Friday, January 1, 2016

Updates for 2014-2015

I said I'd be doing the bucket list last time I posted here- and forgot about it all.

Is that bad? Nope.  That told me that my life kept me busy.

I have increased in volunteering, participating in social justice and reproductive justice activism lately!    However to talk about my social justice activism would make it all about me, not the communities that the spotlight need to be on.  Please read blogs by women of color; participate in groups run by trans people; and listen with no intention to interrupt or go 'but' to stories of disabled people.  


I saw the play "Our Town"  in January 2014.     All I can say is.. it blew me away.     If the play comes to your town, go see it!     Yes, it may feel boring- stick to it and you'll realize how accurate it is to your life.
Actors Theater's 'Our Town'


In the past two years, I had been pressured to give/donate some labyrinth paintings I created to organizations or individuals.    I had not felt comfortable with that; yes I even resented that encouragement, pressure.   That included being asked to give workshops on labyrinth mediation/walking for free.    What gives?   Do one really think that art or education should be free all the time?  

When I paint, that includes the cost of materials, frame, canvas, length of time- could cost between $75-200.  Yet when I put $90-350 on the paintings, I am told that I am greedy.  !!!

When I come to do a labyrinth workshop, that includes mileage, cost of gas, hotel stay, sometimes rental of the room, length of time, and time away from my job.   Yet when I check whether they will pay me for the workshop, (usually 200-450), I'm told that they cannot afford that.  Yet it's okay for me to pay to fill up my gas, drive 150 miles, and pay for overnight stay at the hotel. Okay......

So I had dug my heels in and said no more, I'm not gonna donate/give paintings away, nor do my workshops for free anymore.   Did that stop people?  Nope-   others realized the value- I had sold six paintings in the last six months!  To me,that's a big step.  Workshops-  I had been asked to do a workshop later this year, and they made an offer to pay for the hotel stay and my airfare, so to me, that's a fair trade.

In 2014, I had gone to the Michigan Womyn's Musical Festival, in which I had fallen in love with.  For the first time ever in my life, I felt safe. I could walk down the road at 3am, not looking over my shoulder, which I did so- walking under the moonlight!  Camped among fellow spirits.  Only one minus about that was that there were no workshops about infertility/childless choice/not by choice.  I recall telling members who have been attending the festival for many years as they could recall, that there IS a labyrinth built on the land, and to be told "no there isn't, unless you mean the labyrinth by ribbon over there."  I was persistent- following my gut, and I found the stone labyrinth!  It had been built a long time ago, so many old members let it slide from their memories.

I came back in 2015, saddened that it would be the last year for the festival.  Heartened that I got to give a workshop on the labyrinth walking- in end, the attendees got to see the stone labyrinth- lets hope that whatever happens to the land, the stone labyrinth will be always be there.  This time, my best friend Roni came and experienced the magic of the festival.  I also volunteered most of the time at the orientation/welcome area, the Deaf haven and the kitchen.  I realized from 2014, volunteering was where I was most happy, and so I did that again last year.

I walked in the 2014 Zombie Walk in Louisville- it was a blast of fun!    Saw so many zombies, yet so little time to see them all!

I took a break from writing the book, since I found myself stuck with the 'writer's block' (obviously here too in the blog!).

For 2014 and 2015 Goodreads, of 150 and 200 books, achieved, although realizing that with that pressure in the last year, I found myself disinterested in reading. So for now, I'm not going to read just for the sake of 'Goodreads' goals, but for my own pleasure.

In 2015, I had done some travels-  to NJ, OH, IN, CO and KS.

I had also lost my grandmother, June back in July.  Throughout growing up, she had been there a steadfast anchor for me.  When relatives hesitated in learning sign language, she dived in and became skillful so we can communicate to each other- she made sure that I was part of the family, instead of staying in the shadows.  She encouraged me greatly to start reading when I was a toddler; she fanned the flames of reading within me, non-stopping in handing me books to consume.  In the last years, she had been a shadow of who she was, due to dementia, no longer remembering anyone, not even me the last time I saw her. So when I got the news she died, I explored the mixture of grief and relief at the same time- feeling relief that her suffering had ended, yet grieving that she is gone.    At the funeral, I wrote her eulogy, echoing her values in reading and writing.  I still miss her.

And my VW Jetta Sweetheart, bought in 2003, had bit the dust only two months ago.  I got a new Kia Soul-   more room for camping trips!

Looking back, the bucket list have looked harder than it was, and so I decided for the next five years, I will stick to the five goals.

Pay off Debt
Travel out of country
Buy/Build a tiny house.
Re-assess my life and see where I want to go from here.

And for the childless not by choice part in my life?    I realized that I AM a mother in other ways.  To my furkids, I am their mom. I am an aunt spoiling my 3 years old nephew, who now finds himself a Star Wars fan like me, and the twins(boy and girl!) just born to my brother and sister-in-law two months ago.  Being a mentor to several young women is enriching.  So in general, I have made peace with the childless aspect.   Of course, the book about me is unfinished, there is a lot more to write- the plot may change.  And you know what? I look forward to surprises popping up on the next few pages.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Still Alive.

