August 21, 2012

Nourishing the Muse

So someone rudely informed me recently that I only live my life online and therefore I have no perspective. On life, I’m assuming, this person threw a tantrum and didn’t clarify further. Needless to say, we’re no longer friends. Oh well. Anyway, I don’t live my life online although I can understand why people might think that, I am online a lot, I’m always connected, but so are most of my friends. I don’t see a problem with that, I mean, welcome to my generation (which this person is supposedly a part of but his comments made me wonder if it isn’t he who was the sheltered one, but I’m straying from my point)…anyway, yes, I am agoraphobic and yes, I don’t leave my house as often as most people. I have a job that allows me to work from home and my “outside the house” destinations really boil down to Michael’s, Curry’s and Starbucks. Oh and the beach and the doctor’s office. But I don’t see how those places are any different than anyone else’s. Why would someone who leaves the house more often than me have a better perspective of life than I do when I talk to literally 50 different people per day online and we discuss more intimate things than I would discuss with a stranger on the subway? From my observations, people who leave the house all the time usually keep to themselves. All of my friends who regularly use public transit protect themselves from the other passengers by way of very obvious headphones. Everyone I talk to, or maybe not everyone but the vast majority, goes through their “outside” lives in a bubble with the goal to not engage anyone, so how is their perspectives on life “better” than mine? And since when is this a contest anyway? I think everyone’s perspectives on life are equally valid without exception. To think otherwise would be awfully close-minded and insulting because you’re invalidating a person’s entire life experience. (Which was his point; to be as insulting as possible – I think anyway.)

What made me think of all this is the fact that in the last 24 hours, I have experienced things. I have nourished the muse, filled the well. Probably moreso than the loser who wishes he was a tiger and worships David Hasselhoff, who tried to tell me I’m not as awesome as I feel.

Yesterday Madison made me a BLT on an everything bagel because she loves me. In fact she’s doing it again as I type this and I suppose I’ll write the rest of this while I’m eating. (And chances are, I’ll give half of it to Wes because I can’t eat a whole one by myself. It’s just too much grease for my lack of gallbladder but oh so tasty.) I am so lucky to have a daughter who cares about her family enough to think of them when it comes time to prepare food. I would think most teenagers would only think of themselves and their own needs. Madison is constantly asking me if I need anything and if she can do anything for me to make my day better. For a while I was afraid that she was doing this to like, take care of me because I’m mentally ill or whatever, but I’ve been reassured that it’s just because she loves me. We definitely have a bond that’s different than the bond I have with Wes. Equal but different.

Madison made herself bacon and eggs while she made me my BLT and at the same time, she and Wes are making blueberry and carrot muffins for the whole family. In fact, I wanted bacon and eggs too but after the muffin making, there were only 2 eggs left so that’s why I’m having a BLT – so Madison could have bacon and eggs. After all, she’s doing all the work, she deserves to have the meal she wants. It’s only fair.

Prior to making muffins, the kids were in Madison’s room painting. They hung pieces of wrapping paper backwards on her wall from floor to ceiling and they’re using my paint to paint these sheets of paper. Wes painted nyan cat so far and a planet. Madison’s still sketching out her creation in pencil. She’s definitely more of a planner and Wes is more of a do-er.

Madison likes to plan experiences for all of us, particularly Wes, so I think she should be an event planner when she grows up but she doesn’t know.

Today I had an extra day off because I worked for Belinda last week so she worked my shift for me today. I had said I wasn’t going to be online at all today but I wanted to at least make this post because I feel like so much has happened in the last little while, like quality stuff.

This week Blake is taking a class in Toronto I think to learn something about Oracle. Last night I called his cell because I thought he should be home already but there was no answer and I never leave voicemail so I just hung up and figured he must be in the deadzone near Horseshoe Valley Road. A few minutes later he called me back because he was at the flower shop in Barrie that sells peacock feathers, asking how many he should buy. We decided on 6 because their “eyes” weren’t as big as I had envisioned them in my head. In case you haven’t read my post from a few days ago about peacock feathers, here it is. (Long story short, I’m planning an elaborate painting using them.) I never asked Blake to stop off and get them and I didn’t ask him to pay for them either. I get paid at the end of this week and my plan was to go to that flower shop on Sunday to get them. He beat me to the punch. THAT is what a supportive husband looks like!

I sketched out the peacock painting on the last page of my current sketchbook and I’d scan it to show you but since the feathers’ eyes are smaller than originally anticipated, I’m going to have to alter the design quite a bit. But now that I have the peacock feathers, the next step is to go to the zoo and take Polaroids of actual peacocks. Luckily there’s a zoon in my town, the Elmvale Jungle Zoo, that has peacocks so that won’t be too hard. I would like to go on Sunday but I’m not sure that’ll happen because we’re supposed to go to pow wow with Kara on Sunday but Heatha can’t come and she was Kara’s ride so I’m not sure what’s happening now. I don’t want to go to pow wow without Kara because if I’m going to go, I want a tour guide, so if she can’t come up then we’re not going.

