Monday, November 28, 2011

A Short Fairy Ride to Camaro Island

I am a good speller. I can read a written word and know whether it’s spelled correctly or not (even if I don’t know exactly how to spell it). Spelling is an art form to me—a carefully balanced puzzle with letters dancing in order and harmony. So when the arrangement of letters is thrown off-kilter, it really bugs me. I try very hard to use proper grammar, punctuation, capitalization and spelling. If you notice any errors in my writing, I meant to do that.

Misspelling can lead to weird pronunciation, misunderstandings, confusion or serendipity. That’s how we ended up living on Camaro Island. We moved to Redmond, Washington from Kalispell, Montana in 1987. Even spelled correctly, Redmond was a mystery for many of our family and friends back home. We tried explaining that Redmond was near Bellevue and Kirkland. 
~blank expressions~
Then, we tried the “east of Seattle, across the floating bridge” description. 
~more blank looks~
We’d get out the maps and Thomas Guide and point out exactly where our new home was (in the midst of the newly emerging Microsoft Land) and finally would just say we lived in the Seattle area.
Perusing the maps, I eagerly sought new places and towns to explore with our three sons who were ages 3, 7 and 9 at the time. Canada was a short drive north (and no passports required in the ‘80s). The San Juan Islands seemed so remote and intriguing. Whidbey Island looked like a great first adventure. While plotting the journey and figuring out the ferry schedule, I discovered Camaro Island.
It was a sign!
In 1973, I bought my first car. $2000 cash got me a 1969 Camaro—baby blue with pinstripes. She was the love of my life. Then, Kevin and I decided to get married. To help with our wedding and “getting started” money, I sold my dream car to my sister. I didn’t feel bad since I would be driving Kevin’s brand spankin’ new Datsun 240Z.  Oh, yeah.  But that sporty, quick, groovy Camaro always held a special spot in my heart. (The first one always does, right?)
I soon realized that the name of my future home was actually Camano Island, but that didn’t deter me. Even in 1986, I knew we would someday live there—without having stepped foot on Camano’s sacred shores. Years passed and along the way several other names were butchered in spelling and pronunciation:
Kingdom (Kingdome)
Came Brian (Cambrian)
See Quim (Squim)
Poolyup, Pully Up, Poo Wallop  (Puyallup!)
In the summer of 2002, Kevin and I finally visited Camano Island. We stopped by a charming arts festival, Art by the Bay. We plunked our kayaks into the salt water at the State Park. We drove completely around the island and stopped at the realtor’s office before heading back to the east side of Seattle. The next day, I gave my one-year notice at work. We returned to the realtor’s in April 2003. All we asked for was a comfortable house near the water with a view of the mountains. That July, one year after our first visit, we moved into our west side home, overlooking Saratoga Passage toward Whidbey Island. 
I took approximately 10 bajillion photos of gorgeous sunsets that year. Sending them out, I wrote on the backs of the pictures a description of our new location: an island, north of Seattle. Most of our family and friends are familiar with the area, but some wonder why we would live in such a remote, unknown area. (Hello!) We’ve offered our pals the opportunity to visit us anytime. There’s plenty of room, cold beverages in the fridge, and time to relax. Just make sure your passports are up to date. It’s easy to get here. 
You don’t even need a fairy. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Flannel and Spider Webs

Autumn! My favorite time of year. Of course, October is My Birthday Month. September is Our Anniversary Month and November is a Month of Gratitude.

The horses are getting fuzzy and wooly. Deer are settling into the pastures and sharing the grass with their horse pals. Even a black bear has been sighted in the woods. (Or was that the neighbor's black lab?)

The daytime sun is warm and the air is crisp. Honey crisp—just like the apples. At night, the open window in the bedroom lets in the fall wind. My face gets cold, but I'm warm underneath layers of flannel and heavy quilts.

