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July 1, 2008

I've been gone. I brought you this stupid t-shirt.

Guter tag.

Warning, this is a long one. Bring a sack lunch y’all.

Okay, so. Yeah, I’ve been gone for a while. And yeah, I was supposed to be a traveling fool for the month of June but I never expected all of the activity that actually went down. Some of you know about the drama. Some of you don’t. And to keep myself in order I think I will do this in itinerary form, with dramatic prose thrown in for me.

Long story short. I traveled a bunch and Mister lost his mother.

Long story long.

The way it was supposed to go: Destin, FL vacation from 6/6 until 6/14… get home for a day to do laundry, 6/16 in the office, 6/17-6/20 in Galveston for a conference, home the 20th and that weekend, in the office the 23rd, leave the 24th thru the 28th for an annual meeting in New Mexico, in the office yesterday the 30th.

The way it actually went.

5/29 Mister’s mom had two very bad strokes that morning, she was rushed to the hospital and Mister, his sisters and his father were sitting on pins and needles waiting for the neurosurgeon to tell them something, anything.

5/30 No change with his mother, if anything, she worsened. Mister is the only one in his clan that is not located in the mid-Florida area. His sisters asked the neurosurgeon what they should tell Mister… as he is the only one that is about 20 to 24 hours away when driving. The Dr. told the sisters that Mister should get there and that he didn’t have the 20-some-odd hours it would take to drive. I threw Mister in my car and booked him on the last flight out of Dallas and told him to just go. He got to the terminal with about 5 minutes to spare and he got to the hospital around midnight or 1 am that night. He only took his laptop bag and his CPAP machine.

PS… American wanted $1901 per person to fly. Note to AA… Suck it. I put him on Southwest. Note to Southwest, love you. Mean it.

We had planned on boarding Max (at Cat Connection) and Zeke (at Doggie Wonderland) for the week we were going to be gone to Destin, this was a week earlier than planned. The people at both places were so awesome. Max’s place closed at 6 and Zeke’s closed at 6:30pm. Guess who didn’t get the animals rounded up until 7 or so? Me. And I was all crying on the phone with the people who were keeping our furry little four-legged babies. They were so cool.

After I got the animals situated, I packed up the rest of the shit for two weeks in FL. I took stuff for a funeral and stuff for the beach. It was the most bipolar packing I have ever done. I had no idea what to expect, but I got it all crammed into the Tahoe and headed out of Dallas at about 10:15 pm.

My parents and my sister were begging me to stop at my folks house (they live in East Texas about an hour or two from Shreveport, LA) but I was all butt clenched about getting to Mister and I was so fucking worried that he didn’t even have a toothbrush with him. Count on me to worry about the important shit.

I got to the I-20 turn off at my folk’s place around midnight and called them to say I’d be there in an hour. Daddy promised to wake me an hour before dawn so I could get back on the road. I took them up on it.

Note to kind reader, yes… this was a cluster fuck. And yes the bad shit was happening to my husband but I can only tell you my side of the whole thing. Maybe he’ll give you his side someday. Until then, please bear with my “it’s all about me” writing.

5/31 Mister was at the hospital from the time they opened their doors until the time they closed the NSICU. Mister, his dad and his three sisters all stood vigil and kept his mom company in the ICU ward. Mister went and got her a battery operated radio, cd, tape player thingy because they couldn’t have anything with an electrical cord in the ICU area. They brought her favorite albums and sat around and sang to her and read her favorite passages from the Bible.

My daddy woke me up at 5 am and I showered, ate a bite of breakfast and got on the road towards Florida. I drove from 6:15 am until 10:30 pm. I stopped in Tallahassee at a Quality Inn and to my horror (I am completely spoiled when it comes to hotels) I found a pubic hair on the edge of the tub and a toenail clipping just outside the restroom door on the carpet. I was so tired that I just kept my shoes on the whole time I was in the room and washed my skin so hard in the shower that I could have scrubbed in on a surgery should I have needed to. I even showered in my contacts as I forgot that I had them in. But the gods of George A. Romero were smiling upon me as I lay down to go to sleep… my comfort movie “Dawn of the Dead” came on TBS as I was scrolling through the channels with my hands wrapped in tissues as not to touch the nasty ass remote control. I fell into a fitful rest around 1:30 am or so.

