Friday, April 17, 2020

Auntie Linda

From February 2015 

We have had more than our share of grief in our family in the last 18 months.  Maybe that is an unfair or inaccurate statement, but we as a collective family unit- especially those on my dad's side of the family- have had quite enough thank you very much. 

Of course December of 2018 we lost my mom and then 6 month later my brother.  Only a few weeks later my uncle David died also,  and now my aunt Linda.

It seems kind of unfair that I am writing about one of my relatives and not others...  I don't think I even wrote about my brother, because that was all just too awful to relive at that time and now it seems like its been too long.  I have had several of my aunties and uncles die over the last few years and again- there are so many stories to tell.  Maybe I need to begin a collection of stories on one post and publish them here at some point.

I've always felt very close to my aunt Linda- she was person who was joyful and she made my heart happy.  The story that I was always told was that Linda was about 15/16 when I was born and I was the first grandchild on my dad's side of the family- and so I was an event.  When I think of Linda I remember her saying the words "little debbie" in a very specific way that makes me smile so big.  Anyway, Linda according to my mom, was enthralled with me.  My mom also said she had to "get me back" from this young teenage girl, and while I am not sure what that entailed I always felt the love coming from Linda.  I am not sure why, but it was she was one of those people I just felt connected to more deeply than most people. Im at that point in my life, or maybe it is just me, that I am sensitive to thinking other relatives might feel sad if I say this, but it is just the truth.  I don't know how or why, but she was just someone I adored.  always.

I had a lot of strong female role models growing up and I am forever grateful for that experience.  I have memories of her babysitting for us when we lived in a couple different houses, and I imagine somewhere in there she went off to nursing school and of course a child's memory is incomplete.  She was at all the family gatherings and celebrations and when she got married and had kids, there was more to love.  Uncle Larry was an awesome uncle, so much fun to be with and I did a lot of babysitting at their house in South Beloit.  I remember that house so well, but I am not sure if I could find it again.

Watching Karla and Kevin and Kurt was a big part of my adolescent summers, along with the St Bernard, Heidi, and all the craziness that went with that household.  My mind is flooded with memories of big bowls of popcorn, the swimming pool they set up in the back yard, the different places we went to together.  Trying not to be spooked waiting for them to come home from going out somewhere.  I shared a lot of things with her, I knew a lot about her, the good things and the tough things to know.  New stories keep popping up, but there are too many to tell.

I have just two more  that I will touch on, first when my dad lay in hospice- breathing his last and I broke down.  As we all have experienced, this kind of loss is beyond words. Linda was with me, she was in the little room next to his and let me cry and tell her how I felt. She told me that it was ok, that what ever I felt was good.  Not everyone reacts the same way and whatever I needed to do was the right thing. I always felt loved and her words were the most loving thing she could have done.  

5 years ago when I did the broken elbow thing, I got an unexpected phone call.  It was the end of February and I had probably been back to work at least part of the time.  Anyway, it was aunt Linda and she was in Phillips!!  She had a friend from nursing school she was visiting and she wanted to stop by and see how I was.  It took her some time to get up here and she was not really familiar with technology and mapping and the like, but she managed to get here and spent an hour or so with me before she went back.  It was an amazing surprise and was just what I needed.  She caught me up with her kids, all about her grandchildren who she loved so much, the things she had been doing.... it was wonderful.

Fast forward to last year and my poor aunt was not the exuberant soul that she used to be.  She was there at my moms funeral, but she was not her usual self.  I am so grateful she knew me, but her laugh and quick wit were missing.  I am not sure of the health issues she all had, but it didn't matter.  I was so sad when we made first eye contact and I smiled big, but she barely acknowledge it in her face.  She said later that she knew me and we talked a little, but it was not the story telling, funny sweet aunt I knew.   But it didn't matter.  At least I got to see her again.

Unfortunately she had mounting health problems that led to hospice a couple weeks ago.  In this crazy set of circumstances,  hospice is not what it needs to be, with no visitors and the like.  Fortunately her daughter and one son were able to be with her on her last day.  And they of course had to have a small service  with only immediate  family and her sister my aunt Ruth.   We could not go and be with her kids like she was for us.  and that is so so sad.

I don't feel like this tribute tells the tale of how attached I felt to her.  Though I didn't see her often lately, I was always so happy when I did.

