Thursday, July 17, 2014

Exhaustion in the Trenches

It shouldn't be a surprise that the exhaustion and emotional trepidation has been front and center this week. And because life is what happens while we're making other plans, other sources of exhaustion and emotional trepidation do not want to patiently wait until this move is over. They're part of the circus as well. 

Super X-man
I told Chris that it would be nice if someone around here had superpowers. 

Well, someone does. Alexander. 

In this case, his infinite energy and superpowers aren't exactly helpful.
I don't even have time to be writing this entry, but after a night of RLS attacks and lack of sleep because of it, my energy is severely lacking more than usual. I scheduled a massage tonight to initially help with the tension and stress, but now it's clearly for help with the RLS. Therefore, I don't feel too guilty now for the "me time" massage in all this craziness. I need sleep! 

I'm also grateful for my friend Melissa and her daughter who stopped by out of the blue yesterday and said they had an hour and wanted to use it to help me pack. That was awesome considering when they rang the doorbell, Alexander was literally crawling on my body demanding my full attention and therefore depleting any progress to be made other than the objective he had in mind (Chris and the other two were making a Wickenburg run with the trailer).

I was nice and gave them stuff in the linen closet to pack, as well as my summer art class supplies that had made their home in the laundry room. If I was mean, I would have had them deal with Mikelle's room or some not so pleasant items from other parts of the house that I've also been avoiding. However, I'm not mean to sweet angels who show up out of the blue to help like that.

As for the waterworks - yeah, they hit yesterday. I knew it was bound to happen. People are posting on a neighborhood community page (that I was checking due to other matters) about teachers their kids have received for 5th grade at Queen Creek Middle School. Christian won't be headed there of course and even worse, not continuing in the district's awesome Gifted program and the other resources that has that has made things so wonderful. I found myself tearing up just reading comments on teachers and their kids being in a friend's class or not in a friend's class. 

Some of the free items. Bench was not included.
Then, there was the matter of someone in the neighborhood taking my black park bench thinking it was part of the free items I offered and posted. I was careful to list the items that were available (stroller, cute girls' butterfly sleeping bag, annoying decorative signs that I thought were not annoying at one time, two easels, etc etc). 

Well, someone thought the bench was part of the offerings and it was gone. 

Sure, in my exhaustion I could have just shrugged my shoulders and thought "one less thing to move". But no. I painted that bench last Fall to make Halloween decor look better, and I like that bench. Plus, it's needed on the porch of the rental home in Wickenburg. 

I got right to work on the community board where I  initially offered the items as asked that the bench be returned. I said there would be no online shaming (that is such a prevalent fad these days) or questions asked. 

Still, I figured it would most likely be a lost cause. 

I didn't expect the gentlemen who took it to post on there some hours later that it was him and it was an honest mistake and he was bringing it back right away. If it was me, and I had taken it (mistakenly thinking it was up for grabs), I would have returned it in the dead of night! And I most likely wouldn't have indicated that it was me. I would have left a note with it that said "Sorry. Thought it was available...Peace..."

But he brought it right back. So then of course, I feel guilty because he was so nice about it. Clearly that means I'll worry and feel guilty no matter what. :sigh: Still though - it's the kind of community and neighborly unity that this situation demonstrated that contributes to the many reasons that it is hard to leave. 

Well, instead of figuring out a way to end this entry, I'll just get back to work.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eight-Legged Metaphors

This was going to be a quick post for two pieces that hold something in common, yet they mean different metaphors. But I doubt it'll be as short as I first envisioned.

Oh well. I'll just dive right into it. I finished my Octopus piece (left). 

I don't know what to call it. 

Under Pressure? Suffocated? Overwhelmed? 

I don't know. Any title ideas will be much appreciated. Send them my way if you have them.

The pressure is manageable, actually. Now that Chris is off for the week as we accomplish more with this move, it should go okay. 

The big stuff (beds, piano, kitchen table, armoires, etc) with the big U-hail truck will be commence this weekend.

