Thursday, April 25, 2013

43 years

Today is my birthday
I have survived quite a lot of heartbreak, mean words and dashed hopes
I am still standing, I am bruised but not broken...
this is the reason I celebrate.
We are the end of the line, and this life is all we've got.
My hubby is the last to pass on the family name, and I am the last to pass on the religious lineage.
We are the end of the conga until we are no longer here
We are gonna dance, smile, make noise and maybe some trouble too!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BARREN: life on infertile soil

In honor of NIAW I am posting words or images
I have taken or written about our experience with infertility

A piece I wrote in 2011 for NIAW:
Hubby and I met when we were 21 and 19, I am the cradle robber. It was love at first sight and we have been together since that first date. We waited 10 years before getting married, and another two years before sitting down and talking about how we wanted to become parents. Once we decided, we opened the doors and waited for that positive pregnancy test. In the first year we dealt with my body booby-trapping our plans. The second year we were fighting off the doctors trying to remove my reproductive system. The third year we were trying to simply have a life outside a doctor’s office and then the fourth and fifth years we experienced our miscarriages.
Now we are in our sixth eighth year and we are painfully aware that we are not going to become parents as we had hoped.
In the third year of our infertility journey, I started focusing my artwork on our struggle. As an artist, I turn to my work as a means to process life, and this was one the most complex times in our lives. At first I made the work as a way to comfort myself; I kept the images close and shared them with no one, much like a visual journal. After the first few images were made, something shifted and I started seeing images in my mind all day and in my dreams at night. The comfort became an obsession and a race to capture these feelings and emotions visually.
In October of 2010 I had a public exhibition of my infertility images.
Since the opening, I have received so many kind emails and comments about the show;
so many people poured their hearts out to me and shared stories of their own personal losses.
It has been humbling and amazing.
BARREN: life on infertile soil
personal images of infertility

The inspiration for the show was not only the discovery of my own infertility, but the silence surrounding it. The longstanding stigma of shame has made us a silent tribe of women. Using photography, printmaking, assemblage and mixed media I examine the quiet reflections of a life without children, in a child-centric world and what it means to navigate daily in those constraints.
I have created an exhibit that draws from my experiences and expresses how infertility has touched me emotionally, changed my self-identity, and affected my relationships with the world around me. The images range from quiet and painterly to bold and vivid personal storytelling; many of the works are from my perspective and allow the viewer to enter that same space. The inclusion of four journal entries next to photographs, as well as a wordless lullaby written and performed by my husband which is heard through headphones while sitting in a rocking chair, make a very private experience very public.
The exhibit can be seen HERE

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Busting a Myth-Blame Game

To honor National Infertility Awareness Week I have chosen to repost a piece I wrote two years ago for RESOLVE's call for writers.
The theme was "busting myths" about infertility.
Here is my contribution:
one of many sticks I peed on
MYTH: You did something to cause your infertility that is why you can’t get pregnant
According to RESOLVE there are few lifestyle choices that cause permanent damage to your fertility. I think when push comes to shove; the easiest path for most is the “blame game”.
For us the first years of our infertility was my fault; according to doctors and family at least.
I cannot tell you how often I heard that I must be doing something wrong…
you must not have counted the days correctly.
You must not have kept your pelvis tilted long enough? 
You probably didn’t have sex enough or at the right times.
Being a longtime vegetarian
You just are not trying hard enough
If they were not focusing on our sex life; they were offering up suggestions for food, exercise, eastern medicine and rituals. In our physicians, friends and families eyes, this was entirely our fault and we had clearly overlooked something.  It quickly became insulting and hurtful.
Well, we were rabbits! I have been a healthy vegetarian for close to twenty years, I had never drank, I had never smoked, I took my vitamins, I moved my body, I wasn’t overweight or underweight. I was just your average healthy Jane; nothing remarkable or special about me.  
We explored non-traditional medicines, exercises, meditations and non-evasive medical treatments that fit our beliefs.
When I finally complained about extreme pain (I waited several months to do this as I thought I needed to suffer to become a mother), I was told that I was overreacting to having painful periods. It was only after advocating for myself that it was discovered that there was a medical reason for my infertility, and it had NOTHING to do with my lifestyle or lack of trying.
My Infertility came from a combination of a birth defect and aggressively relentless fibroids, cysts and stage IV Endometriosis. Nothing I could have eaten, taken, or chosen did this.
Making love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week would never have changed this.
It was not my fault and no one is to blame.
This is the message that is the hardest to still get through people’s minds. The easiest route is to play the blame game; the harder choice is to be empathetic.
So I implore you to "Be tough" and make the harder choices.

Monday, April 22, 2013


In honor of NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week)
I am posting words and images I have written or taken
about our experience with infertility.

