Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


4 Comments

A Wednesday Full of Woody

My deepest heartfelt thanks to everyone who left a comment on my post Preparing to say Goodbye. I appreciate your kinds words and compassion. My friend passed away peacefully on Friday. It was an honor to know her and to have been a participant in her life.

Mr. Woody is recovering and is progressing in the right direction. A change in antibiotics for an underlying infection seems to be working, along with sub-q fluids to keep him hydrated. He must be feeling a bit better because he has carried his toy mouse from one floor to the other and back again.

And I’m back working in the studio making art and working on the business side of my art. A return to some form of normalcy.

I hope to get back to some regular schedule of blogging in the near future as well. Until then, enjoy these pictures of Woody taken over the past few weeks. (Click on a picture to enlarge and to scroll through each image.)

What can I say. The cats are my kids. Spoiled and they know it ūüôā

Advertisements


2 Comments

The Daily Head: Veggie Edition

We had lovely weather over the weekend and it got me thinking about our vegetable garden. What delicious goodies do I want to plant this year?

Early spring planting is one of my favorite times for veggies. The ground is warming, the air crisp in the morning, and Mother Nature is waking and welcoming all her children to return.

With that as my source of inspiration, I decided to sculpt two veggie inspired heads:

Sweet Peas! There is nothing like growing sweet peas, picking them off the vine, and eating them right in the garden. (I think the third pea is a little alarmed by the prospect of being eaten right off the vine.)

Another favorite spring veggie:

Red leaf lettuce! Last year we planted red leaf lettuce, Bibb lettuce, and Swiss chard. Ms. Leaf also provided additional inspiration for a new focal disk. I haven’t quite worked out the design for the new disk though I’m getting closer to it. All will be revealed….eventually.

We have another vegetable in our garden that may be the source of another head later this week. This particular veggie is a perennial. We look forward to seeing it burst forth each year. Sweet, tender, and excellent raw or cooked. Any guesses?

My schedule is busy the next couple of days, so I may not have a new head to post until the end of the week. Until then, eat your veggies!

If you like these posts, please click the “Like” button and share them on Facebook and/or Twitter. I appreciate it.


Leave a comment

Sunny Day, Sweeping the Clouds Away

Now why in the world would I have the theme song from Sesame Street running through my head when this is what greeted us this morning?

Front Yard Holly Bush

Front Yard

Back Yard Suet Feeder Gets Weighed Down

Heavy Snow Weighs Down Tree Limbs

Perhaps it is precisely this April Fool’s Day snow storm that triggered the Sesame Street song. In truth, the song has been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of days. And I think it has more to do with some recent improvements in my health status.

Surgery

It was one week ago today that I had day surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to remove a fibroid that is believed to have been causing me so much grief these past few months. I had a consult with Dr. Brian Walsh in mid-March to discuss my options. He took one look at my MRI, pointed to the bugger and said “That is what is causing you all this grief.”

A sense of relief washed over me. Could it really be this simple? After being told for years that my only options were to “watch and wait” or have a hysterectomy?

We discussed the specific procedure, a hysteroscopic myomectomy (also known as a hysteroscopic resection) which is a noninvasive form of surgery for this specific type of fibroid. No incisions. No long hospital stay. Just day surgery with IV anesthesia (with painkillers and anti-nausea meds.) I was home by 2:30 in the afternoon.

(Yes the surgical name sounds pretty scary and kind of gross. I’ll spare you the technical gobbledegook. Suffice to say the name comes from the particular surgical instrument used and the name for one layer of the uterine wall. Nuff said.)

Recovery wasn’t too bad; some mild cramping was the worst of it. I laid low, took lots of naps, and watched bad TV. By Monday of this week I was feeling good enough to run some light errands and take short walks.

And today, a week later, I feel back to normal. Definitely a sunny day in spite of the wet snow outside.


4 Comments

New Body of Work: Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1 is the first in a series that I am creating as part of a larger body of work. This first part is called Glimmer (of Hope.) The Glimmer series developed out of a series of  health issues that I have been dealing with since last November. Specifically, these health issues revolve around that change of life known as perimenopause.

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1 embodies a time of contemplation, reflection and hope. Below are a series of pictures documenting her creation.

Glimmer #1 starts out with a solemn, contemplative face.

Glimmer #1 Cured Head

I have chosen to paint all the heads gold in this series.

Glimmer #1 Gold

Echoes of the song “Goldfinger” bounce around in my head as I paint. Each head receives two thin washes of gold paint and then a final thicker layer. A wash of burnt sienna acrylic paint completes each head. And then I realized I had a bit of a problem.

Each piece in this series will have an elongated neck representing my struggle to keep my head above it all. But it didn’t dawn on me to add more clay to create the elongated neck until after I had already painted the head. And matching the raw clay to the now painted cured clay could present a minor challenge.

After some measuring and finagling, I constructed the wire core and aluminum foil body and blended the raw clay to the painted gold clay as best as possible.

