Blizzard

Today we are locked inside by a blizzard. There has only been a couple of inches of snow fall, but the wind is really high which makes it a bigger storm. Part of our flagpole snapped off and broke. The wind is blowing so hard that the snowflakes can hardly fall to the ground because they keep being pushed sideways across the land. Angelica’s occupational therapy was canceled because the clinic was shut. She did her speech therapy in a video chat. I had an appointment up near Denver and I had to cancel it.

Craig is sleeping because he works a mid tonight. I’m trying to make the most of this day being shut-in. Truthfully I’m really grateful. I feel like I’ve been on the go so much and I’ve just gotten tired of it. There’s always an appointment or something to go to. Sometimes that’s nice, like earlier in the week I got to get the first massage I’ve had in ages. It was absolutely phenomenal. My body felt so good. I’m going to start going more regularly. Other times the speech therapy, tutoring, occupational therapy, psychiatrist, therapist, and all the other appointments really add up. I just want to recharge at home and have a clear schedule.

Earlier this afternoon I set up an art space on the dining room table for Angelica. She used acrylic ink, her watercolors, and alcohol ink to create some art. I think she had fun and it was good to get her using her creativity. Right now I have a TV show on for her. We lost power for a little bit, and now I’m afraid that the power could go out again at any time. I’m running appliances as much as I can. Laundry and dishes are running. I’ve been charging up my phone and charging up my Kindle, since if the power goes out again light will just get dimmer and dimmer and my Kindle will be the only thing I can read from. And then in between charging my phone and my Kindle I am recharging the charger that charges them. Charge. I just had to say that word one more time.

Anyways, I’m just trying to enjoy electricity as much as possible in case we don’t have it again. That probably won’t be an issue, but I want to make sure that everything chargeable is charged just in case, and that I’ve gotten as much housework as I can finished. That’s why I’m letting Angelica watch TV now. Usually I let her watch a little bit in the evening after a day of playing or making art. However, since it’s a possibility we might be sitting in a dark house later I’ve decided to put it on now.

My little artist!

Artistic Identity

No matter how busy motherhood gets, I can’t imagine giving up my creative activities. I just read an article by a woman who did exactly that. She was a blogger and photographer, and she did no work for two years while she took care of her children. She said that she needed to be more present with them. She’s not the only one I have heard of who has done that. I have friends who have done that as well.

I admire the self-sacrifice and self-control, but I can’t really imagine doing that myself. Maybe it’s good that I have to stop at one child, as much as I wanted to have more. But if I had 10 kids I have a feeling I would still be squeezing in time to write poems or to paint. That maybe I would be in a situation at that point where I shouldn’t be doing those things, but I would do them anyway.

Poetry is such a part of me that I can’t imagine giving it up. I go through spells where I primarily read poetry rather than write it. When I do that I am often soaking up inspiration and gearing up for a period of intense writing. But to simply not have poetry in my life? I can’t even imagine.

Painting and photography have become primal urges for me. I can’t imagine putting my camera down as some of the mother photographers do. I might sometimes get lazy or too busy to take out my expensive camera, but I’ll at the very least be taking photos on my phone.

Perhaps all of this is selfish or self-absorbed, but I’m not so sure about that. Everyone needs their own identity. Everyone needs something that they love to do and an opportunity to do it. Naturally your husband and children have to take priority, but you can’t draw from an empty well. If you want to give them more, then you have to give yourself something. So many women say they’ve lost their identity in motherhood, and I just can’t relate. When I had my daughter I became even more myself. I still had all the artistic aspects of myself, all the general personality traits like introversion, I still liked the same foods and movies, only I was finally fully tapped into my maternal potential. Having a child didn’t sap my sense of identity. It completed it.

Not that I think I am really at risk of this, but I pray that I never put down the pen or the camera or the brush. These things are apart of me. Without them I think I would fall to pieces.

Getting Brave

As I work through therapy, a lot of things have come up. One of them is challenging the overwhelming messages I received as a child that I wasn’t good enough. In therapy one of the questions asked was what I would do if I felt I was good enough.

Taking my art more seriously was my first answer.

Overall I am pretty confident and strong. I learned over the years to be true to myself, to not let even the most overbearing people erase who I am. Yet still, certain messages persist – trepidation about criticism because I have received so much of it.

I want to move on completely from my childhood. Some things are just toxic, and sometimes beneath the surface of the beautiful pond is something grimy and filled with leeches. Sometimes things don’t work.

