2014: the recap

Here we are, a few days away from a new year. I went back and gathered some of my favorite moments and posts.

Notable Moments!

Altered my letterpress tray to put all my collectibles. It is all full now. I already have a blank on backup for the next round.

Had a couple pieces in two group/gallery shows. I really need to do more of that next year.
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I really produced a lot of art I liked this year, more than ever. Lots and lots of sketching.

Took a linoblock printing class.

Cut my hair off and went back to brunette land.hurz

The Mary Blair art exhibit with my new friend Caitlin. Yay for new, awesome friends!

Started volunteering with a feline rescue group. One of the best things I have ever done.

Collaborated with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and had my art used for their Ligeia collection.
10612575_339230029581425_7050001566437258625_nStarted my artist website! Now I just need to do a better job at updating it. Heh.

Made my first Day Of The Dead altar in our home, a tradition I plan on keeping up.

Stats: Josh and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary (13 years together) and our 40th birthdays, Reza turned 8, our cats turned 3.

Reza: won a cosplay contest, started 2nd grade, was in the local paper twice, rode a bike for the first time, shaved off the side of her head, lost 5 teeth and continues growing into an awesome little person.

Shows: Forest Swords, Washed Out, Chvrches, Lorde, The National, The Knife, ††† Crosses… CHINO, in person. Bucket list item achieved!

Travel: Two trips to San Diego, a road trip to Portland and a reconnection with the motherland in Mexico.

The Good: 
A new car! Well, new to us anyway and I love our VW.
Slowly but surely making new friends and getting closer to some existing ones. It is always nice to see things move to the next level with those who value you.
Lots of new memories with our friends. Being back in CA certainly has its perks.
Lots and lots perspective.

The Bad: Josh’s brother Jared died and certainly tossed up a lot of feelings, my Mom got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and of course the coming to terms with friendships (or lack thereof) and where you stand with them. With distance comes the inevitable drifting apart. All of these things really hit me with a massive dose of perspective, a renewed sense to really work on making things count.

The Ugly: Had a bit of stressful things go down. Drama, health issues that weren’t getting resolved. Thankfully all of that seems to be working itself out slowly but surely.

Favorite new phrase: “shit show”. And considering how some things went this year, it merited my using it, a lot.

Music: my favorite album as a whole was the soundtrack to Only Lovers Left Alive. It is the one I keep coming back to. Yes, my favorite album of the year was a soundtrack. Only-Lovers_CD_cover-art-660x660

This year was an odd one for music. Lots of good tracks but albums as a whole, not so much. I also felt this year was the year of the woman as some of the better tracks to come out were from Team Estrogen. Well played ladies. I made a playlist of some of my favorite tracks from this year, you can listen to it over on Spotify. There are way more but not everyone is on Spotify.

Goals for 2015: 

  • Make more art (and sell it) – girl has got to pay some bills.
  • Work on debt reduction so we can look into buying a home.
  • Less time on social media, more time making memories and art.
  • Stop taking so many photos with my cell phone and use a real camera for a change
  • Write more: on my blog, a personal journal, snail mail.
  • Read more.
  • Focus on health. All aspects of it.
  • Gratitude and humility. Lots of it.

*****
In previous years: 2013 + 2012 + 2011 + 2010

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There have been some serious cobwebs around here. I know. It isn’t without good reason. I guess I am still in recovery land from all the things that went down last month. It’s hard not to get sucked into the vortex of doom when you get hit from every angle. That sounds so overdramatic, lol. All things considering, things are on the upswing. A slow climb but a climb nonetheless.

The past few weeks have been my trying to get my health back to normal. It’s a process and it’s not even done. Nothing like having an endoscopy and colonoscopy to look forward to in January. Happy New Year Ivonne! Here’s a hose up your ass. But hey, this is what us old people do.

Josh and I selfied with Santa earlier this month. It went a little like this… “Santa? Can we selfie?” “SURE” and then we all made those faces.

Don’t let the Christmas cheer in that photo fool you. I have been a tap on the Grinchy side this year. This is the first year in forever that I didn’t send cards. I feel like a total schmuck for it but I just don’t have it in me because as you can imagine, I like to go all out and the list is huge. It is way more than I want to chew at the moment. So if you wonder why you didn’t get a card from us, well, it’s cause I didn’t do it. It’s not you.

