Thursday, June 11, 2015

Get busy living

I teared up yesterday at work because I finally said aloud "It's time to get back to living."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

You don't have to be in pain

I have IT band syndrome and I have been walking around in pain for a few days now. Reverting to limping and not using my right leg properly.

Currently I am lying on the floor stretching my muscles out because why be in pain when you don't have to?

I am not trying to draw any correlations here.

If I were it would be that it is time to get busy living.

And do my physical therapy.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


"A heart can be broken, but it will keep beating just the same." - Fanny Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes

Friday, May 1, 2015


I'm still here. I've just been busy traveling for family stuff, professional development, volunteering, and preparing for my first public art display. I'm sharing the display with three other artists. Their talent far outstrips mine, but the worst that can happen is I don't sell any art. Most of my stuff will not be for sale for one reason or another. All my paintings are acrylic on small canvases.

I'll try to post a photo of my works in progress and also hanging things at the coffee shop.

Pro tip: Don't paint on canvas board unless you can afford to frame it or build your own frames.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Don't google losing weight from grief

You'll just get a lesson on depression.

People are commenting about my appearance. Apparently, I look like I am losing weight. I know I am. My little belly (that I hate) seems to be receding. I don't really have a lot of weight to lose. When I was weighed in December I think I was 116. If you are using one of those weight charts I should be about 125 but I generally hover around 118.

I was having blood pressure issues early in the process but that dropped back to normal a few months ago.

GriefShare talks about how people should go see their doctor after a loss. I've been putting it off.

I promised my grandma I would make an appointment with the doctor.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


I'm having problems with sleeping and anxiety. I've only slept approximately eight hours in two days. A single anxious thought keeps me up for hours.

Last week I woke up in the middle of an anxiety attack.

I just need a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Just resting

I have been actively avoiding doing anything stressful or beneficial for my career for a few months now. I know it is time to pick up the pace but I am exhausted. I just want to rest. My personal deadline is when they rule on my mom's death. That is hopefully coming this week. Hopefully tomorrow or Friday at the latest.

Watching my friends gain accolades and honors should be propelling me forward, but I just want to rest. 

It's time to start stepping up and sending out applications/making contacts.

Work has been stressful and right now I cannot imagine starting someplace new.  Uprooting my family sounds impossible and expensive.

I am amazing, talented and a hard worker. I am also depressed and I want to sleep all the time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

All the answers

I asked Pastor R. "What if you don't have questions of 'Why?' for God but the person?"

He told me he'd given up trying to answer those questions.

Notes from GriefShare week six: Your loved one is still gone even if you have all the answers.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Paper cutting

I've been wanting to dive into doing more paper cutting projects but I'm afraid of buying and wasting expensive paper and/or card stock.

I live in a remote place, where it is a little difficult to get to classes and You.Tube has not really offered up any decent tutorials.

I've been really inspired by the work I have been seeing online.

Looking at the works of Jayme McGowan and
Brittany Lee,

really make me to want to start creating intricate works of art.

Friday, March 27, 2015


I've been with my partner, Willis, for nine years. Lately my depression has been getting the best of me. I have a lot of fears and anxieties.

But last night he was depressed for a variety of reasons.

I sucked it up, even though I wanted to go to bed and be taken care of. My form of near-crippling depression is not an easy thing to go through.

I made him a damn egg sandwich, brought him a glass of water and a guinea pig to help him feel better. I felt like a damn American hero. Also, that if what he would have done for me if he was able.

Even during this time of grief and a personal rough patch (where I have not been my usual self) I need to remember that I am not the center of the universe.

Even though I want to be. 

I have not been as good a friend, partner or employee as I could be.

And for a little bit longer, I think, that is OK. I just need to make sure not to ignore others in their time of need.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A thosand barbs

I've been really blessed in the friends department right now. Bug, the Doctor, Willis, S. and a host of other people continue to be great support systems. They are thoughtful and encourage me in healthier directions than I would go on my own.

During GriefShare five we learned about how friendships will change. It's true. 

Some notes I jotted down are: Let friends know what you need and talk about boundaries.
"I will never be the same" and "I will become a new person."

I am a new person. One with 10 times the anxiety, who is not functioning at a 100 percent. One that is really cultivating a complex about drinking and suicide.

By suicide I mean, I fear who might be next. (They have not ruled on my mom's death.) I look for signs in other people I know to be struggling and than sometimes I run in the other direction. Other times I say something like, "I know what it is like to get that news. You hear your loved one is dead and you're all 'Oh no, my _ is dead.' When the words they 'killed themselves' is added to the mix you go on a different grief journey." I may also share my own struggles and what I am doing to combat it. (Mainly therapy.)

Some of my friendships have changed because of this journey. I have learned who my truest friends are. I don't want to say "real friends" because some people are not good with death. But I now know which friends will remain so caught up in their own drama/lives that they could not even fathom reaching out to someone who is hurting. Even if it is someone who has seen them through hard times. That's OK. Truth is we all knew those friends were like that from the beginning and our surprise is probably not so much surprise but confirmation.