Yet to truly move on I have to get rid of the negative emotions and negative ideas I got from those years of my life. In most childhoods there is something good to be gleaned and that is true of my own childhood as well. I received an upbringing of good manners, as well as an emphasis on academic excellence that served me well as an ambitious student. There were definitely positive things about my upbringing. However, many of the messages I received were critical, unkind, and demoralizing. My basic needs were met, and I am grateful for that, but I was not liked or even particularly loved.

It’s time to take my art more seriously. And in answering the prompt in therapy about what I would do if I knew I was good enough I actually ended up coming up with a list of over 40 items. Some of them were very big and important and some of them were very small, but there were over 40 things I would do if I could get past the echoes of my younger life. It’s time to start doing those things. I am 30, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life stuck in the same headspace I was in in middle school. Tomorrows are never guaranteed, so I want to make the most of today.

I go through my day expecting censure and ridicule. But is that really fair? It’s no way to live, and not everyone is going to be out to criticize me. And if they do criticize me it doesn’t matter. I’m not trapped in a house with someone who criticizes me all the time nor am I economically dependent on them. If some random stranger on the internet or a local mom I don’t know that well has something to negative to say about me oh, who cares?

There are so many things on my list to go through. Another major thing I need to address is my inability to trust people. That’s pretty important. Some things on the list are just small though, but they would make me really happy. For instance, I always really want to wear glitter on my cheeks or my arms. That’s not the most important thing in the world, but it would feel so nice to do it. As a kid I loved the idea of body glitter, but when I received a bottle of it from a friend in middle school I was told even then that I was too old for it and shouldn’t be wearing it and that it was silly. It’s time to get past the point in life where I really care who thinks it’s silly. It’s my body and my money and I’ll wear whatever I damn well please. To reiterate the point, whether or not I can wear glitter is not a life-or-death issue and is not earth shattering. It’s glitter. But the idea behind this is very important. I’m not doing something I really want to do, something I would have fun with and enjoy, because of the criticism of others.

I have a lot of things I want to work through and so far therapy has been helping. I was in therapy years ago and although it helped me with certain issues, it did not help me with everything I would have liked help with. This time around it has been really productive so far.

Love Letter to my Husband

A few minutes ago I went upstairs to get two excedrin and an electric heating pad for my husband. He reorganized the living room, carried the big vacuum downstairs (a struggle for me) cleaned upholstery, and then…he shoveled our ice encrusted driveway. If you have never shoveled an iced over, snow laden driveway (or more to the point, watched your scandalously sexy man shovel one) you don’t know how much work it is. My husband is a strong guy and no sissie, and he was still panting and hurting his back.

I offered him drinks, then a warm jacket. He declined both. Then I admit I spent a bit of time on the porch with the cold eating through my dress like acid in order to watch my husband work. There is something so inherently erotic and toe curling about watching a strong man do something hard, something physical.

My husband does so many great, vital, necessary things. He takes care of our little family. Sometimes it is thankless work – like when he is up getting ready for work at 3 am. The times we need a few things at the grocery store and he dashes through the cold or rain to go get them. Vigilant bedside visitation when I, his wife, try to kill myself. Visiting me in hospitals for physical or mental wounds. Handling household setups after moves. Taking trash bins out to the street when the wind is trying to kick the lid back and knock his teeth in. The way he puts together the things we live with and on.

There is so much more. I need to remember gratitude. Each day I make an effort to thank Craig for what he has done, for what he is doing. Is it enough? How many millions of things does he do each day that I don’t acknowledge because they are the fabric of our married life, because he does them so quietly, because I just don’t have the breath or the words?

I need to give him more gratitude each day, whether by putting his boots up or looking him straight in the eyes and saying, “Thank you. I love you.”

Because the things he does, just as much as the things he says, show his love for me.

Good Day So Far

Today has been amazing. It started with some cuddles with Craig when he got home from his mid.

After that I jumped in the shower and enjoyed the steam and clean feel. Sometimes I don’t feel well enough to shower, so that made me happy.

Afterward I started some laundry, mopped the floors, did the dishes, took out the recycling, took out the trash, and ran the roomba.

I then did some photography experiments.

I used text and video to teach Angelica a lesson about volcanoes.

I spent time in a devotional.

Completely unrelated, I enjoyed part of a volume of erotic poetry.

Then, to top a perfect morning off, I got to spend time catching up with my friend L over the phone.

Such a successful morning! I hope to feel this good and be this productive the rest of the day.

