So much has happened. I acquired five different bacteria at some point and went into the hospital in August 2016. I had Endocarditis and the drs, except my wonderful Cardiologist, Dr. Dailey, who agreed with me, wanted to swap out my aorta for new one. I was on IV antibiotics at home for 6 weeks after 8 days at UAB. And UAB staff was awesome by the way to a chick that had never spent more than a couple of days in the hospital. So looking back, I begin to look at accomplishments last year and this year so far. I'm glad to say, that I'm still here. Sad, to say that my brother is not. It will take a long time to actually realize that. Not get over it. I'll never get over it. Right now, I can hardly bear to see his photos. He was only 71. My Father was only 66 when he died. I guess our side of the family packs a lot of living into our years. Bill's Mom is now in full-blown Alzheimers. It hurts to visit her. Bill is good to go see his parents several times a week. Dad is 90 and still doing good. I miss Gloria.......There are so many other things that have happened, that hurt but I am truly blessed regardless. I have a wonderful, loving husband, amazing friends, and new ones everyday. I have so much to be thankful for! A good doctor posted that we all must acknowledge that death is a part of life, no matter how or when it comes. And like I posted so innocently last January, we think we have time. We always think we'll have time. I will be lighter and back to my old self and not quite such a downer next time I post.
So I'm updating my website and I see that I need to write something. Ok, I'll write something. Sometime during the night of April 9th, I came down with the flu from hell. I actually went to the ER the next morning and got a dr that prided himself in not over prescribing drugs. So three days later I was in another facility damn-near dead. I would say that I lost at least two weeks of my life during that time. I was in bed or crazed with fever. Trouble is......we were on vacation. We haven't been to the beach since 2010 and we went and I got sick and Bill got sick. Thankfully, Bill recovered enough to get us home. It took about four weeks and two more dr appts altogether to feel better. I used to think that Flu Shots were a government conspiracy to put chips in everyone. Now I don't care. I will be first in line for my flu shot from now on......
The High Road is hard. Sometimes you can't help but take the fork in the road to the low road. But I try really hard to take the High Road. Sometime it just makes the reason why you've taken the high road that much more hard to dedicate yourself to. And sometimes you are only human. I don't know which makes you feel the best. But I'm going to keep plowing the high road......I'm humming Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" to myself......
Supposedly this was written by Buddha, but it wasn't. Just a guy who decided his last name was Buddha. Doesn't matter cause it's still worth saying. Take Time. Don't take it for granted.
Gonna try to write more on my blog this year. Wow what a year 2015 was. Very busy Artfully which is good. Had a show at a friends house in December that blew my mind. I am overwhelmed with being blessed with such good friends and family. I think I plan to learn more and art less, but I can't stop the art. A good friend has told me to paint a little every day. I think she is right. Not complete anything but paint a little. So hopefully some stories will come with that. Happy New Year everyone!
What fun to set up some art in the Kessler Lobby in Downtown Birmingham! I remember what a big deal that department store was and it's still a BIG DEAL to me to have some of my work displayed there in it's gorgeous windows, where 60 years ago the height of fashion was displayed. The Alcove is protected by these curving windows that is floored with a swirl of decorative marble and granite. I could almost hear the walls talk as we walked about the display windows. A great experience!
So much to be grateful for tonight. Great friends and great turnout for the opening. I remain amazed at the generosity of my friends.
I know that sounds REALLY strange, but I keep coming across full-grown people who have not experienced death or grief---a real loss. It's horrible no doubt and there's no reason not to grieve but a sudden death is a completely different kind of loss. It's probably the Mother of all Losses.
I had a really hard time when Daddy died. I was 26 still living at home but just about to move out. You see, I had tried to move into an apartment several years earlier with two other women and one day I came by to drop some stuff off and found them in bed together, quite happy and generously invited me to join them. I passed and the next day, I decided I would move out of my "apartment" and out of my parents house when I had everything I needed as to not depend on a roommate. Nothing against what they had in mind. In fact I think they were happy without me there. We just didn't have common interests and I just preferred to come home after work to a dog instead of a party.