6/1 I slept until 7 am and was on the road by 8 am. Mister had made me promise to never let the gas tank in the Tahoe get any less than half full. This is a good safety measures thing that I will continue to heed for the rest of the road trips in my life. I stopped at McDonald’s and …

Here is where I tell you that Mister has lost over 50 pounds on Jenny Craig and I have lost almost 40… well, 36 or 37. And that during this past month we have put on a good eleventy trillion pounds of unwanted fat and have been very gassy. After weaning ourselves off of bad food the fast food shit didn’t sit well with our tummies.

I stopped at McDonald’s and got a chicken biscuit and an extra large iced coffee. Y’all know I don’t normally drink caffeine either as I vibrate with nervous energy like an unbalanced washing machine if I get too much of the stuff. During this trip I probably did so much caffeine that I was basically like a little meth addict. Not sleeping, all jittery, hives, inappropriate barks of laughter. It was awesome.

I called Mister from the road and decided to go down the east coast of Florida and got to the hospital before 2 pm. When I went into the hospital Mister’s dad was standing there with some people from their church and Mister’s oldest sister. They welcomed me warmly and then I got to see him. Mister came around the corner and gave me the biggest hug.

Now, to be honest I had no idea what to expect. With my maternal grandmother, she was just riddled with cancer but she was ready to go. She wanted to die, she wanted to go to heaven her body was just too strong. It was really beautiful to lay there on the floor next to her bed in the hospice and watch her doing the helpless gestures and other signs of death because I knew she was ready to go. When we had her viewing with just the family… my sister, my mother and I gathered around her and… well, we noticed that her wig was crooked. So, I gently pulled it back into place. Her little head wobbled… and we got the giggles.

This may sound absolutely morbid to some of you, but she was at rest. She was at peace, she was not there. It was just a body. We got to say our goodbyes and lay in bed with her and talk to her during her lucid periods. It was beautiful.

What I found when I got to the hospital on June 1st was…. Not.

Mister signed me in to the NSICU ward and I got a little name tag and he took me upstairs. When we went into the IC unit it was clear to me that his mother wasn’t there either. Yes, she was breathing but she was not there.

She had sent a copy of her living will to Mister and his two older sisters (and even gave a copy of it to Mister’s dad) last March before she was admitted into the hospital to have her knee operated on. She also had a DNR (do not resuscitate) on file for the knee surgery. The Living Will stated that should she be in a vegetative state, have a terminal illness or … one other thing that she already was… that after trying everything to save her for 72 hours, she would be taken off of a ventilator, feeding tube, oxygen, basically everything but an IV for hydration and comfort measures (morphine). Please keep this in mind.

6/2 Back to the hospital. We sang to her, talked to her, watched her reflexes and the color of her urine darken. Okay, the last one was just Mister and me. We called this guy to give us the low down (with no sugar coating or a side of bullshit) and got the skinny on something called the Glasgow Coma scale… the neurologist listed Mister’s mother as a 3.

It was Monday and she hadn’t responded or opened her eyes since her strokes on Thursday morning.

We would stay at the hospital all day, sitting in the waiting room or in his mother’s room all day. Our only respite was to smile politely at the teeny waiting room Nazi in her pink shirt and white nurse’s shoes. As a volunteer who was supposed to support and help those who were in need of comfort or direction she sucked, as a drill instructor she would have been fabulous.

6/3-6/5 More of the same. Only by the 5th I was physically biting my cheeks to keep from reminding the family of the 72 hour living will thing. Mister was doing the same. Only not just that but he was also struggling with the fact that his sisters’ all act like they are closer than bread and butter but when we cooked dinner for the clan at his oldest sister’s home one evening we found out it was his closest sister’s first time to be in her older sister’s home. Hmmm, close. And. Oh, and.

