Monday, August 13, 2018

First Flight

At the monthly flea market last weekend, I got another two boxes of vintage envelopes. And hopefully even more at the September market.

So I started selling them, primarily the First Flight Airmail envelopes I got on my original score in July. I'm selling them through Instagram only at this point, have only listed airmail envelopes there thus far.

Most of what I have left at this point are business reply-type envelopes, from the 1900s through the 1960s, the earlier ones with handwritten addresses.  Someone saved every envelope they got with a payment of some sort in it.  MANY envelopes to several banks, a dairy, a chocolate factory, a manufacturing outfit, an outdoor-type magazine from back then.

I am doing "deals" for pals who want a bunch of envelopes. So if you're one of those folks, email me and let's talk. 

Life is otherwise lovely and I'm happy as a clam. Our weather has been overcast/foggy a lot, with mostly sunny afternoons. More like spring weather than our typical summer.  But it's early days yet, and we could get an Indian Summer.  Although there's a touch of autumn in the air already.

Hope you're enjoying your summer.  xx

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Truth in Advertising

Had another big score at a yard sale in Fortuna last week...the images below of books.  Eleven vintage books for $5.50!  A couple are from the late 1800's, and in remarkable shape for their age.  Most of these I won't be cutting up for collages.

And then I went to a flea market in Fortuna yesterday, and found 15 vintage postcards and four books.  No photo.  I guess I'm on a bit of a roll...and there's the monthly flea next Sunday, which I'll attend.

We've really been blessed with good, as in "normal," weather here on the North Coast.  While the rest of the country suffers with extreme heat, flooding, and wildfires.  As per usual, fires are burning north, east and south of us and we're getting smoke.  But no fires in Humboldt County at the moment.



For at least twenty years I've been threatening to cut my hair VERY short...and I finally had it done, ten days ago.  So, this is what I actually look like now.  In my mind I still look like I did when I was 30 years younger...but this is reality.

I will keep my hair very short for the rest of my life.  Enough with the curly hair -- I've never liked it although I did my best for all those years and did have a few good haircuts along the way.  Everyone with straight hair thinks they want curly hair.  But curly hair has been the bane of my existence from the getgo.

I started a knitting project this week.  I'm actually knitting a garment, a shawl-collared, kimono-style, sweater-jacket, from commercial (superwash) wool.  I hadn't bought any commercial yarn in at least twenty years, seeing as I spun so much yarn for over a decade.  And in the recent past I've been knitting scarves out of the remaining handspun silk yarns I have.  But I recently rediscovered my love of knitting, so I'm making a garment, the pattern to which I've had for probably 15 years, although it's still relevant (not dated) today.

So this is life in Rose Cottage this summer -- knitting, reading, resting, hanging with BeeGee, a flea market or yard sale now and then.  Priceless.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Heart is Willing...

...but I'm not a spring chicken anymore.  In other words, despite that I now feel free emotionally, I don't have the physical energy to take on all the things I might've taken on again were I forty or fifty or even sixty.

And that's just fine.  I've let so many things go in the past few years anyway, and there's no going back.

This is about expectations of myself as well.  Newly, I have none.  It's much better to live this way than it ever was, pushing myself, challenging myself, goading myself, even creatively.  Because I've learned that just about everything I do has the potential to create anxiety for me.  And I cannot handle anxiety.

What just came to mind is many of the times in my past where I had absolutely impossible expectations of myself without any idea that I had them, because I had no sense...no sense of what I really needed and wanted, no clue about personal boundaries...and because I was hellbent to prove that I could/would do what I said I would do.  A lot of failures followed, and of course, I blamed myself but for the wrong reasons.

Anyway, I'm just fine now, living my contented simple life while my emotions are in equilibrium.  The truth is, I have days when I don't feel so great, physically.  That's what being nearly 70 will do to you.  I still feel so young in my heart...but I spend a lot of time resting my body these days, often still thinking I should be able to do more.  Another expectation to let go of. 

There are no new mountains to climb now.  (I will move eventually, to a different place in Fortuna, but likely not for 2 or 3 years yet. That'll be a stressor, but I'll handle that when I get there.)  I don't need any mountains anymore.  I just need peace and quiet, lots of time to read, playing in my studio when I feel like it, staring out the window at the clouds or laying in the sun and doing the same.  And that's just what I've got.  So I feel very blessed indeed.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Priceless

One of the fun things I've begun doing again is going to our monthly Flea Market in Eureka. It's a bit of a trek for this "once a month in town" gal...but I really enjoy it. So I'm going again, and whether or not I find anything to buy is beside the point.

