Quick TABS to Joyful Stuff

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For me, Painting was Never Therapy. But I NEED it now.

After everything MiMi and I have been through lately I so wanted to pick up a paint brush, summoning up the spirit of Bob Ross, and paint like I've been painting all my life.  I watched so many episodes of The Joy of Painting online and on DVD while we were in the hospital and at the nursing home.  You'd think my mind would know exactly what to tell my hand to do. Something MiMi can't do anymore.  She's pretty much forgotten how to do everything.  Literally.  So she requires a lot of help when she's awake.  She does sleep most of the time however and that is both a blessing and a curse.  But that's not why I'm here blogging right now . . so back to my story.

Now that we are home I was itching to work on Series 2 Number 6.  Black River. The name says a lot for me, because it starts with a black canvas.  I didn't like the black canvas we did in S2-No.3 Ebony Sea but I had convinced myself it was because I had used both the liquid clear AND the transparent colors as under paint, and this time I knew I was using only the transparent colors.

I was eager to apply my somewhat rusty skills on the black gessoed canvas that has been on my easel for nearly a month, so I just squeezed out the paint and "fired it right in there" (word to Bill Alexander, whom is still very much "with" Bob in his early episodes) and it Burned my Brain.  I couldn't mix colors, I couldn't decide which brush to use. I forgot how to make trees.  He was working with browns and yellows and I don't seem to like browns and yellows, and made a big mess.

So, to make a long story short (my facebook followers know I am likely going to destroy this one and start over or "skip" it) my Series 2 Episode 6 Painting of Black River is facing it's doom.  I AM going to edit and post the video and let you all have a good laugh.  After which I'll decide what to do with it. I have not watched the video, but I keep walking by the painting and cringing.  I'm sure the video will make me cry.

Speaking of crying.  That's happening to me a lot again lately.  Anyone who's read the 50 things about me on my web page  can figure out that the stress of having MiMi here and hospice care (which is a very helpful and beautiful process by the way) is likely affecting my emotions a bit.  But you wouldn't know it to talk to me.  (That's probably the problem right there) Good thing for blogs because I obviously need therapy!

But since this blog is about my painting, and not about my whining, I'm going to start using painting as my therapy and get back to something that I like to do, not that I need to do. Theres' so much of that around lately.  That NEED to do stuff.  I have always gravitated towards the LIKE to do, or WANT to do and that just becomes the natural NEED to do and by then I'd package it up and teach someone else to do it or sell it to someone else.

Spoken like a true entrepreneur.  That may be why I am enjoying learning to paint.  It's not something I can package up and "hand off" to anyone else to do.  HHHmmmm.  I'm going to have to talk to someone about that.  I think I'll go call my sister now.

Share the Joy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Goodbye Nursing Home it's been a Long 2 Weeks

We busted MiMi out of Heritage Court today.  (With proper discharge of course ;) On our own two (well 6) feet.  Jim and I took MiMi from her bed, to a wheelchair, from the wheelchair to the car and then HOME.  Then we went car to wheelchair, and wheelchair to BED, where she is currently resting (snoring) and all is well in her world.

She's not walking yet, even with her walker, and may never gain the strength to do so.  The Autumn Splendor painting and video I did, where she walked in to the frame was one of the first and last times we may see her entering the frame on her own accord.  But she'll be sitting up and watching if she can, and I'll let you know how it goes.

I have Hospice assistance coming in soon and we'll have a lot of paperwork to do I'm sure.  Hospice will work with us for 5 days or 5 years, depending upon mom's needs.  I had no idea how helpful they were.  Even though my own mother had hospice care with her when she lost her husband to Cancer, after which she volunteered for them for some time.  Jim's father (MiMi's husband) died of Cancer 17 years ago, but it happened fast, and in the hospital.  Thanksgiving diagnosis and hospitalization and he died on Christmas Eve.

He was always a great help to me when we started our business (back in 1982) having so much experience in the security business and life in general.  It was hard to see him go.  On the last day of his life he had been going in and out of periods of lucidity and dementia.  At around 4pm he asked for ME, his daughter in law to come to the hospital.  I had a 18 month old toddler and I was preparing for a family party that evening, but dad couldn't be there.  It wasn't going to be very "merry" as it was.  I dropped everything and went to the hospital.

MiMi and Aunt Patty took Tyler to a waiting area and I went in to talk to dad.   He looked at me very clearly and said, "K.C." (that's what they called me, cuz MiMi is a Kay as well) "I left a mess." Here was a man who was living my biggest fear (at the time) and that was leaving my desk, and not coming back to finish my constant stream of work.  "I have bills to pay," he said.  "and who will take care of mom if I'm not here." To which I assured him as much as I could at my younger age and wisdom, that I would take care of everything.  I reminded him that he raised a large family of wonderful children now adults, who can do well with what they have learned from him.  I reminded him that Jim and I had the most to gain having followed in his footsteps and stayed in the alarm business like he was all of his life.  I told him that we had a strong company and strong hearts and we could take care of MiMi.  I told him not to worry about things like that.  I told him to rest.

Later that evening just before midnight as Jim and I were going to bed having done our "Santa" chores, our phone rang.  It was Patty's husband Russ.  He wanted us to know that they were with dad in his room and they watched a catholic mass on television, during which dad quietly passed away.

MiMi was a ROCK.  She held up during the wake and the funeral.  During the family visits and selling the house, and moving into an apartment and living her life.  She found work (with ME) as she helped to care for the children in our company day care and then later in life took care of my home and family (while I worked my tail off growing a company).  Which brings me back to the future.

