Monday, January 30, 2006

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Above is Broken Down Ballet and I can't remember if I sold it or if it's stored. It's a mystery!
Monday...used to be the start of the week; now, I love it. Yesterday Honey and Brian visited; Honey was sick and Brian did his wash. Even though Honey was sick, she wanted to do a re-birthing for me. We did it and I was surprised that it revealed information I desperately wanted. After my prednisone crash in July that ended my outside working career, at times I've felt a black hole of pain. It totally disabled and frightened me. No amount of wishing will diminish emotional pain like that so my goal in the re-birthing was clarity. And I got it. I was able to see my childhood experiences and how I felt. I don't understand why it stayed with me as a well of sadness with all the therapy I'd done, or whether yesterday will have somehow changed it. I hope so.
I feel less connected to that pain today. I wonder if how I feel is only some kind of respite. Temporary. Or is it actually movement? Is my self-opinion different? Don't know. Is it just that the internal screaming is gone? Maybe.
I'm not living better. I still almost finished yesterday's cake, ate two pieces of garlic bread to Harry's one with our soup. My diet is in shambles; I ate candy at lunch. I think about walking on the treadmill and that's as far as it goes. I have been painting though. I get bored on here because I refuse to do the hard work putting paintings on my website and beyond that, after email, there's nothing I want to do. So I go next-door and paint, yelling at the kittens to get off the paint, not to lick it, and stay off my drawing table. Autumn particularly keeps getting on and sliding down my drawing table. Moon is the watercolor taster. I'm working on a chicken now--Mrs. Chicken Goes Home. It's my barnyard phase having graduated from my erotic phase.
Uh oh, I see I'm still depressed but not with that terrific pain, just listlessness. Melancholy. All this self-examination and pain is difficult. I don't have a choice because I feel this way so I suppose I could say it's an opportunity--one that doesn't offer any kind of window on the prize, and really, no winning at the end.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

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I'm feeling guilty; I sent Harry to bed alone after watching a porn flick. That's not nice but I have a migraine, so I guess it's alright. I'm not going anywhere either. I really want to be next door in my studio working on my new picture--Mrs. Chicken Goes Home. I'm in my barnyard phase; this is the second chicken. Harry asked for a cow to come soon. Maybe.
Tomorrow the children are visiting; I miss them. Honey's going to bug me about affirmations--to write sentences and answers fifteen times each. I'll never do it; I'll say them once each in the bathtub and think the answers and hope that works. I guess I'm not that dedicated to eradicating my insanity. Truly, I went through years of desperation and thought I'd come through it only to find myself suddenly in terrific emotional pain. I realize my personal opinion of myself is similar to many people in this country anyway, so really I'm not unusual. I doubt my childhood was that much worse than most.
Enough with the rationalizations! I started the Wellbutrin yesterday and it worked. Maybe when my body gets used to it I'll feel wonderful. I don't really think that; I'm glad to feel okay. And I'm relieved I don't have to go to a job with all this michegas(craziness). Years ago when I was in therapy, I read tons of books on all kinds of self-help stuff and I did it. I just don't have the patience anymore. I never missed an appointment for ten years, and I'd been in twenty years of therapy before that. I felt good and aware of myself and life. So much for sanity; it comes and goes.
My head aches; I'm sweating a little; I would prefer to be drawing; I don't know what to do with myself. We went shopping today for books first and food second. And talked about buying a new car soon and what to do with our ten-year-old Toyota. Then we went to dinner ordering steaks so we could feed the dog next door. Well, not really, but it was a consideration. He's a big dumb dog and I have to watch my fingers with him; he doesn't have Big Sammy's manners. But it's fun to feed him anyway. We have nice neighbors--except for the ones next-door for whom I had to take out my beautiful Weeping Willow. (They're okay otherwise.) I miss that tree; I go outside every day and look at my garden when I feed the feral cats. I used to be able to look at my tree from this and my studio window and our cats would talk to the birds nesting in the tree. I feel good looking at my plants; I've got Ivy in here, a tropical plant in my studio, and more downstairs. They don't cure migraines but they don't give them either. Unlike Bourbon Manhattans.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

