Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Morning Atrial Fib A Hiccup

Walked the neighborhood yesterday afternoon and when I walk these days, it's hard to put one foot in front of the other. I love to walk, but am feeling a drag of late. It isn't fun. My friend Sally reminds me that I had a serious procedure last November. Five hours of anesthesia requires recovery time, the ablation procedure even more. My heart has to mend and remake new electrical pathways.
And as usual, I am immobilized parts of each day after taking Clonodine for high blood pressure. Always feel like I'd taken a double shot of Benedryl.  Then after a few hours, I am feel like myself again, just in time for another Clonodine and the cycle repeats.
And what a day this Monday has been and it's only 2:55 p.m. This morning after breakfast, my heart began to feel odd, as if it was trying to steady itself  or was failing to steady itself.  Sadness permeated all of me. Then it began. Full atrial fib for almost two hours. I lay in bed, taking my pulse, feeling the every-so-often slight irregularity. Placed a call to my cardiologist, spoke with her nurse who said she had clinic today and so would be in touch with me.
At last, near noon, that bit of pressure in my chest and the ache in my left arm retreated. My heart was beating normally. I felt light again, OK.
The phone just rang and it was Anne Doughterty, asking me questions, opting for a different high blood pressure medicine, inquiring about my sleep, telling me that interrupted sleep is not helping, but best of all, she said that having atrial fib a few times after an ablation is a hiccup. I can live with that.
I feel relief, sorrow, melancholy? I am so happy that she called, instead of her nurse. Sure allayed my fears. I so want to be in the 85% for whom the procedure is successful.
About this collage? I made it yesterday, the first of a Big Bend/Terlingua series. I am spending parts of most days in the studio. Have a half dozen collages in the works. The floor is totally covered with photos and fabrics again.
Time in the studio has been easier than that task of giving order to all I've written in the last 12 months. A week ago, I began to cut and paste a few pages together and realized I must give a lot more thought to what I am trying to say. Right now, all those pages are like a broken string of beads. Impossible or very hard to find the pattern, the order. Need that sudden shot of inspiration that comes out of nowhere so I can create a 'whole.'
It's raining now. Great for the gardens. That discomfiting bout of atrial fib is over and I know I can live with a few hiccups on the way to joining that 85%.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Afternoon In the Studio

The studio is tidied and today I found myself there, ready to paint the first coats on a few canvases and then became enamoured of a length of water damaged embroidered linen fabric salvaged from Hurricane Ike. One never knows quite what will happen when work begins. I cut and laid pieces of this fabric on two canvases, securing them with acrylic gel. Had enough scraps left over to cover portions of a yet-to-be-purchased canvas. Think I'll stitch these scraps together and leave threads hanging, which will add 'lines' and texture to the piece.
This new group makes a nice triptych and, though I'll sleep on it,  I think two of the three are ready for images to be glued down. The final version of the collage in the middle eludes me. Here's a detail of that middle collage. I like this version, but I think it really needs that square of Chinese red paper that I laid down originally. I'll figure it out.
It was a very good day, as I also painted first coats on half dozen smaller canvases, getting ready to work with images from Terlingua and Big Bend. Nothing like a potential deadline, i.e. exhibition, to get me going. And today, it was easier than writing. 
On Monday morning, I sat down to write, to begin the task of bringing order to the anecdotes written over a year's time. I'd already printed everything, making copies of each page so I can cut and paste, creating, at last, the beginnings of a narrative. It wasn't long before I was overwhelmed with the quantity of anecdotes to be strung into a so-called coherent narrative. Thus, a turn in the studio to free associate and procrastinate in a good way.
Now off for a healthy walk and then on to a continuing studies class at Rice U on the Medici family. Then home in time to hear Obama's State of the Union Address to Congress. Then bed and sleep?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Studio Rehabilitated

Studio is almost ready for new work. I've been sorting and organizing on and off for two weeks. I make such a mess of the place, covering every inch of the floor with bits of fabric and hundreds of photos. I walk gently among them. But now, all surfaces are cleared and washed or swept.
Simply going through 'stuff' gave me wonderful new ideas to pursue for collages on paper, with words and a rubber stamp alphabet, with old bl/wh photos, paint, fabrics, labels and tags. Pieces to be framed or not, to be copied perhaps and sold in multiples.
I reorganized the built in shelves. Some bins are filled with finished work, others have collages that need repair from the ravages of humidity. I am going to buy a dehumidifier for the studio. Its dampness is not good. Those yellow Kodak boxes of photos still need to be straightened but otherwise, that wall is done.
Two final tasks and I'll have created two more work surfaces. I want to move a stash of 'more fabric yardage than I care to count' from studio to Caroline's French armoire. The armoire is at present in my brother's warehouse after its trip from Seattle. The final leg of the armoire's journey will be to my guest bedroom.
Moving those plastic tubs filled with fabrics will empty two of four studio shelves. Right now they are covering a wonderful wall of green corrugated metal. I'll loan the shelves to ES and that newly open patch of green metal wall can be used for affixing works in progress.
Then, when the weather warms again, which could be any day, I intend to wash and paint a long table that Beth Wray's father gave me. It'll provide another good work surface. The table's been wrapped in plastic, in my carport since November. So has the can of green paint.
Space almost ready. I could actually work on that table under the window right now.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

