CROSS MY ART AND HOPE TO FLY....

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hiatus

Well now... let's see if I remember how to do this......

I've never wanted to blog "down" so to speak... that's one of the reasons I haven't posted here. I'm not a good fake happy  person. I can manage it from time to time... like at a house party or a resturant dinner, but not here. I've always written from the heart when I post here.

So I thought jeez silly... it's just real life, so what the heck... we all have our woes, and times of trouble, realizing all the while, my problems are petty in comparison to sooooo many other people in the world, this I know and am grateful for.

Of course.. everyones's problems are relative to their own lives and circumstances, and there's no need to apologise for them or the crappy feelings that come along with them. Life has problems! Every single solitary person has their own and can relate to this subject matter. So why not write about it? Why not write from the heart about it...


I feel vulnerable, and humbled... but will  bravely and plainly say... this last year has been the hardest yet in my 47 years.
My husband and I have had numerous hardships to deal with, many being crammed down our throats one right after the other, or even at the same time... with numerous challenges to overcome ahead of us. We are having to adjust to many new situations we find ourselves faced with, and we are finally coming around to doing that peacefully.
None of this has been between us personally, we are stronger than ever in spite of our circumstances, and actually more so because of them.

But as one might imagine... the experiences from this past year has often led me down the indigo path quite a ways.... I've been " in the red" emotionally on and off so much and in turn this has left me feeling void creatively, with a lack of inspiration and motivation on many levels.

Not totally without, just not enough to spare or share, if that makes any sense?

Some of you who may read this know this past year I had a very difficult time taking care of two wonderful.....but aging and ailing Jack Russell's that meant the world to me.
At times I was basically house bound with them for numerous reasons and we knew our time to do the right thing for them was coming soon. The thought of having to "schedule" such a thing was more heart wrenching than we could bear.... but all the while knowing that's what we had to do. It's been 9 months and my heart still bleeds everyday...

Cobia dealt with the blindness fairly well at first ,especially for an OCD type of dog. She had cataract surgery and it was successful but only lasted for about 6 months. Poor sweet thing didn't do so well losing her sight the second time, and after about another year she began circle walking alot. But it got worse and soon all she did was walk in tight circles any time she was up. The sweet little soul was just held hostage in her own personal torture chamber and I couldn't bear it for her.
The sore above her eye was from bonking her noodle over and over in the same spot : (


poor thing got sooooo skinny too : (


Just the sweetest girl....

I think we relate to dogs just like we do people in our lives... you know how we have a different chemistry or connections with different people?  Or we love them differently but not less than... simply due to the different inherent nature of people.  Devil has always somehow been different for me.

 I love my Cobia like crazy mad as well... she was certainly the sweetest natured of them all. (AxL is justa' hot mess)  But from the first day I got Dev... I felt something different about her. And I found it the hardest thing  for me to do... to fathom the thought of  her not being with me anymore.



Old age caught up with her, and her "ruff and tuff" lifestyle.... no holds bar was the way she rolled... and her 16 year old spine was giving up on her because of it. (surprised it held up that long) The dog ran up a trees, launching over a 6 foot fences FLYING up and over, getting at least 12 feet in the air I swear! And that's just a glimps of her type of escapades....there simply was no stopping her, EVER. Always up for an adventure, getting into trouble was her favorite thing to do. Life was NEVER boring or normal, she always kept us on our toes... it was wonderful!


          "Life with a dog named Devil" memoirs might be in my future. Oh! The stories I could tell.... I don't even know the half of them though! She went on so many walk abouts... comin' home bleedin' and what not...  I might of even sold my soul to the Devil if that dang dog could have talked : )





Yes... she even pulled the roaster pan off the pantry shelf!!  And mind you,  these two "pantry parties" where only  a couple months before she passed away...crazy sly dog till the end!

video
                                                                Cheeky Monkey!!

Due to her lower spine problems she was slowly losing use of her back legs... this was also slowly causing her more and more discomfort. We managed her pain for about a year... but when it became apparent that there were more bad days than good, we knew what we had to do.

                                                         
                                                           A not so good day....