The other thing is that there’s this big Picasso exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario that ends on Sunday and I really really want to go see that because I’ve never been to an art museum in my life and I love Picasso. Or at least what I’ve seen of his work. It’s $25 admission, which I don’t really have to spare, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I think it’s going to win out over pow wow and the zoo because I can go to pow wow next year and the zoo literally any time I want to, it’s just up the road. Also I think Alex wants to go to pow wow with us too but she’s going to a convention of some sort so maybe waiting until next year when she can come is a better idea anyway.

For someone so sheltered who doesn’t get out much, I certainly have a bit of a scheduling conflict!

I still haven’t tested varnishing Polaroids but I took a ton of really awful, blurry shots yesterday because I was using the tele lens when I should have been using the macro so I’ll use those to test it out. What I was taking pictures of and why is actually sort of exciting! Or at least I think so!

So I haven’t totally worked out the whole painting yet, but I want to do a painting with a fairy girl with monarch butterfly wings and she’d be holding a Polaroid picture of a monarch caterpillar! So that’s what we were taking Polaroids of yesterday when Blake got home from work. To be totally honest, I’m not so great with the Polaroid but Blake, despite his hate of the camera and low-fi photography in general, is like a goddamn Polaroid whisperer. When I’m struggling to get a shot and wasting film, he can just take the picture and have it be fine. What a dick, eh? Regardless, I now have like, 12 pictures, both blurry and nice, of monarch caterpillars.

I also have 3 monarch caterpillars sitting in a tank on my desk. :o)

They were born in my milkweed patch (which I grow for this reason, milkweed is all monarch butterflies eat) and I would say that they’re a few weeks old judging by the size of them. In about a week and a half, they’ll stop eating and crawl to the top of the tank and hang upside down, forming a “J” shape with their bodies. Then their skin will split (it’s actually pretty gross) and they’ll form into bright green chrysalids with a gold line around the top.

Then in about another week & a half to 2 weeks or so, the chrysalids will turn transparent and the butterflies will emerge. At first their wings will be wet and all crinkled up so the butterflies will pump their wings to straighten them out and to pump blood into them while they dry out. At this point, in the wild, the butterflies would be extremely vulnerable to predators because they can’t fly yet. Monarch butterflies are poisonous to some birds but not all, from what I’ve read, but I don’t know which birds actually eat them. I know lots of birds eat the caterpillars though, while only a few eat the actual butterflies.

It’ll take a few days for the butterflies to actually be able to fly and at that point we’ll take them outside and let them crawl on our hands until they’r ready to fly away. I always wait until this point in the summer to hand raise the caterpillars because it’s their last generation of the summer and these ones won’t have a short life like previous generations of the same summer and they’ll make their migration to Mexico for the winter. What I’m not totally sure of is if these butterflies will go to Mexico and then return to Canada in the spring or if they fly to Mexico, lay eggs and die and then THOSE new butterflies fly back to Canada. I googled a few years ago when I started doing this but the internet wasn’t clear on that point.

The kids can tell the caterpillars apart, but I can’t and they’ve named them. Madison made this handy chart to tell them apart but they still all look the same to me. Apparently all of them but “Sniffer” are females according to Madison’s google fu but I don’t see this supposed line on their butts that’s how you apparently tell their sex.

Wes named Sniffer and Madison named the other 2.  I forget what Tozzo means (it’s Italian for something, “stubby” maybe) but Rubigo apparently means “caterpillar” in Latin.

Here are pictures of our current house guests:

Aren’t they gorgeous? I love them so so much and so do the kids. I wonder if they can feel our love? Y’know like how dogs can supposedly smell fear? Do you think animals or creatures in general can sense love?

Right now I’m reading The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice and it’s obviously about a werewolf. In it he can smell fear and innocence and he can sniff out people who mean harm. I realize it’s fiction, but I’ve often wondered like, when I’m loving my dogs, do they know that’s what I’m doing? The cat sure doesn’t. She doesn’t appreciate kitty lovins. However, if I’m “torturing” the cat by holding her in my arms and petting her and rubbing my face on her head, none of which she likes because I’m holding her, if I set her down on the ground she doesn’t take off and hide from me. She’ll lay there so I can love her how she wants to be loved. So maybe she does know that I’m loving her and not torturing her or being mean to her. With Lucky, even if you’re telling HOOVER what a good dog he is, Lucky’s tail will be wagging. So I think they know or can sense it. I’m sure studies have been done on this, I just haven’t read them.

