Monday, March 23, 2020

Me in Pastel, Flowers in Acrylic

I certainly hope any readers are glad to see this self-portrait, because it has taken me over an hour to figure out how to post pictures.....(new computer, new printer).  Anyway, this was done just a couple of weeks ago in pastel.  I have been experimenting with pastels for months now............for so long that I have worn out my enthusiasm and gone all the way back to acrylic paints.  I like pastel, and my recent recent obsession with the medium has produced many, many, many pieces with various subject matter.  The irksome fact that I had only 9x12 pastel paper finally drove me to move on.  I have just completed my first acrylic painting in many years. It's about 3 1/2 feet tall, so satisfied my need to get a good big image.  I used up most of my paint doing it, so I'll have to call it quits until I get more money at the beginning of the month.  I do like the painting, though and feel good about going back to acrylics.  It seems to be my medium at least at this point. 

We continue to deal with the's something I obviously have to take seriously, even as I sit sequestered in my little house in my little town at the end of the country.  It all seems so far away and unreal.  There are few consequences here.  We are used to being alone (why else would we live here?), and daily life has not changed.  I went to the grocery store day before yesterday and found it unchanged except there was no chicken at the meat counter.  The toilet paper crisis has apparently not reached us yet, nor is there any perceptible difference in the number of shoppers (ten or fifteen at a time).  The only personal consequences for me is the difficulty getting food for my animals.  The chickens (who are living in the attached shed) ran out of food because is very behind delivering orders.  They are dining on bread and popcorn at the moment, but my friend Jim will be going to the big city today, Calais, to work and will pick up some layer pellets there for them at the feed store.  That store is as big as a small city so I can't imagine they are out of chicken feed.

Speaking of the chickens, I noticed this morning that their friends the rats are eating their eggs.  I don't like eggs myself, so I don't care.  However, I do have to be careful when I open the kitchen door to make sure they don't get in the house.  My live and let live philosophy does not include allowing rodents in the house.  Somehow I need to get the chickens outside within a week.  The people who inspect properties that receive housing assistance, as I do, will not smile on rodents so close to the living quarters.  (The chickens are there only because I can't walk out to their house in the yard.)  Luckily I put together a small chicken coop before I became so handicapped and it is sitting outside the back door.  Had I known we would get so little snow, I might not have put them in the shed anyway, but I did.  I knew I wouldn't be able to play farmer with my present handicap, so I needed to have them where I could easily take care of them.  How I will be able to accomplish the whole process, I really don't know.  I only know that I will.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Woe is me, along with the rest of the world.......

So, the big news is about the Corona virus (I think that's its name), which I have pretty much ignored until now.  My life is quite isolated even in normal times, but now the whole world is joining me.  It is not self imposed for the general public.  Day after day the newspaper is full of suggestions for handling "aloneness."  Since I am part of the "at risk" population because of my age, it's good that I don't have that angst that comes from lack of social interaction.  I don't even understand it, can't imagine why being alone is such a problem.  Especially I am amazed by the trauma it seems to be that children are forced to spend the day with their parents.  Yesterday I read an article in the paper about how to entertain your kids when they are out of school, reminding me of my amazement that children have to be "entertained."  It never occurred to me that I had to entertain my kids, and certainly as a child myself I would have been confused and irritated if my parents tried to interfere with my days.  Luckily their idea of child rearing was "go outside and don't come back until mealtime." After supper we went back outside and were told to come home when the street lights came on.  Two little cousins lived with us and my mother took care of three others during the day as well.  All of us disappeared as soon as breakfast was over, not to be seen until lunchtime.  We all went our separate ways. 

I guess the world was a safer place then, or at least we thought it was.  Our street was a short hill lined with houses on both sides, separated by driveways.  It was a poor neighborhood and a couple of the buildings were run-down apartments populated mostly by alcoholics (four of whom were relatives who lived next door).  There was a park around the corner with the kind of playground equipment that people today consider too dangerous.  We spent time there sometimes, but mostly made our way through the steeply wooded area across the street to Kenduskeag Stream.  Today they have white water canoe races there in the spring, but then it was a playground for us.  There was an old covered bridge there that was no longer even connected to a road. We used it as shelter from bad weather.  We jumped from rock to rock as the rapids thrashed around us............well, my point is that the articles in the paper seem beside the point to me.  My own children don't have kids, so I am totally out of touch.
But I digress..........

So I watch the world thrashing around trying to control this virus, but I am really not alarmed.  The consequences for me leave no room to worry about the big picture.  For me what it means is that I now have to postpone the surgery on my hip (again).  I have lived as an invalid since last June waiting for my own health to improve enough for surgery.  Now my anemia is gone, my pneumonia is gone, my lungs are at least acceptable.  What was a mild limp has blossomed into a hip joint so deteriorated that I can't walk without a walker.  I can't sleep for the pain.

