November 26, 2013

Kid C

When Madison was in grade 7, she was in a grade 7/8 split class and was best friends with a girl named Eryn, who was in grade 8. Eryn was/is a foster kid and when we knew her, her foster mom’s name was Kelly and she was terrible; she just treated Eryn as a second class citizen and never let her do anything, including being friends with Madison for no particular reason.

When Eryn started high school, she and Madison kinda had a falling out but remained friends on Facebook and talked every now and then but because of Kelly, they could never really be friends like they were before.

Well, Eryn messaged Madison on Facebook on Sunday to tell her that she was in the hospital and that she would no longer be living with Kelly and that her caseworkers or whatnot said it was okay for us to visit her if we wanted to, which is what we did last night.

I’m not totally clear on what happened but basically Kelly yelled at Eryn in front of a friend’s mom and the friend’s mom called Eryn’s caseworker and that got the ball rolling, I guess. In retaliation, Kelly told her workers that she had an eating disorder and that’s what landed Eryn in the hospital for 6 weeks, even though she says she never had an eating disorder to begin with, she just didn’t want to eat Kelly’s food because Kelly and her family would have dinner together and then they’d call Eryn up from the basement to eat what was left over. Because of this, Eryn weighed 90 lbs when she first went to the hospital. I dunno what she weighs now, but she’s still super skinny, then again, she’s always been that way.

I guess the new people Eryn is going to be living with are an older couple whose kids are all grown up and they have no other foster kids so Eryn would have their full attention, which is good.

Anyway, it was really good to see her. I think about her all the time and we were all super bummed out when Kelly said she couldn’t be friends with Madison or come over or even call any more. I’m glad she’s out of that house because Kelly was borderline abusive and it sounds like the new people Eryn’s going to be living with are pretty cool. The man, who she met yesterday, is apparently buddhist or something and he gave her a beaded bracelet. She seems optimistic.

So yeah, yay Eryn!

Posted at 1:50 pm in: Blake , Eryn , Family , Friends , Kids , Life , Madison , Sunnyland , winter
November 23, 2013

Great article on creatives.

Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense

1. Me.
2. I dunno. Probably me. I think I’m definitely equal parts smart and stupid. Maybe I’m smart like a fox… ;o)
3. Me.
4. Used to be me. Now I think I’m a little jaded. Workin’ on that.
5. I’m an agoraphobic person whose life is laid out on the internet.
6. Mmm, I dunno. I have a hard time with the word “pride”. On the same token, I have a hard time with being unappreciated and I think that’s probably tied to what would be my warped sense of pride.
7. I don’t think I’m very traditional or conservative. I can’t think of any examples of me being either one, anyway.
8. Yep.
9. Creating is literally my favourite thing and you can do it anywhere, with anything.

Anyway, I thought it was a good article so I thought I’d share.

PS. It’s snowing. We’re supposed to get like, a foot today and more tomorrow. I’m callin’ it “winter”.

Posted at 2:54 pm in: Art , Creativity , DIY , Fall , Misc. , winter
November 18, 2013

There’s a Hippo in My Tub

My shrink appointment for today got cancelled so I here I am. I got to sleep in and I now have the whole day to do whatever, which I hadn’t really planned on. I didn’t know what to talk to her about anyway. I mean I should probably tell her the stuff I’m about to write here, or at least some of it but I always forget or it doesn’t seem like a big deal when I get there and it probably isn’t now that I’m thinking more about it. Basically, it boils down to this: my inner child? Pretty manic and emotional lately. But I think they’re normal responses to what stimulated them.

Last week, as you all know, I posted those pictures of our family to Facebook and my brother said he had them too, along with many more, especially ones from “the cottage”. My mom replied, “what cottage?” because in her world “the cottage” is John’s cottage where we all go in the summer and hang out now, but in mine and Chad’s childhoods, “the cottage” meant something entirely different. We meant our step/dad’s family’s cottage which I believe was in Madoc, Ontario. Or at least that’s where we stopped at the IGA and the sporting goods store to stock up on water and supplies before going to the cottage. Madoc was “going into town”, anyway.