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I feel so luxurious; I've got on new pajamas--I'd been wearing old tee shirts of my son Brian's cut down the front because I can't stand anything too high on my neck, and ungorgeous pj bottoms from either the thrift store or closet leftovers. Harry readily agreed I needed pajamas; he likes me to look nice and I obviously haven't been. Lots of days I would just change into another pajama outfit, not wear a bra or combing my hair. Pajamas are new to me; for years I was hot almost all the time, especially at night. Suddenly, I'm cold and I needed something on my legs and sleeves on my arms. I know my nervous system is what's most effected by my lupus and that includes my autonomous nervous system that regulates heat, heart beat, swallowing and breathing. And more. For all I know maybe it would be all better if I exercised, but I'm not ready.
Today, my first activity was to visit the psychiatrist telling him I was depressed again. He wanted me to increase Lamictal back to 100 mgs. and had trouble believing I felt no difference between 50 and 100 mgs. except that my hair fell out at a greater rate. So I let him prescribe Wellbutrin which I'll take in addition to my current medications which include Paxil. About a year ago, my neurologist had me come off Effexor one day and start Wellbutrin the same day. I became terribly nauseous. But I'm hoping Effexor was the cause and this is a different compound of Wellbutrin--slowly dissolving instead of immediate insult. I'm hoping I"ll be okay and perhaps, happier.
Lately, I don't want to get out of bed in the morning which isn't new, but I also don't want to write in my blog; work on my website; or finish framing my new artwork. Or do more. I miss that stuff and feel sad about not attending to it. I want to hang the Singer and Little Man. I may put the Duck Reading on here today; I love that. It's not matted yet and I'd like to matte and frame it. Why, I don't know, but it "resonates" with me.
My head is starting to ache again. I think I had a migraine the night before last and they've increased again. I'm stocked with medications but I'll have to restock my handbag. It was nice not entertaining the pain and nausea. My leg almost gave out a couple of times today too. Both the migraines and the leg nerve stuff is part of lupus. As long as I don't fall (and can't get up) I'm okay.
I've been regularly focusing on myself in the "here and now" hoping that's meditation. It can't hurt and I hope it helps because as I said before, I can't afford to see my therapist more than maybe once a month and that isn't enough. It would really be horrible if I truly were ugly, stupid, untalented, and crude. Thank God it's a fantasy bred by being ignored as a child and making inaccurate assumptions. That sounds narcissistic, but I really do believe that shit about myself and I also am wise enough to be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life including my abilities. Sometimes they don't look like much when I hang out with my (genius) cousin but smarts are relative.
Jerry and I are going out tomorrow; we usually do on Fridays for lunch. Having Jerry is another gift. I feel blessed by good friends, Jerry, my brother, my children and Harry. And I haven't mentioned our kittens and they're a lot of fun. So that's it; I"m gonna put up the duck.

Monday, January 23, 2006

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Boudoir..That's one of the first nudes I sold. I put it here just because it takes place in a bedroom.
Today was a busy day; we straightened a lot of stuff and that feels good to me. I even got the cat food picked up from the floor here. I don't really know what has been going on in the world despite reading the newspaper and hearing the news. It went over my head. I keep forgetting to call my friend Nancy who can't read this because she gave up her computer. And I've been putting off calling my cousin Jerry because he hurt my feelings and I'm freaked about talking to him. That may have been why I got so depressed Saturday. But who knows? Not me.
I started to frame my paintings and found Frame Fit gave me the wrong Plexiglas--the glare type. I put one frame around one piece and it looks great, but glare Plexiglas is no help. It sucks actually.
Harry brought up the foot bath thing Brian gave me for my birthday last year that I couldn't use downstairs because it made such a mess and just took so much time and effort. I thought perhaps I could use it in the bathtub. It doesn't feel like much more than an old fashioned foot bath; not like a foot rub which is what I expected. Less power. But still it's nice and it doesn't feel fair not to use it. The upstairs bathroom is getting to be the most crowded room in the house and it's tiny. I just ordered a toilet paper tower for it because the kittens, if they can get toilet paper, unroll it and chew on it. Then little pieces get all over the house despite my careful cleaning up. I've been keeping it on a shelf above the toilet with my loads of body creams and splashes. I want the space and I don't like keeping the toilet paper up above my head.
In a little bit I'll go take a hot bath in the hope it will relax me except for Autumn Kitten leaning over too far on the edge of the tub. Then I stop reading and head into the bedroom to read in bed which I love. I've had a terrible time sleeping ever since I got off Mysoline. I used to hit the pillow and off to sleep I went. I think Lamictal, which I really need, is not only making my hair fall out but keeping me from sleeping. Then when I do fall asleep--from medication usually now--I can't awaken. Partly, I don't want to wake up, but also it's the only time I can really sleep. Yeah, my joy in life has somehow taken off and that's a terrible shame. There is so much I enjoy doing yet in the morning, it feels as though there's no good reason to get out of bed. If I could I'm afraid I'd just stay in bed sleeping for days, or until I got hungry or had to go to the bathroom again. Only food would get me moving downstairs though and then my terrific coffees would do the trick. Coffee is another thing I love. My family; my animals; painting; my computer; movies; eating; reading; shopping; talking and spending time with my friends...I'm probably leaving out lots of stuff but my point is that I know I have a good life and I'm grateful. And not just that, there is so much I enjoy yet I feel as though I have no reason to wake up.
I've just started to research Lupus depression and maybe there will come a point where I'll understand this. I hope so. But I don't think there will ever be a medication that will cure my discomfort at leaving the house or being with people who don't actively like me. One time with one of them and I never want to go back. That's probably not unusual. I'm trying to give myself no excuses and I'd like to also give myself credit where it's due. Maybe the truth is that Lupus brought out my tendency toward depression and made it worse. I may never know but that sounds reasonable.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

