Pinksnow anxiety


I started freaking out over the big, pink crepe papier trees in front of my house just as they were ready to bloom, last week, during the sprummer days of 90+ degrees. For some reason, especially this year, I am extra anxiety-ridden re: this natural, yearly phenomenon. The trees bloom for approximately 2-3 weeks (three is unusually long), usually in May if I’m recalling correctly. Then one windy, rainy day or two can empty these glorious trees of all of it, like it was never there to begin with.

The soft, blush petals raining down on the sidewalk and front yards. Squishy and slippery underfoot. It is all gone before I’ve had a chance to look at it as someone should really look at it. To brush the feathery, soft, light blossoms along my cheeks, smell the light fragrance of early spring. It is heartbreaking. I’m worried it will be gone again, which it will, so why do I worry? There is always a sense of relief when the blooms finally have ejected themselves to the ground and elsewhere the breeze takes them. At least I don’t have to worry about missing them, since I’ve missed them. And now an entire year will pass again before the trees come back in their fantastic pink glory. And I’ll forget, and then remember again, next April, when the panic returns. I’m gonna miss it, I’m not going to see enough of these trees. I will never be able to see enough of these trees.

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Almost spring


My “free” time of late has not been spent being creative in any way, unless you consider procuring clothing to appear as if I belong in an office work environment a creative endeavor. Maybe it is. I certainly do not appear to be the same person who had the life sucked out of her these past three years since becoming a mother. As I write this, I would like to clarify that the life that was sucked out of me was the life I was leading before becoming pregnant with Mimi and Beenie. That life is gone. I’m not sure if it had completely disappeared during the eight week bedrest pre-birth, but whatever remnants were left post-birth were vaporized during the first few months of the girls’ lives outside my belly. I’m still not entirely sure what this life is yet, but I am sure that it is a denser and more thoroughly lived life than the one I lived before. Not to say that the previous one was not delicious, because, sweet lord, oh it was good. It was simple and it was self-involved and full of sleep of all kinds. It was creative in this wonderfully self-serving way, and I painted and made music and videos and traveled. Never made much money, but it always seemed just about enough to support my varied interests. Goodbye, really good life. I am grateful for your memory, experience and knowledge. This most current iteration of existence I’m still kind of new at, though feel more seasoned each month. I suppose I could liken it to using muscles I’ve always had but never needed. A good physical example being when I attended a yoga class a few months back, shocked by my new upper body strength in plank pose, thanks entirely to lifting two 40-ish pound girls all day, all night, every day and night. Flexing parenthood. You can always spot the old pros. They’ve got a certain look in their eyes. My eyes are still in the ‘I wish I had more sleep’ phase of knowing something.

I came to the tearful realization that these sweet and powerful daughters I now have will one day not want to sit on my lap. The past few years I’ve craved my own lap, rarely having it, but today for some reason the idea of a cold lap became the saddest thing ever. I was silently weeping as they rested and fought over me and rested again, finally both warming me. I know it must happen, of course. But the separation isn’t going to be a kind thing.

Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that pinky snow…

biglilispink-snow-1
Yeah, I know the actual lyrics are about yellow snow, but I’m not talkin’ bout yellow snow, I’m talkin’ bout pink snow, yo! It is falling. The pink trees weren’t full bloom for even a week before the steaming hot pre-emptive summer came last week and scorched everything in its path. I hate summer. I’ll say it right now. But I hate winter worse, because it means no playground fun, just indoor insanity and depression.

pink-snow-2So, after chatting with Lixilambert, I decided not to enter Camera Morte images into the NY Photo Festival, deadline today. $80 is a lot of money, and that’s what I’d end up paying to submit my work, and I am diametrically opposed to paying someone to let me show my art. What does diametrically mean? I can use it in a sentence but if hard-pressed to explain myself, I would probably fall short. Here’s my guess: diametrically means: very, at one’s very base, absolutely. Now let’s find out what it really means… in direct opposition. My definition was not correct, but my use of the word was. I believe many of the words in my vocabulary are used in this manner; they sound like they are supposed to be next to other words, and when used with those words, they make sense to someone, or they’d call me out on it. Right? Anyway, the NY Photo Festival, yeah. I don’t want to pay money to show CM images. I will know when the right time to put them out into the world is, and I will know the way in which they need to be presented. This is not that time.