The cottage itself was a mouse infested, two-room, no running water, plywood shack half on land and half on stilts, right on the shore of the Black River near the Hastings Rapids. It had the world’s scariest outhouse but the roof didn’t leak and it had electricity and a woodstove in the room facing the river. In the room facing the woods, there were cots on one side of the room and various fishing rods, tackle, nets, floatation devices, life jackets etc. on the other. In the room with the woodstove, there was also a couple of “easy chair” type chairs, a table and chairs that were actually pretty cool because the chairs were aluminum benches on either side of the aluminum table. They were blue and chrome. I could have totally made that up but as I visualize the room, that’s what I remember and I know that memory can be a tricky thing. All of those things were facing the river, which you could see out two very big windows, or at least big to a kid, and to the right there was a counter with kitchen stuff on it and a stove, but the oven didn’t work. For toast, there was this super old metal toaster that had a fabric cord and two sides that opened with heating coils in the middle/on one side of each side of the appliance. So you would put your two slices of bread in, and then you would have to wait and keep checking by opening it to see if the one side was toasted well/burnt/whatnot, then when that side was done, you would flip the bread and toast the other side in the same fashion. It was REALLY annoying, but we REALLY like breakfast so it got used a lot.

Since there was no running water, dishes were done in a big plastic tub on the floor.

When we would go up there, we would have to stop in at our step/grampa’s farm in Marmora to get the motor for the boat and I got to see all of the animals (well, most of the time) and the animals our step/Uncle Joe had stuffed recently because he was a taxidermist by trade and pretty good at it. I know it’s trendy to like taxidermy right now, especially chimera taxidermy, but it’s something I’ve been able to appreciate since I was really little because when I was little, our other step/Uncle Rusty, who was some sort of biologist, would show us the stuffed animals and the preserved skeletons and tell us all about the animal. It was almost like going to the zoo.

On our step/grampa’s farm, there were two houses and Uncle Joe lived in the smaller one of them with his wife. Rusty had a room in the big house but would soon flee the country (more like f lee the family) and not be really heard from again until a few years ago. But that’s a whole other thing.

Once we had the motor for the boat, which was at the cottage itself, and threw it in the trunk, we would be out of civilization usually for a week or for however long our step/dad could listen to my brother and I fighting and pack us up and drive us home without uttering a single word (that really happened once). We would go in the boat to this special bend in the river where there was a “shore” of solid but smooth rock on a slope down to the river and grass and the woods behind/above that. Within the area of all this rock, there was a shallow area of the river where you would actually do your swimming and then there was the rapids, which, when we got older, we would go down for fun, either just on our own (banging and scraping our bodies on rocks all the way) or with floaties or on a raft. And also within the area of this rock, we would fish and catch frogs for bait. (I’ll spare you the details on how you use a live frog as bait…it’s actually kind of horrible and I don’t know if I could do it today. Maybe I could. I literally haven’t been fishing since I was 18.)

Long story short, it was pretty awesome and something I had completely forgotten about and last week, my brother sent me 20 photos via text message (pics of pics taken with his phone so I’m just gonna post the one I cleaned up) and as they came in, one by one, I would look at it because they were all of me, and I would remember and I bawled for like, an hour, because my childhood is something I’ve mostly buried. I purposely, mostly, have killed the so-called “inner child” because my childhood was pretty horrible as most of you know. Suddenly being faced with pictures, proof, that “happy” was a part of my childhood sometimes or at some point, was something I wasn’t prepared for. The fact that Ken had saved these pictures and had allowed them to remain in his house when we didn’t part on good terms about 10 years ago was something I wasn’t prepared for either. The fact that my brother and Ken, who have been all but homeless and have been moving around the last few years, found these pictures, of ME!, to be of value, to be important enough to lug around from place to place was something I was not prepared for.

