It was also another enjoyable two hours that took our minds off our troubles.

I need to step back a day. I had an epiphany of sorts on Saturday. We were at the check out in the grocery store, I glanced over to the register next to us and saw a young family. That’s when it hit me, how much worse this could be. I realize we aren’t the only people in the world going through this, I’ve known that all along of course, but what happened on Saturday was the realization of how much worse this would be if I had kids to feed. I looked at this young couple and their kids and thought about what it would be like for them. This is a nightmare, no doubt, but it is just us, the two of us. There are no little stomachs going to bed empty. It makes you think.

Today… A really good day, another day when I’ve felt really happy for the first time in weeks. I mentioned that I was gathering art supplies for a local foster home. As I sorted through art supplies left over from my own kids days at school, I saw the little individual name tags that I painstakingly taped to each magic marker and pencil. Another epiphany.  There was a pretty good chance that the kids that I was giving the supplies to never had anyone tape their name to a pencil. This foster home is for kids who have been hurt by an adult in their life. It took awhile, but I removed every piece of tape from every pencil and marker. I want these kids to own the supplies, I don’t want them reminded of something that they may have never had. The further I got into cleaning the studio the more I wanted to give. In the end I had four boxes packed to the top, and a couple of bags. When I dropped them off the staff was thrilled. It seems they are in the midst of planning their annual art fundraiser, much of the art supplied by the kids. I had no idea, but when I left there I felt so happy, I felt like I had really done something positive. As I dig my way out of all of the stuff here at home, I’ve figured out a way to catch a breath, by making a difference in the life of a kid. I’ll be looking for more supplies to give away,  its good medicine for what ails me.

A few memories from Sunday to share…

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Not So Cleverly Disguised

Have you ever had someone tell you a story about someone else, when you KNOW that they are in fact talking about you? Trying to say something to you about you, but quite frankly not having the nerve to say it to your face? I’ve had it happen several times in the last few weeks. I’m feeling a little, shall I say, pissy today? Unless you have been through what we are going through, you have absolutely no idea what this feels like. No more than I, the pasty white person that I am, has any inkling what it feels like to be a person of color. (Any color, since I have none) I can sympathize, empathize, and offer support, but I haven’t walked in their shoes, therefore I should keep my colorless opinion to myself. I hope those in my life who have been generous in their support of us don’t think this is aimed at them, it isn’t. What has been getting to me is the judgmental way that remarks are being made to me, or as mentioned above, the fairytale fable of someone whose situation is just oh so close to mine, who made a bad decision, or is expressing virtues of which I am apparently lacking. Really? I may be losing a lot here, but it certainly isn’t my brain.

More than one person in the last several weeks has been aghast at my decision to turn down a job I applied for and got at a local grocery store. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. As I have mentioned here on these pages before, I have had six knee surgeries. My first at the age of fifteen, and then five more inside four years here in Temecula. Five on one knee. I tore my ACL, had it repaired, it didn’t work, had it repaired again, and guess what? It didn’t work. Two more surgeries for torn tissue, and then because I thought my left knee was feeling neglected I tore tissue there as well, one more surgery. Let’s throw in the atrophy of my Achilles tendon of the left ankle and..WHAT WAS I THINKING??? This isn’t about not wanting to work, or not wanting to “suck it up”, this is about pain. Pain that wakes me nightly. Pain that had me in tears earlier today because I’ve been on my feet too much packing boxes. Let me show you something…

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Nice…right? (I have knee envy, and by the way, thank you stranger with beautiful knees that I found on Google images)

Check these babies out…

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I’ll bet you are jealous. I think the right knee is the real beauty. Don’t even know where my knee cap disappeared to. (I apologize if you happen to be eating)

My pissy point is this, unless you walk in my shoes, or in my case on these knees, don’t judge me, it pisses me off. Yes, we need money. But if you read this blog you also know that I possess talents far beyond what standing on my feet all day can earn. Be mad at me for that. Be mad at me for not using my God-given talents. I’ve spent the last few days packing away my supplies and my work. I’m mad enough at myself for everyone. I mad that I haven’t had the self-confidence to make a living with what I can do. It’s time to try, no knees required.

