30 May 2008

de schele Rosse -a cat's tail

I really ought to be studying... but I just had to tell you about this!

I found myself immersed in a new "project" all of a sudden. He's called "de schele Rosse" -a not so nice name for redheads, only in his case it's a fitting description: he's got a squint and he's well, ginger...

I first met him a couple of weeks ago. Living near the city's end with a park & community gardens nearby we sometimes get visits from dumped cats. He caught my attention because he's quite vocal, telling his life's history as he walks by...
He had his squint already back then, it looked like a bad scratch from a fight but otherwise he seemed ok with it. And as he was weary of humans I couldn't approach him anyway. He's also very much unneutered, can't go 5 steps before marking his territory...Poor thing. :-p

He came in at dusk & dawn to eat at my cat cracker self service. LOL.

A week or more ago I noticed he had dirt or something hanging from the right side of his throat (you can see it on the photo as well), but a couple of days later I saw it from behind and it proved to be quite a nasty cut! Another fight? A dog or other predator maybe (besides loose dogs there aren't any here, unless you count pretty fierce rabbits...)? Luckily he didn't seem to be bothered by it that much. Still it looked pretty serious, gaping wound and all (sorry for the visual!).

I realized he had to go to the vet to get it mended, but how to catch a semi-feral hormonal tomcat? So the past few days I have been cat whispering the best I could, letting him get used to my presence and over the days sitting just a little closer...Yesterday I was able to pet him, and discovered he was well used to that!
That's a good thing, means he is well used to humans and can learn to trust again...

Then this morning I discovered that the way to a man's heart is indeed through his stomach... LOL. I gave him some milk (goat's milk, didn't have any other at hand) and he lapped it up as if he was in fast forward! It was very funny. Then he had a meal of fancy canned food and throughout he let me pet him and I stayed near so he learns to associate me with fun and yummy things...before I catch him over a couple of days for his vet visit.

To be continued...

26 May 2008

Mmmmurrini... (quick one)

See, murrini are just so much fun! :-D I discovered Sarah Hornik has found her own murrini mania and the gorgeous beads she made with them! Check it out, it's totally inspiring -and a bit frustrating for someone who has two weeks of exams in front of her. Waah! I want to torch right now!

In other news I'm busy doing my library school homework. What a model student I am... :-p I'm putting the links on Open Source Software on deli.cio.us by the way als er klasgenootjes geïnteresseerd zijn... :o)

25 May 2008

droomtijd - new blog in the making

You know, that question about what inspired me & I couldn't answer (a couple of weeks ago when I got interviewed on the indiego), it kept haunting me. Actually it is something that I've been wanting to map out for myself for a long time, only I didn't realize it until I was asked that question...

I had started my little colors/play project site with the new release of my homepage earlier this year which is a nice litte gateway into my inner world, but I haven't found the time to update much. It takes too long, playing with the webdesign and the graphics/photos... I just didn't have time! How cruel.

So I thought to make it a little easier on me, and start a blog for it: droomtijd... there I have all the practicality of wysiwyg and my blogger account and the wonderful world of tagging, so no more losing bits of paper with ideas jotted down, everything scattered all over the place, no more excuses! :-D And as the blog progresses I can add the "best of" of it to my site, as I plan to do with my studio tales (not much tales yet, sorry).

I was surprised that the blogname, droomtijd, wasn't taken yet. It's Dutch for dreamtime, or even the Dreaming which I knew was an Aboriginal idea. It is fundamental to their spirituality and has to do with both the creation of the world in their creation myths and the place (not physical) where (Aboriginal) artists find their inspiration. Or at least that's what I made of it after visiting an exhibition on Aboriginal art years ago.
And I just love the sound of it. Almost wished I could have come up with it before, as my "official" (blog) name is as vague and as misty as possible...which was what I was going for at the time.

By the way, I will explain about artemissne, my art's name, later. (it's not that exciting though) Maybe in the new blog, that seems to be appropriate.

Anyway, I'll let you know when I've posted anything of substance in there. It may be a couple of weeks before that happens, have got to survive some exams first (library school...) and also a photoshoot by Patrick next sunday! He's got something mightily decadent planned...oh dear! :-p

20 May 2008

Picasso Jasper

Picasso Jasper & organic glass
(click to see full size)
This one's just up on Dawanda. Do you remember the glass beads? :-)

Let's talk about CFS!

