Untitled for now.

Posted: June 24, 2020 in 2011 - Jan1 thru Mar 31

As this statement is read, I am standing in the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh, NC.  It is Wednesday, June 24th, 2020.

This is nearly one year later, approximately 320 days following the night I came home from a fun evening with friends only to experience what turned  out to be the most disturbing and impactful day of my life.

At first it was the device. The device stunned me, shocked me, educated me. That little black box with 360º viewing and night vision was something I’d never seen before. And there it was. Perched on the curtain high above my bed. Looked like a damn cockroach as I came home bleary eyed around midnight. I popped up on the chair to reach for it, grabbed the thing and thought, “what the hell is this?” Too tired to be bothered I just placed it on the dresser and went to bed. Just a few minutes later I was sitting up with my phone in hand. These modern day phones can be so helpful at times of uncertainty. A quick google search and a frantic phone call and my night had really just begun…

The police came to the house and searched the premises. Shining flashlights in corners of the bedroom, bathroom, attic, the whole house. Questions arose as to who has been in the house, friends visiting, enemies, boyfriends, etc. I slept that night just as I’ve slept ever since. On edge. Sleepless. Nervous. Anxious.

One might say it was a relatively easy case. There was communication and basically an admittal of guilt. An apology? Maybe there was that too but I would have nothing of it at the time. How could I? My skin crawled and my knees buckled at every thought of what had happened. I spent that week just trying to be around friends at their homes. elsewhere. Anywhere other than my own home. My home felt unsafe. I felt somehow dirty.

A week later and I decided enough is enough.  I thought, this is ridiculous! It was my birthday and I want to overcome the demons that were haunting me. I invited several friends and my daughter over to just hang out at my house.

A good time was halted suddenly as there was a knock at the door. I gasped and ran to the window. I met the person outside while my daughter, being the only one who knew what had happened, tried to calm everyone down. When the police finally left, I could only try and explain the awkward and uncomfortable situation.

WHY is it awkward and uncomfortable to ME? Why do I feel dirty? Why do I feel like hiding, like crawling, like whispering and cowering?

THIS IS NOT MY DOING! ….not in the least…

And yet I am the one peering around every corner, avoiding unknown paths, treading lightly as I walk through life.

For weeks I couldn’t go any distance in my own effing house without feeling as if someone was watching me. Were there more cameras?

Every sound, light, misplaced object was suspect. Unusual happenstances and otherwise lucky breaks seemed ill felt and uncelebratory as I wait for some sort of sign that this can be over and I can move on with my life.

Even today I think…how dare HE still have a job, have a wife, have a life that is basically unchanged.

I will never understand why, or how, or what convinced you to disrespect my individuality as a person, violate my rights as a human being and disregard my privacy as a woman. I expect that I will I never look at you again as a friend or a trusting member of society.

It is just one day before my daughters 29th birthday. I always strive to find a meaningful gift from which she will learn, grow and flourish. Perhaps my being here today will be enough.

She and I plan to be together tomorrow and I truly hope that I will be able to turn this page and move ahead in this chapter of my life. This all too true story is one that my daughter has heard and from which will hopefully learn. I pray other women and men who are touched by this will learn something as well.

Whisper…

Posted: November 8, 2018 in 2011 - Jan1 thru Mar 31

When you have so very much to do. So very much to see. So very much to share…

NO DOUBT…Life can get away at times. Since the day I graduated high school, I have been an adventurer, risk taker, challenger, and many other things. I got married, raised my daughter and enjoyed the comfort of a happy active family, job security and a financially stable and fulfilling life…

Fast forward to the last 15 years, my life has rocked back and forth between very low lows and very high highs. In times of uncertainty, I questioned myself, my closest friends and even my family. Those times my strength was challenged, I struggled greatly but ultimately became my most creative self. Remaining content in my through everything, I was allowed to learn and better empathize with others. My strongest voice came through in the most creative ways. My voice was silent, but my visual art screamed my message.

