A little blog about the life of a somewhat lost dreamer....looking for my grace in this crazy world.

14 August 2014

Who's in...

This is exactly what I need, so I'm in.  Anyone else want to play too?


From Jake Parker's web site...

All artists, (that means students and professionals, painters and cartoonists, sculptors and illustrators, animators and fine artists, EVERYONE who creates) this September 2nd is World Art Drop Day. Wherever you find yourself that day, drop a piece of your art and tell someone where to find it. The world needs this right now. We need to feel a little more connection to each other and there's nothing like the bond two random strangers can make through the act of creating and giving.
I recently just finished a cross-country art drop this summer and it was exhilarating. The emails and responses I received from the finders ran the gamut of funny to touching. I want that for everyone!
Here's how it works:
  • Draw a picture and hide it somewhere.
  • Take a photo of either the art or the hiding spot or a combination of both.
  • Post the image, the city you dropped it in, and a hint on any social media of your choice. Be sure to included the hashtag: #artdropday
  • Then move on, hoping someone finds it. OR hang around and meet your new friend.
That's it!
I need your help spreading the word on this. Reblog it, retweet it, facebook it, or even tell someone in person!
September 2nd, lets connect the whole planet with art!


12 August 2014

My dad died...

I spent most of July in the hospital... Technically, not me, but, rather my father.  And, because no one should be alone in a hospital, especially an old man with dementia who happened to be my father, so did I.

And ten days or so after his surgery he went back to the nursing home.  He did amazingly well through the surgery and both his doctors and I were very impressed.  The pathology came back showing the cancer didn't seem to be invasive, so I was sure I'd gained at least a couple more years with him. But, things didn't go as well from there, and Monday he was back in the emergency room. 

An infection had developed in his incision, so he was admitted back into ICU.  The nurses were all surprised to see him, he'd done so well... but they were all sure he'd be better after a few rounds of antibiotics. So... we spent more time together in the hospital.

After a time I had to find a balance between work and being there so that I wouldn't run through ALL of my sick time.  I started going over for an hour before work, back at lunch, then back after work to sit through the evening, going home somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00.  Exhausting, yes, but it was a balance of sort.

He was doing really very well, the antibiotics had worked, they had his electrolytes balanced and his heart was doing much better as well.  They were concerned about his nutrition though, so decided to keep him for a few more days to watch his calorie intake. 

We spent our time talking about how beautiful the sunrises were, he told me more stories of his childhood, we talked about my kids, his memories.  I helped him to eat his meals, and when he slept I simply sat by his bed reading and holding his hand.

Early on in all of this, before his surgery, I had promised I'd bring him a strawberry milk shake, his favorite, once he was able to take in real food again, and for some reason, on Wednesday I stopped on the way over to the hospital for the evening and got one for him.  He didn't eat a whole lot of his turkey, but he drank every drop of the shake.

The next morning I thought I'd take him a couple of donuts, so I stopped by Krispy Kreme and bought him two, and grabbed a few dozen to take over to ICU staff.  I knew I'd catch the shift change, so it would be a nice way to thank all of them for all the work they were doing.  He ate both of the donuts I'd gotten him, was alert, aware and doing very well.  Things were looking good.

I visited again for lunch.  They hadn't brought his tray yet, so we really did nothing but chat.  He said he was feeling better, we talked again about his time in the Air Force, talked about his mother and his grand mother... then I told him I'd see him for dinner.  He told me he wouldn't be there.  When I asked where he'd be he told me, "I'm going home."  I had no idea how prophetic that statement was.

At 2:30 my phone rang, and I recognized the number as Good Sam.  It was Zach, one of his surgeons.  Dad had aspirated during his lunch and had coded.  They were working on him doing chest compressions and breathing for him, and would continue to while I got there.

I left my office, thank goodness my friend Kellye was in there and I asked her to take care of things.  On the way I called my sister, my niece and my sister-in-law.  No one bothered to answer their phone, so I left messages. I called my ex and my kids.  I was there in less than 10 minutes, and was met outside ICU by the Chaplain who went in to get the doctor.  Zach and J.R, two of his surgeons, came out, told me what had happened, what they had done, and what to expect, then took me back to his room.

There was an entire room of people working to keep my father here, but they had been working for close to 30 minutes, and the best they could get was a thready pulse.  I asked them to stop, the most difficult decision I have ever had to make... but as he had told me earlier, he was going home.  They made room for me so I could be beside him, someone brought a chair for me, and I sat down by his bed to hold his hand.  The doctors and nurses all hugged me and told me how sorry they were.  I don't think there was anyone there who didn't have tears in their eyes as they started leaving the room one by one.  I moved to sit beside him, holding his hand, stroking his arm, telling him how glad I was that we'd had our time and that I loved him, I promised we'd have lunch again when I made it to the other side.  And then, in the blink of an eye, he was gone.  My world was changed forever.