So, I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I've mentioned it here and there on my site and my blog.

It's ok.

My cats (this is Assepoes btw) really like me that way, because my need to rest just gives them lots of extra snuggle time... :-)

My social life however is pretty non-existent. Yay for the internet, otherwise I would be a complete hermit. Luckily I can throw gummy bears at people (on facebook), or twitter to give a sign of life if I can't muster up the energy to call or write/mail.

And I am lucky compared to others, as I can work (part-time only). Well, I couldn't before, so I am getting better. At least, I refuse to believe that this is un-curable, but it may take a long time. Like years and years.

CFS kicks in by being triggered. Through a physical and/or emotional crisis, usually a bit of both. Oh, and living in pretty extreme stress for a long period of time will do too. For me it's a logical result of what had been going on in my life, and by the time I went to the doctor to get diagnosed I already knew what was going on, the diagnosis was no surprise.

Still, I was so relieved to get the diagnosis because it gave me something substantial to work with. Before that I just had these seemingly unrelated symptoms and ailments that were always waved off as stress-related and unrelated to eachother and therefore not important.
I got a great deal of not being listened to (you're too young to be this tired, you're making it up, you're depressed, it's autumn/winter/spring/a hot/rainy day, so everybody feels a bit tired, etc.) to "helpful suggestions" from professionals, telling me to go out, take dance courses, even choosing a mate (I'm not kidding you!).

So by the time I got the diagnosis I had been living with it for some years already. I quit my studies in late 1999 when I was 21, 2000 was turbulent and it must have started in the course of that year. It just didn't look like CFS back then because I was going through a crisis and was such an emotional wreck that I thought that was part of it. Over the years I learned to cope with my post traumatical stress (PTSD English/Dutch) but the fatigue stayed loyally... it was only in 2006 that I was diagnosed!

I am not being treated for it. Not as such. Since I already had learned to live with it and doing what I could on my own my doctor could only recommend taking more magnesium and omega 3, and that was that.