Anyway, the week before I moved out, my father encouraged me to graze thru the attic to see if there was anything that I could use in my apartment. I was already beginning to nuture a fear of heights, and these were not pull down steps, not to mention, no ladder was provided, He and Mother just stacked books and bricks to get up there. Once I got up there, I don't remember much except Daddy encouraging me that it was okay to walk around up there. So being the good Southern daughter that trusted her Daddy, I took my first step and came thru the sheet rock. Even worse is that I got tangled up in the light fixture so it was searing the inside of my thigh.
But you see, I didn't quite fall all the way thru, so I was dangling in wire and sheetrock and 30 year old attic funk and there's Mom and Dad telling me to come on down. And me telling them that no way, they were going to have to call the Fire Dept cause I wasn't moving. Now calling the Fire Dept was a BIG NO NO..... Hell I believe Daddy would have called the Power Company before calling them.
So eventually I came down and they carried me to my bed. Mom went to get Ice and Daddy tried to dig the sheetrock our of my shins, except that wasn't sheetrock. I sat up for a moment to see what the hell he trying to kill me a second time for and very impolitely explained that that WASN'T sheetrock--that was my shinbones.
I drove myself to the ER. Nothing was broken but they bandaged me like a mummy from mid thigh to ankles and hobbled home and to work the next day.
While at work, the next day, our administrative assistant found me and told me my mother was on the phone. She told me Daddy wasn't doing too good and the paramedics were there. To this day, I never have a totally empty tank of gas anymore. I had to stop and get gas, made it to the house and the neighbors told me that Daddy was at the ER. The same one I had been to the day before.
There's a whole lot more to this story but basically Daddy felt he had to repair the ceiling I had fallen thru. He probably hadn't felt good for a while but doing that did him in and of course, he wouldn't let Mom call the Fire Dept........
There's some really good stories out there. My problem is that they come from good friends and i don't necessarily need to publicize their accounts--just yet. So let me briefly just toss some "nuggets" of my own out there so as to not embarrASS anyone but myself --Ass being the operative word here.
I'm a city girl and as a result have little exposure to wild life. So the Christmas Eve of probably 1996 when my Maltese and Schnauzers were going crazy at something under our outside ground floor deck, you can imagine my surprise when I took a flashlight and looked between the boards to see some grayish/pink eyes staring back at me. A further inspection revealed a hairless, nasty looking worm of a tail. I called neighbors for help-- not a good night for animal rescue--but one neighbor did give me a helpful tip: put it in a roasting pan with some sweet potatoes and that would be some good eating'........Passed.
So the years went by.......Probably about 10 years later, time, water and dirt had started messing with the entrances and exits to the area that multiple generations of Possums had called the ground under our deck their home. There was a time when Eric Robert Rudolph was still loose and was reportedly delivering pizzas in our neighborhood and our dogs were going crazy again. (Oh sure, if you were ERR, wouldn't you hide out in Hoover AL as a pizza delivery boy, altho I bet the tips are pretty good.) We are one of those rare Americans that don't carry fire-arms. We have ADT, baseball bats and I have fingernails. If you get close enough, I can take away your eyesight, and with my baseball bat.....well, you will be crawling or crying. Or Both. Our dogs are small but your should see what they do to a squirrel...... So I go outside to see my Maltese having an altercation with several baby possums. Way too early for camera phones, but the vision is still vivid of several baby possums on their hind legs, hissing and spitting at Maxx. Now, keep in mind,, they are both small and white and furry. So I was witnessing a real meeting of God's creatures, looking at each and in their own language screaming "what in the hell ARE you? and "why are you spitting/barking/ hissing ?" At any rate, I yelled for Maxx to come inside just in case Eric Robert Rudolph really WAS outside with a pizza and he quickly accommodated my request. And i would say that he smelled quite, um, "Gamey" when he got inside.
