Monday, December 28, 2015

A special little girl and her papa


This is my dear friend, Marco and his very special and talented daughter, Eva.  Marco and his family are trapped in Moscow until Eva grows up a bit more.  They are both extremely talented, Marco makes films and it is a photographer, revealing life in Moscow and NYC with an eye for what's really under the surface and Eva is learning to make films as well and is a beautiful little singer of songs of all genre's.  Here they are both singing a song written by Townes Van Zandt - a little hard, but then Moscow is a hard place to live in when you are longing to go home.


https://youtu.be/Wq-W5DktU4Q


                                                                          





You can read about their world on Marco's blog:  http://impressionsofanexpat.blogspot.com/

The story of their family is so well written by Marco and is compelling in it's revelation of a world that most - if not all of us will never know.

Enjoy
Liv

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Christmas Jewel


I have a Christmas memory that I pull out of the box more than once a year.

India is my homeland, it is the place in which the sigh of relief came blissfully from my heart the moment I saw it.  For me, everything looked familiar in the way that one experiences when returning home from a long, long trip. It's scent is perfume, the scent that is so perfect for me that it makes all the others seem so wrong.

I had been living in an ashram in Haridwar and was close to a group of about 8 fellow seekers in the early '70's. This was the time when it was not complicated or touristy: when visitors were the exception and not the rule.

December in the north of India has a range of temperature from about the mid to high 60's during the day but chill of low to mid 50's at night. It was the week of Christmas and for no other reason than an adventure, our little band of friends, in patched jeans and tapestried dresses and the red embroidered Chinese slippers that I loved to wear,  decided to visit Missoorie, a small town about an hour and 1/2 train ride from Haridwar.  Missoori is known for it's abundance of sadhus's  preforming all kinds of feats from levitating to the bed of nails thing  - it doesn't disappoint.

We spent a lovely warm day wandering and meditating - basically daydreaming - and a respite in a magical little cove with a calm pool of shaded water and warm white sand where we shared chapatis and vegetables and probably mango juice.

When evening began, it was decided that the train was too noisy, too crowded after such a peaceful day.  One of the boys (we were so young and naive - children really) found a farmer with a large cart carrying a load of hay and going in our direction. 
Things happen in India all the time that would be called luck elsewhere, but are what can only be defined as graceful, grace-filled, in the holiness that is India.

It was late, cold, and we were all tired so the mound of hay on the back of the cart was perfect for offering a soft and warm place to rest or sleep.  It's a long and dark trip when traveling this way because it is mostly fields with no houses, no lights, just moon and the swinging back and forth of a fire lit lantern hanging near the driver.  India was like that then, maybe it can still be found there, somewhere. I remember, as if they suddenly appeared out of the darkness, Christmas lights.  A small gathering of ten or twelve open canvas roofed shops lining both sides of the road were all strung with exactly those large bulbs that decorated the tree when you were little. The small lean-to shops sold all kinds of things, useless and inviting, that are found in every village.  It seemed to have popped out of nowhere, like a dream that has no congruity, not attached to anything, just a scene in surrounding dark. There was soft music playing, the gentle, old fashioned Indian songs.  But there was one booth with an old radio, playing Christmas carols that laced through  the sing-song of the music.

The bells on the horses pulling the wagon rang slow, back and forth, back and forth.  I felt completely alone, in the way that alone can feel safe and enveloping, on the very top of the hay right behind the driver, wrapped in a cream-white, light wool shawl with the faintest embroidery of flowers at the ends, that gave a warmth that seemed impossible.  It had been given to me when I arrived in India by a boy with soft blue eyes who must have been in love with me.  As I sat high on the fragrant hay, I felt as if I was looking down from far, far above on the most perfect scene of a simple, gentle Christmas from another time. A time before Santa, before parties and food and presents.  The vibrant colors of the women's sari's under the Christmas lights strung on the shops gave the impression of a Christmas tree, all decorated and shiny. Father's carried children wearing little round caps in pastel velvet's, their tiny fists holding tight to the sticks of candy in pinks and reds and bright greens. It all seemed to be happening in slow motion, even the sounds, slow and soft.  I vividly remember feeling that I had been given a gift that I would never receive again in my life.  A moment, beautiful and pure and sacred. The darkness surrounding this dream-like moment seemed to separate it from time, and the scent of the hay in the crisp chill of that night, the faint sound of carols and the lights, the beautiful lights, has stayed with me, a multi-colored Christmas jewel, deep in my heart.

