Friday, March 31, 2006

Juxtapositions of March

Its been a month of juxtapositions.  Reading Deb's lastest entry about her dog's medicine which was confiscated, coupled with the last day of the month, I felt the urge to follow through on placing March into perspective. 

My insurance company changed the first of the year.  It was not until February that I knew I was headed for trouble with this new company which is headquartered here in my city.  The pulmonary doctor wanted to add another med for Pulmonary Hypertension...I received a call from the distributor that my co-pay...HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR CHAIR...would be between 8,000-12,000 PER MONTH because it was not classified as a prescription but medical therapy!  I'll leave out the details of the conversation but the good news I was told was that my insurance company has a 2,500 annual out of pocket and I could be set up to pay that in 12 months.  Sound good? NO! because I was readjusting my budget to figure in another 30-50 co-pay for what I thought would be a normal prescription...after much back and forth with many partners, I decided that I would not add the new script.  Even though I still have symptoms that cause me concern and that I know will be on-going, considering where I was just last year at this time, I've stablized miraculously in my opinion.  With that resolved, March rolls in and I received another call from the pharmacist for the medicine for the PH that I've been on for 1 year and is the reason I've improved so drastically.  Previously I paid 30 bucks a month...with the new company, my co-pay monthly (HOLD TIGHT AGAIN) would be 806.00 because of how its classified with them.  After many on-going conversations with many partners, I was referred to an agency that is set up to aid folks with PH in covering their medical expenses but I've had to stay on top of the process daily.  All this came on the heel of disability being approved in January and counting blessings, as our financial life didn't suffer too much with my loss of total income for 6 months, it was more of an emotional dent I experienced with loss of feeling autonomous in my I was thinking finally, I could begin again to aspire with focus on some goals and that I've made it over the hump.  A few years ago I adopted the philosophy and practice that that there is never a "perfect" time and if while on our way to death, we might as well go out doing what we want to do and giving it our best shot.  So in spite of not always feeling physically good I still attempt to do that which I enjoy and brings me in March I spent a great quilty day with an old friend, kept my grandson twice (he is awake more and loves to interact and listen to jazz! but boy its work to manage a diaper bag, car seat, baby,...I couldn't have done this without my daughter's help).  She injured her knee a few weeks ago and cannot get in to see her ortho doc until the 13th of April.  We're on a waiting list in case of cancellation.  She has seen her pediatrician and this has been an on-going issue for her since she was tackled playing football a few years ago.  She wears a brace and is on crutches and does the ice pack when she comes in from school.  In addition, my youngest son who is rarely ever sick, had allergy related sinus infection and is just a big baby and drama king when he doesn't feel good. 

I attended the exhibit opening with another long time friend (who goes back to junior high) for Penny Sisto's quilts that coincide with a permanent exhibit about the Underground Railroad experience in Southern Indiana and Louisville.  I told Penny that I didn't know if the spirits handled her or she handled the spirits...they are hauntingly amazing!  I will start April by attending a gallery talk by her tomorrow morning. 

I have 2 older sisters and we've never taken a trip together.  Unlike my mother and her 5 sisters who for awhile stayed in the air going some place or another and all I got was the t-shirts.  My sisters and I attempted to finalize a trip to go see The Color Purple on Broadway but another curve that I had to deal with is finding out the ins and outs of traveling with oxygen...the great deal went bust for me when I discovered that in order for the airline to provide oxygen for me it would add another 100.00 per stop to my price on top of arranging o2 for the hotel.  This caused me to reflect a great deal on my limitations which bummed me for a focus is almost hyper-vigilant to think how I can get around, overcome these challenges and well, by nature, I'm much more of a laid back, go with the flow type of person and this last year has had me out of sync...but as my great-gran would always say...if you don't change, life will change you.  There are days that the anger and sadness get the best of me and dammit, (my other motto) you just can't keep a good woman down and all that jazz. So I'm in this for the long ride and I refuse to go down!

And to illuminate a litte more about how this all effects me, my 20 odd years of working in human services, I've seen a lot. Nothing surprises me, angers me, YES! but surprise me, hardly ever to never.  My personal situations get placed on a continuum of what I've been exposed to in my 20 years as a person concerned with the quality of living in all ways and I'm highly sensitive to the issues of injustice and misery in the world around us.  Yesterday I read the story of the rape of the dancer by a lacrosse team and every image and emotion that I felt while I sat in the exam rooms holding hands while rape victims where being examed I carried on me all day.  I've never attempted to describe it to others but its like in an instance and simulaneously, every injustice begins to run together and I can feel it and see it.  I take frequent small breaks from the news and also seek out those who can better articulate what I feel in order to not allow it to immobilize me.

