Who's seen the new Deadpool movie? I loved it. I love comic book movies, but lately I've been tired of the same story over and over and over. Deadpool was awesome because it made fun of all of the cliche superhero movie aspects. Go see it!
I have a table at FanX and Phoenix Comic Con, so I painted up a little something specifically for those events.
If you won't be at those events, you can still get this print! Just email me at email@example.com and we'll get you hooked up.
For copyright purposes the picture above is not the print itself. The print is 11x17 on high quality photo paper.
Hello blogging world. It's been awhile. I've been really busy these past few months. I can't remember if I mentioned that I was Set Decorator on the new "Saturdays Warrior" feature length film. For those of you not familiar, Saturdays Warrior is an LDS musical that was written by award winning composer, Lex de Azevedo back in the seventies. It became very popular and in the 80's was made into a movie of sorts. The movie is awful and cheesy but I grew up watching it and loved the music.
In 2015, Jarrod was asked to produce the new full length feature and I was brought on board as set decorator. It was an amazing experience and I found myself extremely passionate about set dec. I guess all of those years rearranging and redecorating my room growing up (Probably every 3-6 months. Thank the Lord my mom was patient and let me do what I wanted in my own space) and 12 different houses/apartments over the course of 11 years gave me some unexpected experience. I got really good at being resourceful, working with limited space, thrift shopping, and being creative and thinking on my toes.
After Saturdays Warrior wrapped, Jarrod and I were asked to do the same jobs on the new Covenant Christmas movie for 2016, "The Elving Project". We just wrapped that in January. Elving was another period piece set in the 80's (Saturday's Warrior was set in the 70's) so that was super fun to design and decorate. It was like being in my childhood home with all of the floral and ceramic knick-knacks.
Saturday's Warrior will be in theaters April 1 of this year. I can't wait! Please head over to the official Facebook page and support and share!
It's been awhile since I posted on here. I'd like to make it a regular thing. I have a bunch of ideas for regular post's. One idea is to partner up with my stepdaughter on thrift fashion. Neither of us like to pay a ton for our wardrobe, and going to thrift stores and discount shops is super fun for super cheap. Whaddya think?
Today I started something pretty cool. I am now offering custom 5"X5" illustrations for just $10. I got a pretty great response and in my first day of offering it have been busy drawing to fulfill orders!
Here are just a couple:
These are one subject, one color. If you would like to get one for yourself or as a gift, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
"These are just awkward...." he said with a goofy half smile. My family and I were lined up to the left of my moms open casket, greeting friends and family as they paid their respects. I started laughing and replied,"I know! What do you say at this kind of thing?" Thank you, man-from-my-parents-church-I-don't-know-from-Adam. You had the guts to say what everybody else is thinking.
Funerals ARE awkward and sad and awful and beautiful and surreal. It felt like a dream and a nightmare all at once.
When we got to the church to set up before the viewing started, I walked in, saw my moms lifeless face, and lost it. I was with her when she died and saw her body taken away. I knew what my mom looked like dead. But seeing her in the coffin, her face done up and all plastic like...just hours before we would lay her body six feet under forever. It's really one of the worst feelings ever. Before I could stop them, the tears started flowing (A regular occurrence these days. Checking out at the store, crying. Dropping my kids off at school, crying. Flipping burgers at McDonalds, crying. Just kidding on that last one. As if.)
After my sweet husband held me while the tears-a-flowed, I dried my face, touched up my lipstick ("Faded" by Lime Crime, if you must know) and took my place in line. Family I hadn't seen in years came from out of state. It was like the family reunion we had been trying to plan for years with no success. Leave it to mom to get us all together.
As I greeted all of these amazing, beautiful people, we said the same awkward phrases over and over. Most definitely heartfelt, but awkward all the same:
"I'm so sorry for your loss."
"She's in a better place."
"She's no longer in pain." Etc.
What can you say to someone who just lost one of the most important and wonderful people in their life? Not much. And that's why I really appreciated this dudes comment.... "These things are just awkward." Amen, brother.
The viewing was followed by a really incredible service. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of tears. I was on the program to speak. I tried to write something out but it just wasn't working, so I got up and winged it. I don't remember much about what I said, just that I talked about the greatest lesson I learned from my mom was unconditional love (which was basically the theme of everyone elses talk too) and told a funny story about one of my favorite things she used to do: She would ask if you wanted some food, and if you said,"Sure, just a little bit." Then she would literally bring over just a little bit. One cheerio with a drip of milk in a HUGE mixing bowl, giggling as she brought it over than cracking up when she saw your reaction. MOM I MISS YOU SO MUCH YOU WERE SO CUTE AND FUNNY AND I LOVE YOU.
