A Tough Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of a terrible day in my family’s life.

Last year on April 12, 2017 my 13 year old great niece took her own life with a self inflected gunshot. 

She was an excellent soccer player, well on her way to the Junior Olympics and quite an artist. She was my soul child, and had to “shop” my fabric stash everytime she visited. She always went home with some treasure be it fabric, lace or buttons. She used these treasures in her creations.

We will never know for sure why, but we know that we love and miss her.

The world is a sadder place without her.

Wildly Potent and Creative

In following one of Lisa Sonora‘s writing prompts from her blog I found this which really meant a lot to me:

“Images and stories of the divine feminine
impulse, handed down and shared from one
woman to another, like so many handmade
quilts, connect us with our sacred, creative heritage.”

In response to her prompt, I wrote the following:

WILDLY POTENT and creative. I have always been the artsy kid in my famiy and have always felt creative but it was a big step for me to call myself an artist. I could not paint or draw but I certainly could do collages and fibre work. After my one semester of college at NMSU- I knew that I did not have the talent to be a fine artist or the temperament to be a commercial artist {in fact this was NOT the case… but it took me many years to disabuse myself of that particular view of life!} so it kind of went on the back burner or out of the kitchen totally.

I married and had my son and still worked a full time job so I felt that I had an excuse. Then I became a single parent and the sole support of my son and myself  so my time was even more precious.

When I was confronted with the empty nest syndrome when my son left home, I knew it was time to go back to my creativity. That was in 1993. I started by making traditional quilts and have not looked back since then. Fibre is still my first love and favorite medium and I try to incorporate it into most of my art. I feel like my most successful collages always have fibre in them.

 

Menses, My Story

SPIN “Doctor” Kathy Kaufman Kinkaid keeps asking questions that I have not thought about in years.  This weeks homework was to think about menstruation and cycles in my life.

Menses has always been an issue with me. I always wondered what those funny shaped pads were under the bathroom sink (we usually only had one bathroom in my childhood) and as I approached my menarche, my Mother gave me a small 3×5” pamphlet from Kotex, explaining how I would soon find a small drop of blood on my panties, and this would lead to eventually having children (???). That was a mystery to me for a long time.

I was 11 when I started my period, and they continued lurching along for the next 29 years. I have a family history of heavy periods, large clots and irregular periods.

I was given the whole set of paraphernalia (probably received when she got the aforementioned book.) This included pads and the infamous pad holder. The illustration on the left is from the 20’s but they had not changed much by the 60s. The pads were thick and wide and bunched up, allowing my panties to scooch up and get stained by the blood. It was uncomfortable, messy and I hated it! I constantly had smells and stains. And my period always came at the least opportune time.

And the mess and inconvience was the least of my problems. I had painful periods for years before I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis in my 30s. My grandmother assured me that after I had my first child the painful periods would cease, as that was what happened to her.  The first two or three days of my period were increasingly debilitating and I often had to miss school or work due to the pain.

When my son David was born, I had to have a C-section, so there went the vaginal stretching that would, per my Grandmother, clear up my issues.  I kept asking male OB/GYNs why something so natural would hurt so much, and was always poo-pooed.

My painful periods continued to become more painful as I aged. When I finally was diagnosed with endometriosis, no one wanted to do anything about it. I was prescribed successively stronger pain pills One OB/GYN (a woman who understood my pain) prescribed Anaprox, an NSAID, and it was miraculous! My pain was assuaged and I only had to take one pill for complete relief. I was ecstatic. BUT, I had to increase the dosage to get the same relief, the same old story.  My OB/GYN  told me that I could go on a narcotic pain killer, or I could have a complete hysterectomy. Knowing that I did not want to go on a narcotic (I probably would have been given oxycontin and become an addict!) I scheduled my operation in 1990, when I was 40.

That operation was the best thing that I have done. After recovering from the actual operation I NEVER felt better in my life. I felt like I had been released from prison! I certainly wished that I had done it 10 years sooner.

