Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Humble Little Apartment

Good morning, dear readers!  I love my apartment, as you know.  I spent some time cleaning, rearranging and organizing yesterday.  My favorite thing!  As much as I dream of zipping around the country in a little trailer, I wonder....I dearly love my little place.  Nesting is my favorite thing.  I know, I'm lame like that.  But my personal space is important to me.  Virginia Woolf was so right.  A woman needs a room of her own in order to be creative.  My apartment is my lab.  It's where I experiment with color, texture and geometry.  I want it to be beautiful, but simple.  I want it to be girly, but edgy.  I want to flirt with minimalism.  Here's a few more pics of my humble, little abode.


 New ottoman.  Love it!  Wish a new rug was in the budget.  Oh well.


Angle from my kitchen.  I can hear Genevieve Gorder's voice in my ear about that red peeking out on the corner.  Oh well, I'm not auditioning for a TV show, so I don't have to be perfect.  I have to cover my lovely little Danish sofa, because its fabric is so itchy.  But it's fun, I can change colors on a whim and I don't have to worry about spills.  In the near future I hope to experiment with a pale blue cover, and a gray cover.  As you know gray is my latest favorite color.  One of my favorite color schemes right now is gray, pink, yellow and lots of white.  Painting by Dee Adams.


I moved my other little ottoman under the counter.  Ah.  Rentals.  I hate carpet and I want to paint the walls. At least, I can bring color into my accessories.  I'm kind of shocking my family with my love of ultra bright, saturated and neon colors.  For years I did white on white.  Painting by Peggy.  One of my favs.


Here's a view of the open kitchen.  Why do builders use such bland cabinetry and tile? Oh well, at least this cabinetry is simple.  I'd love to paint it white.  Again - rental.  My next place will be a place I'm allowed to paint.  Want to do a gray accent wall and white floors and cabinets!  Photo over sink by my sister-in-law.  Shot of graffiti taken in Japan.


I'd love to take the doors off the middle cabinets.  I have a cute collection of white dishes and teapots I'd love to display.

Some accessories in the kitchen.  I showed you my lovely new ASA Selection tea set below.  I decided to put the architectural remnant behind the set because it didn't pop enough on the brown counter.  Couple of cute glass pieces in the corner.  The yellow one is from a vintage lamp, I got it for $1.00 at a thrift shop.  I love it.


Here's a little view of my corner where I have my Dale Chihuly-inspired glass garden.  And here's a peek at my balcony, which I have finally committed to decorating.  I need to find a chaise lounge on the cheap.


Evening view of my little corner.  I love my new red bulb in my lantern!

Corner of my patio during the day, and romantic evening shot.  I love the solar lamp!


My little bookcase where I display my current favorite ceramic pieces.  Thinking about painting it white.  Any opinions on that, dear readers?  My scarf collection hangs on the bedroom door.


The bedroom needs a lot of work, but here's a little peek.  The closets in this place are so tiny, I've had to use part of the bedroom for storage of  my paintings.  I prefer a bedroom to be monastic in nature.  Nothing in the room but a bed, and maybe a lamp.  IMHO, the bedroom has only two functions: sleeping and lovemaking.  It should be a peaceful place, where nothing interferes with either of those activities. No work area, no TV in the bedroom.  I worry that my paintings could be causing my insomnia, they are energetic in nature. Luckily, however, my pile of paintings has been dwindling. I've been giving a lot of my pieces away, I'm trying to make room for new art.



I always feel a little squeamish when I see bathroom photos.  The bathroom is such a private room, and I prefer it to be highly functional.  Mine's not pretty.  The tile and tub need some work.  But it's not horrible either.  I don't want to put the money (or effort into it).  The water pressure is absolutely fabulous, though!  Such a luxury.  And because there should always be beautiful things to look at, here are a couple pieces of art in the bathroom.  Flower pot from dollar store, painting by Peggy.


One of my favorite paintings (by me) in my entryway.  I'd love to have a little dresser to serve as a landing strip in the entry way.  I feel so greedy sometimes, because I am always thinking of things I'd like to have for my apartment - yet I also want simplicity.  I'd like to have a pretty screen to hide my fridge.  I love my open floor plan, but I hate looking at the fridge from my sofa.  Trying not to buy anything large right now (which is easy because I don't have any money).  Not sure where I'm going to end up next.  I love rain and cool weather, and need to be around artists.  So maybe Seattle....or Portland....

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Apartment for Today

Spent my Saturday cleaning, rearranging and organizing.  This place is finally starting to feel like a home.  It takes a while.  Felt like lightening up.


I'd like to have the legs cut on my Parsons end table, to lower its scale.  If interested in the boring details, see post below.  More pics tomorrow.  Hope you are enjoying your Saturday as much as I am enjoying mine! xo

My Apartment: The Process and Some New Stuff

Good day dear readers!  Hope you are doing well!  This was a difficult week for my family and me.  We had a death in the family.  Unfortunately, with death brings drama.  Some members of my family acted ... hmm...how to phrase nicely.... let's just say I'd would've preferred to be treated differently. I can't understand why at my advanced age I still allow my feelings to be hurt.  But, there it is, I am sensitive. My girl Haley asked me what I expected.  Right.  This person has been treating me this way for 52 years.  Why would it all of a sudden change?  Why am I still surprised? That's what the Buddha meant by letting go of attachment and expectation. I keep expecting her to change, she does not, I allow it to hurt.  She doesn't hurt me, I allow her to hurt me.  If I let go of the expectation, then I no longer give her the power to hurt me.  Simple.  But not easy.  Also had drama with lawyers, doctors and the heat is friggin' killing me.  