Walking with Rusty, the good collie, leaves crunch under our feet, apples and pears litter the ground and spider webs glisten in the sunlight. In fact, I walk through so many webs that I don't need to use hairspray—the webs keep my curly hair in place.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Horse—a Tortoise—of Course

A horse and a tortoise—what do they have in common?
Hard shell/hard hooves, soft skin, four legs, a face, a tail, sunbathers and grass grazers.
Exactly the same only different.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Eagles

 June 23, 2011
Yesterday was a gloomy, gray, windy first day of Summer. (Enough, La Nina! Time for you to La Amskray)
On our first walk of the day, Rusty the Good Collie and I heard the call of our resident bald eagles. Looking up, we saw the family (Mom, Dad and the Twins) soaring in circle formation high above the tree tops. Spiraling gracefully, they held their suspension in the cloudy sky without one single movement, not one flap of their wings. I took a deep, cleansing breath, pulled my shoulders back to stand up straight and started over on our walk at a brisk pace this time. No more gloom and doom. Thank you, Eagles. They don’t care about the weather. In fact, they like this wind very much. Time for me to have an attitude adjustment.
Eagles are a totem to me. A sign. A spiritual message. Several years ago, our youngest son was in a devastating accident. Our drive home from the hospital was tense and traumatic. Kevin and I tried our best to think positive, to pray and just stay upright.  When we pulled into the driveway, a juvenile eagle was soaring above our home. He stayed there, circling above us until we were inside. A rush of peace went through us—the confidence of knowing that our son would be OK, that we were strong enough to make it through this. I believe the eagle was an angel. Our son is doing very well, healing and creating amazing art.
Later, on our evening walk, the Twins surprised us. They did a fly-by, swooping through the neighbor’s yard and zipping past us so close I could hear their feathers rustle. One of them dipped his wings to the side and  veered off to the fir tree. The other cocked her head and winked at us. In a blink, they were gone. Rusty and I just smiled. How cool was that?
We have several wild neighbors that wander down the alley; raccoons, coyotes, deer, rabbits and an otter family. There are also flocks of colorful goldfinches, pine sisken, robins, juncos, sparrows and hummingbirds that we keep fed, fat and sassy. And the crows are funny, obnoxious residents that act like they own the place. They keep the eagles on their toes, constantly scolding them and harassing them in the sky. We hope they keep the eagles away from their nests and the cute little bunnies in the yard.  
We seem to be on the eagles’ flight path this year. We often see one of the parents sitting in the tippy top of the fir tree, watching and calling to the kids. There have been several training missions with fish parts dropped in the alley. The eagles toss bits and pieces back and forth, then speed straight up in the air and tangle with each other on the way down. It makes me think of our three sons and how they would wrestle in the house, knocking over tables, banging into walls and grab-assing and laughing loudly. Kevin was usually in the mix, too. (Somebody told me that mothers of sons have a special place in Heaven. Oh heck, yeah.)
One afternoon last summer, there was a commotion down near the bluff. A chicken crashed through the window of one of the cabins, landing on the kitchen counter. We checked with Wendy, but their chickens in the coop were all accounted for. We speculated that one of the eagles had dropped their prey, maybe after a wrestling match with another eagle. It was a mystery where this chicken came from. Did somebody else have a chicken coop nearby?  What kind of chicken was it? Ameraucana? Sabelpoot? Little Red Hen? 
Guess again. 
Apparently, someone down on the beach has been regularly feeding the eagles a fresh chicken—a perfectly plucked and cleaned, fresh from the grocery store, plastic wrapped, roasting chicken! Maybe Draper Valley? Foster Farms? I hope it’s local. 
Well, if our eagles are well fed, then maybe the bunny rabbits are safe. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weather. Or not.