Yesterday, though, did not disappoint. I recently got a copy of Nick Bantock's Urgent 2nd Class, read it through, and then found, among other goodies, the two boxes of vintage mail below at the flea market.

At first glance, I thought the first box was all First Day Covers of newly issued stamps.  In fact, nearly everything in the box commemorates the first airmail flight ever, from one place to another in the U.S., and there are few, if any, duplicates.

I'm not really sure yet what I'll do with all this goodness, other than sort and organize at this point. But finding these does make me want to go through all the various vintage things I've got here and there and group everything together somehow.  I've got pamphlets of various sorts, postcards (picture and otherwise), a few of those small vertical religious cards from funerals, etc. (which, despite being Jewish, I adore), some foreign currency, magazines, advertisements, various vintage office supplies, a calendar or two, old books of course. And most of it previously collected a piece at a time from used bookshops, garage, estate and rummage sales, library book sales, and the like.

I bought myself a chaise longue recently, and have spent time nearly every day out on it. I went to the beach yesterday when I was in Eureka, and will again tomorrow, to a different beach, when I go back for my monthly trip. I'll also make a stop at SCRAP Humboldt (creative re-use shop) in Arcata to find whatever goodies I can.

It's finally July, the real start of summer here on the North Coast. I'm planning to enjoy the heck out of it.

California is already burning, though, and it's not "fire season" for a few months.  It's a year-round thing these days.  There's thankfully nothing burning right in this area, but north, east and south, there are massive wildfires that continue growing before they're contained. And the federal government has cut back on wildfire prevention...

Hope you're having a glorious summer.  If I don't post often here again, know this time that all is well and will continue to be. I'll write when I have something to share.

Blessings xx

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Long Dry Season

In looking back over the terrain of depression, I see that I was living a rather depleted existence.

I had this "superiority-inferiority" complex, where in my cuckoo mind I thought I was better than other people because I could get along with so little -- so little stuff, so little juice, and so little (self) love.

I was punishing myself for all those years, adding insult to the previously-perpetrated injuries.

I lived in such a way as to say to life, "I can do without whatever you have to offer...I'll show you!"  Instead of turning lemons into lemonade, I learned to live without lemons at all.

I lived the stripped-down barren life that was dictated to me by my past.  I still expected the past to somehow make things better for my present...like, if I could dredge it up enough, somehow things would turn out differently in the present (the very definition of insanity).

But those days are over, thankfully.  I've begun adding back little flourishes into my life, small things that make life more enjoyable.  I've opened my heart again to the world.  I'm treating myself much more kindly.  I'm counting blessings multiple times every day.  It's only going to get better from here on out.

Thanks for being here.  xx

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Other Me

Speaking now from the other side of depression, at least for the present, possibly forever.  I won't say that I'll never fall into the pit again.  But I will say that I feel I have more inner resources now to guide me through if that happens.

Realizing that the depression has been/was a thing in my life, a major blockage if you will, has enabled me to see it as an entity apart from who I really am inside.  An entity that was created, by me, in response to a lifetime of grief.

I have been aware of for a long time, albeit now far more keenly attuned to, the fact that there are two Connie's in this body of mine.  Were I never aware of this, it's easy for me to see that I probably would have drifted into psychosis, as did my predecessor. Instead, I've had this overly strict superego that judges everything I do or say and always has, that's rendered me neurotic.  Better neurotic than psychotic, I guess.

But maybe not.  You have no idea how often I've said to myself, "Ignorance is Bliss," implying that if I weren't aware of the inner workings of my psyche, life would have been so much easier.  I could have just been clueless in word and deed, and moved on.  Rather than inwardly excoriating myself for everything I say and do.

The me I feel is the real me is the adult inner child, that innate playful, spontaneous, spirited, loving person, who was metaphorically beaten out of me at about age five.  She's still inside, but buried very deeply.  If I have any life goals, one of them is to free her before I die.

The other me, the one I've taken out into the world to do my bidding, is the me who was made by my environment.  This me has gotten through life by reacting to everyone and everything, defending and protecting myself, pulling a lot of interpersonal shenanigans because I never learned how to play well with other people...basically doing whatever I had to do to scrape by.  Clearly, I always did the best I could at the time, given the circumstances and who I was.  But there's a lot back there in the past about who/how I was that saddens me deeply.  Regret would be the right word here.