Christmas is around the corner though and this month seems to have flown by in record time. It will be SUPER low key this year, at least for us adults. Got to put the cheddar toward more important things and travel to see family is out of the question.. Reza on the other hand, wrote out the most ambitious xmas list to date cause you know, “Santa”. She still very much believes and we are not going to crush her dreams as long as she wants to continue. But girl has lofty ambitions and an expensive Lego addiction. She cannot get it in her head that a motorcycle is not something 8 year olds get. We did make our pilgrimage to find the wonkiest tree possible… sadly no crooked ones like last year but we did come home with this tall, slender gent that the cats seem to believe was put there just for them.

I think I may have shared that I teamed up with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab to do some art for one of their limited edition collections, Ligeia. They went live last month and won’t be up forever. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a whole box of it and I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome. So so pretty.

Being creative has been a tap of a challenge with all of the peronsal things that have been going on as of late. It’s an interesting yet frustrating process when you hit the slump. In any event, I have been clawing my way back out of the hole in hopes I stay out of it for a while. I did manage to make a xmas/birthday gift for my friend Caitlin. Contrary to popular belief, there is such thing as too much BPAL, at least for me… so I gave one to her and it was very well received. 3D objects are a learning curve but they sure are fun. I hope to make more of these coffins as I have a bunch of blank goodies just waiting for the brush.

It has been raining here for weeks now. We even got hit with that Pineapple Express storm that flooded a bunch of places and closed school for a couple days. There have been some minor breaks but for the most part, grey and wet. Wet, wet, grey. I guess this is what Sonoma County Winter is usually like? It wasn’t like that last year. I like rain, don’t get me wrong but weeks of it is just… ugh. People cannot drive in this shit and girl needs some vitamin D. Over it.

It is no news that I can be a bit of a procrastinator, especially when it comes to creative endeavors. I get it in me and the follow through can be a little on delay. Remember my “Mystery Box” giveaway? Well, I finally got around to sending it, partially because I wanted to make a small custom piece for it and with all the health shit/drama that arrived in November, it was a total buzzkill. In any event, this is what was in the box…

A card, tokidoki cell phone charm, 2 BPAL imps, a scissor charm, a protection card, Addams Family trading card pack, stickers, Burt’s Bees – you can never have enough and a mini framed watercolor elephant. Hopefully worth the wait.

I have a bunch of other thoughts floating around in my head but they’re better suited for my “end of year” post which will be here sooner than we think.

And hey, if you’re reading this, have a wonderful holiday. Live, love, hug long and laugh… loudly.

xo –

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Holiday Survival

A couple weeks ago I got an e-mail from the community manager of a specific website. They were asking bloggers to write a post about what I would include in a “holiday survival kit”.  I won’t share the name because I am not in the business of plugging sites who want blogger content in exchange for nothing, exposure don’t pay the bills holmes. Sorry! (not really)

But it got me thinking about “things” to help get through the holidays with a bit of sanity. Don’t get me wrong, I have shared stuff I love before but I do it under the guise of things I actually have and use. Yes, like a lot of bloggers I could sit here and include a bunch of photos of “things” and tell you why I think they’re “essentials”. But I am not going to.

So instead of making up a bullshit list of things you need to go out and buy to “make your holidays less stressful”, I am going to share things I/we could do and doesn’t really involve shopping. Shit, most of this free… and you all know how much we love the word “free”. So without further ado, I bring you…

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STOP SPREADING YOURSELF SO THIN. 
It needs to be said. The holidays bring on all kinds of pressures. Pressure to be there for family, pressure to deliver. The thing is, some of these pressures are totally self imposed. We pull a Bilbo Baggins that feels “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread”. You end up spending the holidays bouncing from place to place, sometimes in horrendous traffic and next thing you know it’s January and you are just relieved it is over. The month flew by and you didn’t even enjoy it. So cut it out! There is only one of you and your time is just as important.

DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN DEBT
This goes on par with the pressures. The need to deliver xmas becomes this prevalent feeling, so much so that all you’re doing is stressing about how it’s going to happen. There’s pressure that you have to buy people things… sometimes people you don’t even want to give gifts to but feel like you have to! So many people overextend themselves monetarily, maxing out credit cards or spending money that sometimes they don’t even have to spend. I know it’s tough, especially for those with kids who have no concept of monetary value or struggles. But look at it this way when giving gifts, balance out what is a “want vs need”. It’s just stuff. If there is one thing 2 cross country moves have taught me, is that we amass so much bullshit and clutter in our lives. Things are just things and in the grand scheme of life, those things don’t make your happiness. If you’re going to gift, give the gift of rewarding experiences with those you love. That lasts so much longer.

