The Countdown Begins

Writing with regularity has to become a habit. This morning, I sit here before my computer with a great challenge. What topic shall I cover? So, taking the advice of my writing coach in college, I begin by writing non-sense. Eventually a topic will become evident. In the meantime I write only words.

The display I am working on for the weekend art mart is completed and standing in the garage waiting for me to disassemble for transport to the event. I sit here with a good case of jitter-shitters hoping I follow through with the project. I am told that performers get nervous before going on stage. They suddenly question their talents. They only have to walk on stage to overcome the fear. Once in place, they perform as well or better than their capabilities deem. Meanwhile I will complete a couple more steps I need before I step on stage. I lack simple things like a chair to sit on while waiting for customers, lookers, art aficionados, and critics to pass by and comment, or better yet to buy.

I have deliberately priced each piece of art very high for the simple reason that the price reflects what I believe the specific piece is worth. I have several favorites which are priced in the 3-5 thousand dollar range and nothing less than two hundred dollars. I have made the mistake of recording the time I spend on pieces and using a nominal rate of $15/hr the listed price is a bargain. What is more important to me than getting paid for my time it is getting recognition for the beauty, precision, craftsmanship, and artfulness of the work.

Time will tell whether I have begun a new life journey as an artist or whether I continue as I have for the past twenty years as an obscure producer of heirloom art destined to collect dust on the walls of my beautiful grandchildren.

Another New Adventure

As part of my new single life I am declaring myself an artist. I have always shirked from calling myself one because I am an engineer. The two careers are polar opposite of each other. I tend to like mechanical things, and so pursued training into that arena. At the same time I always had a liking for art. Ever since the fourth grade when the good Nun started me  drawing with crayons. That evolved into cursive writing, then printing. The printing evolved into engineering, and dominated my life.

When ever I had the opportunity I went to art galleries and shows to see what people who use their right brain lobes come up with. I am still fascinated by artists and it doesn’t matter the medium. If it is good, I like it. No, I love it. Throughout my travels during both of my marriages we visited art fairs and loaded our home with affordable artifacts. During my recent purge of things that don’t matter to me anymore the paintings. prints, and pottery survived.

This coming Saturday I am signed up for the Winter Art Market at our public library. I rented a space and will be there with the first public showing of my Intarsia art. My walls are a little bare right now, because many of the items I made found there way to places of prominence within the house.

Why did I decide to join this event at this stage of life? It is something to do, and also because I want some validation either negative or positive on the quality of my work. If my pieces sell for the price I have marked on them, it will be very positive. Right now my entire energy is in creating a display that is easily portable and artful as well. I could have spent a mini-fortune to buy art panels made for shows, but being the cheap bastard that I am I decided to repurpose some available materials. Thankfully, I made a plan and I’m sticking to it. I will be at the venue in time for the Friday afternoon set-up, and I have solicited help for the Saturday afternoon teardown. Of course my expectation is the load will be lighter since all of the pieces will be sold and gone to new homes. The minimum is to sell one piece to break even on the registration fee.

If you are anywhere near Frankfort, Illinois this Saturday, 9 November drop by the library at 21119 S Pfeiffer Rd. between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to visit my display and those of all the other artists. Enter the raffle and have a chance to win “Happy Hour Begins With a Single Drop,” a contemporary intarsia art piece donated by GrumpaJoesPlace.

Happy Hour Begins With a Single Drop

 

All Hallows Eve = Halloween

This year Halloween was truly different from all of my halloween’s (81), it snowed. It was our very first killing frost, and the snow measured a couple of inches. The temperature registered at twenty-three degrees Fahrenheit. Our weather man cited that the last time we had snow and cold of this magnitude was ninety-five years ago. No wonder I can’t remember it being this cold!

I was prepared for the kids, but they didn’t come. Well, a few hearty souls did show up. They looked funny wearing super hero costumes covered by their snow suits. The door bell rang just five times between 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. Now what do I do with all the left over candy? I am on a Keto diet, and candy in the same house is forbidden. Rats!

Halloween kicks off a three day celebration at my church. The next day is November first and is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation. November second is All Souls Day, and November third is for all the still living souls.

This morning I attended a special mass commemorating all the people from our parish that died during the last twelve months. There are 83 people listed, my wife Peggy is one of them. Right after this mass were two funerals that didn’t make it in time to be on this year’s program, and another one next Monday. Death doesn’t seem to care about holidays or scheduled events it just happens.

