Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Last friday was the wake for my Uncle Harry and yesterday was his funeral.
A rose from my uncle's funeral service.
Father talked about the passage of time and about not wasting it. To recount how my uncle spent his life but also how we are spending ours now.
That we need to make the most of the time we are given and be a light to others, help those in need, and live a life filled with real purpose.
Those words seared into me for I feel like I'm investing time in things I don't want (an example being work). There must be more to me than just working at the crafts store and the university job.
I always dreamed of doing GREAT things as an adult yet I'm doing anything but…and fear I never will.
I don't know what do but I try reassuring myself time is still on my side.
Dean, give it time. Time will tell. And all will be known…in time.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Yesterday my uncle's immediate family huddled at his bedside in the hospital…one last time.
My aunt, cousins, his brother and sisters, his grandchildren--even the family dog made an appearance. All the people who were there for him this past year-and-a-half to say their goodbyes.
On my way to work, my aunt called and told me my uncle passed away in his hospital room around 5:30 this morning.
I feel bad for keeping my distance and not taking on an active role towards the end, but my youngest cousin took care of his dad beautifully.
I will miss his heavy Chicago accent, his laugh which was reminiscent of Barney Rubble's, and whenever he'd call me "sunshine".
Rest in peace, Uncle Harry. I love you.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
My youngest and only remaining uncle (no blood relation) was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer about 1 1/2 years ago. Unlike my Uncle Bill though, the doctors were able to remove most of the tumor except for some "grit".
He seemed to be making progress with the chemo and was determined to fight, but things steadily declined over the last few months and even more drastically in the past couple weeks.
We were told this morning that he could go any day now.
It's hard to be sympathetic because he was abusive to my aunt and cousins when I was growing up. I guess I've always held it against him on their behalf. Felt like he deserved all he was getting now.
But it was important to have compassion so I visited him earlier today at the hospital. He was on too much morphine to really recognize anyone and slept most of the day.
I made him a glitter cross like the one I gave my coworker a couple years back. Should he wake when I'm not there, my cousins can show him and he'll know I was there in spirit.
For my Uncle Harry.
He's still family in spite of the past…and in a lot of pain.
Poor thing. His body will succumb soon.
Any day now…..
Friday, August 29, 2014
Today marks my four-year anniversary working at the crafts store.
I still feel like quitting everyday I have to go in but am thankful to have a job and proud to have lasted in one place for so long.
It's one of those milestones that depresses me more than anything though.
But it is what it is…for now.
Me at work this week.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
"My name is Ariel
And I want to be free
It is your sorrow
That has made a slave of me
But you are all I know
Forgive me for leaving.
The day is breaking now
It's time to go away
I'm so afraid to leave
But more afraid to stay
The sadness in your eyes
Thursday, August 7, 2014
So how could I not send her something.
Reading through her blog you'll see Naomi often talks about her family and art and creating things.
Images of her daughters, new baby, and nature. Ladybugs among paper clouds and watercolored animals.
I tried to capture the essence of all of that and mailed her this…..
I took a piece of backing board (used for storing comic books) and cut it into the shape of a heart.
Then I glued down as many artificial flower heads that would fit onto the 6" space.
To finish it off, the edge of the heart was lined with shimmering tinsel yarn!
The address side covered with decorative paper.
A part of me wanted to push the boundaries of what the post office would deliver.
One concept of Mail Art is that the mail itself is the artwork so this was sent as-is without any packaging.
Would she get it in one piece? Would she get it at all?
I always hoped to be married one day with a family of my own.
Hopefully this Mail Art can be a symbol of how blessed Naomi truly is to have that.
Friday, July 25, 2014
"I'm not going anywhere," I replied.
"I am," she told me.
And that's how I learned the assistant store manager at the crafts store had given her two-weeks notice.
Her husband got promoted at his job which means she'd have to be home to be with her children--at least for now.
I do think the stresses of the job were a factor too but perhaps I'm projecting my own feelings onto the situation.
In any case, I wanted to make her something to remember me by.
She LOVES all things Disney and the color pink. So this is what I made her…..
Acrylic on canvas - 12" x 12" (NFS)
I flooded the canvas with as many shades of pink as I could: coral, fuchsia, blush colors.
An image I found online of Minnie Mouse was then transferred over the abstract painting. Copyright infringement and tracing. Double whammy! But I wanted it to be 100% accurate and time was of the essence.
Here's the abstract painting with just the pencil overlay…..
Working at the crafts store is NOT easy. I still hate that job every day I go to work. But it's my coworkers that make it worthwhile. We bicker and squabble and laugh together--just like a family. And it's always sad to see one of our own go.
Today was the assistant store manager's last day. As we hugged our goodbyes, I told her we WILL keep in touch. That I know for certain.
It was a pleasure working with you, Kari! You rock!
Friday, July 11, 2014
During my yearly review at the crafts store last year, let's just say I got carried away in the heat-of-the-moment.
Last year my rating dropped one level down from the previous year…..and I didn't like that at all, especially after all I do for that store.