I was surprised at the burial. Did you know you don't actually get to see the casket go into the ground? You have a dedication of the grave, cry a lot...then stand around and chat. Slowly everyone starts making their way back to the church for a hearty meal of funeral potatoes and brownies. But the casket just hangs out with some funeral dudes watching over it and then they bury it later. I didn't like that. It felt strange not to be part of finalizing it.
A few days passed and I went to see my moms grave yesterday. They had a temporary marker on the grave with her obituary until we get a headstone placed. They had the years wrong. August 9, 2015 - August 12, 2015. I guess my mom was only 3 days old. Don't worry. I marched back to my car, got a pen, and fixed it. Victory. At least I've done something good in my life, right?
I sat on top of the grave in the freshly turned dirt and cried. I hated that her body was underground, all alone. I don't know a world without my mom. We have psychically existed together since the second I was conceived. (Only four weeks after she gave birth to my sister, I might add. This just goes to show how much my parents liked each other.) And while I understand the concept "she's not her body" and I get that her spirit is soaring around and I've felt her with me, guess what? That doesn't bring a whole lot of comfort at times. Let's be honest about something: No matter how much you believe in an afterlife, it still SUCKS ASS (sorry mom) to lose their physical presence. Saying "it's just a body" is not true. That very body encompassed my moms soul so it was a HUGE part of my experience with her. She carried and gave birth to me (3 weeks late too. Sorry again mom. You know me, always keeping everybody on their toes!) Those arms wrapped around me thousands of times. Those hands wiped tears away, rubbed my back when I was sick, made my kick ass Halloween costumes, prom dresses, the best peach cobbler in the world, and the most incredible tole paintings the world has ever seen! That face expressed every emotion: sadness when I went through heartbreak, concern when I was sick with stomach issues, anger when I was being a poophead (which was a lot) absolute love and adoration, annoyance, a smile that lit up a room! Those same curly toes we shared, hers from ballet mine from gymnastics (and also...genes and stuff). That infectious laughter followed by "ohhhhh shooot!" My moms body is not just a body. It's no longer up and walking around and hanging out at her house for me to go hug today. I can't go ever and sit at her counter and chat with her about things she really doesn't care about but pretends to be because she's sweet like that.
Her body was a beautiful vessel for her spirit to hang out in while she played her role on this earth, and she did an amazing job. So while yes, I understand the concept that she is still here with us in spirit, I want her body back. GOSH DARNIT. (That was for you, mom. I know you hated the swears.)
At her grave, I had a whispered conversation with her, telling her how much I missed her, how much I loved her. A sudden warm breeze washed over me, swirled around the flowers on her grave, then was gone. Hi mom. Please keep showing up, please keep giving me wind hugs, please keep wrapping your soul around my heart, because I can feel it and it brings me so much comfort during this time. Please never stop being with me. Because as time passes without you, I don't want to ever get used to you not being around. As a dear friend said to me at the funeral, it's not one week farther from her death, but one week closer to seeing her again. But she said it all poetic like and stuff. Ah, perspective. It makes any situation that appears hopeless and awful to hopeful and bright.
As I walked away from my moms grave, I felt so sad leaving her alone, so deep down and in the blackness. It broke my heart. But this is where the "she's not her body" concept IS a comfort. Because as I walked away, I knew she was walking with me. And she will always walk with me.
You are gone. I wrote a few days ago about how I was ready to let you go, how much I wanted you to be out of misery. Being with you, holding your hand as you took your last breath, is something that was profoundly beautiful and absolutely devastating. Isn't it interesting, how we are able to feel so many opposing emotions at one time?
The last few days have been nothing short of the wildest roller coaster of feelings I've ever been on. Those times we gathered around your bed, thinking this was it, this was the end. Listening to your labored breath, watching the rise and fall of your chest, our hands on your thin frame, hot tears rolling down our cheeks. And then your breath would return to normal, and we would look at each other and smile and shake our heads at your will to live. Conversation would resume, we would joke, cry, eat. We would take turns laying next to you, stroking your hair and face. And we would wait.
I wondered what was going on in your mind. If your soul was floating in and out of your body, not quite sure if you could leave your family just yet, but the other side looking so inviting with loved ones waiting and permanent freedom from pain and sickness. Or maybe it was just darkness, our voices fading in and out of your conscious.
Many times I took your hand in mine or lay my hand on your heart, feeling the exhausted beat. I would try to tune into your soul, to tell you we loved you, it was okay to go, we would be alright. I felt you push back, "No, I'm not ready yet." I would kiss your soft cheek and whisper in your ear that it was me and tell you I loved you. I hope you heard. I hope you felt my heart expand out to reach yours. I think you did.