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My Wonderful Cats and My Garden

That's Midnight Snack with Little Sammy on my shoulder. He died about 2 years ago at 16 1/2 yrs old.
Today's been busy. I've been cleaning all day. Cleaning, eating, having sex and cleaning some more. (Yeah, old people have sex too.) We put on a brand new sheet with Moonie getting wrapped up in it. I had to disentangle him, then I started bothering him so he got himself out of the bedroom. Autumn got smart, seeing Moonie, and she put herself on the headboard where she could watch but wasn't going to be thrown out.
I still want to finish working on the bathroom; it's not done, and with the new (red) sheet, I want to take a bath. Since I've been retired, the house is cleaner because I don't have to let it get so dirty. I can clean up little spills and use my fabulous rechargeable vacuum cleaner. Except in this little room where the cat food fell all over the floor yesterday. It feels nice and crunchy under my feet mixed with the little bits of kitty litter. The marvelous vacuum cleaner doesn't pick up hard cat food too well. I may have to sweep it up or figure out another solution before I get creepy insects.
I've been feeding the cats who live outside too. And I really have to clean up around the sliding glass doors out there. When there's soil and crap near an entrance, it's an invitation to mice. Yuck! Probably my kittens are a deterrent, but I don't need the challenge. Of course, the weather and my not wanting to venture outside is enough challenge. I hope the mice continue to reside somewhere else until the weather warms up and I can pay my friendly teenager to clean up the area. (I'm so glad I know one.)
He and his buddy planted my new tree for me last fall. My garden isn't complicated, but I enjoy watching the plants grow and I wish I could sit there without looking into the driveway watching the trash cans roll around. I think we're the only people fronting this alley with a garden. I used to sit out there on summer evenings relaxing with my dog Sammy. My giant Weeping Willow blocked the sight of cars and garbage but then our neighbors complained incessantly and we had to take out my beautiful tree. That's where the Sugar Maple came in but it's tiny and not blocking any ugliness.
Oh well, eventually even with my depression, I want a nice house with a garden. I won't have an animal outside with me, so I'll just have to take a book. Meanwhile, my cats have gone to bed now, and I think I should take the cue. It's time to clean, take a hot bath with my library book .

Saturday, January 21, 2006

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Living In Emotional Pain

It's Saturday; I was too depressed to write before. The decrease in Lamictal hit me hard, I think. Last night, I went back on fifty milligrams, still less than the one hundred I'd been on and I seem okay again. It makes my hair come out in bunches, but being depressed scares the hell out of me. I don't mean just not wanting to go out of the house or do anything, I mean intense psychological pain. I'm willing to accept the pain originates in my childhood and has been sitting there for about thirty years somehow escaping my scrutiny during ten years of good psychotherapy and 20 years before that, of therapy that was just to get me through a day working and talking to Harry. I had thought after the ten years I was healthy, together and aware! Yet when the pain hit, or when it began to return yesterday, it didn't feel foreign. It seemed to arise from inside me, agony that's been waiting for an opportunity to be felt, heard. But I don't want to listen, don't want to feel it. The despair overwhelms me, drowns me; it has no words. It's just a howl and the inability to arise, to function. Every movement feels futile, phony. Every word.
I return to the psychiatrist Thursday and I'll tell him about this and how I can't find interest or the strength to visit people who aren't my dearest friends. Cleaning the bathroom is definitely of more importance. I've turned into my mother in six months of my life. I assume that when I held a job I tightened up to function there. Yet, it didn't seem to be that way when I was working. I know my heartfelt opinion of myself and now, why I couldn't open up. I believe the others there felt the same way but they were never going to know those feelings, that knowledge. If I had said those words I would have been more ostracized, pitied, patted on the back, hugged and sent back to my cubicle to read the paper and drink coffee.
I'm going to ask the psychiatrist how much of this is Lupus as though he can show me a graph. But he's the only one who tells me it's a Lupus symptom and the only doctor who doesn't look at me as though I've gone off the deep end. I think I have. So maybe the feelings haven't disappeared from the Lamictal but the agony is decreased. That's what those meds are supposed to do and I hope I continue to feel okay despite my obvious disability.
I want to get this house fixed up, organized and move to a new house in a Philly suburb. All of that takes time--and I sleep half the day away--and emotional stability. Which I don't have. At the first stressful moment, I have to walk away; it's all too much. I don't want to awaken in the mornings or leave the house; I am disappointed.
I don't know what to do if there is anything I could do. I can afford psychotherapy with my old terrific therapist maybe once a month, often less. She isn't covered by insurance but working with her helps. Self-help books read like total bullshit and so many other therapists I've met are emotional cripples themselves. There is no answer I can see; no solution; probably no happy ending. And that's life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

