Opening Night and Emergency Vets

So the artist reception for the August Open show was last Saturday. As usual it was a lovely event with good food and free beer. (From the Elevator no less!) I felt very blessed that a group of my favorite people came to support me. Mike, Andrew, his father and a family friend all came with me, and my mom came down from Findlay to share the day with me.

This is the third time I have shown with this gallery, but it’s always exciting to see your work hanging on the wall. Open galleries are interesting animals too, because you never know what someone else is going to enter. This month’s show had some really cool stuff, and some really awful stuff. There were a lot of abstract paintings and minimalist stuff, which I really just don’t get. Just because you paint a couple of squiggles on a paper and charge $200 for it doesn’t mean it’s art!

Anyway, here are some pictures of the gallery…

 Here’s a close up of The Chariot hanging on the wall.

And here’s everything around it. The top pieces were portraits done in clay. I thought those were pretty awesome.

The Empress on the wall and everything around her. The piece right above her was some sort of solar print. It was super cool, I need to look into how you do that…

There’s The Sun. I love how happy the toddler in the photo looks.

And last but not least, Longing to Fly. I think this have to be my most favorite piece I have ever made.
  Me playing Vanna White. Unfortunately, this isn’t the most flattering picture ha ha.
Here I am talking to another artist. She painted the nude in the background. It was her first show so she was really excited 🙂
My mom and me. I am so glad she was able to make it to this show. She’s so skinny! She has lost so much weight in the last year and a half, I am so proud of her.
 

Can’t forget about the boy. I think he’s pretty cute, but then again I am partial 🙂

And then there was Doc, the resident gallery puppy. Oh my gosh he was so freaken cute. He belongs to the gallery owner. Apparently he is 3 parts German Shepard, 1 part wolf. How awesome is that?

Speaking of dogs, the gallery was only part of my weekend…

Sunday morning I got up really early to visit with my friend Stephanie who was in town from out of state. I let the dogs out, fed them, and they were hanging out on the screened in back porch when I left. When I returned a couple of hours later, Mike’s dad was in the driveway looking grim. When I got out of my car he told me we had a puppy that needed to go to the vet. Apparently they had been playing frisbee with Carwyn (which is pretty typical) and he started running funny until he was in a full on limp and wouldn’t bear weight on his right front paw.

Carwyn has a tendency to chew his toe nails and I thought maybe he had split one again. Sometimes when that happens I file it down and then he limps around for a couple of hours to a day until it stops being sore. I thought maybe that was what had happened, so I wasn’t super worried about it at first.

But then I was able to check him out and couldn’t find anything physically wrong with his leg. I could tell he desperately wanted to play, he kept bringing me every toy he has, but he refused to put weight on the his leg. After that I decided I’d better take him to the vet.

Let me just say, if you think a veterinary office wouldn’t be that busy on a Sunday afternoon, you should think again. We thought we would get in faster if we came as a walk in at 11 am, rather than take their next available appointment at 2… Yeeeahhh… we sat there for three hours before we finally were able to see the doctor. He checked Carwyn over good and couldn’t find anything wrong with his leg either, though he did tell us that apparently Carwyn has “floating patellas” which means his knee caps don’t always stay where they are supposed to. I guess this is common in smaller dogs. So the vet prescribed a week of rest and anti-inflammatory drugs to help with joint pain.

While we were there I decided to have him take a look at Carwyn’s molar too. It had cracked like a year ago, but our vet at the time said as long as he was eating and didn’t seem to be in pain they didn’t want to pull it. This vet was like “Holy mackerel! That needs to come out like right now or it could get infected!”

Great.

So they gave us an estimate on how much the whole procedure would cost. Now, I know how much it costs when I go to the dentist. Granted I understand I have health insurance that covers a good majority of it, but still. Wanna know how much this guy wanted to pull one canine tooth? SEVEN HUNDRED TO NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Are you kidding me? I don’t care if you are the freaking Leonard Da Vinci of doggie dentistry, there is no way in hell I can afford that much money to have one tooth pulled. I love my dog dearly and I don’t want him to get sick, but seriously?