You know how it is with chronic illness.  Like anything else.  Good days/bad days.  You learn not to take anything for granted.  Pain is bad today and changes in my meds have me sick as a dog.....but.....

Even though I felt like shit, I spent some quality girl time with my sister-in-law yesterday.  Just the prescription I needed.  Always feel great after that.  She's a world traveler so she had a ton of gifts for me!  Ah, it's great to be queen.  I'm stuck in the A/C again, but...it's not really a complaint.  You know my apartment is small and  humble, and I love it!  I have a lot of new things today to show you.  Yes, it's a balance.  I'm a lover of beautiful things, but I still want simplicity.  I'm moving slow, but I'm having fun.  Since I didn't suffer with insomnia last night, I am having a cup of my favorite Colombian coffee, and the music is loud.


Here's how my living room looked this morning. I experimented with not using a rug, I get so sick of straightening it.  It looks odd to me without it, though.  I hate carpet!  I miss wood floors and wish I could paint the walls.  Oh well.  I'm lazy anyway.

Wish I could afford a new rug.  It's crazy what rugs cost!  I'd love to have something that looks tie-dyed or even perhaps a Moroccan wedding blanket.  Oh well.  I have a lot of pretty new things, take a look:
  
How fab is this!  A beautiful pink tea kettle.  This was a mothers' day present from my adopted daughter Haley.  I gotta lot of love in my life.  So grateful, honored and humbled.

As you know, my new favorite color is gray!  I almost fainted when I saw these pieces at the Goodwill!  ASA Selection tea pot and tea cups!  You already know I am obsessed with ASA Selection pottery.  Such perfection and simplicity.  I have been coveting this set for a long time.  I first saw the set at a gift shop in Cleveland.  $54 for the tea pot and four cups, too much for my cheap ass. I spied this lovely set from a distance and couldn't get over there fast enough.  Okay, it's only got two cups, but who cares?  I got this set for $3.00!  Yep, $3.00.  Score.  I have one other piece of ASA Selection pottery.

My beautiful footed bowl.  I bought this years ago for $24.  I thought it was ridiculously priced at the time, but had to have it.  It is so perfect in its simplicity.  It's very tactile, as pottery should be.  Matte finish, my favorite.  And did you know a beautiful piece of pottery will sing?  This one makes a beautiful sound when you run your finger around the edge.  Kinda like a Tibetan prayer bowl.


Here is another vase I got at the Goodwill.  Beautiful simple shape, beautiful matte finish.  It's marked made in Thailand on the bottom.  I'm sure this was available at Ikea at one time.  Got it for $1.00!  I'm fighting the urge to paint it hot pink, cuz it's already perfect.  I tend to paint vases that are not perfect.  Pictured along with the vase is part of my rock collection.  Yep, another obsession.  I love rocks.  Loving beautiful things and maintaining a simple, uncluttered look is all about balance.  Sometimes I panic that I have too much stuff.

I've finally committed myself to decorating my balcony.  But I gotta do it on the cheap.  Here is a cute solar lamp I got at Target.  Not cheap.  $9.99.  Almost didn't buy it.  But do love it.

Yep, another obsession.  I admit it.  I'm really five years old and I play with toys.  I have a few of my favorites in my cute little damaged, yellow lacquer box (for the story of this little box, click here).  I love toys, but can't figure out how to display them since I don't like clutter.  May have to have some custom furniture built by Antonio Ballatore.  Maybe I'll do a vertical wall toy display when I when the lottery.  But for now it pleases me that I have a toy box on my end table.

I've been looking everywhere for a pink light bulb, to no avail.  I finally found a red one at Target.  I kinda dig it.  Nice cheap way to add some spice to your living room.

Meet my new coffee table!  Isn't she gorgeous?  Oh gosh, I just can't get enough of neon colors.  Especially love how the cover is balanced by the black and white stripes.  I have a blanket stashed in there, I love my A/C so much that sometimes it feels like a meat locker in here.  I love covering up while watching Rules of Engagement. (I'm obsessed with this show, I watch it over and over - it's hilarious!)  Since my place is small, I love using multi-functional, easily moved pieces.  I got this at Target for $19.99, which is a pretty good price.  It was all I could do not to buy two more ottomans.  I was digging the square ones, in a neon pink and turquoise.  Love those colors together.  But desperately trying to exercise some restraint.  Not always easy, humans sure make some beautiful things.