Last night Pastor R. said that sometimes it is best to say "I'm sorry for your loss" rather than try and connect with the person by sharing something that might upset them.

"Don't open your mouth and let your brains fallout," he said.

I'm going to add, good friend or not do not offer help if you will not follow through. Seriously.

Anyhow, I leave you with this week's GriefShare card or tailman as Pastor R. called it: I would rather walk through life with friends and suffer their occasional unhelpful attempt (to comfort me) than walk through this without them. -Carla

I, personally, would take a thousand barbs just to know someone is willing to hear me talk and talk to me about my loss.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Be brave

In Grief Share they encourage people not to make any big decisions during the initial stages of grief.

Unfortunately, I was already looking for a new job before all this caca happened.

I'm afraid of failure. I'm afraid of moving Willis, the sows and myself to a new place and failing. It's happened before.

I need to be brave. I have a friend who is so brave and encourages me to move forward. I have many friends who are encouraging me to make the next step.

How do you leave a place that is comfortable, safe and a guaranteed job (provided you don't mess up or get laid off)?

I do things that are brave all the time but possibly jeopardizing my family's security leaves me frozen in place.

 So lurkers, how do you work up the courage to be brave?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The nights seem so long

Ever since my mom died, night seems to drag on forever. I don't really recall a point in my life where I would wake up so much and sigh that it is still night.

My counselor thinks I need to get more sleep. I should probably mention to him my problem with long nights.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Today is my dear friend Bug's birthday. Bug and I lost our moms days apart.

The "umbrella" phenomena  started after I sent a text out Dec. 2 that read, "If it keeps pouring like this I am going to need an umbrella." To which Bug replied, "I'll get you one."

Umbrella became the code word for needing or giving comfort.

Last night I painted this yellow umbrella for her. Part of the reason it is yellow is because her mom liked sunflowers. The other reason is I really think all umbrellas should be yellow.

The original painting was done with watercolor but the color was too light on the 5x6 inch stretch canvas. I went over the original painting with acrylics. The only colors used were yellow and black.

I almost exclusively paint on smaller canvases. I really don't have the patience to fill a large amount space. I am also a fan of single color backgrounds.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Not ready for

"We are living a new season of life, one that we are not ready for." - Pastor R's prayer from Grief Share week 3.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Grief Share

I started at Grief Share yesterday. I had a panic attack before and after. How do you talk about suicide and your grieving process when the video specifically says the Bible is against it. (This was in reference to wanting to commit suicide because of your loss.)

I thought the mentally ill got a pass? I am operating under the assumption that my mom is in heaven and is cured of all her earthly problems. I AM ONLY FUNCTIONING BECAUSE I ASSUME SHE'S IN HEAVEN AND SAFE.

After the video I couldn't bring myself to open up to the group. Their loved ones died from illness or old age. We're still trying to figure out how my mom died. 

Maybe next session I will be able to talk. I just want to protect her from the judgement of outsiders.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Harry Potter shelf

I've had complaints from my one reader that this blog NEEDS MORE COWBELL ... err ... crafts.

With this in mind I present to you my Harry Potter shelf.
The shelf started out as a couple of potion bottles. Then I got a knock-off Hermione wand, the U.S. Postal Service released some stamps and I learned how to make golden snitches. Folks, we have a problem here. The tiny bottles are mostly souvenirs from various trips.

First up is veritaserum or the truth serum. The bottle came from my friend's antique store and all the labels featured come from here. My friend The Scientist and I printed the labels out one at a time on to sticker paper. Next we carefully cut them out. We originally planned for an afternoon of heavy duty crafting but this was easier.

Hagrid's slug repellent
A little draught of living death, anyone? No? The bottle came from my sister C. It was a Patron tequila bottle. I removed the labels and all the ink with rubbing alcohol. Just squirt a little on a napkin or Q-tip and scrub away. I did have a wash it out once or twice to remove any traces of booze. The cork, for me, is the best part.

Additional potion bottles for from my travels or the travels of others. The unmarked bottle came from my partner Willis.
The golden snitch is my latest addition. This one was the prototype for a few Christmas presents. I want to make some fancier ones for next year. The tutorial for this snitch came from the crafting site Epbot.

Willis made this for me for the last Harry Potter premiere. I wore it on a black hat and carried a large camera around. I was a hit with the kids.
One thing I would have done differently is spray the stickers with a anti-fade solution. It's expensive but works really well.  

That concludes the crafts for my Harry Potter shelf. I hope to add a fancy bottle of Skel-o-grow and the "Monster Book of Monsters" in the future.

My hope is to one day have a whole corner of my house dedicated to Harry. I also have the Hogwarts book trunk and framed Dumbledore quote.

