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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Memories & Tiny Little Gardens

A bunch of years ago I used to spend a good deal of my time in Manhattan; Greenwich Village, specifically.

I lived in NJ but only about 20 minutes from NYC so it was nothing to jump into the city on a whim...and that whim struck sometimes 3-4 times a week.



I loved the Village. I knew its nooks and crannies, I knew the cracks in its sidewalks, I inhaled its vibe and let it infiltrate my blood. I knew its homeless people by name and they knew mine. I was a non-resident resident.  Some of the greatest nights of my life were spent sitting on a stoop, drinking a big old coffee, people-watching. I created memories there - simple ones - that are stamped forever on my heart.

Of course I wanted to live there.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

What Day Is Today?

Not a great week, so far.  No surprises there.

I'm vacillating between mostly coping and thinking rationally and, well, this...



Today I can joke. Not so much a day or so ago. Maybe not tomorrow. Saturday? Maybe.

But things are getting better.  Where I am, wherever you are, and even in really faraway places.  We're reopening, slowly and cautiously.
Knowing that, helps.

One of my coping techniques through this has been to watch webcams all over the world. I started watching them early on, to confirm what I was hearing: that the world was shut down. Empty beaches in Florida, Paris with no people, the Abbey Road camera with no one acting the fool as they imitated the famous Beatles scene (on a regular pre-pandemic day, Abbey Road is filled with scads of people trying not to get hit by vehicles as they walk across the famous zebra stripes while their friend takes their picture.)
I would watch these webcams intently, looking for any sign of life.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Reality Bites

Yesterday was bad, today is better.

That's how things go now - you're up, you're down, you're in the middle - and sometimes all in that happens in one single day.  In no particular order.

I called JP at work yesterday when I started crying.
He asked why I was crying.
I told him I didn't know exactly.
He was so kind and understanding and reassuring, I felt better almost right away.
I hope you have at least one person you can call (not text!) when/if you start crying for no apparent reason.

I had to go to the grocery store again yesterday and I think that's what triggered me.  I do a bang-up job of keeping my depression at bay - as a high-functioning depressive I've been doing it for years  - but sometimes a thing hits you that you're not already on guard for and then you slump.
Not even the joy I have when I think about my new freezer was helping 😏

For me, the trigger was seeing all the people lined up with their masks on, waiting their turn to get into the store.  Like a scene out of one of those really bad movies they show late at night on Saturdays. Or a Twilight Zone episode.  A zombie movie.  Then I go straight into this really can't be happening in the United States of America.  In 2020.

I drove home from the store thinking that I would do anything to be a little kid again right now when my parents had all the responsibility and kept me safe.  And did the grocery shopping during a pandemic.

I've never been really good at this adult thing to begin with.  I am well aware now how foolish I was to want to be one when I was young.

And so I continue to do as I always do to cope: find as much nonsense as I can to distract myself from too much reality.




Nonsense is my drug of choice.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Scoring A High Demand Item: I Got A Freezer

There used to be a time in the not-so-distant past when the type of purchases that made me over-the-moon happy were things like shoes (oh so many shoes)...silver jewelry...some great funky find like the vintage designer real velvet red coat I scored in a New Hope, PA thrift shop for next to nothing.

I am here now to tell you - the times, they are a changin'.

As I write this, I am basking in the sheer unadulterated joy of...my new freezer.

Upright, nonetheless.  Glass shelves.  The whole freezer-y nine yards.

The apartment we live in for now while we're between houses has a brand new stainless steel fridge in the shiny redesigned kitchen.
Like the kitchen itself, it suffices but it's small which means more trips to the grocery store.  I hate going to the grocery store now which is weird because I have never hated going to the grocery store before this stupid pandemic.  I went yesterday. It's a nightmare. You park in a spot and then you have to put on your Grocery Shopping Gear before exiting your vehicle:

Friday, April 17, 2020

I Still Can't Sell Anything

Now that the world is closed and there's nothing to do but stay home and be creative, I've been doing exactly that except that I'm not doing any of my usual stuff like photo art, art clothing, etc.

Those things are my money makers, the things I create that have been my source of income for a bunch of years now.

Yet I can't bring myself to work on any of it. Many of my creative compatriots have actually amped up their production and are talking about how now is a good time for creative people's businesses because there is a (literal) world of people out there with time on - and credit cards in - their hands.

I can't tap into that.

I just read that 17 million people applied for unemployment in the past three weeks. I can't help but think it would be pretty obnoxious of me to send out a newsletter or write posts about the new things I've made that they should buy during this mess.

Sure I could make stuff and set it aside for the hopefully not too distant future when things will return to some semblance of normal.  I might do that.  I'm working on finding the motivation to do that.

In the meantime, I'm painting. It's so calming. I'm making ornaments and painting whimsical things on them with the sole intent of leaving them around the neighborhood for people to find.

Like little, free, spirit uplifters.



Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pandemonium Diary, Episode 1

Yesterday was a not great day. The weather here in Easton was terrible with lots of wind and rain and then we were under a tornado warning.  Tornado warnings/watches give my anxiety so much anxiety that my chest tightens and I spend the day mildly hyperventilating.  I run around the house closing all blinds and curtains so I can't see the sky and then I go to bed. That was yesterday.

Today is better.  I got over my grocery store trepidation and went early. And you know what? It wasn't bad at all.  The shelves were stocked (except in the TP aisle) and the aisles weren't crowded. The only weird part was everyone wearing masks and gloves.  I so hate that part. You remember on Star Trek how they would step into that tube thing and then get transported to somewhere else? That's what it feels like to me when I look around and see all these people wearing masks.  Like I somehow got transported without my permission out of the United States and into some third world country.

I feel compelled to write today. There's nothing else to talk or write about so I am giving in to writing about the current state of affairs.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Raise Your Vibe & Stop Stealing My Hand Sanitizer

Everyone is hyper-focused on only one thing right now and I'm no exception but I have to tell you that I am pushing back hard every single day against that exact thing: hyper-focusing.

I said recently that I wasn't even going to write about this stuff too much but I felt compelled to this morning because I want to be someone who reminds you to take every chance to raise your vibration.

All is well is my new mantra and it would serve the world right now if you could come up with something similar. 
painting happy ornaments to keep myself happy

We know we're supposed to stay home so please stop saying it over and over and over again; raising the energy level is what is needed.  Also, everything is closed and there's really no place to go right now so staying home is kind of the only thing to do. Plus when you say something too much people tend to tune out.

Also unnecessary: saying in these uncertain times. All of the commercials say this. Heck, every day of our lives is and has been uncertain!
I'm certain that things will certainly be more certain rather than uncertain certainly soon.

I am also certain that you should locate the mute button on your remote so that when every single fear-based , triggering commercial comes on the television you can mute it quickly.

Pay attention to the triggers:  anything you see or hear that makes your stomach tighten with tension or makes your heart rate increase, etc.  Whatever those things are for you are exactly what you have to protect yourself from and avoid.  As a coping mechanism, I'm on a complete news fast right now.  If there's something I really need to know, someone will tell me.

I thought about this recently: for so long now, so many gazillions of people have been putting forth so much energy to saying how broken our world is for the various reasons that they've decided to focus on and, well, here we now are.  I can't wrap myself around how much gloom and doom negative energy was generated by that kind of thought. I was always uneasy with it. You have to be careful about what you're putting out there, ya know?  Cause and effect...like attracts like...and all that.

Raise your vibe. Spotlight and imagine what's right, not what you think is wrong.
Shift your focus even if you can only do so for a few minutes at a time right now. 
We need the uplifters.

Plus you'll be a nicer, calmer, more centered person as a result.  My father was like this. Calamities could be abounding and he'd say gee, that's terrible and then wander off to get a bowl of ice cream to enjoy while he watched his game shows or previously taped golf tournaments.  It's not that he didn't care; on the contrary, he would have actually given you the shirt off of his own back if you needed it.  He just always had a it will all work out one way or another outlook and I can't think of a time when he wasn't right.


I've been keeping myself busy with painting and creating all kinds of things.
The wood ornament pictured above is an example of the type of stuff I've been doing.
I wanted to create things to leave around town for people to find to lift their spirits.  JP says some stuff I should sell but I can't bring myself to do that right now.  I feel like in a world where there's a toilet paper shortage, people probably should be thinking about spending their money on black market Charmin or hand sanitizer.

Speaking of hand sanitizer, I had ordered some all natural hand sanitizer a few weeks back on Amazon. It was on backorder which was fine, I was in no rush and just glad to know I would eventually have some.
I was happy to receive notification that it had shipped earlier than anticipated and even happier to get a text message days later saying it had just been delivered (you can sign up on Amazon to be notified when something gets delivered).
I raced downstairs but no package anywhere. I raced back upstairs to check my notifications again and they said it had been left in my mailbox.  Well, my mailbox is big enough to hold about three letters so how could two 8 oz bottles of hand sanitizer be in there? 
I raced back downstairs again, unlocked my mailbox, only to find the empty mailing envelope the hand sanitizer had been shipped in.  Empty and very obviously slit open at the bottom.
Yup, some heathen stole my hand sanitizer.
The empty envelope was inside a clear plastic bag from the post office with a big We're Sorry! sticker on it that the post office apparently uses when there's an evident problem with a package.

You couldn't make any of this stuff up if you tried.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Worldwide Weirdness

I'm not going to talk about this too much because at this moment I am choosing to focus my thoughts and energy on good things and put that kind of positivity out into the Universe at a time when it is so very badly needed.

Everything's freaky right now, I know.
Those of us with anxiety issues know all too well that it's very very easy to freak out right now which of course won't help anyone or anything.

So.