Happy Fat Girl

Last summer I lost 50 pounds. Then the weight loss stalled. Gradually I got more and more sick of all the calorie restrictions. Sometimes I want chip and dip followed by cake for dessert. So sue me.

Gradually I loosened my rules – and the weight began pouring back over me like caramel on a sundae (now I want a sundae).

At this point I am not sure what direction to take things. If I go back to strictness and self control I can go back to the weight I was and then lower. Wearing smaller clothes is nice. The way people treat you when you are thinner is great.

At the same time, I really enjoy food and I miss eating what I want when I want. My husband likes me this way and doesn’t want me to diet. I diet to please our small society, but I like food. My husband loves me at this weight. Who am I trying to please?

At this point I am really on the fence. I might start dieting strictly again – 1000 calories a day or less. Painting can provide a distraction again to keep my hands busy. I have been painting this whole time anyway, but I could alter my focus. Set daily goals. Just drink water.

But I really want coke and pizza right now, my husband wants me, and I am happy. Not sure what to do.

Valentine’s Day

Today Craig took me to my fabric paradise! He bought me two kinds of sheer cloth to put over my camera as screens. I can’t wait to experiment with that idea! He also got me three pieces of regular cloth with spectacular designs. Rainbow birds, iridescent autumn leaves, and colorful test tubes and beakers. I will use them as backgrounds for different book photos, as painting backgrounds, as little images to add to mixed media stuff, and who knows what else!

We started our special Valentine’s date by going to Steak N’ Shake. Afterward we went to the mall, and then to Coldstone for dessert. It was a lovely day. We decided to do our special Valentine’s Day date today instead of on the actual holiday because of crowds. Occasionally we will go out on the 14th if we can go in the morning or early in the afternoon. It’s usually still crowded then but not as bad. But Valentine’s Day fell on a Thursday and our babysitter I was busy until about 3. We certainly didn’t want to deal with the crowd at that point. point. So we had a lovely day today now that the holiday is done.

However, we exchanged gifts on Valentine’s Day. Craig got me two beautiful Swarovski necklaces and a painting by a local artist. I got him an air fryer. He has been wanting one for awhile. I hope he really likes it. I was thrilled with what he gave me. All so lovely and romantic.

Pure Tiredness

I read Angelica an adorable story called, “Love Monster.” I saw it from across the aisle at Target and knew immediately that we had to have it. We sort of have a monster theme in our family, and this just looks like the cutest book.

Now I am so tired. The pain killer for my jaw is making me tired, and worst of all I am almost out of it. I am still laying that side of my face on a heating pad a lot to dull the pain.

Yesterday, though I was in pain and undoubtedly way too whiny about it, I got to hang out with my friend M and our kids got to play together. It was lovely.

More later. Half asleel.

Lost a Tooth, Lots of Screaming

Last night Craig and I went to the Spider-Man movie he wanted to see on a date. I bit into a Sour Patch Kid while the movie was going and I suddenly felt two hard things. My crown and piece of real tooth had just popped out of my mouth. The hole was so deep on one side that it went below my gum line. It was night and I had to find an emergency dentist to go to.

Apparently what happened is this. When the dentist put my crown on a couple of years ago, he put it on top of a cavity. The dentist last night said, you have a cavity, and at first I thought that he meant the real tooth that was around the edge and was exposed to food and air. I thought I just hadn’t brushed it well enough. In actuality he said, the cavity was in the middle of the tooth and was sealed in by the crown. He said that the dentist who put the crown in put it on top of decaying tooth. They didn’t take care of a cavity that was in there. They just put a crown on a tooth that was decaying. Finally the tooth became so decayed and weak that it couldn’t hold the crown on anymore or the growth around it. So it just came off. The dentist who put my crown on stuck it on top of a cavity and the tooth was just rotting under there day by day ever since. He said every last bit was rotted inside all the way down to the very thinnest bottom layer. It was not salvageable at all. He had to extract it. Some of it was so soft, but some of it was extremely brittle and he was jerking on and pressing on and yanking my jaw so much that I thought he might dislocate it.

When he was going at it with the drill the stench was horrendous. I know that you usually smell burning bone when they have to drill into your teeth like that. I’ve had cavities before, and a root canal, so of course this was not my first time smelling burning tooth. But there was another horrible smelling thing that made it hard to breathe. I asked what it was and they said it was the smell of the bacteria in the cavity. The rot. I could have passed out. It was horrendous.

