Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello 2015!

     I accomplished a lot this year,  moving, working,  loving  and conquering my health issues.  
   I surrounded myself with good people and good times.

       I went to a party for my beautiful friend Phoebe, the other day and I realized just how lucky I really am to be surrounded by such good people.  I honestly feel like I finally found my tribe-----
  The Artists,  the dreamers,  the intellectuals,  the writers,  the musicians and the young folks.   These are my people.   They are the people that are most generous and down to earth.  no BS.  (well maybe sometimes,  but its usually funny BS.)  :)

     I made this pillow for my friend Phoebe for her birthday party.  its her  3 legged cat that she adores.    (even the critters face challenges sometimes and can thrive.)  I wanted to make something meaningful for her because she was one of the people in my life this past year that honestly helped me get through some of my darkest times.   she showed me love,  support,  laughter and family togetherness.   she is a true gift to me and helped make this year an amazing one.  I know that this coming year is going to be a great one for her,  she too faced challenging times and heartache but came out on the other side with grace and dignity and has a film based on her book "Diary of a teenage girl" headed to Sundance this year.  she deserves every bit of happiness because she is an awesome human being.





She helped to try and make me feel better about myself. Because this was the year of self-loathing for me. 
I hated my body and what it did to me.  But she was Always telling me what a good person I was, trying to lift my spirits when I felt ugly and gross.  Because that's the thing about Cancer, it robs you of security and self esteem.  For me the biggest challenge, past the obvious, was losing my hair.   When I look back on this cancer year i'm gonna remember that as being the hardest part.  sad but true.
 A therapist told me,  cancer is like a tornado,  it rips through and blows a lot of things away,  but there are still things left standing,  and you re-build.
  She helped me to do that.  teaching me about fake nails when all my nails fell out,  always telling me that I was pretty,  I taught her about liquid eyeliner and the best kind of eye pencil,  and we commiserated about our un-dying love of a really good pair of shoes. 
 but don't be fooled by such trifles,  we are tough broads, in fact she installed her own humidifier on her home furnace,  ran water lines,  soldering copper pipes and running electrical cords to do so.  so all girly things aside,  she is a bad ass, and I love her.




and this past year, I beat cancer.  yes I did.



So remembering what it was like to have hair.

and going through various stages where I was compared to this by my other friend (spot on by the way)  and yes,  I can totally laugh at it because it's hilarious even though I wanted to choke him initially. 




to moving on and trying to accept myself and love myself just the way I am.
trying to focus on things that really matter,  like family, loved ones,  traditions,  and being healthy.  I don't do resolutions,  I just try, like the rest of the world to improve on the old stuff.
I think Thats what this new year is gonna be about.  Living in the now and being thankful for the little things and continuing to surround myself with good people and energy.




One thing that I had noticed is that
Phoebe had this guest book at her party,  it was an old wooden book from her family dating back to the 1940's
she signed it when she was little,  and other various comic book illustrators signed it as well,  my son,  daughter, and I added a page too.   







I thought it was really cool that she has that,  and that everyone contributed a little something to her family history.  I'd like to work on being more "present" in this life and developing my own special family traditions.  It's important.


On my end,  I did another special project at the end of this year for another family remembering their mother.   I did another series of pillows out of her sweaters so they would have a little heirloom in which to remember her by.
These projects are always so tough for me.  They make me really sad thinking about love and loss.
I live with the sweaters for awhile until they "speak to me"  and an idea develops.
I was told they wanted 2 cats,  a bird and a dragon,  so this is what I came up with.






there is always a sigh of relief when I finish these projects and they pick them up, because they are emotionally draining, but  He was sooooo happy,  and that in turn makes it all worth it.

Now on another note, this guy,  HE was one of the things that made this year a lil bit brighter,  our rescue chihuahua Banjo.  he is the funniest little dog ever,  and also the TINIEST dog ever.
I don't think he weighs more than 3 pounds.  people laugh when I walk him on a leash,  seriously.  and that in turn makes me laugh.  :)
so if you are planning on getting a pet,  think RESCUE.  Think ADOPTION.  it is the BEST WAY POSSIBLE TO GET A PET. 
I'll stop shouting now.  
:)




This year I also became very prolific.  Art helped get me through some of my darkest days.  
I also noticed that my work in turn became a little bit darker and more serious.  but I actually like it better now.  so in many respects cancer has been a gift.












                I also opened myself up to other projects and ideas including designing a new skateboard deck for a local board shop.  (yes,  an old lady can do these things)    ;)




and working with more design clients,  reproducing my mini cooper painting for one....


I moved twice in one year.
that wasn't fun,  but you deal,  and it's all good!


I am temporarily in between housing and am living both at my moms house and the shop.
Even though it is definitely not an ideal situation and I feel like a hobo, it works until I will look for something in the spring.  I'm giving myself these winter months to re-group, and re-focus.
My landlord had an unforseen breakup of her marriage and needed her house back.  since I would never wish for any woman (or person) to be in a painful situation like that,  I moved out immediately.
I believe everything happens for a reason,  and I am happy to be living back in Ann Arbor and back downtown.  
I re-arranged my moms living space while she was in Texas,  moving furniture,  bringing in a farmhouse table, decorating her house for the holidays and making the space more inviting and comfortable.  I will say it's one thing i'm fairly decent at.  taking what you already have,  and arranging it to be more effective. My mom really loves it.  we have lovely sit down dinners now around the table, and gather in the living room to watch movies or talk. 
So even though its not an ideal situation to be living with your kids at your moms house at 49 years old!!!! it does make you cherish the togetherness that family brings.



Besides moving twice this year, I also made new friends, WAAAAY too many to list, and was BLOWN AWAY by my longtime artist friends Jenn from Noodle and Lou,  and Jenny Elkins from Jenny Elkins studios that came together and held not one,  but Two auctions for me this year.
 That was never something that I would have asked for or wanted because accepting gifts and charity like that is not my style and actually makes me really REALLY uncomfortable....but honestly
I don't know what I would have done without that,  it was an amazing thing that helped me through the toughest financial times of my life.
but more importantly,  it helped me spiritually to feel that kind of love and support from some of the MOST GENEROUS PEOPLE ON THE PLANET.
These folks are Artists,  they too make a living by their hands,  and a lot of them are struggling themselves.   I know what kind of time and effort it takes to produce something yourself,  for not a lot of money in return,  but they made things.  and they sold them for me,  a complete stranger to some of them,  and there are words I will never be able to say to properly thank them.
So I will just say that I love you people, and I will do whatever I can to give back to you one day.


so with all of that stuff behind me in the 2014 year,  finishing my radiation,  surgeries, and my final round of chemo on Feb 10th,  the date of my sons 17th birthday -----a full year of treatment under my belt.
 I'm ready to face this new year with an open heart.
                                              enjoying the little things and smiling more.












Because It would be so easy to say that I'm happy to see 2014 go, but I won't do that.    It certainly was one of the hardest years in my life,  but it also was part of my human experience and has given me a gift in many ways.    I showed me incredible love and support from the community,  it brought new friends into my life,  and it taught me things about myself that I never knew I was capable of.   So honestly,  i'm THANKFUL for this past year.    I'm  Happy for the personal growth and the hopeful possibility that a New Year always brings.

I wish you all a VERY happy and Healthy 2015!


(and for the record,  I will TRY to never gripe about a bad hair day ever again,  and yes,  this is an actual photo of what really happened to my hair on a humid day)

you're welcome.  haha.


:)

much love,

Catherine
XOXOXOXO
 


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