June 16, 2011. 8pm. 55° Gray. Wet. Yucky. 
This has been a miserable winter and spring in the Northwest. At the slightest hint of sun, all of us depressed, pale residents run to our yards and gardens—anywhere in the great outdoors—to revel in the warm, welcome heat of the elusive sun. Even that is not much of a respite, because we all tend to go overboard and end up with sprains and strains, sunburns and heat exhaustion. 
It seems like hell has indeed frozen over. Or at least flooded. So, how wet, cold and dreary has it been? Well, our son and his wife report ducks living in their front lawn. Their house is nowhere near a pond. Trees and shrubs are clinging to their leaves and blossoms, hesitant to open in the cold and rain.  They, too, over-do it when the sun shines. Everything blooms and rejoices at the same time with a vengeance, sending heavy clouds of pollen into the atmosphere. Puddles appear in basements and garages from water seeping up through saturated yards. Roads have washed out.  Yesterday, I saw fat and sassy snails racing across the alley with healthy, ginormous slugs cheering them on. 
I finished planting my vegetable garden on June 10th, over a month later than usual. The tomatoes that I planted then started as robust plants. Two of them have mildew. Weeds have taken over part of the flower beds. Kevin cracked. He couldn’t take it anymore. Weeding every week is not his idea of fun, so he laid down sheets of landscape fabric and bark. We don’t like it, but we hate the crop of milkweed, dandelions and other noxious weeds that were taking over. We drop the alternative “F” bomb frequently: fungus. Kevin wears his fleece jacket all the time, even indoors. I refuse to light the wood stove, even though neighbors burn in their fireplaces regularly. I will not turn up the heat! It’s frickin’ June! (Pardon my French.) But, it’s cold. How cold could it be? I saw a woman walking her dog last night—the dog was wearing a fleece-lined raincoat and the woman was wearing and knit cap and mittens. 
How wet was it?
It was so wet that our wooden flagpole disintegrated!!!!!!! Oh no, it melted! No kidding. We looked out the window and saw that our flagpole was leaning on the neighbor's house. The top brass finial barely missed smacking into their second floor bedroom window. Paul and Wendy heard a big thump against the wall at 4:30 in the morning. Wouldn't that just make your heart skip a beat? 
Kevin tipped the pole back into place and then over. It hit the ground with a miserable thud and broke into sections.  Rotten all the way through. ugh. The wood was like mulch covered in white paint. It was a tube of compost held together with a skin of latex enamel. Kev wrapped up the cord and the flag. No screwdriver needed to remove the cleat. It pulled off easily. 
The sections of the flagpole are piled up in a heap along with other grass and yard waste. Back to Nature. It won’t take the flagpole that long to get there. Rest in peace/piece old driftwood. 
I have a bad case of S.A.D. Look at me sideways and I’ll burst into tears. I am beyond pale. I’m now glow-in-the-dark white, tinged with green. Winter blues. And I hate blue, especially the gray-blue hues. I don’t sleep well. I’ll eat an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies in one sitting. I woke up this  morning with a case of vertigo. I might have OD’d on anti-inflammatory meds. This weather wreaks havoc on my rusty, arthritic knees. Enough! Kevin at least has the opportunity to get out of this crapola. He travels for his job and Los Angeles is one of his favorite places to go. He’s happy to sit in traffic with smog and congestion. At least it’s sunny and warm.  
I demand a  weather do-over. I’m looking for sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, not this winter in a dark cavern in the land that time forgot. It’s the Solstice in a couple of days, for crying out loud. It better be a good summer or my new name will be Jeannie Weenie Screaming Meemee.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back to Normal

We get up in the morning—for some of us it’s at the kiss of dawn, for others, it’s the full embrace of morning. Walk the dog, eat breakfast, jot down a few thoughts and sentences, walk to the beach, think about the
“to-do” list...
rinse and repeat.

The day is fairly normal. Same day/different week. We fit in trips, adventures, jobs, gardening, artwork, lunch with friends, playtime, cleaning the garage, and letting dust build up on the bookshelves. We phone our Mom (she’s fine), pick up the mail, refill the bird feeders, find a clear area on the dining room table for dinner, and then settle in for an episode of Top Chef. Answering the telephone is simple, ordinary, mundane, safe but—                WHAM!

Someone you love is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
We feel the tremors—small rumblers and quakes—precursors to The Big One. Suddenly, the days change into a patchwork quilt of sleepless nights, poor food choices, anxiety and fuzzy logic. We pad ourselves with cotton to buffer the pain and struggle to just take it one minute, hour, day at a time. Think positive. Pray. We’ve been knocked for a loop, but slowly, steadily, we get back up.

