It’s Christmas card time

I am ambivalent about Christmas for all sorts of reasons. It’s a stark reminder of all the babies who couldn’t stay with me, and that my family all lives in other places. It makes me sad that so many people will be lonely. And I know domestic violence increases because of stress and financial pressure. Please be careful you don’t add pressure to people who are already feeling the strain…

But, oh, how I love making Christmas cards. So far this year I’ve made just over 50, and there’s more to come. Paper, scissors, glitter, glue, embossing; I love it all 😉

I make a card for each of my staff and peers, then write a short note about why I appreciate them and their particular skills. It’s a nice opportunity to think about each person as I sit, pen in hand, in front of the tv with Tony on the evenings.

Here’s a sample of the kinds of cards I’ve done so far:

Calling the angels

There’s a story behind tonight’s page, but it’s not my story to tell. Just know I believe those that have gone before watch over us, ‘angels’ if you will. This weekend I am calling on my angel mother to watch over my family.

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Another week almost done & dusted

I love recording life’s wee details in my Dylusions dyary. I’ve never kept a ‘proper’ diary but this format suits me; a bit of art, a couple of photos, and whatever I want to record. Sometimes it’s day by day, sometimes one event needs the whole page; this week, it’s all about family, love and loss. Hug the people you love…

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Love is love

I talked with a friend today about love and friendship, and responded to a FaceBook post about gay and lesbian love. My comment, as always; love is love.

I sometimes comment to my staff that there’s infinite variety in the human condition. We don’t all share the same taste in music, shoes or tattoos, thank goodness. And we don’t all want the same things in a partner or lover – thank goodness again!

Tonight I talked to my brother-in-law about a past unrequited love, and the way his feelings for the person have changed over time. Sometimes passion is fleeting – burning bright then burning out – other passions transcend time and what life throws at us along the way.

Time and life’s challenges change us too. We age, get sick, need something different from our partners than when we were younger. That’s just life it’s ok. It’s still love.

You love a man? Great. A woman? Nice. A man *and* a woman? Good on you! If we spent more time loving others and less time worrying about what others do, the world might be a safer and happier place. Love is love.

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When angels run interference

Anyone who follows me knows I don’t believe in God but do believe there’s a universal power and that angels watch over me. Sometimes the angels run interference – like yesterday…

Short version of long tale. Took Tony to Hamilton to see the specialist yesterday as his legs are so sore and swollen it’s affecting his mobility and quality of life. 3 out of 4 Drs were called away so they were running 90 minutes late, but it meant we saw Vasu, his main surgeon, not an understudy. He listened, understood, agreed with me that Tony’s heart and kidneys need checking – because everyone gets fixated on his legs. I said I was concerned we’d come home and be back to square one because our Drs are nice but not hearing me. Vasu said “no, you’re dealing with me from now on and I’ll speak to our top cardiologist”. He gave us an x-ray form, and said they’ll be in touch. Angels #1.

While we were waiting, a woman came out of the ward and I was “omg it’s JEN!”. Jen R is doing a “kick ass battle” with cancer – to use her term – and was starting chemo last night. We’re online friends for various reasons but hadn’t met in person. I leapt up and hugged her hard, laughing, then hugged her some more.  Angels #2.

Archangel Michael, you rock!

#BlogJune

For the last few years I have joined #BlogJune on Twitter. It’s one of those challenges that you can do, sort of do or even not do, and no one minds.

I’ve previously posted from my professional blog but – for all kinds of reasons – I’m not using that for now. With my library blog, I find regular writing is good for thinking about issues, but I’m not currently sharing those thoughts with the wider profession. 

I like #BlogJune because it gets me posting more regularly. My focus this year is art, family, health, disability etc so I’m going to try and post once a day on this blog instead. Sometimes it’ll be an image from my art journals, other posts will be about our changing lives, or what the pets are doing – so a mix of miscellaneous nonsense and the occasional deep and (hopefully) meaningful ramble.

If you want to join in, go for it. You don’t need to be on Twitter, you can just write and post the link anywhere with the hashtag and people are bound to find you. Following the hashtag can be a fun way to find new people to follow too. 

 

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This week’s dyary

I do a page in my Dylusions Dyary every week – sometimes it’s day by day, other times it’s only one or two topics. This week is a mix. I love this format because it’s whatever you want it to be. I used Dylusions stencils and paints, and Posca and Tombow pens. The photos are printed using an HP Sprocket, so they are sticky-backed.

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Missing Dad

Dad died when I was in my mid-20s, way nearer to 30 years ago than 20! I missed him terribly for a long time, then time eased the loss, as it does. I think him of often, but with love, not a sense of loss.

Right now though, I feel the loss again. There’s some hard stuff we’re dealing with and I want my Dad. He wouldn’t have said a lot; he’d have given me a bear hug, some sage advice and then just been here for us.

Yesterday I did this page using the lyrics of P!nk’s song, Circle Game, where she says “And I start looking for my Dad…”. Artists like P!nk provide me all the words I can’t find.

All supplies are Dylusions unless otherwise stated. Paints: Lemon zest, Funky fuchsia, Polished jade. Stencils: Teardrops, Diamonds in the rough (small), Star struck. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Distress ink, Archival ink, Pitt Big Brush pen, white gel pen, Distress collage medium.

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And still the words come

I am remembering hurts that are long-buried – and, oddly enough, as I pour out the words it’s generally not that painful. I thought there’d be endless tears, but there’s not; I am a bit obsessive about the journalling though.

As promised, this is very warts and all – two of these pages talk about the point where sex became a chore, and the start of my affair with Tony (who I’ve now been with for 26 years, so…), the pain of seeing everyone else have a baby and the years I spent on a fertility drug.

The process of remembering, recording, covering up and moving on is very healing.   I  continue to visit the cemetery a lot in my lunch breaks, and sit near the memorial stone to lost babies. So much healing…

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Art heals – thinking about Mum

Every year, as Mum’s birthday on June 30 approaches, I sleep badly and have vivid dreams. Mum died in 2012; we let her go with love in our hearts, knowing she was very ready to die. Yet my brain persists in this hyper-awareness every year. As in previous years, working in my art journal helps. Art really does have the power to heal people.

This photo was taken in 2011, her last Christmas, with her grandson Rowan. I have no idea now what they were talking about, but I can remember it being quite animated! I have put a heart over her face because sometimes I can’t bring her face to my mind, which is such a scary feeling. Mum may be gone, but love remains. The good memories are wrapped firmly round me heart.

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