most days i am ok with this. well perhaps i should say many days. But this is not an easy thing. With many families watching there kids go off to new things. flying away. trying new things. having new adventures. I am feeling the reality that that is not our experience.
Tonight as both Kelly and I i came home tired and realized dinner had to be made, Lucas was hungry and ornry and i did not feel that i had what I needed, it hit me. The reality that i do not and will likely never have an empty next. That my friend, is a big deal...
Most days I gracefully accept the fact that we will not have an empty nest . somedays i celebrate it. and some days i feel pain about it like today. Several couples came in today celebrating the fact that their nest is empty. Oh the adventures and freedom that they see.
Deep down , despite my love for my child, I long for an empty next . Then i think of those who wanted children and could not have them. Those who feel lonely. Those who lack for purpose and those that lost their loves.
I am a gypsy and by nature and by nature i live for freedom. But then the reality of life presents itself. This is my life. my beloved son Lucas cannot be independent.
somedays this breaks my heart. somedays i accept it without question. somedays I celebrate it.
This is my life. One that I will treasure.
As the month of July winds down I realize this is my first blog post in 6 months. I was on a good steady routine of once a month but I guess it was time for a blog break. It has been a hot summer seemingly throughout the country. It has been pretty brutal for us in Western Colorado. Hot and dry. As I sit here writing, there are clouds above and thunder and I pray for rain. This painting is titled Rain Dance. It is a vibrant 30 x 30.
This summer I completed an online expressionism painting class with Ardith Goodwin and Shauna Meiri. (Two artists in Mobile, Alabama with distinctly different styles but both amazing artists nonetheless.). I also finished by first ever commission. Two pieces measuring 24 x 36. You can see them at the bottom of this post.
My studio which I moved from the spare bedroom to the garage has been hot so I have taken to painting outside on my deck in the evenings. That has been pleasant. I am looking forward to crisp fall days and time back in my studio for sure.
Big plans for me in early 2019. I am planning to take the month of February off to travel to India. This has been a dream of mine for many years and for the last 3-4 years I have been planning. I am beyond excited about it. I think i will travel with paper and a watercolor set to document the textures and colors of India. It will be a challenge to go a month without income so anything that I sell between now and then will go towards keeping things afloat while I am gone. For that reason i am offering a 20% discount on all pieces on my website. The prices in the store include shipping within the US. I do have some updating to do on my website.
The wind is picking up. It is looking like rain. I would love one of the back east storms where it rains all day long or maybe even for 2-3 days. Bring it on.
Thank you for reading!
you probably never expected me to write a blog post on this subject but trust me it is a real thing.
As you likely know, i am a breast cancer survivor of 5 1/2 years. In the process of having surgical treatment , specifically bilateral mastectomy with lymph node dissection, i lost 17 lymph nodes in my right axilla ( armpit). Since then i have been dealing with lymphedema. This is where you get swelling in an extremity or other part of the body due to lack of normal lymphatic flow. The lymphatics are like lace. They are very fragile and in the surgical process they can be destroyed . Something i totally took for granted but have an amazing respect for now.
I have had great control over the lymphedema for the last several years however because of the stagnation of fluid, i am clearly at risk for cellulitis which is a skin infection. I have had this on average once a year for the last several years . It is treated with antibiotics and that is that. But not really. It is a BIG deal.
This past week i flew to North Carolina to see me mom and sisters. We had a great quick but amazing time together. on the plane i wore my lymphedema sleeve as recommended. i was fine for the three nights i was there but at about 4:30 AM the morning i was to leave i woke up uncomfortable and freezing cold, I was under two blankets but was shivering so i got up and put on my serious winter parka. With that and the blankets , i could still not get warm so i got up and made myself a hot tub. Soaked for about 30 minutes. Once out of the tub I could barely stand up. I had severe body aches and headache with nausea and the skin on my arm was tender and started to turn red. Normally i travel with antibiotics but this time i did not.
I had to catch a plane in about two hours. I knew i had to get the antibiotic in my system so at the risk of missing my flight i called in a prescription for myself to walgreens for Keflex. I did get the prescription and ended up making my flight though i thought very seriously about cancelling the travel. At this point I wanted to get home to my own bed, It was a very long day of travel.