The world shifts, the sun darkens, a giant sink hole opens up and oxygen is sucked out of the room.
If we say it out loud, it takes away its power, right? cancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancercancer
We look for rhyme and reason where there is none. Nothing. Our hearts are broken. The volcano erupted. Sulfur and ash spew into the still air, choking us. Who did we think we were anyway?

RL is calm, collected. She is devastated, angry and determined. “What’s next ?”, she says. Her passion and creativity kick into overdrive. “What is my cancer? How is it treated? Do NOT tell me about statistics.” (According to the experts, she shouldn’t even have non-small cell lung cancer). “When can I go home? How soon can I begin treatment? How do we get back to some kind of Normal?”

We readjust. Take a different tack. We didn’t ask for this. Who would??? Does anyone ever dream of having the rug pulled out from under them? Did you ever dream of becoming an astronaut, a teacher, an adventurer, to sail across the Atlantic, to own a vineyard in Italy, to sit in a small room while medical personnel pump you full of toxic, horrible drugs?

RL is an artist. Her creative genes give her strength. She sees things differently, especially the big stuff. She has a sense of proportion and perspective. She is real and honest. RL has a sense of momentum—sure and steady wins the race. She is full of gratitude and resiliency. We follow her lead. Our own creativity kicks in. We admit our own fears, ask for help and get back to Living.

We get up in the morning and a new day begins.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Don't Worry. Be Happy.

One of the tasks last week (following Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World) was to list 50 things that make us angry. I didn’t even make it out of the top ten when I became angry. I have been struggling for the past several years to get over anger, grief and other slights and grievances. I have always been a champion of holding grudges. I can declare a person as ‘dead to me’ if they have crossed me in even a slight way. I come by it naturally—it’s in my DNA. I saw how dwelling on anxiety, anger, unforgiveness and misunderstanding could gnaw away at one’s well-being. I don’t need or want that kind of stress anymore.

I wrote down 50 things. It just didn’t feel right. I was stirring the pot—poke, poke, poke. Some of the issues have been resolved, amends made, moved on. I want to stride forward into health and healing. I tore the pages out of my journal and burned them. I’m not sure that was the point of the exercise, but it worked for me.

I don't want to paint my pain as was once suggested. Nor do I want to write what I fear. Is that denial? What I do know is that expressing gratitude, hope and faith are the powers that fuel my art and creativity. Believing images of victory. Prayer. These are the things I want to come from my heart and onto the canvas.

Another painting representing my Family, titled Faithful.

Stand before Doom

Music has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have moved,
and, as with living souls, have been informed,
by magic numbers and persuasive sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
than trees, or flint? O force of constant woe!
'Tis not in harmony to calm my griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at peace; last night
the silent tomb received the good old king;
he and his sorrows now are safely lodged
within its cold, but hospitable bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?
~William Congreve, from The Mourning Bride~

Art is therapeutic. Music does sooth a savage breast, beast or stressed mind on overdrive. Often, I plug into the iPod and am immersed in an atmosphere of rhythm, poetry, energy and creativity. And when I sing along, I sound damn good. Just kidding. But it feels great! Music lifts me up and takes me to place of peace. I am in harmony with the world. I can imagine and create again.

Several years ago, in the midst of a deep depression and anguish, Kevin and I went to a show to hear a band called Grey. Our son, Ty, was the drummer. Other members were Suzanne, AJ and a new member—women with long dreadlocks, tattoos, piercings and visceral energy. They were intimidating as a group, yet very modest, gentle and uniquely creative.

We entered the dark venue feeling like virgins at a weekend sacrifice. Ty scooped us up and escorted us backstage where we visited with the girls and another band, Om. I admire them. They dare to be different, to be themselves, to make their music and art exactly in their own way.

When it was time for Grey to play, one of their friends grabbed me by the hand and took me to the front of the stage. “She’s the mother of the drummer!” she declared. Respectfully, the crowd made a spot for me directly in front of the meat locker sized speaker. Dark, ominous, scowling young men and women smiled and greeted me, welcoming me into the pit. Closer, come closer they beckoned.
So I did.