SHOP ONLINE
I’m not saying you need to pull and Ebenezer either. If you really want to give gifts, have at it! I know it can be really fun to surprise friend X with the rare book they’ve salivated over. When you have a very clear intent on what you want to buy and it’s readily available to your fingertips, just do it online. It saves you so much hassle, stress and fighting with assholes for a parking spot at the mall.  We did a lot of that last year and it was sweet! Just make sure you do it with a timely manner so things arrive in time.

MUSIC
We all have it, have access to it, own it, stream it. You don’t know how many homes I have visited of friends and family and they never bump tunes. I don’t get how they do it because the right song, at the right moment, makes memories. Use it! It can change your entire outlook on the day. It is as essential to me as water. Play it in your house, play it loud. +1 point if it’s a total guilty pleasure and you shake your ass to it while doing your household chores. +10 points if that shit is done in your underwear.

LEARN TO SAY NO
There are so many people who “hate the holidays” and a lot of it is because you feel the pressure of having to spend it with or around family you may not even get along with. It’s ok to say no to things and don’t feel bad about it! No one is going to advocate for your sanity more than you. If not going to Aunt Horrible Cooking and Creepy Drunk Uncle so-and-so’s house in bum fuck is going to make you feel more chill, politely decline. Yes, there will be disappointments expressed but those who love you will get it if you just can’t. There is a fine art to learning how to say “no” to people and the sooner you master that skill, the happier you will be. .

IT’S NOT WHO YOU SPEND IT WITH, IT’S HOW YOU SPEND IT
I know a lot of people who dread the holidays because they have horrible or sad memories attached to them. I get that so much, especially when you’ve lost someone meaningful in your life. It can be daunting especially when we’re fed visuals of happy, perfect families sitting around in their matching pajamas by the fire. We feel alone, like we are missing something bigger. Family is a part of it but remember your family is who you make of it. Fall back on your friends, your pets, etc. Go out and do things that fulfill you: a hike, movies, travel etc. If you happen to have awesome company, well good for you! But if you have no one, it’s ok too. It really is. Give to yourself.

I know a lot of these things are easier said than done. Trust. I get it. Xmas is what you make it and we all have that power… and it doesn’t involve door busting at 6 a.m. for a deal on a TV.

 

 

it’s not you, it’s me

No. Really. I wish I could say it was something else but I can’t.

I have been dealing with some medical/health bullshit the past few months and nothing seems to be getting better. The digestive system is a very complicated place you see, and no amount of describing what I am felling is getting me any solutions. I have seen a number of physicians, had more tests, many vials of goo removed. You name it. And I have more coming.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, I woke up with an unholy pain in my body, nausea, horrible cramps, urge to vomit… so much so that I ended up in the emergency room. I was poked, prodded and after they decided I had nothing threatening, they kicked me out. As I gathered myself up, in a drug induced haze, I pulled a full on Linda Blair in the bathroom. I haven’t puked like that in ages. Note to self: next time don’t let them give you dilaudid. That shit is awful and gave me a horrendous hangover.

Anyway, I won’t get into the gory and disgusting TMI that happened with me in the days to follow. All I know is that I haven’t been myself in weeks and as much as I try and put on my game face, I have been dealing with some really uncomfortable internal battles… physical and emotional. It’s hard to function when your belly feels like it has multiple hands shoving their fingers into you. It’s hard to feel emotionally whole when you’re in a constant state of pain, discomfort or fragility. Add all the other shit that happened in the month of November, I am a pretty overwhelmed.

An interesting development arose yesterday. I got a call from one of the ER Drs. to let me know that my lab work tested positive for a bacteria called H. Pylori. I have never even heard of this shit! 80% of people carry this bacteria and are asymptomatic but in my case it certainly doesn’t feel that way. So I seem to have a pretty nasty bacterial attack on my GI system. In looking it up, reading forums, a lot of it sounded like my symptoms. Could this be the cause? Who knows. They ordered me a pretty beefy regimen of antibiotics/meds for the next two weeks.

I only hope that this is the answer I was hoping for because I am so so so tired of feeling this way physically. I really want some relief. It has really been killing my creative output which only depresses me more. This isn’t who I am. I am a doer and right now I feel like Ada tied to the piano under the sea, the surface so close I can see it yet the weight beneath me keeps me from pulling up. I’m ready to break through and breathe.

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