Sunday, April 1, 2012

Life is not fair, but you knew that

Well, I thought I would comment on how my Spring form-new-habits project is going. 

Getting back into meditating every morning has been easier than I expected. It reminded me of the power a habit has, which is why I never smoke "just one" cigarette.  (Quit in 1988, and it wasn't easy.)

Hanging up my clothes at night - pretty good. I've tended to forget, maybe even get into bed and then see them draped over the hamper, waiting to be hung up, and say Uh-oh.  Last night I had a lapse, a sort of binge of not hanging up clothes.  I'd had one of those really bad days, from start to finish, and was feeling a little wild at bedtime, but I'm glad to say, got to sleep.

So, about that day.  I had signed up several weeks ago for a two-hour workshop on decorating eggs Ukranian style, taught by a church friend.  Right away I was in trouble, because I had to get up with an alarm clock at 8:00 to leave the house by 9:15.  I don't really know what I did in that time, coffee, dress, eat an energy bar, take a million pills, but I didn't meditate.

Pysanky is an intricate, beautiful traditional art - you can see examples here.  That's what the instructor's eggs were like. We were warned that our first eggs weren't going to look like that.  Actually, the people around me at the table were absorbed in doing some nice-looking things, and nobody else wanted to ever leave, I guess.  But I learned something:  I have a tremor.

It's just a small tremor.  I'd noticed that my handwriting isn't pretty, a bit jerky, but thought it was arthritis, because my hands do hurt when I write a few sentences.  No, it is enough of a tremor to make drawing with hot wax on a curved surface impossible.  So my two attempts came out like this -

 That stick is what you use to do this - the blackened head is copper, you hold it in your candle flame, stab stab your beeswax, draw.  Then you do a resist process, like batik.  You note that the egg on the left is signed and dated by me, as suggested, so future generations would know who did it. Yes, that says 2012.  See what I mean?  The egg on the right is broken because as I was working on it after the first dye, I dropped it.  This happens.

The photographers among you may notice that I have messed with these photos, since I have the use of special effects with Picasa just for two more weeks (an editor that came with my phone).  In other words, I made them look as good as I could.

The farther you get from these eggs, the better they look, so here.

The teacher is very experienced, and complimented the beautiful russet I got on the left-hand egg by following a pale yellow dye with brown.  That egg  was actually covered with horrible scrawls - here you see the bottom, its best view.  And the mottled effect of the pink, which happened because I didn't prepare the eggs with vinegar the night before, as suggested, though not required.

I think I sound light-hearted about this, but I did not feel that way when I left the workshop - first one to leave, too. I just felt down. I was thinking some good thoughts, how I've been satisfying myself artistically with photography and collage, how good this is, because I don't know now whether I can paint or draw. I am usually steady enough with the camera, and collage is forgiving.  But I had a new fact about my body, and it's likely it's a side effect of the Rapamune I take - these immunosuppressants have big side effects.  Nobody takes them unless they have to.

Just two days before this, I got a diagnosis of chronic gout in my left big toe, which hurts right now. It always hurts, and the more I walk, the worse it feels.  I feel like I should get a break, one new ailment a week.  But it doesn't work that way, does it?

And that's why I didn't hang up my clothes last night. 

Of course I feel better today, loved church, cried during the anthem, wrote a poem about all this.  And did meditate before I went.


  1. Do you write to fall in love with your existence?

  2. Well that wasn't a very fun day. I think you were fully justified in not hanging up your clothes for a day.

    Did you read this article, Jeanne? It seems very logical and helpful, but then, that's the allure of the internet:

    1. Thanks, Karen. You're a problem-solver like me. I do think I might have set off this painful last flare with a large stuffed portabello mushroom. So I am going to watch out for the foods on that list.

  3. I think I do, when in the past was to make up for having little or no speech.
    I thought might stir up some thoughts about why you write.
    In between the pain and chaos of life there are many small miracles we often overlook,
    but writing I find helps you remember.

    1. The written word - poetry - saved me when I was an adolescent. I found other people who felt something like I did. I remember memorizing the last lines of Dover Beach, other poems as well. I write to feel my experience, to make or find some order, and that is comforting. A sexually abused child, which I was, is silenced and told that our experience isn't true. Speaking and singing has always been important to me before I had any idea why.

  4. Why oh why do I cry when I read your posts? Is it the raw, transparency of aging, living with physical challenges? Or how moved I am to do something in my own life when I read about your days? Or a memory of days when I batiked with a tool like that and how I am not doing too much with my hands, creatively. I fall in love with you and a way to live when I read what you write. Staying, being with. Now I'm thinking my tears are for the utter beauty of those two eggs, Jeanne.

  5. Susan, how good it feels to receive this. It encourages me in every way.