Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Day, New Opportunities

Yesterday I hung my photography at The White Rabbit Bakery in Aurora, Oregon. My work will be on display for the month of April, and if you're in the area, the pastries are more than worth the drive!

I have been amazingly productive this week. I set about 3 tasks to do each evening and I've been getting them done! By this week, I mean from Sunday on... yes, I do realize it's only Wednesday :-).

This weekend will bring amazing opportunities for me. I will tell you all about it really soon! Let's say *fingers crossed* that I may be VERY busy soon! And I will fill you in on it in a couple of days.

You know the no wounded birds rule? Well I've noticed a trend. When people I care about are whining, not taking responsibility, being less than they can be, etc... I don't sugar coat things, I don't hold it in. I just put it out there. If I see a duck, I call it a duck. It's making a difference in how people are reacting to me. I don't take on their issues and make all ok. It's going well.

I hope you do all you can to make today amazing!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No More Wounded Birds

I have always been a fixer. I find those wounded birds and I nurse them. I forsake myself to try to save the world.

I recently got out of a long relationship with a wounded bird. During that time, I did many things for myself. Like opening my Etsy shop, learning bookbinding, photography. But I never did much more than scratch the surface for ME. The bulk of my energy was spent nursing a crazymaker, meeting that person's needs, and being frustrated because that particular time vampire never let up.

Only now, though, from a healthier perspective, can I see all that I was doing. And more importantly, all that I was NOT doing for me.

I actually found myself saying to myself yesterday "no more wounded birds, no more wounded birds". This has to be my mantra because I'm very likely to seek out the wounded birds.

So now, I'll remind myself til those urges go away. I must block out the crazymakers, and live my life for me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Creating Again

I had not created anything since my Dad's death on Feb. 13. Yep, basically a month and a half. Did not pick up the camera, didn't make a single thing. But this weekend I've made 6 journals, 6 photo paperweights, and photo'd 7 sets of photo greeting cards. I will work on listing them all throughout the day.

It feels amazing to be creating. At first, it was quite bittersweet because I had a strong urge to call Dad and tell him about the amazing new leather journal I made. But my friend Kevin assured me that now I have "direct connect" and can talk to Dad any time I'd like.

There are some possibly-amazing things afoot creative & business-wise for me... and I will keep you posted as those things unfold. My fingers are crossed, but I am going into new ventures only after a lot of soul searching and research. I know that the perfect avenues are right before me, and they'll still be there if I take a moment to reflect before choosing.

I wasn't ready before... for those new paths, for the healing that creativity would bring. But now I think I am ready.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Mom

I am the youngest of 5 kids. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I talk a lot about Dad. But here's a picture of my mom. My mom was diagnosed with MS when I was 4. She passed away when I was 14.

I have heard lots of stories about Mom. About how she was always bringing people home for holidays, barbecues, etc. She (like me) liked to feed the masses. Good food, and time with family was always something she had to offer. I've also heard stories about how she would color her hair green for St. Patrick's Day. And she would make green pancakes.

I don't remember these things because she was completely bedridden by the time I was 9. I was a caregiver. I learned so much through it though. I learned the basics. How to feed through a feeding tube, how to give a sponge bath, how to cut hair. How to have conversations with someone who only responds by blinking or smiling. How to be responsible.

If I could go back in time, I'd go back to Dad and Mom's wooing period. I'd see why they fell in love, and see each of them in their best light for that time. I'd see my Mom as a dancing bride, and my Dad as a proud Navy man.

Perhaps that's how they both are now... whole and happy. No health issues, no silliness. Don't get me wrong, I know that if there is a heaven then my stepmom is there too, but the love would matter, not in the way it does here. Maybe that doesn't make sense. Dad once told me once that he would never speak ill of any of his exes because obviously at one time he loved them. And, as far as I know, he never did. Another lesson from Dad.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Through My Father's Eyes -- of sorts

While in Utah for Dad's funeral, I got every digital photo file that could be found. These are photos from his cell phone. I'm sure that all the ones that don't show him were taken by him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Brutal Honesty

For this week, and maybe after, I'm going to be blogging at night. It's my most opportune time, especially this week-- Spring Break.

