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Archive for April, 2009

You can make things happen.

Dear J.

You’re amazing. You can make things happen. You made your way into the conference room on the ship and exclaimed “I HAVE TO CALL MY WIFE!” and from that day forward, they give you the code to use the internet, without stopping you. Even though you are technically “crew”.

I remember the last time you called me your wife.

“Wife” seems to have alot more leverage than “girlfriend”, apparently.

I was thinking about what we are in for. 

I am saving some projects for you. Like getting the screw-hook-things into the ceiling of the storage closet so we can hang our bikes. I’d have done it myself and probably would have screwed something up or at least hurt myself, but I know I could do it. The thing is, you’re coming home soon and so I am saving you a project. I know I’ll have a handful more by the time you are home.  

I showed you the bike hooks on Skype tonight and you smiled when I told you I was saving the job for you. It was a smile of “I’ll be home soon and will be hanging bikes.”

I had the windows open today and was cleaning the house. I finished emptying the second dresser in my room, for you. I cleared those few shelves where I keep my sweaters. I made hanging room in the closet.

You have more clothes than I do, so you might want to weed out a little. 

Back to the open window.

I can’t wait for you to be napping on my couch in front of the open window. And for you to motion me over to lie down on top of you and fall asleep with one of your hands in my hair and the other on my back, holding me there. the open window has the ocean breeze, sometimes mixed with fish sticks from the fish factory down the street. Sometimes cigarrettes from the neighbor who smokes outside. Sometimes, just the salt air.

You called tonight and you looked a bit wiped. That mild cold didn’t turn out to be so mild and I hope it clears up soon so you can sing more clearly and feel more confident in your shows tomorrow night.

The fact that you can soak in the jacuzzi and partake in the massage chairs and steam room at the spa on the ship is something I hope will help you. The fact that you got on board for your month voyage of work there and managed to get spa privileges, is well, amazing. I know it took you a few days but suddenly, BAM they stamped your crew id and you got yourself in.

It’ll be four weeks on Monday. It seems like forever. In comparison to the last five months, it’s nothing. It doesn’t make me miss you any less.

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Being Online

Being online is an activity for me serving many purposes.

I go online to communicate. I am always logged into Skype as you know, for one reason you know. I even have it on my iphone.

I go online to share photos. Especially priceless ones like this

easterand this

cropped

I go online to shop. 

I go online to sell my artwork.

I go online to send drafts of copy and design drafts to clients.

I went online to see how to plant peas and grow them and replant them eventually with the kids in my mother’s garden. Apparently, it works because I now have three inch tall pea plants. 

I went online to sign the kids up for tennis camp. And um, research GOLF camp. For summer. My children want to go to golf camp.

I hate golf. Hate it. What we will do for our kids.

I go online for design ideas. And recipes. And to check flights. 

I, um, go online to watch Lifetime Movies.

Yes, what has gotten into me? I watched all of these. I did. That’s worse than vowing to watch the entire series of Will and Grace while J is gone. I have five more weeks to finish three seasons. So I doubt I will get to that.

Considering I have taken a break, and am going to watch Slumdog Millionaire tomorrow from Netflix, after I finish the last Nora Robert’s movie tonight in bed.

Seriously. I am.

They.Are.Bad. But I am watching them online.

I feel at ease as my dad flew home today. I was able to clean a little and get laundry done and was able to breathe a bit too.  I feel guilty about that too, for feeling that way about having him being here for a week.

I’m not really sure where I am going with this post, except to say that sometimes I just have to shut the damn thing off.

But if I do, I always think of something, like “I gotta pay that bill”, or “I wonder exactly what area a Brazilian Wax actually covers?”

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Parent rant

photoI am wiped out. 

See my face?

I am going to hell.

It has been very very very hard having my dad here.  

I dont want to sound like an ungrateful bitch about the man who was half of the effort in bringing me into this world, but it has been brutal.

24 hours a day for a week is brutal. (okay, minus the four hours of sleep I have been getting on the couch)

There is NO privacy. 

 He’s high maintenance. He is ancy and impatient.

I can’t hear him when he speaks. He mumbles.

He tries to discipline my kids.

He tries to discipline me.

And he gets annoyed with the girls when they do a typical “Do I have to eat ALL my eggs before I have chocolate cake?” whine. (yes, we had eggs for dinner and chocolate cake for dessert).