Have you done a Harry Potter craft? Tell me about it in the comments.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Shit that gets me down

1. Talking to my mom's husband. That shit gets me down for three days on average.

2. Talking about attending grief counseling, counseling or Al-anon.

3. Reading the Al-anon literature. I have been dutifully doing the readings all week.

4. Depression. That shit is hard.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Grieving lessons

When I get past the worst of grieving I will be a better friend, co-worker, employee, sibling and overall person. For right now I plan to take my friends advice and just work on getting back to being myself. I was a really good - if high maintenance - friend before all of this.

There is no timeline for what I am going through.

I've learned that the people who are shitty friends all the time do not magically become good friends when tragedy strikes. They will also make excuses. Don't call bullshit on their excuses. (OK, call bullshit when they are not around.)

You'll know which people will help you.

Don't take offense when people say "What do you need?" and then don't deliver. (OK, take slight offense but do not do it yourself in the future.)

Suicide and a regular death will not be treated the same. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TREAT THESE TWO THE SAME. After my mom died (and there is still no ruling on the cause of death) I kept waiting for people to come over. None of the people I assumed would be there showed up. You don't have to say anything real or correct. Just fucking sit on that couch and take up space.

People will stare. Don't try to be funny about this. Their staring is their way of comforting you.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I think when people die in a really terrible or unexpectedly shitty way you question why they are not here.

When my mom died I kept repeating, "She's not dead. She's not dead. She's not dead." and "She has things to do." It would eventually become chant that led, mostly, to me hyperventilating.

She was someone who liked to be busy and the center of attention. My sister is getting married and she was supposed to be there to handle stuff like cooking for the bridal shower.

The finality of my mom being gone did not set in until I was sitting on the phone listening to my family making funeral arrangements.

I knew my family would not spend that kind of money if she was not dead.

Later that evening I changed my phrase to "She's gone and someone else will have to do the things she did."

I made people listen to me say it over and over again. It was my new mantra. I was afraid if I stopped confirming that she was dead I would lose my way again.


I also said "She's safe" a lot. Her life for more than two decades had been a chaotic cycle of drinking-unemployment-jail-bad relationships. There were stretches of calm and productivity, but there was always something waiting in the wings to trip her up.

Most of the time that foe was alcoholism.

At the funeral my dad's friend went around to a bunch of us crying and saying "She's safe."

It broke me and made me feel better that someone else was acknowledging the chaos and constant fear we lived in.

We held each other and I whispered "She's safe?"

"She's safe," my dad's friend said.


A few days ago I talked to my mom's husband.

Suddenly he said, "We had plans for the future."

"We had plans."

 Once again I felt my heart breaking.

It hurts watching or hearing about other people doing the things that she was supposed to be doing.

It is also good to know that my family is surrounded by so much love and support.

Support and love is probably what is saving and maintaining us all.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My life as a teen vampire (and a birthday party)

I've turned into an angsty teenage vampire.

Not a proud place to be in the whole grieving process. Try as I might, I can only beat it back for a day or two and then there it is.

I know that it is annoying for people and counterproductive to the healing process. I don't know how to stop it. I've tried talking about it but it just makes me (in my opinion) sound shallow and jealous. The most recent form my impending second teenhood has taken is not being invited places.

A lot of the time I do not even want to attend these events. I'm not even mad. I just get sad and move on. Unfortunately, as soon as I run into these people I become a whiny teenager EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT WANT TO GO. I really like these people. My issues are my issues. I need to work on reeling them in and to stop talking about them to people. Wow, I am painting a very flattering picture of myself.

I know I need to talk about things, but maybe, just maybe, I need to keep some crap to myself.

My friend S told me that maybe I am just bummed after all the parties and stuff I went to during the holidays. Which is probably closer to the truth. I am also terrible when someone throws a wrench in plans that have been solidified. Outside of illness or family crap. I'm not a total monster, people.

I don't always want to go to the stuff I'm invited to. I mostly go because it would be rude to turn down too many invites.

It's only been two months since my mom died but I feel like it has been an eternity.

I feel like I am stuck in Twil.ight vampire mode. Everything, even simple things are riddled with angst, insecurities and lots of other big words.

A lot of the time I just want to stay home. But then I am home and I can't wait to leave to do something.

Next weekend I volunteered to help clean out the house my mom shared with her new husband. I'm not ready but I can't let others carry the burden forever.

Did you come here for crafts? I have something for you, too.

Here is a Captain America shield fruit pizza I made for my partner's recent milestone birthday. I had never made a fruit pizza before and I am aware the proportions are off. The popularity of the party was rated as: Birthday Boy, Papi's (my dad) guacamole and dairy-free fruit pizza.

We also made little things to stick in the cupcakes out of superhero stickers from the Dollar Store. The stickers had cardboard backs and we taped toothpicks to them.

Most of the printable comic book sayings came from here.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A new beginning?

I'm thinking of starting a new blog. I recently lost my mother and I'm working on maneuvering in a world without her. Also I do a lot of crafting. And much like that Ortega taco commercial
(Image from Google image search.)