I found myself so angry and bitter at first that this was happening to both of them at them at the same time. Different issues, but both declining together. The decision to euthanize a beloved pet is difficult enough, but to have to do two at the same time... my mind just couldn't process it, I knew my heart wasn't ready for the loss. But we did it, they went together at the exact same time...and I know absolutely with every fiber of my being it was right thing to do. That part I am at peace with.

Here's a poem I wrote about Dev.. 

With a Heavy Heart 


She fell in the pool last night.
It's January.
Her gait isn't what it use to be.
The strapping muscles have left her frame.
It takes 30 minutes and a heating pad to bring calm.
This makes an imprint on my mind...it's getting closer.
You rest at my feet as I write this prose...
You have loved me for 16 years.
You were meant to be mine.
The most sane would not have tolerated your tenacious nature...
you kept me on my toes.
But you give me the purest sense of of unconditional love
I've ever known, and I return it.
I struggle with knowing... that soon... there will be many seconds, of every hour, of every day, of every year of missing you ahead of me...
But you are my true friend.
You have shown me and given me all the love and strength I need to bear it.



We only had them 4 months after I wrote this and as of two days from today...  its been nine months since we lost them and still feels soooo fresh.
We had to leave our dream home and the place they grew up... which cuts deep. We are learning to live in a new strange place with only one of our dogs, but  happy to be together....
This year has to turn a corner, personally and creatively.... I know we are going to be better and stronger for all of this, and I know I have art in me!!! Just waiting to spill out...........




and that's all I got to say about that.....
























Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today I choose simple.

The older I become... the less complicated I want things to be.....
All things...less complicated.

I want to be free of the all the noise in my head that accompanies complicated.  I think when things are simplified... the noise in the head gets a reprieve, almost always a much needed one, and it frees the mind up and that allows space for all the good, important things to flow in.... the things that can go unnoticed when the mind is preoccupied and all filled up....


 Focus on the good I say...   Life is tough enough without our minds being cluttered with nonsense that won't ever change the outcome of any particular situation at any given time.
This is hard to do sometimes of course, and I often have to stop myself ...and remind myself of this when I feel myself getting bogged down.

Simple is good. Simple gives you time. Simple isn't selfish...it allows you to get the real things...

And so on that note... here's my Simple Christmas tree and how it came to be.  Typically I have it all decked out...with a gazillion things.  Not this year.... we are simply all things nature. I even had a friend  jokingly ask me when I was gonna finish my tree. I said  "it's done!"
I almost just left it with just the lights... I love to look at it with just the lights on.... and usually do for a few days. But anyway......


                                                    First things first....
"You might be a redneck if ".....  you take a few beers to the Christmas tree lot to pick out your tree  Oh... and your dog....  NIIIIICE : )

                  It was a beautiful afternoon for tree shopping....

                             This is my niece Maria , Axl and me : )

                           
                               Guys are always sooo excited...right?

   I swear .... there were absolutely  NO new curse words invented      between here....
                                                      and here... : )


                                                  Then the fun part!
                                      First the cross, then lights.......


                                                        Grapevine.....

                                        Cranberries... lots and lots.

                                         and curly raffia.... thats it!

             
                     And I think it's one of the prettiest trees I've ever                                    seen...

                                                             Xo'sss  ajae
                                                                         









Friday, August 26, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where O' where ... and life's curve balls.....

 A note to reader's... I started this blog draft post before July 4th with intention of posting it before we went to the cabin for the holiday, but I got in a rush and didn't get it posted.  Since then life has taken a few turns.....so it's a little jumbled, but I'm still going to use it, but add revisions up to date. 
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Goodness gracious... we just stay too darn busy this time of year!!  Always comin'-and-a-goin'..... here, there and everywhere!

 Summers for us tend to get crazy. Seems like there is always something going on. We're going camping  tomorrow for the 4th holiday. We went camping in Eufala last month... I l♥ve being outside so I enjoy those trips. Just alot of work preparing and then recovering!! Hahaaa! We've had weddings, concerts,  boating excursions, visiting to friends, and plenty of house gatherings. Speaking of concerts... so far we've seen Amos Lee in  Birmingham, AL.  He was amazing.....  if you care to, take a listen below. 