Then a few years later, Bill and I decided that the possums were gone and we plugged up the exits. The next morning, I'm looking out onto our back yard and saw the biggest, pinkest possum.....I have nothing to compare it to size wise because I do not know my wild life dimensions, but let me say, this was a Bigass Possum.
A Bigass HAIRLESS Possum. Apparently the Matriarch of the family that had, over time, scraped most of her hair off the major parts of her body as she slid in and out from our ground level deck. But based on her traffic and productivity, she may have lost her looks over the years, but gotta hand it to her, she had maintained her "popularity."
I won't go into all the details, but I will say that I called the safety patrol which just happened to be available as it was the same morning after prom night and they arrived swiftly, in their black boxer shorts, cowboy boots and assorted head gear. Yep, that was all they were wearing, but let me just say they were spot on..... and Mamma Mia got another chance to grow her hair back.
Next up: Quasimodo, the Squirrel......
If you think you are reading my Blog to get any info about my paintings, Boy are you going to be disappointed!
Tomorrow things will sorta get back to normal. We will go to Publix and probably Costco and get ready for NYE and then the Sugar Bowl and subsequent College Football results and then the January takes over. The ONLY good thing about January is the perchance it will snow. Otherwise, I have no use for Cold Weather except that it might put a damper on the critters flying around in the summer that consider me "Sushi".
I just talked to my good friend Margaret about this year and all the things that we know happened but can't remember. I do remember pools, and parties, and lakes and boats and painting and art shows and laughing so hard. So we have promised to sit down over a bottle of wine and go month by month but until then or until it's 2016 and we need to review 2015 (hopefully) I suddenly felt like writing a few things that I have learned this year......
I am not one to make New Year's Resolutions. I am just glad to even see a New Year.
Anne Frank was wrong. Deep down inside there are indeed some really bad people but dammit everyone of them has got something interesting about them, even if it's that's a really nasty scar on their face that you keep staring at. And you can't believe they are that mean. It's a basic word that we learn early on. Mean. I remember the word being used to describe the character Bruno Kirby was playing in Good Morning Viet Nam when he screwed over the Robin Willams' character and it stuck it with me. I don't think there is a colder word. I guess we can all have some meanness in us for some reason for a moment, but mean to the core is really cold.
No matter how hard you work, or what a good person you are, or how much you know, shit happens. It's true. Bad things really do happen to perfectly good people. But what goes around comes around.... maybe not in our lifetime, but it does. I've seen it happen too many times.
Sometimes, for some reason, people really strike it rich. Sometimes with money, sometimes with other things. I am a rich woman. I am married to a good man who loves me. ME! And has for almost 30 years, warts and all. And I know a lot of people who don't have that and right now when it seems like the world is on fire, I am a rich woman.
Art comes in all kinds of form and ALL ART IS OKAY. Just like that house that gets built right by the railroad and someone buys it, there is art for everyone and if you just think you don't like it, if you look long enough you'll find some value in it. Regardless, someone's time, money, brain, fingers and most importantly--HEART--is in it, whether your see it has beauty or not.
Oldie but a goodie: DLTBGYD--Don't let the Bastards get you down. or "Illegitimi Non Carborundum" cause they will try. Look around and you will see Assholes all over the place. Some have multiple ones. "Anae". See above Bullet #2 and remember they are the one with the problem and it's all over their face. Or lower.
I'm all for self improvement but if you're trying to fix something that's not broken, realize what's really broken, and okay...... try to fix it if you want to. But don't waste a long time doing it cause life's too short. Grab your cloud and go have fun. Sounds sophomoric, but I'm at that age where I can be sophomoric. Nobody is reading this anyway! See #3 above.
Space. Ahhh. Space. I'm not talking about Outer Space. I'm talking about when things are just a little too close, we all can use a little space. It lets you step back and have a look at things, you get to take deep breaths and long walks and talks with yourself. I have lost a few people in my life this year, not due to death, but they did pass away. Not sure what I did, but I tried to reclaim them and when that didn't work, I went Frozen. And by that I mean I "Let It Go" . See #6.
