Checking in.

As those of you that read my blog know, I’ve kind of lost my way since my dad died, but I don’t want to give up just yet.

My trip home was good.

I only had a cry three times, including one where my sister lovingly tossed me a used tissue.

Bless her.

Probably why I’ve got the lurgy now.

I’ve come home with a sore throat, cough and achy parts.

Thank you K.

I ate all of the food on my list except for the pie and mash, fish and chips, and the pint of bitter.

So much food, not enough time.

The flights were awful. The most uncomfortable I’ve flown for a long while and took for ever. We did make it there and back in one piece, however, so I’m grateful for that.

I wasn’t as cold there as I expected, which is unusual for someone who usually curls up in a corner with a blanket and doesn’t come out again until all the heaters are turned up high.

In fact, at times it was just as cold here in Houston as it was in England.

We stayed at my brother-in-law’s house which is an old converted barn.

Actually I think it was the pig sty as the large barn is to one side.

I started a painting of their house before we left, but I just can’t get those pesky oil pastels to dry.

They’ll probably get it two years from now.

Our bedroom was behind the larger window in the roof, above the kitchen door.

The house has the original brick floors and some brick walls, but I really only had to curl up once.

Probably the red wine helped.

I’m thinking of painting the barn opposite also.

But not the big black barn.

It’s just all barn and windows.

Nice, but a bit boring.

This is the entrance coming into the old farm.

Before Christmas I made quite a few pieces which I shared on Instagram, but only got into the studio for the first time yesterday.

A friend wanted a piece with topaz and amethyst, but it was hard for me to find anything that I liked.

In the end I found these.

And this is where K and her used tissue comes in.

Usually I’m pretty good at replicating one of my drawings. In fact it always surprises me, but this time.

Well…

Don’t even talk to me about it.

So today I’m off out to get my hair cut, which always makes me feel better, and then I’m boycotting the studio until I feel better.

I’m going to sit on the sofa and switch off BBC and put on some old film.

An old black and white Barbara Stanwyck movie is my preferred choice, but I doubt I’ll be able to find one.

And I might even start back on my embroidery.

 🙂

Today I did something a little out of my comfort zone.

I signed up for a class.

On my own.

All alone and

By myself.

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I’m a bit of an introvert you see,

with extrovert tendencies…

It seems that I will talk with anyone, and actually I do, but really I’m a scaredy cat who frets until I’m there and doing it.

Then I’m like.

Who are you? And what did you do with Deborah?

But not in that, Be gone from me Satan way.

In a good way.

I almost left the page, then I thought Do It! And so I did it.

It still makes my heart skip a little, but I’m sure there are worse things I’ll encounter.

Like my next trip to the dentist.

I also thought that as I’m pretty good at watching a video and picking things up through trial and error that perhaps I should save my money, but I think I really want to go mingle with like-minded people and see what happens.

Can’t be a hermit forever.

In other news.

The tank is back baby!

This is the old one going home to his empty friends

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Doesn’t help calm the nerves that they put that bright red sticker on it.

And here is it’s replacement.

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Looking a little lost with his clown nose.

Anyway he soon got right to it and we made a couple more necklaces.

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Turquoise

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Turquoise

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Ocean Jasper

It’s like my old nan used to say.

The back should be as good as the front.

Could do with a little more work under that second leaf on the right though…

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Yesterday I ruined my painting.

This is it started.

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I haven’t got a photo of it ruined as my darn phone keeps telling me that I have no storage.

It never used to have this problem so I think it’s all just a dastardly plan to get me to buy a new one.

They think I don’t know about their dirty tricks.

It’ll probably work though…

And now I’m off to Austin to visit B, my eldest.

We are going to have a weekend of watching movies, doing some stitching,

I’ve still not finished this.

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Or this.

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And just hanging out.

And so I leave you with a Rumi quote.

Not really into all that touchy feely stuff, but this one kind of makes me feel very centered.

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Have a good weekend y’all…

(Sorry)

So here’s the thing.

Even years used to be my favourite.

Now you might say that this is magical thinking at its best, but I know that when you enter the dark world of odd numbers there’s just gonna be trouble in store.

Just take a look.

1 3  5  7  9

Now you can’t tell me that all those odd numbers don’t look dark, angry, and downright depressed compared to their round and jolly even compadre’s.

2  4  6  8  0

O.K. so the 0 is a bit ominous…

Can’t see it? Then I can’t save you from the consequences of ignoring the possibility of imminent every other year danger.

