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  • Don't forget to stop and smell the Roses.
  • What Color Is It?

    March
    15
    2008

    425colors.jpg

    I fell asleep lastnight thinking about someone. This person has a life full of struggle and uncertainty, hardship, and then some. At least that’s what it looks like from the outside. I only know what I see – because I really don’t know her at all. There’s something about her situation, her lifestyle, the choices that she makes – that fills my mind up with color, I guess because words fail me. As I lay there with my eyes closed, swirls of deep, dark aubergine filled my vision like a cup. The color was moving, turning deeper and darker as it settled in a backdrop glowing with red-orange umber. Mountains of burgundy mounted up behind the continual movement of the aubergine. The auburgene swirled and moved forward as though it needed to define itself – it was like I was painting these colors on a canvas just to convey this mood. In fact, a lot of times I have to put those visions to canvas otherwise the same vision will appear to me over and over until I do.

    When I got up this morning I could still see this “canvas”. It really evoked a lot of emotion, and I still can’t put words to what emotion that is. It got me thinking about other experiences in my life that I’ve associated with color, one in particular was such a cool thing that I’ll never forget – and that was during childbirth.

    While I was in transitional labor with Catybug, I had a focal point that I didn’t expect. When I closed my eyes, I saw a bright glow of orange. As I focused on that color, I noticed that as my contraction subsided, the color reduced down to a tiny circle. It happened with every contraction – and it was really awesome because after the first couple of contractions, I counted on that glow to show me when it was almost over. That made the pain of childbirth totally bearable, as I knew exactly when the pain would subside, and just knowing that it would was enough for me!

    There are other situations that I’ve had color experiences with, feelings that I associate with a certain hue. What I want to know is – has this ever happened to you?

    Do share, what’s the feeling – and what color is it? If this hasn’t happened to you, then tell me this – what words would you put to the color aubergine?

    425aubergine.jpg

    Death of a Friendship

    February
    24
    2008

    I’d like to think we can all relate to this topic, can’t we? It’s a sad time in our lives, when we lose a friendship that has become so important to us over time.

    Friendships are such a funny thing. You meet someone, and when you’re young you just go with the flow, if they stick around – great, if not – that’s fine too. Drifting away is normal, losing touch is commonplace. As you get older, though, those nagging thoughts (voices) in your head become louder and more prominent. The drifting doesn’t seem so normal, so immediately I think it has to be something I did. These scenarios play out in any number of ways.

    1. I think it’s something I did, or said. I haven’t heard from her in months, and calls go unreturned.

    2. There’s a strange pause in the conversation, and then a quick subject change, and then the gaps between conversations grow longer and longer, until they stop.

    3. A number of days pass where there’s no connection at all, then you talk but it’s rapid fire, and the fakeness is so thick you can hardly wait to get off the phone and replay the last several months in your head.

    4. She stopped reading my blog.

    Gasp! WHAT? She stopped reading my blog?! Of all of the sins of friendship, isn’t that one like, the most important? Even my mom reads my blog. C’mon. If you love me, you read my blog. That’s the only possible excuse you’d have for not calling. Right?

    Right.

    So all of these things are a good indication that something has gone awry. There are ways to handle it, however, it just baffles me that people choose to let it just disappear without a word. Don’t they have any idea the amount of wondering a person can do? Wondering is dangerous. Side effects include dizziness, stomach upset and in rare cases, vomiting. See? Nothing good comes from wondering.

    Nothingness. And then if you happen to make contact? There are excuses. Are they believable? Legitimate? Do you hold your friendship at the same level as before the long absence? Don’t you feel like you’ve got a big “reject” stamp in the middle of your forehead when this happens? (Oh, please tell me it’s happened to you.)

    There are a few lines in “You’ve Got Mail” that I love, and they are SO true.

    Joe: It wasn’t… personal.
    Kathleen: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?
    Joe: Uh, nothing.
    Kathleen: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

    Over the years, I’ve noticed a trend with me and my friendships. I’ve actually set some guidelines now before an acquaintance becomes a friend, and a friend becomes a cherished part of my life. This prevents a lot of pain, and it also gives my friends something to aspire to, if they can tolerate me long enough. It’s pretty simple, there are short-term, mid-term, long-term, and lifelong friendships. Yes, I split them up into categories. It helps me keep track.

    Short-term friendships are those that last two years or less. (I can expand or reduce that amount of time as I see fit, of course.) In this amount of time, you can really determine if you have enough in common to go to the next level, or if you just cut your ties and call it a learning experience. Honestly? Too many people don’t make it past this stage. I must be really annoying. Or something. Most often? No explanation is required. I’m okay with that. That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt, because it certainly stings and makes me analyze myself. Okay, I over-analyze myself.