Sinfully, I scanned the congregation to see if there were any notable widows that I would want to hit on. I didn’t see anyone worth developing a relationship with. I’m really bad aren’t I? Here I sit, my wife not yet cold in her grave, and I’m looking over the field. I loved both of my wives, and still do, but both of them broke the contract (til death do us part) when they took their last breath. Life is for living, and I do grieve, but I also want to move forward without wasting a single second of my God given gift. I also don’t want to be judged at the pearly gates for wasting the life I was granted. I would rather be criticized for doing something even if it is wrong rather than not doing anything.

After wife-one died I attended a support group dealing in grief. That is where I first laid eyes on Peggy and it was an instant connection. We married two years later. We enjoyed ten great years together before she was beset with Alzheimer’s dementia. The next four years were not so great, but God gave her to me to care for in sickness and in health, and that is what I did. I miss her terribly, but at the end I prayed that God take her to stop her misery, He did.

The aloneness I experience now that she is gone is unbearable at times, and I have to do something physical to get my mind off of being by my miserable self. Sometimes, I will wash my dirty clothes, other times I will call someone just to hear a voice. Lately, I have taken to watching movies. On Demand has become my most viewed channel on television. I find that becoming engrossed in a good story puts me into a better frame of mind. By the time I cook my supper, eat, and wash the dishes, there is just enough time for one or two movies before nodding off to sleep. If Its too late to start another movie I’ll get ready for bed and read a book until it is time for sleep.

Last evening’s diversion was to use my jacuzzi tub, a pleasure I haven’t experienced for many years. I went out earlier in the day to buy some bath salts and bought a bottle of Dr. Teal’s Foaming Pink Himalayan Bath Salts and Oil. The idea of soaking in something like that was intriguing. The instructions said to use a generous amount. I didn’t measure but I poured at least a cup full of the stuff into the water. I didn’t just want some therapy, I wanted deep deep therapeutic benefits.  By the time the water level in the tub reached the jets the foam was at the rim of the tub. I stepped into the water and my foot slipped on the bottom. It took some effort to haul my thirty pound over weight hulk into the tub without injuring my self. I hadn’t counted on Dr. Teal’s oil component to be so slippery. I could barely sit up without sliding on my back. I finally braced myself across the width of the tub with my back against one side and my feet against the other. I gingerly reached over to the side and pressed the “on” button to energize the water jets. All holy hell broke loose as the massaging water whipped up a frenzy of bubbles which now bloomed over the rim and reached the window sill. My head was barely out of the bubbly cloud. The only way I knew how to keep the bubbles from filling the entire room was to keep pushing them into the water.

Before I turned on the water I set my phone to alarm me after a half hour passed. By the time it rang, I had enough therapeutic relief and was ready to exit the tub. That is when the therapeutic workout began. Trying to maneuver the mass of my body on oil slick smooth plastic became a nightmare. One false move and I would slip below the bubble line and sink under the water, and I don’t breathe too well under water. My legs were impossible to move out of the wedge I had myself in, and twisting my upper body only seemed to make the wedge work better. In the mean time, my phone kept on alarming. In my mind I was deciding how many handholds I will have to install all around the tub to make it senior friendly. I used the faucet spout as a handle and finally maneuvered my way out of the wedge position. Finally I reached the switch to shut the water jets off, and to stop the bubble machine. These were not Lawrence Welk cutesy bubbles bu rather more like a volcanic eruption.  On my knees now, I inched my way to the edge of the tub. God it was slippery. I made it, and threw my body onto the rim with both arms over the edge. Somehow I rolled onto my back against the rim with my  arms still hanging on for dear life. Slippery foam covered me from head to toe. I reached for a towel on the floor and was able to wipe off some of the oil from the edge of the tub, and this gave me enough friction to hike my ass up into a sitting position. The next therapeutic exercise involved Yoga. I lifted one leg high enough to make the edge of the tub, and with some exertion I managed to straddle the tub. My leg was covered in oily foam and I maneuvered the towel with my toe to bring it where I could step on it. I pictured myself standing on a slippery tile floor with one leg, and the other in the slippery tub, and me doing a split landing on my most sensitive body part.

I made it out and shut off the alarm. The exit took a full fifteen minutes. On my next therapeutic adventure I will begin by dispensing Dr. Teal’s Foaming Pink Himalayan Bath Salts and Oil in quarter teaspoon increments, or maybe an eyedropper would be smarter. I jumped into the shower to rinse the foam and oil off. When I was dry I reached into the tub and pulled the drain plug. This morning there was still some foam left in the tub.

You know what? The therapeutic jacuzzi soak took my mind off missing Peg.

 

 

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