1.29.2017

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.


TIME FOR LINKUP K BYE
 

1.21.2017

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.


1.07.2017

January Monthly Goals // Bloggy Brunch

Let this count as my 2017 introduction post!  As such, I thought it might be helpful, to, well, introduce myself.  To avoid the risk of regurgitating my about page or my sidebar, I'll try to mix this up a bit.

To start, I'm one of those people who is quiet unless she knows something for sure, and then turns into real life Hermione Granger.  If I don't know my ins and outs of a subject I'm a great listener and learner (provided I give a shit about the topic) but the minute the topic goes to my expertise(s), you can't get me to shut up.  Some of the things I'm a good listener for are chemistry, history, mechanics, and space.  My Hermione topics are anything art related, English/literature related, body language related, and EMS as a whole.  My boss says I'm also really good at mundane, over-articulated paperwork, Thanks Toby!


I often get told I have a bold or strong personality even though I admittedly try to hide this.  I will remain uncomfortably silent until it's absolutely necessary to talk, and I guess the talking that I do ruins my air of mystery and reverence.  It's one thing I don't like about myself so much, because what other people endearingly call "character", I call "brashness" and "over-emotional."  Basically one day if I reach my final form I'd like to be Mr. Spock--rational and calm and cool with great capacity for both thought and emotion.  But it'll never happen.  People also tend to think I'm an extrovert because I can carry a conversation, entertain a room, "liven up" and so on, but most of them never quite understand that if I could literally run away to the mountains and live on tree bark and wear a moss womankini, I absolutely 100% would, but the ski resorts would totally kick me out after the first Mormon sighting of my nipples.  But my point is, I'm actually an introvert and prefer solitude.

I LOVE MY CAT.  I actually have three cats, which make appearances on Instagram, but the older two are shared between my roommate and I, and prefer to be left alone (traumatized shelter cats.)  I got my little Flemith to help me with depression and wow, he changed my life.  Now my little blueberry cream cheese muffin is a huge gigantic fluffbag, and he's independent and feisty instead of loving and tiny, but we still have a bond.  The type of bond where he absolutely has to watch me pee, and escorts me from room to room, and I kiss him until I accidentally drool on him.

January Goals
2017 is going to be a year unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I already know this and will talk about it in the days to come, but mostly I'm just trying to get through the months with my brain intact, so we'll see how it goes.  Fresh start! Woo.

-Finish some paintings. Pretty self explanatory, haha.
-Blog about my Saltair painting.  I posted it on my Instagram if you're curious.
-Create a budget for the year.  I have no idea where to begin with this, but my god I'm going to be 30, it's time...
-Set up my fancy ass new bathroom scale, and watch the number on it not go up this month. Self explanatory, haha.
-Visit Moab, and have a great time!  Room reserved!  Activities planned!  Mini-cation!
-Find and photograph Newspaper Rock and Home of Truth.  An hour south of Moab is the famous petroglyph wall, Newspaper Rock, and an abandoned cult location, called the Home of Truth.  I am super into exploring/photographing abandoned areas and hope I can sneak some photos in of this crazy place.  The story's too long to put here but click the link if you want to read some crazy cult practices. 
-Throw Allyn a birthday party THAT WILL ROCK INTENSELY.  I've got some ideas.
-Schedule a doctor appointment.  What a fun time of year!  Extreme winter!  Sick people!
-Continue therapy and physical therapy.
-Unveil my secret online side project.  This may not be done in time for the end of the month but IMMA TRY!

And that about concludes it!  Linking up with Autumn and Angie. Onward to the bloggy brunch!






1.05.2017

Just Another Path

Before we get into 2017 there's something else I have to talk about here.

I had already wrapped up 2016 mentally.  I, like everyone else, was going about my business celebrating the holidays (by that I mean working) and enjoying opening presents and snow and so on. I was driving into work on Christmas morning, December 25, just after midnight.  It was the first huge snowstorm of the season and our plant road was covered in ice and snow.

I was almost to work and my 60 mile drive was behind me--I was relieved, and relaxed knowing that I would soon be on duty and able to relieve my coworker.  But I got hailed before I made it; one of our coworkers had an accident.  I was the first EMT to respond, and our ambulance and other EMTs arrived afterward.

My coworker did not survive the accident.  I was affected deeply, as were the other people on scene.  I don't remember much of the following week.  His family and loved ones were heavily on my mind, and Christmas isn't easy to begin with (probably for anyone?)

I have seen death before, but this incident really left me feeling deflated and helpless.  I became an EMT to help people.  As others have said after this, not every situation is a win.  And even though I was originally the only EMT there, the man had his friends and coworkers nearby, talking to him and encouraging him, as I did, that he wasn't alone.  When the other EMTs showed up, we were a seamless team that transitioned into first a two man, then three, then four man team to do our job.

It's true, sometimes you just can't win.  It's horrible, and I keep thinking of Gandalf's words: "Death is just another path, one that we all must take."  As someone who actively chose to help people in emergency situations, it shouldn't be surprising (and wasn't, to anyone) that I was and am, very sad for this loss of life.

There were probably a lot of reasons I was more affected than normal, but after a very heavy Christmas and New Year's Day, I felt that sensation that anyone familiar with death feels.  Life is so fragile.  It's never guaranteed.  It's so precious.  We are all finite.  And for the first time since I became an EMT I questioned my decision.  I will continue to do my job, but I definitely have a hole in my heart.  And I will take that, and my reminder to treat life as the ephemeral, strange thing it is, more reverently this year.