Y’all. Have I ever told you about my engagement ring? Well, I haven’t even told you about how Mister and I met… so probably not. Here’s the brief version. We wanted to get married. Mister wanted to buy me a diamond. I was all, “Eh… we’ve each been married previously, why don’t we just do bands?” He was insistent. Wanted to get me a diamond but neither one of us could afford it. In 1995 he was t-boned on I-95 outside Orlando by a courier truck. He has basically had a headache for 13 years. He has endured acupuncture, pain medication, chiropractic care, you name it… he has had it. Around January of 2003 he got a letter in the mail from the courier company that the truck that hit him had worked for. From their attorney. It basically said, “Mister, by signing this letter you admit guilt in the matter of us t-boning you on the highway back in 1995. And by signing this letter you waive any right to sue us at a later date.” Mister, being a smart man, researched the verbiage on how to respond with a legal-eezed-up “Fuck you, and the truck that t-boned me.” A few months after he sent the pretty worded F-You, he got a check in the mail and with part of it, he got me a ring. So basically I wear his pain on my hand. If that isn’t a good man for you, I don’t know what is.

The reason I just word vomited on the page about that story is because one day in the hospital cafeteria his oldest sister basically called me high falutin’ for having a diamond (that you can actually see with the naked eye) on my hand. Me. High falutin’.

Let that sink in.

I didn’t respond to her baiting (y’all would have been so proud), nor did I hide my hand and my ring under the table. I didn’t tell her the story of the ring either as that is none of her business. Mister was floored. He asked me, “Do you think she knows what she just said to you?” I answered, “Of course. And I hope it made her feel terrific to try and put me down.” We gave each other a thumbs up and went back upstairs to his mother’s bedside.

This is where I get a little icky. For those of you who are squeamish, please pick back up around 6/8 or so.

I have this incredible sense of smell. It is a curse and also a blessing. Aw, hell, it is just a curse. I can smell it when my traveling companion/stranger on an airplane buries a fart into the cushion of the seat. Some perfumes that women wear actually hurt my face. I can tell when smokers enter a restaurant. I can smell pneumonia or bronchitis at about 10 paces. And I can smell death. When we would leave the hospital each evening around 8:30 or so as soon as we got somewhere with a washer and dryer I would strip both of us and wash our clothes, then go scrub myself into a puffy pink mess in the shower.

Her breath was… wrong. I could smell the infection inside her and her breath was sticking to me. I could smell the death in my hair, on my clothes. It was awful… And for those of you still reading, I am sorry. I just wanted to be totally honest here. I asked Mister if he minded if I wrote out the story of the last month and he said, “No, just don’t use my parent’s names, the town they live in or my sister’s names.” So, here I am. Giving you all this verbal diarrhea.

You’re welcome.

6/6 The family finally asked for a meeting with the neurologist and the cardiologist. The meeting was scheduled for 3 pm on the 6th. Mister went in with his research and clearly typed questions to ask so that he could fulfill the task that his mother set out for him in her living will. In her Living Will she asked that the oldest sister to be the medical and financial guardian, that the second one take care of the funeral arrangements, that Mister take care of organ donation and that they all make decisions so that the youngest and Mister’s dad wouldn’t have to. Since the oldest was in charge we couldn’t (even though the rest of us except the oldest and Mister’s dad) say, “For the love of all that is Holy. Let her go. It’s been a week and a day… that is past her 72 hour wish.” Mister actually said, “It’s like someone says that they want a certain song and roses for their funeral and another person comes along and says, ‘Well, the song is okay… but we’re going to get you carnations instead.’”

The meeting was convoluted and like chasing a deer through the forest. Mister would ask, “Is she breathing on her own enough to remove the ventilator?” The neurologist would say, “Well, yes, she is breathing on her own, with the assistance of the ventilator.” So Mister would counter with, “Okay, then if she needs assistance then she is not breathing on her own.” The neurologist, “Technically, she is….” Mister, “Alright, then what is the oxygen saturation level with her ‘technically’ breathing on her own?” It was ugly. The doctors finally used the word coma around Mister’s dad and then they left the room to let us make a decision whether or not to obey her final wishes.

