I notice tiny little leaves at the end of each branch on our fig tree. They look like green origami ready to move in slow motion and take a new shape. I tell my husband I can’t believe winter is over, it seems like it never got cold, that the yard was never barren this past winter. Green covered the ground all year long. Fiona picks a tiny yellow daisy flower, she passes the tiny red flowers that grow up the side of the retaining wall. The ratio between the flowers growing and the length of Fiona’s legs are markers of time. I remember when I planted those wildflowers, spreading the seeds, so excited for them to grow. I remember the years I waited, the flowers didn’t grow right away. I would buy more seeds each year to plant hoping they would finally grow. I read once that wildflowers can stay dormant, for years sometimes, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t one day grow. I imagined my yard covered in wildflowers, but I never imagined my little girl, my daughter in her pink one-piece unicorn tutu, the outfit she wears everyday if it’s not in the washing machine. I watch my daughter, picking wildflowers I planted years before she was born. Little strings hang down from her sleeves and the tutu on the skirt is shrunk up. It’s not as long and flowy as the day I bought it for her. Spring, moving away from the gloominess of winter, days get longer and brighter, except on rainy days. Memories of tragedy that get stirred up in late December start to fade back again, making room for joy and happiness.
I did my radio interview this morning about my book, Nap Time Paintings. It will be available free on i-tunes! It was so fun. I was nervous I would forget what to say, or stumble, but every time I did that I gracefully caught my thoughts, shouted out what the most important thing was and then he called “16 mins, it’s a wrap!”. The interview was live, I wonder how many people heard it? I feel so happy and proud of myself. I opened a GOOD bottle of wine, finally one that’s aged but hasn’t gone bad! Hess Small Block Series Auction Lot 11, Mount Veeder/Napa Valley Vintage 2012. It is really good. I’ve bought myself some new clothes, I’ve been purging and getting rid of some of my raggedy clothes. I have increased my activity level because I realized I’ve gained 10 pounds and my body has changed drastically this year! I’m turning 47 and I definitely am going through perimenopause, maybe close to menopause, it’s difficult to know. But I haven’t had a period in months or ovarian cysts! Which is something to be happy about! I’m learning how to live with the hot flashes and laugh about it. I started taking new vitamins and black cohosh and it’s totally helped. I started taking my celexa at night and it’s awesome, I’m sleeping way better. I did this change after I had my nocturnal panic attack. I did my first run today and it felt phenomenal. I am so excited to be adding running back into my workout regime, the runners high! Love it. I’ve been doing spin on my Peloton bike for almost two years, the doctor said that’s great for lean muscle and the heart, but a woman’s aging body needs weight baring exercise to stay healthy, running or vigorous walking and strength training. After just one week of these changes my body is feeling fantastic. It’s easier to run now too. Because of perimenopause, because my uterus always used to feel sore, heavy, and swollen. Now that things down there are shutting down it feels a lot more comfortable. I was reminded this morning of the time I was considering getting a voluntary hysterectomy! I remember asking the doctor about my fibroids, how big they would grow. I thought I would have a giant tumor before I hit menopause, but here we are!!! I made it without a giant fibroid and surgery. Isn’t that crazy, the things we worry about, then finding out we could have saved ourselves the heartache. That’s what I did yesterday, about the money I need to make to publish my second book. I said, “Stop, let’s not worry, there’s nothing you can do right now”. I said this to myself, and eventually I stopped. I know I can get the money. I have some stuff to take to the pawn shop, I have a bunch of change I’ll take to Safeway and drop it in that machine, I am close to selling at least one more painting, and then the last bit I can come clean with Alan and ask him to lend me the money without any judgement, because I know I’m crazy, I’m like a gambling addict or something. He’s gonna think I’m getting bamboozled. I bought a second publishing package from the same company for my second book because they were having an amazing deal. But it’s still super expensive, an amount that before I would have thought was ridiculous. But now after publishing my first book and seeing the beauty of it, and how much I learned in the process and from the publishing company I worked with. My publishing consultant is amazing. I know she’s a salesperson and that’s how she makes her living, but the product and services I did get was well worth the money I spent. That’s the truth. I admit I do have a dream of my books selling and making back what I’ve put into the projects. I really feel I will, but it will take time. I need my husband to believe in me. And now with my show coming down and having to find storage for more paintings, although I think I should hang all these up because they are drop dead gorgeous, but it’s still the embarrassment of it all. I feel like a failure to him. I’m doing so good in my sign language class. I am going to get certified in SEE sign. I can get a job with that! That’s exciting, who would have thought? I would have never known the world of deaf and hard of hearing people, if I didn’t have Fiona. Isn’t that crazy? I know I’m doing the right thing
Field of grey; concrete bridge, cars, red emergency boxes. Me, sitting in my car. Waiting. I hear cars honking, work trucks beeps, jack hammers, the loud hum of the freeway. I hear planes overhead, big jet engines. The PA system mumble. Touch Down. Onto a hot tarmac, October in San Francisco. Blue Skies and all. House Guests arrive.