Monday, November 23, 2015

ART makes life so much better


Art has made my life so beautiful in so many ways.  I hope you enjoy these photos and that they  bring a little beauty to your life today.

I've been an artist my entire life.  I began making art seriously at about 5 when I made my first collage of a strawberry ice cream cone out of colored paper.  It was a success.

Since then my art has primarily leaned towards the spiritual.  Large shrines, small shrines and sculptures.  The large shrines were like miniature renditions of Brunelleschi's altar at the Vatican.  At 3' high and 40 lbs, they are just too large and labor intensive for me to do anymore.  So my work has progressively gotten smaller and smaller.

Two madonnas :  One in shells and the other in paper.  Large pieces.  So, so fun to make!  Madonnas are, for me, about the sacredness of motherhood and the miracle of being a woman.


                                                                             

The back of her was completely covered with shells as well - so that the pink garland around her head continued.  About 30" high - it weighed 22 lbs.  This was purchased by a young man who came twice to look at it. (at that time I was selling in a beautiful shop that sadly doesn't exist anymore)  On the second visit he took a deep breath and said "Yes, I want it."  That was my happiest sale ever!  He sent it to his mother - all the way to the East coast where I am happy to say it arrived safely, not a single shell damaged! - it was her Mother's Day present.  It doesn't get any better than that!

This one I've shown before.  I'm still pondering a way to exhibit my work.  I'm thinking of opening an Etsy shop, but understanding shipping is like trying to read hieroglyphics...

                                                                             





She's 48"x24".... she has a presence!

And finally, here are a couple of small shell shrines that I've been doing recently - small is good too!

                                                                                
                                                                              
This one is a reliquary for  prayers for a baby.  Can you see him?  The shell in front is to hold written prayers or tiny momentos.

                                                                                 




This one can have many purposes:  remembrance of a friend - prayers for the sick - etc.  It has a shell to hold items like the above one and the two opposing shells hold water for flowers.  This one hangs.

                                                                               




This one is a bit large, about 14" high. There is a vacant space on the large scallop in the center so that something can be inserted:  the picture of a loved one, a prayer or poem.



When I make art, the whole world disappears.  I hope you have something in your life too that takes you to a place of peace and joy.



Love, Liv







Monday, November 16, 2015

How to get out






                                                                            



                                                                 "The best way out
                                            
                                                                   is always through."


                                                                                            Robert Frost




                                                            
    

      *click on picture                            

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My overarching theme


I keep trying and trying and trying - I am mostly a failure - but if I stop trying, the failure is too much.



Forgiveness is a mountain
I climb every day
I climb it until my fingers
need bandages
I'm always running out
of bandages


Forgiveness is like breakfast
I wake in the morning with a stomach ache
a bit of nausea
I know I should eat
I don't want to
it's always a struggle
I never like what I eat in the morning
it's always too harsh
I think breakfast should be clouds or gentle rain or a cool breeze
something that sits soft within me
but I make myself do it
I eat the food slowly to ease it's harshness
my body is better for it
I m stronger
I eat forgiveness for breakfast
my soul is better for it
I am stronger


Forgiveness is bitter
I recoil from it's smell
it's bitterness makes me gag
I swallow it
the next day I swallow it again
and then again
pretty soon it's not so bad
each day it's bitterness wanes a bit
after some time
I begin to taste a sweetness behind the bitter
I'm used to it now
some days I even crave it
the bitter sweetness
of forgiving


Forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me -
so hard and so simple and so hard
 ©


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

THE BEAUTY OF BOOKS




What would I do without my books?  I'm not quite sure I would know who I am.  If I had to move to another country and the cost of moving books was prohibitive, I'm not quite sure I would move.  If my books where accidentally burned in a fire - god FORBID! - I would mourn them the rest of my life.  If you came to my house I would give you the one you wanted.


