Spring Goals

So, I totally failed on monthly goals, whoooooooooops!

There are plenty of good reasons why, including the fact that at the moment I am extremely sick--I've already had one *deeply* unpleasant ER visit this week (catheters are the devil) and I'd like to avoid another but we'll see how the pain goes after I get off my 12 hour shift.

Anyway, since I failed so hard at monthly goals and I just spent the past two days in my pajamas, discussing with Derik and Allyn about what needs to be done in the house "before spring comes" I had the brilliant idea to make a Spring Goals list.  I know I'm not the only one who has had a bumpy 2017 so far and is itching for the green and sunlight and all those amazing things.

Spring Goals 2017

Put screens on all the windows.  I hate not opening the windows because the cats get out (and bugs get in.)  We had screens on some of them, but they're in poor condition.  I want to re-screen them and air out this cavern (haha)
Buy Tennessee tickets.  Yes, due to reasons which I'll explain later, I'm going to Tennessee again in April, SO, I need to get on buying those tickets pretty soon.
Get Kitty to the vet.  It's been awhile, and he's our old guy.  Midna and Flemith will follow soon!
Steam clean the carpets.  Just one of those spring cleaning things.  I feel like I should almost buy one.
Try a float pod session.  I've always wanted to, just haven't made the time! I think it would be really cool and I'm excited to try it.
Till the garden, and buy soil for the window garden.  Gah, it's almost that time already.  I am really excited to try gardening attempt number two, and this time I will be making a garden in the empty bed by my window.
Clean the entire yard and kennel out.  I really want to put chickens in this perfect spot (it was the previous owner's dog kennel) but I have to convince Derik first.....either way, the area is badly in need of cleaning.  Leaves, debris, junk...the old tenants were kind of slobs.
Make pickled eggs.  Self explanatory.  I love pickled eggs.  Pickled eggs love me.
Go to 3 (or more) different farmer's markets.  I keep going to just one, and getting disappointed in the variety.  I need to find some good jams, some good natural skincare products, and BOILED FREAKING PEANUTS so it's time to spread my farmer's market wings and drag my ass around Salt Lake until I see what I'm missing.

That's about it for my "musts"...there are many, many more things to do in the coming months, and I'm excited for all of them.  However, I'm also sick, and overworked and very tired, so I've learned in my ripe old age that I've got to slow the hell down and give myself time to sleep and recover when I'm not at work.  My adrenal glands are probably comparable to old dried up rocks at this point, so while I have other things I want to do (BBQs, car shows, hiking) I'll just keep that on my "when I have the energy" list.

And now for the linkup!


A Valentine's Memory

I haven't had very much important to share lately, plus I've been really sick.  However I got one of those random 'memory' things that popped up on my Facebook and I loved the story so much, I wanted to memorialize it further by putting it here on my internet space.  I absolutely love Valentine's Day, it was my parents anniversary.  

(The only redeeming quality of Fallout 4 was Nick Valentine...) 

Enjoy!  And don't forget to link up for Bloggy Brunch!

"I was a poor kid (duh.) Back in my day we used to buy our classmates Valentines. If you were rich, you got to hand out the kind that had suckers attached, or smarties, or some other little doodad. If you were me, you got off-brand (aka not Looney Tunes, Space Jam, Animaniacs, or Lisa Frank--god I miss the 90's) Valentine's with barely enough stickers to fold onto the cardboard.

One year my mom hadn't bought them and we were counting down the days. I was really stressed out and as a last resort started cutting up pieces of notebook paper and drawing personalized Valentine's. I drew something different for each classmate, something relevant to them (one girl was close to her sister, so I drew her with her sister, one boy had just bought a playstation that he never shut up about, so I drew that on his) I had no fancy crafts or tools, just pencils and notebook paper. Lo and behold Mom pulled through with her Dollar General Valentine's the night before and I almost scrapped my hand drawn ones, because they looked even cheaper and poorer than off-brand hearts and bears. I decided to fold up the personalized notes inside each Valentine and prepared to be ridiculed.