The store manager said I was a bit too vocal about my frustrations with the job and the company. (I may have said--in passing--that I hoped the store burned down and the company got destroyed…on more than one occasion).
But I digress.
How did this year's review go?
It went well!
This time around the store manager mentioned I haven't complained or bad-mouthed the company.
I jokingly replied now I just keep all the stress and anger bottled up inside.
I was also given the highest ranking possible: "Exceeds Expectations" (what I had two years ago).
Here's the kicker. The store manager told me I was the ONLY associate at my store this year to get that ranking!
The pay increase is nominal and the job itself still gets to me but it's nice--great even--to get recognition especially when you think it's due.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Today is the last Sunday of June, which means the Gay Pride Parade was this afternoon…but I decided not to go.
I don't like crowds, hot weather, or being burned alive by the intense summer sun and all three were out in full force.
And part of me feels like I don't fit in there…and that's a very lonely feeling.
When you don't belong to your own community, where do you belong?
I've heard several people say "Happy Pride!" throughout the day but I'm not feeling much happiness at the moment.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Love those blue wings!
The name "Betty" was written on the pony's tag. A child must've left it behind but never claimed it.
It even has ribbons for a tail!
One of my coworker's friends has a little girl, so I passed it along and found the plush pony a good home (otherwise I'd have kept it).
Sorry Betty but finders, keepers/losers, weepers!
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Normally he sends out poetry cards from his favorite poets.
But last week I got this…..
Pressed pansies from his garden!
It was so simple, unexpected, and lovely.
Thank you, sir. Your small gesture brightened my day!
Friday, June 6, 2014
But here's a flourish of color from the crafts store I work at.
Someone had swept up miscellaneous flower heads that lost their way in the floral department and pushed the fake blooms in the receiving area to be tossed out.
I thought they looked pretty against the pile of dust, glitter, and debris.
A good reminder that art takes on many forms and is all around you…if you look for it.
Just what I needed.
Friday, May 23, 2014
My God, it's been such a shitty past few days--past few weeks even.
I feel like there's this heaviness about me. I'm dragging along each day and it's getting harder and harder to force a smile and "look happy" at work.
I'm even too worn out to cry.
And on those really bad, disappointing days when all I need is to escape in strong arms and be held tight, I'm alone and have to deal with it on my own…as I always do.
I have nothing to look forward to anymore.
Who knew life could be so consistently terrible for this long.
Why would people want to live it at all?
Shitty, shitty, shitty!!
Friday, May 9, 2014
These men and the games they play.
I went on a few dates with someone new during these past couple weeks. He had potential but I guess he didn't think the same of me.
During one of our discussions, he mentioned two of his exes. He referred to them as "husband-quality" (and implied I was too). But he said neither of them was willing to wait for him to let his walls down and they eventually moved on.
This was the first time I've heard a gay man use that term. Husband-quality.
How ironic that I never really heard from him since.
Will I ever find someone who is "husband-quality"?
I've met very few, if any, gay men interested in getting married let alone wanting children.
It saddens me that I may never get married and have a family of my own one day.
I have not given up hope just yet but don't expect much from the gay community anymore either.
In the meantime, I'll continue searching for "husband-quality".
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
That can only mean one thing. My birthday is here!
I officially hit the mid-decade mark and turn 35-years old.
Almost five months into the current year and it's not looking promising so far.
And at my age, I should be much farther along in life than I am.
But thankfully I had to work both of my jobs today in the morning and at night which kept me distracted.
I just got home a little while ago and this depressing day will be over in a matter of minutes.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Its message resonated with me. Or perhaps I was just drawn to the colored bricks of the nearby wall.
"It isn't where you come from, it's where you go to."
[Clearly lifted from Ella Fitzgerald's quote: "It isn't where you came from; it's where you're going that counts."]
But what if you're not really going anywhere?
I'll be turning another year older at the end of this month.
I feel mired by my jobs and the redundancy of life.
If the past is in the past, what happens if the future doesn't look so bright?
What if where you're going isn't what you want? You can only change so much about your life. Many times circumstances choose for us.
The quote doesn't address that part.
What does it matter anyway, Dean?
In time, the saying will be painted over--no mark left--as if never being there at all.
Monday, April 14, 2014
One of my coworkers created it at the crafts store during one of the kid's club events (basically babysitting customer's children while the parents shop).
She left it on the breakroom table afterwards where it'll surely get ruined or tossed out so I pinned it on the bulletin board in my office space at work. To help brighten my day whenever I see it.
It's always nice having something handmade, especially artwork.
It isn't one of my pieces but it's something cutesy in the meantime.
Friday, March 28, 2014
I found out I was recently chosen as a staff all-star at my university job!
Here's the memo from the coworker that nominated me:
"If we had a "team spirit award", Dean would most definitely be the recipient. He creates a friendly and collegial environment for the entire staff.
It's not uncommon to receive an e-mail from Dean announcing we're celebrating something that week and he has brought treats (we had a "hot chocolate" week in the midst of the Polar Vortex).