In March I received this beautiful collage from Memphis Pam which arrived in time to lift up my spirits:  Dscn1335

She found the butterfly in her yard.  Everything is collaged onto stretched canvas.  It caused me to get back on track with purging the household of items that I do not want in preparations for a move this summer.

Normally, I would have placed this on the blog I created to dump my distracting energy on around my health as opposed to here, but in March I was keenly aware of how my emotions effected my sense of self...questioning whether I can make this transition into visual arts as a quilter.  I don't normally shop often or enjoy it, but my spending has been out of control this month...but my art supplies are better equipped.  It was a sign that I was not at the top of my game and need validation that I could do this.  I remembered a poet-friend saying, "don't wait on the muse, summon her", so I scheduled some studio days in May at the Mary Anderson Center to do just that.  April will more than likely continue to be a month of juxtapositions but now that I've allowed myself to talk about it, I know that I'll be more at peace with what I must do.

Hangeth in, ;)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March's No Name Journal Quilt

Dscn1346_copy This was disappointing.  I started with a 8.5"x11" printer fabric of an altered image in Photoshop of what looked like a psychedelic trip of a jar of jelly beans...I was going to bead it as a whole piece but didn't want to take the time to bead so I decided to isolate the jelly beans and play again with pre-programmed stitches...short story shorter, I hate it but in the sake of full disclosure and cooperation, here it is:

Dscn1349 I'm not even bothering to name it. I'm ready to move on and have March be over with.  The events of the past few weeks I've had a fight with the new health insurance company, my daugther has injured her knee, we began purging the household stuff in preps to move, I've had the grandson a couple of times, and shopped more than I'm accustomed to.  The last week I've kept trying to do but my body is saying "don't" and that is when March's journal quilt lost its purpose.  I'm not even going to place a binding on it. I'm going to give it one more month before I decide if the journal quilt project is something I want to continue with.

Next week Mo and Ade are on spring break and we have planned to take some day trips.  It will all depend on how Mo is feeling with her knee, but I'm wanting a change of scenery desperately.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Scrabble Blues

Dscn1316 Can't say I wasn't cautioned about speaking too loudly of my superior Scrabble skills...(inside the confessional booth)...but I've had a terrible loosing streak and I need forgiveness for not being a more humble ruler.  This dawned on me when I finally uttered aloud that Mud Man is the new Scrabble King.  Femi (a Scrabble peasant) thinks that all the Literati playing has thrown off my Scrabble mind set.  I'm so torned about what to do...Scrabble, Literati, Scrabble, Literati...but I've been getting my butt kicked at Literati too as Mary knows from personal experience.  I'm distraught and wrought with grief...I'll just have to find someway to play them both.  I recently purchased the Scrabble Travel board and will be meeting Mud Man to play at coffee shops from time to time.  Maybe I'll get a harmonica and play the Scrabble blues at open mic.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Artist Date

Last week I took myself on an artist date to a place that is fun for me to watch develop and grow.  There is still quite a bit of construction that is on-going but there are already tons of artists studios and retail shoppes open and each week there seems to be something new. Its been open for I guess a year at least. One of the many women who paved the road for African American women artists in this city/state had her name on an empty studio and it was a jolt of joy to my heart to see that. Elmer Lucille Allen is the type of woman who meets you once and remembers your name and any shared information forever.  First a chemist but always an artist, she makes being retired look damn good as she is a young spirit (me, I turned 84 soul years when I was 27) and she loves, loves, loves people.  I don't think I've ever been young...wild, yes, stupid, plenty, but never young. 

Here are some photos of my walk through Mellwood, (the place use to be Fischer's meat slaughter and meat packing facility).    Long time ago I lived down the street and on Sunday nights and Monday mornings the trucks would be backed into the unloading docks. I wonder if spirits of dead pigs haunt the place?????  The meat facility shared the street with Tumbleweed restaurant, a local tv station, houses, and apartments and faced north toward the highway, Coxes Park on River Road and the river being the Ohio. The genealogy of geography.

Dscn1314 (l) This will be a live theater when complete.  Dscn1315 (r) This is walking from the parking lot and the building that will become the theater is to the right.  Dscn1313

(r) This is just passing through the gates to the right and will become an artists'Dscn1312  supply store but I hope it doesn't hurt the other 2 art suppliers we have here.  (l) This is just as you look up on the right as you pass through the gate.  Dscn1305 Dscn1307                                                  Dscn1308                                         Dscn1306 Dscn1310 Dscn1302 How could I not love a cafe that has Peace in its title!?! The last photo on the right is the hallway into one section of the studios/retail space. To the left is a maze and I do mean a maze of rooms that all look like the one on the left corner of the picture.  Currently, studio space goes for $11.00 a square foot and there is a tenant that develops artist with disabilities of all kinds and they rent out studio space for 70 or 80 per month and they also run drop-in studio time during the day and after school.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned it here but one of the things I'm most proud of is developing a fine art program for adults with mental retardation and severe physical disabilities.  They have since gone on to widely exhibit and buy a gallery/studio to showcase their art. Even though I no longer work there this is still an area that I truly love to read and hear about.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Make an Offer