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Another Exciting Day

Brian and Byll were here today doing their wash and studying. We all finished Harry's terrific chicken soup and a pizza filled with pepperoni and veggies. They left a pile of dishes in the sink but I've changed; I don't mind doing the dishes at all. I've got this neat rechargeable vacuum cleaner that I use to pick up crumbs, kitty litter, and Moon's fur balls; I love the thing; my house looks so clean. To me anyway. Harry mentioned the dirty windows but I never think of the windows as long as I can see through them. I don't remember dusting either unless there's a reason. But I'd like to put Harry in a room with his papers and bags of receipts and records. He could have been in this room but nobody wants to be bothered with moving any more furniture and probably, Harry would object to being so close to the kittens' favorite kitty litter.
Back later and a new print. The font program on here sucks. Now it's Arial. Now? Whatever. This room stinks and I just cleaned the kitty litter. Back to more important things, like me. I announced to my world that the European gallery group had approached me and were going to represent my artwork. Wrong move. People are so stuck on money so their idea of galleries is that the only important thing is to sell. Like if you're an artist, the only validation is to make money from your work. They never heard of Van Gogh or any of the other people who sold nothing during their lifetimes. If making money were the main reason to be an artist, most painters would be painting Elvis on velvet over and over. I suppose I have it wrong but I paint because I love it and I don't bother pushing it for more reasons than I have no confidence and I hate to deal with people. When you think you're fat, no-talented, stupid, clumsy, and socially inept, it's difficult to believe you're a great artist. But I do like my work and I know I'm not dumb either. What we know and what we believe are always different though.
I'm rambling and I need to go read because books are waiting for me at the library with a written-in-stone pick-up date and I need to finish the one I'm reading. I discovered borrowing books and I've become a library patron. It's a shame I read only fiction; I could be learning a lot.
The painting is called Healing and I just finished it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

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Being Ignored & Agent-ed!

The gallery came through; they'll represent me and promote my work in Europe, mostly London and Barcelona I think. I'm relieved as much as happy; I was very upset. I actually still have a headache but maybe I'll get better when I send them back the contract and just get on with my life. The guy who contacted me was kind of complaining about the expense of sending artwork over there but I've done it before. It's difficult and pricey to deal with oil paintings on stretchers but watercolor on paper doesn't break the bank. It might be more of a big deal now because of the terrorism, but not the fees.
I told most of the people in my world and my close friends who received it wrote back their congratulations. I'm disappointed so many said nothing; to me this is a big deal and I made a kind of public announcement. I could say it proves I'm unlikable but that's only internal. My brain says that's bullshit. Of course, we run on our emotional selves and mine says I'm a social failure. I feel lucky I'm going to see my old therapist tomorrow and I can put this in her lap. I'll most likely walk out frustrated as I have on many past occasions but I'll try.

Monday, January 16, 2006

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A gallery approached me about representing my work in a non-exclusive manner; the situation isn't set. One guy liked my work and the whole group has to believe they can sell it. But the whole group has to agree it will sell to their customers. I hope it goes over; I sent jpg. samples and they'll get back to me. They're in Barcelona and London; I like that. I don't think Center City Philly is a good market for my work; I don't understand why not but it sold in the artsy upper-middle class area.
All this makes me literally sick. Since I got the email from the gallery I've felt anxious, ill. I don't think coming off Lamicdal matters except that my hair isn't falling out so quickly. It's the gallery stuff. I'm really a terrific scaredy-cat; everything frightens me. I just want to hide out, see no one and go nowhere. Except to my kids and close friends and maybe a little shopping. When I worked, I think I just forced myself to get up, go, and face people with whom I felt totally ill at ease. I don't want to deal with anything. And no amount of medications will make all this palatable.
Just the gallery might be acceptable, but for me every event is a threat. Is the kitten sick? Is my autonomic system out of whack? Will I die sooner than I think? Will I die of a stroke? Will I be able to take care of myself when I get older? Will Harry die? Would I be able to care for myself then? Would my son take care of my bills and stuff? Am I happy? Am I really psychic or am I neurotic? Should I have more friends? Am I normal? Why can't I get along with regular people better? Why am I stiff? Will I go bald? Can I lose weight? Will I stay fat? Am I ugly? All those are not really questions; for me, they're confirmations. Stupid, ugly, stiff, fat, untalented, unhappy, neurotic and narcissistic. And presenting a good amount of reason to be afraid.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