There are so many things to remember- her house in South Beloit and then in Shopiere.  I remember her red record of the Chipmunks that she would play for me.  She and I made flowers in their  air-conditioned camper for my wedding cake a few weeks before I got married, and she made my wedding cake.  Speaking of air-conditioning, their house had it and it was the first I ever experienced that in those hot southern WI summers.  She would drop by moms house when she knew I was down with my kids, visiting.  I would gravitate to where she would be, during family get togethers,  usually with my mom and her sister and I just remember mostly being loved. 

I wish for you the joy of a special person, someone who makes you feel like you are prized and loved.  Someone who lights up when you see them, and you feel their love always.

sweet surprises

I know that I have been a bit negative on my  blog here, but sometimes just writing out sad words helps for a few minutes. So I thought I would write a more positive thing for once.

I just got my mail and a friend of mine who I last saw almost a year ago at my retirement party sent me little thoughtful gift in the mail.  I am not positive but maybe they read this??  the last few angsty posts I have done I have not put on the social media.  Because they are mostly just for me.  But anyway, it was so nice and I am touched.  I have a few cards I need to write anyway, and now I have another.  but that is just fine.  what a sweet surpise.

Then I set my camera up with my long lens and tripod and was taking a few bird pictures.  and while I went in to get a coat on because jeez its cold here still, the little assholes flew away and didnt come back.  Lol.  fine.

so amongst all that commotion the Mad-youngest son Mikey came over and he made me a table top easel!  how cool is that?  I had talked about it with him at one point, so that is super.   

I do have 2 others who send me random things that make me smile and sometimes giggle at the crazy.  Seems like they always come at just the right time lately.  I have needed the laughter again.

So  yeah, while yesterday was pretty horrible, today has definitely been a turn for now.  Just getting outside and seeing the snow has mostly melted does make things seem better.  

Thank you to my people.  you know who you are.  and to random acts of kindness  because we all need it.

You may notice that I often don't have a capital letter where one belongs...  and random comment explained:  about a year ago I sloshed wine on my laptop (I was not sloshed, slosh is a verb here, not an adjective!) and my right hand shift key has never quite recovered.  lol  It works but it still sticks....  oy.  

Sunday, April 12, 2020

none of this is ok

None of it

NONE of this is ok today- I thought I was fine, but nope.

so there it is.


I have more to say about other things- later.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

well then

Well this was a day-

I am sorry for the pity party guys, but I am struggling here.

I have been upbeat for the people who need it, supportive for those who need me, morally outraged for others and always here to give virtual hugs as needed because thats who I am.

But I spent a hell of a lot of time crying this afternoon.  My first major breakdown.  for no real reason other than knowing that I am needing human contact.  I struggle to even write this down because frankly I am sick of crying.  A few people were kind enough to check on me today, but they can't help if you don't feel like you can let them down by not being ok.  One person knows....  thank heaven I could tell them.  It helped.

I wish people would stop posting who died- how many cases- that you can catch it by looking at someone sideways...  there has to be something else you can focus on.  If nothing else, post a landscape of somewhere you have been.  Or something to make others laugh.  I know that not everyone gets anxious over things like this but there are a lot of us who do....

So I'm not going to bother posting this to facebook because frankly I don't need someone telling me I am wrong-


So I had some super good Moscato that made me feel marginally better but mostly I need to go to bed.

The sketchbook challenge continues, with some drop off of participation but us original 5-6 are still at it. :)

Anyway, tomorrow has to be better- has to be.

Or the wine will be out earlier in the day lol  good thing the liquor departments aren't close at the grocery stores here  ha

Sunday, March 29, 2020

this is me

This is me dusting off my blog, because I feel the need to whine and rage and be happy, sometimes all in the same 5 minutes in semi private...  semi....  I do understand how this works.

This is me today:

I have a continuing minor headache because I am clenching my jaw...  please dont tell me to get a mouthguard because no.

It is cold and rainy and might be snowy soon, and I really just want to go outside

I have the attention span of an actual gnat these days, and today my job is to clean up my house.  I haven't had such a weird bunch of junk laying around in forever- and that is because of the afore mentioned attention span.

I was laid off from my freelancing job at the newspaper.   so it wasn't really a job, but I won't get paid anymore...  not that was the reason I was doing it.  And as a result my mind has shut down that part of me, and I have no idea why.  Because I would do it anyway.  and will if I am asked.