This quilt belongs to Cari, the good friend who is reinventing her space from scratch which I wrote about previously.  She has the quilt for sale.  My intention was to post this 2 weeks ago as a favor to help her move this but, well, the short version that explains my distraction I'll sum up with these words: soft spoken woman did not blow up health insurance headquarters to save the universe.  I live by my motto that you just can't keep a good woman down and all that jazz! So life is fine but the armor gets heavy sometimes.

Anyways, this is my friend's quilt that she has for sale. It was  made by a quilter named Elizabeth Quebbeman:

Dscn1294 The colours are true. It is loosely quilted. Dscn1296

Dscn1297If you want to inquire further email me at karoda2743 at aol dot com and I'll give you Cari's email.

And take a peek at Carol's tea menus! Personally, this is among the freshest and creative ideas that I've seen.

Friday, March 10, 2006

and I will never do that again!

I had Passion blown up to as large as Kinko's could get it (3'x3.5') and it was just a little under 10 bucks for it! First, I didn't ask how much it would be because the last time I had something blown up there it was around 3 bucks and I recall thinking that it was cheaper than I expected.  Second, its not as large as I really wanted it but decided to work with it that size and make 2.  If I had been thinking on my feet I would not have taken it! But instead I was dazed by the shock of the cost.  So tomorrow I'm taking a 40% off coupon to Hobby Lobby and get the Tracer!

Yesterday was Fantabulous!

After waking up late for a buck-a-fat quarter sale, a non-quilting friend and I made it to the quilt shop about 10:30 and dammit the batiks where already gone and I was told they wouldn't cut anymore of them for the sale! But I managed to get about 30 fat quarters which are drying now (anyone want to come and iron them for me?).  I also picked up Jan Krentz's Diamond Quilts & Beyond as it was on my wish list.  Marilyn was really taken aback by the crowd at the quilt shop.

We left there and went over to the Carnegie to see Form, Not Function. Marilyn loved  Danny's Turtles (by Diane Bielak) and Tommy Fitzsimmons quilt, Pickets #13 . We then had lunch at Buckhead's where she tried Fried Green Tomatoes for the first time and loved them.  Then I whisked her off to E & S Gallery to see Valeri White's Quilts.  Highly original and vibrant!!!!!!! Valerie can be seen here and she also has a self-portrait in the Spring issue of Quilting Arts.  While at E & S, I discovered another textile quilter, Phyllis Stevens. None of the works shown on the site where in the gallery, but 2 others of women.  She uses tapestry and upholstery fabrics and they are fairly large and framed under glass.  I don't like quilts behind glass...framed yes but the nature of glass doesn't compliment the quilts I've seen covered by it.  But nevertheless, her use of diverse fabrics and rich colours made her quilts highly dramatic and stunning.

Our next stop was to show her the gallery and studio of Mary Craik then to Border's to pick up Quilting Arts.  Days like yesterday are so precious to me and worth the fatigue at the end of the day! Thanks Marilyn. 

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Its all process

How or when this image came to me is a story for inner circle friends that I'll leave off this public space but the working title is called Passion.  I sketched it immediately because I tend to forgo-to-forget things.

Passion1 I haven't attempted it yet as it is a large piece in my mind. In Photoshop I turned it to grayscale and applied anothePassion_1r effect that I don't remember. Passion1_1 Tomorrow or Monday I'm going to take the grayscale to Kinko's and blow it up as large as they can get it.  My ambitious self says to make 2, one with the black background and one with the gray background.  My base self says take it one step at a time.

Also, in the name of process, the piece below of the flower petal was going to be my March Journal quilt but the size is 10"x12".Img_0375 It started with the front of the greeting card on the left in the picture. I scanned it, enlarged it, cropped it, and gray scaled it. Then taped it to the window and traced it trying to capture the light and dark.  I numbered the pattern pieces 1-7 with 1 being the lightess nad 7 the darkest.  Dscn0268_1 My goal was to use the thread lines to create darker contrast for a shadow effect so the backing fabric wasn't attached until I was finished with the thread lines.  The backing was painted and in that picture you can see my daugther's new obsession, Bunkin, the Shubunkin Gold Fish.  Late summer of last year it was the Sunflower obsession...I have a gazillion photos of the life of the Sunflower.  Front, close-up, and back below:Img_0378