Ty begins. Then, the bass guitar followed suit. A gust of air shot from the speaker, taking my breath away. The tempo increased slowly, steady, relentlessly. Ty played two bass drums and pounded the sh*t out of them and the rest of his kit. I could feel the concussion in my breast bone. The sound rocked me back a step. Instead of retreat, I leaned into the music. It made me dizzy. It made me feel alive at a time when I was lost.  The doom metal took my anger and grief and made it something tangible. Something I could stand up to. It gave me its power. The lead singer opened her mouth and growled—ancient, primal screams that took me into raw emotion. As my eyes flooded with tears, I slipped away from the heavy metal mass. I was exhausted. And in some magical way, I was healed. Not completely cured, but inspired, softened, soothed.

I began to paint again. Listening to Grey, Om, Janis Joplin, Josh Groban, Pink, Annie Lennox, Cake, Death Cab for Cutie...
You could say my taste in music is eclectic. And it is therapeutic.

This is the painting that emerged. It’s titled “Precarious Position”.
It’s a story about my Family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We're walking and we're walking.

Last week in our journey with Julia Cameron’s “Walking in this World” we considered our identity—discovering a sense of proportion. I have always been an artist, but sometimes I don’t get the positive feedback or encouragement I require to stick to it, to stay on the path. I figured out that I am a Dreamer. Now what do I do with that information?
Hmmm. I’m a pretty good story teller. Let’s give that a try. 
I keep a journal of all my adventures with my fabulous Appaloosa, Chance. I tell stories of our trail rides, medical issues, games we play and the funny things ChanciePoo does. I rode with a group of woman that I called The Yee-Haw Sisters. We had riding adventures, dinners and homemade concoctions and beverages. Tears and fears were shared and so was a ton of fun. Good friends in support of each other.  The Yee-Haws were the main beneficiaries of the stories.
I would send out an eMail and they would all reply: “Jeannie! What a great story. You should write!” 
And I would think that was a good idea. And then I wouldn’t do anything.
Then, I thought about illustrating children’s picture books. As I thought about the illustrations, the picture book became more of a storybook. All these wonderful tales and stories would just pop out of my brain and onto the page.
Hmmm. This is fun. Maybe I should write.
I wrote a letter to the editor of Montana Quarterly magazine. My sister, Ellie in Missoula heard about it from a friend in Colorado. He had read the letter and commented on how much he liked my style. I don’t think he realized we are sisters, but figured it out through some of the details I had included. 
Hmmm. Writing, heh?
On a more serious note, I wrote to our state legislature about the economy and the state’s budget. No need to go into detail of the angst swirling around with the economy. We’re all feeling it. But this was a more personal letter. Our legislator wrote back. Basically, she liked my ideas and would see about crafting a bill according to the thoughts I had written. 
Hmmm. I guess I can express myself through the written word. Maybe I should write. 
Recently, I posted a photo on a community newsletter site. I wrote a small paragraph to go along with it. Basically, I wrote about an unlikely sign that was posted at the State Park. 
“Tsunami Warning—Stay off the Beach”
Who would’ve thought that we would ever need such a sign in our little corner of the Pacific Northwest? The publisher of the newsletter thanked me and asked me to contribute anytime, as much as I wanted. 
Hmmm. Writing? Maybe I should! 
I always preach about listening to one’s heart, to the small still voice. Why haven’t I been listening? I enjoy writing! I love telling stories! Do I have to get swept up in a tsunami to pay attention? Apparently I do.
But, I am writing now.
I’m writing this blog. I am writing a story. I am writing articles, emails, newsletters, letters to the editor and even sending handwritten letters to family and friends. I am writing Morning Pages, noon pages and evening pages. Easy as pie. And I'm comfortable, confident and energized.
Hmmm... what took me so long?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

May I please see my I.D.?