In writing this missive I realize that I should have been more persistent about getting relief from my pain earlier, and that makes me angry that the doctors did not hear me when I said I was in debilitating pain every month for at least half of my life! And not only did I take the Anaprox for much longer than I should have, it ate a hole in my stomach and I will have an ulcer for the rest of my life!

I still feel that menses should be a relatively  painless monthly bodily function, and not the debilitating pain that I suffered.

Oh, just an amusing aside. As I did not feel well when I was menstruating, during the time I was still living at home,   I would usually lie on the couch covered by an afghan. My Father would always ask me what was wrong and I would tell him that I had a headache, as I knew he knew nothing about having a period!

My Sunday routine

My Sunday routine has varied very little for the last 30 years… or however long CBS Sunday Morning has been on the air. I started watching it when Charles Kuralt was the host and drove around in an RV.

At that point, my life did not include any church services on Sunday morning, and I had to make accomodation when I started attending the Unitarian Universalist church in Houston in 1998. Luckily I lived close enough to the church that I could watch the all but the last 10-12 minutes of the show and still be almost on time for church!

2017 was a tough year for me, and so I have changed my routine again, but expanded not contracted it. I have been unable to get the gumption to attend church after our beloved minister retired last year. So now my routine has allowed me to watch both CBS Sunday Morning and CBS Face the Nation. No political rant here…

I am not set in my ways {well…} but I do enjoy CBS Sunday Morning. Although I am still adjusting to the new host {Jane Pauley}.

Intentions

I belong to a womyn’s group called SPIN

We meet weekly and two weeks ago Kathy (the Spin Goddess) had us state an intention. Immediately I thought about some batik squares that I bought many years ago, and they had been lost in my stash! (sorry for the pic quality)

So I said “I will finish the Black Quilt.” I had this quilt in my mind for several months after I re-discovered these blocks during my letting go process (the subject of another series of posts). I actually laid out a plan (so unlike my usual steps) and started adding the black sashing.

This is one iteration with piano keys added to the top square.

This was the result (sorry for the blurry pics, I was having camera problems).

This was not what I had in mind, so I UN-SEWED the piano keys. I wish that I had decided that I did not like this BEFORE I had sewed them on, but I work very intuitively and was just not liking the piano key. But the piecing will start me on a chinese coin quilt which is the piano key columns sashed with a solid color. Nothing is ever lost in quiltworld. 

This is the second iteration and will be surrounded by black.

BTW I stopped this post and went and unpacked my actual camera (I had been using my cell phone camera and the results are not satisfactory). No more blurry pics…

Aesthetic Delight

I do a daily digital collage (I belong to a group that has been doing this for several years) and this is one of my creations.

I started with a Carolyn Dube background (downloaded from the internet) and used Kim Klassen textures. The quote (I am a true “quote junkie”) is from my large collection of quotes gathered from here and there…

Message from the Universe…

I get a daily email message from the Universe. Some days they are spot on and other dats they miss the mark completely! This was one of the spot on days…

Wake up, Shari! Remember what excites you! Think of these things, those friends, and the adventures that can be yours! Focus. Care. Fantasize. Imagine. It’s all so near. Speak as if you’re ready. Paste new pictures in your scrapbook, on your vision board, and around your home and office. Physically prepare for the changes that you wish to experience in your life. You’ve done this before. You know it works. You’re due for an encore. It’s time to amaze. That’s why you’re there.

 

And it’s why I’m here,

The Universe`

Must remember these things…

 

I hired an art temp the other day…

Not really, but I did do something I have not done in a long time. Just like hiring an art temp, I sat down at my sewing machine and just took a pile of scraps and started piecing. No rhyme, no reason, no plan and no thought if this color should go next to this color, just head down, sew this to this, and then this to that random piecing.

And it worked… my temp primed my pump and opened up my flow. These quilts will be used to test quilting patterns and eventually will end up as charity quilt donations.

Here is a pic… I just took strips, blocks, small pieces of yardage and everything.

Give your art temp permission to just do whatever it is you do, and see the results.