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The Gate Munch

Tonight was the Gate Munch here in Philly. I'm no longer a participant--I never was wholeheartedly--but I'm sympathetic and I like some of the people very much. This was a nice evening; our friends drove which was a surprise and a treat; we ended up eating at a Greek restaurant. They didn't have Moussaka or Pastitsio, my favorites, but the Hummus was extraordinary as were Harry's lamb chops. And I had Greek coffee which I adore. The munch bar had Guinness on tap and Guinness is wonderful when it's fresh from the tap. Harry had Hoegaarden. I call Hoegaarden Lemonade Beer but it's good too.
Edmund and his girlfriend were there--Edmund was one of my first subbies and he really gave a lot of time and effort to my playroom. Mary was there with her love with whom she moved in a couple of years ago. And there was Dana with her partner. I'd missed Dana and was considering braving people I couldn't stand just to see her again. I knew Dana's girlfriend would be lovely because Dana is.
I missed other people so I suppose I'll have to work out a way to see them again. I met a lot of warm open people over the last few years--people who would happily pose for me without a thought. They allowed me into their lives and I'm grateful. I've met folks who were guarded and I can't blame them; I just don't like them.
There were people across the room and when I finally ambled over they told me they knew me. Why they didn't say hello in the first place I don't know. I understand I give the impression of being a proper lady who incidentally knocks back Guinness and Bourbon and paints erotica. The proper makes people scared, I think. I don't know if I'd be different if I tried. Probably not. I am who I am and sometimes I'm tight. Right now, I'm hungry.
I can barely write I'm so hungry. I'm kind of drunk from the beer--one--but I'm going to have to stop writing and go take my blood soon because I'll be raiding the frig if I don't.

Friday, January 13, 2006

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Vacation or No Vacation?

My life has changed as of today.. My Social Security benefits are kicking in. I can move; go on vacation; fix my house. I want to do everything and nothing. I've been destroying my cuticles since I got wind of the possibilities. I'd really like to live in a house with a fireplace, drive in garage with a door right into the house, with everything all on one floor. I need to start making a list of what I want. I started insisting we go on vacation to New Mexico right away because I don't want to move then realize I should have moved there. I doubt that would happen though. All I have are questions and I wish everything were cheap, but nothing is.
We've never been to New Mexico and I definitely want to see if it's a place I'd like to spend the winters. Is it affordable? Boring? Red-Neck? Laid-Back? I would rather get in the car and drive there but that won't happen; we have too many places to be here and too little time.
Later...I decided after-all to put off the New Mexico trip. We'll go up to Manhattan for a few days instead and see a couple of plays. We love French Food and in Manhattan, there are a million of them and they're not all pretentious. In fact, I want to stay away from the trendy, very expensive restaurants. I don't need to see Bette Midler at the next table. I like her but nothing says she knows restaurants better than I do.
And if it gets too cold here, I can fly out to my brother's in LA and stay with him for a week or two. Knowing that may make the difference in my tolerance of the weather. Also not having to go out if I don't want to go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

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My Life Is Moving On I Think

Today feels like a useless day, but I did finally matte daughter Honey's pictures. I watched the news a little and read the NY Times and Philly Inquirer. It looks like Judge Alito will be confirmed and I"m sorry, but what did I expect? The far right stole the last two presidential elections and redistricted the whole country to make sure they stay in power. And now it's tomorrow...Thursday and I have a headache.
Because my hair was falling out, I cut down on Lamictal, a good drug for lupus seizures and mood swings (but maybe not so good for the hair style.) It takes a while for a body to get used to a lower dose of any medication. I've been biting my cuticles as though they taste good and will look better. I'm nervous, anxious. I think my Social Security may have just come through. We went out to dinner and there was a message on the answering machine that sounded as though that was what was being said. I'll know for sure tomorrow. Then my life starts to change in earnest. Do I move to Glenside or try to buy another house in New Mexico? If I do that, will I go out of my mind from boredom during the winter? Could I afford it?
If I'm really set now, we'll start making travel arrangements. I'm not even interested in going to Europe. I haven't finished seeing the US. Especially New Mexico. There's so little any of us can do. Alito will probably get in. The Republicans will steal another election. But the little lives go on hopefully without heartache. That's what I"m trying to figure out now.