The last hour of your life you struggled to breathe through the fluid that was gathering in your lungs. That was so hard to hear and not be able to do anything about. Each exhale was a moan, almost like a plea to please let it end. We gathered around your bed, our hands piled on top of yours. Aunt Kim cradled your head and told you it was time, to please let go, we couldn't stand to see you in misery any longer, we would be okay. I believe you felt it through our skin, in our souls, that we loved you so much, that we wanted you to be at peace. Your breathing slowed, your body still taking in every bit of air it could. And with your last breath, I felt you leave. With your last breath, your physical body was a shell of my beautiful mother. Those arms would never again wrap around me in a warm embrace. Those eyes would never again twinkle or dance with laughter.
I had some time alone with you. It was odd, to kiss your forehead and hold you and tell you my final goodbye, unable to wrap my brain around the fact that you were no longer in there anymore. I wanted to reach out and grab your soul and stick it back in your body. It was the most helpless feeling I have ever experienced. I have never felt so vulnerable and small in this vast universe.
When I got home, Jarrod and I lay out on the trampoline. You picked the perfect night to go, mom. A meteor shower? You think of everything. I cried as I watched shooting stars cross the sky. Jarrod said,"She's dancing up there." And I believe you are.
It doesn't make sense to me that the world is still spinning and the sun is still shining and people are out doing whatever they're doing. Right now I'm waiting for my mom to die. And it just really seems to me like everything and everybody needs to come to a halt, because it's not cool that birds are still chirping and stuff. The sky should be full of dark clouds and the birds should shut up and everythind should just STOP. Do you guys have any idea what the world is losing? WHY ARE YOU STILL EATING THOSE CHIPS?! PUT THEM DOWN AND LISTEN.
Anyone that knows my mom, knows exactly what I'm talking about. Have you heard of the tallest man alive? The bearded lady? The woman with the biggest heart? Oh, that's my mom. (No, not the bearded lady.) Okay, that was lame but really. She literally shines, she is so pure and beautiful and loving. Everybody needs to be like her, because if everyone was like her all of the worlds problems would be solved. I'm not kidding. Everybody would be fed delicious meals from scratch, have beautiful hand sewn clothes, and a hug every hour on the hour.
At the age of 37 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And she's been fighting it as it's spread all over her body for the last 20 years. I have often wondered if my mom is the result of an affair my grandma had with Superman. Not only has she fought through countless cycles of cancer and treatments, but she's done it with no complaints and a smile on her face.
"Mom, how are you feeling today? I know that you just had a chemotherapy appointment, so basically they brought you to the brink of death and now you have sores in your mouth and you've lost all your hair and you're so tired all of the time and you feel like puking, but how are you?'
"Oh, I'm okay, just a little tired. How are you? What's going on in your life? I love you so much! What can I do for you?"
That's my mom. And in her just being her, she has been an inspiration to countless people.
The crazy thing about your mom being given the "There's nothing more we can do for you" talk from her doctor after so many years, is that there is an undeniable sense of relief. "How heartless you are!" You say, shaking your fist in my direction. Well, sorry but it's true. We have watched my mom go through horrible pain and suffering over and over again. It comes to a point where you are so exhausted from watching someone you love go through that, and you just want them to be at PEACE, DAMMIT! (Now I'M shaking MY fist).
My mom even chatted with me about her funeral. She planned it all out and in the middle of talking stopped abruptly and said to me,"I'm sorry, I forget that I'm so at peace with all of this that maybe other people aren't." And when I told her that she shouldn't be worried about that, let us take care of it, she said,"Oh no, it's going to be hard enough for everyone, I don't want you to have to worry about planning my funeral." Are you kidding me? WHO DOES THAT. And honestly, I was fine talking to her about it. It was weird, yes, but I have felt very peaceful about her death. A couple weeks before she told me the final news, I had a sudden thought cross my mind out of nowhere. "Mom is going to die this year." I just knew it in my bones.
I don't want my mom to suffer anymore. Does it kill me that my 4 year old son won't remember his grandma? Does it kill me that I won't get to hug her tiny little body and watch her face light up the room as she laughs? Does it kill me that I won't get to watch her roll her eyes at my dad as he tells the same joke he's been telling for 30 years, but then watch as a smile sneaks across her lips because she absolutely adores him and he absolutely adores her? UGH. It's so hard to lose someone you love so much! It's so hard to think about the fact that I will NEVER SEE MY MOM AGAIN IN THIS LIFETIME. What is that about? Shitty is the only word I can think of, and it doesn't even begin to describe it. She just turned 57. That is so young! I want to be angry, but I can't find a place to be mad. I'm sad. I'm grateful that I was blessed with literally the most amazing mother in the entire universe. I'm grateful that I get to have so many amazing memories to pull up in my mind on my little tiny brain movie screen. What a miracle this life is. What a beautiful thing, to share it with so many diverse, complicated amazing people that teach us lessons and annoy us and make us love them so much that we want to squeeze the poop out of them and we get to share our LIVES with each other! No matter how short your time is with someone, that person is in your life because they are meant to be. Learn what you can from them, love them no matter their flaws, build them up, hug them, argue with them, and laugh with them. Because as cliche as it sounds, at the end of the day, the only thing we're going to care about on OUR death bed, is the people we shared our lives with and how we loved them.