So I don’t know what I am going to do. I have a couple of leads for places to try that might be able to do it cheaper. I need to get it done sooner rather than later, I am sure it’s probably uncomfortable for him.

Sad puppy is sad. All he wants to do is play 😦

Why can’t we play frisbee mommy?

While I am talking about him, I couldn’t resist but throw this in as a bonus. I found some of his baby pictures the other day. Hard to believe he’s four and a half already. Time flies…

Seriously… too freaken cute.
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Baby Rabies

I seriously think being pregnant is a contagious disease because it seems like everyone is having babies right now! Half the women I work with at my office and in the schools are pregnant or have just had a baby, and a good majority of my friends and acquaintances seem to be pregnant too.

Last weekend I went to a baby shower for my lovely friend Maggie. She is having twins here in the next couple of months and they are really excited about it, so it was fun to be able to celebrate that with her and some of our mutual friends.

The beautiful Maggie with the cloth books my mom made for her 🙂

Normally I hate typical shower games, but I was pleasantly surprised with how fun the activities were that Maggie’s good friend Emmy came up with. Here’s a little of taste of what there was to do…

My favorite, hands down, was the decorate your own onesies. They had bought a bunch of plain white onesies and fabric markers so you could decorate them as you wished. I am a complete nerd so this is what I came up with (with a little inspiration from the internet…)

This was my first one for the little boy. Maggie is having one of each…

Along the same vein, I made this one for the little girl. You’d never guess I was a Star Wars fan would you? 😀
Here are all the completed onesies made by us all… I did the three on the far left…

They also had a “Wish Tree” which I thought was a super cool idea. Basically what you did was they had tags with string and a blue and pink pen that you could write “wishes” for each baby on and then hang on the tree. Maggie and her husband are then going to read all the wishes to the babies once they are born… sort of as a blessing. I thought that was such a cool idea 🙂

The Wish Tree

There was lots of food and lots of laughter. My favorite moment was when it was suggested they should name the boy “Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All” and then we decided that being the “Dark Lord of All” was too much pressure to put on a baby and maybe we should just start with “Dark Lord of Columbus.” Haha, good times.

After the party, I started to feel sort of emotionally funny even though I had had a lot of fun. I seem to be at this weird point in my life where my hormones are like “BABIES!!! GIVE ME ALL THE BABIES!!!” but my rational brain is like “Yeahhhh…. that’s not such a good idea.” I am not in a place emotionally or financially where I should even THINK about trying to get pregnant right now, but the more I thought about it the more upset I got. My major freak out moment was when I thought, “Wow, do I even want kids at all?” 
This was a big deal because I had never really questioned whether I wanted children or not before. I had always just assumed that someday I would have one or two. Now that I am going in different, new directions with my life I just don’t know anymore. If I can make art work as a full time job, I am going to be working WAY more than I am at my regular 9-5 job. I am not deluded into thinking that running your own artsy business means you have a lot of free time to just relax and take care of yourself let alone take care of small children. And with that thought came the- “Well what if I decide I want a baby in a few years and then CAN’T?!” (Infertility runs in my family…)

When I was younger my plan had always been to wait until I was 27 or 28 and then start trying. Well guess what? I’m well into 26 and I am in no way shape or form ready to have a baby in the next year or so. So now my fear is if I wait until I’m 30 or older and then decide to have children I won’t be able to conceive. 

Compound all these fears with the fact that I am terrified of being a bad parent and there you have my full blown freak out. (I am pretty sure there were tears involved.)
I know a lot of what I worry about is irrational. I have plenty of time to make a decision. And even if I do decided I am ready someday and struggle to get pregnant, there are lots of fertility options available or I could look at adopting. 
I try not to stress about it, goodness knows I have enough other stuff on my plate. But it just goes back to my whole quarter-life crisis thing, and how the life I am living isn’t even close to where I thought I would be at this age. 
Not bad necessarily, just different. Guess I just need to change my expectations then.
P.S. Since we are talking about babies, I have to share the sweetest picture of my passed out fur children. I just love their fuzzy little faces! 🙂
It’s been so cool out the last few days they are absolutely loving the screened in porch!

