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September 2013



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It's been a while...

...but life's been crazy.

I guess that sounds like nothing new, from me, but this time it was crazier than usual--as well as sad, stressful, scary. My beloved husband's mom was not expected to live--she'd had three heart attacks in three days, and we raced to her side praying we'd get there in time.

Not only did we do so, but she's rallied and home from the hospital, to everyone's amazement, including her cardiologist and the priest who had given her last rites two weeks ago yesterday.

I sketched her and her loving husband of 57 years; I wanted to honor them both, and their long life together. And when I got the chance, or could stand being in that hospital room no longer, I took my new Japanese folding sketchbook, a Maruman, out to capture some of the beauty of the California spring--for my own sanity and to share with her.

The courtyard on the right was the view from her hospital room--she couldn't see it, from the bed, but I could, with the San Gabriels beckoning in the background. The stone tortoise, center, is in her backyard, near the gazebo, and the tree with beautiful red flowers is across the street from her home in Covina.

So much beauty; so much tension...it was an emotional tightrope for all of us.

But for now we have a breather, a bit more time...she's home and doing well (as well as can be expected.) She has Hospice care, and a live-in caretaker that all had to be arranged at the last minute...

We stole a couple of hours on Sunday a week ago to go up to the mountains together; I'm glad we did, because the hospital surprised us the next day deciding to send her home. A great deal of scrambling ensued...it was very unexpected, because the doctors had said they wouldn't release her till we had everything in place for her care at home--but neither of them were on duty Monday, and the decision was made. We weren't even close to prepared, since we hadn't been able to do any of that over the weekend.

So many people wanted to help, and offered suggestions and opinions--and the occasional demand or order--further complicating matters, at times.  Well meant, I know, but in the end just more confusion, just more to deal with...

Getting a hospital bed, finalizing arrangements with Hospice, getting the house in order, finding a full time caregiver...somehow Joseph managed it all, with all the help we were able to give, and things are more settled, for now.

He's exhausted, of course, and I'm just now turning back into a human being instead of a zombie. A weekend of painting plein air has helped; I opted out of several more sociable engagements because I couldn't stand the sound of more voices...somehow cleaning house, organizing, throwing away, giving away, laundry, and oh, thank GOD, painting, all seemed far more to the point than more voices...

Amazing how healing making art is, for me...


Lovely paintings. The turtle looks like it could be alive.

So happy to hear that your husband's mother is doing better. I agree that sometimes social engagements can be draining, whereas art and other constructive activities are healing and calming.
Thank you! It was a neat turtle, I'd never noticed it before...and I did just need more time in nature the last few days than I needed more voices!
I am sorry you and your husband have to go through all of this. I had to do it with my mom a little over a year ago. It's hard.

BTW, I put a few works on my Flickr site. My user name there is 'spinifex23', and the set is called AHRT.
Thank you for your kind thoughts...yes, it is hard, and I'm sorry you had to go through it, too.

Keep up the practice! Your evening commute painting is nice...and your Squish looks just like my Merlin! Pretty kitty...
Thank you! Squishcat is Awesomecat. Retardedcat, but Awesomecat none the less.

The painting and drawing thing is nice; I just have to keep it up and continue to tell myself that yes, I can actually do this and I have talent, dammit! Thanks for the comments on the paintings!
Of COURSE you can! Keep it up, indeed...
i'm sorry your husband (and you) are going through this. the waiting and wondering is scary, but my experience with hospice is that they are angels. and I NEVER talk like that. but really, people with a special light in their hearts are drawn to hospice work. i hope you all find that to be true for your mother-in-law.

and YES, thank goodness for our passions that take us out of ourselves for a little while.

Thank you, sweet thing. I've found them to be lovely as well, though I've never had direct, personal experience. One of my best friends died of brain cancer a few years back, and they were there for him, definitely. You're right, they seem to have a special light...

Thank you for the hugs, too--always welcome!

And I love your cute new icon...


thank you!

Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us- I'm so glad you were able to snatch a few minutes for it here and there during such stressful times. Those are bound to be oases of peace. I do pray you and Joseph get a few weeks of peace and rest now!

Leslie in Alabama

Re: thank you!

Thank you, Leslie...a bit of peace for both of us would be very good indeed. The poor man has SO much to do, and is back at work this morning trying to catch up, again...


Kate, I'm glad things have calmed down a bit, at least for now. It looks from this post as though you've gotten some really beautiful work done lately - lucky for the rest of us that yo find solace in art....
Thank you, Casey! I've really been enjoying the healing power of making art, and OH do I love watercolors...magic.
good to know that both of you havae weathered the storm for the moment. the waiting is so difficult--the not knowing, even worse. i'm glad you all get the opportunity to just breathe for a little while.

you're both in our hearts and prayers--strength and wisdom; we covet strength and wisdom...
Thank you, sweetie--we both thought of you, a lot. The waiting and dreading drains your very spirit, I think. I wish Joseph had had something as healing as I did, painting. Breathing is GOOD...
my suspicion is, dear kate, that you are his healing... the presence of someone we love and who knows us without having to speak is very healing. proximity can be everything. and an occasional hug...
Well, sweet friend, I think you're right and that is just what he says. Unfortunately we still live apart for the next couple of months--damnably hard to give him a hug from here, though we're hoping for another one of our exhausting few-day visits next month...
Sorry you're both going through this... but not another word from me, just a hug... ;-)
Thank you, Muriel, hugs are the best medicine!


What an emotional roller coaster you and Joseph have been on. I'm sorry to hear of the very scary health issues your mother- in- law is experiencing. I am grateful , though, that you've been able to regain your equilibrium and get some good work done, too.
Take good care, sweetie.
Hi sweets! Yes, not doing too bad, considering...my love sounds wrung out, which makes me crazy, but there's not a lot I can do from here. I try to make it as easy on him as I can, but of course the whole house rehab/moving issue looms as well...

XO right back!

Lovely, amazing art!

Be gentle with yourself, both of you. This is a stressful process, but it sounds as if it you are moving mountains... lovingly.
Thank you, sweet thing! And we're trying to take some care of ourselves, too...can't believe how tired I am, still!


thanks for the story

What a gorgeous easy-going technique you have and thanks for the story about your mother-in-law. Good to have a reprieve and you have a chance to do some really nice things for her, say goodbye slowly and with care as you never know when. My mum died at 93 and we had some precious talks in the last years, talked about real things that had been left unsaid for decades.

Re: thanks for the story

Thank you! Yes, the reprieve is lovely...I did the same thing with my first husband. Our last year before he died was very special.


So glad everything is better, for now. Hope you get some peace for a while, and your mother-in-law also. Beautiful sketchbook. I think it was lovely of you to bring the view to her bedside. Nice day in the park as well.
She liked getting to see my work, yes, and wanted me to show it to the nurses and other visitors--but she especially wanted me to share the paintings of my lovely 3 month old (at that time) godchild, Birgitte...