Mister’s dad was so sad y’all. He said, “Okay, so, she’s not coming back. When do you guys think we should start the 72 hour clock that she asked for in her living will?” One of Mister’s brothers-in-law spoke up, “Dad, the 72 hours passed a long time ago.” That was the beginning of the end.

The family cried and discussed what they wanted to do. They decided to let her go the next day at noon.

6/7 At noon the family gathered around her bed and read her favorite verses out of the Bible. They prayed, they talked to her and then they stepped out of the room while the nurses unhooked her. When we could all go back in the EKG monitor was still hooked up. Her heartbeat was amazingly irregular. And she coughed up that thingy that they put into coma victim’s mouths to keep their tongue down. The family fled and then one by one came back.

I was left alone in the room with Mister’s mom… a lot that week. I don’t know if it was because I was/am an outsider, or because I wasn’t as emotionally tied to it… but I really didn’t mind. It was fine (everything except the smell).

The hospital moved her down to a private room and we all sat around and watched her like a science fair project until Mister had enough. He stood, we hugged everyone and then went to pack and leave. He wanted to go to Destin to the family vacation that we had been looking forward to for the better part of the year.

We left that evening and got to Destin around 1 am.

6/8 We hung out on the beach and had shrimp and sundaes that evening. It was fun but strained. We went to the neighbors’ porch to smoke cigars and hang out.

6/9 Mister wanted to make his famous gumbo for our dinner for the family. The other family loves his gumbo so much that they offered to pay him to make a double batch. My mother and I chopped the trinity (onions, green peppers and celery) while Mister did the roux. The gumbo turned out fantastic and everyone was pleased. That evening we went to AJ’s bar and grill and I told the two younger brothers of our traveling neighbors that it was their job to get Mister drunk. He ended up getting all three of them drunk. The alcohol allowed Mister to show some emotion that evening so it was a late night for us.

6/10 My sister and I hired a professional photographer to take our pictures on the beach as normally we just have one of the traveling neighbors do it. She was lovely and took amazing pictures at sunset that evening. Mister wasn’t a bit green.

6/11 Deep sea fishing day. I’m not going to say much, but damn. My brother in law caught a 160 pound, six and a half foot long bull shark with 80 pound test line. I’m also not going to tell you that the captain of our boat shot the shark so that they could bring him on board. Or that fourteen of us ate our weight in grilled, blackened and fried shark and red snapper.

6/12-6/13 The days passed in a lull. I would hang out on the beach while Mister hung out in the condo watching movies or napping. I started to get restless. The afternoon of the 13th Mister said that he wanted to stop over in New Orleans on our way home. I said, “Well, you couldn’t relax last week, you haven’t relaxed here, do you think that you will be able to relax there?” He nodded to the affirmative and so I asked him to get online and find us a place to stay. We packed up and left that afternoon, getting into New Orleans (at the W…. Love you W… Love you so much!) at 9 pm or so. They took such good care of us. We walked over to a jazz café and had dinner and music then we walked down Bourbon Street and into the Cajun Cabin to hear the Can’t Hardly Play Boys play their last set. It was so comforting to see something familiar in New Orleans. On the drive in I almost cried because of all of the devastation still around.

6/14 We slept late and had a late breakfast. The W gave us a 4 o’clock check out (did I mention that I love the W?) and we packed up our stuff and hit Royal street to do a little look-n-see. The night before we had picked up a “What’s Happening” magazine and picked our places that we each wanted to see the next day. Mister picked an antique gun/rifle/coin store and I picked a gallery with beautiful art*. We made it back in time for a late lunch and to get a late start on our drive home. Mister had relaxed for about 12 hours since we found out about his mom and those 12 were in New Orleans. On the way out of town he got a bit anxious and asked me to pull to the median so he could drive out of the traffic. We made it home that night around 2 am.

*More on this later.

6/15 Laundry.

6/16 Mister and I both had to go into the office on Monday. They were jacking with my computer as we just got new laptops and wireless cards so I had to stay until 8:30 pm that evening to get my work done for the conference I was leaving for the next morning at 6 am.