I just might go to Cuba this year.
Heroes aren't hard to find, they just may arrive differently than you imagined. And they may let you down. But at least they tried.
Take a risk. I don't mean be a Dick, but if you see something wrong and you can do something about it, do it. Even if it's calling 911. If it ain't working, you can always walk away. They can't kill you, well maybe they can, but at least you tried. And if you saw the movie, This is The End, then you know you'll get to see the Backstreet Boys in concert again. See last bullet first though.
Stand up for yourself. or somebody! Every now and then I know we all look down at the floor when someone should be saying something back in uncomfortable situations, especially in the South. I am guilty of it, too. One time my husband and I were at a concert and two guys were slugging on this little guy in between them and I couldn't take it anymore so I grabbed the two big guys arms to stop them. So all that did was give the little guy a chance to punch the other two guys and for the the two big guys to look at Bill and start to swing at him. So use good judgement. See #8 above. I should include "Timing" so let's make "Timing" 8.5.
Which leads me to one more nugget that my brother recently shared with me....if you get attacked, whether by animal or human, if you can, take out a leg. It will at least slow them down.
Happy New Year till we meet again.
Well not exactly......Daddy died in 1982 but he did sit in the dark and his cigarette glowed in the dark...... and when he wasn't awake, my mother was up drinking hot tea. Apparently there was always a creature stirring in our little house. And then I think of another song that says it's "Five O'clock in the Morning" and it almost is and I need to go to sleep but I have been getting some things prepared for Christmas and watched "Big Fish" while I was cooking and wrapping and just felt like posting something......Great Southern Writers and Great Southern Stories....you know we just love to tell great stories, partly true and partly fiction. And we celebrate those characters.......I am feeling very grateful right now. Grateful for the gift of time with a good man, the love of my life, who retired this year and is now my partner in whatever I decide to do (partner in crime?) because he will do it pretty much right along side with me when I was afraid I might lose him this year. I don't know why/how I got this lucky. He had me scared this year with so much job stress that I had to buy him manly make-up to cover up his dark circles under his eyes. I felt like his whole self was slipping away from me. Now I have him every day to myself and our little fur babies, Rockstar and Bonjovi, that love it, too. We can stay up late, or sleep late and just remind ourselves that that is what we worked so hard for. But back to why I am up so late. Watching Big Fish reminded me so much of eccentric Southern behavior i.e. family members staying up late but sitting in the dark but also appreciating that humor, the humor of Julia Sugarbaker when she said "This is the South and we are proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to he Living Room and show 'em off. See, .....no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on". And what side are they on mine? Both. Merry Christmas Y'all!!!
"I woke last night to the sound of thunder, how far off, I sat and wondered," started humming a song from Peter Pan (I'll never grow up, never grow, not me) that wound around my exhausted brain and body while my poor liver quietly tried to filter a weekend of rich food, too much drinking and too little sleep. The swelling in my knees and ankles were trying to find somewhere else to go. But we had a HELLUVA a lot of fun. My sides still hurt from laughing so hard until 4:00 in the morning when we quit playing cards and started playing Wii Bowling but we were so tired we bowled sitting down. (Even the youngest bowled left handed from the sofa horizontally and he's not even left-handed--and he's about to turn 40!!!.) My team won the most amazing game (and they didn't win it with any last minute miracles) but my husband was almost home before he realized he had driven all the way back from Tuscaloosa with the lights off. ( Now keep in mind there were three other adults in the car. I asked "didn't anybody blink their lights at you? And they all said "Yes, but we just thought they were celebrating with us!!!) . We ate Tomahawk steaks so big they didn't fit on the Grill, we had sausage and biscuits made from blueberries and maple syrup. Paella, Turducken, Curried Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Beets turned into a salad, Blackbottom Pie and Lemon Meringue Tarts. Oh and a fortune in very good Bourbon. I really didn't hear thunder last night, but I did hear myself come to a good realization that I had been sung Happy Birthday to 59 times and have since I retired acted like I was still in my 20's. Yep as I write this, it's 12:30 in the morning but you've got to understand that yesterday I slept almost 24 hours. I lost a day of my life. Bill and I had a wonderful weekend with both sides of the family, but I have come to the realization that there's a good reason that my side of the family dies young. We just have too much fun dammit and altho we don't really grow up, we grow older. So now I have vowed that I am going to be better to myself, my knees, my back, my heart, my liver......altho, uh-hum, it's a late start. Back to Art tomorrow!!!