In 2009, I [my vision] created a social experiment that began with a public art sculpture in Chapel Hill and reached people around the world. Subsequent artwork took on a whole new voice that was stronger and louder than ever. My creativity was recognized by leaders across the country and made me extremely proud. These experiences were and will continue to be used to encourage my creative peers in many ways.

My nature is to be private and somewhat calculated. I see myself one way while others may see me another way. My artwork styles change, my favorite color may change, and my passwords need to change from time to time. That being said, the one thing that does not change, is my passion for the arts and my desire to make a difference.

I’ve always had a creative side. A little quirky a little indifferent. I yearn to be noticed but am highly nervous about standing out. I rarely follow the rules, forward paths or conventional recipes. My artwork mediums change as often as my sideline employments and some relationships. I have so many ideas and yet so little time! So, what’s a girl to do?!?!

Now I admit that my life has taken years of anxiety, excitement, and fatigue resulting in a roller coaster of emotions. I think friends would say I am a more quiet, private person and keep my issues much to myself. That being said, I’m done! 

With so much distress and chaos in the world today it is easy to overlook my own misfortunes. But, instead of brushing things under the rug, I’m thinking of being done with being silent. Or at least standing up for myself from here on out! 

I say this but not sure how I’ll go about this or what I’ll write but I’ll try to be honest, legit and helpful. After all, I have only eighty nine more days to figure things out….

Let’s start…

Posted: July 1, 2018 in 2011 - Jan1 thru Mar 31

Today marks a new day. Well, every day marks a new day but today I will start a new ninety-one day challenge. I’m not even sure I am aware of what that challenge will be yet but I trust that through my writing, it will come. 

The past year has been very emotionally taxing. I lost my mom somewhat unexpectedly and in the same year went through two jobs and moved for the third time in less than three years. I felt as though I would be better off tomorrow but tomorrow never seemed to happen.

I still feel defeated at times and continue to trudge forward as best I can. I went to a comedy show last evening and the comedian was talking about how he is happiest when he is on stage. Then he continued to say (seriously) that he really struggles with life when he is not on stage. 

While there was more to his delivery than just those two statements, it made me think a lot about what really makes me happy and when I am happiest… 

Say…Cheese!

Posted: June 24, 2018 in 2011 - Jan1 thru Mar 31

Could it Brie?

I’m on a quest for a bright, new, and very exciting path in life! Read more…

So I recently went to a house concert and the singer/songwriter was singing her heart out to a new song called “A Beautiful Mess”. I looked to the person next to me and whispered, that’s me…A Beautiful Mess. We laughed a little and decided things can only get better.

Fast forward to the interesting things that leave me with a sprinkle of optimism and I can say the good things that have happened and brought happiness in the past year is definitely friends, family and cheese!

About a year ago, I was running back and forth making the best of the two hour drive between the river and the city. It was at a Publix grocery store in New Bern that I found Wisconsin Cheese Curds for the first time! I was so excited I could hardly stand it! I was running through the store like a crazy person! IMG_4595

Then this cute guy at the kiosk selling pineapples asks me what I am going to make with the curds. I said, “what do you mean? I’m just going to eat them like this!” “What do you make?”

“Poutine!”

“What? … Poutine? What is that?”

“It’s a Canadian dish. Made with french fries, cheese curds and brown gravy…”

“Oh my! Sounds delicious and why have I never heard of this? I grew up in northern Wisconsin! I’ll have to try it!”

That weekend my friend and I went to a favorite restaurant. I brought the curds and asked the chef if she would make the poutine. She said we have curds here!

“What?”

“Yes! Look on the menu at our special burger”

There it was! A burger topped with melted cheese curds then a split bratwurst and finally sauerkraut and a lil dijon mustard. CRAZY! I did not try it but laughed and said that would be meal for the day!