2012 RESOLVE theme "Don't Ignore Infertility"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

NIAW starts today

National Infertility Awareness Week starts today
I will be posting several times this week
in honor of something that has radically changed our lives:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This is your past calling....

I was moving stuff and unearthed a box of old photos.
Among the treasures I exhumed was a postcard I sent myself.
Yep, I am that person....I send myself a postcard the last day of the journey telling myself how I was feeling at that moment or what I had learned.
It arrives days after me, and usually just as the "paradise is fading from my memory" and I am getting back to reality moment.
I wrote this to myself back in 1997
I read it again today with a smile on my face as this is what it says:

Well- here I am and there you are- two way different places-but still one person. You can depend on yourself- and know how long and short time can be, hours, days, months. Feet are tired, ankles sore- emotionally exhausted. but-in a sense a bit afraid of getting into a groove-becoming set in my ways again. Remember movement-simple movement. walking barefoot-walking the dog-motion is what you need and know that returning can be just as good as coming- the swing is in your heart- you have the ability to come and go and don't let that be taken away.Continue to say what you feel. Be aware of what you need and tell him- don't back down as you wouldn't want him to do.and make art-your soul needs it. Send slides-invest in yourself and enjoy time. Don't wait for it to pass (as I am doing now) be loving-take another chance and give it. Know that you are a strong-confident woman-keep that damn smirk on your face. Keep them wondering.

I am so glad I sent myself this is like a pocket mantra.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh the things I have seen!

Recently I have had the ABSOLUTE privilege to be able to see
some inspiring works of art.
Candy for my eyes and and heart...
On the 4th I attended first Thursday in Santa Barbara and I chose two venues to visit.
1. the Architecture foundation to see the work of Leslie Lewis Sigler
(sadly I didn't write this fast enough and now her show is packed away)
I find her work is so refreshing and clean and warm and it invites you in....there is a familiar sense that makes it wonderfully comfortable to spend time with.
2. I went to see the newest adventure at Sullivan Goss: 
JUST BETWEEN US: Wesley Anderegg, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Maria Rendon
On Exhibit from April 4, 2013 through June 2, 2013
Curator Jeremy Tessmer selected an amazing collection of contemporary artists and the result is magical and alive and mysterious!
I was only able to get a couple pics as I found myself lost in the work, when I did remember to take a picture the place was crowded with new energy and excited visitors!
"tight rope" and "Matador"
by Wesley Anderegg

a small selection of ceramic platters also by Mr. Anderegg

Encyclopedia Series 1 A to Animal Life
by Rafael Perea de la Cabada
(He painted directly on stretched book covers)

detail to show the texture of the surface....luscious

Sadly I wasn't able to get any images of Ms Rendon's is breathtaking and check out the link above to view proper pictures.
Then this week I was able to see another true treat for the eyes!
I attended a private small viewing of SWARM at LotusLand...
I had read a lot about the show HERE and HERE so I was quite excited to have the chance to see it in person. I attended with a woman's art group I am part of and it was such an amazing treat!
I felt like quite the VIP being able to view the work so intimately
*click on any of the images for a larger version*
The group was asked to enter via the private back entrance,
so I got to stroll the grounds a little bit before getting to the meeting point!

the room where we met, the main house and first exposure to the work of Penelope Stewart
with her giant handdrawn Beeskep
Ink on Japanese rice paper

here are two smaller versions and a black glass moulded one
the lines were so beautiful !

One of I several Cynthia James paintings...lovely! 

Stephanie Wilde's work " Golden Bees" was intricate and highly detailed, so much so, we were offered magnifying loops to view her incredible brush work.
She uses a single hair to was much like a sand mandala for me.
The ability to see single grains to sand
So beautiful and meditative

detail through the looking glass

more detail for another work

Ethan Turpin and Jonathan Smith's bee cell room
 and Rose-Lynn Fisher's electron microscope photographs
illuminated under spot lights

inside the cell looking up with some fellow art and bee lovers

the full installed Penelope Stewart beeswax room
1000lbs of wax was used to make this room
the different colors reflect what the bees were feeding on, as wax was shipped from all over the united states
You can read her process HERE

detail of the reproduced tiles and pineapples
So inspiring and so alive, I think this year will offer many surprises in the art scene.
I am very much looking forward to seeing new works from friends and creating some myself.
You still have time to see  "Just Between Us" and "SWARM" (the garden is not too shabby either)
 if you are able, I whole heartily endorse it!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Photo interlude

Crazy cat lady strikes again
Grab a snack and remember to enjoy the ride:
here is another:
he likes to pet snails

and sometimes try and eat them, but mostly he just licks the shells
and faux bites them


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