Thursday, December 20, 2007

In the Deep Freeze...

Right now my thermometer says -33F. This is a higher temp. for the area, given that down farther in the valley, the temps are around -40 to -45. (But if you're outside at these surreal temperatures, who can tell the difference between them?) I found some live coals in the wood stove and stoked the fire---bringing in wood for the day to thaw out. I love keeping a fire going... The house has no problem keeping warm, lucky for us that we built it so well! Still, the fire made with free wood keeps the house at +70, rather than using however many very expensive gallons of fuel oil at this time of year. Filling our 300 gal. tank cost over $800!

I called in "sick car" to work, which is perfectly plausible. I have a 17 year old car. At these temps, it just might not start. :) Of course, I didn't even try! I've put in my notice at the exhausting, low-paying job, and as this is my next to last day, I am being an escapist.

My grandmother passed away two weeks ago this Saturday. I think about her everyday. I think about her life, her work....and I just think, 'life is too short.' For me, life is too short to spend today at the icky job. Life is good to spend on the giant blue painting I've got going. Life is good to drink a hot cup of coffee this morning and stoke the fire. Life is good that this weekend we'll have a good friend staying with us who loves port and zombie movies.

It's damned cold, but life is good. Being alive is good.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sorting


A painting by my Grandmother, 1989.

It's been a sad and difficult week.
My sister, Dad and I sorted through my Grandmother's belongings yesterday. Many items were things I'd known in her various houses and apartments since I was a little kid. Some items had no memories for any of us. It was a hard process---sorting through what she's left behind.
Each of us kept several things that we felt strongly about.
But what to do with her purse?
What to do with her glasses?

These were things that were heartwrenching to look at and hold, because there isn't a place or person for them any more. I woke this morning to the faint beginnings of dawn and thought I now understood the oldest tradition of a funeral pyre. In letting go of a person and their earthly presence, there really are some things that need to travel with them to the next world...wherever that may be. There are things that just can't belong to anyone else. Throwing things in the trash doesn't work...it's somehow wrong and disrespectful....
Many things are going as donations to charity. Her glasses and purse...we just didn't know what to do with those... they're just too personal to send off to strangers.

So---this week is full of sadness and difficult thoughts. Losing someone puts everything---and I do mean EVERYTHING---in a new perspective. I'm thinking a lot about my friends and family and how precious they are. I'm thinking a lot about time, it's fragility and tenuousness, and how I must make better use of what is mine for however long. I've put in my notice at the low-paying job and I'm getting my ass back in the studio where it belongs.

Fromage and I had friends over last night for food and a bonfire (Fromage's Birthday! 42!) and I was standing by the fire with everyone, dark night, stars overhead in the clear, cold sky. We were all laughing at some crazy story and I was just so glad they were all there, alive and kicking and drinking beer.

It's -10F right now...too cold to go skiing, I think.
I'm in my studio for the day.