The other artwork with the Octopus metaphor is today's Sunday Doodle. If it had a title, it would be something along the lines of Good friends and humor. Essential to life.

Or something like that.

I managed to get through church today without officially crying, though I did get a bit choked up during my talk, as did Chris during his talk. But it was all good. And it was a good hair day and I wore my favorite heels. Hey, any little bit of superficial good luck helps in these otherwise difficult and emotional situations, right?

Hopefully the only Octopuses this week are the ones that are stuck to our faces.  

But even if it's the other ones, that's okay too.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Today is a NEW Day...

This week has been challenging, and the duties involving this move are simply the foundation of it. On top of that foundation is more humidity (which makes my already over-active sweat glands run on high), and managing three children with their own ideas. I don't want to come off as whiny. It's just the way it's been this week.  I have been especially grateful for the thunderstorms and rain (except for the dogs barking every time there was a thunder boom all night long...we all could have done without that). Monsoon storms of previous summers have felt more disappointing, so at least the increased humidity did pay off the way it was supposed to. So far this Monsoon Season has delivered rain and storms at least twice and it's barely July. :-)

Yesterday, after a running a couple of errands that ended with the final 5 miles or so being filled with Alexander throwing a tantrum about his two siblings singing along to a song he didn't want them to sing along to, I went straight to my bedroom for a mental quarantine (after I cranked the AC down to 72). A few minutes later I sent Christian a text to his iPod:

Me: "Please unload the dishwasher"
Christian: "K, but why did you text me when your room is a few feet away?"
Me: "I will not come out."

That sums it up. I also took an hour to start this project. I was hoping to capture an overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by so much and I hope the ocotopus arms communicate the feeling of suffocation. This isn't finished yet, but I was actually amazed that I was able to complete this much in one sitting.

Yesterday was also clouded with sadness.  It appears our 12 year old Dachshund, Simon, will have to be put down before we move next week. He has a malignant tumor in his mouth and they've tested to see if it's spread to his lymph-nodes, which I'm pretty sure it has, just by feeling his neck. I'm sure they'll call me with the results today or tomorrow.

I've been able to "numb" myself from getting too upset, due to all the other things. But this is not going to be easy.   It's also sad, because even though the rental house itself is small, the land its on is not small and it would be great for Simon to run around and chase critters - just like the land where our new house will be built. I'm sad that he wouldn't be able to run with his "hunting instinct" ways as he has in this house the couple of times we had mice. I'm grateful my friend Dawn offered to go with me when I took Simon to the vet yesterday.  That's another reason moving is pulling on my heart strings. Friends I'm going to miss. Chicken Little said, "Today is a new day..."

While I was looking through photos to find a picture with Simon in it, I found this picture that I thought was lost in an old file. It was artwork I completed for a mother who sadly lost her three children in an accident. I didn't know her, but I felt compelled to do "something" as such a tragedy leaves us feeling so helpless. I sent the artwork off to her 2 1/2 years ago and I hoped it helped, even though nothing can fill the hole that losing such precious babies so sudden can leave. Running into this photo puts things in perspective again for me. I wanted to hide from my three kids yesterday, but I was able to reappear (eventually) and hug them. 

Here's to a new day...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Doodle to Kick Off we "Move" the Blessings Forward...

Sunday Doodle with Positive Inspirations
This is an abbreviated post for the July 6th Sunday Doodle. and this will be a busy week ahead as more packing and work pertaining to the move is commenced. 

Chris and I also speak this upcoming Sunday. Some may think it's just "one more thing" we don't need on our plate right now with all the craziness of the move, but I am actually delighted to speak. First of all, it'll be our last Sunday there, so if I/we screw it up, we won't have to be back to face anyone again.

But seriously, the theme of talks is loosely on "recognizing blessings in our lives" which is quite apropos for this move. As much as this move is a whirlwind of emotions and stress, and yes sadness for what we are leaving behind, it's a blessing. Chris will be home an hour sooner each day (and he can sleep an hour later in the mornings) and eventually we'll have a larger home with more breathing space (within a year...pretty please!).  

