Sunday, October 04, 2015

Going Boho!

AH....been a long time since I have posted. Since the last time, I have further simplified my life. The elimination of fragrance and chemicals was a symbolic start to what turned out to be a further purging.

I closed my Rhinebeck studio save for 2 days a week for teaching. I realized after a year and a half of working 6 days a week, that there was no place like home, and it was financially suicidal to keep up two art studios. So my home studio is where the art and materials live, where I work and teach privately, and Rhinebeck is where I teach group classes 2 days a week.  

I am starting to enjoy my retirement - two whole years later. It took a long time to get off the manic work train. I did not even know why I felt the need to go to a job every was simply habit. Get out of your pj's and report to a job.  It was my own business - but I am a tough boss.  Eighteen months later, I fired myself and reorganized.

I still work hard, but it is at my house, and though I still have to show up- the art does not make itself, the time I don't spend traveling gives me time to take care of my body and exercise each day in addition to working from home.

I wear what I want. Tibetan tops, jeans, flip flops, hoodies. I realized I am a hippie at heart, and no longer have need for the tailored or the dress up. I'm happiest when cozy and comfy...and colorful.

Financially..well I am no worse off. It brings to mind what they guy in the bike shop told me once: "you can work really hard and not make a lot of money, or you can work not so hard and not make a lot of money". And now--- I get it! Only I want to turn this thinking around to I will make "enough" to meet all of my needs.

With the fall in full swing now, I look forward to helping the garden sleep for the season, to the scent of baking in the oven again, and spending a part of most of my days making art. This is what makes my heart smile. Welcome home girl!

("The Color of Money" pastel and ink on paper. 5 x 5" available for sale unframed for 50.00. )

Monday, May 18, 2015

Simplicity Part 2 or CHEMCIAL SENSITIVITY !

So I left you hanging for a month. Sorry..but it has been that long that I am still trying to figure out what chemicals I am still in touch with that are making my body crazy.

A month ago I landed in the dermatologist's office for blisters and redness of my lips. This had happened before with a lipstick, and I threw out all of that brand, and five years later, bought another one by the same company, but a different chemistry. Shortly thereafter, same story, different year. Only this time it was not going away even when I stopped using all lip products. I had myself dying of lip cancer, and horrid images were running through my mind.

My doctor said "hmmmm contact dermatitis, we need to find out what you are reacting to", so I had one of the tests where 80 substances were put on my back in big bandages, removed in several days, and I was then marker-ed with a purple body marker with boxes around each substance.   The reactions were monitored, and it was revealed that I was allergic to gold, benzoil peroxide, Balsam of Peru, Fragrance Mix #1, and Propolis.  Propolis is a bee product, which comes from the pollen of poplar and fir trees, and can be mixed into beeswax which is in many products especially lip and body products. Fragrance mix #1 has 8 chemicals which are in nearly every fragrance/oil/perfume that you can think of.

Forced simplicity: I had to get rid of every personal care and household product,perfume or fragrance. Candles, shampoos, lotions, make up, soap, cleaning supplies (all of Mrs. Meyers had to go). As a result my bathroom, closet, and dresser are much cleaner. I have boxes of items awaiting new homes as they are toxic to me. And I still testing what I can and can't use. I don't like the hair shampoo bar, it does not clean my long hair to my liking. I am using Argan Oil (pure and organic) for my face and hair. Cocoa butter in the stick seems to be OK, though I am not sure if my lips like it yet.  Baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are my cleaning products. If there is a bad smell in the house I run through with a piece of sage and hope that I don't have an allergy to it. I no longer use Turpenoid Natural for cleaning my brushes in any enclosed space...the oil from the citrus gives me a migraine- walnut oil is the only cleaner used in my studio.

The lips are still reacting. Three of the reactions from substances put on me a month ago are still red and scaly. My immune system had sent up flares, and hopefully ones that were saying STOP NOW BEFORE I GIVE YOU CANCER.

So there you have it...I wanted simplicity- I got it on one level. 

Part 3 of Simplicity: Going Boho

PS this little lovely piece of art can be found HERE 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Simplicity: Part 1

The word simplicity was jingling around in my head all day while at work at the Tibetan Shop. While CD's of chanting monks played, I made phone calls, haggled with the cable company and tried to track down the automatic payment trail of my gym membership. I was making deeper cuts into my lifestyle. I kept telling myself that this is all good - I am leading a simpler, more authentic life.

Well into the second year of my reinvention,  the bank account was yelling for me to put my brakes on. So back went Sadie, my lovely sexy convertible.  My gym membership. That wasn't too hard as I never had time to work out there. But it was a defeat that I wasn't pumping iron or spending an hour on the elliptical machine.  My drink and dinner budget shrank to a once-a-week "starving artist"  late afternoon meeting with my business partner where we get a slider and a local mud beer for 9.50. I have no clothing budget, and I am grateful that I have a husband who saves his lunch money to buy me a new shirt or sweater for my birthday,  Christmas, or anniversary. I have decided to let me hair be its natural color, a mixture of red and the ever growing grey that is creating interesting patterns and texture. As I find creative ways to shave off our expenses, I keep convincing myself...this is a simpler life.

Yet my life is by no means simple. I work 6 days a week from when I get up until I go to sleep. Though I may be leading a more authentic life it is not simpler. I am not taking time to sit, to listen, and to watch. I am not taking time to read the wise words of others, or to take action in things that can make a difference.  I am not making the body of work I promised myself, being too distracted by the 10,000 other things I have to do.

 I am fooling myself, and  others in preaching that I am living a simple life.  So what do I do, where do I start?

I googled "How to Live a Simple Life"....and then life dictated a drastic change... (Part 2)