6/17-18 Travel and set up for conference. First day of the conference on the 18th.

6/19 Fucked up day. Some guy had a diabetic seizure in one of my classrooms. There were all these men standing around the poor guy trying to give him juice or coke. I nearly lost my shit. They could have killed him. As soon as I heard about the “guy that may have Tourette’s in Ballroom C” I called security to alert them then dialed 911 as I was running to the room. I pulled the guy out with the help of another gentleman and it took both of us to hold him in a chair until the paramedics got there. When they got there we put him on the floor and it took three paramedics, a security guy and me to hold him to take his blood sugar. He was seizing so hard that he lost a shoe. His blood sugar for the first draw was 27. He took three big vials of that glucose (?) stuff and two shots of what I am guessing was insulin before he got to 70-something and started coming around.

I was sitting on the floor with one knee up and he was leaning against my knee and my chest as I held his shoulders. He was so embarrassed but I am so glad it happened at the conference instead of in his room alone. Poor guy.

That evening I was feeling all sorts of twitchy and it didn’t help that there was blood on the moon (blood on the moon, trouble’s comin). See? Look. I took this picture with my weak camera.


That little red spot? Is the freaking MOON**.

**M-O-O-N spells Tom Collins.

I kinda dropped my basket a little and cried like a big snotty hot mess out on the balcony for a while. I knew what was coming but I didn’t know when.

6/20 5:15 am I got a phone call from Mister’s dad. He told me that they had just lost mom fifteen minutes prior. I spoke with him for a while then called Mister who had just gotten off the phone with his oldest sister. I caught a shuttle to the airport and took an earlier flight home. I walked in the door, changed into shorts and we walked right back out again, boarded the animals and got on the road. We made it to Baton Rouge at 2 am.

What the hell is it with me and 2 am?

Word to the wise. I love me some Starwood Properties but the Sheraton in Baton Rouge just off of I-10 needs a major overhaul in the management department. The front desk was basically unmanned, there were no bellmen, the valet guy didn’t even offer to help with our bags (and everywhere we stopped the preventative measures in Mister demanded that we unpack EVERYTHING) and it is a casino, so everything should be running 24 hours. NO. Hate. Going to write a letter, and not a good one. There were what appeared to be food particles and hair in the bed clothes. GAH. And we were on the Club floor!

6/21 We slept in a bit and hit the road for a very long trip. We got into Live Oak or Lake View or something off of the 295 Loop just outside of Jacksonville and stopped at a Days Inn at? Yeah, around 2 am. Seriously, I wish I had my batteries for the camera juiced up because I think there was a murder in the room we stayed in. The La-Z-Boy recliner in the corner had a very suspicious stain from industrial strength cleaner and two scary holes that looked like .22 caliber.

6/22 We got into Mister’s old home town around 1:30 the next afternoon.

6/23 Mister ran an airport shuttle for relatives coming in for the memorial service and I hung out with his dad and watched eleventeen movies until 1:30 am when Mister returned.

6/24 I can’t rememeber.

6/25 Memorial service. And dinner with 21 people at Olive Garden. That evening I got to spend some time with my Aunt Sue (she’ll be 94 on 7/7/08) and Mister hung out with his dad.

6/26 We went to lunch with Aunt Sue, her son and daughter in law and then over to her son’s house. He wanted to show Mister his fishing rods. We hung out with Mister’s dad and then had dinner with Mister’s ex-stepson. Mister had 4 step kids when he was 22. He was married for 10 years and this is the 2nd to oldest. They bonded and it was a regular love fest (which is awesome) and then we went back to Mister’s dad’s house. Packed up and left.

We drove until just east of Tallahassee and then stopped at a Holiday Inn Express that was pretty nice.

6/27 I was up with the chickens and wanting to pack up and get the hell home. I was grating on Mister’s nerves as my caffine addiction reached a fever pitch and I would NOT shut up (RE: See this post for the love of God.). Mister made himself a little nest in the back seat, plugged in his converter, his laptop into that and the wireless card and did research all the way to my parent’s house … at 2 (fucking) am.