I know I've mentioned this before, so forgive me for bringing it up again. When Chris was unemployed over and over over the space of almost four years, we would have welcomed the stress of a move like this with open arms, as opposed to where we were back then and the uncertainty we faced.

Of course it's easy to forget the bad times that were so much worse and grumble at the trials we now face. And they are there - don't get me wrong. My biggest trepidation is leaving loved ones and familiarity and of course, the wonderful resources and team for Christian with Queen Creek Unified School District. However, if we look back with perspective and see how far we've come, we need to have faith of the blessings in our lives as we begin this new chapter.
"Dr. Who" iPhone 4 Case still available! $10

There is not much of an art update at this time, due to the moving fun. On a whim, I did post these iPhone 5 (and one iPhone 4) case on my own FB wall the other night hoping to sell them for a low price. Within minutes, my friend Robyn bought all three of iPhone 5 cases. Sure, the blessing could be the extra pocket money, and that is nice, but I see it for something much larger - friends who are helping others and the relationships (even if just online due to far away locales) we share taking a peak into each others' lives. 

That's there long after the transaction is made.

That alone is a huge blessing.

Until next time...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Commotion on the Emotion Ocean

Another cheesy title. But I'm trying to keep the humor going, even if it's cheesy. 

We're now in the final stages of making this move happen. 

Our final Fourth of July living in Queen Creek was celebrated yesterday by taking the kids to see Muppets: Most Wanted at the cheap theater. Chris and I saw it on our own months ago at the regular there were no interruptions or drama about holding popcorn or a parent embarrassing a certain teenage person with comments during the previews. 

After the movie was the annual Fourth of July party at Chris's cousin Brandon's in San Tan Valley. It's such a treat to see family and even though it'll be a drive to continue the tradition next year, it's certainly worth it. 
However, it isn't without its stress (if my alluding to the movie stress didn't already communicate that). Huge family gatherings with fireworks and people of all ages running around makes for a frustrating evening with a 10yo with ADHD who is most likely high functioning Aspergers and has sensory issues. I'm not throwing Christian under the bus, nor am I making excuses for him. I'm just acknowledging as a parent that there are extra challenges.  

July 4, 2014 Hug in Motion. Alexander moving lightning fast to hug a pretty girl (his cousin Selina).
Above is a picture of Alexander (who already ditched his shoes apparently) moving so fast to hug a pretty girl (his cousin Selina), that we could barely see him. 

And sorry to follow up with the picture of me that needed  filtering edits. Regardless, I managed to steal a picture with Alexander.  Of course my hair is so thin, I look bald when it's pulled up and/or pulled back.

Pre-school Graduation
Anyway, back to the "Emotion Ocean", as I continue the photo/office organizing so I don't move one mess to the next place to still be a mess.  Here are some chronological but otherwise random flashback photos for a Saturday. Besides, I skipped a few of the official flashback/throwback/wayback official "days" due to all the fun to be had in this transitional and busy time, so it's just going to have to be now. 

Christmas Eve 1993
I have always loved this picture (above). And I remember walking by my grandparents (waving at them) when I graduated from pre-school.  Therefore, I guess that was the Class of 1980 if you want to get technical. This was back when my grandfather would attend these events more often. As time went on, he would remain at home. :-( I'm not concentrating on the times he stayed behind. I'm loving the memories that a photo like this brings back and the smile on his face. 

Also pertaining to those same Grandparents, here I am (left) with with my two cousins (and my sister Kariann - her eyes and nostrils, especially) Lori and Shauri on Christmas Eve 1993. I was 18 and Kariann was 9.  Those Christmas Eve's celebrated at Grandma and Grandpa's is what made Christmas feel like Christmas.  I miss those days. 

Next is a Henrichsen family photo from October 2001, at Nana's (Chris's mother) funeral. Pictured is Chris's dad (far left) and Chris and his sisters and spouses and children. At the time, Mikelle was the youngest grandchild on the Henrichsen side. Chris is holding her - she's 14 months. Six more grandchildren would follow in the next nine years. 

