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.
14492295299_8ffba76302_z

14211134471_e1f42ee31a_z

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

closure: 2012 ends and not in that Mayan kind of way.

Another year came and went. Holy shit. It felt longer than ever but on the same token it passed by like a breeze.

Notable Moments:
Adopted two rescue kittens: Gomez and Judas
Made a bucket list
Got off my ass and launched my etsy store. And stuff sold!
Discovered my love of the bike and got over my fear of being near moving cars
Found a lot of cool dead things for my collection
Learned how to pin bug specimens
Found and returned a wallet
Rescued a baby bunny and moved it to safety
Watched someone get engaged under the LOVE sign in Philadelphia
Got fitted for and bought a GOOD bra. My tits felt like they could conquer the world. Why did I wait this long? Who the hell knows.
Sent out a metric TON of snail mail.
My kid graduated from pre-k and started K. (finally!) – She also started Karate.
Reconnected with a friend I had not spoken to in over 10 years.
Crazy ass weather… Hurricane Sandy was some scary shit.
Cut off a friend I love very much due to substance abuse – I miss him.
Getting to spend Reza’s birthday in San Diego, seeing all my old friends and finally getting some real Mexican food.
Another successful collaboration with Cupkozy (Buy one here!)


(this was our xmas postcard this year… figured since most people already got theirs I can share it now)

Stats: Josh and I celebrated 11 years together and our 8 year wedding anniversary. Reza turned 6, Josh and I turned 38…. buncha geezers.

Met For The First Time: Diana, Angie and Bianca, both who I have known online for a while but never in person. Both were awesome. Can I say how awesome it is to meet e-friends in person? It’s awesome. Oh and my nephew Ari.

Firsts:
Painted my first vinyl figures
Created a print for fabric (note to self: DO MORE)
Painted a lot of watercolor art
Sent out more mail this year than I ever have.
Got backstage at a hair metal show
Discovered my love for riding my bike
Rode over 100 miles on said bike in one week
Rode a bike through a cemetery
Sent a very heartfelt email to someone who didn’t know me but needed it.

Visitors: Tom, Chris, Bret & Gayle, Diana, Griselda, Bee + the kids, Liz, Mom & Dad

Traveled to/places seen: New York City, Sleepy Hollow, New Hope, Philadelphia, San Diego.

Shows: The Black Keys, Lita Ford – Poison – Def Leppard (on one bill!), Sigur Ros, Dead Can Dance, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Amon Tobin – Amon Tobin is hands down the best of the year.

Lost: Nena. After 13 years of companionship we said goodbye to our little chi-hoo-dog. That was a really rough couple of weeks for me cause she was there before Josh and Reza… Still feels like a punch to the gut.

Addicted: nail polish, antique hunting, Spotify, cycling, finding dead things, Pinterest, watercolors, smoothie making, oil cleansing method for the skin,

Music I listened to on repeat:
This is the thing about the “end of the year” playlist. Technically they’re supposed to be the best of 2012. Some of these did not come out this year but I got into them late in the game. They make my playlist anyway, I make the rules here. It’s a whole lot of songs that don’t belong together but whatever. If you are on spotify, you can listen to my fav tracks here.

Prurien† – ††† (Crosses) <--- the best new release this year as far as I am concerned. Warrior - Kimbra Cut It Out - Kitten Violent - The New Division Kill Your Heroes - AWOLnation Terrorbird - Author & Punisher Spheres Of Fury - HECQ + Exillon Professional Griefers - deadmau5 + Gerard Way L'amour - Bingo Players Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker - Dada Life The Night Out - Martin Solveig Vescath - Enabl.ed Rosemary - Deftones Memories Of The Future - Handsome Furs Baalbek - Trifonic (Hecq remix) They Disappear Into The Palms - Lights Out Asia ...For A Void - Bitcrush 4 Days - Snow In Mexico (not available on Spotify) listen here
Starfield – The New Division (not available on Spotify) listen here

The last two are amazing, shame they are not on Spotify to complete the playlist but they needed to be mentioned

And about me…

The Good…
All things considering, I was pretty inspired. I made a lot more art this year than in previous years. I also sold a lot of it too which is always flattering that people feel it’s purchase worthy. I did not make enough but right now there is a high tide and I am riding it as long as it will let me. Here are just a couple of pieces I did that stuck out…

I came to a realization that there are things that really stimulate and make me feel whole. Things that agree with me and things that don’t. It’s nice to be that intuitive with yourself that you can see those things instead of having them pointed out to you. Instead of sharing it all, I am just going to do. No one likes preachy types and lord knows there is A LOT of that going around these days.