Funny how it all works out. Funny how things go. Take off. Sonic. Loud.
Daisies; So many green stems, yellow and white flowers, crows and hawks talking to each other. Children’s voices in the distance. Jack wants to watch a show. Alan wants us all to be together in one location. I want to go with the ebb and flow of the children and my creativity. Sit outside, listen to the birds, chimes, and the slow rustle of the leaves in the wind. The gentle sky soft and blue. Sounds of Sunday. I bring outside to the deck for Alan, Jack, and Fiona, ice cold waters, gummies, and cheddar ducks. I go back in the house to get toilet paper from the garage, go pee, get my sun hat and shades, make a few marks in my studio. I hear Jack call my name. I go out, peek my head out the door, “What are you doing? Are you doing art?” I am questioned. I lie to my husband, “No, I’m not doing art, I just need to do a few things, I’ll be out in a minute.” What a strange thing to lie about! “Jack was wondering where you were”. I think lots of things in my head, like, I can’t even step away for a minute, I don’t need to be tracked because I won’t even be gone for very long. I got everyone so many wonderful things, I needed to do the same for myself. Now those water bottles and glass of fresh cold water are still sitting outside, everyone is inside now. I just try to grab a few private moments to myself here and there when I can now. Without the naps and only one day off a week I need to use a different strategy to get my work done. It needs to be incorporated into my daily routine, like exercise or breakfast. I’m trying to teach the children how to entertain themselves for thirty minutes at a time. Most of that is letting them watch T.V. so I can do my things. Thank god for T.V.!
When I went into my studio today, I was excited. I worked fast. The first time I had seventeen minutes. I put on one show for Jack and Fiona. Alan was still working in the office. I worked in my notebooks with ripper canvas collage and journal entries, I painted over some canvases in white. The second time I went to my studio, after I had delivered waters and restocked the toilet paper, I added silver and charcoal. I want to go down again now to check and see what I did. To add or start some new ones. Everything is quiet in the house right now. Alan is reading his I-Phone on the couch, the babies are watching a show quietly in their room. The afternoon wind just blew the door shut. It’s 1:30 PM. I am going to sneak down to my studio one more time. I sit and contemplate how to do it, without needing an excuse or reason. Without being questioned. Without sneaking. I just need a few minutes here and there to myself. In my studio.
Getting Buzzed. Listening to Tears for Fears. Drinking Zin.
Getting away, up in the fog, on the coast. Red Ants and sand. River, butterflies, dragon flies, flutter, land on Fionas shoulder. Sun on my back, is it too much? Moving from a sunny spot to a shady spot. Soft sand or hard hot rocks. Pollywogs and tiny little frogs. Swimming a fish jumps out of the water. Listening to the birds sing, feel the sea breeze as it moves up the river bringing gusts of icy cold air. Babies playing with sand and water. Sound of the brook, paradise again. So easy to find paradise in nature. No news, no politics, just positivity.
I grab the two zip lock baggies out of the fridge, one marked “Fiona” one marked “Jack”, walk over to the trash can cringing, “I’m sorry, I feel bad” I say to myself. I toss the bags with half eaten chocolate bunnies in the trash. I shove them down below the empty boxes of Chinese food, pieces of strawberries, used tea bags, and slimy yogurt. I don’t want Jack or Fiona to see that I’ve thrown away the rest of their candy from yesterday, the candy that is rightfully theirs to enjoy to the last bite. But as I watched my children eat candy all weekend and the grand finale last night, an ice cream cone before bed, I said “Starting tomorrow, NO MORE CANDY!” (My husband and I included) “Except on Sundays”. I knew my indoctrination of Easter had gone too far, when yesterday, as Jack opened his golden wrapped bunny with a little red bow around its neck, revealing not a toy bunny, but an edible chocolate creature, Jack gasped, then said, “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” and bit off its little head, chocolate smeared all over his face and hands. Definitely making it on Jacks top ten moments of his first two years of life.