He looks at me and flickers his eyes as if he can’t believe I would let them whine about their food. 

What kid doesn’t?

And then he starts, “You know, if I WERE YOU….”

OH MY GOD. Is he serious?

Yesterday was Easter.

My kids got up on the very very bad side of early (um, 4:30) looking for the damn Easter Bunny. I sent them back to bed and they were back by 6am, opening their baskets on the living room floor, just a few steps away from my temporary bed on the couch this week. (yes, I give my dad my bedroom). 

First, the previous 60 degree day did not last. It was about 35 and high winds. The Easter Egg hunt was very quick and very cold.

Look at how cold the girls were.

p1010017My mother cooked, I made a chocolate dessert and since she is on a diet and my dad won’t eat wheat, the kids and I ate them.

And since my mother is a vegetarian and dad doesn’t eat wheat, well, that was cause for an interesting meal. A very interesting meal. I won’t ruin your appetite by mentioning what my mother came up with.

Oh yes, my parents have been divorced since 1991 and fortunately it was amicable and they get along and hang out and stuff. It gets kind of annoying too, because they gang up on me. Double bad.

Yet, when I told my mom today that next time Dad comes to visit, I will be putting him up in the inn down the street because I can’t handle a week of him in my little house, she agreed with me that was the right thing to do. But of course, if I happen to be in a house the next time he comes, maybe there would be more room for him to stay with us.

My reply was, “yeah, if I win the lottery, buy a mansion and can give him an entire WING.”

I have this overwhelming feeling of needing to clean the house and put on J’s boxers and socks and sweatshirt and even his work boots, for some comfort.

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tofu

A rather twisted “twist” on my usual “my favorite things” posts. 

1. Dear J. You’re wrong by the way. My living room couch is NOT a comfortable sleeping couch. Sleeping on top of you, on the couch, now that’s comfortable. You just happen to have the luxury of being able to sleep virtually anywhere. Lucky dog. Still, I can’t believe you slept down here all those nights when the girls were in the house, before you moved up to my bed!!!! Sheesh. I am SO sorry. (pet peeve: sleeping on the couch when there are house guests in my bedroom.

2. Jeans with a too low crotch. I hate that. SO uncomfortable. I love the new Levi’s I just bought online. Lowrise boot cut, normal crotch.

3. Folks who lack humility.

4. Tofu. Unless it is firm tofu, cooked by professionals who have soaked in in good spicy sauce AND made it crispy, tofu is not a favorite thing. Dear Dad. Thanks for making dinner tonight. Even though I made gagging noises when you suggested tofu, you still went to the market, bought it and made it for me for dinner. Thanks.

5. When the DVR cuts short the song of the century on American Idol. Fortunately, I was able to log on to the internet and find Adam Lambert’s performance of “Mad World”. He should win, just because of that. I-Love-Him. But I love J more.

6. Allergies. I don’t know whether I have a cold or am allergic to something blowing around outside.

7.  When people confuse “there” and “their”. I want to correct them but don’t want to be a snob. But I do business with someone who uses “their” all the time, improperly. “I will be their at 9”.

8. The life span of tulips. In a pot in my house I have tulips. They were closed up when I bought them. Then they opened. 5 days later, they are done. Bummer.

9.  Watery warm coffee. Coffee must be strong and hot. With hot frothed milk.

10. Killing plants and flowers. I generally buy something small and potted (or cut flowers)  and keep it the house and water it like it tells me to and then when it dies, it dies. I can  never revive anything. In terms of  real genuine house plants, it is J forte, so when he comes home, we’ll pick something and I’m going to hand it over to him. Because you know, otherwise, it will become very very very dead and useless.

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Newish artwork

I am not feeling terribly inspired to write about anything, with Dad’s visit and all. I feel worn out already. I feel small and tired and old and young, all at once.

I wish J were here with me while I go through this week. The internet for him right now depends on the satellite and that is pretty crappy where he is…it cuts in and out and our conversations consist of redialing each other back until we can connect for a few minutes before it happens again. It is very very difficult, he has three more weeks at this current gig before going to a place where the internet will be rockin’ for the last two weeks of his European gig. But until then, it just basically sucks. I am trying not to dramatize it. I’m just going to leave it.