I had forgotten the password for this blogspot, and I wasn't in any hurry to restore that.

Have been very busy lately, with classes, volunteering, local activities and moderating three Facebook groups, on top of providing workshops here and there.

So yes, I'm still alive.

Will catch up with the bucket list for 2014, and some updates soon.

And yes, I survived the third anniversary two weeks ago-  on that day, it was finally snowing after months of no snow.  Instead of feeling the drowning grief of the first anniversary or emotional numbness of the second anniversary, I felt passive resignation.

Well, that's a step toward healing.

(artist unknown, if you know who, please let me know so I can credit) 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Love me

Have been full up to my ears, Ha!  

So hadn't time to check in with my blog for a long while, which is both good and not so good.  

One reason I have to come to a consideration, (which might be a sensitive spot for some readers), is that whenever I write about my infertility, my sorrow, my frustrations, I find myself in a cycle of depression, clockwise.  
And I don't like that.  

I have been out of state several times, including YES, the MICHIGAN'S WOMYN MUSIC FESTIVAL!!!  That experience walking on the Land under the moonlight, seeing womyn drum and dance, and of laughter and tears among us, I cannot really describe it.   How can you describe the color red to someone blind?  This is similar to whenever I try to describe the event. 

I have been increasing busy in activism, including reproductive justice, domestic violence, awareness of Deaf community/American Sign Language, and my beloved passion, labyrinths.  

Does it mean I have forgotten or pushed aside my infertility? 

No. I still find myself feeling sad, but the frequency and length of experiencing sorrow had stretched to the point that it feels like a soft headsmack, when occurring now and then. Not so like the baseball bat slam that I'd frequently experienced in my heart in the first year, or the cold water bath in my face in the second year.   AND I enjoyed holding a baby earlier this summer, which was a HUGE step for me, to the point that I'd keep looking for opportunities to hold her when possible during that week of camping.  

After two years, I feel it is safe to say that yes it is still hard that I am not anywhere near to my goal of having a child, either by adoption or foster care.  Being deaf is its own obstacle, imagine that.   So that's the battle ongoing in my life.  

When I have time, I'll write more. 

So on this note, I will leave this for you-    love y'all, love me.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Good point.

for folks who can't read tiny words
"Why do people do that?   Deny that they've ever done anything wrong in a relationship. Why can't people just take responsibility for their shit and move on?" 

Enuff said.

Bucket list 2013 to 2014

Just keeping it simple and short.     

I hadn't been involved in any dramas so far, and so I find my health is much better for that. That is revealing how much some ex friends were drama seekers, and how life has improved after I removed them.  I hadn't been the peacekeeper for two years now.  SWEET.   

37 paintings so far-  ***SOLD two!!***  And will sell some of my artwork at an upcoming festival-let's keep our fingers crossed. 

Waverly Hills historical tour AND paranormal tour-  no ghosts in photography (drats!) 

Started volunteering in several fields, including reproductive justice, Big Sisters, people struggling with homelessness. 

Had opened two FB groups, one with goal of activism, and one for deaf women. Both going well.  

OLD SOUTH travels!   (Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama...) Eats in New Orleans includes Acme oysters and Seafood House, Cafe Du Monde, Clover Grill, El Nate Negro, Napoleon House, NOLA, etc-  yeah I finally acknowledged that I am a foodie!  

Writing the book- it is harder than I thought, I keep re-writing the plot.  I KNOW what goes in my mind, but it keeps changing whenever I finally sit down to start writing. so this is frustrating.  I know my characters,  I know the plot- but trying to put it all together, that's the challenge.

Referring to the last post in early 2013....

New Goals:
Goodreads 2013 goal:  150 books. ACHIEVED!
See the Vagina Monologues
Create a mosaic of labyrinth.
New classes/spring semester:  Advanced Photography ACHIEVED. 
Increase hikes and walks with dogs Still continuing on that. 
Increase fruit intake  ACHIEVED
Learn to forgive myself and let go of negative folks and experiences- still working on this. 
Work out next move location IN PROCESS
Get new ink on my skin, ACHIEVED! A labyrinth on my lower calf! 
Drink more water, less coffee
Check out local eats that I hadn't sampled yet. Bistro Grill, The Fish House, Jack Fry, Cuban House, Hammerheads (OMG- you have to try their bacon brownies!), Silver Dollar, Toast, and Eiderdown
"Throw out Fifty things" project- get rid of 50 things (and more!)  Just got my book back from loaning to friend- so just starting on this!  
Cut down on paper books, increase titles on my Nook Doing better..still struggling! 
Ventriloquist museum- Fort Mitchell, KY (only museum about ventriloquists in the world)  ACHIEVED!
National Underground Railroad Museum, Cinn, OH. ACHIEVED!
Gravity Hill in Princeton, KY. ACHIEVED!
Centralia, PA
Boston, MA
Watch all the seasons of Star Trek: Voyager (7 seasons!)  ACHIEVED!