Speaking of quarantine, which I never want to but....  the term someone came up with for nitwits who dont pay attention to the guidelines- covidiots   that is all I need to say about that.  a useful term. you're welcome (and thanks to you for the meme- you know who you are ;) )

And I am back to the headache.  Bear in mind, once I get up and get going, I will feel more like myself.

HOWEVER, I have been doing a sketchbook challenge with some friends and I hope you can go to facebook and join.  if not that is ok, go and see what people did.  it is fun.  if you dont have facebook, if you have Instagram I am planning to post my drawings there, but that is where that gnat thing is causing me problems.

That is all for now.

I'm betting I will be back.

joy?  I need it

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Well then...

Ok so it is almost 2 pm and I still haven't eaten lunch, although I am literally starving.  But no, I am here writing a blogpost because I feel the need to sort through things....  who even am I any more??

Newest abandoned find- must return in spring

So since we (I) last spoke- seriously I am getting light headed, I have to grab my foods- I have done a lot of the things. Oh yeah, that is much better- a small stack of pringles does not cut it for lunch...   First off today I - after weeks of quite the rigamarole and a lot of angst and indecision and such- took some framed photos up to Fanatical Fish in Butternut.  This has been in the works for over 2 years I believe, but it took me retiring before I could manage to make it happen.  And I understand why- trying to decide what to print, where to get it framed, which cards I wanted to produce for selling (a whole additional story), finding all the bits and pieces and ordering and managing and of course I am taking more photos and going on adventures.... and I have turned into a squirrel apparently and am distracted by shiny things and moving objects.  My brain exhausts me.  I spend a lot of time chasing my tail me thinks.

I had school down to a science.  I was semi organized, had a badillion lessons in my head for ages 4-18, could manage 30 children all doing something different, with art supplies and interruptions.  But trying to do things in a way that is appropriate for a little side-hustle business is WAY beyond my ability.  Snap decisions- I got that covered.  Thought out plans and income management..... gurl (or boy) please....  I have more photos to take. But fortunately I talk to anyone who will listen to me about it and I have good advisors in my life.  One of them has called me a squirrel more than once lately but I'm good with that.  It makes me smile.

Ice at Smith Lake
So, to clarify this all.  A couple summers ago I approached Kelly up at FF about putting some photos in her gallery.  She was really excited for that, but then I had school come along and my underlying but still unrecognized issue of not making decisions quickly cropped up.  New things like that paralyze me.  But since I sort of rashly decided to retire (I am totally capable of fast decisions and pride myself in knowing what I want - usually) I had a little more space in my mind and I talked to her again and began the process.  That is when trouble started: what photos, which size, how many, which company, should they be metal prints, winter or summer, landscape or abandoned....  goodness. (Side note: most of them are abandoned sorts of photos)  Plus Kelly has room to sell cards- and a friend said she would love some winter cards that could be used for Christmas or not!  What pictures, what company, compare prices, how many.....  then get little clear bags, and price stickers... Oh and hey, business cards, a new email for the business ( and then I would sit in a corner and play Candy Crush until I came down off my anxious little branch of the tree. 

Houghton Falls
MEANWHILE, I went on 4 vacations this past summer/fall and I still have photos to edit from them- especially the ones from the museums, and I discovered a zillion that I didn't upload of other pix that I need for calendars also, and nothing that has to do with photo editing is fast.  In addition, I took a lot of photos for the newspaper, which definitely cluttered my mind (man I love that though) and that was a heap of editing sprinkled in there as well.  The newspaper editor is a former student (HI SETH!) and he likes to send me on fun assignments. 

Lake Superior Ice in Ashland
So I have had photos printed for quite a while now, ranging from a couple years to a couple months ago, and I chose some to get framed.  There is not a lot of choice up here for that, and I needed to NOT be traveling a long way for this.  So I found the Superior Framing Gallery in Ashland and I have to say how pleased I am with their fast - holy smokes fast- service and really great quality for a reasonable amount of money- framing is expensive you guys, but I certainly don't want to do it myself.  Been there  and done that and I HATE it.   I finally made my way up to Ashland to pick them up (life and the weather got in the way) and I synced schedules with Kelly and got them to the gallery.

