Monday, September 27, 2010

Some big ideas start small...

I'm working on a logo. Perhaps not the first thing one should consider when pondering a business, but as an artist and visual learner, I'm more inclined to believe in something that I have a picture of. So here's my first shot at a studio logo.

Now I just need to work out the details - a space, equipment a business plan... little things. I'm envisioning a small teaching and production studio with areas for glass, fiber, and ceramics.

I have a name.
I have a logo.
I can make this a real thing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swimming with Sharks

Not that I am swimming with them, more that I want to.

We're going on this cruise in November, and the one excursion I had my heart set on was a scuba trip. It turns out, when you read the fine print, that one needs a certification for this. Part of me thinks the practical thing is to skip it this time and take a class next year.

But the bigger part of me has spent the last hour reading up on local dive certification centers.

I took a class in high school, and I loved it. We only ever dove in the school's swimming pool, but I dreamed of diving for treasure in ancient shipwrecks. So few of our childhood dreams are ever realized, and here I see one in arm's reach... but the costs, in time and money, are holding me back.

"Would I be crazier to do it, or not to?'' I ask myself. . .

Time will tell.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Occupational Hazards

As I type this I'm staring at a large swath of pink, overcooked skin on my left arm. I was working in the studio Monday and managed to bounce a hot pipe off my own arm (a true feat of grace, there).

Wednesday, Elliot demonstrated the power of genetics (sort of) by running full speed into a glass wall at the Magic House. It seems when we get excited about things, we don't pay attention to certain critical details. For me, trying not to hit the glass on any of the many obstacles in my way, and instead hitting myself. For Elliot, seeing only the miniature train rolling down the track and not the big rr crossing signs affixed to the glass just above his eye level.

So now I'm sporting a burn and he's sporting a bruise, and I have a feeling neither of us will really learn from our mistakes...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's ok to say Happy

Today would have been our 4 year anniversary. People seem a little at odds with themselves on how to appropriately confront the day. I say it's always ok to wish me a happy day. Believe me, by mentioning it, acknowledging it, you only share happiness.

While I may not always be keyed in to the date (i'm bad with those things) be assured that your mentioning the day will not suddenly remind me of a forgotten pain. Instead it will let me know that you, like me, loved Karl and miss him, and care about how we're faring without him.

While I'm still terribly sad that we lost our monkey, I can remember the good days - the happy days, and be glad for the memories.

Just like I forced denial upon everybody for that first birthday, insisting on happiness through tears, I say now that while we feel the sadness, let's not forget that he'd want us to remember him happy, and be happy, too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ready for the Crusades

I've just finished packing for the weekend. It looks more like I'm leaving for a month. I keep telling myself it's hard to travel with a toddler, and we have bedding, and I'm bringing my full camera outfit, but still, I can't believe I have all this stuff. I hope there's room, or I'll be riding on the roof.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

F*&# Them.

Got a short and dismissive letter from the llf tonight informing me that my donation was too late and won't be used till next year.

In a heartbeat I went from feeling like I'd made a special, unique, heartfelt contribution to being a pathetic lurking stalker with nothing meaningful to give, burdening them with some trinket they have to look after till their next function.

And I feel even shittier for feeling shitty about them, because I believe in what they do.

I understand they are busy and it's the last minute, but one would think when your whole organization is about helping widows, you could at least be grateful and gracious when one tries (if unsuccessfully) to reach out.

I would print the letter here, but I was intimidated by the privacy clause at the end of the email. It was really just a few sentences that said "Thanks, but you're too late. We'll put it in the closet and pull it out next year."

Nothing about it being lovely. Not "I'm sorry we won't be able to use it." No comment on the story I included or the meaning I attempted to put into it.

Just the stern rebuke of a grade school teacher; "It is unfortunate you were ill, but all late papers receive a failing grade."

You are dismissed.

While I'm certain (well, ok, hopeful) that it was not meant that way, it feels personal. I poured a lot of emotion into the piece, and it took a lot of time because I desperately wanted it to be perfect - to be special. I sprinted toward the finish as fast as I could, but I suppose not fast enough.

I know I'm over-reacting, and I do hope nobody actually reads this (by nobody, I don't mean *you*, I mean *them*) but if you can't be honest, what point is there having a blog?

So while the logical part of my brain understands the decision, the emotional side has just been slapped in the face, and can only say, "Yeah. Well, f*&# them."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

File Under Heartbreak

We rode the emotional roller coaster of widowhood today. I got up this morning, after a very productive day yesterday, ready to get things done. I had boxed up the shawl last night and Elliot and I had breakfast and headed off to the PO and then the museum of transportation.

He's a fun age in that he doesn't exactly understand what we're doing when we do new things, but he's enthusiastic. I showed him pictures of old trains on the internet and asked if he wanted to go there today. He started bouncing around and rushed off to get dressed.

I dropped the parcel in the post with delivery confirmation, and it should get there Thursday. Here's hoping they take it - I send an email and heard nothing back. I'm sure they are busy, but it would have been nice to get a yes or no on whether or not they were still accepting donations. It's theirs now, either way.

So, from the PO to the MOT. We looked at the old cars and trucks first, which he totally dug. He went up and down the display about 6 times, talking the whole way. He's a born tour guide it seems, just like Pawpaw.

Then we headed out to the trains. When we were in the first train, a guy came in with his son, who was a little older than Elliot. As they explored the train we chatted casually about the beautiful weather, and that this was way cooler than watching ANOTHER episode of Thomas. The boys were ready to move on at the same time, so we walked together for a bit.