cmdaffoPaintings from CM are going smashingly, tho, if I do say myself. I LOVE painting from these pictures! More liberating than I could have ever imagined. Started a large, 24″H x 30″W painting on wood panel today. I think the image may have been of a daffodil, but now it’s a big smear of color hovering in the center of a bunch of grass looking, grayed-out shapes. Got real earthy in the color choices for underpainting. I haven’t felt this loose and tuned into the physicality of the paint in years and years. I can’t believe I am still able to indulge in this fantastic act. Thank you, parents! Without you, this would not be happening, at least not on such a big and satisfying level. I don’t think my parents read this, which is probably for the best in a way. But the thankful energy has left me and is being directed at them as we speak/write/read.

This weekend with no spouse is proving A-OKAY so far. The house is a bit of a pigsty and I don’t care. Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care about that, either. I still did a few loads of laundry and picked up some (barely), and all are in bed and quiet engulfs the house. Old pal Mara (aka Kleio’s Belly for those in the know) is in town this weekend, so it is a full-on, 100% house full o’ ladies. The girls are assimilating to the new way of life, that will only continue till we pick up dada at the airport Sunday evening. Time, for toddlers, is immediate — they have no way of knowing if and when he will return, or even really why he dissappeared. I’ve been telling them he went into an airplane to see some friends. Who knows what they understand. They are anything but oblivious. I am always surprised when people think their little kids don’t notice when important people come and go in their lives. They notice everything, all the time.

Cheezeburger, medium

tree-pink
Had a strange and wonderful weekend, able to paint for 1.5 hours Saturday and 2 hours Sunday. Woah. I should just shoot myself now, cuz it ain’t gonna get any better than that! I’m kidding. If I were going to off myself, I’d arrange some kind of huge explosion, or get ahold of many excellent narcotics to do the job. But I digress, and am definitely not planning to end it all any time soon. I’m a mother, after all, and you don’t take children’s mama’s away from them, it just ain’t right. Plus, I don’t actually want to die. Not now. Too much unknown in my own life as well as the ladies’ lives. Better to just live the life out till the good health runs out. I’m still in relatively good shape. No need to be drastic!

Weird tangent. Balmer is rainy as hell. Bombastically so, and I’m kind of lovin’ it. There are some unbelievable trees outside that just started bursting the day before yesterday. The ones I can’t shut up about. The papier mache blooms, fluffy and pastel pink. Who came up with such a succulent tree? The tree’s branches are heavy with blooms and rain water at the moment. Nothing has blown off yet. The neighborhood is a pink snowstorm of pinky petals when it does happen. I am always sad when those trees lose their fantastic pink, but they wouldn’t be so fabulous if they always looked great. As it is, we get two or three weeks of loveliness before it blows away. I’ll take it and like it.

Girls and I went to Marko’s big sister, Emmeline’s birthday swaree this past Saturday. Girls all up in girly dresses, Marko kissin’ on ’em. A big ol’ love fest. Emme is 3.5 years older than Mimi and Beenie and they are 6 months older than Marko. The young’uns sat at a little table at the end of the big table, and the toddlers by far were the best behaved of the bunch. An impressive display. I was very proud when Marko’s grandparents said that the girls were well-behaved. That is quite a compliment coming from older peeps who are impressed by such things. They know from good behavior. I’m not so familiar with the concept– my own or anyone else’s.

Last night and again today at naptime, the ladies went down with no bottles. I didn’t bring it up and neither did they. Only when Beenie tried to extend the pre-nap festivities with the request for “more milk, mama” did the subject come up. I’m trying to get the incessant peeing to peeter out. There has been so much lately, I’m changing sheets one or two times a day, from Mimi especially, who removes pee pee diapers, throws them on the floor and then proceeds to piss on her bed, always in the same place. We are at a crossroads — just about potty trained, sort of, and then again, not, but nobody is quite ready to be moving around outside their bed or bedroom (‘cept me and babydaddy) in the middle of the night. Interesting conundrum. I’m speaking mainly of Mimi, who has really pursued this potty thing, whereas her older sister, who was initially all about the potty, has eschewed the concept unless completely necessary of late. She lost her interest. And has gotten quite lazy in general when it comes to self-sufficiency. She used to get dressed by herself, used to use the potty all the time. Now I’m the sucka who puts on her clothes and diapers. She is quite good at all of it, if I recall correctly. I guess she changed her mind. Being waited on isn’t so bad, eh, Queen Bean? We could all take a few lessons from Beenie.

