Thursday, September 23, 2021

Clearing Some Cobwebs

Anna Pugh
She is one of my favorite artists. I love her subjects, the colors she uses, and the textures she adds. I love the imaginative details interwoven with realism, how it blends gracefully, lovingly. "Acrylic on Board," read the details, but I am convinced there is more, that she has something in her possession, something that lends more than paint, canvas, skill and time. I sense fabric, fluid, motion, unknown media, rare matter. Someday, I would love to see an original painting of hers, and get close up to the acrylic and board. I have some of her prints, and have seen others. But I know, with art, the real thing is always something far better, more compelling, and the idea makes me certain that seeing her art in person would be wonderful.

This image is a screen shot from my phone. I don't have any idea where I grabbed it from, or when. Actually, I have started saying aloud, "I don't know. I can't remember," and I follow up with a certainty, "It must have happened in 2018, or before." Other than the times I have mentioned the issue of memory loss here, I hardly speak of it. Probably most of my friends do not know. I had hoped it would get better, or something, but I am regularly reminded of gaps, holes, blank pages. It's a sad, hard thing alone, that unfortunately also brings to mind the collision, the other losses, and challenges. If I need to come to terms with it, somehow, I am amused about movies and TV shows that I can watch again and find practically brand new. If I saw a show before the event, then I might know that I have seen it, like it's kind of familiar, otherwise details, plot, even the ending, are as though I had not seen the movie. Well, that was a funny/welcome (kind of) chance in the Stay At Home Season of lockdown, when watching movies was one of the things that I could do for amusement, because lots of repeat things could be enjoyed like they were new. Sometimes I am reminded that getting a little absent minded comes with age, it's normal, but this is different, believe me. It's not as bad navigating the blank spots since we are mostly at home, but the worst times are when someone knows me, and I have absolutely no idea who they are... not just "Oh, darn, what is his name? It's on the tip of my tongue." No, I am looking at a stranger who is often looking a bit hurt or confused at my reaction, because I cannot place them, at all. Those were people I met, had in my home, hung out with, but they were newer friends, people I met within 18 months or so of that thing. The blog has helped, and one of my children might fill in the gaps, and thankfully my brain is at least receptive, and their anecdotes, or my blog posts, and photographs are like found pieces of the puzzle that I can use to fill in what, until that moment, I wasn't aware was missing. It is weird. And at times distressing. Even the screenshot... popping up in the iPhone "remember this" feature, was a bit of a confounding torment. So, here I am blogging about it, trying to make it fit in my brain puzzle.
He is so handsome, our Cairo. Here he is in my studio, stretched out across two file boxes, looking languid, slightly noble.
Here I want to say Ta Da! This whole area, upstairs, has been... well, let's not mince words: In a dreadful state, for a dreadful long time. But William and I have conquered the beast! It is slain, and discharged! Mostly. We have at least one carload of donation destined boxes, and more to come. Lots. More. To. Come. We are on a mission to make space for another bedroom, and space. Just more space. More space and less stuff. These are the goals. I am easily discouraged both by the tasks ahead of me, and by the realization of all that I have not confronted, managed, addressed, tended in the last... oh, say 1,022 days, more or less. I wonder, and help me out if you can... can we admit what has interfered, or hindered our well being, our mental and physical capabilities, be open about it, without making it part of our identity? And here I am muddled and sorting it out, still. I have been trying to heal, to get over it, to deny, suppress, avoid, all things accident related, because I worry that I will sound obessive, that I will entwine Me, my identity, limits, and abilties, with something that happened to me. Okay, but my avoidance, downplaying method is not working. Something bad did happen, and it took a long, protacted, complicated, and badly managed time to get through the civil and criminal components, and the many physical and emotional circumstances are still an issue... so, as much as I do not want to become "accident victim," I am not who I was before that thing. I am changed, hurt, healing, confused, challenged, different. I can't tell if things are a mess with me, around me, because of injuries and compromised emotional/brain things, or because I have not managed the road to wellness, or something I am not recognizing, doing? I am embarrassed saying all of this, yet encouraged by the impulse to try and get it right, because I see things are not working, and I do want to be better.

I am glad it's fall. Happy Fall! Eventually, this season, I will write another post about all the things and feelings, and concepts I love about this season. I do it every year. I can't help myself. In the meantime, I would like to share some fall love and insight, from Nailah Blades, coach and speaker. She brought new thoughts and comforting ideas, that fit nicely into my brain puzzle, about what this season can be, for change, for letting go, for quiet reflection or even hibernation. And, I just like the way I feel when I listen to her.