Now Alexander is the youngest on the Henrichsen side, and that's where it'll stay.  Alexander's middle name is Layne, named after his uncle Gary whose middle name is Layne (second from left, next to Chris's dad), because Gary would sadly pass away May 2010.
Henrichsen Family October 2001

June 2006 - SW Colorado
Above is Mikelle when she was about 2 months away from turning 6 years old. This is a beautiful viewpoint along the highway between Durango and Silverton, Colorado. I also have a picture of both kids looking at the view. I'll have to share it in a subsequent entry. I also wanted to use this picture because of the few friends that have been able to spend this holiday weekend up in such mountain (or beach) destinations with cooler temperatures. Some posted their views on Facebook, and I could just feel the air. Of course the best place to be is a destination with both mountain and beach views: The Oregon Coast. One more year for that fun little summer trip!

The next photo is one of my favorite family photos, taken November 2006. Mikelle was 6 and Christian was 2 1/2+.
November 2006
Age 3 - Fall or Winter 2007
I came upon a few cute cards with pictures. This one is from what I think was Christian's Sunbeam class at church. The kids were told to make goofy faces for the photo. Christian's just cracks me up. I also love his green tractor sweater. I hope it still fits Alexander this Fall/Winter. I should have brought it out for Alexander last Fall/Winter! Grrrrr! I forgot all about the awesome green tractor sweater.

This next one is from pre-school about a year and half later.

Mothers Day Card - 2009 - Age 5

Last is an adorable picture of Mikelle and Alexander (or Alexander and Mikelle, depending on which way you want to look at it). This was taken Mothers Day 2011. Alexander was 5 1/2 months and Mikelle was 11 1/2+. 

Yes, the topsy turvy way of looking at that adorable picture is another way of describing the plethora of emotions. 

Topsy turvy. 

Until next time...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Storms Make Trees Take Deeper Roots

After a frustrating week, creative wise, I finished this experimental piece on Friday. I'm cautiously optimistic at the results.  I want to put together a good T-shirt design and try again with Threadless. I'm having a tough time with coming up with a great look on a T-shirt with the designs. That should be the easy part. 

I am finding out more and more that the perceived "easy" things are really the hard parts, and vice versa. 

I was happy with another design that I hope to submit to Threadless, but then I took a wrong turn with color. Therefore, time to start over with that one, as there is no saving it at this point. Frustrating. 

So who said "Storms make trees take deeper roots..." ? It appears it was Dolly Parton. However, in this fast moving information age, it's easy for that to be incorrect. However, so far, it appears to be correct that Dolly Parton did indeed say it. 

It's clear that I love putting words within the artwork. Sometimes they are just random and part of the art itself. However, there is often meaning within them. Sometimes it can be a code for something more personal that I did not want to divulge publicly, but still wanted it in the artwork. Other times the meaning is pretty clear (such as the one above).  And because analogies and metaphors have always spoken to me in gaining clearer understandings (and communicate my point more effectively), messages like the above are especially inspirational and comforting. 

"Storms make trees take deeper roots" contains the clear message that adversity exists. It can make us stronger if we learn from it. Choices all have consequences.  That is how we learn. Well, it's how we're supposed to learn.  Some of us need a few extra lessons. 

Have we ever seen a baby not fall down when learning to walk? Not likely. Sure, they may not want to immediately try again after they fall, but they do try again.  Each experience of falling down shows them what works and what doesn't.  Their strength increases.  Persistence and tenacity yields to success. Walking turns to running. And in X-man's case, it turns into climbing up on the counter and walking up there

As parents, if we constantly caught them before they fell, their learning would not be the same.  Sure, we do offer protection and they can rely on us. But we also have to allow them to have their own trials and errors. If we caught them every time they fell, sure, they would walk later but the same level of accomplishment would not be experienced. 