                                                                        
                                              
                                            My books at the old house


                                                                               


                                                          Books in transition


                                                                         
                                                
                                                         Books at the new house


  Most of the books that I collect are vintage art and travel.  I don't usually collect novels, fiction, biography etc. etc.  I get them at the library - because they are free, a very good word for me.  And I like reading a book that someone else has held and had feelings for - I suppose that is a sentimental thing.  But it makes me feel somehow connected.  If the book especially moves me then I want to keep it forever and will go splurge and purchase it.  Authors are not going to get rich off of me, sadly, but jolly good for those who can purchase all that they want.  Maybe I'll visit them and borrow as most people who love books are glad to loan.


                                          The ultimate library, a girl can dream....sigh.

                                                                                


I'm reading:  The particular sadness of lemon cake
                      The paying guests
                       and The mountain shadow - sequel to Shantaram

I went to see Paula Hawkins at a Powell's bookstore near me (near ME, so exciting!) last night.  Powell's is famous in Portland for being the "world's largest book store"...supposedly.  Anyway, she is the NY Times best selling fiction writer for 2015  for her book -  The girl on a train -.  Her writing is reminiscent of Kate Atkinson, one of my favorite fiction writer's.

I'll bet you love books just as much as I love mine.
                                                                     

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Just an ordinary day







Friday is the one year anniversary of my Mother's death.  As you know from reading my post of April 30th, it was a hard day.  She died here in my dining room, void of it's furniture save only for the beige metal bed that raised and lowered her according to need. There was a small dim light beside her.  I had been holding her hand, exhausted in that very late and dark hour.  I had just let go and walked to the far, far end of the room to rest on the couch for a bit.  She was asleep and I needed a spot of that myself in order to return with proper attention.

I closed my eyes and then turned to check on her after what seemed like only a minute to see those last two breaths.  They came hard, not like the soft surrender that I had imagined.  They came almost violently and I was so shocked that I didn't immediately know what they were.  One of the hospice nurse's had said that sometimes holding the hand of someone who is passing may keep them lingering.  They really don't want to "let go"until they know that you have let go.  I think she needed me to let go.

She was finally buried last month on August 26th.  Her ashes had sat on a shelf in the place where they keep ashes that are not buried - there is a place for that - almost a year.  I had suggested several dates to the other three, I don't know why that was my job, but all had been rejected by the other three for various reasons.  August 30 was my last effort, her birthday.  Still various reasons, so the 26th was as near as we were going to get. You just can't fight every battle.

I accidentally locked her flowers and her poem and my Father's flowers in my car, he's buried on the other side of the cemetery.  I was distraught.  You can imagine.  She had waited a year and I wanted to let her know, properly, she had not been forgotten. I wanted to let him know as well that he had not been forgotten either and to take comfort in knowing that he also had been forgiven. I wanted a ceremony, a ritual of some sort.      There was no waiting. For various reasons the other three siblings  could not wait. They told me the drivers schedule could not wait, the gave diggers could not wait the professional carrier of ashes could not wait, I wanted to wait.  Wait for me, wait for her. My heart was in a grip that was squeezing the air out of me.  I needed her to know.

Was the locking out about her? Was the locking about a mourning family standing by, not standing by, the one who has brought ceremony?  I believe in the whole "there's a reason" thing.  It's walked into my life too many times to scoff.  I'm trying really hard to forgive.  To let go. My anger is only a burden to me, that's not trite.  And it's late in life, I need to lighten my load.  Maybe the locking out was for me, to practice, practice the peace making act of forgiveness.   I know her well enough to know that's what she would want me to do. At the end, for her, forgiveness and forgiving were all that was left to do and she was determined to finish well.  I was determined too - we did a good job, together.  Even so, had she been there, she would have chosen the schedules of others too, over the emotion of ceremony, the need for requiem  --  over my needs.  She was who she was. I struggle to learn from that. To learn to stand with the one who matters to me and not put others before her. I can't control the other three, I can barely control myself.  And I am no judge, although I struggle against that and so many other things.  I want to change that thinking for them - but it's not my place. God, how I want to change that thinking.