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The Angst of Diabetes and Dieting

Angst...stolen from me in a New York exhibit

Today I started a diet. I hope I'm finished making excuses for my food choices, overeating and dessert. I think what's precipitated this was a series of articles on Diabetes in the New York Times describing my behavior exactly and if you read between the lines, it predicts a scary future first with shots of insulin, and then heart disease, possibly loss of limbs and my eyesight. And that's in addition to all kinds of other upsetting problems. The articles have been saying a lot but what got to me I think, was people like me eating up to their medications and eventually having to proceed to the next level. My brother is now on insulin and his glucose levels frequently go to 300, which is very unsafe. He's had numerous foot surgeries that took forever to heal; an infection of his eye socket a couple of years ago; and the other day his eyes were too blurry to see right. I worry about him; Diabetes is insidious.
Today the Science Times was citing a study on the connection between heart disease and Diabetes. Researchers are finding frequently heart disease is present silently when Diabetes is discovered. Also arteriosclerosis. The article explained the close connection between all of them. I've been reading all along about the diabetics preponderance for heart disease and strokes. Lupies have that too, and taking steroids, a huge number of us have Diabetes too. It's easy to be in denial; Diabetes doesn't feel like anything, and if you're very lucky, neither does lupus.
I felt good today but I didn't go too overboard with my food. My dessert was low calorie and low fat and I had only one. Yes, I feel fat and I'm concerned about my health. There's so much that isn't understood in our bodies, but it's obvious that overeating with diabetes is dangerous. Maybe you think medical science is highly advanced, but I think it's still barbaric. Your foot gets gangrene so they cut it off. One medicine for lupus? And doctors know almost nothing about central nervous system lupus. And are all doctors up on the latest news? Ha! It's a battle we have to fight ourselves, reluctantly I know--well, kicking and screaming. When we lose there's no doctor who will be able to fix our failure. It's just us and a battle we don't want to fight.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

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Spirits Visit When You Eat, So Manga!

Too many cookies...ugh...My name should have been cookie. A cookie isn't an evil piece of food; I just don't know when to stop. I "affirm" every day that I will eat only when I'm hungry and stop as soon as I get "The Signal". I also say I avoid foods with sugar and white flour. I observe those rules until I hit the kitchen. I am grateful that I actually do feel a signal so that I start the process of putting down the fork. Harry's a good cook quickly getting better, which isn't what I need, but it's nice anyway. He cooked all day today making Lebanese Soup. It is a beautiful soup but I couldn't eat it; it smelled like lamb, but not like lamb chops and turned my stomach. I felt sad because Harry worked so long and hard. Tomorrow, he's taking a break because Honey's coming up to work with me making some exotic Tofu dish. I can't stand Tofu and Harry won't eat it, but I can swallow it and I will for Honey's sake. It's not like lamb. And the sauces tomorrow include coconut and peanut butter two of my favorite things, so most likely I'll happily overfeed myself for a change.
This morning, the smell of cookies woke me. It was actually Harry's marvelous French Toast. They're legendary with me.
Our son has begun to cook too; he made chocolate mousse yesterday and made an unusual Caesar-type salad for Thanksgiving. Brian is built like me so I hope he can contain his cooking interests without blimping.
I've just eaten a banana and it's past 11:30 PM. Some people just can't control themselves. I was hungry sitting there holding and petting the kitten, watching Law & Order and after such a long hiatus, finally sensing the spirits again. After a couple of years, I've been able to stop one of my drugs that might have been blocking my ability. Last night, I was able to sense my father and my "old" family from the 1800s. (I feel as though I know them from past encounters.) And I sensed Harry's "guys" again. I used to be able to tell people about the spirits around them and then, suddenly, I couldn't. So maybe the Namenda was the culprit. Actually, they visit often when their family is having a meal, especially a family celebration. There's a heaviness in the atmosphere, and if I pay attention, I can start picking out attributes or people and activities. I really missed being able to see spirits. I've been a little scared at times, including when my next-door neighbor's dead aunt visited more or less in the flesh, but I get excited too. I waved her in and kept saying, "Stay, stay!, despite my knocking knees.
I don't think it was just the cookies tonight. Nope, I think my great-grandparents, my great aunt and uncle are here in this room with me now watching me type on the computer. They like the modern machines. Either they're here or my brain's not.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

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Daddy Teaches His Daughter A New Lesson