6/28 I slept until 11 am and then we went to lunch with my folks. My goal was to be home Saturday evening so I could have ONE day before I had to go back to the office. I promised not to push Mister in leaving my parent’s house. I even kept my yawp shut when after lunch and a chat with my parents Mister went to take a nap. I packed up and took a little 15 minute cat nap too. Then we were off for Dallas.

Found out my sister is being tested for Lupus. My mother doesn’t know. NOBODY TELL.

We got in at 7:30 pm and I had enough time to unpack and do some laundry before I went to bed at around 1 am.

6/29 Picked up the dog from Doggie Wonderland. Did laundry. Ate Pei Wei, was disappointed.

6/30 Back to work. Picked up the cat after work, went home. Laundry.

7/1 Found out Mister has to have shoulder surgery on the 18th.

Fucking June.

July 16, 2008

Art + Me = Tru Luv 4EVER

Good morning, afternoon, evening… whatever. No clue how long it will take me to write this one, but it has pretty pictures to break up the monotony… just wanted to cover the salutations for whichever time zone and or time of day this reaches you, kind reader.

Not sure if you’ve recovered from the last entry. Y’all could absolutely tell that I was phoning it in by the bottom of it couldn’t you? “Day 82983642865… Can’t remember.”

Brilliance at its best.

Anywho*, I have somewhat recovered from The June (dum , dum DUM!) and am working my way steadily through a list of “To Do”’s that rivals my last entry in length. I know. Susan, dammit… Think of the trees! Right!? Okay, fine. I’ll put that on my to do list too.

*This is totally Stacey’s favorite way to get back on track during conversation.

I also have a confession to make. I am back on the caffeine. Not hard core use or anything, but definitely something a little more serious than recreational usage.

Hello Lovah…...

When I don’t stop at McDonald’s to get coffee (DAMN YOU JUNE!) I drink a Dr. Pepper at work. This is bad y’all. Next thing you know I’ll be free basing mac n’ cheese or bread sticks and alfredo sauce like they are pixie stix. Mmmm pixie stix.

Mister and I go back into see our Jenny Craig woman tomorrow at like 6:20 pm. And I am so NOT looking forward to getting on the scale to see how much my love for sweetened iced coffee and bratwurst has added to my bottom line, if you know what I mean. And I totally think you do.

The ass, she is large.

But my love for buttermilk ranch and pizza isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about. Nor do I want to discuss the size and dimensions of my rotund bottom.

I would like to go back in time… well, a bit anyway… to the evening we stayed over in New Orleans on the way back from Florida. We stayed at the W and everything was wonderful. And I don’t know if you remember…

Hee… oh holy fuck. Heh, oh crap. I interrupt this paragraph to tell you that I just went to lunch at a place called Sweet Tomatoes with my old boss. When we got back a lady in our department was asking how it was. Was the food good? Yadda Yadda. My old boss was telling her all about the salad bar and I heard this come out of my mouth, “And they’ll toss your salad… and I’m pretty sure there’s no extra charge.” And then I realized my faux pas while speaking to a 64 year old coworker. And then I barked laughter, walked away, regained my composure and then went back to rejoin in the conversation. She was laughing her ass off as well while my poor ex boss looked lost and confused.

Human Resources NIGHTMARE… I tell you. I shouldn’t be let out of my cage.

Now, back to the paragraph already in session.

… that Mister and I got an awesomely late check out from the W and the previous evening we had both picked out places that we wanted to visit during our time in the city. Mister picked an antique rare coin and gun collector (Cohen and Son’s Antique Guns and Coins) and lo, I did much standing and waiting and then we went to the thing I picked out.

I wanted to visit a gallery just down the street from Miaster’s Waterloo… it is called Painted Alive and it is run by an amazingly talented artist by the name of Craig Tracy. I had no idea what I was getting into when I pointed at the gorgeous advertisement in the magazine and said, “Dat.” Like all the sudden I was Polish and from Wisconsin** and all I could say was “Dat, dere… I want to go dere.”

