Thursday, March 30, 2006

I've been painting this weekend. I finished doing chores. Did my best to keep away from the computer. I can't resist uploading this. I'm so happy to have finally finished these. Happily, painting doesn't hurt my shoulders as typing this does. Bursitis is not something I welcome in my life. It’s disruptive and painful.

This is Mantie. Its one of those really cheap balsa wook puzzles I bought in a Christmas bazarre last December. I wish I'd bought more. They're addictive to put together and fun to paint.

This is Antsie.

This is Billy Bee.

This is the Butterfly.

This is Mookie.

Monday, March 13, 2006


illustration by aletta mes, 2006

The harder I struggle the more the ropes seem to tighten, and yet I have to. After what seems like hours the chafing on my wrists has delivered rivulets of scarlet blood which I can feel making their way down my hands to my fingertips where the warm thick liquid drips in heavy drops to the gnarled roots of this old tree.

I cannot clearly see what lies ahead of me, but I can sense that it is dark and consuming. I can smell the decaying underbrush which lightly fogs the paths around the trees now that the day is turning colder, it is a strangely comforting smell, the smell of life coming and going, just as it should, just as it always has. Just the same I have no desire to become part of this great compost heap, not at all. So I struggle again against the binding ropes. Why? Let's just agree that for me this is also a natural state, I fight the inevitable, it is my way, it is who I am.

As awkward as it is to be tied up with my arms outstretched and bound around the tree's broad trunk I do manage to find a degree of comfort now and again. There is the one position with my butt pressed against the trunk and the weight of my upper body pulled forward and my head dropped.. I can even nod off in this odd position. The other is pulling my entire body forward pressing my weight into the soles of my feet. Either way my wrists are taking most of the punishment.

I am thrilled that whatever lurks out there has chosen not to finish me off just yet. I sense at times that it, whatever "it" is has gone, there is a murky smell both disgusting and sweet that hangs around, when it come close enough I can also hear breathing. Slightly laboured breathing. What the creature is doing and what it's intentions are I have no idea. I know that when I try to think about it a tear of panic pours down my face, i've bitten my lip raw concentrating on the struggle to break free. I'd have bitten through the ropes of my wrists if the position would have allowed it. I cannot bite anything, at least not anything useful.

Wrestling with wanting to scream, but if I do it might set off a series of events very much unwanted. Perhaps it would be best if I remain quiet, and perhaps he will forget, or escape and leave me, or even grow fond of me and let me live. So I don't scream even when it's smell disgusts me and feeling it's breath on my skin raises goose bumps from head to foot, I gag very quietly, and in my mind it repeat, "please, please, leave".

It was daylight still, when I found myself here, tied up, among these great old trees. I've no idea where I am, even less how I got here. Nothing I see or smell or hear is anything familiar. These are not even the bird sounds I am accustomed to. My last memory was of going to bed. I must not have actually got into bed, because I am still dressed in my jeans and a shirt, no shoes, but for me that is not unusual, I dislike footwear at home. I am disinclined to wearing even socks at home unless it is very cold. It was not cold that night. The night I last remember before waking here.

Nothing remarkable in my memories of that night. I did a little reading and washed out a few clothes which I hung to dry. I sat watching television with my favourite cat on my lap. That is my last memory, being home, with my cat.

I feel as though my arms have stretched beyond their ability and yet they do not come apart. It helps to envision my situation, a way to avoid the actual experience, which I assure you is painful, and terribly frightening.

I cringe because the ground shakes a little, and I assume the creature, whatever it is must be near. If I could just see the thing and make eye contact, then I could read if it is reasonable, and I could bargain for my life. If it is not reasonable, then, then...i could scream. I feel my hunger and wonder if I can hold the urine long enough that I will be found without added embarrassment. Does that make any sense? Why should I care that I pee my pants? Then again what if it makes the creature irate, or amorous? That's typical of me, making jokes when there really is nothing funny. It made a few seconds more bearable.

I try to think of positive outcomes. The creature might die and leave me here untouched other than by insects crawling up my pants leg. In the dark shadows I swear I can see the reaper, calmly, patiently waiting. It makes me angry, terribly angry. The reaper could take me now, why does he just stand there? Perhaps he is not even there. Hours have passed and it would not be strange right now to be seeing things.

On inspecting my legs and what I can see of myself there has not been any damage done, no blood stains no torn clothing. Small mercies. Somehow it matter that I leave a fairly nice looking body behind. Thoughts right now just happen, pulled from the ether, mostly as amusements to pass time, and more time, and ---please can something just happen? The boredom on it's own is deadly. Unrelenting pain and boredom. I found myself thinking of all possible endings to this story of mine, unlikely rescues, or I might wake up, or be eaten alive by some creature. A werewolf maybe?

Again I chuckled. A werewolf? Ha! No, my luck it is a mindless bumbling but hairy woodsman with a penchant for collecting city women with intent to have them trained as his housekeeper. Ok, also bizarre and unlikely. Somehow all of my endings were benign and I found some temporary solace there. It was very dark now and I could see nothing at all. Probably a starless sky tonight. The fog was creeping higher and higher. I was so cold that I stopped feeling pain.

