My New Studio

Today I went a little wild and I tried a small art store at the south end of town. I’ve been watching videos on abstract painting on the Coursera app, and I have really been getting interested in it. I have always loved abstract painting, but through watching these videos I have learned a lot about how to do it. I’m sure I will never be a great artist but I think I could have fun and make some interesting images if I keep trying at it for a while. So I bought textured mediums, paint, brushes, mixing pan, gesso, pallet knives, and some panels and artist trading cards to paint on. I have set up the studio in the laundry room instead of at my craft room desk. First of all my craft room desk is in a carpeted room so if I get paint on the floor, like I did at the yellow house, it probably won’t come up and we will end up owing base housing a lot of money. I really don’t want to have to pay that. But the laundry room has enough space on that big counter for me to spread supplies out and work on creating. And right next to it is a deep sink. That means I have easy access to immediately wash my paint brushes clean. And I can do so in a sink that I don’t have to worry about staining or getting any gunk on. It’s a laundry room deep sink. It is designed for dirt and paint and anything else you can think of. So it’s a perfect environment for me. I’ll be sharing the space with Parsnip, who lives in the laundry room, but so far he seems interested in what I’m doing and he nuzzles my feet.

I’m really going to try to stick with this for a while. I’m not going to give up if my first few images really suck, which they probably will. I’m just going to enjoy the process and see what I can create. And it will be fun to photograph what I create and edit it on my phone and see what I can make out of that. I think this will be a lot of fun.

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Gratitude, Garden of the Gods

Earlier this week, right before Craig started his new job, we visited Garden of the Gods. It was absolutely breathtaking. Because of my bad foot I was not able to do the hiking trails and so we mostly had to stick to photographing what we could see from the road. But there were some beautiful sights. The rocks are very imposing and dramatic. And so orange and brown. I’m so used to living in a green landscape but it’s really not very green out here. The conifers add some green, a very dark green, but beyond that it’s mostly shades of brown and tan with a little bit of beige thrown in.

Not being able to hike kind of depressed me. I’m not an athletic sort of person and I don’t desire to be, but when I’m visiting a place and I realize I can’t even see 3/4 of it because I can’t walk that far that is kind of frustrating. I was tempted to try to walk that far and just see what happens, but then I remembered just how bad my foot and my leg hurt when I push them and that I could end up part way through a trail and be in so much pain that I can’t get myself through the rest of the way. What would I do? I would be stuck, possibly for hours, while the pain subsided. And then I would have to trek back the way I came and end up in pain all over again.

I need to go back to the doctor to find out what’s wrong with my foot but I don’t even know what kind of doctor to go to. I’ve been to an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, a general practitioner, a neurologist, and multiple podiatrists no. They did find something wrong with my foot. In fact they found two things wrong. A bone lesion and a bone growth. But having surgery to fix these things has not fixed the pain. I have pain in my back too. Maybe I will go back to an orthopedic surgeon and just see what they have to say.

But I’m not going to let that get me down. I have multiple things to be grateful for this week. Here are a few.

1. My husband has gone so out of his way to make this house a home for me. He knows I miss my family and he knows I miss our little yellow cottage. He has been doing everything he possibly can to make this place a new home for me, a comfortable nest. From buying all sorts of area rugs, to buy patio furniture, to buying a swinging chair, to cleaning and organizing, to buying pretty string lights for the back patio and pillows for the swinging chair that I absolutely love, he is truly spending a ton of time, energy, and resources to make this a home that I love and feel comfortable in. It’s working too. I love how we have everything set up and I love the new additions to our home. Everything is cozy and beautiful. And today Craig has been putting up the artwork and special things that we brought with us from North Carolina. Between the old and the new we are creating wonderful home.

2. The back patio and backyard are absolutely amazing here. This is partly because it’s so much smaller than where we’re coming from so there will be so much less to mow. But it’s also because of the wonderful swinging bench that Craig bought for us and the Beautiful matching red dining set. I’ve never really had outdoor space to call my own and really use. When we first got married we lived in the condo Craig bought when he was really young. It didn’t have a balcony even so we had no outdoor space. Then in Moyock we had a small back patio but it wasn’t covered or anything and I never got around to buying one of those big tent covers for it and I just never had any desire to sit out under the blazing sun surrounded by bugs. So even though we had a nice big backyard I was seldom outside. But here it’s homey and intimate and we have a spacious covered back porch, and I’m going to be spending a lot of time outside. I already am.

3. It’s really dry here. I suppose that could be a negative too because it dries your skin out, but it’s really nice that I’ve been here about 3 weeks and it’s only rained once for less than 15 minutes.