                                  

I LoVe music, I can't live without it. When I get to live shows I just get so mesmerised and caught up in the experience that I rarely remember to takes pis or videos... and they hardly ever turn out very well......like this next one,  we saw Billy Currington in Biloxi, MS. It was suppose to be a Father's Day gift for my Dad, but my Mom got sick and they couldn't go
:(


And in 3 weeks were  going to see The King's of Leon (again) in Gulf shore's, AL.  : ))))))


Directly from the concert we're headed straight to stay with friends for 4 days on Lake Martin! We've dubbed it "Lake Fest" and has become an annual thing.  (well, this has unfortunately changed...)

Next week we're gonna miss a canoe trip due to hubby's high school reunion, which will be fun of course, but I'd rather be canoeing!

**But anywayyyyy.... I guess my point is we've been running crazy and my poor little blog has been neglected. I've often wished I could post more shorter posts and more often, but that just doesn't seem to suit me for some reason. Maybe that will change at some point, who knows, but now I just go with what feels right, with out berating myself too much....
It kinda makes sense, it's like my mo I guess, because I'm the same way with my art projects... Slooow and steadyyy!  ( well, maybe not so steady... but definitely slow, hahaa)
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*Sad update... While we were on our way home from our July 4th holiday camping trip, (it was Sun. July3rd)  I got a phone call from my mother ( who had been looking after my dogs for us)  that my oldest jack ( Devil 15yrs) was acting strangely. When we got home we found her very agitated and uncomfortable, but with out showing any other signs. But sadly as the day progressed it became obvious that she seemed to be losing control of her back legs.

She continued to get worse and  was in terrible pain, since all the vets were closed , we decided to give her a 1/4 of a lortab. This settled her and she finally began to rest. This is how we kept her comfortable till Tues. July 5 when we could go see our vet. 

Not a good report, she has 3 collapsed disc's in her lower back. Eventually it will cause her to have trouble walking to a degree, or cause paralysis.  Also as an incidental finding... a mass on her lung.

 But we are extremely thankful because we are seeing some improvement. It has been tough, and we are on pain meds, muscle relaxers and steroids. The plan is to keep her comfortable enough to see if the steroids would reduce the inflammation enough for her to continue to have quality days, and it seems to be working!!!!!  We are hoping we're over the hump for the time being : )

We've gone from this... ( how sad )


To this : ) How fab!
It's very difficult to decide what the right thing to do is when things of this nature happen with our pets. Especially our older pets.  I spent the first week crying like a baby... trying to make her comfortable. But I have to say... even though the med regimen is taxing for us both, it seems to be helping. It's soooooo worth it to me.... especially when  I see her so happy still,  like the picture above.
She still has moments of difficulty, not with the legs so much.... but with some signs of pain. But NOTHING like before.  Just short panting and trembling episodes here and there. Devil is an amazing and extremely tough dog, and as long as she has more good days than bad, we'll hang tough with her.  Excluding that first horrible week, we definitely are having more GOOD days : )      SOooooo.. wish us luck gang!!
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Now then... ( from pre- July 4th draft)  about a little art play!!!!!  I've been meaning to show you what I've been up to... that brings me to our new little, fun, goofy collaboration of You Suck Monday! We started it back in April, just kinda goofing off together and then decided we would also blog about it.... But  here is my first YSM blog entry below, and it basically sums up what it's all about....

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YSM POST Monday, April 25, 2011  And then there was Ajae....

You Suck Monday has changed my life... hahahaa! Seriously though.... I NEVER did ANY art on Mondays before Goog and Kel decided to include (drag) me. I always go straight into a funk on Mondays and promptly throw a personal pity party because every week my husband has to leave because he works out of town every week and it totally blows, ...blah,blah..that’s another story.

Anyway... I knew my friends, Goog and Kelly, had come up with the YSM concept and were having alot fun with it. They knew that I knew about it.... but I just thought I’d be a debbie downer and ruin for them. But you know what? That didn’t happen... they let me play anyway! Even when I’m kinda quiet and don’t always follow the rules : )

But that’s the whole point of YSM.... Your totally off the hook, always with a “get out of jail for free card”...no matter WHAT you do or try!! This is such a freeing concept, especially for those of you who may be like me, I struggle desperately with "perfectionist syndrome". This is an awful characteristic for artists because it can stop you dead in your tracks. When I start really liking something I’ve done, I totally freeze up, terrified that I’ll ruin it for sure!