Sorry.

But, I’m beginning to think I was wrong as so far 2016 has sucked, more so even than 2011 when both my mum and father in law died within a month of each other costing us a small fortune to go back and forth to the U.K. for their funerals. Not to mention the waste of time and energy it took to unpack from the first trip just to load it all back up again.

Oh, and let’s not forget the distress and anguish part.

To be honest this mess of a year did start back in December of 2015, as though it was saving up its winning card to throw onto the table right at the last minute – just when you thought you were safe – so perhaps that’s what set 2016 off on the wrong foot. But let me tell you, from now on the even years have got a lot of making up to do…

The story so far…

December – Cervical scare. Hospital procedure involving Victorian leg tights, deli cap, and stylish hospital gown. Waited a month. Nothing wrong…

Also in December – Kidney’s took a 50% function hit involving blood and pee tests – nothing like keeping your pee in the fridge alongside the dairy to keep life interesting. Two weeks of scouting out unsuspecting, healthy looking, kidney donors in the supermarket – only those in the fruit and veg section of course, didn’t want any of those vitamin deprived kidneys hanging out in my body, and the making of an extensive reading list to keep me going through dialysis.

January – Kidney tests came back A Okay for no apparent reason whatsoever except, I suppose, to keep the hypochondria fed and watered. This lead to a small smacking of the doctor to let him know that it sucked to be fooled into false diagnosis’s even though it wasn’t his fault. He should have known better than to pull his chair up that close to an anxiety ridden hypochondriac.

Also in January – Mammogram scare. Another month of terror. Hanging around. Tests, tests, and more test. Turned out to be a cyst… or did it. I can see that little blot on the landscape may well be hanging around in the depths of my overactive imagination for some time to come…

February – Ovary scare. Loads more tests culminating in the making of a, who get’s what, list. The studio was divvied out and preparations for the Viking send off in the pool were arranged. Couldn’t be doing with all the expense and ceremonious inconvenience of a regular funeral, rather a floaty, a large G&T, and then get the ol’ jewelry torch out for me.

March – Dad died. All of a sudden. No warning. No nothing.

April – Well this week really. Apparent heart attack… O.K. so that was jumping ahead a bit.

On Monday I went to the doctors having had chest pressure the whole week before. They wheeled me right down to the E.R. which was kind of embarrassing, and distressing as apparently there was a 6 hour wait! What! I almost decided to go home when my name was called. For some reason they like to check out the high blood pressure, chest pain, quiet, pale people sooner rather than later. So six tests and two days later I came home. Can’t say they weren’t thorough.

Turns out it’s probably anxiety, although I’m pretty sure it esophageal cancer. You know a hypochondriac is nothing if not vigilant…

So, taking into account that, alongside my dad, all those other lovely people have died. Bowie, Prince, Victoria Woods, Ronnie Corbett, to name just a few, 2016 pretty much sucks.

But, I know its number and where it hangs out so 2016 better be darn well careful from now on is all I can say…

So back to life…

Before the trip to the E.R. I finished the sad girl painting.

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And this little lovely although I’m not enjoying how it looks like a bunny.

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Polychrome Jasper and Turquoise

This, which seems a bit too chunky.

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Candelaria Turquoise

And just before all the excitement I began this

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Which has a long way to go if it’s going to hang around with the others.

The afternoon they released me from you know where I started these.

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And it was wonderful to get back in the studio.

I finished them yesterday 🙂

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Kingman Turquoise, China Mountain Turquoise, and something lovely

I call them my little freedom lovelies…

And now I’m putting chains on all of my older pieces in time for the art festival.

To me this is the most boring part.

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Condor Agate, Ocean Jasper, Larimar, Ocean Jasper

So friends just to finish. I started this blog as a way to put myself out there. I wanted to show myself that it’s not worth living with a lack of confidence, and to face all of my insecurities. And it’s working. I’m growing as a jewelry maker and I found along the way that I wanted to share all of this, warts and all, so that anyone else who struggles knows that’s it’s o.k. and to just do it. In the long run, none of this matters.

So I share my mistakes, my anxieties, my hypochondria, all be it tongue in cheek. I am o.k. It’s all good. And I want to laugh in the face of it all (except for my dad) and just get on with making the most of it all.

None of this is meant to get you down or elicit sympathy, although chocolate never hurts…

Sorry if it does.

TTYL

😉

More paintings…

A while back I decided to take the 100 faces painting challenge.