I got an email from a good friend today, telling me of some hard times and how much my blog helps her and keeps her from going over the edge. That email touched me deeply. I want so badly to get back there... back to where I'm inspiring people and helping them through their hard times. And it seems like I've been taking a lot more than I've been giving. I want to be there. I want to help people... that's all I have ever really wanted to do.

That's what I want. But the fact is that Dad's death forever changed me. My stepmom's death changed me. There isn't a moment when I forget that Dad is gone. And I miss him deeply. So. My journey continues. A small voice told me earlier while thinking of all this that honesty is what my readers need. So, here's my brutally honest truth. I am sad to the core. I want to help people, but my heart has been bruised and I don't feel a strength to pull from in order to help them. But the want is there, perhaps stronger than ever. And I know that once I adjust to this, and the pain subsides, I will be stronger for it, and I will be *that* much better at helping others. A greater understanding will come from all this.

I have been thinking about my novel, and I'm sure that part of it will deal with grief. And no, that's not why Dad died... Dad died because he was very ill and he simply could not fight any more. But I can learn from this. I can grow. Dad will always be with me. And when my book is published, it will be dedicated at least in part to his love.

On a side note, remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about what I've learned from Dad's death? Those lessons are continuing. I will no longer tolerate the crazymakers, no matter what role they once had in my life. I recently "un-friended" a relative on facebook. And I am better for it. I have no place for the crazymakers who act like the Tasmanian Devil, spinning around, trying to pull everyone into their crazy. I am stronger for Dad's last words to me "Stay away from those crazymakers."

Thank you all for the constant love and support. I feel not worthy, but I am thankful and I will be stronger soon.

Is It Monday Already?

I had a strange weekend for me. Spent the night at a friend's house on Saturday night. Meaning we stayed up way too late, drank too much, and didn't get enough sleep. We did, however, have a great time. The boys enjoyed shooting, and playing on their wii.

It very effectively made my weekend shorter though. I'm a total home body and I kind of feel robbed. Like I've lost some time in my home. I know. Weird! But, already, it's Monday again. Monday of Spring Break. It will be a very full week.

But first, to get through today, then try to get my sleep schedule back on track tonight.

I hope that amazingly wonderful adventures find you this week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Some views of my Home

This is the art bought by my etsy family. Isn't it beautiful? Below are other things in my home, and the last one is the tranquil view from my deck. I will be taking more photos as I'm more settled.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Random Thoughts

My life is going to be very busy, yet amazingly rewarding for the next week. It's spring break and I will be getting in some good quality time with my boys! Hopefully Nicolas and I will fit in lots of opportunities to take photos. I haven't had my camera out for any real photos since Dad died. It is time to change that!

I'm also going to be in charge of a thread on Etsy for the weekend because our list manager is taking a short break. I am a little nervous, but I know this group of people and if I screw up, they'll not only let me know, but they'll also be ok when I fix it and they'll still love me. So, that will be ok.

I must get photos ordered today for my coffee shop. Also, I need to contact the gentleman in charge of the all photography show. I dropped my photos off there, and have heard nothing since. That worries me. So, I'll either get a date for the show or get my photos back.

I'm discovering each day how to go on without Dad. The biggest thing that struck me when my stepmom died was that I lost my link to Dad. My stepmom for the most part had been in the background all my life, letting Dad and I forge our relationship. She was quick to set me straight though if she thought I wasn't putting Dad in the forefront while I visited. But recently, well, a couple of weeks ago, I did some stupid facebook quiz and it said the #1 song when I was born was by Benny Hill. She wrote to me on there that Dad loved Benny Hill and thought he was hilarious. I would have never known that bit of trivia had I not taken that quiz. And now, my link is gone.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Toni. Dad was married to her for 28 years, and yes, she sometimes was hard on me and sometimes made me cry. But when Dad would go into the hospital, she always tried to remember to call me before anyone else did. When Dad died, she was beside herself and apologized profusely the next day that she wasn't the one who had called me. And when it was time for the funeral arrangements to be made she included us every step of the way. Us meaning Dad's kids, my 2 brothers and I (Toni had 3 daughters when they met). The funeral was a tribute, and it was amazing. So many people there, so much love that the building should have been bursting at the seams.