 I went with the three siblings, I hardly know them any more, and the driver who led us there with the important schedule, and the grave digger with the important schedule and the professional carrier of ashes with the important schedule.
The silence made a stillness that was pounding in my ears. I mourned the lack of flowers, the lack of words as much as I mourned her. It wasn't a conscience slight on the part of any of them, they meant no disrespect towards our Mother, it was just that it had been a year.  I'm a stubborn bitch, I am.  I stopped the grave digger, one moment could be afforded, and I reached to the mound and scattered my own handful.  I had to be a part of this, bitch that I am.  He struggled to get the well cut turf replaced to invisible, but finally had to remove it and take out a handful of dirt, one small handful.  Sometimes this human life is very hard.

When the unlocker got there - he was quick, bless his heart -- 15 minutes, such a short wait. He got that it was locked....in a cemetery - he got it. So I took my flowers to both, but not the poem.  The poem is still here and I will take it , with flowers to both on Friday, her anniversary.  What an odd word. Will every year be an anniversary?  I guess they last forever.  But this one will be a circle, finally completed, with requiem. I still need it.

 And then I will leave for a long drive, much needed, to visit my friend - S.  My dear, lifelong friend, S.  We will have laughter and cooking and Lemon Drops and walking and just plain old loving as only two lifelong friends can do.  And I will forget forgiving - even though I know there was no harm intended by these three that are so different from me, sisters and brothers go the way they each choose to go, but only the long standing habits of a suffering family.   I will forget for three days my ever present practice of forgiving because it is patient, it will wait for me.  Forgiving is in no rush.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Monday morning Netflix movie review on Tuesday

I'm usually a very prompt person.  But yesterday got away from me.  Tuesday is a good day too.

Because of my current situation - too much to explain and you don't want to hear it anyway - I have been watching an inordinate bit of Netflix.  So I thought I would share some of the movies that I have especially enjoyed.  I'll warn you straight off that I am much more fond of foreign films than I am of American made.  There's nothing wrong with American films, well, yes there is, and of course some of them are quite good...some. I find that, for me, foreign films give a more authentic depiction of emotion and the lose of identifying a person with the role - as in Meryl Streep - whom I always see no matter what her role. (and yes, the fact is not lost on me that I don't know these actors like I "know" American actors, but I don't care)  Foreign films also don't have the pressure to provide a "happy ending" as American films do and I think that sometimes life doesn't have a happy ending and it's ok to show that.  I will try to fit some comedies in too, as I do like a good laugh but some of you know me so you know what to expect...  And I know I talk too much, but they won't all be this verbose, I just needed to set the ground work.

 I'm not going to have a set number that I review or even a set day on which I will review, I'm not good at being tied down, as you already see that I've missed my proposed date, and of course you know that these reviews are only my opinion, for whatever that's worth and I'll try to keep them as short as I can so that I don't give away the whole plot.  Which I would love to do because I like to talk.

I'm also not guaranteeing that all of these that I have watched are still available.  Netflix movies can suddenly disappear because they don't own many of them. So when a lease expires, the film is gone.  However, there is always the option of seeing them on DVD.  So if you see a title that seems interesting to you - watch it ! - because it may be gone tomorrow.  This is probably already information you know, but I like to talk....so here we go.

FIRST:

My first very most favorite film that I have watched was BIUTIFUL (!!!)
I'll warn you right now that it may not be there anymore...rent it if it's not!
This movie stars Javier Bardem and is, in my opinion, the most exquisite performance he
has ever given. Just a shifting of his eyes says what it would take 5 minutes of dialogue for any other actor to convey. It's a hard movie to watch because of it's painful subject matter, but well worth it.
In other words...you will cry.

SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH:

These are 3 films by the same actress -  Emmanulle Devos.  This French actress is brilliant.  She plays funny, sexy, poignant with a unique ability to really make you think/feel that you feel what she is feeling.  She really pulls you in with her quirky, Emmanulle-ness.  I can't get enough of her!