And imagine my surprise when the next day, my Valentine's were the biggest hits with EVERYONE. Even the asshole kids who usually picked on me or called me ugly. They were really impressed, and I kind of sat in a ball in the corner and stared stupidly while everyone got out of their cliques for five minutes and looked at each other's drawings. I mean, I spent considerable time on them but they weren't THAT good. I was shocked. Of course there was one for my teacher as well, and she praised me in front of the whole class and said it meant a lot to everyone, and she reiterated to the class to each thank me. And though my brain was melting from embarrassment at the time, I am pretty sure every single classmate said a genuine thanks.

There's no real moral to the story, other than sometimes people will surprise you, and I think that all of us want to feel special in some way; it's nice to do a little extra here and there. Also, being open and caring like that is terrifying. I think I was 2 seconds from a heart attack that entire day."


Life Lately // Bloggy Brunch

I feel like it's been forever since I've just sat down and written.  I try not to do it, because then instead of a clearly written post with some legitimate points and goals, you get essentially a long-winded Facebook status and who wants that? Nobody.  I do have a post to write about visiting the Home of Truth, so maybe I will work on that next time.

Other than that, I haven't had so much to say.  In this hilariously politically charged month, I've been so disgusted with social media (and everything really) that I've kept it all to a minimum, and my mouth shut.  I'm neither the person to wallow in misery and write out my fears about the world on my blog, though I have them--I always have them--and I'm not the person to take a political soap box and preach about my point of view.  Maybe in the past, but I'm too old now.

So I just observe, and stay quiet, and wait for spring.

I am done with winter.  After the crash that happened on Christmas, I pretty much got the wind knocked out of me and though I'm not going to complain about how great the snow is, I am terrified of it.  I have flashbacks of that night.  I still cry and feel like I failed a man and his family, I think about everything often and it's not something I can discuss or process or handle.  I know I should see my therapist, but honestly I've been too exhausted.  I haven't been taking care of myself beyond the basics.

Some days I feel like I'm slipping into depression, because I get a taste of it--those of you who suffer will understand.   You're going around being all melancholy and then it hits you like a train, and paralyzes you.  It's like instant drowning, and all you can do is say, "whoa, okay, time to tread water? What's happening?" For whatever reason, these 'waves' have all been extremely short-lived and leave me sitting here thankful that it's over...for the moment.

What else am I missing?  I'm tired.  I'm sad.  I'm done with winter, and I want it to be spring.  I HAD a lot of fun activities planned for the summer, but my coworker decided he doesn't want to change his schedule because of some class he's taking, so that kind of put a wrench in every single thing that I wanted to do in spring/summer.  I do still have things to look forward to, and if I were less cranky I probably could put a positive spin on it, but that's not my strong suit.

See?  Who wants to read this drivel?  ON ANOTHER NOTE---BATES MOTEL'S FINAL SEASON!!!!  This show is utterly amazing and captivating.  Some stellar acting.  Magnificent writing.  Everything that my tacky, obnoxious shows get wrong (American Horror Story, Vampire Diaries....) Bates Motel gets right, and THEN some.  It's the only show I don't watch spoilers for, because I want the full element of surprise.  Anyway, the final season starts in February and I've been watching the older seasons...this will make the third time, haha....so that Allyn can get caught up with me and Derik and we can bask in the glory of Norman Bates' insanity together.



What I'm Painting: The Great Saltair

To anyone who knows me, it's no secret that I LOVE Saltair.  Hell, I literally have a shrine to it in my bedroom, complete with huge poster, and artifacts I've fished up from the old site.  I can sit and rattle off any obscure fact you want to know about it (Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their plane over it! A swimmer got arrested for showing her legs at the beach once--this was while it was owned by the LDS church of course...and so on)  I am always down for a visit to the old pilings to anyone I can convince to be dragged along the beach, and the site even gets a name spot in my sidebar, not to mention a spot on my Ten Years in Utah photo list.

