Years ago, when I worked at Red Lobster, (yes, I worked at Red Lobster. I was the Queen of Red Lobster), there would be nights when I would get so in the weeds that I would stand at the line waiting for something, and every synapse would shut down. I just could not figure out what to do next. I was a good waitress, a great waitress, but sometimes I just got overwhelmed. Those were usually the times I would snap at someone and they wouldn’t talk to me for months. I know, hard to believe, right? It’s almost 30 years later and I’m not a waitress any more. I’m marginally better at holding my tongue. I’ve found strengths and joys I didn’t expect. But. I’m overwhelmed. I’m in the weeds. I’m outta gas. See this?
This is the regulator for my acetylene tank. I finally found a place to exchange my empty tank for a full one. Weeks ago. By now, I should have attached this and started work on some commissions. I have not. See this?
Hasn’t moved since I started working on them in November. And of course, there is this.
This is the stationary bike I bought several months ago when my doctor told me I needed to lose weight. The only reason there are no clothes hanging off it is because my cleaning lady was here this morning. Oh, please. Like I’m the only one who has gym equipment that doubles as a coat rack. And didn’t I know that this is where we’d both end up? But I digress. It is obvious I am in a creative slump. I wish I could say it’s the first one. Not. And undoubtedly not the last. So. Here we are. Metal and machine whispering at me, taunting me. Daring me to rise above and create! Move! Break free of the slump, the inertia. Or I could just watch another rerun of Family Guy.
Yes, my loyal readers, it’s almost that time. True, it’s a month away. And I might decide closer to the day that most of what I’ve written is crap and start all over. But what the Hell. Imma start with basics. I’m in Starbucks and they’re playing the Hamilton soundtrack. Sorry, digressing. Went back to WW. (Can’t call it a weight watcher’s meeting anymore. It’s a WW workshop. WW. Wellness Wins. Reboots goin’ on all over the place.). Lost 6 pounds. Bought a stationary bike. Actually used it once or twice. Meditating every night. Although I’m having a smidge of trouble finding a guided meditation that doesn’t make me want to reach into my phone and snatch the instructor bald. The course I’m doing now is geared towards quieting the mind, breaking the cycle of monkey chatter and anxiety. Right up my crooked little alley. And I’ve committed to my therapy. So, good stuff, no? I’m working hard to become the wiser, happier, stronger person that so many my age claim they are. Are they all telling the truth? I’m sure some are and I’m as sure some aren’t. But truthfully, that’s really the issue right there. My real goal while becoming stronger, wiser, and happier is to not give a S$&^*% what anyone else’s life looks life and be happy with mine. That’s it. All of it. That’s all I want. Oh, and to be able to sit on the floor and get up again. Being the impatient little critter I am, I want this all yesterday. And I refuse to call them New Year’s Resolutions because, well that’s just BS. It’s unfortunate that a little health issue has finally kicked me in the head enough to make some really necessary changes. That I couldn’t seem to care enough about myself until now, but whatever gets us where we need to be, right? Now, all of this is great. I’m proud of myself for committing to take care of myself and certainly all of these changes make me feel…hmmm. I wish I could say, I feel great, better every day! But the reality is, it didn’t take 5 minutes to get here and it’s gonna take a little time to get there. And I don’t feel great. Yet. But I’m working on it. And that feels just a little bit great.
Copper and Beads. The Mother of Invention series.
I’m home sick today. I’ve caught this weird cold-y flu-y thing. No head cold really, just a bad cough and a low fever which is making me achy and cranky. The whole thing is sort of weird and makes me wonder if I’m making myself sick. If I’ve created this weird Munchausen thing to keep me safe. I’m sick, but not really badly say your goodbyes sick. Making this even stranger for anyone not living in my head, is that this comes on the heels of a commitment to eat better and exercise after my last physical. How interesting. I can’t go to the gym, I’m siiiick. Uh huh. Uh huh. Ok, now I’ve passed even my own limits of crazy. This is not to say I’m lying when I say I don’t feel well, or that there isn’t a thing going around that I certainly could have caught. But making myself sick just to get out of the gym? That’s ridiculous!!! Except it’s not really. We all know that stress and illness are buddies. Bosom buddies. Yes, even the happiest, most stress free peeps get sick. But it’s not unheard of for stress and anxiety to make one sick. Or worse. A dear friend of mine died when her heart stopped inexplicably. No reason. Except for years of anxiety issues. All I really know is that right now, I’ve got this thing. And next time it might be another thing. How long until I’m really sick. Or worse. Ok. Imma stop this journey right now. It serves literally no purpose. I’m going to continue to eat well, exercise, talk with my therapist and per her advice add meditation to my day. Funny sidebar here. When I started typing meditation it came up medication. Snort. If I’m capable of making myself sick, I’m more than capable of making myself well. So, I have this thing. Just a cold. Nothing to worry about.