# 1 - - VIOLETTE
This movie is about Violette Leduc.  Violette was the protege of Simone de Beauvoir.  It gives a glimpse into the lives of both women, each who had tremendous talent, Beauvoir with all the support of fame and privilege and Violette, an outsider unsure of her skill and without any awareness of her considerable talent. Leduc was unknown to me before this so it was especially interesting for me to be introduced to a new author.

# 2 -- IF YOU DON'T I WILL
A French couple exploring the viability of their marriage and issues of trust.  Funny and sweet.


# 3 -- JUST A SIGH
A chance encounter between a man and a woman in Paris and the exploration of attraction and love. Devos uses facial expressions to convey plot almost to the level of Bardem...the master!  She is at her quirky best here.


My final review, this week, is for you, E.  You have maybe seen this but if not it is something I know you will enjoy!

FIFTH:

WORDS AND PICTURES

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche in a poetic dance between the beauty of the written word and the magic of art.  Very well done.  Two very awake minds sparing is my idea of fun!  I was so drowning in the truths revealed in this movie, that my feet were frozen the whole time and I didn't even think to move to warm them.  That's how good it is.  I'm going to watch it again right away!






My next review - whenever it shows up - will be about some Oscar worthy performances by children.  Only they are children, in foreign films, hence they could never be up for such awards because they are children, foreign children in foreign films, giving the kind of performances that even Oscar winners cannot give.  For me, a captivating performance by a child who cannot be seen to be acting -  is the essence of acting.  Pure and magical.
(Sorry for my over use of the word foreign)


So, thank you for letting me indulgeNow go watch a movie !

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Today

Today I surrender.

My burden is lifted and there is peace.

Tomorrow I will surrender again.
 ©

Namaste

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Nemesis

I have to go to the dentist today, voluntary decision as I have not been in two years...yikes!!

Although I am glad for what dentist's do, I am also wary of the ensuing "plan" that seems to require your wiping out of your retirement account in order to achieve.

Oh, did I mention that I am the biggest gagger in the whole wide world?
And that basically I hate them anyway, because one once told me to stop crying after he had inflicted torture on my poor tooth.

I'm doing some meditation (whatever that is - I'm not very good at it) in the hopes that I can lower my blood pressure before the event and thinking that I should just be grateful for the ability to go at all and the fact that I regularly (well, for me) floss my teeth.  That will be good enough to get me through...  Don't you think?

And then I'm probably going out for dessert and coffee afterwards and a chapter of my favorite book to wipe the whole experience out of my brain.  OK, I admit I am going into that meditation with a loaded gun...cross your fingers. Yikes!!

Oh yes, after all of that I am coming home to watch Netflix....gawd, I love Netfilx! The incredible things I have watched lately - so much fun!  Fodder for another blog post.

(aren't I sounding kind of normal)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Will wonders never cease?



Unbelievable !  Simply unbelievable... 65...I turned 65 today. May 28th, 1950 to Now! How the hell did that happen?  50, I could believe, but once past then I lost all recognition of any more passage.  It just didn't seem possible.  Old people get old, not people like me!  But past that indeed I went just like anyone else.  In this I am normal. Ha!

This is what I woke to :

        




My daughter left it so that I would find it first thing out of bed. The potato chips are a joke.  When she was little and things were tough for either of us, we would say...potato chips and squirt?  It was like a blues chaser.  I no longer care for squirt but who can resist potato chips, I ask you??  Especially when they say this:




I told her she couldn't get a card that cost any more than  $.99 - so she went to the dollar store and got me a "have a nice wedding shower" card, writing on the inside that I didn't not specify what kind of card! She always makes me laugh. So a laugh and flowers and a treat first thing is the way to start a great birthday....it's the way I'd like to start any day!

E had been pushing the day before.  What are you going to do tomorrow to celebrate?  What are you going to do to recognize your birthday?  You know, Mom, this is a special day for you.  What will you give yourself?  I couldn't answer her because I couldn't quite understand. I had no vision - no experience to call upon.  But late last night a little bell went off in my head.  Suddenly there was a feeling inside of me of....adventure.  A kind of childlike feeling of anticipation.  The thought suddenly became real that I could give myself a gift.  That this was a beginning...65...a beginning. I could, if I chose, create something I had never seen before..never seen for myself.