Speaking of beautiful things, here is a little glass garden I put together in my living room.  As you know, I love vessels.  Ceramic and porcelain are my first love, but I dearly love glass as well.  For some time now, I have been mixing glass and ceramic in my display.  But for today, I thought I'd do a glass display and a ceramic display.  All are pieces I got on the cheap (including that Murano-looking blue piece - $3 at the Goodwill!).  The little blue flower bowl to the right is an expensive piece.  It was a gift from my sister-in-law who, as you know, buys me the most beautiful gifts.  I dearly love it.  She got it in Seattle!  One of my favorite cities.  Click here for my series on Seattle.  I put it on top of a glass piece I got for cheap at TJ Maxx, to give it the place of prominence it so deserves.  This little glass garden has two influences.  One is the great Dale Chihuly.


The other is this pic from my paper inspiration file which, thankfully, is dwindling thanks to digital technology.  (O at Home, Winter 2008)  Paper can be so hard to manage.  I strive to be as paperless as possible.  I know it seems like an unlikely color combination, but I love the color combo of blue and orange.  To see my other blue and orange experiments in a previous apartment, click here and click here.

Sister-in-law brought this promotional flyer for me to see.  She knows me so well.  The flyer shows amazing pieces by Benjamin Moore.  His work is amazing!  I particularly love pieces that are miraculous exercises in balance.  I wonder if Benjamin was inspired by the great Elsa Rady's Cycladic Swing.  I'm going to send him a message and I will update.
Here is yet another fine gift from sister-in-law.  A mug from the original Starbucks' store!  And my favorite place in Seattle, Pike Place Market.  I love the graphic art on the mug.  I love Seattle, I dream of living in a loft over Pike Place or in a house boat.  As you know, I dearly love rain.

Here's yet another new vase from the Goodwill.  I know, I know. I have a lot of stuff.  I am organizing today, though, and some stuff is getting donated. I do love organization.  This beauty was only $1.00.  Love the shape.  Thinking of painting my bookcase white (again).

And because even the most mundane object, must be beautiful:  pink dishwashing soap by Palmolive and pretty sponge.  The sponge was a gift from my favorite cousin.  Man my peeps sure buy me some good shit. Stay tuned to see how my apartment turns out.  Happy Saturday my loves!  xo

Friday, June 28, 2013

Announcements

Hello dear readers!  Thank you for the outpouring of love I received for my previous post.  It was a heart wrenching one.  There are many more of those to come, but I am wondering how much to put on my blog. Please leave comments if you want to continue to read more about my life.  I'm not looking for pity or sympathy, but merely want to help empower others.

Over the next few days, we will have some fun.  Don't want to get into deep shit all the time, want to have some fun too!  But want to remind people that sometimes someone as fabulous as me, has come from a difficult past.  I am working on a particularly shocking chapter in my book right now, and think it perhaps is too much for this blog.

Couple of other announcements.  I hope to upgrade my about tab in the next couple of days.  Also, hoping to update my portfolio.  Also, I am adding a reading list tab.  I spent the first half of my life reading.  Now I'm spending the second half of my life experiencing and putting into practice what I've read.  If you're interested in how I formed my philosophy, you will be able to check my reading list.  I was a voracious reader, read everything.  Now that I am vision impaired, I don't read nearly as much.  I've been criticized severely for being "book smart" and not "street smart."  What crap.  I worked downtown Cleveland for over 20 years.  Rode the metropolitan bus and now live in the ghetto.  I'm a perfect combo of book and street smarts.  My strength and sensitivity are often intimidating to others, but that's crap too. No one should be intimidated by another. Ever. I am a humble servant, what is mine is yours.  And just because I am fabulous, does not mean that you're not fabulous.  Indeed, each of us is fabulous in our own way.  God don't make no junk.

Okay, enough words!  Let's have some fun!  TGIF!  xo

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Putting it all out there, Part II

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING WARNING BEFORE READING THIS POST!  THANKS!

WARNING!  This post contains very graphic language regarding child abuse. It also contains graphic language regarding empathy and self esteem, as well as graphic photography regarding illness.  It's not a negative post, but rather an empowering one.  I am a survivor.  I am God's conduit.  I suffered with fear and shame for many, many years.  But...I am no longer afraid.  I am proud of myself for what I have accomplished after what I have been through.  I am amazed at my strength.  If I can help even one person not to have to face some of the stinging indignity I have faced - then I can leave this plane in peace.

Here's a little of my story.  I am putting bits and pieces of my story on this blog.  The full story - complete with all details - will be in my autobiography.  I will be leaving NOTHING out.  I finally like myself.  It only took me 52 years.  Okay, here goes:

***
Today our story starts when I was ten years old.  The year was 1970.  I was in the third grade.  I was a typical 10 year old kid.  No, that's not really true.  I had a lot of secrets.  I was a good student.  Straight A's.  Never got in trouble.  Always pleasant and respectful to my elders.  That year I was teacher's pet.  Only time ever.  I still remember that angel of hope.  Her name was Mrs. Singer.  I wonder if Mrs. Singer had any inkling what was going on at home.  If she did, there wasn't much to be done. Remember it is 1970. No one believed kids at that time. No one believed kids (or women) until Phil Donahue and Oprah broke new ground.  Thank God for that.

