Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 20 - Some Days Just Suck

It's been a challenging day in part because I spent the day dealing various crap instead of what I needed to be doing. The remainder was because I was informed that my understanding of how my short-term disability and my personal leave time worked was incorrect. I also learned that the words simultaneously and concurrent actually mean either/or. Had I know that underlying definition used only by our HR manager, I would have been prepared that my leave mandated by my company would be costing me as much as $2,000 in take home salary. Hopefully it will be less...depends on when my doctor releases me to a level my company will accept.

So I had my freak out/break down session this afternoon. I think that is the artist part of my brain that jumps into gear first. My friend John lets me blither on in this state because he knows it just needs to come out. This is always followed by the problem solving engineer side, which is where I am entering now. The second phase was jump started by my friend Xiaoyan who has the ability to say the right thing in a way I can openly receive it. She somehow has the talent of delivering the moment when I can exhale. Amazing!

So today's Left-Handed effort was a response to my sucky day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 19 - Untitled

There was no day 18 art work. I was in a funk after driving to the gym...someone came into my lane...I made a reflexive jerk to honk my horn...with my right arm...major throbbing...sore arm all day...still sore today. Everything's okay, but the inflammation is pretty high.

So here's day 19, which I like, which I wish I had done on better paper. This is a scrap pad that I think I need to throw away...or save for Muyang's visits and her crayola doodles. That sounds better.

My thoughts go out to the Philippines where they are dealing with the aftermath of severe flooding. If you can, please send your donation. Here's a link to get you started:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 17

Making an omelet might not qualify as art, but this was done with only my left hand...a la Julia Child's method. I thought this spinach and feta omelet turned out pretty fabulous.

As for the self-portrait...

I don't really like it but it was part of my left-handed activity today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 16 - A little sketch

No real comment here...other than maybe I've been watching a little to much Project Runway today.

Day 14 & 15

You know that metal piece I was "working" on? Let's just say that for the moment it is an abject failure.

I was experimenting with attaching multiple long rod pieces together by bending them about one another. Doing this one handed proved challenging at best. The attempts to control the piece seemed to take control of watching the form develop. The end result was a mess. I will decide today if I can salvage it.

Maybe I need to remind myself that this Left-Handed Series is an exercise. Right?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 13 - Dominant Theme

My shoulder is the dominant theme in my daily life. This series for one keeps things in focus, but much of my day revolves around doing my exercises, TENS treatment with icing, working on my scars, and trying not to do anything stupid.

I think, however, this might be my favorite thus far in the Left-Handed Series. I've been composing another metal piece (something larger than the small table top piece completed on Day 9) the last few days and expect that to get started in the next few days.

Day 12 - The Ugly Truth

So here's a view of three of the four new scars I have. The fourth if far enough behind my back that you can't see it with the others. One of my daily therapies now involves massaging the incision sites in order to minimize scars.

After nine orthopedic surgeries, I'm not overly worried about scarring. Though I did stop wearing skirts to job interviews after one prospective employer looked at my knees and blurted, "What the hell did you do to your knees?"

We'll file this under documentary as well. I was very tired yesterday and this was all I could muster.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 11 - True Family

I've given props to my friends that carted me about after my surgery. One person not included in that was my neighbor, Linda. I use "neighbor" but the truth is that Linda is family and she deserves a special prop dedicated to just her.

I spend most holidays with her and her clan...often enough that they ask if I'm coming. Linda gives Moseby treats in the morning...he goes nuts when he sees her. He bounds up and down and bark/cries until she comes outside. Linda is the true Big Sis I never had. I know that Linda will be there whenever I need. She'll take me in a feed me and let me cry on her shoulder. She loves me for who I am and I am beyond blessed to have her next door.

Linda filled in the gaps after my surgery and was just there for me in a dozen little ways. Thank you Linda for being a great friend and my Big Sis. Love you!

Day 10 - Knowing When to Stop

I'm a day behind on my posting and will try to catch up tonight or tomorrow. This piece ended up being a little work because I didn't stop when I should...then it was out of balance...then I worked to salvage what started out to be a nice piece. Still, I'm okay with where we landed.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 9 - A Little Metal Work

I realized the other day that I probably could do some small rod bending with my left hand. Not too bad. I won't be doing any welding work for quite some time but this may provide an outlet for some metal sculpting in the interim.

Remember that this is an exercise while I am restricted to using my left hand only for the majority of daily activities. It remains to be seen if there is any Art value beyond the exercise.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 8 - A Little Physical Therapy

Three times a week I go for physical therapy where Mateo very gently moves my arm in order to regain my range of motion. I'm not allowed to move my arm myself...passive movement only. Mateo is a sweet gentle spirit and a very good match up for me.