**Love you Wisconsin. You know how much I do.

So after the Old Ass Rifle and Money Store (I say that with love… ) I basically pulled Mister down the sidewalk of Royal muttering to myself, “827, 827, 827, 827” and then there it was… on the left. I walked inside and the high ceilings and white painted brick walls were the setting for some of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen.

There was a large white tiger in right side of the gallery and if you looked at the business cards on the counter you could see the process of how the work was created. Behind me was a beautiful picture of a sunflower. There were eagles, tigers, elephants, landscapes and anything you could imagine. All of them painted on the beautiful naked bodies of women.

Craig came out to meet us and said with a very casual air, “Hi, thanks for coming in. I’m the artist, so if you have any questions, please… feel free to ask.”

We stayed for hours. Craig walked us through how he put some of the works together. With the white tiger (Kobe Bryant’s wife just purchased a copy of that one a few months ago) Craig met a woman with the smallest rib cage he had seen in a long time and he showed us that her ribcage became the bridge of the white tiger’s nose and her bottom became the muzzle of the tiger.

Craig showed us some works he was putting together for a show. He took us into the back room and let us basically poke through his brain.

Out in the main room just to the right of his desk a small horizontal canvas was propped up on a black leather footstool. I was in love. I wanted the painting, but I was waffling and couldn’t figure out why. I knew I loved the whole idea of what Craig had put behind the work but I felt it was small and missing something. It was like he read my mind y’all.

He said, “I love to paint hands and feet and with this one, it was so small and the frame was an odd size that I had to cut off my favorite part of it. So when I get back from the show I have put together a piece that is the same concept but it is in four panels, and it keeps the hands and feet. Let me show you what I mean.” Craig pulled a notebook off of his desk and showed Mister and I the painting and how he saw it eventually.

It was four panels of the work I was holding in my hands, the panels were larger and there were several distinct sizes of the canvasses. I was blown away. Even though I had not seen the completed work, I wanted it. I wanted a piece that I was in love with because (this may sound odd) I believe that art isn’t something that you buy to match the shit in your house. Some people do. But people who love art will sometimes change a room to match their art. It’s like a marriage to me.

I have very few pieces of art hung in our home. There are two pieces in the guestroom that are black and white and matted in cream with brushed silver frames. One is called “Gathering Trees” and the other is “Winter”. They are both stark and amazing pictures of naked trees. No foliage, no happy birds or colored moons, orange clovers or blue diamonds. (I just totally jacked up the Lucky Charms tag line.)

In the guest bathroom I have a pair of antique renditions of butterflies, but how they would look in an entomology book as well as two Asian symbols, one says “love” the other says “happiness”.

In the dining room is a sage green cartouche, a wooden nine paneled oil painting that Mister loves and a smaller abstract that I do.

In the hallway there is a beautiful abstract diptych that Mister got me for my birthday. Remember this?


In the living room there are only two pieces. One is hanging by the door to the back yard. It is wee and very unobtrusive. It is a colored pencil drawing of the Opera House in Paris… that I happened to purchase in Paris on the fucking steps of the Opera House. It is signed and dated by the artist. Behind the couch is something else. I am totally in love with my piece I call “Hot Jazz” because it was the first piece of art that Mister and I purchased together and we bought it on the square in New Orleans a year and change before Katrina.

The only picture I have of the jazz watercolor was from when we lived in that humongous rent house that smelled like a wet dog. I (apparently) am too short to take a good photo of something without it looking totally keystoned, but eh. It was hanging above the fireplace on a brick wall. We spent more for the framing than we did for the picture. But we love it dearly, and it looks so much prettier hanging above the couch on a large expanse of colorless wall with nothing to overshadow it. It’s beautiful, my photography does not do it justice.


Back to Craig and how awesome he is.

For someone to find beauty in every shape, figure or form is rare. Craig is one of those people. He had a piece that was painted like a beautiful stained glass window on a woman who was sitting with her face demurely looking to the side. Her large breasts the perfect backdrop for natural angles and a mother earth feel. He explained almost each work to Mister and I and I kept coming back to the landscape on the woman laying on her belly. It was such a new piece that it had not been named, nor signed.