On Saturday, every time I mentioned that “The Easter Bunny is Coming Tonight” Jack would say, “Scary???” and I laughed. The Bunny costume at the park that morning was REALLY scary!! But on Sunday morning when they woke up to stuffed bunnies and chocolate candies I think the memory of Easter will be a good one, not a scary one. I don’t know why I love Easter so much, my mom always did the Easter Baskets, maybe that’s why? I love little animals and chocolate too! And now so do my children. I know it’s probably sacrilegious the way I carried on about Easter, not a mention of Jesus, Good Friday, or Purim. And now I’ve taught my son to say “Oh My God”, not on purpose, I’ve been trying to insert Gosh instead of God, but I guess I’m not consistent enough. Like they say “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Hi, it’s me again. 7:30 AM Friday morning. Jack and Fiona will be up any minute, but right now I am enjoying quietness, hot coffee, and sunflower butter on toast. It’s been another wild week. Its possible Jack is phasing out of naps. Yesterday when we got home from Early Start (school) I put Jack upstairs in the guestroom, he seemed tired, I thought he would definitely take a nap. AS I was putting Fiona in the nursery two doggies came running in. They are my neighbor’s dogs, the cutest little things, and I knew they were friendly with kids because the owners have three kids. So I let Fiona hang out with them in the nursery for a few minutes and I got some cuddles in myself! Such sweet doggies, Billy’s a sweet girl but she’s not cuddly, she’s like a wolf dog, always on the job. Plus, she’s always covered in poison oak! After a few minutes I tell Fiona, “Time for your nap”, she starts crying, “My doggie”, “Fiona, we have to put the doggies out, those aren’t your doggies, they’re the neighbors’ doggies” Crying, “My Dog”, “That’s not your doggie” “Mine, mine, mine” “Awww, you want those puppies? Aww they aren’t your doggies; come on puppies you have to go home.” “Puppy, puppy, puppy” “They’re not our doggies, I’m going to leave the puppies out here” “No, NO, NO” As the doggies exit the garage I start laughing and so does Fiona! I put her back in the nursery to take her nap and she bawls. I tell her “I need to eat” then she says, “Me Eat” so I bring her down a yogurt pack and piece of cheese. She cries but does fall asleep.
I come upstairs, pour some granola over yogurt, go down to my studio, paint with one hand, scoop yogurt in my mouth with the other hand. I can hear banging on the floor. I get scared, what if Jack learned how to open doors. I go upstairs and Jack’s still in his room but says “Mama”, he’s wide awake. “Are you tired?” “No” he says. “you’re not going to take a nap?”, “No”. “O.K.” I let him out, he wants to watch bear, “O.K., you can watch bear and mommies going to do her exercises.” We cancelled our gym membership this month so we can save money. So I’m working out at home, I was going to do it while the babies took their nap or before they woke up! But now, while they watch T.V.! After I exercise, it’s 3:00, time for Fiona to get up. I go down and wake her up, she only had an hour nap, she would have slept longer but then she would be up late! Now that both babies are up things get crazy. First is food! They eat outside in the lawn, I give them fish sticks, O’s, berries, cereal, chocolate covered pretzels, they eat it all. I go back and forth between my studio and upstairs. I have the baby gate open and the garage door open so the babies can find me easily. They come down and Gasp! I’m painting faces, paints all over my hands. Jack starts moving the press back and forth. “I need to teach you how to print” I say. The babies are examining my studio, watching me be crazy and talk to myself. It’s dangerously cool. I finally “Finish” two pieces. I clean my hands and brushes. The babies are getting into the house paint closet, looking at golf balls and wooden tee’s, super excited, like they are on a treasure hunt. It takes me awhile to pry them back upstairs. When I get upstairs I notice milk and cereal spilt all over the good table. I say to myself, “This is what happens when I let toddlers free roam!”
But then Fiona grabs a piece of paper towel and starts cleaning up her mess. I say, “Do you want mommies help?” I go to help, she says “No” and continues cleaning. I control my natural urge to clean it good and let Fiona do her thing. She comes to me when she’s done! I tell her how much I appreciate her initiative and that she’s helping mommy, and realize this is the other part of letting toddlers free roam!
After I put the babies to bed last night I still had to clean the WHOLE house, dishes, toys, vacuuming. I didn’t sit down until 9:00PM! When I did I couldn’t believe I wrote in the morning, spent mid-morning at Early Start, most of it in our parents’ support group, exercised, painted, had absolutely no time to myself, I couldn’t even take a shower alone because Fiona wanted to take a shower with me! But when I sat down I was amazed at all that I had done in the past thirteen hours, but I know I couldn’t keep up this pace! Or could I? Anyhow The babies are awake now! It’s already 8:00AM. Oh and this weekend is my birthday!!! I’m going to be forty-five years old!!! Can you believe it?! I can’t!