What YSM has done for me is, not only does it get me out of my funk on Monday’s... I’m actually doing more art and trying new things. It’s helping me learn to get over the hurdle when I feel too terrified to make another mark. I’m soooo glad that Goog and Kelly didn’t give up on me : ) They are truly good, silly, easy, fun friends!

I hope all ya’ll decide to give YSM a go! I know you’ll like and it can really help you grow!!! Try something new for the simple sake of trying it... it may turn out dreadful... or it may turn out mediocre... or it may turn out great! Either way it doesn’t even matter...because it’s YOU SUCK MONDAY!!!!!!!!! But one thing is for sure, you are guaranteed to learn something from each and everything single thing you try! xo's... ajae
Here is a YSM project that I ended up really liking! The theme was trash art, it was suppose to be done on a brown paper lunch baggy, but I had to break the rules and do it on an old envelope. ( I swear I didn’t have one ya’ll ) I’m still playing with her and will probably put her one of my journals : ) ***************************************************************


** Since then it's kinda morphed into this thing, I'm not sure what it is really!  Probably because Suzi touched it with her magic wand! Suzi loved the idea and started to play along and prompted us to start the linqto pod casts... which has been a little nerve wracking , but we're having fun with it. And I think alot of others starting to also. We also started a facebook page for YSM : )  Here are a few peaks at some suckage from our projects....

This was a dripage journal page....

 From this to this... FUN!!! This is still not finished, but I will definitely do more box trash art !!



 This is a transfer onto a journal page. That is my niece and I...

 Starting silly with potato stamp carving : )

And here's the real deal...

 This was last YSM... we decided to do Mail♥ArT... we're all exchanging addy's and sending out are post card size works of art!

Plus now... a Devil Art Doll, complete with moving parts, and she stands alone !!


Today's YSM project is just plain, silly, simple fun with shrinky dinks and atc's... and of course always any show and tell any one has to share........... Come join the shenanigans!!!
 If everything goes off without a hitch, you should be able to check out our facebook page at 8pm CDT for the link. (we had some hiccups last week, but hopefully all is well)

I wish for everyone a creative, artful, peaceful week! Xo- ajae 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Late Bloomer...



These words resonate deeply with me about so many different times and areas of my life. I'll forgo the really long version, but the short of it is...when I was young  most of my new classmates each year couldn't figure out if I was a boy or girl until the 6th grade. They seriously would tap me on the shoulder and have to ask.

Truth is, it did hurt my feelings, but I was a tough cookie and rolled with it.  Truth also was, I was quite the tomboy and more interested in athletics, not the typical girly nonsense.  So I understood the confusion... add in a very short pixie hair cut and whalah!     But another thing I knew for sure was... I was an artist.

Moleskine journal page
As I continued through my middle and high school years, I continued to run track and swim. I also started to "bloom" so to speak. Funny how a girl that was mistaken for a boy in 5th grade can become the homecoming attendant in the 10th grade.  I also continued to be an artist. By this time I was winning high school art shows and exhibits. 

After high school, I took the "safe" route (like many artist's tend to do) and went into the work force. Then later, (at 26)  back to school so I could "learn" something and make a decent living.  Because my goodness, haven't you heard ....  you can't JUST be an artist?!  How sad is it that... I  let the artist in me just wither away and get all rusty!

Fast forward 20+ years.... and I am a late ArT bloomer, but I am now bravely beginning to excavate, dust off and rediscover the artist that I know lives inside of me.

But I can't take all the credit, because in 2008 I had a little push from someone.... her name is Suzi Blu .

Funny how someone you don't even know can have such an impact on you. I feel so grateful to have found her, especially since I was just beginning (latebloomer) to learn how to use a computer. I never even took typing in highschool. But I started plunkin' around on it and managed to find youtube... typed in mixed media and whalah...there she was!

