Archive for the ‘Artist Life’ Category

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Hurry up and Slow Down

January 23, 2014
Reflections at Sunrise, Oregon Coast

Reflections at Sunrise, Oregon Coast

Have you ever endured a difficult time in your life and craved to know just simply WHY? Since my relocation, I’ve spent five of my six months in this new city with a continual pins/needles, numbness, atrophy and nerve pain down my right arm.  If you are a regular here, you read in my October blog entry I was hoping for  some relief with a nerve block. Much to everyone’s surprise,  it didn’t work.  Two days later I was sitting in a neurosurgeon’s office discussing surgical options.

I underwent a “Foraminotomy” at the end of November.  This procedure would drill a larger opening in my C5/C6 vertebrae, remove the spurring and herniation to allow more room for the nerve. 90% of patients see improvement immediately following surgery.  Unfortunately, I fall in the other 10% category. Ironically, I was given the same stat prior to the failed nerve block.

Sunrise over the Pacific

Sunrise over the Pacific

As a regularly physically active person, being out of commission for ongoing five months, has started to take its toll on me mentally.  For months I have felt the weight of two ton concrete boots slowing me down, when all I long to do is run. I’m in a new city, there are new things to explore and new people to meet.  However, the bulk of my life has not been making new friends or discovering new hideouts, but trying to find good health care practitioners and juggling my schedule trying to see each one of them.

When I try to think clearly about the answer to how and why I’ve ended up in the journey that I have been, a common thread of conversations surface. “Slow down and be patient”  My massage therapist said it, my doctor said it, husband said it, my personal trainer just said it yesterday. A whole stream of people in between have said it.  I’ve ignored them, until smack, those words have hit me deliberately across the face.

I realize I am not patient, I want everything yesterday. There is no doubt I am in a period of life change, just as I approach my 40th birthday. Perhaps this injury’s purpose is to strip everything that I know as normal routine in order to create a new and better me on the other side. I am unpatiently waiting to see who that person will be.

Fresh Find

Fresh Find

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“Wherever you Go, There you Are”

October 30, 2013
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Spectacular Sunset, Neskowin, Oregon

After a year-long of preparation and anticipation here I am, writing from SE Portland.  In a mere 4 months I’ve been transported into a different country with entirely new terrain surrounding me. I find myself traveling through a range of emotions. Most days I bounce along the streets as I walk my dog, smile on my face, fascinated by new foliage, backyard chickens and reading bumper stickers (Portland seems to love bumper stickers) Then there are other days, where I long to see a familiar face among a crowd and deeply miss Canada’s Healthcare system, but I’ll get back to that.

The first two months here was mostly filled with logistical duties. All those boring jobs that come with a move, such as setting up utilities, and changing addresses – except this time, we had no clue who the utilities were or where anything was.  Though, I am happy to report, I passed my Oregon drivers test and actually have an Oregon drivers license now.  The DMV is a place I am happy to NOT have to visit for a long while now.

Fleur, Head study, framed up, 10"x10", Oil on Canvas

Fleur, Head study, framed up, 10″x10″, Oil on Canvas

I have yet to pick up any type of paint brush other than those used for painting walls.  Sadly, with the last two moves I have had, I never felt more at home than when my house was up for sale. I’ve been determined to build a nest here and make my house feel like a home before it’s on the market again!  Some of you know that my previous career and school training was as an Interior Designer – it’s been fun wearing that hat again for my own home. One thing I love is that this Portland house is entirely different from my Orangeville house.  Coming from a warm palette, this time around I’ve gone with cool grey blues, accented with Chartreuse and other random punches of fun colour. I’m working with an eclectic mix of mid-century modern furniture and shabby chic type finishes.  In keeping the slogan ‘Keep Portland Weird’, I’ve thrown the odd fake feathered bird in unique hiding locations.

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The beginnings of some assemblage in my new home. clean lined furniture, sheer soft window coverings, a stunning rug and of course, sleekly framed artwork by friends. This one above the chair, courtesy of Kathi Peters. http://www.kathipeters.com

After a summer filled with exploring the area and working on the house, it was about time to prepare for fall and with that the start of school for my son.  I was eager to get into some kind of routine at home and work in this new life here in Portland. However, my body had other plans for me 😦 The morning of August 28th, I awoke to the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced (and I have given birth before!) Electric shock waves rushed from my neck, across my chest and upper back, shooting down my arm, and landing at the tip of my right thumb.  Of course my husband was away at the time, my poor son watched me in horror as I screamed and cried in pain trying to figure out what to do, how to get help, where to go??? Of all the logistical hurdles we had jumped through to that date, we had yet to find a doctor or figure out how US healthcare worked. I guess there is nothing like just getting yourself thrown right into it.

I’m not going to get into a healthcare debate, I admit to completely not understanding the system here – I am just not used to having to pay for care and having insurance dictate much of your treatment. On the positive side, I was able to have an MRI much sooner than I’m sure I ever would have in Canada, I’m just awaiting the bill for that – lol.

So here I am, three months later typing this blog post over an icepack, my right arm still ringing and burning.  Turns out I’ve got a nasty bone spur at my C5/C6 that is enjoying cuddling with the nerve beside it.  It’s not like the spur grew overnight, why it decided to rear its ugly head here, just when I was about to start really settling in, is a complete mystery to me.  A few doctors suggested that perhaps it was the stress of the move that caused my muscles to tense and lock up, not allowing my joints to move as well.  For whatever the reason, I’m sick of being laid up! I’m ready more than ever to move forward!! I cannot imagine living with this nerve pain for the rest of my life!!! Along with physical therapy, I am getting a nerve block injection next week to try to calm the nerve down.  Let’s hope it works.

My first Encaustic Painting, from a workshop, 8x10

My first Encaustic Painting from a workshop, 8×10

Enough with the pity party over my bummed arm, and back to the burning question of what does the future hold for me and my art career? I’m still working on that picture. I feel now, more than ever that there will be a shift.  I am not sure if it will be medium, subject or style. However, just as patient as I’ve been waiting for my arm to heal up, I am trying to be patient, stay present and enjoy the journey to whatever direction that may be.

2nd of first Encaustic attempt. I like the first one is better, but it's part of the learning curve

2nd of first Encaustic attempt. I like the first one is better, but it’s part of the learning curve

Thanks for checking in and reading my update.  I may not have new work to share for a while yet, but I will try keep you all in the loop 🙂