Several Bits Of Exciting News…

Got a couple pieces of exciting news to share 🙂

1) I submitted some more paintings to the gallery I like to show at and they were all accepted in the August open gallery!!!! Yay!!!! I am really excited, this will be my third show with this gallery. The artist reception is at CS Gallery- 66 Parsons Ave, Columbus OH 43125 on August 17th from 7-10 pm. I would love for everyone to come out and support me and such a wonderful gallery 🙂

Here’s a sneak peak of my entries…

This one is called “Longing to Fly”. I started this several days after I moved into my apartment and I consider it a self portrait even though it’s not an actual picture of me.

Side view of the “cage”…
Little feather I found glued to the bottom.
This is one in an ongoing series of Tarot Card paintings… this one is “The Chariot”
Close up of the leaves.

This one is, you guessed it- “The Sun.”

Side view so you can see the buttons…
I think this is my favorite out of the tarot paintings I entered, she is called “The Empress.”
Close up of the bottom.
Close up of the texture in the background.

Exciting news 2) I started my online mixed media class called “Soul Restoration” on Tuesday this week and I am super loving it so far. All of the women have been really friendly and encouraging and I love how I feel enveloped with love and lifted up every time I visit the chat room. The fact that it is online is so cool because there are literally women from all over the world to connect with in this class. I seriously think this is going to be an awesome eight week experience! I probably won’t share everything I am working on simply because the class in and of it’s nature is touching on some incredibly personal stuff, but I thought I would at least share the cover of my class art journal and my “soul house” pages…

My art journal cover.

My “Soul House.” If anyone is from the Findlay area, they might recognize it 😉

I will definitely keep you posted on the progress with the class and will hopefully remember to take some pictures to share of the gallery next weekend 🙂

Quarter Life Crisis

I have been rather emotional and had a general sense of restlessness lately, I can’t quite put my finger on the exact reason why. What I do know is that a lot of areas in my life just feel disjointed and out of whack.

I have tossed this particular problem around a lot in my personal journals over the last several years, and have discussed it at length amongst friends. I have actually come to the conclusion that all of these mixed up jumbled emotions are merely symptoms of a quarter life crisis.

You might be asking yourself- “What! A quarter life crisis?!” Yeah I know it sounds ridiculous, but believe me it feels very real and I am not the only one who has stumbled down this path. There have even been youtube videos made about it, check it out this one below. (It’s actually quite funny and eerily accurate.)

I think a lot my tangled up feelings revolve around a sense of feeling out of step with the world. Why am I here? What exactly am I supposed to be contributing to the world? What makes me truly happy? I wish I had answers to these questions. If I did, I am pretty certain I could rid myself of all this existential angst I have been dragging around.

I’ve had this weird feeling of limbo the last couple of months and it makes me think back to a page out of a book I use for counseling sometimes- “The Blue Day Book for Kids.” There is a particular passage where the author asks “Do you ever feel too little to play with the big kids and too big to play with the little kids?” Yes! Yes that’s exactly how I feel sometimes! I feel like I am at this really weird in between stage in my life where I have had a regular 9-5 job for years, been married, have owned a house- essentially had a lot of responsibilities. But I still don’t have any kids, I’m single now, and while 26 is still very young, I feel like I have been too responsible for too long to just “party” all the time.

As a result it’s made it sort of weird to hang out with a lot of my friends. It’s like they fall into either/or categories… It seems like half my friends are free spirits who are still doing things young people do and are enjoying going out and having fun even on week nights (gasp what is THAT?) or they are married with children doing the awesome spouse/parenting thing. What sucks is I don’t really feel like I fall into either of these categories. Don’t get me wrong I love all my friends dearly, but sometimes I just don’t feel like I fit in anymore, too big to play with the little kids and too little to play with the big kids. Throw in on top of it the aforementioned fact that I don’t really feel like I fit in the world either, and you have the makings of some serious personal anxiety.