I had three little brothers I took care of.  We lived in a hoarders' house (not shitting you).  That's probably why I'm anal about my place now.  More will be revealed about the living conditions in subsequent posts.  We didn't have enough food, towels, toilet paper or even sheets on the bed.  I understand now - but didn't understand then - why my parents were never home.  Believe me I preferred when they were not home.  My heart would drop when my mom announced that my dad was on vacation.  Oh man, a week of hiding in my room hoping that I didn't fuck up and set him off.  My three brothers felt the same. Thank God for my brothers.  I don't know how I would've survived without them.  We bonded together as a team.  We were all above average intelligence - gifted even - and we knew that we were in some fucked up shit. We just didn't know what to do about it.  The few people I mentioned it to, with my limited vocabulary, didn't believe me.  To this day, my brothers and I are often faced with disbelief.

I always felt ugly and fat.  I walked with my head down, I was so ashamed.  Mrs. Singer tried to get me to pick my head up.  I had greasy hair, and was so embarrassed.  We never had enough soap or shampoo.  We had to share bath water and I was only allowed to wash my hair once a week.

Back to 10 year old Peggy.  One day I received a particularly brutal scolding from my father because I hit my middle brother.  He hit me first.  So I hit him back.  Middle brother had an exceptional talent for screaming like bloody murder.  When he screamed - you crapped your pants.  Now I've already explained in a post below that my father spoke in a strange, mysterious and often contradictory way.  I never understood what was expected of me, though I about killed myself trying to please him.

My dad was seldom home. Worked two full time jobs, gave a very beautiful (false) impression of being a martyr who would do anything for his family.  When he was home we had to tip toe in silence.  Dad believes that children are not to be seen OR heard.  We were to stay out of sight.  I hated when he was home.  When he was home, he slept.  So waking Dad from his slumber with a blood curdling scream was taking your life into your hands.  Dad told me not to be a pussy.  If someone hit me, I was required to defend myself.  If he heard that I didn't defend myself, he would beat me.  Also, he reminded me, no one likes a fink.  A fink is worse than the perp.  If I tattled, I would be beat.  Yet.... when he asked me who broke something (since it was my job to make sure nothing got broke, being the oldest):  if I told who broke the lamp, I got beat for being a fink.  If we refused to tell him who broke the lamp, we all had to line up to get beat.  I never could figure out what the hell I was supposed to do.  I didn't even know what a Catch-22 was, but I was sure as hell always caught in one.

Needless to say, I never did anything right.  No matter how hard I tried to please, I got beat.  And I don't mean spanked.  I mean beat.  With whatever object or switch or belt buckle or vacuum cleaner he could find.   Just a few days prior to my fateful day, I had gotten my dad's particular brutal brand of "scolding" for taking the law into my own hands. He yelled at me, "MARGARET....." I always shit when I heard my full name.  I knew I was about to get smashed.  I had hit my brother.  He screamed.  Dad woke up (something you never, ever wanted) and then...I think you get the picture.  This particular scolding, he informed me that I was never to lay down the law myself.  I am to come to him and he will lay down the law.  Oh.  I don't quite understand, isn't that finking?  I thought.  I didn't say it out loud, because challenging Dad would've resulted in....."scolding."  I never knew what he wanted from me.

Few days later.  Middle brother and I are in the kitchen playing with his trucks. Middle brother takes his dump truck and smashes me in the toe with it.  I thought my toe was broken!  He could be a little mother fucker (don't have any idea where he learned that from).  I limped into the living room where Dad was sleeping on the couch.  I said Dad, "I think J broke my toe."  That's nice, was Dad's reply.  I was absolutely stupefied.  Okay, he's told me to defend myself or I face his wrath.  Okay, he's told me not to take the law into my hands, or I face his wrath.  Fuck!  My toe is friggin' broken, swelling, hurts like hell.  Okay, I'm gonna have to face Dad's wrath, but I am not letting that little mother fucker get away with breaking my toe.

In a huff I go into the kitchen and punch J in the arm.  "Don't ever hit me with a truck again," I say.  Okay, I'm a girl and I'm 10.  I'm not that strong.  I don't hit him that hard, I do love that little mother fucker, although sometimes I don't know why.  He lets out the most blood curdling scream you've ever heard in your life!  Dad wakes with a start.  Oh shit!  I run into the dining room.  Big mistake.  Here comes Dad and he is furious!  He looks so huge to me.  Coming toward me, breathing hard, nostrils flaring.  My toe is friggin' swelling, my ears hurt from J's scream and I am terrified.  Terrified.

Time warp.  Happens so fast, but seems like forever.  The grizzly bear approaches with surprising speed given his stockiness.  The fist comes out of no where at lighting speed.  Hits me square in the face.  Let me reiterate this point - a 200 pound, muscular, strong man cold cocks a 10 year old 85 pound girl square in the face.  I'm lucky to be alive. I fly through the air.  Again, seems like time has stopped. As I land I hit my temple on the corner of the sturdy, wooden dining room table.  I fall to the floor in a heap.

By this time Dad is awake and is shitting.  He picks up the rag doll on the floor and shakes me. "Peg?  Peg?  Peg?"  So, so groggy I can barely see him or hear him. With lightening speed and agility, the grizzly bear morphs into a gazelle.  The gazelle has a cold wash cloth on my face.  The gazelle is running around the house, carrying me, rounding up my brothers and cleaning the blood and puke.  I have blood coming out of my nose, eyes and mouth and I'm puking.  Yeah, it's pretty.