I've been on somewhat of a mission over the last three or four years, to express that regret to people in my past who were negatively impacted by my words and/or behavior.  I've written letters, made phone calls, seen people, with no motive other than to apologize for being who I was at the time.  I'm still making verbal faux pas occasionally, and apologizing for them.  All the memes say to "never apologize for being yourself."  But the me I feel I need to apologize for is the me I can hardly relate to any more.

The other life goal, if I have them, is to bring the two me's into alignment.  So that who I present to the world is the soft, vulnerable, real, compassionate, loving person that I truly am inside.  Instead of the other person I no longer want to be.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Timing is Everything

I'm a big believer in ~ things happening for a reason; there being no accidents or coincidences; growth happening in its own way, at its own pace; connections ripening when one is open to seeing them.

I am feeling better. And not just in a day-to-day functioning-in-life sort of way...

I've befriended this thing called depression and its role in my life.  And this is what I've discovered...

The depression is a massive boulder of personal ancient history, that has kept me stuck and prevented me from moving forward in life...until now. I created this context for my injured soul when I was a child, as a way to protect myself from bad things (toxic people, confusing situations, difficult circumstances) over which I had no control, and it served to nurture me in the absence of actual human nurturance.  When I felt threatened in any way throughout my life, I would go to that depressive place to lick my wounds.

So as much as the depression has been a millstone, it was also a balm, a place of great comfort for my wounded soul despite its life-sucking characteristics.

But depression is not who I am...I won't even own it by calling it mine. It served its purpose, and now I don't need it anymore.  I may always need medication because of its impact on my biology.  But I don't need it anymore to hide myself from the world...which doesn't mean this reclusive introvert is suddenly going to become a socialite 😉.  It means that I'm going to honor myself, be good to myself, and live the rest of my life in a joyful way, letting go of that past that is not who I am.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Comfort Zones and Expectations

At the beginning of the year, when I was feeling so good, I did a fair amount of acrylic painting, as I said I'd wanted to.  I liked, and still do, nearly all that I created.  Some pieces are influenced by other artists whose work I love; many pieces are wholly my own.

But then I lost confidence, as depression engulfed me again.  And I've stopped painting now...until I feel stronger.

Art, for me, has always been "something to do," a way to utilize my creative skills...but I've never felt compelled to make art, like "Make Art or Die."  For many people, art is what "saves" them, especially when they're going through difficult times in other domains of their lives.  It's not that way for me -- I need to be feeling good inside in order to push forward with art.

And when I say "push forward," what I mean is going outside my comfort zone.  In looking back over my life as a whole, I can see that I pushed through comfort zones, virtually endlessly, in every area of my life, because I had to. The only option would have been to vegetate, to stay totally stuck wherever I was. And being a survivor, that wasn't an alternative I could have chosen.

I can't push myself right now to venture beyond my comfort zone, creatively.  What I'm really comfortable with is collage, so that's where my creative energy is focused these days.  Albeit I'm currently doing less here than previously, because my back and neck have been bothering me lately.  Still, collage is what I continue to gravitate towards when the mood strikes.

Too, I have a couple of small knitting projects in the works, very simple scarves made with my own handspun silk yarns from 10 or more years ago.  Rather mindless, but keeps my hands busy.  I also sometimes have "cutting jags," where I'll spend whole days cutting out ephemera for collage, which I find meditative.

I've had to let go of my expectations for myself, regarding painting, or the making of art in general.  It might even be that those hidden expectations, even though I kept trying to convince myself I didn't have any, contributed to my becoming depressed again.  Other than my interactions with people, which in nearly all cases have soured with time, all of the stress that I continually experience is internally generated.  I see that; I know that.

The healing is about learning, mentally and viscerally, how to do everything differently.  And that is my own personal Mt. Everest.    

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Plan

Thank you all so much for your comments and anecdotes to my last post.  As I said, I can't do this alone anymore, and I realized that I really need this cyber-support system more than I'd imagined.  So I'm back again.

The meeting with the doctor, who's now my new practitioner at the clinic, went well.  He's young yet seemed quite knowledgeable about depression.