The blue tea is natural, and the color comes from butterfly pea flowers, and Adagio Teas makes a blend with lemongrass that tastes like, get this: Fruit Loops, but not sweet. Is that weird? And cool? Maybe you have never had Fruit Loops, or don't remember, or would never! But if you know, you know. It's fun. I drank mine almost cool, and found it refreshing. It's like a lemon drink but skipping the acidic aspect of lemon, so it doesn't need sweetning sweetening. It's a smooth, floral lemon-like tea. And it's blue, unless you add actual lemon juice, in which case it turns deep pink! No dyes, just lovely tea magic. Bambi makes it especially for a full moon. Did you see the Harvest Moon?

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Picnic is Back!

Well. That was easy! We finally had one of our picnics, like the first one, that I posted about four years ago, when I wrote: I don't know when my life got so complicated or off-track that the idea to enjoy a picnic feels "inspired" or rare, but if you are like me, and can't remember the last time you visited a park, met friends there, and just hung out while everyone did their thing... do it! No one has to be the host, or do all the heavy lifting, and even the fact that we set a start and finish time, made it feel fun, without encroaching on the whole day. Ok... so, I am easily impressed, not hard to amuse, I know. But seriously... life needs more "easy," more low-agenda, relaxed get togethers. Drop by, sit back, run around, picnic with us... we'll be doing this again, real soon.
Matt with Lily. Olivia chatting with Ido and Spencer. Logan, his dad, Mark, and Taco the dog.
Ruth, Geoff, Alex, Max and Maria went on a hike... can you spot them atop the lookout tower?
Lucas and Max
Ruth made the vegan protein snacks we love! And when Leslie and Bex arrived, directly from Scout camp, they came with pies! Olivia baked cookies! Ido made sushi! And there were games, crafts, happy dogs, balls to toss, and ideas to share. We fell into our happy, easy and familiar picnic routines, and it was almost as though hadn't been 19 months since we last gathered like this.
Lily, Matt, Mark, Olivia, Diana, Leslie, Bex, and Simon.
Show and Tell... Ido brought out his shiny new pickle ball paddle.
Taco was a good boy. Akira was a good boy. Everyone was having a good time.

My camera shy sweetheart. He was very good, too. Every picnic has lasted a little longer than the last. I remember the last picnic, and being astonished that we were at the park from 10:30 until 4 pm. We played and played and played, this time from 10 am until 5:40 pm! And we all agreed, we will definitely meet again, next month.

As much as I enjoyed our first picnic, it was two years before I organized the next one! Even after the long pause, the second gathering was as gratifying as the first, so I committed to keeping it going... and we had a November picnic, I am pretty sure I didn't post our January 2020 picnic, and so here are some highlights...
This was the first time Matt and his girls joined us, with their puppy, Zulu! And we all learned what a proper picnic packing enthusiast Matt is! And Leah baked a cake, which Bex helped her frost with Nutella! We brought out Mölkky, which is a fun lawn game that Susie suggested we get. Carol, Leslie and I took turns keeping score, and keeping turns, and laughing. Paul brought a laser cut craft for assembling, and there were many hands to help with that. Clearly, we had this picnic thing fine tuned and worthwhile, and so we met, again, in February... and that turned out to be our last picnic before lockdown. We switched to other socially distanced, outdoor, masked, amd wary gatherings, in the meantime. But The Picnic is Back! Here are some highlights from February 2020...
One condition of Picnic Day: Excellent weather! It might be overcast, or cold, perhaps warm and breezy, but rain is not allowed! We've been fortunate. No rain, no injuries, no food poisoning, no citations.
This time Armand came, and Matt brought a friend (I'll have to be reminded of his name.) Spencer brought back his BeyBlades, and I am pretty sure I brought mine, too, because he got me hooked. Tutu and Holly joined us, so did Diana, Charles, Lucas, Carol and Grace, and Leah and Lily, and Zulu! I love that once the invitation goes out, there is nothing to fuss about, or manage... come when you can, bring what you like, stay a while or all day. Easy, and magically simple.
One thing that stands out about this "last" picnic was that on the hike, Alex, Leslie and I immersed ourselves in a serious discussion about what about this talk of a lockdown? Alex is my go-to for disaster preparedness, and Leslie, being a physician, had some strong views and good intuition about what could be coming. We talked about being prepared, and we tried to imagine what this might entail, for how long. I will always be thankful for this talk, and the steps we took in anticipation. And I will always be thankful for the community we solidified, and relied on, through our picnic days and other gatherings. The last couple of years have been easier because of friends, and our community, and as much as we have taken care to stay safe and well, even finding new ways of hanging out, we are so glad the picnic is back!