Toni passed away 20 something days later, and I couldn't make it back down for her funeral. It's a 15 hour drive each way. I paid tribute in my own way and she will be missed. Even though she's not my link any longer, I will figure something out to keep them both close.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Settling In

Last night we had our first guests over for dinner. I made my Dad's sloppy joes and it was a very relaxing evening. My friend that was over kept commenting on how perfect our new apartment is for us, and how tranquil it is. She had only known me as the wife of the crazymaker. So to now see my environment so peaceful... so relaxed... that surprised her.

I have several deadlines coming up soon. I am hanging my work in April in a local coffee shop, in a pizza parlor in May. Next week is spring break and I had hoped to get some journals listed. But this week will be spent doing the final unpacking. You know, the unpacking of that ONE room where you've shoved everything? Ugh. But then that will be done. And life will move forward.

By Friday I will have all the prints ordered for my hangings. And I will be mentally ready to spend spring break with my boys... I want all of that off my mind before then so I can fully focus.

I hope you have enough... enough peace and quiet... enough stimulation... enough to look forward to... enough to be thankful for.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let the Healing Begin

The funerals are over, and all of the 'estate' stuff is starting to be dealt with. It's time for the healing. Yesterday I listed 2 new prints and am moving forward with orders and will resume journal making soon.

So much is in the air for family in Utah. My siblings whose lives were completely intertwined with Dad and my Stepmom. My heart breaks for them. They will get there though, where there lives can go on. Now is my time. Time for me to allow the healing to begin.

I had one request yesterday when they were having the family meeting. I wanted Dad's old Yashica camera. The one I've shown him using in a picture. The one he got before I was born and used for over 20 years. My stepsister says it doesn't work, but that was my request. It will be on it's way to me soon. It has no value, besides what it means to me.

But it means the world to me. Photography, and a love for it, was my connection with Dad. It's the one major thing that we shared. I will have it repaired if it doesn't work. I will learn how to use it. And I will see life through my Father's eyes.

This week will be busy, in preparation for spring break. Life is looking up!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On Hiatus

As you all know, my Dad passed away on February 13, 2010. His wife of 28 years passed away last night, quite unexpectedly. I am reeling, as is the rest of the family, and I am at a total loss on how to cope.

I will read all comments, but I am taking a break from blogging until I can... well, until I can go forward again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I will post pictures of my new home soon. I spent yesterday evening hanging art on the walls. The most astounding thing to me is now, home doesn't include anger, mind games, power plays. Home is peaceful. Home is fun. Home is somewhere that I really want to be.

I am still in the process of simplifying. We are about 75% unpacked, and if I find that we don't have a home for something, then it's going to Goodwill. I have one box so far, but there will be more. I do not want clutter in my home. I want clean, simple.

So far, the cat's behaving so she can stay :-). I have missed blogging, and missed my morning routine, but even that will become custom tailored to the new life. I may switch to blogging very late in the evening. Who knows. What I do know is that I will continue to blog. Blogging, to me, is a must.

Next week we will have our first dinner party. And we're getting our couch. Life is good, and everything falls into place. Ahhhhmazing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Mind...

Today I am tired. This week has been jam packed. And it's Friday, that's a good thing, but the entire weekend will be spent moving. When we were in Utah, a bunch of Dad's photos were put on my laptop. I have not been able to go through them yet, I plan to fully take my time.

I don't think I've shared on here before... I keep thinking of putting my Dad's photos into a book, and have it printed at least for all of his children and his wife. The title I always think of? Through My Father's Eyes. I had thought of this prior to his death, and had planned to send him a copy. But now the title haunts me because Dad was a cornea donor. I wonder if the recipient is now taking photos... I wonder how much Dad's gift changed his/her life... And I wonder if they wonder whose corneas they have... what stories they may hold.

My mind never stops. The other night my mind seemed to be spinning out of control, and all of a sudden, it's like a wall was lifted and I found out my Dad had died. I started having a panic attack. I had to breathe deep for awhile, then meditated to clear my mind. Such things suprise me.