She made the poutine and we all enjoyed it. That was just the beginning of my very cheesey journey. Many trips to Wisconsin and now here we are…

I recently entered the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Sandwich contest. I did not win but with 1600 entries I was glad to have pulled up my big girl panties and give it a go! Besides, I learned a bit more about video editing and now have one more post on my You Tube channel! Here’s a pic of my yummy PC-BLFingT sandwich:

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Then after hitting it off for about an hour with this woman I met at a party, turn out her  cousin cooks for Kelly Ripa and hosts a Television cooking show in NYC specially geared toward the 40’s and above age group. “Perhaps I could get you hooked up with that”, she exclaimed! How awesome would that be?!?!

I still have a huge desire to start a food truck someday but for now I purchased a lil Smart Car. I call it my Humble Bee. Her name is sunshine and the license plate is Bee Artsy! I haven’t begun to paint her but I will surely incorporate Cheese, Packers and Wisconsin in there somehow! This car turns heads already but I can’t wait to find the true promo idea for instant gratification!IMG_0780

And finally, my friends and I love to get together to share stories, wine and good foods. It often consists of beautiful arrangements of cheeses, meats, fruits and nuts such as these beautiful displays we’ve created in the past. I have wonderful friends from all walks of life and I would truly have it no other way! My daughter is a professional Makeup Artist and loves to help me in the kitchen too. Her artistry takes on a different form but I love to learn from her too!

I’m not sure what will come next and neither do you. So, spread good vibes and stay tuned for more as my life takes on this new path…

I could go into a long, drawn out explanation as to why I’ve not written…but I won’t. Not right now. Life has been crazy. I’m happy and excited for the future one minute, then the next, I can dream of nothing but extreme quiet. Complete peace. A sea of feathers to float upon.

Truth is, little over a year ago I uprooted myself for the job of my dreams. Without hesitation I packed and moved two hours away to enthusiastically bring arts programming to eastern NC. When that job ended due to budget cuts, it was little less than devastating, both personally and financially. After the initial shock, I hung on and eventually felt content with the laid back lifestyle of living along the Pamlico River. My many friends kept me busy as I kept my head above water best I could. I found solace in the beautiful sunsets and the walks along the river were joyful with my little Frisco by my side.

Life wasn’t perfect but it was working itself out. The small company I began working at felt like family. It didn’t pay well but they had patience and respect for their employees. The owners would bring in a crockpot of beans and sausage and biscuits about once a month and the rest of us just shared M&Ms or JuJu’s every so often. It was those small, kind gestures that I will remember best. That and the watchful eye of Mr. Billy as he cautiously found trust in his son and the employees.

In late February, a friend called to ask if I could come help with his business. He would pay me a weekly salary. While I wanted to help, I couldn’t very well leave my current employer on such short notice. Plus, I wasn’t too excited to uproot my life again after little more than a year. My little Frisco was getting older and I was’t sure she could handle another move either. I said I’d give it some thought.

About a week went by and he called again. He really needed me or he was going to have to shut down the shop. I agreed to come and talk with him on Saturday. He agreed to a weekly salary. I would work Mon-Fri and would not be required to work on Saturday so long as he could cover. To help with the transition, he offered a room with a private bath at his apt, no charge. This is until my house is available in Sept or I find another place.

With a heavy heart, I went back to Washington to talk with my boss. We went for coffee and he said he thought I was going to ask for a raise. I smiled, and said no, I’m just sorry I need to leave my position on such short notice. Effective immediately. That day was to be my last day. That was on a Monday.

That same week Wednesday, March 3rd, I began my new job managing a small independently owned company for this friend. Today is Saturday, May 6th and, while I honestly feel I could love the job itself, I’m hoping I haven’t made a very big mistake…

TRIG Modern featuring my oil paintings, mixed media works! Artist reception First Friday, May 3, 5-9pm. Thru June 4. http://ow.ly/klyMQ

2 of my paintings featured in VAE’s show “Food for Thought”. Block Party tonight as well – d/t Raleigh. Don’t miss it!
http://ow.ly/aHG2h

So, the pride I feel since the end of my $1 per Day challenge can hardly be described. So many lessons and societal truths were learned that I feel could never be  taught in school or otherwise. One must witness being without before truly understanding what it means to have. I also know that I have barely scratched the surface of what interests me most today. 