Living with it is hard work though. This is how it is for me:
  • +++ I can't hurry. At all. So I get up early to get myself ready in the morning, doing one thing at the time and pausing when I need to. It takes me about 2 hours every morning to get up. If I do hurry in the morning, I "crash" by 11-12am and that's it then. Back to bed; back to square 1. And general rushing to get things finished also doesn't work anymore. I do what I can, and have to leave things unfinished.
  • +++ I can't improvise or act impulsively anymore; doing so would cause an immediate burn-out (= back to bed & recover for 2-3 days). This really sucks though: I have to plan my life rather rigidly now where I used to be spontaneous and adventurous before. I have to get up and go to bed on regular hours. Anything that upsets my rhythm makes me ill afterwards... So I live an extremely regular and boring life. ;-)
  • +++ rest, downtime, naps, recharging the batteries. Even if they require cancelling dates or class or taking afternoons or even days off.
  • +++ eating consciously! This is quite a challenge. I've never been a big eater, but being long and thin I always could eat whatever I wanted. Even more, I'd better eat as much as I can because I lose weight way too easily thanks to a nervous constitution. So with CFS I find that I can't digest much of those fattening foods anymore so byebye dairy, sugar and meat. As a result I have to fight to keep on my weight and not lose any more, so I always have something with me to eat since I easily get low blood sugar. Well, I've found new friends in nuts and seeds who fit in pockets and can be nibbled on throughout the day...
    I don't cut off all the meat/dairy/sugar though, but have made adjustments: water, juice and tea instead of soda, honey and goat's milk in my coffee and all sorts of goat's and sheep's cheese (but rather some veggie-based spread on my bread), and just occasionally (red) meat. Mostly fish or tofu things.
  • +++ Besides the eating consciously, making sure I have my daily share of vitamins/minerals/... (and also include periods of not taking anything so my body doesn't get used to it) I also do quite a bit to cleanse my body every now and then. Toxins and old emotional traumas are said to stay in your body and clog up your organs and eventually lead to illness, fatigue being one of the warning signals. On a daily basis the cleansing involves just drinking lots of fluids, but every now and then I do a liver cleanse (very effective, but let me spare you the details though ;-) ) and do other strange things like drinking clay water (yuck but it works!).
  • +++ keep moving. I've never been a sporty type but I always hiked & biked. I don't have a car so I do all of my shopping on foot, by bike or by bus. I've been doing this for years and as long as I don't keep buying cute little sécretaires on impulse I'm fine...(thanks Monique! ;-) )
    So I'm not fit at all, but at least I have this. And I've found that I can go biking again for fun too, and for a bit longer periods than before. It depends on how I feel that day, but if I'm free and well I go for it. Very handy: I live near some gorgeous walking and biking routes!
    Also important: yoga stretches and taichi/qi gong.
  • +++ clumsiness! This was a dreadful discovery for me...LOL. No really, I used to never break things. I love and excell at working in tiny details with a sure hand and I take care of my things. I'm careful. And yet I've never broken as many plates and mugs (and yup, glass beads too) as the last years.
  • +++ idiocy. Honestly, this is for me the most embarrassing effect of the fatigue. There are moments when I can't think or speak anymore. As if my brain is turned off. This is very annoying, especially at work or school (at home I don't mind, the kitties understand me without words anyway). Sometimes I'm physically present, but just not able to do any decent mental work. A bit like a computer freezing up (wish I could increase my RAM or defragment my brain...). The only thing that helps is (reboot...) rest up and if I can do that it's usually better the next day. But you can't always do that at work or in school and certainly not during exams...
  • +++ having a lower immunity. If there's a bug going around, I usually get a visit. And strong physical reactions to even "normal" stress.
But if it weren't for this condition, I wouldn't be doing what I am doing - living for my art. It forced me to revise my life completely and make conscious choices that went straight against how I had been brought up. It wasn't an easy process, I had to change my own views first and then I had to convince the people surrounding me too. And then to pave my own path, because there isn't really a handbook on becoming an artist...(unless you count Julia Cameron's Artist's Way of course!)

So it's ok.

10 May 2008

library school made me do it.

disclaimer: no books have been hurt in the making of this post.

wait -no, I lied...

I've become a serial book killer!

And the joy it gave me... :-p

Have a look for yourself.
See, I needed gift boxes for the art market I'm participating in in July. And I wanted something special, and totally me.

I had been thinking about it for a bit, and then suddenly it all came together: a friend who showed me how origami boxes were folded, I went through some boxes at the KANTL of books that were up to be dumped, I saved an unused 1956 journal from the dump as well (unrelated to the KANTL though), and I remembered some ancient music scores that I received years ago, as a heritage of an old lady who I'd never known. And when I got busy I added some cheapo Shakespeare edition to the mix! You know, the kind with paper yellowing the day after you bought it, and sloppy prints with words and passages left out or misprinted...I bought it years ago, so proud I had all of Shakespeare in one band....
So I cut all the books open (yay for old bound books & scores, as they are so much easier and neater to "dissect" than those bloody paperbacks!) and glued a merry collage on square newspaper leaves. Then I cut those collages in 4 and started folding them. (Are you tickled? I got my step-by-step video tutorial from here.)

These are a few favorites:

Le Petit Pischna. Believe me, I'm doing pianists all over the world a big favour by (graciously) getting rid of one of his scores. I've played it. (though not from this score, the remarks in crayon weren't for me. For once...)
The scores -in floppy oversized pre-1960 style- proved very easy to fold too, as if the pages had been waiting all this time to become an objet d'art like this... LOL

The 1956 journal. I saved from an old paper dump (I don't scavenge dumps all that much though, or at all! But it's just....if I see something that can be re-used I can't leave it.) I don't know why it appealed to me this much. But it was totally unused, apart from a few addresses and a calculation of telephone calls in the back. How mysterious! I don't know who it has belonged to.

The map of Northern/Southern Limburg (Netherlands/Belgium) from a lonesome tome on the 19th century history of the region.

No need to explain that one...

...and this is a close up of the stamp I had made. It's just so much fun to stamp things! :-p Not even a year working for the government and I've already developed a stamp fetish. Oh well... LOL