The Journey

These days I find myself writing posts that I do not publish. This blog has become my personal diary, and at times I just need to let off steam, so I ramble on about my life. I may at some point publish them, many of them might go under the heading “Woe Is Me”. Maybe I should do just that, a series of posts, “Woe Is Me #1”, “Woe is me #2”, I think you know where this is going. There are other times when I am sick of myself and this entire situation, and then I have to ask myself, “Do you want to read that?”, and the answer is, “NO! Get over it already.”

Here’s the good news, I think I’m getting over it. Not that I’m not still a little mad at the world, or sad that I’m losing my home, but I think I’ve moved on to the next phase of the grieving process. As we move through this house neutralizing the decor (Damn you HGTV real estate shows!!!), my house is no longer looking like my home, it is looking like my house. The distinction you ask? It is losing its warmth. My deep rusty-red wall of 22 feet in the front foyer is now a mellow cream. Yuk! Not that I don’t like cream, it is after all on the rest of the walls in the foyer, living room, up the stairs, in the loft, and soon to be in the kitchen. (One color throughout because, “That’s what buyers want to see.” I say, “Get an imagination and some vision”.) I am depersonalizing, no family photos, or treasured vintage pieces on the walls, because, let’s say it in unison, “Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in the space.” Really? If you can’t buy a house because my kid’s framed photo is on the dresser then there is something wrong with you. Not that I believe everyone watches HGTV, or feels that way, but I know realtors do. Enough of that rant…

Things are not going well in the fund-raising for the bookstore/bistro. We also looked at a space and realized that we may not have enough to do it the way we want. I was devastated, shed a few, well more than a few, tears. But then…plan B! What? There was no plan B, but there is now. I’m not exactly ready to give up on plan A, so B will have to wait patiently in the wings, but I’m relieved B is there., what’s even better is the possibility of a plan C. I have taken a very important step in opening the door a crack for plan C. My Irish passport. Yes, it seems that thanks to my lovely parents and ancestors I am an Irish citizen. I filled in all the papers, and took what is possibly the worst passport photo in the history of passport photos (Really, ask Dan, he agrees. It doesn’t even look like me, unless of course they took it after removing all of my wisdom teeth), I’m sure I will get to Ireland and they (hopefully) will say, “This isn’t you. It couldn’t possibly be you.” I will then have to take out my lovely California driver’s license photo and say, “It really is me, the photographer was awful, the lighting was bad, I was storing nuts in my cheeks for the winter.” Either way, Ireland, or Europe could be part of plan C. Not a bad plan I might add. I might also mention that there could be a plan D, I was born in Canada after all…What’s that? E? We are considering a different less costly business. See? My brain is so busy it has very little time to be sad. Dare I say it, there is a glimmer of hope somewhere down deep in my soul. I think I might have even cracked a smile.

Two things tell me that I am beginning to surface from the depths of despair, one is art. I actually created a piece yesterday, a birthday gift for a friend. I’m not posting it, I didn’t even photograph it, it was from the heart, no publicity needed. I also have at least ten ideas dancing around in my head as well. I just don’t have a minute to work on any of them. The second is the desire to cook. I am as talented with a fry pan as I am with a brush. This morning I felt a renewed sense of hope, which leads to creating in the kitchen. An Eggs Benedict of sorts. Day old mini croissants, toasted under the broiler with a little bit of shredded basil Asiago cheese (thank you Theresa for that!), topped with prosciutto, a poached egg, and some lemon rosemary hollandaise. That’s how I bring a smile to Dan’s face.

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I wrote the above post a few days ago, but as so often happens these days moods come in waves. I was on the top of the crest when I wrote that, but as the day wore on, my good mood crashed on the shore. I’m OK, just momentary setbacks. We are still frantically trying to pack this place. We are both sore and exhausted, but we are also focused on the other side of this. I told Dan last night that I don’t want to try to figure out the future right now. I am content to pack up my old life, and with it hopefully some of the profound sense of loss I am feeling. I want to sell the house, and then I want to see where we are financially. Without knowing what we will walk away with it is difficult to imagine anything. Closing day is breathing day, I want to come back and say goodbye to this home, it really was a home, and also say goodbye to what is in the past. Then I want to sit with my beloved husband, have a glass of wine, and talk about our future.

