Friday, June 22, 2012

Almost There!

In two more days, I will be sitting on my porch in Schroon Lake, listening to the birds chirping from the woods in our backyard.  I can't wait!  I have been spending the week packing, which is a monstrous task in itself...I think I may need extra vacation time to recover from all the preparation.  I don't know if it's because I am an anal retentive, overly-cautious worry wart or if everyone has the same experiences packing for a trip.  But if I write one more list of things I have to do before I leave, or add to my never ending 'What to pack' list, I think my hand will just cramp up and fall off!

I have been trying to keep my sanity in the meantime, and do things that relax me.  I haven't had much success in this area, though I did manage to finish a new painting!  Tomorrow I will be dropping it off, along with three others, to the Broadway Art Center (BAC) for their next gallery installation, 'Spirit of Independence'.  And then I can cross "Drop paintings at BAC" off my to-do list.  Whoo-hoo!!  (Sometimes it's the little things that keep us going...)

My painting has a lot to do with how I've been feeling lately, after preparing for our event at CPO...sending out the 'call for artists' for our next gallery installation in July...and trying to pack for a trip--sometimes feeling like everything is happening all at the same time.  I have felt a little 'out of control' when it comes to my emotions, sometimes being frustrated and nervous about a situation, and at the same time excited and even happy.  Although a little emotion is a good thing, I am glad to be going away to where there are no distractions, or Internet...or even a phone.  I need a little break from everything, in a quiet place where I can just paint, and BE.  And so my latest painting is aptly called 'Mixed Emotions'...stop by at the BAC (corner of Broadway and Maiden in Albany,) and check it out!

And now, I can finally have that long awaited vacation I've been thinking about since winter...once I pack the car full of clothes, food, art supplies and cats (yes, they're coming too!) I will be on my way.  Hopefully we'll get to Schroon Lake safely, with a limited amount of feline complaints and heavy traffic.  And then, let the relaxing begin!! 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fathers Everywhere

Okay...I'm sure my mother is shaking her head, saying "You wrote about Father's Day LAST year...and his head STILL hasn't deflated!"  And yes, that is true (at least the first part)...and I do try hard not to repeat myself.  Also, before we started racing toward another Father's Day, my family celebrated two birthdays--my sister's AND my mom's.  June is a big month in our family!  So first let me give a BIG birthday shout out to two wonderful women.  I know neither one of you are big fans of birthdays, like I am, but despite that I hope you both had great ones!!  And tomorrow I'll be wishing my father another Happy Father's Day, for he certainly deserves the well wishes...but for now, I'd like to talk about another father that I have gotten to know, if only through his words.

As a blogger, I enjoy reading other blogger's work as well...and when one resonates with me in a particular way, I like to pass it on.  One blog I have been reading for a while now, is called Fighting Monsters With Rubber Swords at:  My friend K turned me onto this site years ago, and it is just exceptional.  The focus of Rob Rummel-Hudson's blog is his daughter, Schuyler, who was diagnosed with bilateral perisylvian extremely rare neurological disorder.  Among the many challenges Schuyler (and other children with BPP) have to face, is an inability to speak/communicate without the use of assistive devices.  That is a challenge which is hard for me to imagine, since I have never had difficulty making myself heard. 

Having a rare neurological disorder myself, I have connected to many things this particular father has written, as Schuyler faces the world's obstacles and discriminations.  And my challenges seem slight to what this girl has often faced, with a determination that is also rare in today's society...though I find myself connecting to Rob's posts for other reasons as well, due to my background in special education.  When I was a teacher, I often found myself on opposite sides of the table from the school's administration in regards to my student's needs...fighting for approval to get assistive tech devices for children who needed them to learn, and communicate.  The frustration of cost overriding necessity, despite documented proof of need, often made me want to turn in my resignation.  Though I think what was even harder were the times where cost was not a problem, and my students were given what they needed to succeed...only to have other professionals within the school refusing to properly accommodate these children, by not allowing them opportunities to use their devices and not providing something as simple as the space and time in which to use them.  Sounds unbelievable, right??  But truth is often a rude awakener...and the world can be very unaccepting of differences.  I taught a melting pot of students in the past, in the fact that their individual needs and challenges were pretty diverse.  Some students used augmentative & alternative communication (AAC) devices to communicate...some children used wheelchairs, braces and canes, and even others used adaptive chairs and other equipment to function within the classroom.  And as successful as my students could be with these many devices, the further they travelled out into the world, the less successful they felt.  Those devices served as beacons, pointing out the differences in bright neon for everyone to see...and the world could often be very insulting in their responses.  I actually had a regular education teacher who argued with me about the simple task of rearranging her classroom desks to accommodate a student's wheelchair, so that this child could join her peers for group activities.  It was a never-ending battle, often requiring me to develop my 'detective skills' and check up on people who should know make sure that accommodations were given on a regular basis to the students that needed them, and not just when I was peering over the teacher's shoulder.

