Thursday, June 29, 2006

she's gone...

While on the phone with my mother early this afternoon, my Aunt Phyllis quietly slid to the floor and stopped breathing. Her time in this world had come to its end, I suppose. There at her kitchen table, with her oldest living son forced to watch, her tired body gave in and decided enough was enough. It may have been her heart, though, too. I am not speaking of the cardiac, blood-pumping, life-giving heart, but of the one she gave to my Uncle Jerry many moons ago... the soulful, dream-making, life-worth-living heart.
This beautiful woman's life was lived for the better part of her earthly years loving my uncle, their children, and her family. She lost her oldest son when he was seven, watched her parents pass, watched my grandparents pass, battled Myacenia Gravis, beat breast cancer... three times, struggled through chemo-induced congestive heart failure, and lost her husband and life-long love. As tragic as her years were, there were also many blessings. Four grandchildren, successful sons, life as an artist, amazing friends, the love of a wonderful kitty named Doodles... and a niece who adored her, even though she always lived thousands of miles away.
My aunt told me many times how much I would have loved my grandmother (she passed away shortly after my parents married, and quite a few years before I was born). My mother always told me the same thing, but somehow it had a different meaning coming from my Aunt Phyllis. She knew how much of a connection I felt to my Grandma Genevieve and bridged that gap for me when she could. When my son Collin was born, I received many wonderful gifts from family and friends. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you today what most of them were, even if my life depended on it (sorry family and friends). I can tell you what Aunt Phyllis gave me, though--a quilt my grandmother made for her first grandson when he was born. Likewise, Michael and I got the best wedding present we could have hoped for from my aunt and uncle... Aunt Phyllis found a quilter who hand-finished a queen-sized quilt top my grandmother had made before she died. I cried as I held it... just as I did when I opened Collin's quilt. I will be forever grateful that Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Jerry made the long trip to Florida (from California) to attend my wedding. I didn't know it at the time, but that was my last chance to be with them both in person. What lives on is their memory, forever etched on my heart. Distance may have kept us from day-to-day closeness, but fortunately heartstrings know no boundaries.
She's gone, and so is a piece of my heart. My only peace comes from knowing how happy my uncle was today. They're finally together again.

Monday, June 12, 2006


And she appears again from the cloud of smoke. (Cue the uproarious applause.)

It's been awhile... does anyone but Jamie care??!! I'm beginning to feel pretty lonely tapping away, with only one friend attached to my 360. There have been 88 page views... SOMEONE is coming here to see what I'm up to. It's ok. I promise. Ask me to be your friend. I don't bite except when asked.

So a lot has happened since my re-watching of the Breakfast Club and the subsequent drowning of my sorrows over the loss of my youth (on Diet Pepsi, nonetheless. How unexciting is that?!).

Unfortunately, not much of it is very blog-worthy.

There were guys here all last week working away on our big walls, trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. What can I do? Seriously. They've re-textured, primed, and painted until they're blue in the face and I'm hot under the hat... and it still isn't looking good. It looks BETTER, yes, and I'm not even asking for perfect--I just want to be able to look at my walls, not see stripes, and not be able to tell where everything was patched! I swear I will NEVER build a house again. Unless, of course, I become a licensed contractor and it ends up being a requirement of my job... but this whole experience has blown chunks. Last week was my SIXTH straight week of having workers in my house. We haven't even been able to unpack!!! All of our furniture is piled in the middle of the room to allow the guys access to the walls. What was unpacked is now stacked around the kitchen and family room. OK... I have to stop before I rupture a blood vessel.

Trying not to spend every waking moment consumed by house issues, we've managed to spend some time with family and friends the past week or so. Collin was with Jamie's family most of the day Friday, hanging out with Max and playing video games. We were with Michael's family last Saturday for some birthday parties, and then again this Saturday for his grandmother's 82nd. I can only hope that when I get to my 80's I am as happy and on-the-ball as both of his grandmothers.

I've also spent some time recently getting more stock listed in the shoppe! The charms and shells are going up today. I had my first official customer, so things can only get better from here! Right?

In an effort to extend my swapping circles, I joined an ATC swap on Swap Bot. If you haven't checked Swap Bot out yet, you don't know what you're missing!! There are tons of swaps you can join, not just art swaps. Take a peek. I'm sure you'll find one interesting diversion or another.

Speaking of cool sites, check out some of my favorites here. I'll be adding more as soon as my world quits spinning so ferociously.

I also joined Art Squared this week, an eBay group dedicated to producing small, affordable pieces of art which happen to be, you guessed it, square! The group started as a cooperative of artists who believed ATC sized art should be just for trading... not for sale. Intrigued by the concept of smaller-than-traditional canvas sizes, they decided 4" x 4" art was the way to go. That way, you don't take away from the intended purpose of ATCs, but you can still make small scale sellable art. Don't have any idea what I'm talking about? Here is information on the origination of the Artist Trading Card (ATC). And here is a lot more information about different ATC techniques and trends that have developed since the idea's inception. I will gladly TRADE cards with anyone who is interested. Just drop me a line in the "Comments" section. I'll post back when I have some Art Squared ready to sell, too... first I have to get my charms listed!
(PS--Last year Art Squared decided to extend their focus to any square piece of art, up to 14" x 14". I'm just declaring that now so later no one says, -insert appropriate whiney tone- "But Christina, YOUR piece is 6 x 6!")

Nothing earth shattering, thought provoking or insightful today, folks. Sorry. I can't be totally entertaining on a daily basis. You people would never leave me alone. All one of you.

Until next time...
Stina out.

(Originally posted on my 360: Monday June 12, 2006 - 07:57pm EDT)