I have struggled with a sense of deserving forever, always giving to others but never thinking that I could have what I gave.  Dreading my birthday as if it were a burden on others -  poo, pooing it as if it was of no importance, no significance.  And certainly giving myself no celebration.  In fact, giving myself nothing.





So this morning,  I made a list of all the things I wanted to experience today:


Mindfulness    -    envisioning a happy outcome for my life    -    loving being 65    -   breathing in the sweetness of all the things in my life that bring me love, strength, security, beauty, succor and sanctuary    -   and for the first time in my life,  giving this day to me.

First I made a lovely breakfast and miraculously got my tea absolutely spot on perfect...heaven.
I saw a happy face in the mirror as I prepared myself for joy.
I drove myself to my friend, Bernadettes' shop, purchased -Yes! - I actually bought myself something (wonder upon wonder) that was extravagant and beautiful and filled a gaping hole that had been left by the loss of all my beautiful things when I lost my home.  See below....



It's a lovely old English cabinet with a desk in the middle!  Bernadette is kind, kind, kind and let me have it for a Steal, and I don't mean that lightly. I had been hopelessly coveting it for months - and today there was courage in place of  sadness and longing. I get to pay for it on layaway, which will still take me forever as I can only afford a pittance a month...but still, I will have something to store my books in, someplace to sit and write and it will feed me with it's beauty. 

Then I went and bought myself a piece of  Double Chocolate Cake and a glass of cold milk and read my book for as long as I wanted.

Tomorrow there will be a picnic, E is off for the day.  There will be fried chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob and watermelon in the Rose Gardens at Washington Park.  (Google it - Portland, Oregon.)  What more could anyone ask for?

Now I am home to a quiet night and that is perfect too.
I achieved everything on my list - I am sated.

I'm realistic though,  things may slip back, things will slip back, but maybe not as far back.   And for tonight, they are not in the room. Tonight is safe and happy.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

seeing another world

                                                  
                                                     
          My Mom with my brother and sister and me, lower right corner
                                              Beverly Fisher 1928 - 2015

Happy Mother's Day to all the lovely moms whose blogs I read and who share their joys and their sorrows and their insights with me. I learn from you and laugh with you and occasionally cry with you.  And it all makes me a better mother.  Thank you.

It is not a happy day here except vicariously through your joy..  Last night was a hard night, with excuses and  entreaties and lots of pain on both sides. Addiction doesn't always take time off for holidays. E is gone for the day to give me time in peace and I hope to try to find her way, if only for one day. But next weekend might bring a celebration when enough time has passed to sweeten Love.

And no matter what, being a mom is divine, it brings a lot of gifts and a lot of Love under many  different guises.

But today is also a day to take time to remember and send Love to mothers who are truly suffering all over the world, on a day that maybe belongs to them, more than any of us
.
Mothers in shelters. Mothers separated from their children for reasons they don't understand.  Mothers grieving at the graves of departed children gone before their time and mothers sitting at the beds of terminally ill children.  Mothers in prison and mothers separated from their children because of their own addiction.  Mothers mourning children who have been taken by spouses who's whereabouts are not known and mothers, without hope, holding hungry babies in refugee camps. Mothers trying to console children hurt in ways neither they nor we can reason nor understand. All mothers suffering every where in this world.   And most especially to mothers who today have lost a child.

                                            
                                                                source unknown

              It is an honor to acknowledge them today and to wish them peace and Love and solace.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Down to the bone





   It feels that way.  Like it can't get any closer, any deeper.  I'm embarrassed.  I wait and I try to find  something you will want to hear.  Something full of love and strength and inspire you a bit. That's what I look for - although your pain, concealed or expressed, comes into open hands. And I know you're not supposed to blog the un-bloggable.  But I keep failing at the first and the second is all I have to write.  Forgive me.

It will get better, I know that , you don't need to tell me - yet anything you say will feed me.