    Mid-term friendships are 2-4 years long. If you make it past the short term, there’s a good chance you’ll make it – because anyone who knows me knows that one year should be about all anyone can take. If you make it past 2, you’re like, gifted. And special. You will get a Christmas card. If you vanish just before or after the 4 year mark, it would be really freakin’ nice to know what I did, because how am I supposed to NOT do that in the future? Really. Specifics are good. I call those losses a lesson in self-improvement. And I cry about them. Yes, I do. You might not THINK I care, but I’m over here caring like a banshee, I’m just not good at communicating that.

    Long-term friendships, 5-10 years long, usually these people know that I’m not good at communicating that I care. I appreciate them even more for knowing my slanted sense of humor equals love and affection, and my aloofness is a result of having children and looking at my monitor for too long. I cry for them, with them, and sometimes, because of them. When a long term friendship ends, it’s like losing an arm. Or at least some fingers. These people are IMPORTANT. They KNOW stuff about me, because I don’t share that stuff with just anybody, and you HAVE to know that if you disappear after that amount of time, I expect all my dirty laundry to have it’s own place on the web that I don’t know about with thousands of commentors saying what an ass I am. I had to have done something horribly, terribly wrong for a long term friendship to vanish. Seriously. What did I say? What did I do? You can’t just get to this stage and exit stage left without leaving a note. These losses are heartbreaking, and sad, and mournful.

    Lifelong friendships – well, obviously they never left. Beyond the stage of needing any explanation that life happens, comfortable enough for just 2 calls a year (as long as she never forgets my birthday, and I never forget hers, we will always be sisters at heart). Those are wonderful, cozy, giggly and loving friendships that you know will never end. I’m so glad I have these, because I truly cherish them. And I’m also very glad I haven’t mourned the loss of one of these friends, because that would only happen by death, and that would be so sad that I would be blogging through Kleenex. There would be no other way.

    I do spend a lot of time wondering, though, about those mid and long-term disappearances. Why is it so hard to say goodbye, if you share so much? I have friends who have gone through this as well. One day you wake up and one of your best friends is just gone. Someone you let in a little more than others, someone whose friendship you thought you were building to go to the next level. No explanation, no forwarding address – and when you leave more than just a few messages you start feeling like a stalker. How can one person care so much more than the other? How can someone just let it go *poof* without a word?

    What has to happen in order for it to be SO bad that a person doesn’t even rate enough for a call, an apology, a friendship breakup song on tape in a small brown box without a return address in the mailbox on a rainy gray afternoon?

    My Mouth Hangs Open

    February
    11
    2008

    At the audacity of some people on this planet. Truly.

    I have never given an artist a critique unless they asked – no, more like begged for it. I hate giving my opinion on things as sensitive as art. Hate. I mean, really, if the person you’re critiquing is having an overly sensitive and self-critical day (as most artists tend to have frequently) you could do some serious damage to their self worth. And that’s nothing I take lightly, and absolutely nothing I want to live with having had an impact on (unless it’s positive, of course!).


    purple tulip original india ink painting
    I got a comment in my portfolio yesterday, where a person suggested that I should have used a different color in one of my paintings. Um, ex-squeeze me? What? Did I ask for a critique? No, I don’t believe I did. And honestly, I don’t ask not because I don’t care, but because I do what the Holy Spirit leads me to do, and I believe every choice I’ve made in every painting is a deliberate one that has been directly impacted by something far bigger than I am. The end result is exactly as it should be, and I don’t ever question that. This particular piece is one that I love dearly (because it’s my favorite flower, and from my own garden), and is hanging in a lovely home and appreciated every day for exactly what it is.

    So, how do you react to that kind of situation? It’s one thing when your mother (or mother in law) is giving you unsolicited advice on how to raise your kids, you can tell them to bug-off a bit easier and without being snottish, you know? But this? This came from someone who claims to be a “fellow artist”. Fellow. As in comrade. Member of the same group. Really? Are they really? Because wouldn’t an artist know not to EVER give unsolicited advice like that on a completed -and sold- painting?

    I try not to come off as an arrogant artist with an overly inflated ego. I am *not* all that. I am what I am, and that is all. I do what I know I can do, I learn the things I’m driven to learn. I never claimed to be an expert painter, or the best portrait artist on the web (and trust me, there are artists out there who claim exactly that). For the most part, I don’t even know that I know what I know until I try to explain it to someone who has asked. And even then, I think I don’t know what I’m talking about. (Didjya get all that?)

    Could I be more humble? Because that’s all I really want to be when I grow up.

    So I replied in a way that told my “fellow” artist that the painting was sold, and if they wanted to commission one with the advised changes, I’d be happy to provide a quote.

    Yes, I do say on my portfolio that I love feedback. I do love feedback. Perhaps I should modify that so that even an artist would understand that a critique is not being requested, because I just don’t “get” how someone could not “get” the difference.

    ….closing my mouth now.

    My Groovy Birthday : A Recap

    January
    16
    2008

    bdaygroovy1.jpg
    My Birthday started a day early, even, as my dear friend Lisa sent along a Groovy e-greeting, where she spent hours, apparently, scouring for my face and cropping it just so that I could do this very Groovy Birthday Dance on screen. I was feeling all giggly and shiny happy-like, starting my celebration a day early and all. Everyone should have a two-day birthday, I think!

