Explorations in reflections continues... Notes to self for next time: Need stiffer Jell-O... need different lighting. If my hazy memory recalls, stiffer jello can be made by adding some Knox to the Jell-O mix.
Or killing two birds with one stone, or slaying two dragons with one bird... whatever. All I know is, this past weekend, I surmounted two mental/physical challenges all at the same time.
The first one?? I started over on a painting I had wanted to do nearly 2 years ago, but SUCKED at... You can revisit the suckage here, however there will be no photographic proof of the suckage as I'd be ashamed to show it, even if the level of suckage is funny. I'm happy to say, this one is going much better and is almost finished. I need to do a few things including tweak the fork. I wonder if Urban Dictionary has a definition for tweaking the fork, and if so... what would it be?
The second one?? I ventured into the world of water miscible oil paints. I have resisted... they weren't "real", they weren't legit. Also, I was worried they'd handle like shit. I'd seen a couple of people use them and struggle with them, but then realized the people were new to painting and probably would have struggled with regular oils. Also, since I had someone in class who was using them, I figured it would be good for me to know how they handled so I could better help her. Anyhow, I received some during the holidays and finally broke them out to give them a try.
The verdict?? They're funky in ways, but otherwise, not bad... The big bonus is my sinuses and lungs don't hate me for trying to poison them. I'll use them... especially when the house is closed up and I can't vent as well as I should.
I got back into town late Saturday afternoon. I was relieved to be back amongst my own family unit and was happy to feel like a grown-up again instead of the youngest. It doesn't matter how old you are, when in certain settings, you fall into line with your birth order. I'm surprised I didn't break out with acne while gone.
Anyhow, I got back and was pretty much a waste product. I was looking forward to doing nothing but the the crossword puzzle on Sunday when I remembered that Grizzled had signed us up for a glass class. Working with glass was always something that called to him, and a number of months back, he convinced me to go to a class with him. It was not something I ever felt the need to do, but hey... he was asking, and I wanted him to do it. I'm so glad we went.
It was just Grizzled, me and a very wonderful, knowlegable instructor. Since we were working with ovens that were cranking out 2400 degree heat and were going to be carrying around rods with molten glass, we had to focus. We had to really focus. There was no time for imaginary scenarios going around in your head... no time for judgment, no time for anything other than making sure you kept that rod spinning in your hand and doing what you needed to do to that molten blob of glass... at some point after my "second gather", while fusing my colored glass in what was called the "glory hole" (our instructor made the jokes, filthbot did not need to), I realized my mind was completely silent. I had experienced brain-drain, and I felt peace. Even though my mind acknowledged this, it couldn't stay on it for too long as I had to move to the next station, had to keep moving and doing, intensly focusing on the task at hand...
We pick up our paperweights sometime at the end of the week... they spend a fair amount of time in the annealing oven and then have to have their bases polished. They were so hot when we last saw them, I'm not even sure how they'll look. I don't even care. The process would have been worth it had we gotten nothing to take home. The brain-drain was definitely worth it.
When we left, the instructor asked if we'd be interested in doing more. He said it was addictive. Oh, I'm sure it is. I could already tell it was one of those things where once you got the feel, you had to go back to see if you could do it again, and then try this and try that. I'm not sure I need to do glass though. I kind of hope Grizzled does, but I know I need to do something that's hard... well, maybe not hard, but truly challenging... not something you know you'll be good at if you just give it a whirl, but something completely new... something that takes all of your focus and is also a little bit scary. I think the part that was most addictive for me was the brain-drain.
This morning was the first morning I woke up without a living father on the planet. It was the obvious next chapter and yet seems incomprehensible... how could this be??
I know I have not been blogging in a while, and was not even sure if I was going to come back here, somehow this felt done... I was being called in new directions, but I felt the need to close his chapter on this as I have written about it here before... a few times.
I have made my peace with my father's inevitable passing... a number of times. I have said goodbye to him... a number of times, but this is where the real rubber hits the road. This one is real. This is not just knowing what will come, or even hoping for what will come... this is having it head on. Your father is gone. You will never see him again. I know it happens. I know no one gets out alive, and yet I still feel somewhat surprised...
He went into hospice care a little over two weeks ago. I was able to see him on the 22nd, and spent a couple of hours with him. He was aware of part of the visit, thank God... maybe more, but I was able to elicit two more weak laughs out of him, and even a word. He held my hand and I held his... and I held his stare for as long as he wished. I told him I knew his eyes were talking up a storm, but I was not quite sure what they were saying... maybe just saying he was still there... for a bit. For a little bit, my father was still there...
And now he's not.
Fathers are interesting creatures... larger than life... and yet so very, very human. I bless the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with being human.
In a handful of days, I turn 50. It's a fact. Yes, yes, I know, it's better than the alternative, but I have to say, it's fucking with me... not all of the time, but during those moments when my guard is down.
It does not compute. 50 is my parents' age. 50 belongs to my aunts and uncles, or older siblings. I'm the baby of the family, how can I be 50???
Not to mention the fact that I'm still fighting inner wars and dramas from 15, 24, 32, 45... and probably more. Parts of me are caught up. Parts of me relish all I know now... the calm I have about certain areas of my life, but there are still parts of me that are panicking, thinking, WAIT!!! I'M NOT DONE YET!!! To be honest, in some ways, I haven't even started! But, if you're a female in the world, your shelflife is short... unless you move to the crone section. I'm allergic to dust. I don't want to move there.
Don't get me wrong... I don't need to be 25. I'm glad I'm not 25. I'm glad my children are growing and thriving and don't need me as much, OR... need me in newer, more wonderful ways, but still... 50.
I'm glad my creativity is loving that I'm 50. Although I'm no longer on the hip train of things, I see things and get things like never before, but still... 50.
My eyes are not what they were, my hair is not what it was, oh hell... nothing physical is what it was... and yet I feel like I finally understand things or have perspective on things I never have, but the joke is, it's too late. I've heard it a million times... "Oh! If only I knew what I knew now, but when I was younger!"
Don't get me wrong. It doesn't bother me every day. It has not crippled me, but... there is a large part of me that is wondering how it happened... it's so easy to get lost in the minutiae of a day... and then another... and another, and before you know it, you're looking at those days from the other end and it freaks you out... if only for a moment.
I also know that I'll look back on this in 10, or 20 years, and will laugh. HA! You were ONLY 50!
Grizzled and I celebrated our 20th anniversary last week. While cleaning out a closet, I found a video his father had made of part of our rehearsal, our rehearsal dinner and a snippet of the reception. Somehow, we both had missed this. Somehow, it came into our possession and we had no clue! We watched it the other day, for the first time... watching people who are no longer here, people who were so much vibrant and younger. We looked at ourselves. When I looked at my 20 yr-younger self, all I could think of was, "WHAT WAS YOUR PROBLEM!??! YOU WERE FINE! WHY DID YOU LISTEN TO EVERY ASSHOLE WHO HAD A COMPLAINT?" I'm trying to tell myself that now... so I don't look back in 20 years and think, come on... life was good! You're with people you like and love! Doing more or less things you like and love! So what if your boobs are past their perky date! So what if your ass is huge! So what if you have not achieved all you want to achieve! Thank gawd you haven't! You have years to live! Years to thrive! Shut the fuck up and embrace this!
I know this. Deep down I know this...
But man... there are days when I'd like to take this back to 25... or 35... and try it knowing what I do now. I knew it then. I believe I did. I just listened to too many others, like most of us do.
Maybe I'll get myself some celebratory earplugs. :)