I was smitten right away,  she's SO engaging, passionate, funny, generous and never stagnate. She was a huge  motivating factor in getting me to actually pick up a frickin' pencil again. Of course there are others that have imprinted on me as well... Pam Carriker, Tascha Parkinson, and Misty Mawn to name a few... But Suzi was "my first" : )  Fast forward 3 years... and although we've never met yet in person, I'm happy to call her a friend.

As I became a little more comfortable online, I started to realize the opportunity available for learning and connecting with the online art community. I finally got brave enough to jump in. I didn't let the fact that I couldn't type or keep up in art chat rooms stop me... I plunked and hen picked my way through anyway...  and it was like a whole new world opened up to me.

I do live with some regret though,  because now I know... living my life through ArT is what I was meant to do all along. But the fact remains... I didn't... till now, but that's okay... I can be a latebloomer. In fact, I've become pretty good at it.

I learned this from Suzi... : )
 If someone would have told me a couple years ago that I could or would make real friends online, I would have thought ...yeah right... whatever.  Don't get me wrong... I  have met many wonderful like minded souls and have enjoyed making online friendships.

But it has been kinda' strange for me because in person... I am always friendly and outgoing,  but I discovered that online I am a fairly shy and it takes time for me to open up. I think it has to do with the rawness of exposing something as personal as your art work,  or even your thoughts in words... and also because of(especially early on) my lack of computer skills.

 But surprisingly a few friendships have really evolved over time. They liked me anyway : ) and now we correspond pretty much on a daily basis, usually through texting and skype dates. We are all very different and help each other through our many art challenges and sometimes even life's challenges.

This is something I never expected to happen, and I am so happy and grateful for it. Thank you so much Goog, Kelly and Suzi : )
Also, if you feel so inclined you can check out our new blog titled  "You Suck Monday" .  It's the blog with a funny name but an awesome concept! Go check it out... you know you want to, with a name like that!

Even as I type this today,  (you do NOT wanna'  know how long it took me) I feel like a late bloomer... I'm too meticulous, and self critical....I get in my own way alot,  but I'm getting better and learning so much from my new found friends.....

In 2010 I started this blog, flickr, facebook, and finally in 2011 an Etsy Store! I must confess it has been overwhelming and I feel the last year has been a huge online learning experience.

What takes my friend 5 minutes to do on a blog takes me an hour....so I've spent alot of time in front of the computer rather than the art table, but I realize this is all part of the process.  Now that I'm getting my sea legs so to speak... my hope is to be more prolific artistically this year, through my art and photography, and even more blogging!

I am a bird now...
But I know that late bloomer's still eventually bloom : ) I don't know how close I am or what I will be... but it's all part of my artful life journey, and I'm cool with that... xo ajae

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guess what the MagicaL CoCooN did......... ♥

                         IT    HATCHED!!!!! 
Can you believe it.........
I'm sooooo sad though, because I missed the magic show!!!   I had been checking most everyday, in fact I was starting to get worried because I read that you could gently shake the cocoon and sometimes feel some movement inside. But when I tried, it just felt like a hard little butter bean in there. I was beginning to think he didn't make it through the winter. (some don't)

BUT, on a dreary rainy Tuesday morning.... tadaaaaah!  Who would of thought.... all along I assumed it would emerge on  a perfect spring/summer day. ( My father suggested maybe the moisture in the air helps them to bore out of the cocoon. Makes sense...)

Well... I just happen to look up and here HE was!!!!!!
I was just awestruck at what I was actually seeing!!!!   Then I ran over to check the cocoon... I was actually moved to tears... happy tears!

 For those who may be reading about this for the first time, here's a quick recap... ( if your a nature lover and want to read the story from the beginning go back and first read "Forever Grateful... and the Magical Cocoon" here  and then "Spring Update: Oliver and the Magical Cocoon" here )  Anyway....some of our dear friends found this huge magnificent caterpillar on my street last Sept. on the day of their wedding party. They brought it in so it wouldn't get squished by all cars fixin' to pull up....and we "let it go"...  in my screen enclosure. It spun a wonderful cocoon 3 weeks later. Soooooooo, we've been on the "cocoon watch" for 7 months...wondering if it was gonna make it through the winter.

