Thursday, April 23, 2009
The picture on the left is Bear when he was just a couple of months old. The top right is Bear as a old man and the bottom right is his Playdog of the Month pose.
While sitting at the lunch table at work, I said that I'd been thinking about getting a dog. I had called all the free ads in the paper but every time that I called, the dog had already found a home. My friend said that some people she knew from church just had a litter and she would bring me some pictures.
When Nikki brought the pictures on the following Monday, she showed me one of this little black dog with brown eyebrows and paws. She said that God told her that he was the dog for me. "His name should be Bear, " I said, since he looked just like a little bear cub. The puppies weren't ready to leave their mom so it would be a couple more weeks before he could come home.
During the next two weeks, I had talked myself out of getting a dog for various reasons. Nikki had decided to take one of the puppies that she had named Whitesocks so she asked me to ride along. I called my husband and said, "I'm just going to look. I'm not bringing a dog home." Famous last words. After a ride into the country that seemed to last forever, we arrived at the farm where the puppies had been born. I tried to hold Bear but he really didn't like it. He had a mind of his own. I held a few of the other pups and even considered getting this cute little female that kept cuddling me but Bear was the one that I kept coming back to. Besides God said that he was the dog for me. You can't argue with God. You can only imagine what happened next. I was riding in Nikki's car with a Bear on my lap. He was so tiny that I could hold him in one hand. When I put him in the kitchen that first night, he cried even though I put a ticking clock in his bed. I couldn't stand it. I got up and carried him to bed with me. He snuggled up and fell asleep. I fell in love.
Bear was the first pet that I ever had unless you count the numerous goldfish that met with their death while in my care. Oh and my imaginary fleas that I thought my parents bought at the flea market. I never knew how attached you become. I could sit and just watch him whether he was playing or sleeping. He made me laugh on a regular basis in those first months. He learned to jump up on things, how to chew the heel of every pair of black pumps that I owned and he had his first affair with a stuffed animal named Grover. You know, Grover from Sesame Street. Grover was his first lover and he humped that thing whenever he had an audience. I guess that's better than humping someones leg.
They say that dogs are man's best friend and for a very good reason. Bear was loyal and protective even if he was a pain in ass sometimes. When I was upset, Bear would give me the most understanding look, give me a kiss on the hand and sit by my feet. He loved to take naps with me. During the few years when I was a stay at home wife, I got into the habit of taking a little siesta around 3:00 every day. If I was even a few minutes behind schedule, Bear would give me the look and walk to the bed. "Come on Mom, it's time for our nap", he said with his eyes and expression.
I think he was part of the reason that I stayed in a bad marriage for five additional years. I didn't want to be away from him. He had become my child since I don't have any human children. When I finally did move out of my home, it broke my heart to leave Bear behind but he had a house with his own yard if he stayed with my husband. I was staying in a motel and didn't know where I was going live. I never had any regrets about walking away from my new house, money or stability but it was killing me to lose Bear. He wasn't adjusting to being without me either. He started to have accidents in the house and destroy things. He was ten years old by now and had not done any of these things since he was a puppy. Everyday I wished there was a way that I could have Bear with me.
A couple of months had passed and Bear was no longer convenient for my husband. After a bunch of drama, yada yada yada blah blah blah, my wish came true and Bear came to live with me and Mike. The vet said that his misbehavior was most likely due to missing me. He was acting out. Once I brought him with me, we were like peas and carrots again. Life was sweet. Mike and Bear became inseparable as well and things went along just fine for the three of us.
Last year, we lost Bear. He was fourteen and a half years old. His fur around his chin had turned white. He lost most of his eyesight due to cataracts. He had slowed down considerably and his weight had dropped nearly 20 lbs. At the beginning of the winter, I thought it would be a miracle if Bear made it to spring. We had a long conversation with the vet. I know he was trying to prepare me for the rocky road ahead but I had already seen the look in Bear's eyes. He seemed vacant and didn't always respond to his name. He was diagnosed with doggie Alzheimer's. We knew something was wrong because he was barking during the night. Mike and I would sleep in shifts with him because he was only quiet when someone was with him. The poor guy was disoriented and scared.
A week later, I had to make the most gut wrenching decision of my life. I had to let him go.
My heart is broken...still.