With lightening speed, I am in the car with Dad and my three brothers.  In and out of consciousness. Grogginess.  So much blood.  So much puke.  Man, my head hurts.  I recall a lot of lights.  They are killing my eyes.  I'm moving on a cart.  Fast.  Oh, I'm in the hospital.  Lots of mumbled words, confusion.  I hear my Dad talking.  Cracking jokes.  Then comes the lie.  The lie I've heard a million times.  Yeah, he says, I smacked her on the butt and we tripped over a rug together, ha....ha....ha....

Doctor is taping my nose.  It's broken.  I didn't even realize you could break a nose.  In two places.  Not much can be done he says.  She'll need sunglasses for quite some time. All of a sudden, Daddy is holding me on his lap.  Something he never does.  And calling me his little princess.  He tells me I can pick out as many pairs of sunglasses as I want.  Even a pink pair!  Oh boy!  I am eating this attention up.  Finally, my Daddy loves me!

***

Quick little break here.  It's shocking, I know.  Or as my favorite cousin and I say, "The shit is deep."  Took me years before I could tell anyone what happened to me.  And no one knows everything.  Those I trust just know bits and pieces.  That's partially because I don't like to talk about it.

In addition, please bear in mind these are not recovered memories.  I never forgot.  I remember the events I have described like it happened yesterday.  Yes, there was confusion after the impact and after the drugs, but I know what happened.  I have experienced recovered memories for another horrible trauma in my life, which will be described in a later post.  Suffice it to say that memories never lost are very different from recovered memories.

***

Back to the day of the broken face.  Daddy and me and the boys are in the car.  I've picked out two pairs of the cutest sunglasses you've ever seen.  Daddy and I are chums.  I'm eating it up.  It's me and Daddy against the world.  It's time to pick up Mom from work.  I am sitting next to Daddy in the front seat.  The boys are sleeping in the back.

Okay.  This won't be what you're expecting - I know you're expecting my mom to shit.  Or to leave my dad, or maybe even yell at him, or maybe console me.  Uh uh.  None of the above.  I say, "Hi Mommy!" like nothing's wrong.  She looks at me.  I can see she is carefully examining my face.  But her face is not revealing any concern.  She asks what happened. By now Daddy and I are expert at our little lie.  He's even starting to believe it a little, I think.  I play along because he finally loves me.  I've finally gotten his approval.

Of course, I'm being a ham.  I ask my mom if I can stay home from school the next day.  She says no.  No one was prepared for what I looked like the next morning.  I screamed when I looked in the mirror.  My parents came running.  "I'm a monster!"  I sobbed.  Oh the joyous comforting I received.  I ate it up.

But let me tell you.  I was a monster.  I wish I had a picture of it.  Mom said I could stay home.  Yippee!  Can I have pancakes for breakfast?  Of course was her reply.  I was a mess.  My nose was huge and misshapen, with a big scab covering most of it.  My lips were bulging.  So much snot and drool and blood had caked on my face.  Hard to wash because the pain was unbelievable.  Both eyes were black and blood shot.  Hell, both cheeks were black.  I had a strange, purplish bruise that went from my ear down my chin, jaw and neck.  I did have cute pink sunglasses, however.

The next day I went to school.  My parents begged me not to go.  I insisted.  I had a part in the school play. I was a mouseketeer and I was terribly excited.  My mom told me to be sure to keep my sunglasses on.  I still remember Mrs. Singer's horrified look when she saw me.  But I was in the play.  My brother (not the brother who was complicitous in this mess) assured me you could not tell I had a broken nose in the audience.  To this day, I don't know if he told me the truth.  He was always my protector, so believe me this situation left him broken hearted.  As I walked off the stage, a particularly cruel teacher told me I needed to go wash my face.

Mrs. Singer disappeared that afternoon.  It seemed like she was gone forever, I always missed her when she was gone.  Upon her return she informed me that Mr. Leighton, the principal, wanted to see me. Mr. Leighton was a kindly man, and I liked him.  I was nervous, though.  I'd never been to the Principal's office.  To this day, I dream about going into his office for various problems, though I was only in his office that once.  He was noticeably upset.  I thought I was in trouble.  He asked me what happened to my face.  I said, "My dad hit me."  It's true.  That's what happened.  I didn't say it with any animosity.  Mr. Leighton called my parents and told them they had to come to the school immediately.  I waited outside his lobby.  It seemed like forever.  When my parents got there, I could hear arguing, but I couldn't make out what was said.

When my parents came out, Mr. Leighton was red in the face and looked like he'd been crying.  Officials would be coming to our house forthwith was what he said.  Officials?  Forthwith?  I'm still Daddy's princess, but he's a little different today.  Uh oh, what did I do wrong now?  I was always told never lie to the teachers or principal.

Dad was making a joke out of what happened.  I was dumbfounded.  He said, ha, ha, I can't believe you told the principal that.  You're confused because of your medication.  I hit you on the bottom and we both tripped over a rug and you hit your face on the table....and some such shit.  Over the last 43 years I have heard this story many times.  Too many times.  And it always gets embellished.  And he always makes a joke out of it.  He says something, like, "Ha, ha, remember the time you and I both tripped over the rug?  Time stood still...."  Yeah, mother fucker time did stand still, but I didn't trip over no damned rug.