I had a physical this morning, and because I have a heart murmur, I was due for an ultrasound. And apart from my leaky little valve, this 12 year old doctor informed me that my heart’s a little stiff. This apparently is not uncommon among post-menopausal women. WTF??? I mean, seriously. What the actual f#%^*? She didn’t seem concerned and said they’ll do an ultrasound every year and keep an eye on it, blah, blah, blah. And I asked not one question. I had my blood drawn. I winced when I got on the scale. I peed in the cup. But it wasn’t until I was home that I thought of all the questions I wanted to ask. So of course, I googled it. Big mistake. Amyloidosis! Diastolic Dysfunction! Heart Failure! Ok, everybody just calm down. And for G-d sakes, step away from Google! One thing I do know, I need to care for myself. I do not need a doctor to tell me that binge eating, yo-yo dieting, lack of sleep, stress, these aren’t good for anyone, at any age. But let’s face it. I’m not 20. And neither is my heart. I will continue to deny that right up until my last breath. But that doesn’t make it any less true. So I’ve started meditating to get to sleep at night. I’ve committed to working with my therapist every week and not just when I feel bad and can no longer fit into my winter coat. And today. I went to the gym. And Imma go tomorrow too. Scouts honor. I promise myself from the bottom of my leaky, slightly stiff little heart.
A Chip of my Heart
One of the things I’ve always had tremendous issues with is my inability to let things go and move on. I’m called out on something at work and I’m convinced I’m going to lose my job. I spend the next 24 hours defending myself, (in my own head, of course), against slings and arrows and people out to get me. I’m convinced I’m never going to find another job and I’ll spend what’s left of my life living in a cardboard box in the subway. I have never learned to let disappointment and envy go either. A few years ago, I got back on stage when my Synagogue started a theater company. It has been such an amazing gift. I’ve been lucky enough to get the roles I auditioned for and it is one of the few places I feel good about myself, my talent, all of the things that seem to elude me in the real world. This year is no exception. I don’t have a huge role, but it is a memorable one and I’m thrilled. But. Due to a rewrite of the show since it was on Broadway, there’s a little part of the show, a mere 5 minute trio that my character was part of in the original script that has been written out. Truly, this rewrite doesn’t make the part any less hysterical, but that bit made it perfect. And I’m surprisingly upset about it. No. Not surprisingly at all. Who am I kidding? I’m pissed. Devastated. Distraught. They wrote out my shtick! I’m beside myself! See where I’m going? It’s ridiculous. It’s 5 minutes that nobody but me gives a sh^%#* about. And guess what? Tearing my hair out isn’t going to change a thing. Except I will then be bald and upset. And fat. Because let’s face it, Disappointment is nothing without a big bag of M & M’s to wash it down with. Not getting exactly what we want is a part of life. If we are lucky, it is the worst part of life. Life is full of spooky stuff, especially as we get older. Stuff that will make disappointment look like a big bag of M & M’s. Ya know, if I go back through the years I’ve been writing this blog and randomly go through a couple, I’ll probably find that I was whining about the same issues back then. Fear, Disappointment, M & M’s, blah blah blah. Now that’s spooky.
Woke up this morning with sheet creases on the right side of my face. Just caught a glimpse of myself in the train window. Still there.
Broken Glass Series #2
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Now it’s been a while since I’ve written, so it’s highly possible I’ve talked about this before. Which, hello, pretty much supports this definition. How many people find themselves in the same situations year after year? Taking off the same 10 pounds. Putting on the same 20 pounds. Spending your free hours torn between creating art and binge watching The Great British Baking Show, until the week before an event when you scramble to catch up. Promising yourself you will start to exercise and breaking the promise every weekend as you watch your significant other strap on his workout gear from under the covers. Putting money into your savings only to take it out again when bills need to be paid and you’ve been living ever so slightly beyond your means. Watching other women you admire and wishing you could be like them and knowing you could if you just applied yourself. Didn’t we all have parents and teachers who told us we could be whatever we wanted if we just applied ourselves? And does it make me a bad person if I don’t f@&*^ing feel like applying myself? If I can’t run a marathon, or climb a rock wall, or hoist myself up off the floor? If I’m not the Broadway actress I hoped I’d be? If I can’t seem to live up to the mantra, “nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”? I hope the answer is no, cause as I write this, there’s a Krispy Kreme donut hanging outta my mouth. Donuts. Donuts taste as good as thin feels, apparently. The real question is if I’m going to keep banging my head against a brick wall, can I live with the headache?
Losing My Mind
When I started this blog years ago it was a way to both journal and to get my jewelry into the public eye. A blog would influence a piece or vice versa. I loved creating each piece, and I discovered I love to write. Over the last 6 or 7 months. I have hit a bit of a stumbling block. (And I’m not referring to two broken wrists in under a year…that’s just stumbling). It started after the New Paltz Woodstock Arts Festival. I had been wait listed for several years and was so pumped when I finally got in. We booked a hotel room, packed the car and headed out for success! It never came. It was the last outdoor show I did. I have had some success with the Christmas show at the Art League but Christmas comes but once a year, so without those various deadlines throughout the year, I have done virtually nothing since December. Which brings up another dilemma. When did creating my jewelry become about what will sell, and not about doing something I love? And if I don’t love it, can I expect anyone else to love it? I loved the journey from style to style, material to material, the process of finding my voice. I have been silent for months now, both artistically and here in this space I’ve grown to love. And with no escape, the monkey chatter, the fears, the self-doubts, all the negative thoughts have nowhere to go. So they live and grow in my head and heart and stomach. And so I write. Whatever picture I post will have been one You’ve seen before. There is nothing new…yet. And so I write. And breathe deeply as the fear finds the tiniest hole from which to escape.