 

That being said, spending money has become a bit uncomfortable for me. For the last three months, I had promised myself and others I would spend no more than $1 per day except for utilities, ongoing bills and gas for my car. Learning and becoming comfortable with bartering services, trading alternative forms of currency and pooling together resources for food, I saved every dollar that was set aside for this last Challenge. I still had the original ninetyone one dollar bills. That’s  $91.00!

People asked many questions, often ending with, “What will you do with the money you save?”

 

Hmmmm, I could donate it all to a worthy organization. I could donate it to a local struggling small business. I could give it to a homeless person. I could leave a huge tip after trying out the new Waffle House….
 

All my thoughts seemed too easy and too trivial. After all, $91 isn’t much of a donation to a large organization. Besides, much of the donations often go toward paying salaries to those who run the campaigns. 

 

After much thought and careful creative licensing, I came up with the Ninety-One Envelopes. On April 1st, we created 91 envelopes, each complete with explanation and instruction and of course, a dollar tucked inside.

The next few months, through June 30, 2012, the envelopes will circulate into the community to be shared and talked about. Dreams will be inspired, open forums will be born and a social experiment will take place.   

On or about June 30, 2012, all envelopes will be returned to the original source and great things will continue to develop. Stay tuned…

Hmmm, to what am I referring? It can’t be the laundry detergent or the homemade crackers, since I’ve already reported on that. It is, of course, coffee. In fact, to the wonderful coffee shops in the area, “I thank you”. Now here is why:

It was a couple weeks ago, after making the laundry detergent, and feeling my clothes were once again freshly washed, that I felt I could venture out in public. I agreed to meet with a potential business partner (art related) and while waiting, I decided to clean out my handbag. Women can get a little carried away with the things they stuff in their bags and then…well…carry away. I had post-it notes, coupons, pens, brochures, CDs, and gift cards. Nearly everything came out to file later but, the gift cards I decided to get to know a little better.

I had two Starbucks™ cards. I called the 800 number and after a minute or so, was informed that between the two cards I had enough money for a whole cup of coffee! Whoo Hoo!

I then called the local coffee shop to ask about that card. Although the card had been discontinued, the owner reinstated the amount lost and even doubled the amount to help me out. He had been following my story and thought it was very inspiring and a good lesson for us all. I think he missed seeing me around the place as well. Yay, I will be a lot more alert this month!

During my quest, I also learned that Chick-Fil-A never refuses an expired coupon. I had been purchasing those calendars for several years but never used the monthly coupons. Really Chick-Fil-A? Will you take a year 2009 coupon? I may have to try that.

Last week a friend invited me over for a glass of wine. This led to having dinner with her at another neighbors house. The discussion of my “Dollar a Day Challenge” came up and the  went through her pantry offering me some of the things she and her daughter would probably not eat.
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“Do you like rice,” she asked.

“Yes, I’m totally out of it,” I replied.

“Good, you can have this, it takes 30 minutes to cook and I’m not going to mess with that!”

“How about couscous?”… “How about peanut butter granola bars?” “How about this, How about that…” she continued.

It wasn’t until she asked about the sticks of butter that I really exclaimed “Yes! I need butter!!!”.

We all laughed as I tried to explain my reaction. “I love popcorn as a snack. I have a whole tub of popcorn kernels but no butter.” “What’s the fun of popcorn without butter?”
~~~
Before the night was done, I had a better grasp of why everyone should set aside a time to look at what is in their pantry, their immediate environment, their lives. There is no better time than now to really reflect on what is really necessary.

The neighbor had taken me to the garage where shelf upon shelf was loaded with cereal boxes, boxed dinners, canned goods, you name it. She pulled down some coffee packets and handed them to me.

“Do you like coffee? I have a Keurig machine and will never use these.”

“Thank you,” I said as I walked back to my car with yet another idea.