To this day he has never acknowledged what he has done.  Nor has he ever apologized.  Damn.  I don't even really need an apology where he admits his wrong doing.  It would be enough if he simply said, "I apologize for what happened."  Because then at least he'd be admitting that the shit is fucked up.  And believe me, the shit is fucked up.  It's not a joke.

Officials did indeed come to the house.  It was like his beer drinking buddies had stopped by.  They slapped each other on the back and laughed about what a silly girl I am trying to get so much attention.  Then left.  After about 5 minutes.  Oh BTW - Dad talked to them on the porch.  If they had asked to come in they would've seen filth and cockroaches.  But they didn't.  I guess it's a good thing.  I wanted to be taken from my parents, but not my brothers.  I could not have survived without them.

Over the years I've barely spoken to my father.  He remarried, had a whole new family with a bunch of new kids that he treated like shit.  One positive thing came out of all of this.  He never hit me again.  I did get hit by various aunts, uncles and my mom and, oh yeah, my ex-husband, but all of those are subsequent posts.  On the downside, he continued to beat my brothers mercilessly. My oldest brother getting it by far the worst.  I struggled with horrible guilt over the years because I didn't protect them. Until a kind psychologist reminded me that I was also a child and that it wasn't my fault.  It wasn't my fault.

I'm at peace with my dad now.  He's an old, dying man, filled with regret.  None of us call him.  Not even on fathers' day.  But I have spoken with him recently.  He did tell me he loved me and that he was proud of me. Too little too late.  But I'll take it.  I guess I'm Daddy's princess after all.  I'm glad we made peace before he went other side.  I believe I understand forgiveness.  It's for me - not him.  I hate harboring anger, hatred or ill will in my heart.  Does that mean I forgive the horrendous action?  No.  Does that mean I'm going to spend time with him?  No.  Does that mean he can pass to the other side without guilt?  Yes.  He can pass and I won't feel as if there are unresolved issues.  I am going to use my experience to help others.  I am what the Native Americans call a Wounded Warrior.

***

Okay.  Flash forward.  You already know I've been wrestling with a strange illness.  I don't want to belabor that point, except to say that I have no idea how much what happened on that day is still affecting me.

About 20 years ago I had jaw surgery.  The surgeon performed a technique called "rigid skeletal movement."  He was a specialist in facial reconstruction.  He had repaired the faces of soldiers who had been shot in Vietnam.  He asked me if I'd been in a car accident.  He said my upper jaw has been shattered at one point and that it was lucky I had not sustained another blow to the face (I had) because it might have killed me if bone went into my brain.  He said that the right eye socket had been broken as well.  He said my nose was still broken in two places and that approximately one year after jaw surgery - once everything had healed - he could repair my nose.  Unfortunately, I was never able to get my nose fixed.  The insurance company considered the nose job cosmetic.  But thank God they paid for the jaw surgery.

I had upper jaw surgery, which according to him is as dangerous as cutting into the chest cavity.  I was glad I had the surgery, I also wore braces on my teeth.  Both improved my smile substantially.  In fact, for the first time in my life (after a lengthy recovery) I could smile.  Remember, I always thought I was ugly.  I have pins and plates in my jaw to this day.  When I became ill several years ago, the doctors thought maybe my body was rejecting the hardware.  After many tests, x-rays and MRI, they no longer have that opinion.

I was treated by an Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic for bilateral orbital edema.  The guy saved my life.  I was a frustrating patient, though.  After surgery, and injections and massive steroid treatment, I would improve and then relapse. I am so grateful for the many doctors who have treated me.  The point of this is, the doctor at the Cleveland Clinic mentioned that my right eye socket had sustained a major trauma and was misshapen.  This could cause several problems in that my eyes were not symmetrical.  The right eye bulged out too far.  The mass that was removed as well as the misshapen eye socket could be working in tandem to cause the problems with double vision, as well as balance problems.

More on my illness later.  Suffice it to say, perhaps some of my current problems are caused by my father.  I suffer from excruciating pain in my face.  I could be on prescription pain meds, but you know the docs are very careful with narcotics in Ohio.  I'm almost always in pain.  Some days are better than others.  Some days aspirin dents the pain.  I'm never 100% pain free.  But there are those glorious days (which I am so grateful for) where I can tolerate the pain.  Illness is like anything else, good days, bad days.

This is getting long enough, so I thought I'd share some pictures to help you know me a little better.

I find taking glamorous self portraits very difficult!  But I'll keep trying.  I actually really loved this one.  As you know, I hate my nose.  So I cropped it out with Picasa.  I also got rid of a lot of scaring and veins in my  face.  I love this picture.  But my nephews think it's creepy because it doesn't look like me.  I thought it was kinda arty.  I really love the shadow my face is casting.

This is an old one.  My nephews encouraged me not to alter my nose, so I thought I'd try to blur it using color.  I'm wearing a Fedora here.  My favorite hat.

I love this one.  I successfully altered my nose using Picasa.  Again, my nephews found it creepy.