Ying and Yang earrings
I don’t know how to tell you this. I’ve been putting it off, because well it’s a little embarrassing. Well, ok, here goes. ‘Member last June when I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and broke my wrist? Well, uh, it seems, a couple of weeks ago, I sorta did it again? Only this time, my left one? Hey, stop giggling! This is serious! Ok, I’m the first person to see the humor in all of it. My little tumble took place during Tech week of “Fiddler on the Roof”, and there were many jokes about taking the phrase, “Break a Leg” literally. *Har har*. One helpful friend said I should put bubble wrap around my wrists. *Chuckle*. My mom says I need to roll so I land on my well-padded derrière. *Stop. Ho ho. I can’t take anymore*. So funny, right? Until it isn’t. When I fell the first time, it was traumatic, inconvenient, all of the things one might expect. But it was a freak accident, no? Not so much if it happens twice within a year. There are certain triggers in life that tend to make one suddenly old. I remember when my Great Aunt Sabina started to lose her hearing. My Aunt Sabina was what we called the “Iron Arm of Power”. Widowed youngish, she traveled, was always impeccably groomed and dressed and had no second thoughts about telling us when we were putting on a little weight, that our hair looked better this way, and that if we didn’t wear hand lotion, we wouldn’t find a husband. Somewhere in her late 80’s, she started losing her hearing, and it wasn’t long before she was in a nursing home. The last time I went to visit her, she took her teeth out, fiddled with them a bit and put them back in. She died not long after. Somewhere deep inside, the “Iron Arm of Power” knew that once you take your teeth out in public, it’s time to go. There are triggers that change us forever. They could be big, like retirement, failing health, empty nests. But sometimes it’s a small thing. Like falling twice in a year. And suddenly maybe you’re afraid to walk long distances alone. Or you only buy shoes that curve up at the toe, so there’s less chance of tripping. And you now have one good hand and it’s still recovering from the last fall, so you feel a little helpless and a little scared and a little old. So you start using the balance ball that’s been gathering dust under your bed and popping calcium pills every day and eating almonds and sesame seeds and oranges. And praying it’s not to late to take better care of yourself, that this scared, helpless, balance-challenged old lady is only here for a little visit. Just a reminder that the choice is mine. I can let the fear and the frailty rule my days. Or I can choose strength. Physical strength, certainly. But when my physical strength needs a break, emotional strength can take the wheel. Create. Act. Sing. Laugh. Treasure my friends and family. Dance like a one-armed wild woman. Refuse to be old even as I get old. Choose strength.
Art and Design, commission
Turning 60 has brought about some positive changes. Something about this milestone finally allowed me to dig out my big girl panties and actually put them on. Part way. I went back to Weight Watchers with a real commitment. And I’ve stuck with it. Fortunate circumstances have allowed us to pay off our credit card debt, and I promised my husband that this was the last time we would have to do that. And I’ve stuck with it. Yea, me, right! Absolutely Yea, me. And yet…As I stopped obsessing about the giant elephants in the room, food and money, I realized there is a pack of little elephants hiding in the closet and under the bed. My jewelry supplies are gathering dust and I’m not taking advantage of the tools my vocal coach has gifted me with to practice every day. Or even every week. My apartment is less than clean and while I know that if I went back to the gym, the pain in my back and legs would ease up, I don’t go. My free time is spent playing video poker and binge watching the Great British Baking Show. I still have the same inability to make a mistake and move on that I had in high school when I had a car accident the day I got my license. Guilt. Shame. More guilt, more shame. I carry on endless defensive conversations in my head in order to feel less embarrassed about the mistake I made, especially if others are involved. If other people know I’ve done something stupid. The horror. It’s a mistake. Everyone makes them. Make amends. Learn something. Move on. The upside of an error in judgment against others is I’m so f%^*#ing embarrassed, I’m less likely to make the same mistake again. Maybe. It’s the disservices we do to ourselves that are so painless and easy to repeat. No one ever has to know that I’m completely unmotivated to create new pieces of jewelry. That although I’m committed to Weight Watchers, my relationship with food remains tense and my bingeing is not under control. That I’m so terrified of growing old and dying because I feel I’ve accomplished nothing in the 6 decades that are behind me. That I feel slightly out of place among young moms and Jewish women, aspiring actors, and free-spirited retirees, successful women, and anyone with a purpose. So like an old dog too frightened to learn any new tricks, I’ll hobble around with my big girl panties down around my ankles and make amends to everyone but myself. Woof.
The Monster Under the Bed