Speaking of The Wolf Gift, I’ve gotta say I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I really didn’t think I would because I’ve never had any interest in werewolves. I’ve read almost every book Anne Rice has ever written (I couldn’t get into her angel books, but I did try!) and it really bummed me out when she stopped writing the Vampire Chronicles (but I understood why) and found God instead because that’s just so fucking boring. Her Jesus books were alright and from what I understand pretty historically accurate and well researched but if I wanted to read about Jesus, I’d read the bible. But because she wrote them, I read them and just thought she could do better. Then when she announced she’d be writing about werewolves, I was like, “whhhhhy Annie, whyyyyyyy?” but she’d done a really good job of creating a character who you can’t help but care about. I’m about halfway through the book and so far so good. I recently discovered the disgusting joy that is cheddar cheese flavoured pretzel Combos so I’ve been eating those and reading most evenings lately.

On Monday I had to get up early for good ol’ Cheryl who had to come and change my dressing. We’re using silver on it to keep the infection down but the dressing isn’t waterproof so once again I can’t shower. :o( Dr. Hanrahan ordered waterproof bandages with silver in them but my homecare nurses claim they can’t get them so I’m stuck with Aquacell AG which looks like felt and you can’t get it wet or it deteriorates and it sticks to the scab and ribs it off so healing is slow and then gauze on top, taped on with clear surgical tape that I stole from the hospital. I’m not happy about this. They’ve ordered waterproof bandages that we can use in combination with the awful Aquacell AG but they haven’t come yet. Cheryl says I might not be able to go swimming this year at all with how this last bit of wound is healing. What happened to me being Wolverine?

Sex the other day went okay painwise during the actual act but at 3am that night, I woke up in excruciating stomach muscle pain and I had to come into my office to take 4 Tylenol 1s and an extra strength Ibuprofen and I had to wait until they had kicked in before I could go back to sleep. The next day I couldn’t figure out what I must have done to make my pain WORSE than it was a week ago and that’s when Jax reminded me that Blake and I had had the relations the day before and that’s the only thing it could have been. I was sure if we did it doggy-style it would be okay because that doesn’t really engage those muscles but apparently I was mistaken. :o/ Now at night when I turn over, I practically cry because the pain is so bad.

In a week and a half I have to start weaning off from the hydromorph and I have no idea how I’m going to manage that with the pain the way it is. If I’d have understood what Dr. Hanrahan was saying when she said I had to “make the decision” to stop them, I would have spoken up about my pain levels. But she didn’t really ask about my pain and I thought when she said I had to “make the decision” she meant when *I* thought it was time to do so. Blake and my mom assure me that was not the case so because I misunderstood, I have to start weaning in a week and a half. Way to go genius.

On September 18th, Mother Mother will be releasing their new album called “The Sticks” and I am so fucking excited I can barely stand it! I wish it was coming out sooner so I could bring it with me to Squam but at least it’ll be a nice thing to come home to anyway. Here’s them doing “Dread in My Heart” on a porch somewhere for some magazine or radio station or something. I don’t know if it’s their song or a cover or if it’s even going to be on the new album, but I really hope so because I’ve heard them do it a few times now and I really love it:

My big project this week is decorating the cover of my new sketchbook because my old one got full and I need one for my 2nd class at Squam. (Well, I obviously need one anyway, but it’s in the material list for Squam too.) So far the cover has a layer of white gesso, metallic pink acrylic paint, crackle medium and white paint over top which is pretty much the beginning of every painting I do. I think my colour scheme is just going to be pink and turquoise like I do everything but I’m going to try using fabric for the girl on the cover’s dress instead of paper because that way I can (theoretically) use pink for her dress without it turning orange when I varnish it. The unfortunate part of doing that is that I’m going to have to locate my iron and find a dog hair-free place to iron the fabric. The last time I used my iron I was making crayon hearts like a million years ago so chances are I’m going to have to clean the iron too so I don’t get crayon wax on my fabric. Getting crayon wax out of the little holes at the bottom of an iron is extremely difficult. I guess I’ll have to use Q-Tips!

Blake just texted me that he’s been to Michael’s and has procured me a brand new, 8 oz. bottle of Titanium White Americana paint so when he gets home, I’ll be good to go to start working on these new paintings, the ones with the Polaroids.

Anyway, I said I wasn’t going to be online today and it’s taken me a couple of hours to write this post so I guess I’ll wrap it up and get back to my sketchbook. I hope you’re all having a fantastic Tuesday!

Edit (9pm): Two of the caterpillars are hanging upside down in a J-shape! We should have chrysalids by morning! Guess I underestimated their age!

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