(July 23, 1993- April 21, 2008)
Many thanks to the doctors and staff at Appleseed Veterinary Clinic. They helped us through a most difficult time with so much compassion and care.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This is the latest piece that I've been working on. I love these farm girls from the 1930's. It's been hand-colored, mounted to a canvas board, and covered with all natural beeswax. The wax gives it a beautiful tint and texture.
copyright 2009 DejaBlue Art & Design
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Check this out. My brother, Ryan AKA DJ Dreamkid is puttin it out there and living loud.
I am an artist... I am here to live out loud - Emile Zola
When do we stop holding ourselves back and just live out loud?
Yesterday, I went to Kroger to pick up a few things and stopped to check out the magazine aisle. I was flipping through a new magazine when I saw a feature article about an artist. Then the realization hit me. Our work is very similar but here's the "ah ha" moment... She put it out there and my work is displayed on shelves in my basement.
It's tough for me to take a chance and see what happens. Can we say anal retentive? When I'm working on a piece, I think it's great and then after I let it sit for a day or two, I look at it again and decide that it's total crap. The piece is then banished, never to be seen again. I pick it apart until, in my mind, it has no redeeming qualities at all.
A friend said that, on my blogs, I try to portray my life as perfect. Quite frankly, she found it boring and probably a bit nauseating. Point well taken. So I'm pulling up my big girl panties and letting you in on my real life. My life is not perfect. Sometimes it just sucks. However, I'm not able to wallow in my miseries. Quoting Chumbawumba, " I get knocked down, but I get up again". It's not that I try to put out the image of the perfect life, it's more about privacy and insecurity. Insecurity being the big challenge for me. It has plagued me for years but I'm getting better. I'm a work in progress and I'm still learning to just be myself and say, "If they don't like it, they can just sod off".
Last weekend, I met some friends from high school for drinks and in a matter of minutes, I went from 39 to 16. I felt uncomfortable and like I didn't belong there. The evening has replayed in my mind all week. "Did I say the right things? Was my outfit ok?" I'm like a dog with a bone and just can't let it go. It wasn't the company that I was keeping. They are a fun group. I was my problem not theirs. It put me in a funk all day on Sunday. I was pissed at myself. Why do I do that? Why do I think that I have nothing to contribute?
So it's been a week of big lessons and I think that I'm finally getting it. I've wasted enough time and opportunities. It's time to be a "Real Girl", put it out there and live out loud.
Posted by Jen at 12:21 PM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The last couple of weeks have been strange, to say the least. We are working into a new routine around the house since Michael is now working two jobs and I am on pins and needles in regards to mine. Like many of our friends and acquaintances, I work in a place that is going through budget issues and, everyday, I go to work expecting to hear bad news. There seems to be no one who is untouched by what is going on, economically, around us. Several friends have had salaries or hours cut and many have lost their jobs. It's difficult to start over when you've been with a company for a long time or if you are not exactly a spring chicken anymore. In your twenties, it's pretty easy to jump from one job to another but in your forties and fifties, it's a little more unsettling. It also makes it tough to make big decisions when you don't know if you'll be able to pay the bills next month. Big purchases such as houses, cars or even vacation plans have been put on hold. Many of my friends, even the ones who are still working, are worried about how they will put their children through college even though college may be ten years away. I know that I am the eternal optimist. I am always looking for the good in every situation and it's hard to tell someone who is losing everything that something good will come out of this but it's already happening.
I am seeing many people re-evaluate their priorities. More of my friends are saying goodbye to living in debt and hello to simplifying their lives. Many are embracing creative talents that they didn't make time for; before this happened. Some are even starting new businesses.We are being pushed out of our comfort zones into new lives. Perhaps, lives that were only dreamed of before. As for me, I have started to write a book. or should I say several books. Now that I've opened my mind, ideas seem to keep coming so I have a few works in progress. Who knows if anything will ever come out of it but I'm enjoying the process. I am also trying to form a collective with some of my friends and acquaintance in the area. Some are poets, artists, musicians, writers and film makers. Separately, we seem to be struggling but, perhaps, together we can break through. If I had remained in my safe place, I might not have made the effort to get these great talents together.
As I write this and look out the window, we are transitioning into a new season. The sky is gray and bleak in one direction and blue in the other. There is snow around the edges of my lawn but the daffodils are still blooming. It seems that life is mimicking nature right now. After the snow is gone, there will be new growth and new life.The same will be true for us.