Glimmer #1 Body Core

Glimmer #1 Clay Core

Another issue I often face in body construction is dealing with balance. My Spirit Messengers seem to either lean forward or tilt backward which usually requires some readjustment of the base. In this series, the elongated necks also present an interesting challenge. I often have to bend and adjust the wire support to the right angle before securing the head to the body. However, I am letting these pieces develop naturally. By that I mean, if the head positions itself at a particular angle, I’m quite likely to go with it.

Glimmer #1 Head

All of the Spirit Messengers in this series will have black bodies. I decided to go with black because the “Glimmer of Hope” appeared at what felt like a very dark time for me. It was like a tiny ray of light poking through dark clouds. Each body will have different embellishments. The gold heads and black bodies will connect all of the pieces.

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1

Glimmer #1’s body is embellished with peach colored size 8 seed beads, kernels of gold polymer clay and embossing metal. She has a lightly textured surface.

Spirit Messenger Glimmer #1

The word “Hope” is stamped into the embossing metal. The metal was tinted with a blend of alcohol inks.

Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer Spirit Messenger #1 is 9″ tall and 3.5″ wide at the base.

Next: Glimmer #2.


2 Comments

The Itinerant Artist

Life is up to her old tricks these days, throwing some curve balls into our rather steady day to day activities. I’ve posted several pictures of all the snow we’ve had recently (here and here.)¬† Last week after back to back storms, the snow and ice took its toll on our house and the ice dams went into overdrive.

As we scurried to stop leaks in two rooms, it was decided that I had to drop the temperature in the studio to 55 degrees in order to keep the top of the house as cool as possible. (Guess that means my studio on its own just wasn’t “cool” enough.) It also meant setting up fans in my studio and a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the ice dams that had seeped into the carpet.

After a couple of days of clearing snow and ice and putting ice melt socks on the roof (which fell off anyways), I decided that I was going to have to relocate my studio for the near future. The process of returning the studio to its normal state is going to take some time and I, sadly, cannot work there in its current condition.

My first reaction to this was similar to this picture I made in Photoshop:

Caught

A friend told me it looked like a cover for a “screamo” band. Well, if I can’t make my art in my studio, perhaps I have an alternate career as a screamo band face model.

Moving out of my studio has not been easy. The studio is my sanctuary. It has an energy all its own and in there I can lose myself. Now I was faced with deciding what to bring to my new location. Not an easy task when you’re used to having all your art supplies right at your fingertips.

After a bit of avoidance, I relocated to our dining room. Eric helped me set up a small table and my work chair. I decided not to bring down all my polymer clay. Instead, I’ll bring down what I need as I work on each project. That alone will be an interesting challenge. I also brought down my sketchbooks, paintbrush carousel, my sculpting tools, some pastels, and a few other tools. My laptop and a few business items round out my new temporary space.

And here it is:

New Workspace

The "Office"

Pippin my Supervisor

The cats are enjoying my new set up. They like to jump on the dining room table and peer at me over the edge of my laptop. Woody has also enjoyed playing on the rug under the work table. I admit there are advantages to this new location. It is closer to the bathroom and the kitchen!

As I write this, the leaks have stopped and the carpet in the studio is almost dry. Of course another project remains and that is repair and repainting. I’m not sure when I will move back into my studio.

Health Update

The stress of the ice dams, leaks, and moving my studio has been compounded by my continuing health issues. Plan A, which included a trial on a pill to reset my hormones, has not worked as hoped. Today I had a pelvic MRI, with and without contrast. A pelvic MRI will give an even better look at the fibroids and their location, how many I may really have, and the blood source. Based on the results of the MRI, I am looking at two options, one more favorable than the other. Both of which would bring resolution to the problem.

The MRI itself wasn’t too bad. My first MRI was in 2009 for my back. That was in an older machine and I had to go in head first. For this test, I went to a different location and went into the tube feet first. They placed a foam like grid over my belly/pelvic area. Because I was also having this test done with contrast, an IV was placed in my left arm. When the first procedure was complete, they rolled me out of the MRI tube, hooked up the contrast, I raised my arms over my head, and back in I went. That was the shorter of the two procedures.

I should get the results on Monday and things could move rather quickly after that. I’m making peace with this situation, with my options, and what may lie ahead. It is not easy to give up control over your body and harder still to lay the burden at the hands or feet of something larger than us. I know I am on the road to a solution. Soon a plan will be in place.


5 Comments

My Artwork Challenge for 2011

Woo-hoo, I finally did it! I created my first video and uploaded it to YouTube. But you can see it here:

I will post pictures of this new body of artwork in the coming days as well as another video. Stay tuned.


9 Comments

When Life Tells You To Slow Down

Note: This post has been through several iterations since I started writing it last month. I alluded to my health issues in an earlier post reflecting on my 2010 word of the year. This post goes a little more in depth on how those weeks of uncertainty called me to slow down and think about the direction I want to take in life. Be forewarned that this post may contain too much information.