The decision about medication is that since we know my body tolerates Prozac, I'll take 60mg/day for six weeks and then see him again.  If I've stabilized, I'll stay on that dosage until such time as I might need to change again.  Then I'll go to 80mg/day, if necessary, same scenario.  We'll find a new drug if Prozac subsequently doesn't work for the long haul.

I'm fine with that, and so relieved that I've got a medical partner now in this journey.

Those of you who are depressed or have friends or loved ones who are, know that there's no cure for depression.  It's a matter of finding the right drug/chemical that will alleviate enough of the symptoms that you can function in life, and feel your best.

So here's to better living through chemistry.  x

Monday, May 21, 2018

Such Is Life

I need to talk publicly about this...

I've suffered with depression for my entire adult life.  I've been on prozac/fluoxetine for the past 25 years, on a very low dose.  I had about three really good years, after the drug took six months to kick in, back in the mid-1990s.

The truth is, my life has always been an emotional roller coaster (if you've followed this blog for the last several years, you'll know why), exacerbated in the last 20 years, I now see, by the fact that that antidepressant wasn't really working for me, or stopped being totally effective, years ago.

I started taking it when I lived in San Francisco and had Kaiser insurance.  Since then, I've self-managed the medication, because I didn't have insurance (until Medicare) and couldn't afford psychiatric care (for medication management).  Also, being the self-reliant, "I can do it myself" type, it honestly never occurred to me, since I've been on Medicare, that I could seek a doctor's help with the depression.

There's also this thing when you're chronically depressed, that even if/when you have periods of emotional equilibrium, when those times end, you don't realize you're depressed again.  You think it's just who you are, to feel so bad inside.

Back in December of last year, I had the inkling to increase my dosage of prozac to 40mg/day from 20mg.  So January through March of this year, I felt really great, better than I'd ever felt.  Then I had a depressive crash in late March/early April, that I still haven't recovered from.  It was only last week, when my closest friend suggested maybe my medication wasn't working, that I had the big AHA moment.  It had just never crossed my mind previously.

Now I can see just how much time in the past 25 years (not to mention the preceding 20+ years) I spent in depressive periods, regardless of taking medication.  And I can see how many of my physical symptoms of the last few years are likely related either to the medication no longer working, or the depression itself, or both.  Shit.

I have an appointment with the MD at my clinic this Wednesday.  I can't do it alone anymore.  I need help managing the depression.  I also have no illusions that I'll ever stop needing ADs. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Options

Hello dear friends,

I'm not really back...but since I've had several requests to see my collages, I decided to do this post to let you know your options.

I'm really happy not blogging anymore.  Really, it's a load off my mind.  It's a real hassle uploading photos from my phone to the blog, because it takes forever for them to upload.  Alternatively, I can download photos from my phone/GooglePhoto to Photoshop, resize them and then upload them to the blog, but that, too, is a hassle that I don't miss.

For a while I sent collage images to a friend via Messenger, but that felt much like blogging.  So, your option, if you want to see my collages, is to join Instagram.  I am uploading collages there several times a week.  It's just so easy -- I take the image on my phone, and I upload it to IG.  Period.  No need to setup my computer as I need to do if I'm going to upload images to the blog.

I've setup an IG widget on the top of the right side bar here on the blog.  Or, if you're already there, find me here, @connieandbeegee.

If you want to get in touch with me by other means, email me or get in touch via Messenger. Or we could be snailmates if you want, but you have to go first.  I always reply.  But I can't tell you how many people have asked to be my penpal, then I wrote first, and never heard back from them.

I love you all.  And I'm really enjoying life post-blogging. xx    

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Pace of Grace

I celebrated my 10th Blogiversary last month...it passed me by without my realizing it.  Some of you have been reading me since the very start -- Thank You!

I find myself winding down now, retreating again into virtual obscurity.  I'm hardly online these days for all intents and purposes.  There are a few artists I'm following on Instagram, but I'm hardly posting there.

I've come to that place in life where I just want to live it, I don't want to talk about it.  There really isn't anything to say, and I hate to talk just to talk.

I'm happier than I've ever been before.  My life, just the way it is, is enough for me.  I have what I need to live exactly the way I want to.  I no longer need anyone else's approval, acceptance, accolades, applause or acknowledgement.  I'm totally free to be me.  I have no complaints, and a lot of gratitude.
I'm working at painting and drawing and collage.  Abstract, non-objective painting and drawing.  I'm going at my own pace, doing a little bit most days.  Some days I don't have the energy so I just rest and read.  I have no agenda, no deadlines, no have-tos, no obligations, no expectations of myself.