To be quite frank, life as a social worker sort of sucks. And by sorta, I mean seriously sucks sometimes. I would even go so far as to say I hate it with a passion on occasion. There are many days where I wake up resentful that I have to get out of bed and drag myself to do something I essentially despise.

This country needs access to counseling, it’s super important. Social workers are important, and I know without a doubt that the work I am doing is good. In fact, the other day out of curiosity I started a list of all the names of the kids I could remember that I have worked with over the last four years and I was able to come up with 110 names. And those are just the ones I could remember! I know I have made a difference in those children’s lives, and that is incredibly important too. However, I can’t help but feel that what is even more important is loving the work that you do… and  if I am being honest, I do not. At all. I can’t even tell you the number of times I have considered how much MORE of a difference I could make in the lives of all the people I touch, if I was really passionate about what I do. Often times it seems like I am merely going through the motions of counseling and I feel that is not only unfair to the kids, but to myself as well. It takes a seriously special person to do this work and if it weren’t for the kids I would have quit ages ago.

I desperately want to find my calling. I feel like it has to do with art somehow, but I am having trouble putting all the pieces together to see the big picture. I wish I had all the answers, but sadly I do not. I just have to keep putting my feet one step in front of the other trusting that, while I may not see my destination, I am heading in the right direction. The other night when I was feeling particularly down about all of this junk cluttering up my brain space, I received this inspirational email from one of my favorite websites- The Brave Girls Club. This is what it said…

 Life sometimes leaves us in limbo….without the answers we want, or without any answers. We suffer and suffer when we imagine the things that MIGHT happen to us……..PEACE WILL COME when we remember that WHATEVER HAPPENS…we will get through, we will be ok. BE OK WITH NOT KNOWING…knowing that YOU will always be ok….you made it through yesterday, you are making it through today…and you will surely make it through tomorrow….no matter what happens, you will make it through…..choose not to suffer with worry…….be ok with not knowing, and choose joy instead. 
Despite not having a clue where the journey is taking me, I love how the universe sends us little messages to let us know that we are still on track and our internal compass won’t fail us so long as we are brave enough to follow it…

What has your internal compass been telling you lately?

My Doggie Identity

Most of you know I am the lucky owner of two crazy, yet adorable Corgis. They are what I fondly like to call my fur babies…

This was taken about a year ago at my old house, it’s one of my favorite pictures of my fur children. Carwyn is the red dog and Rhett is the black puppy.

Wet Corgis are wet…

And yet as much as I love them, I forget that not everyone is so infatuated with them. While Mike and I were having our usual end of the night discussion yesterday evening, he mentioned that as cute as he is, some people find it hard to like Rhett (the black one), because he pees when you pet him.

On the one hand, as a fur mom I find this just as annoying (he is my dog after all, I am the one who has to deal with it the most), but on the other hand I also fell compelled to come to his rescue. What you have to understand is Rhett is an incredibly submissive dog. I can be yelling at Carwyn for something only Carwyn is doing wrong and Rhett will run and cower in his cage for the simple reason that my tone of voice scares the beejesus out of him, even if he personally has done nothing wrong. When you pet him he pees because in doggie language that is a sign of deference. He is acknowledging that you are higher up in the pack than he is. From everything I have read, he has absolutely no control over this what so ever. On top of it, before I realized it was submissive behavior and not potty training accidents, I used to punish him for it. So now when he does it, even though he has no ability to stop it he will run and hide from me, fearful that I am going to punish him. Talk about guilt as a pet parent :/

As a result I feel like I have to stick up for my puppy a lot. Granted the peeing is annoying, don’t get me wrong, but it’s something that we are working on. What kills me is when I tell people not to pet him unless he’s been out recently because he submissive pees and then they do it anyway and then get pissed at him (ha ha I’m punny!) for peeing on them. I get really upset about it because they are setting him up to fail after I clearly told them what would happen.