After delivering my prints this morning, I decided that having an abandoned building calendar to sell at the Butternut Community Christmas thing (veering off onto another tangent) along with my cards would be a great idea.  So I began making that  when I got home and that is NEVER fast, plus I need to have all 3 of my calendars done by Sunday because there is a 50% off sale and that needs to happen.  SO I stopped everything after the first calendar was ordered and got myself something to eat and wrote this craziness out. 

Lake Superior at the end of the Houghton Falls trail.
I feel slightly less dazed.

Then I think about how probably I should get a website and update the facebook business page I have with photos and then I am thinking maybe I should go play a computer game even though I have a ton of other things I need to do. 

Nothing happens fast in the photography world apparently, especially when you live no where near anything that can assist you in having a finished product.  Oh well, I finally had the framing issue  come together, I have the calendar ordered and I plan to work on the other calendars tomorrow.    Pop open that bottle of white that is in my fridge.  Edit tonight.  Oh wait, I better reverse that order.  Put the cards into their little sleeves and such. 

If you want a calendar, and some people have wanted them before- message or email me.  I have an abandoned building one and I will put together an artsy one if people are interested.  Because I enjoy torturing myself apparently.  If you want to go to Butternut for their little Christmas thing- that is Saturday, 12/7 from 10 - 2.  I will be at Fanatical Fish with my little card table of cards.  Isn't that a nice symmetry?

Otherwise I want you to get out there and find the joy in your life!  Because I feel like mine is getting more joyful again, now that the horror that was the beginning of this year has faded a little.  And I am planning already a few joyful events in 2020!  YAY!  #bringit

Friday, September 27, 2019

Mind Clutterz: old thingz and new thingz

I have been feeling the pull of the blog lately.  Until the last week or so, I have had so much noise in my mind that I haven't been able to clearly focus on almost anything.  Even things I need to get done, don't.  

Retirement - as I indicated earlier- isn't as smooth sailing as one would come to believe.  There is a lot of your self confidence and self worth tied up in your profession, especially one that you have to be fully committed to- heart and mind- like teaching.  I have missed the people and I have missed the kids.  I subbed once a week ago and it was fun, but I determined that the advanced art students should not have me in the building yet. So I am waiting a few more weeks.  

A new gig- so oddly and fortunately- I have a former student (who I adore by the way, he was a memorable and favorite of mine) is the editor at the newspaper here in our county.  He asked me, when he did that amazing article about me for Teacher Appreciation Week, if I would be willing to do some photo assignments.  And I was and I am and I did!  I have done quite a few things now, things I have never done  much before, like shooting football games, lining people up for formal group pictures and taking pictures specifically for the paper with our demographic in mind.  It is interesting and super fun.  I have always loved learning new things, and this is cool. And new photography gear #ftw!!

Speaking of learning new things- for reasons far beyond actual comprehension I am using Duolingo to learn Italian and relearn German.  I had done some language learning a few years ago on Rosetta, but now I am going in a little more deeply.  For whatever reason if I am feeling anxious, I can sit down and plod through Italian for a while and then make myself feel good about my intelligence by zipping through a few German lessons.  

An aside here:  I can testify that if you want to learn a language WELL, start young.  My class in Clinton Schools (WI) was the last class to have German from 4th grade on through High school.   We had a German teacher who came in I think once a week or so when we were younger and then you didn't have to take it after 6th grade.  I think. Hard to remember.  In Jr. High and HS it was a traditional class.  I kept taking it through HS, and was not smart enough to take it in college because I was sick of it by that time.... so I tried taking French which was an epic fail- I passed the class but omg, what a nightmare that was.  All those people yakking on in French, so you knew they had it in high school.  I did not.  Anyway, as I go through the lessons, the German that is, I am fuzzy on vocab, but for whatever reason much of the sentence structure is right there.  I don't think about it, I just know it.  Because I had extensive education in it when I was young....  Italian is hard, you guys.  lol  But I am working through it.  German- which is not a particularly simple language to learn- is easy for me because I had it in my formative years.  It is crazy for schools to be cutting languages... but I digress.

Anyway, I have been taking photos and cleaning up my gardens, and generally enjoying the fall.  This little post satisfied my need to write for the moment and so I guess I will finish up a few things before I go to the football game here in a little while.  Trying out the new lens and all!  It's a beast of a lens but it will be perfect for the challenging lighting conditions.  Good times!  A new way to find my joy.  

Bis sp├Ąter, findest du deine Freude!