4. I have found a babysitter and housekeeper. I am so grateful to have found people. The babysitter is young and in school so I hope that she continues to be able to work and doesn’t have to quit in a future semester because of her school schedule. But so far she has done a good job with Angelica and has been reliable and on-time. Angelica and I both really miss Linda, her babysitter back in North Carolina. The new babysitter definitely does not compare. But she’s a nice girl and I’m glad we have found someone, especially with Craig starting back to work last Thursday. The houscleaning lady is amazing. She cleans thoroughly and organizes beautifully.

5. Driving here is overall less stressful than driving in Hampton Roads. There are certain sections of downtown that are kind of stressful and involve a lot of parallel parking that I am definitely not going to be doing, but most of town is pretty wide open and the traffic is not that bad. I still get a little nervous just because I don’t do here, but overall it could be much worse.

6. The neighborhood playgrounds. I finally have a place in my neighborhood where I can take my baby girl to go meet friends and interact with other kids. To see the joy radiating from her face when she sees another kid coming up to play with her is priceless.

7. We got the best spot in the whole neighborhood. We are on the highest point on base or close to it. At the very least were at the highest point in housing, and the view of the mountains that we have is absolutely gorgeous. There are so many houses in the neighborhood that don’t face the mountain, or don’t face the mountain or the Prairie and just face other houses. But we have a beautiful view. I am a total sucker for stunning vistas. They melt me.

8. I am grateful for my mental health being manageable. This move has been such a dramatic change for me and change is difficult for anybody, but especially for people with mood disorders and anxiety. My anxiety has definitely been worse since we left North Carolina, but I’ve still been able to get out of bed in the morning and do something. I am sad about the move (which is totally different than having a bipolar mood swing), but functional. I am only mildly depressed. In spite of my anxiety I am still able to drive and take showers. So all-in-all I have a lot to be grateful for.

Park, Patio, Planes

Today was a positive, busy day. We started off our day going to the museum on base. It is an aviation museum and had several planes, including one that we got to go in and explore. We also got to go into the original hangar from when this base was just a regional airport owned by Colorado Springs. There were all sorts of exhibits and it was very technical but still interesting.

 

I took Angelica to the park with my next door neighbor A and her son Matthew. This is the third time since we’ve moved in that Angelica has gotten to play with another kid. It makes me so happy to see her interacting with her peers and having fun. Where we used to live in Moyock Angelica never had anyone to play with and the neighborhood was really lacking in amenities. There were no playgrounds or parks. Here they are all over the place (we even have a neighborhood splash pad and skate park) and Angelica has so many places to play, and I have been meeting people. I hope to get involved with the base chapel and go to some Bible studies.

Learning to play is definitely a work in progress though. I noticed that today when Angelica was playing with Matthew, and I noticed that last night when Angelica was playing with R’s son. She gets upset with other kids easily and doesn’t always know how to go with the flow. In typical only child fashion she also runs off by herself a lot. She’s never really had the opportunity to be around a lot of kids. She’s never gone to preschool. She doesn’t have any siblings. She hasn’t gone to an in-home daycare in a long time and cried and begged to be kept at home when she did last go to one. Angelica always longs for other kids to play with but until we moved here it didn’t seem like she was going to have very many opportunities. Here I am working on making friends for both her and me and it seems like she will have more kids her age to play with. We met another mother today who has a daughter who is also named Angelica, and we met another neighbor with a little girl named Piper. Then I am making a couple of new friends out in town and they have kids her age. I am still trying to get us plugged in but it seems like there is so much more Community here.

While we were at the park Craig put together our new patio dining set we bought at the Exchange a few days ago. It is red, which I love, and super comfy.  It has six chairs, a glass table, and an umbrella. We have a big covered back porch here and I want our next project to be getting a patio sofa. We have room out there for both.

Prairie, Mountains, Weed Dispensaries

So much has happened since I last had time to write. We left our little yellow Cottage behind and drove across the country from the Eastern seaboard to the Rocky Mountains to start a new life in Colorado. Along the way we got beautiful views of Appalachia, got a tour of the Midwest, stayed the night in Kansas City and hung out with one of my dearest friends, and drove across the beautiful Prairie of Kansas. By the way, Kansas is not completely flat. There are some really pretty hills. The trip was very taxing and my nerves were shot by the end of it but I really got to see a lot of this beautiful country.