This is also an old one.  This is before I got sick.  Such a shame the disease attacked my eyes, I loved my eye makeup.  And shit yeah, my teeth looked great.  I spent a fortune on them.  I've been cutting and coloring my own hair for years to save money.  I was wearing it short then.  I prefer it long.


Here's a graphic example.  The picture on the left shows how bad my nose is.  It's broken in two places.  I'd still love to have my nose fixed, and will when I win the lottery.  To the upper right is an example of a small mass growing on my lacrimal gland.  My condition causes bilateral pseudo tumor and orbital edema.  The doc at Cleveland Clinic said it would actually be easier to treat if I had cancer.  No one knows what's going on and, hence, a lot of people don't even believe that I'm sick.  The picture on the right is heavily altered with Picasa.  I can't afford photo shop, and actually find it difficult to use.  I've altered my color, my nose, edited the tumor over my eye and cropped the pimple.  Wish I knew how to make my eyelashes longer.  I used to do that in picnik.

Around the same time period.  With glasses and pink lips.  Touched out the wrinkles around my lips.

Here's a pic my sister-in-law took of me at Target.  What a dork!  I admit it.  I sometimes use hats to take the attention away from my swollen eyes.  Shoulda bought that purse!  Isn't it cute!


Yes, I'm a goofball.  Here's a selfie I took while waiting for my sister-in-law at Starbucks.


I'm really a five year old trapped in a 52 year old body.  My nephew and I are always clowning around.  Here is a pic he took of me at Christmas.  He told me to pretend the tree was eating me!  Oh no Mr. Bill!

Everyone calls me Aunt Peggy.  So here is Aunt Peggy as a Simpson!  LOL!

If you've read this long post, I thank you so much for your time.  If you are curious and would like to see what a bad flare up looks like, click here.  If you'd like to see what my radiation treatments looked like, click here.  Warning!  These pictures are very graphic.  Thank you to Cole Eye Clinic and MetroHealth in Cleveland for all your kind care.  I am receiving treatment in Akron currently, but unfortunately the care is no where near as good.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'm Your DJ for Your Saturday

Hi everyone!  I'm back from my mini vacay (due to various allergies) sooner than I thought.  But it's all good.      This is the kind of Ohio day where I have to stay indoors and hydrated.  I'm already pale skinned and sensitive to the sun.  Also pale of eyes, and can't take the risk of further tumors to my eyes.  So, it's sun block, huge hat, huge dark shades for me.  And yet.....it's still too freaking hot.  People make fun of me.  They call me a vampire.  But, as you know, the part of my life where I give a shit about what people think of me is long past gone.  I love gray, misty, rainy, cool, breezy weather.  I miss Lake Erie.  I dream of moving to Seattle and living on a house boat.....or Portland.

If I'm a vampire, then so be it.  I tell you what, I'm a fabulous vampire.  Cuz, guess what.  God don't make no junk.  So I'm stuck in the house.  Cleaning.  It's all good.  I love my pad and I love keeping it clean and organized.  It's a humble, little, noisy place.  But I love it.

For my Saturday cleaning, I need music.  I'm singing and dancing around the place.  If you're stuck inside because of the heat too, just make the best of it.  Don't complain about the weather.  Clean your closet.  Clean that cabinet you've been putting off.  Or organize your daughter's tons of hair bows.  Color code them and put them in a cute container.  The possibilities are endless and so satisfying!  And remember to turn up the music loud.

Sing your guts out and shake that thang.  No such thing as a bootie that's too big...or too small.  You're fabulous in your own way.  Here's some music to help you get started.  Sorry for the hot-linking, I know that's obnoxious.  But...my media player is fucking up again!  Right now I don't have the time to fool with it.  Last time it took me two days to figure it out.  I was without internet for two days and thought I would die.    Shameful, I know but I'm writing a book and my PC is everything.  Please let me know if you have any tips on fixing my media player.  Programming and such is my least favorite part of blogging!

Here's some music:

Joan Osborne, One of Us - a reminder to treat everyone with love, because we are all God

Melissa Etheridge, I'm the Only One - ladies, play this one for your man if you love him.  But only if you really love him and want him.  Pay attention to those lyrics.  Also, remember, your dude is not your best girlfriend. That's why you need your girls too, it's not fair to expect him to be everything to you - that's too much pressure.  But.  He does need to man up and treat you right.  You're so worth it.  If he can't take you at your worst (i.e., stupid female brain and emotion, it's a blessing and a curse) then he doesn't deserve you at your best.  Cuz when a woman's good.  She's damn good.

Which brings me to the Divine Ms. M!

Bette Midler, When a Man Loves a Woman - if you love your man, and he can take Melissa play this for him.  Here's how to man up.  This is how you love a woman.  And no one tells that shit like Ms. M!  You go girl!

Hey, if you're not in love, or you don't have a man, don't despair.  Turn up these ladies anyway.  I guarantee you will feel empowered.  Women are strong, fabulous beings.