    And then it happened. I actually turned 37. And nothing changed, except that new number I have 366 days to try to remember – or forget – depending on the day. My gray’s didn’t get any grayer, my face didn’t get any wrinklier, so that’s a good thing.

    bday1.jpg

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    I’m 37.

    January
    15
    2008

    birthday muffin cake blog party invite photo
    Today marks my 37th year on this planet. Though my latitude and longitude seem a bit off, I think I’ll be here for at least a little while longer.

    It’s kinda cool having a birthday at the beginning of the year, it’s not just a New Year then, it seems like there’s this whole rebirthing thing going on in my head every January. The getting the mind ready for a new year, the mucking up my food choices for just 15 more days. The countdown until Christmas, then the countdown AFTER Christmas. Aaah now I can get on with the year.

    Why do I feel like giving something away today? Hm. Maybe I’ll do that. Okay.

    The best Birthday wish (left in comments) gets a custom 4×6 graphite (pencil) drawing. Did you get that? You’re actually going to win something on MY birthday. Heh, am I desperate for Birthday Wishes or what? Bring your friends, for the love of Birthdays. I’m having a party! Make me laugh, make me cry, be sincere or silly – the wish that moves me the most wins.

    And have a cranberry muffin! It goes great with coffee.

    Love, your Birthday Princess.
    P.S. That is my cranberry muffin. Mm.

    Lee, Thou Hast Redeemed Thy Denim.

    January
    11
    2008

    leejeans.jpgFor years, Lee Jeans have been atop my “Jeans to NEVER try on again” list. Obviously, I lost either my list or my mind, because I slipped into a pair of these new Custom Fit Collection Jeans the other day. I was impressed.

    Levi’s stole my heart a long time ago in the jeans department. They fit like jeans should fit, at least on my lumpy bumps they do. They’ve spoiled me with their straight legs, low rise and invisible seams. I am not a yellow/orange thread on dark denim kind of girl. That is at the top of page 3 in my “Things That Are Tacky” book (not yet sold in stores). The pockets – oohhh the pockets. They’re meant to make your backside look a little bit country, you know, and that’s just what this midwestern girl needs.

    Now Lee has finally figured it out. The straight leg. The slight stretch jean. The comfort waist that – although is a little wierd at first – leaves absolutely NO gap. No valley’s will be catchin’ air with these jeans. They have a straight leg, not too tight, not too loose – and they’re just the right length. (Pants that drag on the floor: bottom of page 2.)

    Thank you, Lee. I am impressed. I can now officially rescind my “I’ll never own a pair of Lee Jeans” declaration that I have repeated (to myself, mainly) over the last couple of decades.

    I must know – who has stolen your heart in the jeans department, and which jeans will never see the inside of your fitting room?

    Who Dunnit? (or, I’m Old.)

    November
    29
    2007

    Who poked me in the eye when I wasnt looking?' class=
    I’m giving you my evil bruised eye, muahaha.
    Somewhere between working (staring at a computer screen), driving (staring at the road) and sleeping (staring at the back of my eyelids), between the hours of 5pm and 6am – somehow this giant purple blurb of broken blood vessels appeared on my eye.

    WTH?

    I’m not sure exactly how someone could have poked me in the eye without my knowledge, but I’m also not sure how resting blood vessels can spontaneously combust during REM. All I know is that I woke up, took a shower and when I started brushing my teeth I wondered – who punched me in the head?! And then I remembered, I have OLD. You know, that incurable disease where really odd things happen to your body that have no explanation other than that you have OLD. Symptoms include crankiness, irritability, wild mood swings, persistence and righteousness, and then of course wrinkles, graying hair, unexplained bruising and brittle bones.

    Yes. I think I’ll blame it on OLD. Unless one of you wants to fess up to sneaking into my house and poking me in the eye while I was sleeping . . .

    It’s Me Again, God.

    November
    5
    2007

    Is a replay of last Monday really necessary?

    Really?

    Still love ya,

    Me.

    (Apparently, the hospital didn’t give me the barrage of drugs they should have, so my treatment, cut short, didn’t cure my bladder infection 100%. Now I shall enjoy frequent and fluorescent trips to the ladies room along with 10 more days worth of horse pills. Yipee!)

    Dear God, it’s me. Leanne.

    October
    30
    2007

    Hi, God. It’s me again. I just wanted to check in and review the day yesterday, because I’m a little concerned that I’m not “getting it”. I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned in here somewhere, so if you’d just kindly point that out along the way, I’d really appreciate that.

    It started off with a miserable headache, which is normal for a Monday, so you didn’t really shock me with that one. You know how I am when you throw two girly girl voices whining and bickering at the crack of dawn with the “boom boom boom” you had going on in my head, so I think the short temper was warranted, don’t you? I was thinking I had a free pass on that one.

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