Identify your Identity - week 2 of Walking in this World by Julia Cameron
The first fill-in-the-blank—
“When I was a child I dreamed of growing up to be_________________”
—had me stumped.
I wanted to be a cowgirl, a princess, a horse, Snow White or just be friends with all the animals in the woods. I filled in the blank and thought, “what does that have to do with being an artist?”
Frustrated over even one small task, I went to that dark place of self-doubt. Am I an artist—a painter—because I’m too lazy to follow through with a good education to become a doctor or scientist or therapist? 
I have responsibilities; a husband, children, a home. How does a ‘starving artist’ contribute financially to a family?  Am I patient enough? What will it take to convince myself that I am an artist? Do I dare?
In the process of Life over several years, I was slowly disappearing. I was Alice, getting smaller and smaller. Lately, I have been asking the question, “who am I?”  I want somebody to tell me, but I probably wouldn’t listen. 
As suggested in the book, I took a long walk. I thought about the things that make me happy—that make my heart sing.
books     movies     The Raven
letterpress printing       typography
paper     pencil     charcoal
color/textures/patterns (all the senses)
intuition         Faith
the way a baby smells
stories     whoppers     pretend       make-believe
animals and nature (birds, feathers, shells)
science     biology     medicine
angels (having them)       demons (rebuking them)
dogs          winged horses
grunge     rock and roll     classical music        the blues
the way things feel in my hands
comfort food         Chocolate (capital ‘C’)
imagination       dreams       logic
science fiction     The Illustrated Man  
bones       skeletons       forensic sciences
          Flower Power          peace signs       hippies
eagles       grizzly bears       howling at the moon
This process that I am following (for a week and a half so far) is painful. Feelings are beginning to stir. Some of them are starting to surface, startling me into the realization:
I didn’t dream of of growing up to be an Artist. But I have always been a Dreamer. I was born from an alternate universe. I see things in patterns and textures through the colors of rose-colored lenses.
So yesterday, I blurted out to my artist friend, “I am a dreamer!” And immediately I felt foolish.  I don’t have enough energy to be manic/depressive (only moderately active/very sad). I think I’m going crazy.  (My good friend is an artist so she gets me. What a relief.)
Today, on a walk to the beach, I asked for some help and guidance as I rallied against the gusting wind. The wind practically blew my earrings off. Rusty’s long collie fur coat was plastered to his lean body. We became separated and he couldn’t hear me call. The wind took my voice in the opposite direction. So I trudged to a place downwind and called again. He heard me this time. Together as we leaned into the wind, we caught sight of a bald eagle, sitting on the edge of the beach just a few yards away. The eagle flew up above us and stayed there as we walked back to the Jeep. 
I took it as a sign. I am a Dreamer. But even though my head may be in the clouds, my feet are planted on the ground. I’m not crazy—just going through A Change. There’s a small still voice that I can hear if I am in the right place. I can balk or rage against the the process. Or I can unfurl my wings and soar.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can I really pull this off?

OK. That does it. I just spent well over 10 minutes posting 21 words (including title and label) on my blog, Front by the Window. I was worried about getting it just so. Perfect. And, it isn’t even the writing project I have been working on all week!  sheesh.
My purpose for starting Front by the Window was to write and post clever little ditties about my life. Charming stories about my childhood and my family. I planned on being funny, whimsical, clever and completely original. I would write astounding paragraphs of such compelling creativity and wit—the likes of which had never been seen before—that some literary agent would swoop down, read the posts and contact me immediately for swift and sure publication.
I wrote ONE entry on February 24th. Then, I struggled with what to write next. Creative Block set in with a vengeance. Then Perfectionism raised her evil head.  The writing wasn’t funny nor was it clever. Plain. Blah. Ordinary. I wrote, rewrote, erased and quit.
Then, I posted another entry. Today’s little gem of 16 words. 
I have joined with other creatives in following Julia Cameron’s guide, Walking in this World.  This first week of the project deals with the chapter called “Discovering a Sense of Origin”.  Julia seems to be talking directly to me and bringing up some painful issues. And reminding me of things I already know.
“Just do it”
Overthinking is the enemy of creativity. Been there. Do that all the time. 
She reminded me that when I dive into a painting that has been in my heart for a while, when I paint for me, that the artwork and I have a conversation. It tells me where to go next. These are my most successful pieces. I love them and so do others who view them. The gravy? They also buy them! 
Focus and Finality
I have been so concerned with the final, perfect product that I forget the process. I focus on the big picture instead of the first steps. I procrastinate because I don’t want to fail. Embarrassing. I end up being humiliated because I didn’t even try. Instead of trying to dramatically push the course of the river, I need to sit by the river and gain inspiration and peace. The artwork is there (I have all the materials and supplies, for crying out loud). It is waiting for me to begin. 
Commit to our Dreams.
I need to express myself, whether through the written word, drawing, illustrations, paintings or even blinging up my horse’s tack. It’s who I am. Always has been. I must “give voice to my true nature” and sing. Ms.Cameron says that this is contagious. That creative energy is energy. Reading those words in her book and even sharing them on this page are invigorating. I am writing!
The next task for this week is “Do Nothing.”  It’s a bit more complex than the nothing I felt like earlier today. I wanted to do not-one-thing and to be left alone in my own personal depression. Boo-hoo. Couldn’t do it. Instead, I dove into the Morning Pages (part of our assignment) and got a few things off my chest. Then, I re-read this week’s chapter. Now, I am going to post this on my blog. Baby steps. And not my artist’s website, either. On my writing blog: Front by the Window. 
If you happen to read this and have something to say, please post a comment. We are in this together. I am trying to look at change as a gift and to be patient. A lesson I learned in my artwork is to take the time to put each mark of the pencil or brush in the right place.  And, that gesso covers a multitude of sins.
Just start again.