As I mentioned earlier, adversity is also the "storm". We've all experienced it in one form or another. Death. Accidents. Illness. Abuse. Unemployment. Those are just a few. There are many more. Emotional pain is intertwined within them all. Heartbreak. Betrayal. Depression. Anxiety.

Yes, there is a period that curling up and just crying is a way to cope. That is certainly understandable. However, at our pace, we do push through and we learn. We are stronger because of it. 

I do partially disagree with it in one sense, because when Chris was losing job after job after job from 2000-2004, I know I had strength. But when it happened the fourth time, it was as if I, being the tree, finally broke and cracked and fell to the ground in the wind. 

Sure, that storm eventually, passed. But in the midst of it when you're being taken out by the storms and your roots are ripped from the ground as your strength falls, it's not evident that the storm will pass. I am grateful that that years later I can look back on it and be grateful that it's in the past and reflect on what was learned from that turbulent time. 

I am confident in retrospect that God knew how much we could handle. He just trusted us immensely by taking it right up to the breaking point. 
But despite the initial weakness shown by breaking and falling in the storm, it did make us stronger. 
June 29, 2014 Sunday Doodle
It just didn't appear that way at the time. I do hope, looking back on that experience, that it gave me perspective and my re-planted roots are now stronger and deeper into the ground. 

I also reflect on how we change in how we use our strength. Because sometimes, despite our strength, we're just not the same after each storm. However, I can see that direction of topic going on for awhile. 

Therefore, moving on. 

Today's Sunday Doodle does allude to rain, but this is desiring it in the literal sense. Some rain and storms to ease the heat of the day, would certainly be nice. If only the Mesquite trees that line our streets didn't have such hallow roots. We take bets of how many will come down with each storm.

June is almost done. Two hot months down. Three more (officially) to go. 


Friday, June 27, 2014

Random Rosy Thoughts

Okay, that's a cheesy title. 

But I've always loved roses. Over the years I've grown to love many different flowers, but I keep coming back to roses. 

I realize that sounds cliche, right? Roses are the most popular flower. They're all over the place in music, stories, poetry, and everything in between. 

And for good reason.

I am pretty sure the beautiful picture to the left is my favorite artwork of a rose. At least it's my favorite one at the moment. It's also important to me, because it's very reminiscent of the kind of rich pink roses I fell in love with when I was around 14 or 15.  I think I drew them over and over. Pale pink is pretty, but there is something about the deep pink tones that drew me to them. 

I did move away from that as I got older, but looking at the artwork pictured here, I'm brought back to the early years and why I found them so beautiful in the first place. I even have an embroidery of pink roses that I worked on off and on back then. I never finished it, but I still have it.

Red roses are a close second. I built my wedding theme around them. If I was married in the Spring, I would have done the deep pink roses. However, for a November wedding and approaching the holidays, I knew red was the way to go. 

As much as I love real roses, I decided on silk roses for my bouquet (as pictured below with our wedding rings). They still looked very real, but at least I can keep it forever. 
Our wedding rings with the red budded roses of my bouquet. (my original wedding ring and band...I have a different ring now with white gold...I'm waiting for just the right time to pick out a perfect wedding band for it...funny to say when you're approaching your 20th wedding anniversary, but I'm in no hurry!)

I think my next favorite rose picture is this one below. The gorgeous Osiria rose. The red and white combination is just breathtaking.  I wish that one, I had the patience and outside tolerance needed to maintain rose bushes. And two, that I lived somewhere where roses flourish better. They do grow here, however. A neighbor around the corner and down a ways has beautiful rose bushes. When they bloomed, I couldn't just jog by without stopping to admire them.
I wish the roses in these next pictures didn't have to die. Thankfully we have photographs. These are some close-ups of some roses Chris gave me this week. There's white, pink and red. But what I love about the red ones is they seem to have that pink tone in there that just accentuates their beauty.

I am feeling overwhelmed as I look at these pictures, because it makes me want to put aside my current projects and just concentrate on painting watercolors of roses.  

But not yet. I have an idea for a drawing series that I have to see through. 

There will be plenty of time for roses.