But what was it, for those that don't know?  At the turn of the century the Great Salt Lake was considered a marvelous place for recreation.  It probably would be if we'd stop dumping shit into it and ruining it, but I digress--resorts popped up all along the shoreline during the late 19th century.  Saltair was not the lake's first resort, but it was by far her most magnificent.

If you'd like to know the complete resort history (it's a fascinating one, but of course I'm biased) the Bonneville Mariner has a great read about the ghost resort, as well as a great Utah blog in general.  To go into Saltair history here would be another ten entries, in fact with as much as I go on about it, maybe twenty, so let's turn this into an art post instead of a history lesson.

I had intended to paint this for over a year, and I'm not sure what made me finally sit down and do it.  I have been suffering from art block for honestly, four or five years.  When I got out the canvas I had just found out some important personal news (don't worry, I'll share some other time) and I think I wanted that escape, or to put my feelings in paint again.  Whatever the case, it feels like it worked and I actually enjoyed both the process for this as well as the end product.  And that NEVER happens.

My apologies for the rutabaga photo quality.  I get so into painting that I don't like to interrupt myself and take high quality pictures, so low-light phone photos it is...for now.  

So...ever have an idea of a painting and the end result is NOTHING like what you pictured? Yeah...that's what happened here.  I was supposed to do a classic Utah fiery sunset...but the colors didn't seem right.  So I went with way more black and blue than I originally thought.  I also wanted to thin the paint (it's acrylic) with gel medium, but when I got the gel medium out of my car it was frozen solid.  Whoops.  I am way too impatient for thawing, so instead I reached for a nearby spray bottle of what I thought was water.  This worked out great, because it wasn't water, it was alcohol, which seems to be much better on thinning acrylic paint than water itself.  THE MORE YOU KNOW.

Don't ask why I have spray bottles of things I don't know the contents of.  It's a boring story involving cleaning microfiber.

So the base kind of painted itself.  I had no idea where it was going or what I was doing, which is nice.  Once I had this done, I started on the structure.  I used an old postcard I got at the gift shop as a reference.  My goal here was not to create a solid structure--I wanted a "ghost" Saltair that looked as though it had just appeared by moonlight on the now-barren beach, so the first layer was a very pale turquoisey glitter paint (again, SO not where I originally intended to go, but the gel medium was still frozen...) and once I started on the layout it was like painting a familiar face.

It's going to sound super cliche but it's true nonetheless-it felt like I had actually been to Saltair and was painting from memory, rather than the little postcard.  Many, many times during the intricate architectural work I would "go for it" and then look at the reference after, only to see that I had already matched the building...where the windows went, where the ledges were, the positioning of the stairs and latticework.  It was actually kind of unnerving, but then again I have dreams about visiting this place often, and I constantly stare at photos of it, so it's probably burned into a part of my brain that can access minutia anytime.

Since my painting didn't look anything like the mental picture I'd laid out, I did pretty much everything on instinct and what "felt" right.  It seemed a good idea to have one part a bit more "faded in" and realistic and have another part of the resort very dreamy and cloudy, like it was shimmering in and out of reality, as ghosts do.  I can't decide if the structured, detailed side or the more abstract, chaotic side is my favorite. I stare at them both!  My ephemeral ghost resort.

After that it was just detailing, adding in the fog, and ta-da!  One sidenote--the little spikes/pilings/things sticking up at the bottom is a depiction of how the site actually looks now.  There's nothing left but a few stalwart wooden pilings and some twisted metal (and all of the bits of junk I've stolen from the beach) I guess I wanted a reminder of the 'reality' of the resort as well.

Again, sorry for the poor photo quality, but dammit Jim I'm a painter, not a photographer!

Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of the process.  If paintings are children, then giving birth to this one was the most painless, enjoyable time I've had in awhile! I wish they could all be that way.  Thanks for checking out my favorite place that doesn't exist anymore.

Here's a better lighting quality photo, with my feet included.  Flemith is also hanging around, he got curious about halfway through and decided he was going to watch me from the back of the canvas.  He was not impressed with the painting.