Here’s one of the pics, dunno how old I was, maybe 6 or 7:

So that was last week and then within the last 24 hours, this has happened:

Yesterday we went to London (Ontario) to have lunch with Blake’s mom and Charlie and on the way there, I saw this neat milk truck so I posted it on facebook:

Then friends started talking about how it’s good milk etc. and I mentioned this time I went to Charity J’s house for her birthday party in like, grade 5 or 6, and they had dairy cows. During dinner, they served milk pretty much straight from the cow (and by “pretty much”, I mean it had been refrigerated) and it was the best tasting milk I’ve ever had in my whole entire life. Well, when I posted that, I tagged Charity so she posted about that memory and I just thought of how cool it was that I’m still friends with people with whom I share *good* childhood memories.

So that was yesterday/last night and then this morning I woke up to a message on Facebook from Tina L., who I became really good friends with in grade 9 but then I moved so we lost touch. I went to her house that year for her birthday too and her mom had made Mississippi Mud. Oh lawd. Again, probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and that whole afternoon/evening is a really good childhood memory for me. A long time ago, when Tina and I became friends on Facebook, I told her of this memory, which she of course shared as well, and asked her for her mom’s Mississippi Mud recipe because her mom had given it to me at the time but I never made it and it got lost over the last couple of decades. Of course, Tina’s message this morning was her mom and her mom’s mom’s recipe for Mississippi Mud and it is as precious to me as the Hope Diamond, which I basically told her.

And then I cried some more and now I’m writing this.

Oh and I gave Blake the recipe and told him that we’re making it for my birthday (if I can last that long…).

So I guess that’s all I really have to say. It’s just weird that these things all happened so close together. My Aunt Heather always said “things come in threes” so there ya have it. Maybe my supposed inner child is waking up.

Now I think I’m gonna go work on my Secret Satan present because I’m falling behind. Chop chop!

November 12, 2013

The Trophy Wives of the Astronauts

This is awesome:

In other music news, I downloaded M.I.A.’s latest effort yesterday and sat with it until this afternoon, and I can’t say as a whole I like it all that much. “Bad Girls” is a good song but it’s pretty old by now and it’s been in TV shows (The Mindy Project comes to mind) and it’s just been on my playlist for long enough to almost be annoying. (Almost.) Only “Matangi”, the title track, and “Double Bubble Trouble” made it into regular rotation. That’s what I took away from it. As a whole it was just not my thing but since I’m sick of everything else I have, I’ll probably listen to it in the mornings while I’m working.

Work today was interesting because I worked my shift, slept for 2 hours, then worked someone else’s shift. By the end of it I didn’t know what to do with myself. Normally I have an issue doing anything fun because I haven’t been productive enough but today I was SO productive that I couldn’t think of anything fun that would be equivalent to it so I just hung out at Camwhores and then the kids came home and now I’m writing this in the time it takes Blake to get from his office in the city to the grocery store to home.

Madison left these pictures in frames on my desk this morning with a note saying that she found them in a cupboard and “doesn’t grama look SO young! (and I guess I do too! :oP)” so while I was chatting on Camwhores, I was taking pictures of the pictures because I couldn’t get the scanner to work. Then I posted  them on Facebook and my brother said he’s going to text me with more pics that are apparently of us from when we went to the cottage. I haven’t seen these so I’m a little excited. :oD

This is five generations of Crittendens.
My great grama Crittenden, her son (my grampa), mom, me & Chad, Madison.
There’s another version of this with us all sticking out our tongues but I can’t find my copy.

This is obviously my brother and me.
Probably circa 1998 (same as the pic above) judging by the hat.

Anyway, I’d forgotten about these pics so I was happy Madison had found them. Why she was looking in the cupboard where there were is a mystery but my money’s on looking for Xmas presents…

The only other thing really happening in my life is Project A and Project B.

Project A is my Secret Satan present, which obviously I can’t post about because it’s SECRET.

Project B is probably going to end up being an Xmas present so I can’t post about that either because the person it’s for is probably reading this.

I mean, other than that, I work, I sleep, I spend my mornings on Camwhores, I make things all day; Blake comes home, we make food, we watch Sam & Dean (I think we’re in the middle of season 7 right now), I go to bed. Repeat. That is more or less life right now.

I took pics of Madison, at her request, last week or the week before and they’re still on the camera. I want to take pics of her with her hair how it is right now because it’s super dyed right now. Maybe tomorrow, it’s almost dark right now.

