I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

"Imaginary Friend 2"

I was a painfully shy child.  I was okay with people I knew, but I didn't know how to talk to anyone else.  Dad noticed and took me to a Lake Erie breakwall.

"Ask that man what he's using for bait", he said as he nudged me towards an old man.  I'm sure my face showed panic, so Dad asked the old man himself.  They had a chatty, friendly little conversation before Dad took me to the next old guy.  "Go on", he said.  I nervously asked the man what he was using for bait.  The guy stuck his hand in his coffee can and showed squiggly things that he said were good for perch.  Next guy used minnows.  Next guy used a lure.  I learned what every old man on the lake used for bait.  I learned a lot about fish and fishing.  I wanted to talk to old guys every weekend after that.  I still like old guys.

Learning how to talk with other people is feeling like a lost art.  Everyone is glued to their phones and checking out how many likes they've gotten.  They watch TV shows where even the camera people seem afraid to make eye contact with someone they're filming, shooting them from the side or back while that person talks to an invisible subject off screen.

We need eye contact.  We need real conversations.  We need real human interaction.  We need to communicate that in our work, no matter what kind of work we do.  I think this is obvious for artists, but think about engineers designing products that regular people can't understand even with the engineers' incomprehensible manuals.  The better we understand others, the better we'll be at everything.  We learn to understand others by actually talking with them.

I've learned about Swedish death cleaning from a friend of mine.  That's right up there with Marie Kondo's get rid of everything that doesn't bring you joy.  I know I've mentioned I think this is all crazy, but to each their own.  If pitching your belongings makes you happy, then I'm happy for you.  I'm even happier when I get gifted stuff you don't want.  That's how I ended up with a big bag of wooden balls.

To show my appreciation for craft gifts, I painted one of the balls for my friend.  I made it a blue eyeball since she and her kids are blue-eyed.  She loves it.  She even loves the bloody underside of it (which I somehow neglected to photograph).  Glad to share some giggles over craft balls.  She thanked me and gave me a big bag of corks.  I'm still not sure what to do with those.  Any ideas?

I didn't get a new word last Friday so I decided to wait and see how long it would take for a new word to show up.  Still waiting 2 Saturdays later.  I hate that.  Do what you say you're going to do, or at the very least, tell us why you aren't doing it.  Communicate!  Didn't your father teach you how to talk to fishermen?!!

(If I need to comply with the ancient IF word at all, this is where I say you can practice talking with your imaginary friend.  Or maybe, talk to the hand?)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Imaginary Friend"

I had an imaginary friend named Sally.  She was all sorts of wonderful.  She was the kind of girl to hold hands with while skipping and singing, pausing only to jump in mud puddles or to look at bugs.  She played nice in the sandbox, never thinking to hit me in the head with a metal truck.

I wonder what happened to Sally?  Did she grow up and marry Prince Charming and have 2 perfectly wonderful children?  Did she become an neurobiologist or a world famous musician?  Perhaps all of the above?  I hope she had a perfectly spectacular life.  I miss her.  I wish we'd kept in touch.

I felt pressured to give Sally up back then.  Mom wouldn't let Sally have a plate at the table.  Dad didn't want to take Sally fishing with us and I had to leave her at home.  My sister was more straightforward.  She made fun of me for indulging in fantasy while my parents exchanged looks with each other making it clear they agreed.  Stick with the real world.  Fantasy is next to crazy.

Sally went underground for a while.  I talked to her in my head instead of out loud.  I showed her the bugs I found.  I made her parts of our sandcastles.  I knew she was fantasy, but I was lonely.  The Glen where I grew up was filled with natural beauty, but it had very few children my age.  Sally brightened my days until I got a tiny, green turtle.  Then all those bugs became turtle food, and nobody seemed to care when I talked to him.

I think we give up too many things to count as we get older, so much so that we can't even remember what we used to have.  We forget to play and imagine.  We learn to fit in, but we're ghosts of our original selves and we spend too much of our adult lives trying to get some of ourselves back again.

I felt cursed by loneliness when I was a child.  Sometimes I look at it now as a gift.  With only myself to talk with, I decided for myself what I thought and felt.  When I got older, I was comfortable challenging societal norms when I experienced peer pressure.  Of course I had that sister who made fun of me, but I mostly didn't care what she thought.  After all, I didn't approve of everything she said and did.  Live your own life and leave me alone.

While I didn't have many kids to play with, I did have quite a few old people, some of them as lonely as I was.  They were a gift in a different way.  One old lady was charmed to have tea with my imaginary friend and hospitably put out a plate of cookies for Sally (which I helpfully assisted Sally in eating).  I had serious conversations with my old people and discussed issues I was hot and bothered with, issues I'm pretty sure I haven't even considered since.  Maybe they'll matter again when I'm old?

Sometimes the challenges we face turn out to be part of what makes us special.  Sometimes they cause us to look in different places than we would if everything was the way we wish it would be.  Everyone has something unique about their experience, and that uniqueness is what makes each of us important in the world.  Each person's story is its own piece of art.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

"Health 2"

The last time I went to the eye doctor, I skipped the part of the form asking about drugs.  The doctor confronted me about this.  I said I don't take drugs.  She looked incredulous.  "None?"  Well, vitamins.  "You're how old?", she asked as she flipped through my folder.

I have to wonder at what age doctors think everybody should start taking drugs and at what age it's actually in our best interests to do it.  Really, we'd all be better off to meditate more and medicate less since stress is one of our biggest health risks.

I went to a therapist when I was separated from my soon-to-be ex.  Shortly into my first visit, the therapist insisted I take antidepressants.  I said I wanted to face this challenging time.  That's why I had gone to her.  I wasn't interested in drugs to prolong my miseries.  She insisted some more.  I told her I knew about drug side effects and that I wouldn't be able to just quit taking them when I got my life in better control.  I didn't want to be on drugs for years for a temporary crisis.  "I can't help you then!"  Right.  I guess you can't if your only solution is to drug me into compliance and complacency.

I know, there are plenty of people who feel like their antidepressants are the answer to their prayers.  Drugs do help some people with some problems.  The bigger problem I see is that too many people take too many drugs.  It's a big business that profits off people in a way that harms too many of us, and doctors are often drug pushers.

My thyroid went out of whack at another stressful time in my life.  The doctor recommended I go to the hospital to have my thyroid killed radioactively.  I'd be on thyroid replacement for the rest of my life.  Wow.  That seems extreme.  I went home and researched hyperthyroid online.  Turns out stress can trigger this condition.  Europeans take an inexpensive little pill to regulate it.  Natural solutions include eating kohlrabies and broccoli.  I like kohlrabies and broccoli.

I went back to the doctor and asked about the European pill.  He said okay, if that's the treatment I'd prefer.  I asked why he'd suggested the radioactive solution.  "You've got to understand, endocrinologists have very few money making procedures they can offer."  Wow again.  I'm glad he was honest about it any rate.  I asked him about broccoli.  "I'm giving you a pill to take care of things!!"

Fine, but I ate my kohlrabies and broccoli.  I dutifully got blood tests, my numbers went down.  I started cutting my pills in half, then in half again.  Eventually, my numbers were normal.  I quit taking the pill fragments altogether.

Years later, I got my blood tested again.  Everything was still normal.  I asked the new endocrinologist if I should worry about my thyroid in the future.  "You're fine.  You'll probably never have this problem again."

Healthy skepticism and online research can go a long way.  Second opinions are great.  Wishing all of you the best of health!

The T1 vertebrae above doesn't have anything to do with drugs or thyroids.  It's the beginning of another painting which I figure counts towards my meditation time for a stress-free, drug-free life :)