Good thing I'm a Lesbian or I would be seriously crushing on his gorgeous self.

...anyway the process is not much fun, but we hit goal milestone for today when he was able to lift my arm to 90 degrees from my side.

He knows to check in with me about the pain because I will take whatever. I don't emote pain. I don't grimace or moan. All he gets from me is, "Yep, I feel that or it's sharp right there." In a weird way I look forward to these sessions. Each one brings progress and Mateo is the only real witness to the steps along the way.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 7-Dragging

Today I just feel tired...which may be an improvement. There is very little pain now so I can attune to the fact that my body is dragging. Some of that is the healing process and the other is the fact that I don't have the most restful sleep just yet. Regardless, I'm pleased with how things are progressing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 6 - Wounded Me

I had to take the bandage off today 'cause the tape was driving me batty. More scars to add to my array. I'm considering having the number of the surgery tattooed next to each related scar.

I'm relieved that my "Running Bear" Tattoo came through unscathed.

We'll have to file this under 'documentary' for the Left-Handed Series. It was what was in my head & felt I should roll with it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Left-Handed Series Day 5

Props to my friends who showed up without my asking. They took me to the hospital, brought me home, kept my ice machine running, brought me food, carted me about and called every step of the way.

You don't have to call true friends.
True friends just show up when you need them.

I feel the love.
Thanks MJ, Marty, Julia, Shawn and Xiaoyan!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Left-Handed Series Day 4

Had a rough night. My shoulder is very reactive to the weather changes and a full night of thunderstorms left me a throbbing mess. I'm not on any heavy pain killers because they knock me on my ass but don't cut much of the pain. Not a fair trade.

...I recognize that the artwork has been pretty ego-centric with self-portrait variations. I can only say that my every consciousness is revolving around trying to recover from my surgery & re-adapt my life for the time being.

I have a four month time table to where I will be released for 'full' functioning. The first week is one of the most challenging phases of the recovery. Overall I'm doing well and am happy with how this series is progressing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Left-Handed Series Day 3

I don't know if I will post everyday, but do intend to move forward in my effort to see what will happen creatively working with my left hand. I am looking forward to a little play with my new Holga camera. Still working on freeing my right handed self to allow my left hand to do as it pleases. I have at least six weeks trapped in the sling...letting the possibility unfold.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Left Handed Series Day 2

There is No Day 1 work since I spent much of yesterday in bed trying not to throw up...a 'normal' post op experience for me.

I'm doing well. The surgery went very well. Everything gets better from here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Happy Accidents

I make comment here and there regarding my Buddhist practice/religion. Well...It all started here. I stumbled across an acquaintance in the mall one day, and he was reading this book. Being a reader myself I asked about the book and he explained that the author described the principles of Taoism from the perspective of Winnie the Pooh. You see, Pooh just is. Sometime over the the next year I picked up a copy for myself. I was intrigued. Then I bought my first copy of The Tao Te Ching...which led to more Taoist writings...which led to books on Buddhism...which led to books on Zen/Chan Buddhism...which led to AHA!

I wish I could say there was a particular day that I woke and said, "I am a Buddhist." That would make answering the question of "How long have you been a Buddhist?" much easier. The best I can do these days is 16 or 17 years. I know many would describe this as a conversion. For me, however, the experience was very different. It was finding something that defined my beliefs not changed them. I was raised a Christian and was a studious little Bible scholar in my own right, but my true spiritual nature didn't awaken until I became a Buddhist. For the first time, who I was matched what I believed.

I approach the world, my daily existence...good and a Buddhist. All things are best when I meditate consistently and after many years of practice I can say I think I "get" it now. I understood before, but there's a different level now. A simple example is that I used to have a lot of rules when I meditated about my breathing, what was good and bad focus, what was successful or not, etc. Now...I just sit. I understand why Shunryu Suzuki kept yelling in his book to, "Zazen!" He was telling me to just sit. Approaching life without construct, without boundaries, being present to how life comes is part of what being a Buddhist is for me.

There it is. Winnie the Pooh made me a Buddhist.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


I've wanted to...needed to post for a few days now, but have been unable to organize anything beyond a rant here and there... #uknowhowiknowuregay trending topic on Twitter for one. Let me see...the beauty queen hatin' and suing for her right to hate could have been another. There is the whole health care debate which has come to forefront for me as I do all the miscellaneous preparations for my surgery. On a more positive note there's the little back story on my Buddhist self. I've not been able to get beyond the first couple of sentences before I drift another direction.

So instead you get this...I had a few lines drifting in my head about my right shoulder pain and the inner experience of it. Before I knew it this is what evolved. Not really like anything I've ever done before, but I can say I just let it happened and rolled with the process. I don't know if I like it from an art perspective, but I can say that it "feels" right.