Friday, March 25, 2011

After The Rain

I painted the picture above from a photo I took in Leon, France. I recall it had just finished raining and the little boy seemed untrusting of his footing. I remember his wanting to hang on to his mother’s hand, but her hands were already full.

In so many ways it has been a lost week for me. It seems like the rainstorms, so unusual for us, will never stop. Of course in my personal fog (more on that later) it brings memories of Seattle. Across the street on 26th Ave. West where I grew up till age 12 was a large wooded area, eventually sloping down to the railroad tracks and Elliot Bay. An overgrown deeply rutted road, long unused by cars, ran through it, leading gently downwards to what was then Pier 91. During the depression homeless men from many parts of the country would jump the freights, sometimes cutting through the woods up to our house, on the edge of the bluff, asking for food in exchange for work. I remember them as polite and grateful for a piece of white Langendorf with sandwich spread, which was mostly mayonnaise and dill pickle. Sometimes my mother, sensing their pride, would have them sweep the small front porch.

When I think of it now, “the woods” as I called this area, was not a very safe place to play for a little girl alone. Yet I was most content there. The alder and madrona and bracken fern sheltered me from the heaviest downpours. I knew how to avoid the stinging nettles. I made countless secret paths through the salal. In the spring I was mesmerized by the gigantic banana slugs and the hatching tent caterpillars. In my child’s world I thought I owned these woods. As soon as a heavy rain would start I would don my dark brown three button galoshes and head for the abandoned road, for the best mud puddles were to be found there. Splat! Splat! Such joy. With my toe I would carve rivulets, delighting in the process of making new channels for the water to flow. The rain was my personal friend for it led me to intimacy with nature. Most of all, it was such fun. I wish I could remember and relive that special joy, but alas, I can’t.

How changed I am now. Two days of rain and my chin is in my lap. Since this has been going on about two weeks my spirits are in the pits. Also my memory is on sabbatical. Perhaps it is waterlogged like my long awaited blooming iris, which now resemble mush. Last Tuesday I missed an important meeting, having it on my calendar for next week instead. And for over a week I’ve been searching for the bill for my house taxes, due April 10. I remember putting the bill in a special place so I wouldn’t loose it. Yikes! I’m clueless.

Wednesday morning I took some serious tranquilizers and a bunch of other meds at the periodontist’s orders, for I was having surgery to do a sinus lift .

I don’t remember much of Wednesday at all. It seems my left sinus was hanging down like an old lady’s boob. I do remember thinking I wish it were a face lift on the outside, not the inside. He filled the vacant hole with cadaver material. Yikes again.

The weather man predicts sunshine by next Monday or Tuesday. Then it will be time to put on a happy face, lift or not.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Emotional Reprieve

I skipped Rob’s funeral on Wednesday to attend Bouquet’s to Art at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. He would have approved of my decision I know. This year’s show was breathtaking, inspiring, blasting with creativity as always. Somehow the cosmic Gods were with us: the Bay bridge, usually jammed at the commute hour, was smooth and welcoming. To my shock we arrived at Golden Gate Park 45 minutes early, and found street parking generous. Before the museum opened we watched a Japanese Tai Chi Master lead a solemn group on the lawn. The timing was touching, as our hearts were hurting with the trauma going on concurrently in Northern Japan. My companion on this art trek was my good friend Jan Matsuoka. Jan has family in Japan. She is as smitten with flowers as am I. After the show we had a yummy vegetarian lunch at Green’s, gazing at the Golden Gate between bites. The chocolate cake was the best! It was so good for us both to have a day of serenity and reprieve from what is going on in the world. .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sunshine and Shadows

When one lives on the income from their investments, as I do, life is a little tenuous. Sadly financial decisions become more challenging when one does not have a partner to bounce things off on, and where monthly income yo-yos up and down, sometimes dramatically. Last month when I considered on impulse signing up for the French Escapade trip to Provence in May, the first thing I did was to call Rob, my broker, for advice. We’ve been at this management/decision-making task for about twenty years, even though he is much younger than I. At times he feels like a wise old father, at other times like a caring adult son, but most of the time I think of him as a trusted friend. Well, trusted, and caring both. He has guided me through the deaths of my mother, my sister, Lee’s mother, and finally Lee. It’s been a rich and tender relationship for us both, even though we have little in common in the usual sense of things.

As always he listened carefully to all the pros and cons, checked the market, my portfolio and speculated on the economy. Only then did he advise me what to do: “Go for it.” I made the decision the next day, and just yesterday Sandy advised me the final leg was confirmed (2nd class, 4:57 pm-8:11pm TGV train from de Gaulle airport to Avignon, $162.)

The day I made the trip decision Bob advised me thoughtfully how he would juggle things a bit to make all the expenses come out ok.

When I called him two weeks ago to confirm stock arrangements he had hardly any voice, but he assured me it was because of a problem with a stopped up ear; that he felt just fine.

A phone call today at 10:30am from his boss advised me that Rob died this morning at 9:15, in his sleep. Just recently he fulfilled a lifelong ambition to go to Hawaii to learn to snorkel, which he did with his wife and adopted daughter. I guess he too decided to “Go for It.”

Rob has been battling pancreatic cancer ever so bravely for over three years, going in and out of remission. From first diagnosis, Steve Jobs has been an inspiration to him.

Last week I was rejoicing that Kodi, my dog, did not have a terminal disease. Suddenly my mood is reversed. My spirit is truly sagging, and it feels like a black cloud moving in on me. The photo above was taken a couple of weeks ago from the deck when a storm was coming in. I hope I can put on a happy face for those coming to my art show this weekend, and if I can’t that they will forgive me for the tears that are currently under all the happy flowers and children I paint.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Looking Back and Facing Forward

This has been a week of worry followed by rejoicing. A welcome letter came yesterday from a client of many decades ago reminding me of the God, Janus, the powerful Roman God of gates, doors, beginnings, endings, and time. What a talented guy. He could see both ways, it seems.

As I sat on pins and needles waiting for the results of a blood test for my dog Kodibear (whose name is in the title of this blog) I felt terrified that the results would be positive that the radical hair loss on his ten year old tail meant he had canine Cushing’s disease, not a happy diagnosis. Was it a genetic defect of his special heritage (half Siberian Husky, half traveling salesman)?

What would I do without my big mush-pot guard dog?Would I even want to live here on this remote hilltop?

Were she still alive, what would Lee say, for after all he was her special love and constant shadow the last six years of her life?

I tried to wait patiently seven whole days for the results. Finally the doggie dermatologist called. “Negative!” Suddenly a big rock was lifted from my chest. The hair loss on his tail is completely cosmetic. It looks pretty bizarre, but since he does not care, neither do I. We can grow older and balder together.

Suddenly I was able to read, write, and paint again. I had denied to myself that the anxiety was what had immobilized me.

So now I’m madly getting paintings ready for the two day annual show at my gym March 12 and 13. I’ve scrounged the cabinet drawers sorting possibilities from rejects. So far I have 57 matted and ready to go and I’m not even to the bottom of the pile.

Whereas I’ve never painted a picture of Janus, I did include in the for-sale stack the painting above of a statue of a very happy God (anonymous to me) which l painted near the beach on my first trip to Bali.

He’ll remain nameless for now, but he matches my mood.