Here's my simple advice to you and to me, not necessarily in any particular order:

  • Stay away from the news.  If there is something you should know about, someone will tell you. Today I went online to check the weather and the headline on that site was awful.  There was not one thing about that headline that was helpful to anyone in any way or even related to the weather - just fear-mongering because that's what sells.  Shame on them. 
  • Stay away from or at least limit social media.  People are posting all kinds of things and while some of it is helpful or uplifting, a lot of it is not and can be quite triggering.  
  • If you must go on social media, post about happy stuff, silly stuff, encouraging stuff. 
  • Do calming things that distract you.  I don't care if you think you don't have a creative bone in your body, pick up a pencil and doodle.  At best, you'll surprise yourself.  At worst, you'll laugh at yourself.  Both are good things.
  • Clean.  It's therapeutic.  So is cooking, baking, reading, laughing, etc.
  • Remember that there are many, many people working very, very hard right now to keep all of us safe.  Yay for them! This morning I thanked all the people at my grocery store for all they're doing right now. They all said how much they appreciated hearing that.  
There isn't much more that I can say about all of this that a gazillion people aren't already saying so this is it. Going forward I'll keep writing about stuff that has nothing to do with this stuff and then you and I will both be happier because the constant inundation isn't really helping anyone.  

Oh...and that reminds me...
it is still okay to be happy.  

In fact, repeat this as often as you can, even if it's 9,264 times a day or write it on your hand as a reminder so you don't forget: IAGTBHA.

Pronounced eye-ag-teh-buh-ha ;-)

It stands for I AGoing TBHappy Anyway!


Corny, but it works most/some of the time.

So bake that cake, draw silly pictures, find stuff to laugh about or otherwise distract yourself with.
You'll be helping yourself and those around you.  Mr. Rogers said in times of trouble look for the helpers :-)

Remember this, too:  the things that are being done right now are being done to protect us.  And that's ultimately a good thing even though it doesn't feel very good right now.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Higher End Of Chaos


My lack of writing for the past couple of months can be chalked up to what can only be described as the higher end of moderate life chaos.

We were dealt one of those very unexpected life circumstances that all the platitude writers tell you about.

It all started with a very odd group of events.

The short version:

In July JP decided to leave the job he'd been at for almost a decade.  He was presented with what was to be opportunities that were not available to him at his existing job.  He had been basically told that he'd capped out - he could stay for another 10 years or 50 years but he wasn't going to make any more money - so leaving that less than ideal situation* was a no-brainer especially because the new job offered a significant bump in pay.  Additionally, the new job put him close to Berlin, MD, where I was the long-term solo resident artist at the historic gallery at The Globe. We were intent and excited to sell our northern Delaware home and buy in southern Delaware; he would be closer to his new job and I would be closer to the place where my art had been selling very, very well for a good long time.  Everything really seemed to be lining up nicely.

Then the first bomb dropped.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Letter Writing

I've been working on the website for a lot of days recently and I'm excited for what I want to add to it this year.  Lots and lots of ideas.

One of the main things I'm really looking forward to adding is a stationery page filled with all kinds of writing stuff. I often refer to myself as old-fashioned because the older I get and the more the world gets nuttier, I truly believe that back then was better for a myriad of reasons, one of which was letter writing.  No one writes letters anymore - it's a terrible loss.  I'll let this quote explain why I feel that way:

“There is a charm to letters and cards that emails and smses (text messages) can’t ever replicate, you cannot inhale them, drawing the fragrance of the place they have been mailed from, the feel of paper in your hand bearing the weight of the words contained within. You cannot rub your fingers over the paper and visualise the sender, seated at a table, writing, perhaps with a smile on their lips or a frown splitting the brow. You can’t see the pressure of the pen on the reverse of the page and imagine the mood the person might have been in when he or she was writing it. Smiley face icons cannot hope to replace words thought out carefully in order to put a smile on the other person’s face, the pressure of the pen, the sharpness or the laxity of the handwriting telling stories about the frame of mind of the writer, the smudges on the sheets of paper telling their own stories, blotches where tears might have fallen, hastily scratched out words where another would have been more appropriate, stories that the writer of the letter might not have intended to communicate."― Kiran Manral

Do you save the emails people write to you?  The text messages?  Do you print them out, fold them, put them in a box so that weeks or years or decades later you can pull them out and read them again, remembering?  Probably not; or, at least, you don't save the majority of them, right?
Does anyone have a box filled with the text messages that showed the words shared between two people that they can show to their kids/grandkids one day?
When is the last time you sent someone a card for no reason?  When I was younger we did this all the time.  I still have letters from an old best friend that I pull out from time to time so I can travel back in time just for a little while.


If, when I add a stationery section to my website/online store, it influences even one or two people to slow down and pick up a pen and write something to someone, then I will consider myself and my business successful. I never started this business to become a millionaire.
There are plenty of other reasons people pursue their passion(s) besides money.


If you want to write to me the old-fashioned way, just let me know.


P.S.  I'll write back.
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