Why!

I know darn well that I never keep up with these sort of commitments.

So I’d only done two up until now.

This one

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And this one

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But yesterday I fought all day with finishing these

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I just started to get really bored with it all even though I know I’ve the art show coming up and need some more jewelry.

So eventually, after a good amount of moping around while eating all the mint humbugs even though they made me feel guilty because they’re really P’s and I stole them, I gave the jewelry up and started another face.

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She’s a bit sad.

I might have to change her up a little so she doesn’t look as miserable.

I couldn’t do much with it as even though it hadn’t rained for hours the electricity went out around 5 p.m. and I couldn’t see what colours I was picking up in the dim light.

For a heart stopping moment I almost used a brilliant red for her eyebrows which in my honest opinion just wouldn’t have worked.

Perhaps that’s just me.

In other news I have a confession.

I didn’t get out of bed until 12.30 today

🙁

Just couldn’t be bothered.

It’s now 2 p.m. and I still can’t be bothered to do anything.

🙁

Even though the face is waiting, and the jewelry pieces are waiting, and, it seems, everything is waiting.

Maybe a cup of tea will do it…

ttyl.

A few lovelies.

Not a lot going on here at the moment.

The tank ran out again. I think I’m averaging just over six months a pop which means that twice a year my life is on the line.

This time I made the boy come with me. He wasn’t too thrilled about holding the tank in-between his legs though.

Can’t imagine why.

So now that little tragedy waiting to happen is once again over and done with and we didn’t blow up and the possibilities of being a grandmother is still viable, I now have a full acetylene bottle all set to go .

In other news, my final trial is over. The bad mammogram is put to rest for another year.

That was a bit worrying to say the least.

A whole month of waiting!

My hypochondria was never so thrilled.

Is this how it’s going to be from now on I wonder quietly to myself. A slow body breakdown from here on out?

Can she cope.

I think not.

I do seem to have finally got back into the swing of things, however, and am enjoying the studio.

I even bought me some new toys to celebrate the left breast news.

The super quick-change hand-piece.

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And the intriguing hammer hand-piece.

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With all it’s friends and family.

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Not sure I really need them, but as I said, I’m celebrating, and it’s my birthday next week.

So there.

Here are the lovelies.

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Pink Opal
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Back
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Star Ruby
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Powell Butte Agate
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Condor Agate

And some sketches for the biggest stone alive…

This is a paper cut out of the stone which I printed out at the actual size.

I don’t usually do this, but as the stone is larger than I normally work with, 58mm wide I think, I wanted to get a proper feel for it.

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It’s a prudent man cabochon for someone who might like to send me it to set.

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 I like the sketches, but I’m wondering if they will be too much.

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I also grouped my houses together so that I can just look over when I’m making my jewelry and feel at home in the English sea-side towns.

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I’ve always wanted to live by a harbour, in a little house, making my jewelry as the gulls scream and the fish smell.

Strange, but true.

I could also live in my fantasy land, although maybe that’ll be a bit freaky in a Wizard of Oz way.

I might start to feel sick with all the colour and shapes.

Too much sensory overload.

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And it may well be possible that this strangely depressed bird might pluck up the energy to peck me to death in a moment of utter despair.

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Maybe he needs a change of scenery too.

Just not in my harbour is all….

Why you should never mention the words, Kidney Disease, to a hypochondriac…

So for two months I had kidney disease and all that implies.

I was already sorting out what books I could read whilst having dialysis and secretly eyeing up unsuspecting, but totally suitable, donors and wondering just how one goes about asking for one.

Could you just bring it up over coffee perhaps?

Like, So hey, you look like you’ve got a couple of healthy kidneys packed away in there. Do you think you’d be up for sharing one?

I mean seriously, how hard could it be.

But then lo, all this became a moot point as, on my next trip to the doctor, as I sat in the bright, sterile, completely unfriendly room wondering if there was a hidden camera checking up that I wasn’t poking around with the ultrasound machine, I didn’t have it any more…

He didn’t know why.

He was sat so close to me as he showed me all the lab results, like I actually knew what it all meant, that when he came out with the good news I actually smacked his arm as I told him that I’d had a really fun couple of months wondering how long I’d got left on the planet.

Not.

Just to keep the anxiety above the extreme level I also had to have the old ovaries looked at.

Let me tell you… I was on the edge.

Not to waste a good ultrasound I had the sweet tech girl have a quick look at my kidneys just to make sure that they were actually in there and, for good measure I had her check out my liver also.