Now I have arrived in the most beautiful leg of the journey, the end of it. Colorado Springs is really cool because it’s right where the Prairie meets the Rocky Mountains. So if you look one direction you have gorgeous mountain vistas and if you look the other way you see the sweeping vast Prairie. Our house has both. If you look out the master bedroom window or the beautiful window over the master bath or the window from the craft room and office there is a picture perfect view of Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain, and others. It’s breathtaking. Especially when you watch the mist and fog and clouds roll over the Peaks. Out the front windows at the house we can see the Airfield in the prairie between our neighbors houses and we can see for miles.

Our house has a formal living room, a formal dining room, built-in desks upstairs and downstairs, four bedrooms, several closets, and a huge laundry room with a deep sink and a counter for folding clothes. The bedrooms are smaller than they were at our little yellow cottage but they are still a good size and the house overall is pretty big. I really love our new home.

The neighborhood has playgrounds everywhere for Angelica and even has a splash pad she can play on in the summer. I really like military housing. It is nice and spacious and has a lot of amenities. I also like the sounds of revelry and taps, the music that they play in the morning and in the evening and at 10 at night. It is soul stirring to lay in bed and hear it. It is something unique to military life. It’s something I think Angelica will remember from her childhood after spending three years here. We will be here until she is 7 years old. I think it’s a unique little memory that she’ll be glad to have.

Craig and I have begun to explore Colorado Springs a little bit in between getting our stuff and moving in. We’ve only been here a couple of days so we don’t really know our way around but we’ve done some driving. And all I can say is wow. There are a lot of weed dispensaries. Like it’s ridiculous. They are all over the place. How much weed do these people buy?

The weed dispensaries are what really stand out in town. I’ve never been any place like this. I’ve never been any place it was legal to sell weed, let alone that there were so many places doing it. But beyond that there’s a quaint little area of downtown with interesting little shops that I think it would be fun to explore on a warmer weather day. We’ve only been to a few restaurant so far but it seems like there’s a lot of International Food here so Craig should like that. Personally I’m not culinarily adventurous so it’s not really my thing but I will go for Craig. Overall though, in spite of the fact the town is really spread out, I would say it looks like there’s less shopping here. Also, everything closes early here. Shops and things downtown are closed by 6 or 7 or earlier. The base exchange is way smaller than what I’m used to in Norfolk, which of course I expected since Norfolk has the biggest Exchange in the world. But still it was quite shocking to see the difference. However I can still get my makeup at this Exchange. And I got some beautiful decorative eggs for Easter.

I have more to write about these are just some initial Impressions. I’m glad to be back to blogging.

 

Count Down to Colorado

The move is coming up fast. The guy from the moving company came out Friday to count how many mattresses and big pieces of furniture we have. We received  a list of things to do before the packers arrive the day before Valentine’s Day. We need to separate out everything we are bringing ourselves before they get here. Of course, my crystal is coming with us.

I am trying to maximize time with my family before we go, since we are going so far away. Angelica spent Thursday and Friday with my mom and dad, and she spent the weekend in Richmond with her Aunt Bridget. She had a blast. They went to an aquarium at a historical site, got ice cream, made cookies, watched Veggie Tales, and Angelica got to meet one of Bridget’s friends. She was sad to come home! Hopefully she can spend another weekend with Aunt Bridget before we go.

Although Craig has a little more than a month left at his current job, it was already time for the Hail and Farewell for his office, so the command went out to dinner at Vino together and welcomed the new people while saying bye to those who are leaving in the next couple of months last Thursday. Craig’s farewell speech was the funniest by far and he got several people humorous bail gifts. I was pleased because I had no anxiety. In the past I’ve had a hard time with Craig’s command functions. Social situations make my anxiety so much worse. But lately my anxiety has been so low that I spent an entire dinner out with Craig’s coworkers and their wives calm and happy. I didn’t need even one Clonopin. In fact I haven’t taken a Clonopin in about 2 months. I’ve had some low level anxiety in that time, but nothing unmanageable. Always very fleeting. So all in all it was a great evening. We had a good time and I didn’t have to take pills or excuse myself to get through it.

I am trying to find a psychiatrist in Colorado Springs but from what I’ve seen and from what I’ve been told there’s a shortage. One office lady told me the psychiatrist in her office was retiring and referring people  to general practitioners because he didn’t have a psychiatrist who would take them. I guess I just have to keep calling around. I can’t go without one. I have so many different kinds of doctors to find out there.

Then of course I have to find a good housekeeper, one with access to base since we will be living on base. It is hard to find someone for a reasonable price who is  trustworthy and does a thorough job. We will miss Sherry.