The small (and sometimes big) things that our colleagues do to create a warm and welcoming work environment for the rest of us are often overlooked, but it's these gestures which help us all bond together and provide the best service for our students, staff, and faculty."
I even got a small trophy!
It was nice getting noticed for boosting morale--not something so easily discernible.
As a supervisor there, I've found it's important to include your entire department, always thank/take care of those who help you, and do things to help make the job fun and more enjoyable.
These are things management at my retail job still haven't learned or seem to care to recognize. What a shame.
But I'm glad the university staff values it though.
Now I have to figure out where to put the trophy at home.
Look out, world, because now I'm an all-star!
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
The assistant store manager explained that Corporate was splitting my role between two people again.
I've done that job effectively--by myself, for almost two years now without any problems so it's annoying this is happening (but they want all vacancies filled since our store is steadily growing in volume).
Having two people will change the nature of the position and I fear not in a good way.
I'm also worried it'll force me out because two people means my hours will be split up. I may have to get a third part-time job again.
I'll be turning a year older at the end of next month and it's scary to think I can't financially support myself at my age.
Nothing is set in stone just yet but the changes are inevitable. I just hope it doesn't make the job more stressful than it is.
We shall see what happens.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Maybe it's a sign.
I came across this the other day while preparing the deposit for the arts-and-crafts store I work at.....
It's a penny with a cross cut out at the center!
We'll occasionally find messages about Christ and "the evils of money" written on actual dollar bills but this is a first.
How did they make such small and precise cuts?
I'm calling it the J.C. Penny...not to be confused with JCPenney.
It was too unique to send off to the bank so I took it home instead.
Got Jesus? Why, yes I do!
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
Once I reached downtown I started to jog. It's over a mile from the train station to the crafts store I work at.
A handsome, gay couple was sightseeing along Michigan Avenue. Seeing what I don't have depresses me so I pressed on.
A couple blocks later I saw a miniature rose strewn on the sidewalk.
So out of place for it!
Dean, you're going to be late, I said to myself.
I ran back and took the frozen bloom with me.
At the halfway point of my trek, I came across the word "love" written just off an alleyway.
Dean, you're going to be late, I said.
But I had to capture it with my camera.
To me, February is synonymous with love, especially since Valentine's Day is its main star.
Even though it's something I long to have, it was nice glimpsing signs of love before the month officially ends.
Oh, and I was three minutes late for work this morning.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
While waiting at the Van Buren train station earlier in the week, I was drawn to the mesh that lined the bridge directly overhead. Its bright orange popped against the solid blue backdrop.
And then I noticed those two colors repeated on the Metra train just below it.
It's been a relentless winter and it was wonderful getting a break from it this particular day.
Melting snow rained down from rusted beams, sunlight warmed everything in its sight, all under a sky so cerulean it could touch your soul.
Creativity and possibility seemed to be stirring among all those unrelated elements...almost like watching artwork being made.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Sunday, February 9, 2014
These are things I'm asked by my coworkers on a weekly basis.
My replies are always the same:
Nothing much. I vacuumed and watered my houseplants. Had to work at the crafts store this weekend.
My vacuum. Apparently it'll never lose suction.
The months seem to fly by but that's because I'm always doing the exact routine week after week.
How wonderful it would be to travel (often), meet new people, do exciting things.
My life is so boring but I don't know how to change it.
I don't really have friends outside the workplace anymore and seeing movies by yourself and going to art exhibits alone gets redundant...and depressing.
In a perfect world, I'd see the globe, create art all the time, and no two days would be alike.
Some say quiet, uneventful days are a good thing, and they are--just not when it's like that ALL the time.
I think that's one reason why I've always been attracted to comic books and fiction. There's always an adventure happening on those pages.
With that said, this weekend I worked at the crafts store, rented a movie for home, vacuumed, and watered my houseplants.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
This blogpost doesn't contain any of the things in the title.
It was just really exciting for me to write.
Here's an image of Winnie the Pooh with a butterfly instead.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
With that said, I had on two shirts and two hooded jackets underneath my winter coat. Two scarves, a hat, and earmuffs. Sweats over my dress pants. Two pairs of socks and plastic bags over my feet should my shoes get wet from the unshoveled snow.
Even then I was still feeling the chill.
For those of you with an overly-dressed nerd fetish.
At the start of the month, the midwest was hit with below-zero temps. They came again yesterday. Yesterday Chicago had a high of 5 degrees and a low of -15 (not counting the wind-chill factor).
Not fun when it takes me about 20 minutes to walk to work. It was downright scary at times.
But I'm a Chicagoan and was ready for it. It reminded me of the extreme 100 degree heat this past summer where you felt like you were being baked and steamed with every step.
It's just gone from one hell to another.
And yet there's something thrilling being out in this weather.
Most of the streets are deserted and there's an inhospitable beauty about it.
With that said, Seattle was in the fall-like 40's these past two days, with rain today. PERFECT for me. *sigh*
I'm dreading the coming spring and summer in Chicago though and would gladly keep this dangerous freeze over what's to come.