Someone came in to tell me the girls from the office were in the lobby, they'd be there in case I needed them, and I went out to tell them.  They will never know how invaluable it was to be encircled by their love. My ex got there, then my daughter.  Through all of this his nurses were working ever so gently in the background to get him cleaned up, they changed his sheets, changed his gown, covered him respectfully, and gave me more support.  It's funny how we'd become family in that month we spent together.  Other staff members started coming in to tell me they had worked with him and were so sorry for my loss.  His doctors came in to check on me every few minutes, and the Chaplain was a constant.  Thank heavens for all of these people, without them I don't know how I would have coped.

An hour and a half or so later my sister and my niece got there.  Choices had to be made, and I told them that, since I had done everything the last two and a half years I was leaving those choices up to them, it was time for them to take some responsibility.

I left the hospital about 5:30 and left two more of the painted stones to be found... then walked to the parking garage.  As I sat in the car, finally alone, the void hit me.  We had spent so many years apart, but the last two and a half had wiped those away.  When I finally made it home, I just felt numb.  I still feel that way to a degree.

But, time moves forward... at least according to our perception.  We had a night of visitation that was filled with people he'd known through the years... and then a funeral filled with many more who came to pay their final respects on Tuesday.  There were gorgeous flowers, and lots of stories, smiles and tears.  His casket was draped with a quilt his mother had made.  My brother sent him off with a deck of Rook cards (his favorite game), and I made one last batch of peanut butter fudge and brought him one last coke.  Monday night after the visitation I wrote him a letter and tucked it into his pocket so he wouldn't forget that I loved him.

It's been a really difficult time, I walked by the peanut butter aisle at the grocery a few days later and broke into tears.  Often, when I close my eyes, I see the scene again where everyone was working on him.  But, after a few days of reflection I feel so very blessed to have had my time with him.

And, a week to the day after his passing, I went back into the studio and picked up a canvas and a paint brush with no real idea of what I was going to do.  This is what appeared on the canvas...


I can't help but believe that it is a gift from the Universe to remind me that there is more than just this life.

Thanks to all of you for allowing me this time to grieve and this place to vent, your support and patience has been wonderful and much appreciated.  I hope you will continue to share that with me over the next few weeks as a new "normal" sets in for me and the creativity begins again.

31 July 2014

I'm so lost...

My long time lunch date, my Dad, passed away this afternoon. I'm just lost.

20 July 2014

Chaos...

I still have not assigned mail art partners everyone, this week has been quite the whirl wind... and not in a good way.

Last Tuesday I got a 4:30 am wake up call from the facility where my father is, he was being sent to the emergency room because he was having unusual bleeding.  This would be our second visit in five days.  Our first visit ther was horrible, so when I learned that they wanted to admit him and that UK had no beds available in the hospital (a massive hospital by the way), I asked that he be moved to Good Samaritan. 

The move took hardly any time at all, and we were at Good Sam within the hour.  He was checked out, and we decided to take a conservative approach based on his health issues, so we were going to wait to see if there was more blood. There was.

Thursday he was scheduled to have a colonoscopy.  They found a mass, and as they were trying to maneuver around it to see if there was more his bowel ruptured.  One of the doctors came to tell me, and informed me that he needed to be in surgery.  They had the team assembled before his Internist made it down from the third floor. 

I was told the risks, that he either had to have the surgery or he would definitely die, but because of his heart issues, his dementia and his kidney issues there were lots of other possible risks involved. They were telling me this as they were whisking him down the hall into surgery. 

As I sat all alone there in the surgery waiting room I think I was really just numb.  The entire event seems like a bad movie.  A very long, very bad movie. 

The good news is that he made it through the surgery.  The bad news is that he has cancer, and a great many other health issues, so now I'm waiting for the pathology to find out just how bad it is.

In the  mean time I will be trying to come to some sort of balance between being there for Dad, trying to get work in, and trying ever so hard not to lose the rest of my sanity while doing both.  While I know, in the end it all works out... right now that seems a little shaky.

I promise that I will get photos up of the mail art from the last swap, I just don't know when... so please bear with me.  I'm going to try to get the emails out with the partner addresses tomorrow... so please, again, bear with me...

16 July 2014

Running on empty...

Ok everyone, let me catch you up with what is going on in my world...

Last Thursday my father had a pretty good fall and we spent the entire day (a very long, and very frustrating day) in the emergency room...

 Exhausting, both mentally and physically... but, I did get to find my painting on the wall in the hospital...
Fuzzy pic, sorry, I only had a second before I had to get back to him.  But, look, it's there, and it was very exciting to see it hanging.