Well, enough of the "woe is me" talk.  This is the first time in my life I have been physically handicapped.  I don't like it.  The effect of the virus has, in my mind, shriveled down to a personal level.  True, I won't die from a painful hip, but I can't help being seriously irked by my little personal inconvenience.

Sorry about that :-).

Monday, March 16, 2020

Post Script from Yesterday

It seems that I neglected to mention yesterday that I did not move after all.  I am still in the same place.  The apartment fell through, and I felt so relieved that I realized how attached I am to the house I live in now.  When that happened, the happiness and relief I felt was almost overwhelming. Living in this three bedroom house is a little difficult (and painful) right now, but I realized how much I love it here, with the ocean outside my windows.  Once I made the decision, I celebrated by getting seven baby chicks.  Those girls grew up and can fly like eagles. By that time I had become pretty incapacitated, so they became Neighborhood chickens.......I couldn't keep them in the yard.  Many days I didn't see them at all until suppertime.  Luckily everyone loved them and enjoyed seeing them wandering around.  As cold weather approached, though, and my own mobility became a bigger problem, I had to think of a way to confine them near the house.  I bought a chicken house on line that you put together yourself, assembled it with great difficulty, and parked it near the back door.  Once I had it ready, though, I couldn't see confining them to such a small space 24/7.

Well, necessity is the mother of invention.  I cleaned all the junk out of the shed that is attached to the house and turned it into a chicken house.  It worked out great for me as I got more incapacitated.  All I had to do was open the kitchen door to feed and water them.  A baby gate kept them confined when the door to the kitchen was open.  Still as they grew accustomed to the place, they decided it would be fun to take a look at the rest of the house.  Now when I feed them, they are constantly flying up to my shoulders or my head, hoping to then make a run for it into the kitchen.  Feeding and watering them is quite a circus.  Luckily, Leah and Elliot find them interesting, but don't see them as potential playthings or food.  They just watch them with mild interest.  I think now the story of my hiatus from blogging is pretty much up to date.

PS:  I sit a lot, and read a lot.  Guess what.............I'm in love with Barbara Kingsolver.  I'm glad she's written so many fat books.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I'm still here......

Oh, how the world goes on.  I didn't mean to lose my enthusiasm for blogging, but it happened anyway.  I so enjoy it, though, and reading the comments.  My extended absence , or my excuse perhaps, is that I have become an invalid, at least temporarily.  I need a hip replacement, which wouldn't be a huge deal if not for the consequences.  It was as if my body realized I had not been subjected  to the usual aches and pains, accidents, and illnesses that humans can ordinarily
expect throughout their lifetime.  I have been the healthiest person I've ever known...........not so much as a cold for many, many years.  Then I began to experience pain in my hip.  That pain increased and expanded until I finally mentioned it to my doctor during my usual yearly exam. 

The chain of events that followed that diagnosis have taken over my life.  I still have not had the necessary surgery, though it is finally looming in the relatively near future.  First, I got pneumonia, then mysterious things started showing up on my x-rays of my lungs.  Blood tests then showed that I was anemic.  Then other mysterious things showed up on x-rays that doctors couldn't identify.  I've had so many scans and tests without anyone being able to identify the problem that it's a wonder I haven't  died from exposure to radiation.

Finally, just last week, a lung specialist theorized that my two parakeets are to blame.  Their grooming habits have resulted in contaminating my lungs.  He said I could go ahead with the surgery on my hip, but he would like me to get rid of the birds.  (Of course that would be impossible for me.  I can not abandon my animals.)  I did get over the pneumonia and anemia after months of half heartedly taking vitamin pills.  I tried to introduce various additions, somewhat successfully, to my diet.  I, a former cook who served and consumed a very complicated and international diet, had lost interest in preparing and eating all those delicious meals.  For years I have eaten almost nothing but dry cereal with milk , along with candy and potato chips.

So, the ordeal is almost over.  The surgery that will get me back on my feet should make me as good as new.  I can throw away my canes and my walker.  I may even clean the house, which is filthy and cluttered in the extreme.  I can not walk now without those aids, and my pain level is very high.  My personality forbids my accepting help from any of my very few friends.  I stay in the house with the door locked, not bothering to get dressed.

So, this is my life.  Am I depressed?  No, not a all.  I have Elliot, light of my life, my constant companion,  He is always in sight, playing or resting in my lap.  He is devoted, having had my full, adoring attention throughout his whole lifetime.  The chickens are in the shed (attached to the house by the kitchen door.)  Leah, the cat, plays with Elliot when she feels like it, or sits on my newspaper as I read.  She sneaks out the door from time to time, but immediately regrets it and howls at the window to be let in.  My life is full of books and animals and painting.  I am going to post pictures in my next post, once I track down my camera.  I am fine.