who? what? where?


Could you please tell me my name and a little bit about myself ?

Thank you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coming and Going

"Front by the window, coming and going!"

That was my war cry whenever we were going to travel as a family by car. Six kids (I'm the firstborn, perfectionist, bossy one) jammed into the old Ford Fairlane. Each one of us prone to motion sickness. As the eldest, I yelled first dibs for prime seating. I added "coming and going" after one of the sibs (probably second in line, competitive Natalie) aced me out of the window seat on one of our trips home from Baba's house.

I liked that seat, even if we learned later that the front seat passenger sat in the Death Seat. I could see where we were going, didn't need to look sideways, but straight ahead and I could roll the window up and down as needed for fresh air. It was also the quickest ejection position once the car had stopped. Fling open the door, dive out and hurl into the ditch.

Nat usually occupied the front center next to Dad, the only licensed driver in the family. Mom sat in the long back bench seat with Sandy, Mike, Bunny and John.  I don't remember who had to sit on the hump. I'm thinking that John Boy was probably just a baby so he was in Mom's lap. Bunny was a tiny little girl and just two years older than John. Sandy and Mike were probably squished, but who cares. I was front by the window!

Mom tried her best to be sure we were ready for the long 120 mile drive from Missoula to Butte. She had several milk cartons readied as car sick receptacles. Perhaps the smell of sour milk wasn't the best for our sensitive systems. Mom also dosed us with Dramamine. I'm pretty sure I was nauseated from the yellow, syrupy yuck. Either that or the seat belt. It squeezed my tummy. Sandy never even made it out of town. Dad would stop at the gas station to fill up and she'd get sick from the gas fumes.

Later, when we had the Ford station wagon, we had more room to spread out and open our own windows. I even learned to drive in that land yacht and earned my driver's license after successfully parallel parking the sucker downtown in front of the Mercantile.  I could park it, drive through snow, but still needed to learn how to rate my speed going around coroners* on gravel roads. That's a whole other story.

Dad veered away from Fords and bought a gigantic, Chrysler panel station wagon. It had three seats. The poor, pathetic souls that sat in the way, way back didn't stand a chance. The seat faced backwards, over the tailpipe. Yeah, good idea. Dueling throw ups. No wonder Mike was a champion car vomiter.

I still get woozie in the car. But as an adult, I've learned how to deal with it. I can't sleep in the car. I drool. I can't read or draw. That would be disastrous. So I sit and watch the view of the world going by. Maybe listen to a book on tape. I would prefer to drive, but Kevin won't give up the steering wheel. He'd have to deal with the kids if he did that.  That's OK. I'm keeping track. He owes me...

*I mean 'corners' but seems appropriate to leave it as is