Just a quick post that for a week, from November 15th to the 22nd, BAA members will have their work displayed at the King's House Antiques 2807 2nd Ave South. The Opening Reception which will have food and drink will be on November 16th from 2 to 4 in the afternoon. If you get a chance, please stop by. Thanks!
In searching for a new frontier for meeting new artists and becoming more involved in the community of artists here in Birmingham, I joined the Birmingham Artist Association (aka BAA). Better half and me went to a member meeting last Wednesday night at the Continental Bakery. It was upstairs and very "Chez Lulu" and covered in the artwork of Dori Decamillis. one of my instructors.
I have never felt so welcomed by so many strangers! And learned about many wonderful opportunities.
I really want to encourage my artist friends to join the BAA. We'll be showing off at King's Antiques in November and the Big Night is the 20th all over Pepper Place and Ferguson Bath and Kitchen Fixtures.
There's a juried show coming up in February. And several workshops, including one in January with an awesome international artist who paints in oils in Figuratism.. It's really a great opportunity to meet other artists as well as learn and share.
What a fabulous trip that was full of such interesting people, art and sensory experiences. Great friends like Margaret and David Adams, her sister Betsy Cain, Ellen Longwater, Jane Fishman and of course the ever charismatic and entertaining Dr. John. Art Galleries, history and paranormal experiences. And let's not forget the food! The Scallops are the size of silver dollars and so sweet. But the food is excellent everywhere we went. Collins Quarter for breakfast or lunch and it's packed but they will text you when it's ready so you can keep going and looking! Elizabeth's on 37th for fine dining and ambience, Crystal Beer Parlor for Crab Stew and the best Onion Rings in the world, not to mention the peach cobbler. Local Ten:11 had KC as our server and attendant. And they had rabbit, buffalo, mussels, duck, octopus, warm olives and if we'd arrived earlier, we could have had a cocktail up top in the trees! But it was worth watching the Grass on the Salt Marsh at Sunset on Wilmington Island at Betsy's place becoming more golden as the sun goes down and drinking wine and listening to the clack of oysters and clams as they eat their own supper. I do need to mention that the De Soto Hilton had the nicest associates and we had a great corner room with a balcony that became "party central" every night. Their employees are happy. That says a lot about their work environment.
So excited to be headed to Savannah GA with our friends, Margaret and David Adams. Margaret's sister, Betsy Cain, is not only an international artist, she is also hosting and organizing a tribute to Gary Miller and a celebration of his art and life at Oglethorpe Gallery.
Waiting to watch Alabama play Ole Miss. No doubt that I bleed Crimson and White and am confident, but will not relax until that game is over and then there is Auburn vs LSU tonight. As I write this, I am watching Texas A&M vs MS State. It’s Saturday, down South and it’s hard to get anything else accomplished except Pigs in a Blanket and Bloody Mary’s.
My Better Half just brought up one of my bigass canvasses (60 x 48) from the basement, as requested. I was fortunate to sell the 60 x 40 in my Dining Room last week and as a result I have a big blank wall that I need to replace especially before the holidays. So I am waiting to be inspired to paint another “Bigun”……but in the meantime, will probably go thru a gallon of gesso to prime the “Bigass Canvass”…..