I'd been renting a house for 32 years.  Yes, I did.  I loved it, it was my home.  Cherished, cared for, clean and tidy. My god, the flowers.   A sanctuary.  And I've always needed one.  He finally showed up on the doorstep.  A sunny, warm June day. I knew it was coming, I knew it would come when the sun was finally here. I've waited and feared that knock for 32 years.  He said I had 60 days to leave, he wanted his retirement out of it right now.  $300,000.00 - cash - in 30 days and it could be mine, mine.  In 32 years he had only been there 4 times.  Just to look, no help.
Shaking , sweating , I said that I had just put my ira into it, so proud I had one. Money, please understand.  A new driveway, gutters, paint.  He shrugged. 60 days after 32 years, just a little more time?  He wanted what he wanted, now.  He shrugged.

Boxes and boxes, filling, lifting, filling, lifting.  An nowhere to carry them to.  So, so much left behind. No space, no time.  Space is a blessing, time is divine. Yellow damask Chippendale left on the curb, English secretary with all those sweet, tiny drawers.  Model replica of Palladio's Villa Rotunda, painstakingly made - wood cut with an elves saw, painted floors and plaster ceiling.  Look through the tiny windows into the 16th century.  At one time I had a lot of strength and time and too late now, I realize skill. A little money for some pieces, the Palladio, thank god.  I mourn them and many, many other things - but I take comfort, have learned to take comfort, in knowing that someone must have gasped, I hope they gasped and treasure them now, I hope they treasure them.   I lost 20#'s.


  45 days in and we found something.  Thousands of dollars to move to and in -  first and last, security. But I'm not secure.  Money, down to the bone.  It's lovely. (my beautiful daughter, the apartment whisper) It's a duplex, even better than an apartment.  Clean and spacious, a creek in the backyard. Smuggled in cat is in heaven.  We have 90 days to get out now - at least that's better than 60. They want it back too - they're old, it's nice, they'll be happy here.

30 days in, paint not dry yet but most boxes unpacked or stuffed somewhere.  My Mother is dying. No brothers or sister can or will find room for her.  Daughter and I strip the dining room. There's enough room now for a hospital bed.  There are good, good souls in Hospice, I never knew this.  But thank god.  Still it's 24/7 because I am her daughter.  So much pain between us, so much pain for her, laying in that bed. But unexpected forgiveness too.  She stroked my hair once, that made up for so much.  15 more #'s.  Food just doesn't make sense. I'm close to the bone.

She left some money.  It was her way of saying I love you. Blessings like that, and that one is a blessing, give hope.  She left me with hope.  That makes up for so much. Thanks seems so inadequate.  But that's all I have left, besides the hope. 

Death changes things. 4 siblings and no connection now.  It's to be expected, I guess.  It happens in a lot of families.  Especially when alcohol was the backdrop, the stage, the theme.

My beautiful, smart and a thousand loving adjectives daughter is struggling. It's so fucked.  So fucked that that gene gets passed on.  It will snarl one up with no discrimination.  It doesn't care about the adjectives - it only wants blood.  I don't believe in that whole "pray for me" thing.  But pray for her.  We're gonna' get separated now.  After two years of living together and trying together to beat this monster down, she has to go her own way and so do I.  We are both at the bone now.

She still takes her bipolar medicine - she says she does. But alcohol messes it up so much.  I take mine.  I crave it.  I hold it tight to my chest. It's giving me life now when the illness took away so much - from both of us.  I want her to have life too, but I can't give it to her.  She will have to find it on her own now.

I don't want to move again.  I feel so old all of a sudden.  I want someplace where I can stop for good, build another sanctuary.  But like I said, I have hope and that's so good.  It's another sunny day.  I'm going to go out to the beautiful creek and pet the happy cat.    I am at the bone but I'm skinny now.  That's good, right?

Love, Liv

And PS:   I'm reading, reading lots.
Maeve Binchy -Maeve's Times  - funny little stories she wrote when she worked for The Irish Times.
Katherine Mansfield's - Stories - lovely
Wm & H'ry - the letters of William and Henry James to each other - so loving
Alan Bennett - Untold Stories  - love, love his writing, so sensitive
Vanessa Bell - Sketches in Pen and Ink - stories of the childhood her and Virginia Woolf
and lastly
Leslie Maitland - Crossing the Borders of Time - a true love story

So that and walking, walking and walking sustain and nurture me now -   All good, proud of myself.