I think she enjoyed it as she doesn’t often get a chance to rummage around looking for all the other stuff when usually her clients are only interested in those tiny baby things growing inside.

Although to be honest my right kidney did actually look like a baby.

It had that hunched over, floating around look that they have – only in the wrong place.

Of course as she’s not allowed to tell me anything and as I didn’t know what the hell I was looking at, it was all a bit of a futile exercise, but at least I got to make sure that I had them and that they were right where they were supposed to be.

How the hell they can see anything, let alone make out what’s going on in there, is beyond me. It’s like when the doctor pushes around on your outsides and tells you that he can actually feel your organs.

Right.

I go home and have a go and they’ve all disappeared.

Crawled back into the murky abyss I suppose.

So what with that on my mind and the trip home I was completely off going into the studio.

It was enough to drag myself out of bed.

But that’s over now and for the past two or three days P has been well out of luck with any dinner being presented to him on his return from the big outdoors.

I mean how hungry can you get sitting behind a desk all day.

I did feel a little guilty yesterday though, but as I sat finishing up one of my new pieces, it didn’t quite stop me from texting him that the chicken just did not want to get into the oven.

Not my fault…

Here’s what I’ve been working on.

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And before I could actually bother to even look at the jewelry table here’s what I tried to get back into the mood with.

A little colour.

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Now I’m working on this,

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Which was the cause of the chicken protest.

And I leave you with one of the reasons my life is so complicated.

A note from P.

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I get them sometimes.

He leaves them for me so that I don’t forget that sometimes there are important things that need to be done.

Like cooking I suppose.

But really!

What the hell does it mean?

Just a few updates before I head out east, over the horizon to the home land…

Christmas was different but good.

It was the first time we didn’t have it at our house with just immediate family, so that was a bit strange, but still nice.

We got to meet a lot of people we didn’t know. Like at least fifteen of them!

There were twenty odd of us all told, give or take a kid, stuffed into the smallest house possible.

Good job I’m older now and not as shy otherwise it might well have done me in completely.

And so yesterday I took a moment to myself and went into the studio. I don’t think I’d been in there for about a week.

I almost forgot how to get there.

So I did some more to this.

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I’m liking the mirror finish on the water.

This time around I used oil paints over the oil pastels.

I don’t know if you can do this, and perhaps the painting will spontaneously combust when I’m not looking, but I decided to chance it non the less.

Living on the edge people…

I did the same to this one and I’m quite liking this one too.

(Yep, I said that)

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The one below is on canvas instead of board.

I prefer board as I’m not keen on the texture of canvas and it doesn’t seem to take the paint as well for me.

But I think that’s just me.

Everyone else seems to get good results on it.

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The next two were worked on before the Christmas shut down.

This one, was remarkably orange when you last saw it.IMG_7696

And this one is of a field of Triffids in the Rolling Plains of the Lower Kowlandis.

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Actually it’s a bit too hilly to be rolling plains, but we’ll go with it for now.

I’m still working on them all, as well as the five thousand and sixty-three others hanging out in the studio, but they’ll all have to wait now as I leave for the mother land tomorrow and have still to organized myself.

I just found out that my green card expires at the end of the month so I’m lucky as I’ll just about make it back into the U.S.

Nothing like checking out these things before you decide to travel is there.

I didn’t even think to check my passport, but fortunately P, being the only executive in the house, had it all under control.

Except I thought executives had peeps to do all that organizing stuff for them.

Most likely no one will work for him…

I’m sure it would have been o.k. though.

You can get all the paper work done on-line now and Spud is always willing to help out.

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Except here we see her lying down on the job.

To be fair I think she’s become hypnotized by the psychedelic painting on the screen.

No excuses Spud.

And here are two new jewelry pieces.

I’m thinking of changing up this one because I can’t decided if I like the stone combination.

Isn’t that lavender stone beautiful?

And I think that’s a piece of Royston Turquoise

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I can’t remember what the lavender stone is right now.

And I also made this one (below) which I quite like.

This is a nice piece of turquoise also.

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And so all that’s left for me to do is leave you with Nutmeg, who doesn’t quite understand why the orange seems to be bigger than her head.

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And Wally contemplating the bananas

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And Pickles who has definitely eaten all the pies over the holiday.

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Save yourself girl. Eat more fruit…

And so I wish you all a Happy New Year – when it comes to you.

I’ll see you on the other side…

🙂