The cold was killing me, one pain replaced by another. I could not even fight the ropes any more.. The presence of what I thought my be the reaper was now a comfort, and I made eye contact and was no longer afraid of the reaper. I was fighting for remaining awake. Obviously comfort was not a requirement for falling asleep, or out of consciousness. by now I was too tired to fight. Whatever the outcome of this life altering event would be, I would not know it. I took a last glance around. Just as my grip on this world was letting go I spotted an enormous claw, and without having a moment to react, or do a proper review of my life, I was gone.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

All wound up --- what?

Having an inability to sit still and do nothing, and too little energy to do something large (away from my recliner) I struggle to find enough to do with ever declining visual and sensory limitations.

I bought a small bag full of crystal hearts, not sure what to do with them, but thought I'd string them into this and that. Well, turns out they did not have a hole drilled through them for stringing. So using some steel wire I cam up with this "all wound up in love" personal collection of beadwork. I stand back sometimes and gasp, "why?"

aletta mes, 2006

I like these best:

aletta mes, 2006

Clearly it is time for a better camera with a macro lens. Some day.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Barter with the Reaper - part 1

illustration, aletta mes

I've taken to deal with the reaper directly, forget the middleman. No intercession of the Saints, or even the creator, they are busy with far more pressing matters. My problem is simple and I ought to be able to deal with it. It came with utter simplicity from my trusted doctor's mouth "You have Shy-Drager, the specialist concluded in his report". My reply with equally simple, "It's fatal", he replied with great solemnity "Always."

I sat in silence with him for some considerable time. Neither of us fidgeted, we barely breathed. I was surprisingly calm but noted that my doctor was not. He was flushed and looked a little shaky. It was most certainly not the first time that he had to break such news. Probably exactly why he had chosen psychiatry and not one of the more physical specialities, it was the least bloody and least likely to deal in long palliative support. At least that's what I thought, since I saw him shaking. I felt I had to break the silence.

"What can I do?"
To which he answered, "live carefully."

That was the day I first met the reaper, my reaper, head on. The reaper is now my constant companion, I cannot be made unaware of him/her. Waiting for me to slip up, to have a careless day, the day caution is not maintained. That day, now some years ago, I did not know how to acknowledge the reaper, or whether or not I should. While walking home that day I decided to be very aware of the reaper, to be cautious, and re-arrange as I must so living carefully would not come to mean, living without any excitement or quality. The reaper does not have all the power, as Sheherezade also had power over her execution I have power over the end of my days.

I am taking my sweet time, I have armed myself with all the knowledge I could. My body and spirit are nourished with mindful breathing and nourishing foods. I have learned to say no and mean it to all those people and activities that would unwittingly push me to the edge. Perhaps most important, I waste no time to the dying of the light, I simply burn more candles. My days are filled with activity, my days continue to be productive, if different than had I remained in good health.

The great irony of all this has been that a couple of years ago, the same doctor who told me to "live carefully" died, he did not expect to. He'd experienced bouts of sudden low blood pressure, his last email to me concerned getting a blood stain out of his carpet (no stain will ever defeat me). He had hit his head when collapsing during one of these episodes. A couple of weeks later he died, athletically in great shape for his sixty or so years. I miss him, he was a great doctor. Part of his legacy to me, is that I am still alive, because I am mindful of what I have to do and what not, the other is that I am productive, because to be otherwise would be the death of me, I think literally.

"Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them. " -- Abraham Maslow

"Life, we learn too late, is in the living, the tissue of every day and hour." -- Stephen Butler Leacock (1869-1944), Canadian economist, humorous writer, "Literary Lapses"

Saturday, March 04, 2006

no saving grace

My latest papier mache sculpture measures approximately 8" by 18" and is painted in chameleon gold acrylic. I took photographs from a few different angles looking for the best pose for her. Near as I can figure, the Fates have done me a good turn and presented me with a Creative that doesn't have a bad side.

"No Saving Grace" ("I'm not saving grace / I use it all the time")


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Been playin' with my camera

I've been 'playing' with my camera, seeing what the real limits of the little rascal are. I've started taking 'textural pictures' the image was taken to capture a texture of some sort.

I am more impressed with my last-years-model-make-room-for-new sale digital camera than when I bought it a year and a half ago. It has great focus for evertything but extreme closeups.

The shots that surprise me over and over are the distance shots, and action shots, the images are far sharper than a non-digital camera. Because of the clarity of the image some very good pictures can emerge.

A couple of days ago I helped my brother fix the plumbing, my help consisted of standing next to the spigot to the whole house, and turh the water onn or off, depending on what Matt was doing. I carried my cell phone, with caller ID and when Matt would call me I would change the status of the water. Since I didn't answer the call neither of us were charged any minutes.

It was a typical warm, monsoonal early spring day in Apache Junction, a thinking-about-being-cool breeze that wished for moisture lifting the hair from my temples. I looked at the sky and my Muse whispered "Camera..." Being often obedient of my Muse (I think her name is MizzNEP), I fetched my camera and took pictures of clouds, bushes, mountains, and assorted flowers, with a shot or two of Oleander seeds tumbling out of the seed-pod.