To see my photo series on my moms cancer, go here.
To read why I shaved my head, go here.
I started writing this long, over involved post about the reasons why I chose to shave my head. I went into my dating history and some jerk I was with for a couple months that made me into his personal play thing and I had to go to therapy to get fixed. I wrote about my best friend getting cancer when we were just 13 and my mom getting cancer and fighting it off for 18 years. And then I started writing about feminist issues and how much pressure I have felt my entire life to look a certain way.
I shaved my head because I wanted to when two important women in my life got cancer but I chickened out because I was afraid. I shaved my head because I'm tired of feeling like I have to fit into a cookie cutter version of what "society" thinks women should look like. I shaved my head because I want to do other things besides fix my hair everyday. Like paint. Or go on hikes. Or play with my kids. Or have sex with my husband. Or laugh with my best friend (also my husband). I shaved my head because I love powerful badass women that go against the grain and aren't afraid to be themselves.
Overall, I shaved my head because I feel like I finally really love myself. I have insecurities and I doubt myself and I feel self conscious about these wrinkles around my eyes that seemed to appear on my 30th birthday, and I wish I had a magic cream that fixed my post baby belly skin (but do I?) and I worry about my artistic abilities, but I really really love myself.
A year ago I made a big decision and took a huge risk. It was messy and scary and it hurt and it was also beautiful and freeing and exhilarating. I decided to live life the way I wanted to live it, despite the many people in my life telling me I was doing it wrong. I gave myself permission to love someone and be with that person. I gave myself permission to be angry with myself and then forgive myself. I gave myself permission to heal and love unconditionally and forgive others.
And through this mess, I found myself. And I found a partner who was like,"You're amazing" and I was all,"No I'm not" and he was all,"Shut up. YES YOU ARE" and then I kicked and screamed and fought and he kept at it and fought back and kept pulling me up and finally I feel like I broke the surface of the self hate I was drowning myself in (that would be a cool painting, no?) He told me to stop with the bullshit and just own my awesomness. And I fought against it. And he kept telling me that I was amazing. And I still fought it. And he told me to quit my job and just paint already. And I fought it. And he told me that I would look amazing with no hair. And I fought it. And then I decided to stop fighting it and just go with the flow and try to believe in myself as much as he did. If I could see it in him, why couldn't I see it in myself?
I'm amazing. You're amazing. We're all amazing. And guess what? I always knew that, but it took some really uncomfortable life events for me to stop being ashamed and know that it's okay to think I'm a cool cat.
No matter what my hair looks like, or if my stomach looks like it needs a good ironing, or if I'm wearing my grumpy pants some days, or I draw something that looks like poo, I am still allowed to love myself. And when you love yourself, you can do anything. You're no longer a slave to what other people think, or how they think you should live your life. *Shakes fist* "Worry about your own life, people!" Because at the end of the day, it's just you. People die, move on to other things, kids grow up and leave the nest, and then it's just you. You better like hanging out with yourself.
Only you know what's best for you. Learn to listen to YOU. To your intuition, to your higher self. That is where the truth lies. People will have an agenda for you, they'll judge you without knowing even half of your story, but, whatever, you know? How do you feel about YOU? At the end of the day, are you doing what you love? Are you living each day filled with people and things and events and activities that make your soul sing? I sure as hell hope you do.
So in honor of my beautiful mom who has been fighting a hard battle for 18 years with nothing but a smile on her face, I shaved my head.
In honor of women everywhere who struggle with societies pressure to have perky boobs and flat stomachs and no wrinkles, I shaved my head.
In honor of being my authentic self, I shaved my head.
I'm doing a cleanse, ya'll. I'm on 7 of the 9 days. I'm down 5.5 pounds and several inches. Over a year ago I gained 10 pounds when I went through my divorce. I've never really struggled with my weight, and although 120 lbs isn't overweight, it looks like a lot on my small frame. I grew up doing competitive gymnastics and the love of working out stuck with me through the years after I quit. I've never really had a hard time getting back in shape but for whatever reason, I've only lost 3 of the pounds I gained almost a year ago, despite regular workouts and eating healthy. I've toned up but couldn't get rid of this layer of fat that seemed to want to snuggle my muscles. I finally figured it must be toxins and hormonal imbalance due to my IUD (took it out about a month ago), and after watching a friend go through the same exact struggle and finally lose the weight and keep it off after doing this cleanse I decided to try it.
I have two more days of deep cleansing. See you then!