Anyway, so I am going to post some paintings I recently finished instead of writing more of THAT shit. Most of these are from my trips to see J. I have more in the works.

If you are interested in anything or just want to see my professional website, please email me movindowntheroad@gmail.com. I won’t advertise my name or professional website on my blog due to keeping it from coming up in a search for me by clients. But am happy to share with you what I do if you email me directly.

(note, I did something funky with the lemon paintings and so their size is on the smaller side on this page. Sorry about that. I can email you larger if you want to see  it up close. That sparkly/spotty stuff you see on the watercolors is salt, a technique I have been using since college…um, circa 1995.)

river-house

riding-innertubes-on-the-waves

downtown-in-curacao

blue-boat-grounded

barbershop

banana-truck

overflowing-fruit-bowl-2

lemon-pedestal-2

one-hanging-lemon-2

dangling-lemons1

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gravy

Not long ago, I was standing up for myself in a conversation with my mother, tired of constant disapproval, which I ultimately know is just her concern for me.

There tends to be a disapproving feeling I get from her based on her facial expressions, the things that come out of her mouth, and the emails she sends, lecturing me…about anything. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom, and she lives nearby and we see her often and the kids adore her and she adores the kids. She has helped me out alot over the years in more ways than one, the most major, taking the three of us in when I was going through my divorce, cut off financially for months until court instructed ex-husband to start temporary child support.  

We lived with her for a year and a half.

She babysat when I had to go to my lawyer’s office.

Or court.

Or when I needed to sit in the bathroom for an hour and cry.

Still though, unless she has a hand in what I am doing, or say, I seem to be doing it all wrong because she wouldn’t do “it” the way I am.

What came out of her mouth in a very heated (but loving) discussion was, “Well, you know, YOU’VE MADE AN AWFUL LOT OF MISTAKES IN YOUR LIFE!”

I sat there appalled that it actually came out of her mouth.

When it comes to my life, professionally, I have made no mistakes. I have always been happy in what I was doing, from fundraising jobs for museums, working in event planning for an arts council, being a nanny, working for an advertising agency…and now, for myself.

When it comes to my life, personally, yes, I have made what some would call “mistakes”. I have called them “mistakes” many many times.

But really, what they were, were lessons, stepping stones teaching me as I go, over and over again, what works and what doesn’t work for me.

Interestingly, my mother doesn’t know the half of it. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was living with her and going through therapy, that I revealed to her that I had some physically abusive relationships. I told her as simply as that. What she still doesn’t know is how I had the shit beat out me. I mean,  “staying in such situations like that, well, now, Mom, THAT’S A MISTAKE!!!!”

At any rate, it got me thinking to when I decided to leave my marriage. My husband at the time was in partial agreement that we were to separate, but he wouldn’t really do anything about it. So I packed up the car and moved out with the girls to my mother’s. I never went back in that house until a year later when it was sold and I spent only 6 hours packing up the belongings I really cared about and moved it to a storage unit near where I was living with my mom. 

I had no idea what would happen at the end of my marriage. I had no money. I had no credit cards other than one in my name that I used for my art supplies. I had a car and a carload of a few belongings. I had my winter clothes. I had a bucket of toys for the girls. I had my coffee maker. I had no art supplies except a pad of paper and black ink. I had my girls. And I had my mom.

But knowing that I didn’t need to be in my marriage, any more than I needed influenza, was the greatest knowledge I had and the only thing I knew for sure.

The rest was all gravy. Scary gravy, but gravy.

She also says her belief system is that living with someone without being married is a sin.  Sleeping with someone without being married is wrong.

Lots of people feel that way. Lots don’t. We are all entitled to our own belief system. I respect hers. I need her to respect mine.

I wish we were in a day where my mom could look at me and the girls and see how happy we are. Not be afraid for us. But see the peace and love and happiness around us and be grateful for it. If we fall, be there for us too. But encourage and support and love the blessings and safety and happiness that has set in our lives.

That being said, my dad flies in from Los Angeles tonight for a week. I am not looking forward to it due to the similar issues. He is easier to tolerate but I am completely prepared to let him know that I don’t need to be in a discussion about what he or my mother think I should be doing (they are divorced but tend to get along and talk about me and agree on the things that they think are wrong in my life). I am hoping the week goes well and fast. I am hoping to show my dad that I won’t put up with lectures and bullshit. I am prepared to tell him off if I need to.  