I switched up my approach to social media and how I use it. Trimming the fat was so necessary.

Last year I said I was going to stop writing and living for others. Do I feel like I accomplished that? Absolutely.

My family? Awesome. Our marriage? Stronger than ever.

The Bad…
Josh and I had a small rough patch this year but it was sorted out.
Reza’s school schedule is the biggest joke and 2.5 hours doesn’t allow me much personal time.
Last year I said I was going to lose weight. I did… and gained it and lost it, and gained it…

The Ugly…
Realizing that people are not who you thought they are/were

I will say it. I try to see the good in everything, that there is a lesson to be learned but that outlook can be exhausting at times. We pretty much came to the conclusion that we need to get out of NJ and the day cannot come soon enough. It’s hard to feel that lightness when you have that heavy anvil on your shoulders. Being somewhere you don’t like or thrive is not something I wish on anyone.

Conclusion…
So what will 2013 bring? No resolutions, only goals and hopes…..
Get out of NJ
Acquire strength in the body and peace in the mind
Travel
Write more letters
Speak with freedom and honesty
Drive less, ride hard
Make more art and put it out there. No more comparing, fearing criticism.
Admit and accept that there are things I do well and stop being a pussy about it.
Step out of my comfort zone.

2013 is going to be a better year, hopefully a very exciting one. I have a feeling. Catch you on the other side.

oxoxox

I.

the dirty ex

We all have had one. You know who and what I am talking about. That moment when you find yourself going back to the ex for a little round of “for old time’s sake” even though you know that it probably won’t end well. It never does. You have a fleeting moment where all seems right and you leave, doing the walk of shame, you want to punch yourself for falling into the trap. This is my relationship with facebook.

Back tracking… it isn’t any news when I say that accepting compliments is not my strong suit. Belief in myself and my abilities isn’t either. In my early years I always felt like anything I did wasn’t good enough, shit, some people even said it to me. Some were not as nice as others. I was not (insert adjective here) enough. After a while of hearing it, it hard to not start believing it. You get sucked into the thought and feeling. Funny how it’s easier to get sucked in by the darkness than it is for the light, right? Not to derail off too much but lets just say that I take my gifts for granted more often than I should. Sometimes they fall to the wayside cause life happens but ultimately they are there, somewhere. The thorn in my side… it makes a great accessory but it also hurts. Every time I hear these things, while said with the best intentions, stings…

“Why aren’t you doing more of this?”
“You should be making t-shirt/art/books/prints/insert creative endeavor here”

And then there’s my personal favorite….

“Your talent is going to waste.

Ouch. Even the best intended comment using a word like “waste” feels like muriatic acid poured on your skin. I get it and when it comes from people you love it’s hard to not let that dagger sink in a little.

So, about facebook and how it falls into this equation. A few months ago I gave myself the “no more!” moratorium. I said I was going to tone it down. I did… and just like trying to kick a dirty habit, or getting on a strict diet, you find yourself slowly slipping, falling back into old patterns. Kinda like the dirty ex you know you shouldn’t be calling but do. Next thing you know you’re knee deep in the mud you said you didn’t want to wade in.

The muse came knocking back on my door recently. She’s a fickle bitch and pops up when she feels like it, but this time she knocked loud and clear. If I spent the amount of time I do on social media, on other things like my art and marketing myself, maybe, just maybe, I COULD be doing more. With every denied friends request I am denying people access to see what I have to offer. Damn that was a lot of commas, probably used incorrectly too.

Yesterday I enlisted myself in the complicated process of phasing out the old and waking up to the new. The necessary evil that is the ole eff bee. Personally I hate it all together but I won’t lie when I say it is a valuable tool. The masses gather there and for the case of self promotion, it is one of the better means to reach out to a larger audience. Why am I not using it to my advantage?!