This is a picture of Craig. This is a picture of Craig PAINTING the woman whose picture will be in our home forever and ever amen.

Say hello to Craig.

This is Craig. He happens to be painting a masterpiece. He is so awesome it is almost painful.

The other day I sent him an email explaining that since the 14th of June all that had happened, but that meeting him and getting to know him and his work was a highlight and a very bright spot in a very dark month. He emailed me back with the picture above and the picture below. The picture below is a mock up of how the painting will look. He is putting together a few black pieced of wood to connect the four panels together. So that they are separate… but together.

Please notice the red highlights in the tree on the right and the blue highlights in the tree on the left. Genius, right? This work speaks to several things that I love, that bring me peace and make me happy. 1) Landscapes, 2) Leafless trees and 3) The human form… naked.

Oh… oh, and because he had not put this piece together yet and may do a series we will have the first one. EVER.

Isn’t she beautiful? She’s going to be hanging above my couch in the living room.

Hott Jazz is going to the hallway above an antique secretary from the 1920’s that was my grandmother’s.

So, I know. That’s awesome right?

We have a small print of his and another panel on the way so I will soon be immersed in wonderful color from Craig Tracy.

I am looking forward to putting my house to order, the chaos is really beginning to creep me out. It’s not like it’s a massive wreck or anything but Mister has his issues with… filing. He’s the finance guy, he takes care of all of it. I do the other stuff. And neither one of us is a good house keeper… wait, let me amend that. Neither one of us has the time or inclination to be good house keepers. With both of us working every day… we fix dinner… I do laundry… he does bills… it’s not like we have a whole lot of time for other things. Or to be honest. It is not like we want to spend the small amount of time we do have at home cleaning it.

We have tumbleweeds of dog and cat hair and there are papers everywhere around his big chair in the living room. His version of “filing”. We still have our suitcases in the hallway and have yet to fully unpack. What’s the point? He’s having surgery on Friday, I’m leaving for San Antonio on Wednesday, then for Austin a week from that Sunday, then Vegas the Saturday after that then back to San Antonio the Wednesday after I get back from Vegas.

But yet, the mess… it is making me uneasy. It is not dirty (except the animal fur, which I pick up and do this little (can NOT believe I am admitting this) paper towel on the foot around the baseboards dance). It is messy. I do not like messy. Mister has an office. We haven’t been in there in about a year because there is so much shit that is thrown in there anytime we have company. The garage is full of boxes too.

When we got home from the first trip to Florida Brookstone was having a massive sale on stuff. Air purifiers for Father’s Day. He got two. One for each of the bedrooms, and or one for where he sleeps and one for the living room. And an iBucket, which I affectionately refer to as the Fuckit Bucket.

The boxes that these wonderful toys came in? One is in the hall, one in the living room, one in the garage. The boxes for the TV, for the D-Link, for the DVD/DVR player, the boxes for everything are in the garage. Can’t we just throw them out? Why do we need the faux leather jacket that doesn’t even have a working zipper?

I say all of this to say that for the past month and a half we’ve been putting bandaids on figurative decapitations or amputations. I know that we haven’t even gotten through the emotional fallout of last month, much less the financial… so we keep blowin and going.

Another figurative (yet physical) bandaid? See below.

Don’t tell but… I haven’t noticed much of a difference.

I haven’t lost my mind, my bowels are regular and I am productive in the office. Think it is helping?

I’ll tell you what would help. A full week off, lots of beer, friends, a bunch of movies (saw Wanted and Hancock two weekends ago… lurve), some Marlboro Light 100’s in a box and some cooler weather and I would be SO on.

Last week, Thursday, I got to have a few beers with a friend and it was awesome. I took the picture below just before I went inside.

Image removed at my whimsy. Am whimsical.
Pretty okay for an old broad, no?

I don’t think I look like I was put in a blender and some mythical creature hit frappe, right? Go on, tell me I’m pretty… and MEAN it. If you don't Elvira (see her in the seat next to me?) will cut you.

About July 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Suzanna Danna in July 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2008 is the previous archive.

August 2008 is the next archive.

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