So yeah…I’ll edit those and post them when I get around to it. PEACE.

November 8, 2013

Flotter plus, bouvillon moins?

This blog post is 2 years old and I’m pretty sure I’ve posted it on my site before, but I know for a  fact I posted it other places so some of you may have already read it. If not, read it, then come back here.

But my first wish is that you’d wake up and start steering your life toward where you want to be.” – Joe Peacock

But what if you have absolutely zero idea as to where you want to be? I have literally ZERO life goals right now for probably the first time in my life. I can’t think of a single one. Not even one. Oh, “don’t die”. That’s about it.

My job is my job, I don’t love it or hate it (but I do think I’m good at it and I’m grateful to have it) but there’s no room for advancement so there’s no life goals to be had there.

I make paintings “whenever I feel like it” or whenever I’m inspired. You can’t make a business plan around that. Furthermore, I haven’t sold a single solitary painting since November 19th of LAST YEAR. (Thanks, Robin.)

I’ve pretty much decided I’ll never be a full-time nor long distance driver ever again. I’ll drive to the grocery store and the post office by myself and maybe even to the Wal*Mart or dollar store in Wasaga Beach if Madison’s with me, but that’s IT. I know I have the ability of driving longer distances, on busier roads, at faster speeds but even with Blake right beside me, telling me what to do and after taking all the Klonopin and Ativan available to me, I still spend the entire time in the driver’s seat crying, gripping the steering wheel so hard with both hands* that my nails go right around it and dig into the fleshy part of my hand and all I can think of is “when is this going to be over? When do I get to be done? How long do I have to do this to be able to say that I tried and then have no one bug me about it for a while? Or hopefully ever?” Maybe I’d feel differently if we had 2 cars, but we don’t and if I crash the one we have, we’re pretty fucked. Also? Over the last 2 & a half years, I have been through MEDICAL HELL and the last thing – the very very very last thing – I want to go through is another medical trauma as a result of my own shitty driving or my delayed reaction time when it comes to someone else’s.

I. Hate. Driving. I cannot handle the stress and responsibility and truthfully, I don’t remember 75% of the rules of the road. I got my licence when I was 20, after taking Young Drivers (Canadian driver’s ed that gives you a discount on your insurance) and drove to Toronto for school almost every single day for 2 years. But 2 years driving experience is NOTHING!  It’s not even a “blip!” in the grand scheme of my life. Might as well forget that ever happened. I’ll keep renewing my licence in case I ever change my mind but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I just think I’m done. It is literally the most stressful realistic situation I can think of. The whole time I’m just in sheer panic and all I want to do is close my eyes and pretend to be somewhere else…but that would get me killed.

I’ve hit a brick wall with photography. I no longer want to have a photography business. I just don’t like my pictures. I didn’t take a single picture with my DSLR in all of September, only once in October and those were just snapshots and then Madison wanted me to take pictures of her after school today but just looking at the previews on the camera, I don’t think any of them are worth posting, let alone printing. The whole reason I liked photography was because I could document things but we never do anything worth documenting and the kids were my inspiration, Madison in particular, but she’s got some body issues happening and she just doesn’t want me taking her picture these days (yet she’ll sit at my desk where the light’s better and take “selfies” with her iPod for hours) so I’ve stopped asking. I’ve just put the camera away on a hook behind a door with no real plans to pick it up again any time soon.

I have not and will not be applying for an Ontario Arts Council grant this year. I thought I was going to, I’d planned on it, but when I looked at my body of photography work so far, I was too embarrassed to send any of the pictures in and I was going to be applying as an “emerging artist” for money to go toward a photography project I’d really like to do. The bulk of the money was going to be spent paying a part-time female assistant with a car. (For this project, it needs to be a woman.) The rest was going to be used to purchase lights and pay for gas. I am 95% confident that I could execute this project successfully if given the funds to do it but I don’t think I can convince the OAC of that by my shitty sample pictures that are basically only of my kids, my husband and my pets. I’m completely uninspired by my surroundings. I thought about shooting some pics to specifically use as my sample pics but there’s just not a whole lot that’s interesting to me around here. I’m sort of at the point where I dread taking out the camera because I’m either ultimately not going to end up doing anything with it except to put it back and I’m not going to like the pictures I take so it’s just going to frustrate me and make me sad.