The above photo is one of Dad's. One that he had sent me last year. As I sort through his pictures, you know I will share.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grief rolls in

I don't know if it's happening just because it's time. Or if I'm feeling this way because of exhaustion, but the grief is trying to crash down on me. Yesterday, my co-worker got an email showing a bunch of bald eagles. I had to choke back tears.

On Dad's road there is a golden eagle and a bald eagle who nest in a tree. Dad loved to photo and watch those birds. I meant to take my son down there to take pictures when we were there for the funeral. But we didn't.

What I know is that I don't have time for debilitating grief right now. We're almost done moving, but the entire weekend will be spent moving his stuff to his apartment. I absolutely must be functioning for at least 4 more days. So, what I'm doing so far is fighting it off... sometimes I gain on it, sometimes it kicks my butt.

I welcome any advice. How do I cope, and is there actually any way to hold this back?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Filled with Love

I have the most amazing group of friends! I am overflowing with their love. I'm in the middle of a move, of a divorce, and adjusting to my Dad's passing... yet I am overflowing with love.

I had been talking to my Etsy friends the other day, browsing around Etsy at the same time, and dreaming of decorating my new apartment. I put up several links to different paintings, prints, etc. Then we all commented on each one and I went back to my favorite... a painting with the asian symbol of "acceptance" on it. It was perfect for me, so I made the promise that as soon as I could afford it that it would decorate my new home.

That very painting arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Attached with a card that said "Life is Nothing without friendship"-Cicero. And on the inside it said "To new beginnings" and was signed by a long list of my friends.

My etsy friends... all the ones whose name was on the card, and so many more, have given me love and support every step of the way. When I was in Utah for my Dad's funeral, I checked in with them at least once a day and they let everyone else know how I was. I received so many emails and felt such an outpouring of love. My heart was breaking, and all of these people were helping hold me up.

I was drawn to the painting because my dad was so accepting. Of so many different types of people. It was one of his best qualities, and you could tell by the amazing tribute to him at his funeral. I want to be as accepting as Dad. This will be a daily reminder.

Pics to come soon, after I decorate.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I sold the very last journal out of my shop yesterday. Today, all of my boxes of crafting supplies are getting moved to the new apartment. Yesterday I smudged the new apartment, but I will smudge again after everything is moved in. Above is the new bed and bedding!

I feel, in every sense of the word, that life can start fresh. That the slate is clean, life is good, and it'll be what I make of it. I will unpack mindfully, and I am sure that I will donate a lot of my "stuff" to Goodwill after I organize everything. I will make things clean, nice, and uncluttered. I will create a sanctuary, and honour my new space.

My shop will be seeing some changes as well. I've ordered some new supplies for new products. I'll be toying with a leather bound journal idea. Journals will make their way back into my shop, both the kind I've always made (with some new twists), and eventually leather bound, and possibly different bindings.

I do hope you'll stick around and see what comes of all this! After I'm all settled, I will post pics of my new space!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lessons from Death

I've written posts on the things I've learned from Dad. But today I'd like to share a few things I've learned from Dad's death. During the several days I was in Utah for the funeral, when I was surrounded by extended family, I learned that everyone grieves in different ways. No two ways of grieving are the same and one isn't right over the other. Some cry, some scream, some hit. At the core, they are grieving.

I learned that when I am grieving, I prefer to do it alone or with one person I love. I have always been "the strong one", but I realized with Dad's death that I'm just private. And being private leaves room to seem strong.

I learned that all of my "walking on eggshells" for other people's feelings ends when I'm exhausted from grieving. This one's hard to explain, but suffice it to say there's one family member who was getting treated with kid gloves, sometimes at other's expense. But I no longer have the energy for all that.

I learned that people around me get tired of the sadness and sometimes I just have to put on a happy face. I've also learned that with a dad as wonderful as mine, sometimes that happy face comes on it's own, when remembering his jokes or just his love.

I've learned from talking to others that grieving could take a long while. And I've learned that I will always miss him.

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