MiMi lives here with us now (as you know if you are regular blog reader) so we could not leave her in a nursing home.  Her eye is better, her hand is still healing, and she's not exactly "mobile" but home is where she belongs and as long as we have control of the situation, home is where she will stay.

I'm hoping for a painting or two to show up this weekend.  No running back and forth to the hospital.  Just making MiMi comfortable is the goal, so what's more comforting that our friend Bob Ross and his Joy of Painting DVDs.  Maybe I should rest up for this so I don't get comforted right to sleep.

Share the Joy!  

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Broken Heart Syndrome and Mother's Day Birthdays

One of my New OLD friends told me today, small changes and small "sameness" will get you through this. As simple as it sounds, it is the most profound thing I've had to think all week.  And I've had a LONG week my friends.  Filled with changes in routine and face to face meetings of the heart.

If you've ever read the 50 Things about me on my web site you know a little about these Mother's Day facts, but here's the rest of the story:  My husband's Grandmother's name is Catherine Zahn. She and grandpa had their first boy on May 10th.  He (my father in law) grew and married a woman named Katherine, who then was called Kay.  Kay Zahn (aka: MiMi).  She and dad had a son on May 10th (my husband) and he grew and married a woman named Kay.  Kay Zahn (me).  Our first son was born on . . you guessed it . . May 10th.  So on this weekend of Mother's Days and Birthdays our family feels very Blessed by our "sameness" and even though Dad left us almost 17 years ago (on Christmas Eve) we still put his name on the cake, and usually have 2 cakes because they can't fit it all onto one.

I don't know how "same" this Mother's day will be but we are going to do our best. There was a poignant prognosis for MiMi's heart which was described in slang terms as "a broken heart syndrome."  More specifically Takotsubo Syndrome, wherein the heart swells to a size/shape resembling a Japanese octopus pot (hence the name) during times of sadness, stress or memories of events and times.  Usually post menopausal women.  It presents like a heart attack (high enzyme levels detected) but is not and usually does not damage the heart.  Often (normally?) it will regain it's shape, size and strength with rest and therapy.  But MiMi is very tired.  She has suffered a trauma with the fall that clearly is challenging her will right now.

What we are going for now is "sameness" and to get her home.  In her own chair. (It's a cool one with control to stand up, lay down flat, or anywhere in between.)  If she could be in her own space watching Wheel of Fortune on our big screen TV instead of the little one up in the corner of her room . . well, she'd be comforted greatly.

We did watch Bob Ross on my DVD at the hospital (many times) but it wasn't the same.  I don' t know if she can see the screen with the patch on her eye anyway, but she could hear him, and his voice does make you feel comforted.  He "god blessed" us many times these past few days.

We are likely bringing MiMi home (in a week to 10 days) with hospice care.  The services and people available to help give me confidence to know we can do it better here at home than anywhere.  She was released from the hospital to a nursing facility to help get her strength back but I'm sure she'd rather be home.   I was hoping it would be by Mother's Day, but it may take a little longer.

We are very hopeful to have a few more Mother's Days before she goes to be with Dad.  I'm sure when she does, she'll be planning the parties up there as they watch over the rest of us.  I know Dad did after he left.  How else would I have been so lucky?

We will have a lot of little changes before we get to our sameness.  I'm tired of sitting in a hospital chair.  I look like it too.  I can't believe I did one of those "shoot your own photo straight arm" things but I did.  I have that "calf sucked on my head look".  I think that is an old Iowa saying.  Or at least MY mom used to say it back in Iowa!

Oh yea, mother's day.  I should stop in and see my mom too. AND I should say Happy Mother's Day to all of my friends.  New and old. I like to think that all of my old friends from high school are all still kids, and we never got old.  But we did.  Older and wiser too. I wish I knew then what I know now, and I would never have let 30+ Mother's Days go by without wishing them all the very best from their families and friends.  

That is really all there is in the end.  Family and friends. . .and technology of course. Without this stuff where would we be?  I mean look at Bob Ross.  He's helping me in so many ways and he was dead before I discovered who he was.  I realize the technology I found him on (pbs television) is pretty old school, but I love my old school as much as my new school.  I could go on, but I would just be boring you.  I'm using this as therapy right now, because I can't paint. I blog.

Monday, May 3, 2010

No Joy in today's news.

I'm still at the hospital with MiMi. They think this fall caused, or was caused by a heart attack.  She is not the same person she was a few days ago.  I don't like this at all.  We have plans for the next few years, she can't leave me now.  I'm bringing Bob Ross in to talk to her today.  She will like that.

Hospitals are horrible places filled with wonderful people. Her Nurses and Doctors are all really kind, and very competent.  I trust them but we get mixed messages.  The cardiologist is telling me to think about hospice care and the physical therapists come in with a walker and try to get her up (but I sent them away, she can barely lift her arms) but in fact I had to feed her what food she ate yesterday.  She's not going to use a walker anytime soon.

I'll pick her up and carry her home.  We just need to get out of the hospital.

Please forgive my absence for the last few days and what might me the next few.  I'll post little things here and there, but I can't think too hard.

Pray for Joy (for MiMi)  -Kay

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Some days just don't go the way you planned

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one fits the bill.  MiMi is going to be fine, and home tomorrow.  She took a little fall (while I was at the 4-H horse show. . . I'm the food mom ;) and so the good news is the other mom's and dad's jumped in and finished the show for me and I didn't have to do all of the clean up.  But MiMi is in the hospital tonight, awaiting a small surgery tomorrow.  Her skin is so thin that what to you and I would have been a "rug burn" caused her to need plastic surgery.  I'll share more later .  . or maybe later, I'll just have her home and we'll paint together and everything will be back to normal.

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