We wish for many things in this life.  Those wishes may change as we get older, becoming more realistic, as we experience life and learn what is important.  Some of us still hold onto those unrealistic dreams, grasping them in times of frustration and stress...such as wishing for large sums of money to show up, which we believe will fix our problems and change our futures.  That's perfectly normal...I've wished to win the lottery quite often in the past few years, especially since dramatic changes have happened in my life.  And if we are able to raise our heads above the crowd every so often and look beyond ourselves, we may wish for good health, happiness and even wealth for others.  I imagine those moments increase when you are a parent.  I imagine they increase DRAMATICALLY when you're the parent of a child with special needs.  Though the wishes these parents utter in those quiet moments, the dreams they grasp onto as they watch their children struggle...the prayers they whisper in the hopes that they will be heard, might just surprise you.  I highly doubt that money is prayed about all that often, other than the prayers concerning the amount of money needed for their children to receive the equipment they require.  I have a feeling that most of these parent's prayers are small, though they mean very big things for the children in question.  Please don't let my child get picked on today for her braces...Please help my little boy get through his day without having a meltdown...PLEASE help my daughter communicate with her friends, and help them to listen to what she has to say.  And when you see these prayers answered, it must be tremendous...though when they aren't, it must be devastating.

So I send this post out to fathers everywhere, especially to those who have children with special needs.  A father's job in particular is one of protection, from the troubles in the must be very difficult to watch the struggles of their children, especially when they face obstacles that are beyond anyone's ability to move.  Exceptional fathers can't completely clear their children's path, taking away all the struggles...though what makes them exceptional is that they do whatever they can to help their children get through them and maneuver around them, one little step at a time.  And so let me say Happy Father's Day to my own father, who has done his best to help me maneuver around the obstacles I've had to face throughout my life...I hope you all have exceptional fathers as well, and can remember them at this time.  And if you will, please take a moment to check out Rob's blog and learn about how he views his role as the father of a wonderful and determined young girl like will be well worth the read!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Results, Rest and Recovery!


Please excuse the beginning of this post...I just couldn't figure out another way to explain how I've been feeling these past few weeks!  Kind of a nervous, out of control feeling where my brain has run amok, trying to remember each and every last thing that needed to be done...and still falling short.  That's often life, I guess!  My friend M and I have been working very hard to prepare for our summer event at the Art de Cure CPO gallery (to benefit the CMTA,) and making sure each and every last detail was our reception last Friday could go off without a hitch.  And it pretty much did.  In fact, I would say it was a success!  After all, this was a light artist's reception, with no guarantee of attendance...and no guarantee there would be any sales.  Not only did we have quite a lot of people come, but we raised $246 for the CMTA's research program, dedicated to finding a treatment/cure for CMT.  And every little bit helps us reach our goal!

When I look back on all of it, we really didn't fall short on any the end, everything was done and the night went smoothly.  We just hit a few roadblocks and fell in a few potholes along the way!  Which has led to this feeling that I'm stuck on a ride I can't control, in danger of losing a limb.  This has been building for weeks, though I'd have to say the feeling really took hold when I dragged myself out of bed early Friday morning...and as I was straightening the blankets, I dropped a REALLY heavy book I'd been reading on top of my left foot.  After screaming some curses I wasn't aware I knew, I hobbled to the bathroom...and 10 minutes later I was in my sweatpants, wolfing down breakfast so I could start preparing food for the evening's festivities.

Now let me pass on a little tip I learned, in the hopes that you will be spared the same problems in the future.  When you are hosting an event for charity, and have limited hours in which to finish all of the things that had to wait till the last minute (such as chopping vegetables and fruit,) don't tack on the lovely task of making Rice Krispie Treats.  Yummy?  Yes.  Easy to make??  NO WAY.  After I mixed and melted all of the ingredients and attempted to pour the results into a Pyrex dish, I realized can easily end up stuck to your stove, with a spoon adhered to your face and Rice Krispie dust in your hair in a matter of minutes!  All of those happy 'Hallmark' type commercials where the smiling mother makes these treats with her two chubby-faced toddlers, spending a few hours bonding over toppings that the kids choose themselves, is a baldfaced LIE...believe me--there would be plenty of bonding going on, but it would be the type that required a hot bath and a box of soap to dissolve!

Eventually I detached myself from the stove and cleaned all the goo off my hands, and with my mother's help in cutting the results into squares, I made it to CPO...fully dressed in appropriate attire and ready to party! be honest, I got there without getting into an accident, hoping I would survive the next four hours and raise some money in the process.  And despite my exhaustion, not only did we raise money for our charity...I also sold my next painting, The Gathering, shown below.  Was it worth all the effort, the out of control feelings and the energy I lost?  I'm still not completely sure about that...but selling another painting certainly helped!  If you'd like to read M's story about preparing for this event (and all the craziness she went through,) check out her blog at:   I think you will agree that both of us worked really hard to make this gallery successful, and that we both desperately need a VACATION!  

And for those of you who wanted to come but couldn't, our art still stands until July 27th when we install our next gallery, Starry Night.  CPO is located at 149 South Lake Avenue, Albany, and is open to the public during office hours (M-F from 8-5pm).  Go check it out...there's a lot of beautiful art to look at, and it will be well worth the trip!