Self-Portrait, oils, 1981
It's not yet twelve hours since I awoke. I have trouble waking; it's so easy to go back to sleep when I sleep so badly during the night. The kitten sleeps peacefully either at my head or by my hands and dreamland comes so easily. It's hard to leave.
Last night my father in some way, took me to visit 'the other side'. Dad's been gone since 1989; I guess, especially when he was old he was as close to me as he could manage. He wasn't a person who could bare his soul or be affectionate--I doubt he would have felt comfortable trying. But he used to walk up the street to our house and visit most every day. A few years ago, while I was experiencing a lot of psychic ability, I used to sense Dad touching my face or kidding around with me. He'd changed greatly. Since then, he's visited regularly in my dreams and I'm very clear about how much he loves me. All my family has visited during my dreams and I invite them every night. At times, I felt I traveled there to visit them and I've been asking to do that. So last night Dad took me there and convinced me not to ask again. He held my hand and seemingly did not want to let me go and it was a creepy boring place. I wrenched my hand away and ran to a small group of young women 'waiting for an elevator'--I think that was just a metaphor. My idea is Dad was showing me a part of his reality, but the images, including the elevator, were simply expressed using images I could understand. Anyway, I spoke with the women on the elevator, who yes were all content being 'on the other side' and weren't sympathetic to my worries about leaving my family behind. (One said she was only fifteen when she died and how did I think her family felt about that? I empathized.) I took the risk of staying on after they exited, hoping I could return to my life.
I found myself at the mass transportation terminus--Bridge and Pratt here in Philly--with no identification, money, or cell phone. Somehow, I was steady enough to approach a police officer with my plight excepting I didn't share the real way I'd gotten there. I lost the officer because he walked too fast and got into the wrong car. It was a long way home with some disappointments but I knew I'd walk home, across 20 miles of Philadelphia, to Harry. I thought that was a meaningful ending and an important lesson.

Friday, January 06, 2006

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Yesterday, Thinking About the Art Industry Again

Bach Composing (and the Emperor's new clothes)

Yesterday, I picked up my friend Nancy where she lives in the Rittenhouse Park/Wissahickon section of Philly and drove into Center City. Our purpose was to meet Nancy's friend Mike who runs the Plastic Club on Camac Street, an 150 year old artists club. There were no parking spots available so we parked in a lot and walked to Mike's tiny two hundred year old house on a picturesque Philadelphia alley. Both Nancy's apartment and Mike's house have every wall decorated with mostly wonderful paintings and it took a long time to get through Nancy's and then Mike's because I wanted to see each painting. (Nancy just moved and put up paintings that had been stored for years.) All the paintings and Mike's charming house then the Plastic Club.... Mike set up an exhibit of his mother's work over two floors of the club. It's a beautifully done exhibit with excellently crafted drawings and paintings.
Mike's mom died recently but she and other members of the club are in their eighties and their work is often really wonderful. It feels reassuring to see old women who'd be totally ignored under many circumstances creating unforgettable paintings.
I have a tangible distrust of galleries and art organizations. The Plastic Club runs weekly life-drawing workshops which I'm not all that interested in attending, but I love going into town and I feel it's very important for me to get out of the house regularly. (Of course it's ending up that I'm hardly home.) Nancy and I are considering going to workshops together because it's easy for me to pick her up on my way in town. The Plastic Club has exhibits too and despite myself, I'm always interested. And very negative.
I haven't discussed the exhibits with anybody probably because I'm so apprehensive. Today, I drove over to Cousin Jerry's in East Falls and we went out to a late lunch at the Cracker Barrel. I love Southern food and up here, that's pretty much the only place to get it. I was glad to see there were African-American servers because Cracker Barrel, although they had lots of Afro-American customers were accused and they paid a settlement, I believe, because of discrimination in hiring. I don't want to give money to businesses who discriminate or support conservative agenda--Like Hallmark who gives money fighting against the Family Medical Leave Act. Ugh. People with illnesses or sick families couldn't work without that.
I overdid yesterday and ended up with a tenacious migraine that never went away despite my being heavily medicated. So I really can't do everything a normal person can do. Oh, well, that's not so bad. I still got to go out today and see all the artwork yesterday. It really was exciting for an artist; I always forget what a thrill it is seeing other artists' work.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

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The Excrutiating World of Galleries