The whole thing was hard. To start with I have a fear of the injection needles that they use to put the novocaine in. It’s been getting worse and worse over the years. I had Klonopin with me and I took some to help with the anxiety and fear. It did help, but I was still so panicked that I screamed during all the injections. When it was done and I managed to calm down and breathe I told him I was glad I at least had the Klonopin because that helped. They raised their eyebrows and said really? But it would have been worse if I hadn’t had the Klonopin. I was trying to scream quietly, since Angelica was in the waiting room with Craig at that point and I don’t want her to develop a fear of the dentist. But apparently she did hear some of the screaming even though I was way in the back. I think I’ve reached the point where when I make normal dental appointments I need to go to one of those places that will put you under. That’s going to be expensive. But I took double klonopin and I was still hyperventilating and screaming. Last night though there just wasn’t an option to wait find one of those dentists who puts people under though. The hole was bad and it had to be plugged immediately. They put a bone graft in to hold me over until I go to an oral surgeon after I do some healing.

I have to get an implant tooth. I’m really dreading this. It will happen over the next few months. And I know that for that procedure at least he said that they cannot put me out because sometimes when they drill to screw the fake tooth in they accidentally drill into the nerve that runs along the jaw, so they need you to be awake so that if they hit the nerve you can raise your hand and yell so that they don’t drill any further. But to make you at least a little less miserable they do give you Novocain and part of your mouth, which means at the very least one more time I have to have one of those needles come at me. My heart is absolutely racing at the thought. Part of it of course is the pain. I’m a sissy wimp and when they stick that needle all the way in down deep and you feel it hit, that really hurts. Plus I am considered hard to numb, so they have to stick a lot of needles and most of the time and inject a lot of the novocaine before I am numb enough for them to do what they need to do. But part of it is not the pain at all. It’s just the absolute Panic of seeing the needle there and knowing it is there and feeling a piece of metal being inserted into me like that. Part of it really isn’t the pain it’s just what’s going on. It’s the act of having a needle inserted into me. If they could get rid of the pain that would help, but I would probably still be doing some screaming and panicking just because of what’s going on. It’s an injection. Injections give me panic attacks.

Not a great night. But I am grateful to my husband for all his care. We got home late and he was out at 11:30 picking up my pain medicine and antibiotic. He made me comfortable with a warm pad. He woke me up for my medicines. When I couldn’t sleep for a long time to begin with because of the pain he just held me. I remember moaning and crying. It was a rough night. And somewhere in the middle of all that he found the time to clean my ankle brace for me because it really needed to be cleaned before I could wear it again and in the midst of pain drugs and pain and exhaustion I wasn’t up to the task of cleaning it. He was up so late that he went to bed at 3 this afternoon to prepare for his morning shift. I am trying to take the pain medicine on time so that I don’t lapse. I love Craig. I am thankful for him.

Incredible Cloth Planet

Our wonderful babysitter came today to take care of Angelica and give me a break. I used the day creatively, and I have discovered a new favorite place.

I decided to look up local fabric stores because I wanted a transparent fabric to use as a screen over my camera lens. It’s probably a silly idea but I really want to experiment with some different things and that’s one of the things I want to try. I found a local store on the other end of town and I decided to give it a shot. The place was magical! Fabric prints I had never even imagined. Beautiful buttons. Sequins and other embellishments. Sheer curtains that I can use a screens. Solid cloth that will make excellent backgrounds for still life and book photos. I cannot sew or quilt but this place was Heaven.

I wanted to buy a few things to bring back to the house and play around with, but it is a store owned by an older couple. I was wandering down the aisles in joyful shock when the old gentleman came and said that they had shut down their computers and we’re closing so did I need anything. I went out to the car and found out it was 15 minutes before they were supposed to close. They just decided to close up shop early! I will have to go back. I’ve never seen such an amazing fabric collection. I am used to big chain stores. This out does those by a long shot.

I am so pleased to have found some place new that I like to go, and I got some pictures while I was there. That isn’t the only creative thing I did though. I tried out a park on the north side of town that is supposed to have beautiful ponds and beautiful views. I got a few good pictures, but the north side of town is still coated in snow and driving through the park just wasn’t safe. I couldn’t even figure out where the ponds were. I’m happy for the few photos I got but I am definitely going to have to come back in better weather. That was too rough to be driving around in. Snow, ice, mud, gravel. Nothing paved.

While at home I decided to start altering photographs that I have had printed. I’ve been using watercolor and alcohol ink. I might use some acrylic paints or a lighter later this week. I’ve been altering them and then scanning them to my phone. I don’t know if any of them are turning out well but it’s interesting to do.