Monday, April 13, 2015

OMG...did it finally work?

I tried to post this yesterday and I just could not get the pictures to turn out right.  I adjusted and adjusted and every time they came out divided down the center with only one half showing.  Lowered pixels, changed size, moved location, didn't solve the problem.  So I'm just going to put it up anyway.  If it works , YAY, If it doesn't - well, try to click on the picture itself and see if it comes up better in the slide show thing. Otherwise, it is all Bloggers fault....    Yes, when I clicked on them just now it went to slide show and full size.

This is what I've been up to lately in the studio.  Lots of fun !  I'm not religious nor even that particularly spiritual, but once that Catholic art thing gets in you - it's in you.  Many years of Latin choir singing ( listening) and all that beauty of the old churches, which is pretty much completely gone now is still a big influence to me.  This work is also very influenced by the Spanish Retablo, but in no way attempts to be authentic as I am not Spanish of course.  But I am drawn to their naive and elegant work. It is not, as well necessarily about Mary in a blessed way, although that's ok.  There's a lot there in the religious belief that is beyond my scope of plausibility, but I do say the Hail Mary to put myself to sleep at night - I leave out the bit about "fruit of thy .... ".  But just the thought of a woman in charge is comforting.

I work a lot in the art of collage - in a pretty refined sense, although I respect the randomness of other people's spontaneous way of using it.

I've collected cuttings for about 20 years - Have 25 boxes of them in various subjects.  It's actually the first art I did as a child, cutting out pictures from magazines especially if they were pictures of the Beatles.  Then I'd splash them all over my walls.  My family did not promote my hobby as it was deemed silly and revealed a leaning toward fantasy that was not welcomed in a house too filled with, well, other things. But now I get to do whatever I want to do, so ha! to all of that.
Anyway, this piece took about 2 months to complete from the initial concept to design to assemblage.  After design follows weeks of hunting through 25 boxes of collection - by theme - selecting (not an easy task),  reproducing, adjusting size, and color and then a whole lot of cutting and then pasting.  I enjoy the minute detail of cutting and it's a challenge to get even the tiniest aspect, fingers especially, cut without screwing it all up and having to start over, so if you get it right it's a really nice feeling.  This is 100% paper.  The back drop is paper painted to look like canvas - whoa - that was an exciting challenge.  It is also a challenge to know when a piece is done.  I think I'm done with this one.  It will have a trim around the outside edges just to make it feel clean to the eye. But essentially I am finished. I will do a series of them, six maybe eight.  My next will be an ethnic theme and I am really looking forward to doing that.  It's very difficult to find old art with good representations of Black, Asian or Indian women.  And by the way, I strive to use only images that are antique and therefore free of any copyright infringement - I apologize if I've failed, which is inevitable. I guess I've tooted my own horn here, but it's taken me almost three years to get back to doing art and I'm proud of myself for finding my way back in.

This piece is 48" by 24". I start out big but will go smaller as I relax into it.  Big gives courage. It has a tentative title of "Under Thy Protection" (because like I said, we're - women - really in charge) but just like the process of creating the work itself, giving a title is also a process.  My goal here was to speak to the sanctity of Women.  To say that all are divine in their wisdom, compassion and grace.  Obviously women are too often neglected as to the importance of their role and the gift that they bring. And I am also particularly influenced by these gifts as expressed by the women I read who write the blogs I love.  Thank you ladies.

I'm trying to give you close up of some of the details - but I have the worst two cameras in the world - never a good enough focus.  But, someday.

Oh yes, and I forgot to say - I'm not usually into much of anything that is symbolic, but in this one the pear at her neck does symbolize nobility and grace and the two oranges on the end of her sleeves symbolize courage and strength and of course the dogs are just dogs, utterly and heart filling saints.








Thanks.  I'm going to try to write more.  I think I can do that too.

Liv