The application deadline is December 1st so I have a bit of time, but I still don’t think I’m going to bother applying. They’ve already rejected me 4 years in a row as a painter, I think largely due to the fact that I have like, no exhibition record. I’ve been in Touched By Fire 3 times and I suppose I could add the studio tour to the list since I EXHIBITED lots yet sold nothing, but still, that’s painting. My photography idea will never happen. :o/ Anyone got $5k laying around that they don’t need? I’ve thought about maybe doing a Kickstarter type of thing but I can’t think of incentives, aside from prints, and what is the final goal? If I say my final goal is to show these pictures in a gallery, people aren’t going to give me money because photographs in a gallery do most people no good. There’s no benefit. A book? But how many pictures would I need to fill a whole book? Because the pictures I want to take are super tricky, semi-illegal (trespassing), and it’s gonna take a slick-talking assistant to get “models” (who are actually just random, normal women) to do what I need them to do and where.

Cryptic, I know, but this idea is my baby and I would be absolutely devastated if someone stole it. I’m so protective of this idea that I can’t even ask any photographers for advice because when it comes to ideas, I don’t trust anyone. Especially photographers.

So yeah, I just don’t know up from down these days. Every day is grey. All my plans for this year and next have disintegrated.

As I posted about previously, I didn’t submit anything to Touched By Fire because the whole thing was a clusterfuck from the beginning. First there were $20 submission fees, which counted me out. Secondly, they’ve switched domains inexplicably from touchedbyfire.CA to touchedbyfire.CO. This is suspect to me. THEN they got a sponsor (Deserres) who agreed to cover the submission fees which is fine but at that point they didn’t even have a venue. So long story short, I did not submit. I didn’t feel I had anything to submit to an art show that prides itself on showcasing how fucked up all us mental patients are. My glitter girls are happy. They don’t want happy, they want tortured, mentally ill people and they want their work to reflect that. So fuck it. Who needs a remedial art show anyway? OH! That was the other thing I wanted to mention. Tickets to get into the event? $20 per person. Isn’t that fucking ridiculous? Every other year it’s either been free or $10, so wtf.

I’m lost. I have no direction. Every grey day is the same. I do nothing. I have nothing. I am nothing.

PS. Feel free to head on down to Sunnyland Studio to see what I’ve got in the shop. Unfortunately the Xmas season is upon us…

(*I have never EVER and would not EVER drive with less then two hands on the wheel. 10 and 2, people. The only time my hand MAY leave the steering wheel for 10 seconds is if I’m getting a drink from a BOTTLE because with cans, you have to take your eyes off the road to look at the can and make sure you turn it around so you can actually drink out of it. This is too complicated and for me, too dangerous, so bottles all the way.)

November 5, 2013

Whoredom Relieves Boredom

As I mentioned last month, I’ve been spending a lot of time over at Camwhores.com (NSFW) chatting on the tagboard, posting on the forums and reading the other camgirls’ blogs. Oh, and updating my webcam of course. I’ve been trying, and mostly succeeding, to take at least one pic a day, whether it be a webcam pic, a pic with my iPod or cell phone or my big camera. All of the above counts. I share these pics on Camwhores, Twitter and sometimes Facebook. (Facebook is almost 100% art-related, though.)

Anyway, I use a program to upload webcam pictures and as I do so, I archive SFW ones that I think are okay for this small gallery (compared to my whole archive at Camwhores) I use to show people what I do, for the most part. Here are some from October:

I mean, before Facebook, before Instagram, before “selfies”, there were camgirls uploading pics at 320×240 pixels every 30 seconds, live, and most of them were on Camwhores. Some of them still are. Only now they’re uploading high-res images and doing live streaming shows that are archived for viewing later, if you couldn’t catch it live.

Anyway, what else can I say? I’m just a camwhore at heart.