My old page has far too much personal on it and I figure if people really want the personal, the juice of the berry, they can read my blog to get it. The blog is and always will be that place where you get ME. The old stuff will eventually be deleted in its entirety. When you first sign up you have no clue how to handle it, and now after years of use, you come to realize that it has turned into this hot mess of settings, privacy controls and maybe you shouldn’t have posted that photo of you humping a lawn reindeer.

So, I made a new profile. A personal but public profile that anyone can read and add. In it I will be more cake than frosting. I won’t be talking about what I had to eat that day or if my head hurts, or talking about how I walked eyeball first into a tree branch (not recommended). I am not going to be posting happy birthday messages… Instead I am going to send private emails, cards, phone calls… shit, remember those?! And it goes without saying that I will be sharing blog updates, art, photography, crafts… all the shit I do and do well. I know that sounds arrogant, trust me when I say it isn’t… that is not how I roll. I just need to start believing in myself a little more and hope this is one of the many steps I take that will get me *there*.

That’s what that was all about. If you’ve followed me over, been here for years or even if this is your first time here…. thanks for listening, supporting, encouraging, pushing, helping, reading, reading and sharing. You make it worthwhile.

Gracias.

-I.

+/-

+ I have really been enjoying the bike. I have been using it for errand running and it’s nice to not drive as much. The exercise with good music is just a great combination and the reduction of PMS was absolutely noticeable.
+ Having all the windows open and waking up to 50 degree weather while nuzzled under the blankets
+ While out cycling I found a near perfect sphinx moth and a butterfly. Dead bug jackpot!
+ Finally finishing my curiosities cabinet. I absolutely love it.
+ Getting closer to seeing my people back home. 2 more weeks til San Diego!
– the headache that lasted two days and brought some pissy attitude along with it
+ We got hit with a crazy ass storm on Tuesday. Reza and I went out for a walk in it and the wind was so nuts it flipped my umbrella inside out and busted it. Reza and I were laughing our asses off, in the rain, getting wet and not giving a fuck.
+ More super thoughtful and thankful messages from friends who received my mail.
+ Speaking of mail I sent out an additional 11 pieces of mail this week. I hope they brighten their days.
– Biking through someone’s freshly exhaled cigar smoke cloud. Oh and the lady that saw me coming on the bike and decided to cross the street in front of me anyway. Bitch.
+ Speaking of biking, in 4 days I have rode (ridden?) 48.1 miles. Fucking feels awesome. Trying to stay true to my “exercise 6 days a week” rule. “Trying” being the operative word.

******

I started this draft a couple of days ago but didn’t get around to finishing it. Obviously, because of this weekend’s events, I wasn’t in the mind frame to complete it. My head space went from really positive to… god, I don’t even think there is a word for this feeling. I am not going to apologize for this. Writing is an outlet for me and this is where I plan on letting it out. If it’s not for you, that’s cool, I get it.

You know that scene in The Neverending Story, where Artax is in The Swamps of Sadness? I am Artax. I don’t want to sink but the sad is just so hard to fight at times, especially when so much is a reminder. Yesterday I was making Reza breakfast and I dropped a piece of french toast on the floor. Usually it would have been gone within seconds, but I looked down and it was still there. It’s the little things, even the things I once found annoying … all of a sudden I find myself missing them. I have to reprogram my head to live without her presence and that right there is going to take some time.

I knew that this process was going to be upsetting but I had no idea how hollow it would make me feel. Sleep evades me, my appetite is absolutely gone and I have been pretty much been force feeding myself in order to not get weak. The grievance diet, good times.

This morning I got back on the horse so to speak… back to the routine, back to life. I took Reza to school and rode my bike for another 11.6 miles. I easily could have kept going cause I was that distracted, but riding that much with just a cup of coffee in my system isn’t good. At least I am cognitive enough to think about what is going on around me. I am glad I went. The sunlight and heart rate elevation did me some good. Do you know how hard it is to bike when your eyes are filled with tears? Hard. I don’t know why I even bothered with the mascara today. Maybe because I don’t want to look like the puffy eyed monster that has wept and broken down multiple times for three days in a row.

Everyone tells me it gets better, I know it is going to get better. It fucking has to cause I can’t stand this feeling like I have a piano on my chest. I am so grateful for Josh, my friends and my kitties cause without them around, I would be absolutely destroyed.