You are probably wondering why I am telling you all of this… There is a reason I promise.

After my conversation last night, I was feeling sort of angry about the whole thing and I couldn’t figure out why. I laid awake thinking about it for a long time and finally I realized I was upset because I personally identify with Rhett a lot. I am that submissive puppy. I am the one who runs and hides when something feels threatening. I tuck my tail and cower at the first sign of conflict.

I have a really hard time dealing with someone being upset with me. I have a really hard time handling conflict with other people, and I tend to obsess over what to do about it almost to the point where it completely paralyzes me. If someone gets angry and pushes me around I will lay down and take it regardless of whether I think they are right or not just so the conflict will end. I would do or give up almost anything if meant someone wouldn’t be angry with me. Someone doesn’t even have to be mad at me per say, just the thought that I might have let someone down, disappointed someone, or upset them somehow is enough to bring me to tears. Heck, people don’t even have to be mad at me, they could be fighting with each other and that alone is enough to make me incredibly uncomfortable.

I will be the first to admit I can be extremely sensitive. It sort of bugs me really how thin-skinned I am, but I am also learning to accept it as part of who I am. I am good at hiding the fact that I am really upset from people I don’t know well, but when I am alone or with people I trust or who know me really well, my mask of self composure tends to slip away and I am left feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Believe me this behavior is something I have thought about a lot over the last few years. I hate that I let other people walk over me; I hate how easy it is to make me cry. After much consideration I have come to the conclusion that a lot of these feelings come from my childhood. At lot of crappy things happened to me at a young age that were completely out of anyone’s control. So in my childish logic I decided that if I was a “good girl”, if I made everyone happy and never caused any trouble or made anyone mad, then bad things would stop happening. Life has since proven otherwise, yet I still cling to familiar modes of operation.

Having all this being said I guess if this post has a point to it, it’s this…

I cry when characters die in movies and books (This one makes me cry every single time… seriously.)…
I cried when Sassy fell over the waterfall…
I cry at those horrible Sarah Mclachlan commercials with the abused animals…
Hell, I have even cried during AT&T commercials…
I get upset when I feel like I have let someone down…
I try and do my best to be the peacemaker and make everyone happy even though that’s not always possible…
Sometimes I take work home with me and I can’t stop thinking about all the things the kids I work with have gone through and it makes me excruciatingly sad…
I will give in when I am fighting with someone almost every single time…
I will bend over backwards to please others even at the expense of my own happiness…

This is who I am. BUT…

It would be hard to find a more loyal friend…
It would be hard to find someone who has a bigger heart…
It would be hard to find someone who cares more about other people…
It would be hard to find a friend more willing to be a shoulder to cry on…
And it would be hard to find someone who goes even further out of her way to make other people’s days brighter, even if it’s only a little bit…

The good, the bad, the ugly, they are all me. You can’t have one without the other. We all have things we aren’t proud of, behaviors we wish we could change or get rid of altogether, but ultimately they make up who we are. I hate that I am so sensitive sometimes, but if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have this amazing amount of empathy for everyone in the world around me, and that alone makes the occasional (and sometimes frequent) tears worth it.

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my other dog Carwyn. There are plenty of Carwyns out in the world. You know, the type of people who will stare you down and give one more defiant woof before walking away when you literally just asked them to stop barking. (He does that all the time, little turd.) All I ask is that you remember that not all of us are like you. Not all of us have the courage to stand up for ourselves all the time. Many of us are the timid little Rhetts who want nothing more than to avoid conflict and make you happy. However, don’t mistake meakness for weakness. Make me angry enough, push me hard enough, or threaten someone or something I really care about and I will put my foot down… HARD. But the truth is, while I can and have put my foot down, it’s completely against my nature and I absolutely hate doing it.

I would rather solve conflict rather than cause it or be a part of it. So Carwyns of the world, please remember this… The Rhetts out there, those of us with the desire to help others make people happy- we are giving you a genuine gift. Please, please don’t abuse it.