My hope is that it’s a fun peaceful week with the kids and my dad, that we can have grown up conversations, ones I will probably bring up with him, in terms of what I expect or won’t accept from my parents anymore. Because frankly, I have had enough.

Thanks for listening.

Once my dad flies back to Los Angeles, it will be 5 weeks until J comes home. And an update on our home, I have cleaned out the basement, my studio, my closets and made tons of room for him here.

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Piano lessons

piano-logo

Last night I drove my girls to their dad’s for their weekend. He was flying back from a business trip and ended up delayed, not only in the air, but on the ground because some bonehead was late for their flight at Logan and ran through security. So they shut everything down. I was sitting in front of exhusband’s house when he called to say he was trapped at Logan.

Red has been home sick this entire week, she had what I had and the poor little thing has been pretty miserable about 90 percent of the time. The rest of the time, she was fairly comfortable and unfortunately it was never at night. So, we didn’t get much sleep this week. So, I am sitting there in the pouring rain outside his house, with a sick kid and Blue complaining in the back about how hungry she was, despite the fact that she just ate half a can of Pringles. And I had plans back at home with some other artist friends to have dinner at 7. There was no way I was going to make it.

Exhusband called again and said he called his parents and I could bring the kids there, he had ordered them dinner and he would be along within the hour. I was relieved because a) Red would be more comfortable b) Blue would no longer be whining in the back seat and c) I would make my dinner function.

We got to my ex-inlaw’s house, I have seen them often enough over the years and things are fairly comfortable, as comfortable as they can be between people who used to be close and then all of us disappointed each other in the end. There’s a grand piano in the entryway and the girls went right to it and started playing. Red can play by ear and Blue remembers all the exercises that J taught them before he left in November. 

My ex-mother-in-law looked at me and goes, “have they been taking lessons?”

I stammered and stuttered a little bit because how do you get into a comfortable conversation with your ex’s  parents about your boyfriend being a piano player and teaching them to play?

Well, I just did.

“The man I am seeing is a professional piano player and he’s been giving them lessons.”

And my mother-in-law’s eyes got wide and she goes (impressed) “oooooh, wow, like, a CONCERT pianist?”  

And I laughed and said, “oh, no. like NIGHTCLUBS and stuff.”

Granted, he plays classical and specializes in 40’s and 50’s music believe it or not. The old people love him. And his last yacht gig was merely hours of classical music, French and Italian classics interspersed. 

But then, I go for the shock value with the ex and his family. They think I have sinned. They think I am rotten and cheap. They think I am below them.

A few days ago, exhusband called and asked, “Is he moving in with you? The girls told me that he was going to be ‘home’ soon, for good. Does that mean he’s moving in with you? Are you sleeping in the same bed with the girls in the house?”

I confirmed his questions and he was silent. 

Now, I know that a father’s worst nightmare is likely another man coming into their kids’ life, living with them, stepping in. But J is the least likely man to go ahead and “replace” their dad. But ultimately, due to the amount of time J will be here compared to the amount of time the girls are with their dad, he will be filling a place in time for them that had their dad and I stayed married, he would have filled.

I said to him, “well, I know it probably makes you uncomfortable, you’ve only met him a few times in passing, but when he comes home for good, perhaps you can get to know him a little, see him with the kids. We can meet at a playground or say hello at their dance recital coming up.”

This was a stretch for me, a challenge to offer this, because exhusband is such a jackass and I can hardly stand him. J actually suggested it, being sensitive to exhusband’s feelings and wanting to somehow help him feel like he can know a little bit about J, who was spending time with his children.

Exhusband’s response? 

“I have NO respect for the guy. Moving in and sleeping in the same bed with you with the girls under the same roof without being married? I can’t believe you would let them SEE THAT!”

I was appalled. “Gosh, it’s not like we’re having sex in front of them!”

Our discussion went downhill from there. He said that I was surrounding myself with people here in my town (which he thinks is filled with the low-class) who set bad examples for the kids. “You surround yourself with all these sorts of people who live together without being married.”

To which I replied, “Well, they seem to be more functional and stable than most of the married people I know. You know, what works for people, works for them and you have to see it as that. Look at your children and see if they are happy. Are they happy? Be glad for that. ”

Exhusband spat into the phone, “You know what? I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOU.”

Then I calmly hung up.

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