Most of all it is going to be hard to find a good babysitter. Our babysitter here, Linda, is beyond perfect. She does so many wonderful activities with Angelica and is just so good to her. She reads to her and does pinterest crafts with her and plays music for her and flies kites with her and does educational activities. Linda even helps with things around the house while she is here, and she is always very flexible with scheduling. Over the past year she has become more than a babysitter. She has become a friend. We hang out when she isn’t babysitting Angelica. Linda is one of the friends I will miss most when I leave. How am I going to find someone else to be so great with Angelica? How am I going to find such a good friend in Colorado?

Colorado is a whole new world. I have to build a new life for myself in a way. I have no family there, and normally I spend a lot of time with my family. I have no friends there. I don’t know where the stores I like are out there, or where the good local places to go are. I’m not connected to any other moms there, and I need to find some so Angelica can make friends. We need play dates. I don’t have any of the doctors we need. I don’t have a babysitter so that I can take time to myself or go to appointments. I don’t have a cleaning lady, and that’s just nice to have! Basically I’m starting from scratch and I have no support system. When Craig starts his new job I’m on my own. No company, no help.

I just have to hope my mood stays stable throughout the moving process. If it does, all this will be fine and I can take my time building a support network of friends and others. The big worry is that the change and the stress will set me off high or low and I will need a friend and a sitter and my family and won’t have any of the above, and Craig will have to start work. But I’ve been stable lately, so hopefully that gives me a firm enough foundation to go forward. With Bipolar you just never know. But the adventure begins February 23rd or 24th.

Cleaning Up and Clearing Out

I have so many arts and craft supplies that my once homey craft room / office has begun to feel cramped and chaotic. It makes me not want to spend time in there anymore. And the truth is I don’t use most of the art supplies. I have to face the music. I don’t have any talent in art and so I will buy a new material to use and try out, and then I will not use it again. I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of my art supplies in the past. The room also used to be really organized. One of my friends organized it for me one time and made it absolutely beautiful. I still have her sticker filing system in place, among other things. But the fact is I don’t have very good executive functioning and I’m not good at maintaining organization. So many projects require you to pull out so many materials and then I just don’t remember where everything goes back into or I can’t get everything back the way it was and soon the place is a wreck. So I’ve decided to scale down. I am only keeping my stickers, which include the flower embellishments and the letter stickers, my scrapbooking paper, and of course my photos. Everything else must go. I want to be able to display art that I own and collectibles that I own and use the space as an office for writing and other activities. When I scrapbook I want to have a lot of open desk space to use.

Adding fuel to my fire is the fact that we are moving at the end of February. Now the Navy will pay to have the movers pack up your house for you so I don’t actually have to pack the stuff. But if it’s not fairly neat and organized I have heard stories about them refusing to pack for people and coming back later expecting the place to be redone. I don’t want to be in that situation of having 24 hours or so to organize my house I’m having to Rack my brain as to how to do it. Much of the house is going to require Craig help because it is Craig’s stuff and I’m not the type of wife who will throw out her husband stuff without permission. But everything of mine I’m going to start going through and seeing what needs to be thrown out and what’s really important to me and should be kept. Perhaps some things that were really important to me and brought me a lot of joy in the past, like the art supplies, no longer bring me the same Joy. Perhaps certain outfits I used to love no longer fit or certain handbags I used to add or have gotten kind of old and worn out. I need to start clearing stuff out of here. I’ve got 6 bags of Arts supplies to be tossed or sold. Who knows what else I can gather. And I plan to enlist the help of friends and family and maybe also the nice lady who cleans our house to get this place ready for the move. When we get to Colorado and have to unpack I don’t want it to be a nightmare. I want an amount of stuff that will easily fit into a slightly smaller house, which is what we’re going to, and I do not want to have to unpack anything superfluous. There are several spots in my house that tend to be messy and unorganized and I don’t want to haul that messiness with me across the country to a new state.

Craig is Home

Craig got home on Friday and we got to pick him up around noon. It has been so nice having him here. Angelica actually thinks he lives on the ship, and whenever he has to go to the ship she says he’s going home. Today we went to the ship for Craig to offload the rest of his stuff from his stateroom and she asked if daddy was going home. We try to explain to her that Daddy lives with us and just works on the ship, but after the last big deployment that doesn’t really seem to sink in with her and she’s quite sure Craig lives on the Eisenhower! It’s cute and sad at the same time.

We stayed in for most of the weekend, but today we went to Steak N Shake in Virginia Beach. I love that place. Forget my previous post about dieting. You can’t diet when the possibility of Steak N Shake exists. The diet will have to wait for another day. I got the shooter trio with two garlic burgers with cheese, and one cajun burger with cheese. Then I got an orange creamsicle milkshake. Delicious.