And The Beat Goes On

My heart is still mending. It's been 90 days since the atrial fib ablation procedure and I am half way through the six month process my doctor assured me would follow those five hours on a cold metal table. That's when my irregular heart beat was being tracked to the very sources of electrical misfiring, to be burned away so brand new pathways can form.
Yesterday my doctor, her resident and I discussed my situation. I explained my devastation over a full blown atrial fib incident two Sundays ago. When it happened, I thought I'd ruined the entire procedure. Approximately four ounces of coffee at 11:00 a.m. did me in. I'll have no coffee for a long, long time. Nor wine. I'll stick to hot lemon water.
I took a risk drinking that bit of coffee and my heart responded. And maybe that's OK, because it's keeping me on meds for two more months and as I see it, my heart has longer to rebuild before it goes it alone. I'm looking at it that way.
My skin continues to be smooth, blotch free, itch free, burning-from-the-inside-free. Dr. Luk, thanks for explaining how this could happen after a heart procedure.  My heart is no longer on fire and it is no longer burning metal. That would be my skin.
Hurray. The beat goes on.


Decent Night's Sleep Leads To Plans For Open Studio

Awake at 7:00 a.m. this morning without a sore neck or an aching head. Love my new pillow and think it's making a difference. It has shapes cut out of each side, so one can sleep on a cheek and the sleep apnea mask falls into a hollow.  No more dislodging and readjusting the mask in the middle of the night, a task that needs a certain level of consciousness, thoughtfulness and which always totally wakes me up.  I am still sleeping only 2-4 hours at a time and then open my eyes in the dark, invariably thinking I've slept at least seven hours. Always disheartened when the clock shows otherwise, because then once again, I have get into the 'trying to go to sleep' mode.
Sleep troubles run in my family. My mother kept a transistor radio under her pillow for white noise and late night talk shows.  My father's mother was known to be a true insomniac. She seemed helpless, even with drugs, to counteract those dark sleepless nights.  It's not fun to be sleepless. One begins to spend time reorganizing the next day, allowing for fatigue and a headache, adjusting the next day's schedule in order to sleep 'in', worrying about tasks that will remain undone. Enough.
I appear to have had a decent night's sleep and this morning, I am filled with surging energy and wordsmithing.
Text is tumbling out, ideas are flowing. I feel my mind organizing for the next big thing, which is - I'll announce it right here - an open studio sale on the first weekend in May. My house and studio and space in two East End warehouses are all overflowing with things I love, but which can/should be sent out into the world.
There's a ton of stuff in my domain that can be shared and sold. There are photo collages from 'Purse Stories' and 'Shoreline', exhibited at FotoFest in 2000 and 2004.

There are more than enough collages and images from 'la folie' in Marfa, 2005.
I treasure a trove of painted plates, baroque vintage bowls and urns, vases and candlesticks, all collected for 'Second Seating' in 2009. But it's high time this wondrous stuff found new surroundings.
Then there is the series of collages made last summer after that trip to Paris. And there are the trio created for Mother Dog Studio's 'Bird Brains' for last November's Art Crawl.
And collages made for Houston Press 2013 Artopia. Add in a life time of black/white photographs and collages, one of a kind cards and a series of small story books. 

Shall I add in two pairs of embroidered boots I bought in Istanbul and Seattle and have never, ever worn? They're decorative. They'd go with the Second Seating collection.
Remember that four part screen I built - all my myself - in 1987 and covered with hand colored images of lily leaves - I am rehabilitating it, which means regluing the images that humidity has loosened. It's a terrific screen and deserves to be in some one's home instead of a musty warehouse. I will scan the original slide soon and publish it here.
So, you see, there is lots of good stuff and if all goes as planned, this good stuff will go out into the world on the first weekend in May.  Prepare to be invited, prepare to see friends and meet new folks. Prepare to drink sangria, eat Mexican wedding cookies and most of all, prepare to satisfy your longings for uncovering, discovering, recovering a treasure, or two or three.
All this, after a decent night's sleep. You see what happens with a spurt of energy?