Saturday, December 21, 2019

Jen flying.

It was very sad news to hear. 

I learned a former coworker named Chris (who retired about two years ago) lost her daughter last month. 

Her daughter was a quadriplegic from a car accident many years ago and has had health issues ever since. We were told her daughter (Jen) had some recent complications and she passed away suddenly. She was only a year older than me. 

Chris would often tell me that Jen had a passion for art, showing me paintings her daughter created with the help of adaptive devices. 

My university coworkers and I gave Chris a condolence card as a group but it felt impersonal to me.

Sending something handmade seemed more fitting. In the weeks that followed, I created this card for her. 

 "Jen flying"
Watercolors, gouahce, and ink on watercolor paper
4" x 5 1/4" (NFS)

I wanted the butterfly to have a glowing effect. To give the impression of something deeper happening. Hopefully that came across in the finished piece. 

I wasn’t sure if seeing this would make Chris sad or make her smile or both. 

Losing someone around the holidays is never easy. Thanksgiving and Christmas just aren’t the same, no matter how many years may pass. 

Hopefully the card will bring some comfort to Chris during this time and be a reminder that now she has someone watching over her. 

Time to fly, Jen.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Returning the Crazy Stick.

It seemed harmless enough. On one of my weekly visits to the beach last month, I invited someone to join me. A guy I had been very casually messaging here and there online. 

He mentioned living right by that beach so it was convenient. 

When he arrived he didn't appear very interested and seemed a bit out of it, telling me he was “too high” from the day before. In between his mumbling, he kept commenting how cold it was (clearly not from Chicago). 

“Only someone crazy would be out on a day like this,” I joked, pointing out I preferred it this way because I had the whole beach to myself. 

As were talking near the water, he picked up a large stick, waist-high, and started writing out words in the sand. His name (Jonathan), the name of a country, and other miscellaneous things we were discussing. 

At one point he scrawled out the word “crazy” and drew an arrow pointing right at me. 

That was kind of rude, I thought. 

I stood there for a long moment and owned it. “Yep, that’s me,” I smiled. 

Once we parted ways, he handed me the stick to use as a walking stick on my trek back home.

Even though I never heard from him again, I kept the stick, dubbing it my “crazy stick”.

I liked the way it curved and arched and its notches gave it character. I thought maybe I could display it somewhere in my condo. 

As the weeks went on though, whenever I’d see the stick, it reminded me of Jonathan disrespecting me. I didn’t want a physical reminder of yet another man being a dick. 

So I decided to return the Crazy Stick to the beach.

The tumultuous lake leading up to the beach!

During this past weekend's trip to the beach, I brought the Crazy Stick with me. 

After some reflection while standing at the shore, I threw the stick into the lake, to be purified by its waters. 

When I turned around, the waves brought the stick right back at my feet. 

This time I left it there. Where it was first found. And it felt freeing. I felt lighter already! 

Goodbye to uninterested men and jerks!

Oh and it was in the mid 30’s, rainy, and quite windy this particular day. No one else was at the beach but me. 

Because you know, only someone crazy would be out on a day like this.   ;)