cheeseburger-pts

I finished a painting this weekend that I’ve been working on since the fall. “Cheeseburger Landscape”, or, perhaps better titled, “Medium”. Medium is how my dear friend Arika likes her cheeseburgers, which is what we frequently eat when visiting with one another. She is moving to Madison, WI on Friday, which is where she is from. I will miss her terribly, but think it is very important she moves and gets a clean start in her life. Hopefully the painting can bring her some memory of our times together when she is frolicking through the sweet streets of Madison.

cm-ptgs-1Also have been working on two Camera Morte paintings on wood panels. I’m enjoying the wood as a thing to paint on, and also like how different it is to paint on wood than it is on canvas. Neither is better, just different. My brother is commissioning a painting for a friend of his as a wedding gift… an octopus. I’m looking forward to starting this asap, as the wedding is coming up in late May. Should probably get up on that soon, eh? I’m thinking I’ll do an extensive acrylic under-painting, then do a few important layers of oil on top of that to cut down on drying time. Oil on wood could take a lifetime to cure.

Spring 2009 in da house!

Puddle Painting, Stage II
Puddle Painting, Stage II

Yeah! That’s right, sunshine, showers, all of it. Bring on the huge pollen spores making my three week headache and impossible inhalation possible. I’ll take it. The gigantic tree in front of our house has little pre-burst nubs on it, ready to explode in fluffy pink crepe papier clusters any minute. Requests to go to the zoo become more possible. Requests to leave the house are possible. Everything is possible, with the exception of breathing, but breathing is overrated, methinks.

What does the person who has already written about everything she could scrape off the bottom of the proverbial barrel write about? Food? I’m supposed to be saving that small morsel of energy for my food blog… no, something more esoteric than food. Potty learning? Pedestrian. Painting? I could write about the strange sensation I had last week when I spent two solid hours painting. The sensation of floating, the sensation of doing what God put me on this earth to do… but I already wrote about that, didn’t I? I didn’t! It just felt like I wrote about it since I’ve been thinking about it since… last Thursday afternoon. It was as if I met up with someone I have been deeply in love with my whole life, had a wild, two hour shag-fest, and can still smell it on my fingers today. The smell of turpentine. The scent of cadmium, dioxazine purple and other wonderfully poisonous pigments. Viscous linseed oil. Life affirming paintings. Camera Morte paintings. Puddle paintings. I don’t think I have painted straight for two hours in over three years. Maybe four. Ever since parenthood snuck in and took things over. Well, I’m ready to jump back into that illicit relationship with mark-making I’ve had since I was a child. Shapes like lead chunks on the wooden panels I’ve primed. Hovering and planted firmly into earth simultaneously. I must get away again to indulge in more wild, hot oil painting. I don’t care who gets hurt. I want more.

In other, completely un-creative endeavors, USAJOBS.gov has been sending me exciting job leads as project assistant and secretary. Do I type at least 40 words/minute? Who the fuck knows? I type like crazy for the few moments I have away from daughters during the day. I don’t know how many words per minute. I have a sneaking suspicion I am ill-suited for a gov’t job, but will continue to pursue this fantasy until it, too, is squashed, like my dream of creating art full-time. Happy medium, donde esta?

Grills are excellent and chatty of late. Much love and sharing. Out of town visit from old pal, Mara, put everyone on good behavior for two days, and the only incidents of note involved mild hair-pulling and stealing, both of which did not require any time outs. I’m sick of time outs and would just like it if everyone could get along without me disciplining. I’m not so good at it, but do it because it is my job. The same spirit will drive me to do my job, whatever it ends up being, when the ladies jump into preschool.

Got daughters into bed by 1:30 today, about a half-hour to an hour earlier than usual. Beenie was wearing nothing but diapers, yet had wrapped herself so well in little blankees I let it slide. Mimi got all burrito-wrapped in her purple durple blankee and inhaled her thumb. I left the room and they remain there silent an hour later. Maybe they will sleep till 4 or 4:30 as they do when they go to bed at 2. Maybe monkeys will fly out of my arse. Stranger things have happened.

