Nick on Repeat FOREVER

My kids lost the remote to the TV. It’s all Nickelodeon, all the time, twenty-four/seven. Shoot me now. I have torn the house apart looking for it- even going so far as to dig through the stuffing from the cushions Bean sliced open with my shears (remember that fun day?) For crap’s sake, I even tipped the damn couch on end, wondering if it was stuck inside.  One more episode of iCarly and I may do something terrible, drastic, mean or criminal. Help me, people!! I’m going INSANE!

Catching Up: Painting of The Cats

This painting has been so very long in the works. I have stopped and started it no fewer than five times. Nothing has ever stymied my creativity and caused me to doubt my skills like painting this picture of my cousin’s dear cats. I have struggled, literally, for more than two years to get this painting just right. I never captured the personalities of the pets to my own satisfaction, and cried more then a few tears of frustration over my inability to do so. Finally, though- finally when I scrapped and threw away yet another attempt, I realized I needed to stylize them, and be happy with capturing their essence. And when I did that, all the pieces fell into place.

Even the weaving of all three tails into the spiral- it just came out that way when I sketched them onto the board. I know they are not perfect representations of the actual felines, but I think it came out lovely and that they are all represented in the spirit of the piece. And for this, I am pleased. I hope my cousin is when she finally gets it this week. Thanks for your patience R.

This also opens me up for new commissions. Email me if you’re interested. Just… no more pets. Kids, I can do. Pets? Nope.

Independence Day

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,  –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Shifting Tides, Shifting Seasons

It’s strawberry-picking time. Only I just barely noticed. It could be due to the extended winter and drawn out, wet, gloomy spring we had here in the northwest- it hardly feels like July, and we haven’t yet really had a hot day. Can the strawberries even be ripe? I checked the website for the u-pick farm we like, and sure enough, this weekend is the Strawberry Festival.

Once upon a time, my time was full of the rhythm of the season, of fruit ripening and when to put up my preserves. By the first week of July, my canning jars would have been washed, my tools readied for the year. I would have been making cute labels and cutting fabric to top my fresh jars of chunky, sweet jam, and I would have felt like motherhood, homekeeping and thrift incarnate. Now? I barely noticed it was July.

While I still want to take the kids up to pick strawberries, there’s no way we’re picking a bushel. In the move from the Big House to Little House, I gave away all my canning jars, I no longer have a huge walk-in pantry or even a food storage room. In a box out in the garage I’m sure my canning tools are somewhere, but the season of using them, at least for now, is dormant. It’s weird, having something that was so much a part of who I thought I was be no longer a part of who I am.

I derived a lot a pleasure at being good at the domestic arts. I took pride in putting up and preserving summer’s foods for my family. It brought me joy to be really good at those things- and yet here I am, the same woman, only not. I’ve had to let a lot of things go in this divorce- most notably my home and security. I just didn’t suspect that in stripping down the remnants of my married life I would also strip down the decorations of my character. So much of what I thought was me, what made up how I perceived myself and got my personal value, was actually window dressing.

This refining fire just keeps burning.

And- I’m starting to like it- or at least not be afraid of it anymore. While it began with the huge things- losing one’s marriage and home are pretty damn big- it’s actually continued as I come face to face with the walls of what I can accomplish as a solo mama to three needful little people and a full-time student. Once a source of great pride and display, my home is no longer a showplace- in any respect. One a master of the gourmet domestic arts, I now cook sparely and simply. Once in a near constant creative flurry, now I read textbooks and write papers.

Yet I find I am more myself than I have ever been. It’s been a hard journey, figuring this out- learning that I can let go of all I was clutching tightly to keep myself safe and warm, and when I do, I will actually be safe and warm anyway.