I also wanted to make sure that I posted something today because it is a day of great significance in my life. I lost my mother seven years ago today. A life that I think ended far too soon. My mother was only twenty-two years older than I. With God’s good grace there’s still time for me to have a second, or even third act. I owe it to my mom to keep going.

 

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This is my mom, Mary. A nineteen year old Irish girl who got on a plane to Canada to marry her boyfriend. She took a chance on a different and better life. There were times when she and my dad had less than I do now, but they struggled on, and I can too. Thanks Mom for giving me the strength to keep going. Love you.

 

Reaching Out For Help

There was a not so old woman who hadn’t a clue, She was overwhelmed with packing and didn’t know what to do; She thought about spending the day in bed with the covers pulled up way over her head…   That would be me. I am overwhelmed. I fear I am attached to my “stuff”.  My brain is screaming, “Downsizing, downsizing, downsizing!”, while my heart is whispering, ” Oh, remember that?” “I love this.” “Brian/Jessica gave me this.” You can see it is an issue. There is also the stiff righteous rod up my spine that insists that I recycle. It truly is quite a conflict. I mentioned the other day that I was good at puzzles, you wouldn’t believe the vast amounts of stuff that has been stored in my studio. That’s what the other voice in my head is responsible for, the artsy one, the one who insists that I can use that scrap piece of metal/fabric/wood/paper. The thing is some of it has been lurking in the corners for years. Some of it tagged along for the ride from Chicago eleven years ago. I found a nearby home for foster children, a ranch actually, so I called them up and offered art supplies. They were more than happy to accept my offer. I believe my extra sketch pads, etc. have found a new home.

All joking aside, this is a very difficult process. We are packing, and preparing our much loved home to go to market. A troublesome process in general is exacerbated by not knowing where we go next. Time has more than run out. We can afford to live here another two months, that’s it, two months. We had hoped to start our business by now, but the situation at hand is complicating matters. We are trying desperately not to give in, or give up, but the days become increasingly more heart wrenching. I try to tell myself that there are so many people worse off than us, but the truth is that my heart doesn’t care what my head says. I heartbroken and tired. I am tired of the stress, the worry, and particularly the unknown. I am a self-admitted control freak who has landed in the middle of a personal tornado, unknown doesn’t work well for me. I need to know there is something for us somewhere.

Two months ago our daughter started a crowd funding site for us. I have mentioned it here before. Last week I paid for ads on Facebook to promote it. I also started a Twitter account starring our very own curious cat, Riley. Nothing seems to be working. A friend gave a large donation in hopes of inspiring others, but again nothing. I look every day hoping to see a change, but it isn’t happening. I suppose I sound hopeless, maybe some read my words and think I am full of self-pity. I’ll be the first to admit it, there is some self-pity going on here, but more than that there is great sadness, disillusionment, anger at what was unjustly done to my husband and his career. I love a good and decent man, I am a good and decent woman. We are kind, conscientious, nice human beings. We are lost in this nightmare. We want to believe that there is a future for us.

This is our crowd funding address: http://www.gofundme.com/8jgl04

I am offering prints of my work for larger donations. If you can find it in your heart to help, please.

Thanks for reading. No art tonight, but I will leave you with my Riley. No matter how tough things can be there are always moments, things that make us smile, Riley is one of them.

 

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An Addendum

I posted in my blog this morning that I had turned down a job. After multiple whiny posts about job loss it may have seemed like a terrible thing to do. There is also the fact that I want to open a retail business. Retail=Standing on one’s feet. Don’t ask me why I feel the need to explain myself but here goes…

The job involved standing, cleaning, standing, cooking, standing, serving, standing, cleaning…you get the picture. I have had six knee surgeries, and I have atrophy of the Achilles tendon in my left ankle, so as you can see not so good for standing. However, the nice thing about working for yourself, and having a lovely understanding, sympathetic, and caring husband, is that when I need to sit for a minute I can. I have no delusions about knee pain ahead if we are successful in getting things up and running, but it will be the pain of success, and that is pain I can live with.