Laundry awaits. Emptying the dishwasher awaits. Sweeping up every last, single, solitary, goddammed crumb off the kitchen awaits, in hopes of ridding myself of the scourge of the mouse I saw scamper across the kitchen floor yesterday. In front of my guest, in front of my daughters. What? Were, you may ask, were the cats? I asked myself that question just yesterday after the rodent sighting. I ran upstairs and started yelling at those goodfornothing felines, who were, by the by, lying belly-up on my spouse’s and my bed, snoring in the sunshine, as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Fat. They are fat. I yelled at them and chased them downstairs to the kitchen and told them to get to work you fucking cats. Get to work! You don’t do shit other than inhale food and shit and piss. You don’t even play with the girls whose only hope in this cold, cruel world is to touch your soft, rotten tails and be your friends. Get busy, Olive and Slinky. Or its off to the glue factory with ya.

I just mashed an ant climbing up my kitchen wall…

deadcardinal
I am not sure what became of the past twelve days. About a week of it was spent believing that I was immediately to find a full-time job, in the alleged wake of hubbo losing his. Though he did not, it seems. Which is good, because that job, that darned job is all the money we got coming in this house, with the exception of the very occasional freelance writing job payment or even more rare, the sale of some miscellaneous piece of art. And, let us not forget, our health insurance, which, if lost, would cost more money each month to replace than our mortgage payment. Scary stuff. Hellish as that week of thinking the shit storm had started was, in retrospect, it was a useful gauge of what would happen if the real thing happens, which it could, at any moment. I got my arse in gear: got my resume up and active on http://www.usajobs.gov, in hopes Barack, Michelle, the Social Security Administration, or the Veteran’s Administration (both with offices in Baltimore, which is why I focus on them…) can hook a sister up with gainful employment. The process, of course, will take months to complete and suss out, so it is sort of a good thing things went into DEFCON 4 for a few days. Right?

There have been two playgroups since last I wrote. There have been two weekends undocumented. There have been four canvases/boards primed twice in preparation for painting some Camera Morte. Hubbo and I have been keeping up with the now-almost-done Battlestar Galactica, and have started re-watching Flight of the Conchords, just to have some perspective on this crazy world. Beenie went through a really bad two day biting spree, resulting in Mimi talking non-stop about how Beenie shouldn’t bite her. I’m still furious about it. It still makes me feel like the most inadequate doofus of a mother possible. And I do take it personally, and I must be screwing these girls up somehow. Alas… I am the only mama they have. I may have to muzzle one of my daughters, which is unfortunate, since she is quite articulate and observant. I’d be doing it for the safety of the population, however. Does someone sell toddler muzzles? Maybe I should read yet more about biting. I fucking HATE biting.

This morning after a Maisy Mouse bender, the girls and I took a stroll around the neighborhood. I have to say that I have never taken them out un-trapped in their stroller just to walk around the hood before. Not by myself. Hubbo has done it a few times, but I have hesitated until around noon today. I still have vivid visions of each of them, individually running into the street from behind parked cars, both almost getting hit by a moving vehicle. Today, however, I was impressed with their restraint. I only had to yell at Mimi once, and she’s kind of the loose canon. She did not slow down or respond to me when I told her to stop, then I had to yell it, then I had to yell at her. Meanwhile, Beenie was standing at the other end of the alley we were walking in. Which could have also been a disaster if a car took a quick turn into it. Some days I could do without the keeping two children alive responsibility. It is heavy, man.

Our stroll brought us to a bright red Cardinal, dead on the concrete. There is a big part of me that is an observer first, responder second. I had to explain to the girls as I was driven to photograph the dead bird, that this bird probably flew into the fence and died quickly, that it was dead and that was that. We were not to touch said dead bird. It died quickly I said. Mimi reiterated that we were not to touch it, and Beenie commented that its tummy hurt. I responded that yes, the tummy hurt, and probably the rest of it, too. Not sure the death thing really rings true for two 2.5 year-olds. Hell, I didn’t really start to comprehend death till I hit my late 30’s. And my response was to reproduce. Duplicate.

What is up with the ant infestation? My neighbor claims she does not have ants. I think she’s lying. Not sure what would drive her to lie about something as benign as an ant coup in my kitchen, but she is lying, of this I am sure.