__________________________________________________________________________________

It all started in November and got crazier the weekend of Thanksgiving.

Let me preface that by saying I’m a 47 year old female. I know changes lurk around the corner. You know, that time our mother’s referred to as “the change” or “the change of life.” Growing up, that phrase was sometimes followed by stories of women growing facial hair, going “nuts” and essentially turning into something that resembled Fiona Ogre in the “Shrek” movies.

I certainly hope time and attitudes have changed.

As I said, I’m 47 and moving toward menopause. I believe I’ve been experiencing subtle symptoms of perimenopause for the past few years. Some sources report that a woman can begin experiencing these changes up to 10 years before the actual onset of menopause. No wonder many women hate their 40’s. Personally, I’ve loved being in my 40’s. It has felt like the right age for me. Unfortunately, on the health front, it is in our 40’s when our bodies pay us back for the abuse we may have given it in our 20’s and 30’s, whether you’re a woman or a man.

I have herniated discs, bouts with GERD, creaking knees, and tinnitus. All manageable issues that do their best, at times, to make me feel, ahem “middle aged.”

And then there is the perimenopause.

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with a fibroid. Fibroids are very common in women in our western culture. There is no definitive cause for fibroids. It could be estrogen overload, it could be hereditary. One statistic I read stated that up to 75% of women have fibroids. For many women, the fibroid(s) never act up or pose any problem.

And then there are the rest of us. We must be the special chosen-ones.

Everything has been manageable these last few years. My doctor and I have taken a conservative “watch and wait” approach. Then in November things got a little out of control.

There was the biopsy to rule out uterine cancer, the ultrasound to see what was going on inside, and the two sets of blood work. (Make that four blood tests throughout the month of December.)

One blood test indicated I was hypothyroid, a common diagnosis for women in perimenopause. The next blood test said my thyroid was normal but that I was anemic. By the end of the week I’d learned that the biopsy was negative (Yea!) and the ultrasound showed more fibroids.

Now the picture was getting clearer. My hormones had apparently kicked my butt, dragged me down, and shook me up.

Lucky me.

So, why would I share with you something that is rather personal? Because I believe when our bodies put us through the wringer, it is a signal that we need to slow down and regroup. You may not agree with me and I respect that. But for me, I know my body and it was definitely screaming at me.

I also share this because women often suffer in silence during this phase of life. Sure we joke with our girlfriends and cry on our sister’s shoulders. But inside many women are afraid, unsure of what is happening to their bodies. Society, and perhaps core beliefs learned when we were kids, has told us that women are to be svelte, in control, forever youthful with porcelain skin and nary a gray hair in sight. Just look at some of the “Women’s Health” magazines. We take care of others until we drop.

Menopause means we’re getting old. Things start sagging and bagging. The kids leave home. We find ourselves facing a change of roles in our life. Who are we? What do we want to do with our new self?

During these last few weeks, I found myself slowing down, not only because I felt like crap, but also because my body was telling me to do so. I returned to daily meditation and daily reading of personally uplifting passages. My dreams became more vivid and I started to analyze their personal meaning. I had my first Reiki treatment. I released myself from all structure in my schedule.

Instead of blocking out time to get this or that task done, I wrote a one page to-do list. Whatever got done, got done. If I was tired, I took a nap. If I wanted to read, I read. If I wanted to watch TV, I watched it. I wrote in my journal almost every day, sometimes three times a day. I started exercising again, even if for only 15 minutes.

And I spent a fair amount of time thinking about my business. What is important and what isn’t. What I can let go of in order to create that which is most meaningful for me.

All of this has left me feeling empowered. My health is improving, a solution has been found, and a new plan put in place for moving me forward. I feel a burden lifting and a new door opening.

This time has not been easy. I’ve had more anxiety and stress than normal. Sometimes it feels like two steps forward and 10 steps back. I keep reminding myself that I am well, that I will be well, and that all will be well.

Writing this is cathartic. I admit to having prided myself on my health; that I wasn’t experiencing this or that problem. The risk in that attitude is the shock and fear that comes when life deals you a bum card. Granted my situation is not as bad as what some other women go through. However, when you think all is “normal” and then trip on the rug, it does make you stop and re-evaluate. Writing this is also part of my process of acceptance. Acceptance of this situation. Acceptance of the challenge. Acceptance of a new road ahead.

I jokingly refer to these last few weeks as my “power surge.” You know, there seems to be a double meaning in that phrase now that I think about it. As a result of this situation, I have started to release myself from certain commitments. In turn, new opportunities are already presenting themselves to me. I am moving forward into the power that this change in life is bringing me. I slowed down and I listened.

_________________________________________________________________________________

During this time, I found the following resources to be of great value:

A GYN’s Second Opinion

Brigham & Women’s Hospital: Obstetrics & Gynecology

BWH: Center for Uterine Fibroids

Advanced Gynecological Solutions

As always, talk to your doctor. Write down your questions and write down what the doctor tells you. Don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion. This is your body. You need to be at peace with any decision you make.