Life is peaceful, and full of grace.

Knowing me, it's possible I'll be back here, but I don't know when. I'm all about changing things up this year...and stepping away from any form of marketing of myself or my art is at the top of the list.

With age, I'm becoming more old-school, especially in this topsy-turvy world of ours where the truth has become a political lightning rod.  I can only live by my own truth now.

Peace and blessings to you all. xx

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Collages This Week

Enjoy these collages from this past week.  I'll start working in one of my recently handmade journals very shortly.

The 50 Percent OFF Everything Sale continues in my Etsy Shop for another week.  If you haven't checked it out, please do.

Otherwise, all is well.

xx 



Saturday, January 20, 2018

New Life in Old Studio

This is my new painting studio.  I'm really happy with it and have spent time this week getting used to working here.

I have my table easel set up on a height-adjustable rolling laptop table...and I also intend to use the easel on the big table on the right for larger pieces.  The drawer unit, also rolling, holds paper and all my supplies and a few tools; in fact, I still have a couple empty drawers.  The 3-tier cart, also rolling, slips under the big table on the right when not in use.

I moved all my old childrens' books to the top shelf above the big table where they're still easy to reach but out of the way.

I've got empty spaces on my shelves now, room to store a lot more work.

Thought I'd mention what I'm up to now re: painting.  I've really wanted to get back to acrylic painting, pretty much since I abandoned it two (or has it been three?) years ago.  Altho I'm still set up to do watercolors when the mood strikes.

I've already taken all the acrylic classes I wanted to take, have the books, etc., and now I will paint in virtual isolation.  No outside challenges, no classes with student blogs, no input or feedback from anyone else (hence no posting anywhere of my work). I am trusting my muse, my inner guidance from here on out.  I know what to do, and I'll be doing it.

I'll continue to post collages here, because I continue to make them.  It's something I really enjoy and I don't intend to stop.

As I do every year, I'll be closing my Etsy Shop soon, until I reopen later this year with new work.  So I'm having a 50 Percent OFF Everything Sale from now through Saturday February 3.

The items currently in the shop will not be available after February 3.  I won't relist them again.  So please, if there's anything there now that strikes your fancy, NOW is the time to purchase.  Go to the shop HERE.




Saturday, January 13, 2018

Work in Progress

My studio upgrade is still in progress...so photos next week.  Every time I do this kind of thing, and as seldom as I've done it, it requires going through everything...getting rid of some stuff, moving other stuff around in the studio, and cleaning it all off before it's jettisoned or rearranged.

I actually love doing this kind of thing.  It's inspiring to go through all your stuff and weed through it.  Also exceptionally inspiring ~ finding work of your own that you love that you haven't seen in a while.  Work you want to go back to, in terms of genre, and pick up again and move forward with.

There's a 30% OFF Sale going on right now in my Etsy Shop, on Art Quilts and Paintings.  Through Wednesday, January 17.

Anyhoo, I'll leave you with my collages for the week.  xx



Saturday, January 6, 2018

Home Free

The new year has started off with a bang for me.  I haven't had a "word for the year" for a number of years, but "freedom" came to me about a week ago, so I'm going with that for 2018.

And it's very apt, because last year I finally put to rest issues that have been dogging me for eons.  And now I truly am free.

Free to live the rest of my life unimpeded by old crap.  Free to create every day exactly how I want it.  So free that I truly love, honor and respect myself, everything I am, everything I do, how I do my life in every way.  I'm who I've been waiting for.

I'm on a creative roll again.  I've taken up painting again, both watercolor and very soon acrylics.  I'm doing it now purely for my own enjoyment and pleasure.  I don't need to show or post my new work anywhere.  It's all for me, now.

I've reorganized and rearranged things in my studio, and after the couple of things I've ordered arrive, I'll be able to keep my easel set up by the north window...instead of the ironing board, which has been in that spot since I moved in nine years ago (sorry, BeeGee), being there.

And more storage for acrylic supplies so they're handy and accessible.  And more storage for lots of other stuff so I have more room to store finished canvasses and panels. 

I've also been getting rid of stuff I don't need, my continual-downsizing practice.  Every time I let go of something that no longer serves me, there's room for new, more appropriate stuff.

I feel in my bones that 2018 is going to be a great year.  I hope it is for all of us.

xx