A friend of mine from where I used to work recommended a friend of his who'd opened a gallery in a lovely area of Philly and I finally contacted him today. I swore I'd never contact another gallery for as long as I lived, but I did it anyway; I guess some hopes never die. But they should. My friend had sent the gallery guy my info and of course the guy never contacted me. Galleries rarely do that unless they're sure they can make a ton of money from a particular artist. But in those instances the galleries couch their greed in terms of beautiful paintings or some such nonsense. Galleries don't like to admit art has very little to do with their business. They could just as well be selling socks; whatever sells is the best to them. And the gallery attitude is that they've created the artwork. The artist is secondary, just a cog in the machine, who has to convince the gallery of the artist's talent. Yuck.
I'm still on the fence regarding what I want to do with the rest of my life. Open a 'gallery' to celebrate my work and share it with whomever is interested? Just move to a one-story house and deep-six the gallery idea? Move to a warmer climate and share that house with my brother and the rest of my family and go visit them in the summer? And what about commercial taxes and real estate? Could I actually deal with the work of a gallery and would I enjoy doing it? As it is now, I have no time; how would I suddenly shoehorn babysitting a gallery into my already busy days? But then, isn't all this just for my ego anyway, because who else cares? Why does it matter? I love painting and I create art because I enjoy doing it. I miss drawing and painting when all I'm doing is zipping around with Harry or socializing. I worry about having boxes and boxes of artwork and leaving it all to my overwhelmed kids when I die. Most artists do that anyway; you can never sell most of what you create. At least not during your lifetime. Cousin Jerry says, "Why worry about exhibiting?" and he's totally right. Maybe by the time I'm ready to move, I'll have the exhibition question worked out.
Meanwhile, I'm becoming less social; I'm declining what used to be one of my favorite socials--a Tea Party. When I realized that the group was going to be upwards of fifty people, I just wasn't interested anymore. There's no one going who I especially miss; I see my friends anyway. So Harry and I will probably just go to the movies. Maybe I should pin artwork to my coat when I go to the movies. That way I'd be exhibiting and relaxing.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

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Wealthy Business Owners & the Lack of Respect They Earn

After I graduated from Art School, I taught, but I couldn't control a class and I didn't understand basic rules of teaching. Quickly, it became obvious I needed to go in a different career direction so I segued into Therapeutic Recreation, first in a Germantown Boarding Home where I always made sure to arrive before lunch because I could smell the fried fish, greens and corn bread from my home ten miles away. Since I couldn't help the lobotomized residents make saleable crafts, I was soon employed by nursing homes and applying for Therapeutic Recreation registration which meant I had to return to school. School, Temple U. graduate school was okay, but the funny stuff wasn't there.
I worked for three nursing homes for about thirteen years, two in North Philly, and one in West Philly. Those jobs taught me at least half of all I know about human nature, but still, the best stories come from the crazy white folks who ran the home in South Philly. I started working there while it was still being built; the administrator, who was the owner's son, held court in the bar down the street. When his daddy called, I hightailed it to the tavern and brought back Danny. Danny had Pancreatitis, but he used to sit with his feet up on his desk swilling Jack Daniels anyway. When the building was done, a big grand opening was held and the politicians came as well as mom and dad nursing home. I can't remember the South Philly pols who came but they were later jailed. The guy who was police commissioner and later, Mayor--Frank Rizzo--, came with his bodyguard. Those guys were bigger than anyone I'd seen at that time and charismatic too. I flitted around talking to people, and I guess, gawking. Mom Nursing Home shocked me by getting drunk and opening the foulest mouth I'd ever heard. And Dad relieved himself in the potted plants.
When the patients arrived, problems started to happen, like there wasn't enough food and no money for the washing machines. Junior started going golfing with the beautiful statuesque dietitian and she became the assistant administrator. Children of politically connected people started to fill the empty positions. I left when I could see nothing much was being remedied by the state regulators who were hounding the North Philly homes.
I heard Junior went on to run another nursing home into the ground and the model dietitian became the administrator under another owner. She was a good liar and a company man as well as being pretty so she's probably still there.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

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Tea Time For Painterjayne

Philly has a beautiful suburb called Merion and I'm just home from touring it. I left just after twelve noon to see a fellow I know sing at the Quaker Meeting House in Merion with directions from AAA, Mapquest, and my dad's map book. I thought it would be easy to find with my good directions but that wasn't to be. I drove through and around Merion admiring the mansions looking for the meetinghouse but never finding it. Finally, I gave up and came home. It's the afternoon now, I've finished the coffee I brought with me into the car and it's probably time to change out of my nice clothes and start working.
It's hours later; I've had my live lobster dinner and dessert, and I'm back upstairs. I figured out what frames I need from Frame-Fit for my new work and I'll order them this week, maybe after my credit card month ends. Frame Fit is a frame company here in Philly that sells wholesale directly to artists. Frames aren't really expensive and they're certainly not hard to do. Spending hundreds of dollars framing is a waste of money, plus I like to matte and frame my paintings in colored mattes and frames, which framers rarely do.
I really have nothing to say. I'm bored; it's time for movies. Harry's downstairs back watching some 1920s documentary. I've seen that one and most of the rest he loves and couldn't bear to watch them again. But it's time to relax with a cup of tea so I'm leaving.