More music ahead, my loves.  xo



Friday, June 21, 2013

Traveling the U.S.in a Camper - First Destination

Good morning, dear readers!  In the post below, I wrote about my fantasy of living in a small camper and traveling the U.S.  I know exactly what my first destination would be - of course it is the journey that really matters - not the destination.  But, it has always been a dream of mine to see Mt. Rushmore.  I mean, how amazing that faces have been carved so lovingly into the side of a mountain.  Of course, Abraham Lincoln and I are soul mates, so any Lincoln memorial is of utmost fascination to me.  As you know, my friend Jessie has recently traveled the U.S. quite a bit.  One of her stops was Mt. Rushmore.  Fortunately for us less well-traveled folks, she took some amazing pics!  Have a look.




Honest Abe.  I love you!  More about Abe in subsequent posts.  Thanks for sharing your journey Jessie!  You don't have to leave the U.S. to have a great time.  There's plenty to see right here.  Although, I also dream of going to Europe...and Peru....and Germany.....Greece..... etc.  I hope I can share pics of Mt. Rushmore in the near future.

What about you, dear readers?  What would be your first destination if you were traveling the U.S.?  I'd love to hear from you! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Simple Living: How Far Can You Go?

 Image by personal friend of editor, not to be copied without express permission

Happy day dear readers!  I hope you had a great weekend and are not working too hard on this beautiful day.  I'd like to continue my discussion on one of my favorite topics today.  Simple Living.  The above pic is a friend of mine and I think it is so fab!  Isn't he hot?  And he's so rockin' that shirt.  He could be my poster child!

Living a life of simplicity means living a life of peace.  If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I endeavor to live a simple, peaceful, drama free life.  Because I like to spend my time walking, admiring trees, painting and writing, I don't want to spend a lot of time doing house work.  That's why I try to keep it simple.  Fewer things, means less work.  Organization means less time spinning my wheels looking for something.  Since my sight is impaired, this is also a necessity.

Over the last few years - out of economic necessity like many of us - I've had to purge and downsize.  But this is not something that should be pitied.  I've been given a marvelous opportunity by the universe to reinvent myself.  I made a discovery along the way.  The simpler I lived, the more satisfied I felt.  Living small and loving what I have is a joyful way to live.  I've never felt so free, which is ironic since I'm plagued with a strange illness.  Perhaps if I had listened to my body - or the cosmos - earlier I wouldn't be plagued with illness.  No matter, this is not a post about coulda, shoulda, woulda.  This is a happy post about dreams!

Do you ever think about how small you could go?  How much do you actually need?  I think about this all the time.  I'm a big fan of alternative living.  Tiny houses, shipping crates repurposed as homes and even campers.  I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Sometimes I want to run away from everything, I suppose we all feel that.  I grow bored of needless complexity and bureaucracy (and oh yeah family drama too).  Sometimes I fantasize about having a little, vintage, airstream trailer, and traveling the United States.  I do love beautiful things, so the inside would be pretty.  Probably with an air mattress and tons of pillows.  Other than that, I'm not sure how many possessions I'd keep.  I dearly love my vase collection, but not sure if it would make the road trip with me.  Right now the thought of freedom makes my heart sing more than anything else.  And, of course, living in a camper or trailer means the outside becomes part of your living room.  I love that.  I'd like to have a window in the roof of the camper so I can look at the stars or rain before falling asleep.  I love rain!

I must admit, that I would still want some technology.  My cell phone and a lap top with Internet.  Because I'd have to blog about my experience.  I love reading blogs of the courageous/resourceful people who are living in non-traditional ways.  Imagine the freedom of no mortgage payment and no longer relying on the grid.  Here are some inspirational photos.  How far could you go?  Could you do it?





 Source unknown








They actually use this as a playhouse for the kids!  How cool is that?  I could live here, though.  I wish I could get my mom to think more like a hippie, I could put one of these in her backyard.  She has plenty of land and could easily accommodate a trailer.  Ah well.

Image by Peggy

Living among trees would be a big part of life for me.

Image by Peggy



The Novogratz had a hot dog truck come to one of their kids' birthday parties.  Awesome.  But I think I could live in that.  I love the idea of the truck and trailer being one unit.  But, of course, efficient gas mileage  (as well as alternative fuel sources) is a big part of this dream.
 Above two images by Leah Giberson

Have you seen Leah Giberson's amazing art work?  I love it.  I think I need these pieces.  I could hang them in my bedroom and use them as visualization.  See Leah's Etsy store here.  Owning an Airstream has long been a fantasy of mine.  I even used a pic of one in my 2007 Christmas card. If interested, the card can be seen here.

Alternative and creative housing, as well as intentional communities, are a big interest of mine.  This is a topic I will revisit often on this blog.  Lastly, did you see the story about Ken Ilgunas on Yahoo? He's the resourceful young man who put himself through college while living in his truck.  He didn't want to graduate with a ton of debt - smart guy.  Wish I'd been that smart.  Check his story out, it's really inspiring.  On a side note, putting yourself through school shouldn't be that friggin' hard in the U.S.  No wonder we are falling behind - but that's the topic of subsequent (and previous) posts.  The link to the story is here.  Click here for his blog.  I plan to spend some time on Ken's blog.  He uses his experience to teach the rest of us who may be thinking of living in a nontraditional way.  Thanks for being an inspiration Ken!

Well, dear readers?  What do you think?  How far are you willing to go for freedom?  Is the potential of living this way something that excites you, or does it scare you?  I'd love to hear from you. Love to all!  xo

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