There is only three new things I have added to the bucket list- I'm keeping it short, in which this list will have items that hadn't been achieved in 2013 and new items. 

Pay off my debts by end of 2014. (new)
Save up to build a tiny house/travel. (new)
Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (new)
Centralia, PA (old)
Boston, MA (old)
Drink more water, less coffee (old) 
See the Vagina Monologues (old)
Create a mosaic of labyrinth. (old)

The reason I'm keeping this bucket list short this year is because I have realized as long as I keep it long and ever-growing, it is harder to feel accomplished.  So I'm doing things that are more likely to happen, and hold off others, except for two things that maybe, maybe not- which is New Orleans in October, and becoming a foster parent.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cycle of apathy

I know I have been away for a long while.    Juggling with illnesses and almost non-existent energy, I find myself disinterested in saying anything nowadays.  

 The doctor is still working on trying to find what's wrong with me- so far some tests say good, some say iffy-  so...MORE tests, means more blood work and all that.  


I thought I have been over the annual depression by end of February or so, (after the anniversary of the surgery).  Not so.  This is much worse, than I expected.    At least back during December to February, I felt something- sorrow, regret, dealing with so many 'what ifs', and angry. There were clouds above my head.

Now, there are no clouds above my head. I don't feel sad, or regret.

What do I feel?  

Nothing.   I am empty.   

I poured myself into a painting class earlier last month- didn't help.   Went on a volunteer clean-up of the waterfront park.  Nada.  Helped out with three fundraisers.  I felt nothing.  I even became a Big Sister (and that was even big for me), and I do find myself enjoying the time with the girl- but after I get in the car to go home, the world is empty.  

I just have to kick myself in the ass and bite the leather.    This place is draining me, especially with folks having babies left and right, making it more and more lonely for me, reminding me of what I'm missing out.  

So I had worked on a plan of action, which I am already completing some steps successfully, and if things fall as I expect them, I'll be out of here and be somewhere else.  I'll be happy, among friends who do not look at me with pity, not inviting me just because they feel they have to.  I would be with people at two in the morning talking about Star Trek, or endsofdays movies, or Margaret Atwood, walking on the beach barefoot, or sipping my lattes with side of biegnets.  

Just you watch me.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Life goes on.

This month had thrown a lot of cold water in my face repeatedly.

 A new medical condition.  Finance struggles.  A dying friend. 

The medical condition- I'm currently working on it.  I'll live.

Finance struggles- I'm currently working on it.  I'll survive.  

The dying friend?  Not so.  

I knew she was suffering in great pain, yet I was telling myself she'll recover.  She will be okay- just give it a bit more time.  

I was at work when I got the call to come to the hospital.  It took me three hours, and I was not familiar with the area of hospitals (why do some hospitals have to cluster together in one area?!). So I decided to park somewhere in an underground garage parking, thinking I'll find out where the right building is once I get to the first floor and ask.   I got on the elevator, and pressed the button for the first floor.  

The doors opened to a scene that I'd rather go without.

Labor & Delivery- registration.   

Pregnant women waiting to check in.

Definitely cold-water shock!    

I quickly left the floor as I could, but I was already reeling in shock.  I was outside, focusing on not railing at the world publicly.   I managed to find the right building (three buildings away).   Walking down the hallway, I found myself overwhelmed with rerunning the visual of the labor ward/floor over and over in my mind, while trying to remind myself "you're here for your friend. You're here for your friend."  

I couldn't think of my friend.  I got to the room, and opened the door- to see her lying in bed, looking really bad.  

It's like something *switched* in my mind, now fully attending to her, forgetting my own emotions.  

Standing next to her bed, seeing her unresponsive, struggling for the next breath, I knew then she was not going to recover.  

Talking with family relatives there, sharing stories and soft chuckles, hugs and tears, I knew then we are there for her, and for ourselves, to remind us death is nearby, a friend, and that life goes on. 

After hours, I leaned to kiss her cheek, not knowing if I would see her again before she passes away.  I returned to the first building, realizing I'll have to go to the lobby where the elevator would take me to the underground parking- the Labor & Delivery.    

I came in the lobby, standing still.   And I realized something.  

Life is everywhere, even being the other side of the coin, Death.   

I took a shaken breath, and went to the elevator, which opened before I could hit the button- to show a very pregnant woman and her husband. The woman smiled at me before passing me.  I went in the elevator, and went down, to my car all in silence.   Got behind the wheel and started driving the way home.  

Stayed up overnight to create a labyrinth painting, in which I named "The Fade."  Looking at it, I was reminded of something I had forgotten-  of the Hopi seeing the labyrinth as new life and reincarnation.  The Labyrinth being the womb itself, in which one comes in and out as new life, reborn.   So the seeing the pregnant women echoing something I yearn for, yet the dying friend reflecting something I had forgotten, in which she will still live in my memories, ever meeting me on my circular path  with remembrance.