Parsnip is settling in to family life quite well. He apparently got out of his enclosure last night and Craig found him waiting patiently outside the enclosure this morning, wanting to get back in to get to his food and water. I don’t know whether he leaped over the side or  if he squeezed out because I didn’t have it secure enough. If he could squeeze out though you’d think he could squeeze back in, which makes me wonder if he jumped out and maybe had a hard time clearing that height. But at any rate he was not destructive even though he was by himself out of his enclosure for who knows how long, and today I even let him in the master bedroom and closet and bathroom, so now he has been everywhere except the FROG and laundry room.

I love it when he jumps up on the sofa to sit with me, and he grooms me and gives me kisses. He would have loved Jack. They are the best two bunnies ever. I’m so glad I found another companionable bunny. He makes the house more lively and cheerful. I always look forward to letting him out of his enclosure when I get home. He runs loose the whole time I’m home. He enjoys relaxing under the window behind the rocking chair in the library.

Angelica loves having him and is always petting him and feeding him. The first thing she does when I wake up in the morning is ask me to take him out. Getting a pet was definitely the right decision from her point of view as well. As I write, she’s playing with him.

Numb

Yesterday I got a massage, but by the end of the massage instead of feeling good I felt low. I’ve been numb ever since. I just don’t feel like myself and I am not enjoying myself or getting things done, and I’m having dark thoughts. I need to pull myself out of this before it becomes a full blown depression. I’m not in pain, so that’s good. I’m just numb.

I always have a hard time dealing with Craig’s underways and I think it is just catching up to me. It is a lot of loneliness and change. I don’t do well with either one.

I could feel a lot worse, but I am definitely sliding downward.  Everything is taking way more effort than it should.

In the hopes of making sure today isn’t a total loss, I’m making a list of things I need and want to do and I’m going to see if I can get to all of them. So far it is 3:30 and I’ve already taken a shower, made lunch, and done a load of dishes. Not an amazingly productive day, but could be a lot worse.

So here’s my list

-read Scripture

-take a hot bath

-play some educational games with Angelica

-get the toys picked up

-put away the laundry in the dryer

-read

Hopefully this list will give me the accountability to actually do some of these things.

Embracing the Suck

Craig is gone again. We dropped him off at the ship early this morning. He will be gone for a few weeks. I am grateful it is not longer, but a few weeks is still a long time to be without your soulmate. I laid down to take a nap when we got home from dropping him off and the bed already feels so empty.

So I have decided, as Craig puts it, to embrace the suck. How can I try to stay busy and make the most out of this deployment so that I have a full, rich life even while Craig is gone?

For one thing I am going to let the baby sleep in the bed with me and cuddle her at night, something there’s not space to do when Craig is here. I’m also going to let her spend some nights over at her grandparents house to have fun and spend extra time with them. When Craig is home I only let her spend the night there occasionally because I don’t want him to lose time with her when he gets home from work. But she should spend extra time with Grandma and Grandpa over the next few weeks.

While Angelica is with her grandparents I will try to get extra writing done period I will also try to get together with friends in the evenings. That will be nice.

I will go to book stores and restaurants in the evening by myself. I’m actually one of those rare people who likes to go to restaurants and even to movie theaters by myself. Of course I would rather go with my husband but since that isn’t an option I will utilize the time to do things on my own. And normally I don’t even go into town in the evenings because I like to be home when Craig gets home to greet him at the door with a kiss. But since there’s no one to be home for by 5 I may as well stay in town sometimes. Lonely, but I will try and shop and have fun and do things.

How else can I take this sucky time. That I would rather not go through and get something out of it? What can I do to make my marriage even stronger during this deployment? Is there anything romantic I can do? I know Craig will try to keep regular contact with me by calling an email and when he can. I can only hope that he is able to do that. I would like to set goals of being a better wife, a more well-read person, and becoming a better homemaker while he is gone. I would like Craig to have a better wife to come back to than the one he left. So I will be cleaning, reading, minimizing, writing, writing letters to my husband, spending extra time with our daughter, spending extra time with my parents, spending extra time with friends, and taking care of the home front while Craig is gone. I am going to embrace the suck.

A Question for Blog Followers

I am toying with the notion of combining poetry and my personal life on this blog. Right now I run a separate blog about my daily life, but some part of me wants to be authentic here and write about myself, as well as catalog my poetry. However, I don’t want to bog down blog followers with information they don’t want.

About me: I am a married mother of one, a Christian, a Bipolar sufferer, on the Autism spectrum, a scrapbooker, and a serious reader. I’m a Navy wife, a synesthete, a beach girl, and a color addict.

Is anyone interested in hearing about my daily life to go along with the poetry and getting to know the poet behind the poems, or would you rather I kept this blog poetry only?