Things were going along relatively well until 4:30 yesterday morning, when his care facility called me to tell me they were transporting him to the ER again.  So... to the ER I go to find that what I thought was going was completely and totally wrong.  But, after about an hour of figuring things out they decided to admit him to the hospital.  Unfortunately, all their beds were full and he would likely have to stay in the ER.  Totally not appropriate from my point of view, so I asked to move to another hospital, still within the same health care system so his doctor could still see him, but a smaller one that I prefer.  To be honest, they seemed shocked.  But after the experience on Thursday where there was a section of the day were we did not see any hospital staff for four and a half hours, staying there was simply not an option in my book.

Within the hour the transfer was arranged, and he was transported.  The difference in the experiences between the two hospitals has been night and day... they have been absolutely amazing at Good Samaritan, where he was admitted and has been ever since.  The original plan was to watch him, and if there was no more issue (he had some unusual bleeding), we would go home. My entire day was spent in the hospital, and I started all over again this morning.  Unfortunately, through the night there was more bleeding, so there will have to be some relatively invasive tests to find out what's going on... that's scheduled for tomorrow, and the earliest he will leave will be sometime Friday.

I tell you all of this so that those participating in the mail art exchange will know that it isn't likely you will get your partner assigned until this weekend.  I am simply mentally and emotionally, and really physically as well, exhausted. 

Of course, you know Good Sam is where my other paintings are hanging, and I had to go get a photo of them as well...

Yup, there they are.  Now I've seen all three, I just wish it could have been with a gaggle of my girlfriends with all of us giggling rather than dealing with this... but you know how the Universe is, I make plans, it laughs and changes them for me.

So, my mail art participants, I'll get your partners to you this weekend, and hopefully, the next exchange will go MUCH smoother!  Thanks for your patience everyone.

13 July 2014

The early riser...

I'm an early riser.  Truly, I'm an insomniac... or, I'm one of that small percentage of the population who has a genetic anomaly that allows us to function well on fewer hours of sleep.  Either way, I am a very early riser (generally about 4:30), and I've come to love those early morning hours when most of the world is still sleeping.  It's almost like my little corner of the world is all mine...

And, sometimes, I'm joined by the sweetest guests.  This little guy was sitting outside by my step this morning when I took the dog out, just sorta waiting for the sun to shine.  The dog didn't even notice him.  I couldn't resist giving him (or her) some treats to start the day since she (or he) had made my morning special.

The strawberries were a huge hit.

Don't forget, if you want to play with us in our mail art exchange let me know!!!

11 July 2014

What a week...

I took a couple of days off from work to take a breath and get myself in a less stressful place mentally.  Spent Wednesday at the zoo... an absolutely perfect day, perfect temps, perfect blue sky with perfectly fluffy clouds... getting some AMAZING photos...

She literally took a few steps from behind a rock and struck the classic gorilla pose for me, then waited while I took the photos.  Isn't she amazing?

And, ended up spending all day yesterday in the emergency room... and I mean ALL DAY.

My dad had taken a fall and hit his head.  He was out of it through it all... me, I got to sit and wait.  Impossible to get a straight answer, although I did get a whole lot of "let me find someone who can answer that for you".  Most frustrating day I have experienced in a very long time.

Card created by Claudine Criner for our last exchange

I haven't had the chance to remind folks very much, but signing up for the current mail art exchange is still going on... originally it was due to close tomorrow, but I'm going to extend it through Tuesday, July 15th... as much to give me time to get reorganized here as to allow others to get signed up.

So... in case you have just run across this and have no idea what I am talking about... here's how it works:

You sign up, and after the close if sign ups you will be matched with a partner.  You create a piece of art that is post card size, address the back, put a stamp on it and tuck it in the mail, all the while your partner is doing the same but with your address on the art.

Here are the really tough rules:
  • If you agree to play, you must play.  If you don't carry through someone will be disappointed, and we don't want that.
  • You do NOT have to be a professional artist, you just have to want to play.
  • We absolutely LOVE having new folks join in... and guys, you are welcome to play too!
  • What you create should be able to go through the postal system... otherwise it wouldn't really be mail art, would it?
  • The size should be no smaller than 4" x 6", and no larger than 5" x 7".
  • Once you sign up, you need to email me your mailing address if I don't have it from another exchange.  My email address is in the left sidebar of the blog.
  • If you wish to play in this exchange leave me a comment on THIS post!
This is a one to one exchange... you sign up, you'll get paired with one person, and the two of you will exchange cards... although, admittedly, I tend to send to more than one person. Your mail art should be mailed by August 9th.

Simple, right?  So, what are you waiting for... get signed up! 

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