Oliver and the Magical Cocoon
Here's my first attempt at getting him on video.....  

        Jinx -Part 1                 

video


Meet Jinxy...

Anyway, it took days before I could get a good look at him because he stayed so far up on the screen enclosure. But I finally did... and then ran to research and found out that he in fact was a male Polyphemus moth. He was glorious!!!!

Here's a closer look at him.... by this time I was beginning to have some concerns over his well being.... and how I could catch and release this magnificent creature.....
He was soooo pretty..... 6" wing span!


 Well, as you heard in this last video.... I was filled with regret for not being able to let him go sooner. Especially after doing more research and finding out where he was at in his life cycle. Had I known this...I certainly would of tried to keep it outside in a safe place of some sort, so as the critters couldn't eat him.

Oh well... I can't take it back right?   I choose to believe he indeed fluttered off into the evening..... and found the perfect female and managed to finish his life's work.
I also like to think that I had a part in him surviving winter, as we had had several hard freezes. Ollie and Jinxy's cocoon shared the same plant, so numerous nights I put a heat lamp out for them.

 I was extremely grateful to have this experience. I often feel like people don't "get" the things that I am enamoured by.... oh well,  poo on them !  I think it's important to follow what brings you peace inside.... and I love what I love : )

More art related post coming soon... I promise!   ajae

Polyphemus Moth Fact:   The males have such large feather-like antenna's in order for them to pick up the pheromones released from the females. They can detect and  travel up to 5 miles in search of Love                      

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Update: Oliver and the Magical Cocoon

Well... I'm happy to report that our winter is coming to a close here in North Florida, and I for one, am soooooo relieved as I tend to suffer quite well with the winter doldrums.  I don't think I would survive very well at all in the colder, longer winter climates. (shout out to my northern friends, ya'll are tough cookies)  Not only do I not handle the cold temperatures well, but I think I get that seasonal depression junk. I NEED sunshine... and I am extremely grateful to be planted in Florida : )

My weeds are always the first to let me know winter is officially almost over...
I think weeds get a bad rap... and even though I also tend to rid my garden of most of them, they are just another flowering plant for peats sake!! And you don't have to hunt them down and pay for them at the nursery. They just show up allllll by themselves and offer up their enjoyment and beauty for free... I even press them and use them in my art work : )

My best of all news is... I'm thrilled to say that Oliver did well and made it through our freezing temperatures this year. The plant he was residing on is another story... which is also the plant the glorious caterpillar decided to cocoon apon. Well... it was a money tree which is a tropical plant  and I couldn't bring it in doors because of Oliver. The warmer house temperature would have brought him out of his brumation (a type of hibernation) and when that happens they begin to move around more, and if he got loose in the house and I couldn't find him, dying from dehydration would be almost a certainty.
 I have known for weeks now the plant was not gonna make it. I had hoped the heat lamps I used on it to keep Oliver safe would save the plant too, but Saturday I noticed the poor plant was seriously dropping leaves by the minute and fixing to be bare... I had to go find Oliver a new home. And what to do with the cocoon? Oh my..... I was totally fretting over it : (

 Here is Ollie and the cocoon on the healthy plant last September.
                                   
 Here it was on Saturday morning.....

So... I went plant shopping Saturday and decided on a loquat tree. They are a slow growing tree that is evergreen in our area. This way, I won't have to worry about this next year...and so on ..... Here's a video I took when I got home and put the new tree out. I apologize about it being quite blurry at times.
video

Below is a clearer picture of the magical cocoon.... I soooo hope it's okay : (


Well... my hope is that this is of some interest to others. I find myself wondering, but I'm determined to stay focused on things here that really mean something to me. Things that  I feel to my core... and the things that bring me my peace...  Oh, and by the way... he moved into his new condo shortly after I shot the video : )

 ajae

ps. This will be my 4th year with Oliver. If you are just now reading this and intriqued, I first posted about Oliver and the magical cocoon last Oct. here: http://ajaeunleashed.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2010-10-01T00%3A00%3A00-07%3A00&updated-max=2010-11-01T00%3A00%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=1