In the next display, Elliot reached over for this guy's hand as he was climbing the steps. He was a father of 4, and took it in stride, glancing at me to make sure it was ok with mom. I was fine with it, since we'd been chatting a while and he didn't mind.

His son wanted to move on before Elliot, and they started to wander off down the tracks. Elliot looked up and started to follow them. Then he looked back at me, said "I'm going with my dad." and started after them. I realize he still has no idea what that means, and that some other boy was calling this man "Dad," so that's who he must be, but it froze me in place for a few seconds.

I decided not to correct him or make a big deal out of it, but to see what he would do. He walked over to the man, said "Hi, Dad." and grinned.

As we walked through the museum, "Dad" talked about his role as an adoptive and foster parent, and what a surprise his son had been after 10 years of trying with his wife, and finally adopting 3 kids. He mentioned a recent trauma when his 3 older kids were talking about being adopted, and his 4 year old was in tears because he wasn't, and another when they had to give twins they had been fostering for 3 years back to an abusive family because of a court error.

Of the kinds of people Elliot might decide are father figures, he seemed of a high enough caliber to make any kid proud of his dad, but it sure did put a rough edge on missing piece of my heart.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Built the Taj Mahal, one stitch at a time

It's finally done, and I'm thrilled with the result. Now, if you are in the MN area on Friday, go to the LLF Fundraiser and buy it. It's worth every penny.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not the Usual Topic

I'm not exactly ashamed of my little knitting habit, but I don't go flaunting it either. My one night out every week since Karl died has been my "Knit Night." It's not really a stitch-n-bitch, because we're just not very bitchy people. But it's a great time, and one of my favorite parts of the week.

For the last year I've been working on my first lace design. It's been an on-again, off-again project, and I've struggled both with making the math work and all the patterns fit together, and making it truly feel like my own work. I'm using some patterns from a stitch dictionary, and it's taken me a while to come to terms with calling it "my" design. Really, tho, these historical designs are no different from the Italian techniques I happily borrow from in glass, or the traditional handle designs I use in clay - they are part of a sort of vocabulary of the craft, and can be borrowed, I think, freely. Particularly when used in a context and merged with other patterns.

So the design piece is nearly finished. It's not what the final pattern will look like, as I've tested various methods and modifications along the way, but it's still quite lovely. I'm so excited to have now made all the major design decisions and to be into the writing and testing phase.

Here's what it looks like so far:

Taj Details

Taj Details

Taj Details

Friday, September 3, 2010

Through Darkness, Through Time...

Sometimes I'm afraid I'm doing everything wrong.

I was thinking tonight about how there's this hole in my heart where Karl was. Not that he's not in there, because, of course, he is, but there's a hole, too. A lot of you know what I'm talking about. Some of you don't. If not, know that you're lucky, and count yourself blessed.

So the hole, it's been there two years now, and it hasn't changed. I thought it got bigger and smaller, and hoped that in time it would shrink to a size that was almost unnoticeable, except maybe when it was poked. Whether it would shrink, or heal, or be somehow filled, I didn't know, but I thought it would change.

Two years. Still there. Same hole.

As I look back, I realize that it's not actually the hole, but my heart that changes. Some days it's bigger, making the hole less obvious in relation. Sometimes it's smaller, and the hole's almost the whole of it. Sometimes it's made of stronger stuff, and the walls don't cave in. Sometimes it's weak and everything crumbles endlessly, raw and bleeding...

I try to grow. I try to improve my fortitude, my emotional composition. I try to visualize and actualize a better me with a bigger, stronger heart. I try to confidently march forward, hole be damned, knowing that even when it's not ok, it will be...

But I still have days when I think I'm doing it all wrong. Days when I'm failing. Days when I'm shrinking. Days when I wonder if I have a thread left to hold on to.

There's something to be said for the link between creativity and the abyss - looking down into the darkness is daunting, but inspiring too.

I was lying in Elliot's bed waiting for him to fall asleep, and I was missing Karl, thinking of all the moments he's missed. I felt a failing in that my memory is so unreliable, I couldn't pull to the front any one moment with Karl, Elliot, and I together. I wanted so much to slip back in time to a happy instant, but they were elusive, slippery vapors I couldn't grasp.

Instead, suddenly I was high above the banks of the Mississippi with Karl and we'd met a young boy. Date night, August 2008. Nathanial, 4 years old, was holding Karl's hand, chatting, and walking back to the train tracks to get more rocks to throw down to the water. I know Karl was feeling Elliot's hand in his, hearing Elliot's voice from this little stranger's mouth.

Instead of bringing me back in time, my memories brought Karl forward.

Ajax, our black cat, sleeping beside the bed, began to snore contentedly.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Can't wait for Christmas...

Last night, while Elliot was sleeping, I put down the play rug I'd taken up several months ago when I rearranged his room. It's a standard Ikea, drive your cars around on your knees kinda thing, and had been in front of his crib for a year.

I guess he didn't remember it.

When he woke up this morning, the first thing he said was "Wow! Look at that, Mommy! It's great! Come and see it when you wake up."

He waited about 30 seconds between rounds of, "Mommy, are you awake yet?" and, "Wake up, Mommy," till I finally came in to see this wonder that had appeared in the night.

"What is it?" I asked.

And he said, in an awed voice, like it was THE most wonderful thing ever, "It's a carpet...!"