Who’s the Boss?

This tiny, little creature is Akiane (pronounced “ah key on ah”). I call her Mommie most of the time because she, along with the amazing (now-departed) Diggity Dog, has given me 16 beautiful grandpuppies. Mommie is about 500 pounds of fierce, rolled into about 5 pounds of preciousness.

Despite her tiny frame, there’s no doubt who runs things around here. That’s right, this smidgen of a dog absolutely dominates me all day long. Of course, being a chihuahua (pronounced “chi-wow-wow” around here), she’s obsessively faithful and loyal. I have no doubt that she would do her best and defend me to her death against any threat I might face…

Because of this pint-sized canine, I have lost any claim to the part of my anatomy between my hips and knees that exists only when I am sitting; I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find an image of my Mommie along side the definition of “lapdog” in any dictionary. My laptop computer has become a kneetop device in order to accommodate the queen on her preferred throne. And just to be sure that she knows that I know that I have the privilege of typing (instead of petting or otherwise devoting my attention to her) only because she allows it, she positions herself so that her head rests on one or the other of my wrists.

There’s more to her domination than taking over my lap; she must be on some part of me at all times (unless she is making the rounds to remind My Sweetheart that he is also hers). Mommie is there to assure me that she is in charge even when there is no lap in which she can lounge. When I get on my hands and knees to check for stray beads in my crafting area, this is how she reminds me who’s the boss:

Mommie on my neck

Yes, it’s a little embarrassing…

Of course, Mommie knows that if she wants to remain in power she has to trust her advisors and follow their recommendations on certain subjects. To that end, she’s a reasonably obedient chihuahua (except for knowing when the heck to zip her lip) and lets me pretend to be the one who makes most of our decisions. Anyone who really knows us, however, knows better.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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A Better Year

I often have long debates with myself about this blog. I am at odds with myself over what this blog really is about. Is it about my life and the seemingly constant shift in my own, personal purpose for being? Is it an artist’s blog about how I view my work and where I find inspiration? Inspiration and art is so much a part of my personal life that the two can’t be easily separated. So my feeling is that to share the art, I have to share the artist. That feeling leads to the inner debate over how much of the artist should I share? Where do I draw the line?This internal conflict have caused me to abandon many of the posts I have begun to write over the years and leave the entire blog apparently abandoned. Every time I abandon a post, the next post is harder to start, because I doubt the likelihood that I will actually publish. That sucks.

I guess the biggest hang-up I have regarding what not to post is the fact that in the time since I started this blog it seems as though my household has faced a barrage of tragic events with such small windows of reprieve that to write much about my life may come across as a bit, well… pathetic. And who wants to publish a personal pitty party? Not me.

But I have posted some of our past tragedies and have even put some of our shortcomings on public display. Each of these posts described obstacles faced in 2012.

The overwhelming magnitude of 2013 was so much greater than the prior year that I haven’t found a voice with which to express the catastrophic events we have endured. My pride has kept me from admitting that our own poor judgment and the fact that the most paralyzing of the losses were once again created by the few people we chose to allow into our very isolated lives. When my sweetheart and I were forced to be away from home for several months, the handful of people we believed could be trusted completely managed to deprive us of every last material thing we owned. We returned home to find there was no home, no contents of our home, no vehicles and the inventory of our shop had been stolen as well. By the end of the summer we were left with the clothes on our backs, our chihuahuas and eachother, plus a criminal police report that law enforcement refused to acknowledge because the thieves were people we knew. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, much less publish.

The reason I mention any of it now is to provide a backdrop for the photo I am posting today. My sweetheart came home last month from a short walk through the neighborhood, looking for the good stuff people in the lovely city of Dallas throw out, with a small bounty of goodies. Among the loot, I discovered a 4-compartment for drawer organization and instantly knew that it deserved to be made into something more. I used duct tape to attach a piece of fiberboard to the top of the unit as well as create a hinge which allows the fiberboard to flip up, creating an opening through which access to the compartments can be accessed. The final result is a combination craft box and lapdesk/portable workstation. The final touch was added during the last week of 2013: a Zentangle-inspired reminder that this year doesn’t have to be as tragic as the two before it. I hope that prediction is correct; I can’t take much more adversity this year.

I hope you will leave a comment and let me know what you think of it. Don’t forget to pin it to one of your Pinterest boards, please. I appreciate every single pin you post from this site!

So….. (drum roll)… Here it is: Better Year, by yours-truly:

Better year artwork

“This Year Will Be Better” Zentangle-inspired DIY craft box

The Bittersweet Season Begins Again

I just opened my admin panel to make a quick post and found this notification from WordPress waiting for me:

Happy Anniversary! You registered on WordPress.com 2 years ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

I can hardly believe all of the unexpected and heartbreaking events that have taken place in the past two years, but through it all, I have My Sweetheart and I feel like our love grows more and more every day. Two years ago I wouldn’t have expected to be saying that now. Maybe that’s just proof that everything really does happen for a reason. {sad smile}

Anyway… I am here to make a quick post about the upcoming holiday season, which is always so difficult for me. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that I lost my grandparents a year apart at this time of year over a decade ago and have seen very little of my natural family since then. My Sweetheart is known to say that when we grow up, our family becomes more about the people we choose to have in our lives. I agree with that philosophy more and more, but in the past year (or two) the list of those we call family is shorter and shorter. Last year we lost two members of our closest family, our friend Pam and our Diggity Dog, exactly one month apart, and those wounds are still very fresh today. Almost everyone else we have come to know and love and trust as family have pruned themselves from our chosen family tree by one form or another of deceit or devious behavior. With so few friends to call on this year, my favorite aspect of the holidays is going to be a bit tricky.

THAT is what I was going to post about… My favorite thing about the holiday season is cooking for the people I love. Every year, My Sweetheart and I put out an open invitation to everyone we know to join us for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. Instead, we have decided that we aren’t even going to celebrate on the same day as the rest of the country. This year, we will be celebrating one day early. We lost our Diggity Dog on the day before Thanksgiving last year, so we are going to celebrate that little dog and everything else for which we are thankful on the anniversary of his passing. (Yes, I know that the date won’t be the same, but it’s the significance of the *day* that means something to us.)

And, just because we aren’t going to expect to feed a family the size of an army, don’t think I won’t be cooking up a feast. I’m already looking for a couple of new recipes to include in this year’s menu on Food.com. I’ve been a member of the site since it was called RecipeZaar.

RecipeZaar founding member banner

My username there is “LoveToCookHateToClean,” so if you have a recipe to help brighten our season a little bit, let me know in the comments here or find me in the community pages there. I love learning new dishes for My Sweetheart.

Are the holidays a difficult time for you, too? Share your coping strategy in the comments. I need all the help I can get.

My Forever-broken Heart

Last week, on the day before the nation sat down together to share a feast of gratitude and celebrate thankfulness with friends and loved ones, my household suffered the tragic loss of a very special family member when our Diggity Dog was struck by a car near our home. Diggity had been My Sweetheart’s constant companion for four years, husband to my Akiane (“Mommie”), father of 16 beautiful pups (including my LB). Diggity was such an awesome little dog that 12 of the 16 pups he and Mommie created were adopted by our friends and family who wanted to have an awesome little dog of their own. My Sweetheart and I love that little guy as much as we could love a human child and we are heartbroken beyond words.

This is how we remember him: Diggity Dog