I have been on antibiotics for 48 hours. My arm is less red, i do not have fever but my lymphedema has ballooned. the swelling is out of control. I have learned over the years that when the lymphedema flares, I just feel tired. I have had a couple of hard days at work just getting through the day. Today my arm felt like it was huge. I could not stand it. I decided to go to hard core, hot yoga.
I had to get the fluid moving. i sweated and it felt amazing. Tonight as i lay down to bed i feel like the swelling will be better tomorrow. I need rest. Yoga fixes all things for me. Lymphedema cannot be cured but it certainly can be managed.
This evening i also worked on this very impromptu state of the union painting. It is in its infancy but i thought i would share the work in progress.
Grateful for my health
Grateful for yoga
Grateful for family
Grateful for painting
peace out people
love , stacia
I am sitting in front of the fire drinking my coffee as the sun comes up behind the Grande Mesa, I treasure this silent time of the morning. I am pondering the coming week. Another Thanksgiving is upon us. I think it is one of my favorite holidays. It will just be a small one again this year . Just my immediate family minus Hannah. She will be in Florida for Thanksgiving and will be coming home for Christmas. Time. It just goes by so fast. As i look at the list of my blog entries I realize I have been writing this blog now for 4 1/2 years. almost monthly.
If you did not see my last blog post, I have been invited to show my art at the Church in Denver on December 7th with Conception Arts. For me it is really exciting to think about going to the big city with my art. I am super excited that my sister Cori and her husband Rick will be here from California as well as local friends I hope. As I have a large collection of paintings ( obviously I cannot bring them all) and I paint big, I have requested a double space. I do have to pay for the spaces.
The cost is defrayed by selling tickets. The tickets are $20 a piece. They must be purchased by 12/02. Thank you to those from afar who cannot make it but have been kind enough purchase a ticket to support me . It means the world to me .
If you would like to purchase a ticket you can do so here. conceptionarts.com/artist/yIunkht
I now have 2018 calendars! This will be my third year doing calendars. The calendar has 13 of my original paintings and they are $30 each. The can be purchased on my website here. Featured Products
From my heart to yours I pray that you enjoy time with family and friends this Thanksgiving and that you take time, above and beyond, recognize the gifts that lie ahead of you, behind you and at your feet at the present moment.
Thank you for the support you offer me in so many ways
It has been a stunning November 1!
The sun, the light, the clouds, the colors, the roasted acorn squash. Still warm enough to grill our dinner outside. I got to go on a beautiful desert bike ride today. I thought about the fact that November holds Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. For me November is about gratitude. Do I struggle and feel pain ? Of course. There are some things in my life that make me very sad. But I do have a lot to be thankful for.
As I got home from my bike ride and the light and color was perfect I went to my studio to sign a painting and prepare it for shipping. I walked through my studio and my home and I was stopped at every corner with all of the paintings that hang, sit and lie in my home. How did this happen? How did I create this? Some no longer lie near me but they are scattered around the US. But how did this left brained, logical, scientific ish person do this? What started back then during a very difficult time has left a huge story. I love every single painting and they ALL speak. If they don't, I am not done. I have to share this!!!
I have to have a show! Not for the purposes of selling my art though that would be a bonus but to share it. My paintings blow my mind, soothe my soul, light my light, and ease my burdens. I honestly am humbled at this time of reflection to see what I have created. I need to show it. I am planning an open house at my home on December 2nd ( for those who are local) but I am not sure that i have the sufficient space to show it. It will definitely be a great start. This is my moment to manifest.
I SEE A POP UP GALLERY. For one or two nights. It will be a gathering of people, a sharing of light, snacks and cheers and art. It may not be this year, but it will be. It will be amazing. If you know of a great space that has great energy, great light. and you can get my foot in the door. ideally not too far away. speak your truth. I am ready to share my stuff!
I am not an artist who actively seeks to be in a gallery. I would if it felt good. But I do have a lot to share. I see a space with big walls. A sort of industrial commercial space. food, cheer. people, friends, support. A portion of proceeds to be donated .
And so to abundance and gratitude this November. For all that is.
And for all of this , I am very thankful.
I just returned from a painting workshop in Sedona that was amazing.
As I return , and transition back into life , I can finally tend to the news I got yesterday as we were exploring the Grand Canyon,
When i look back at my move from Maine to Colorado 6 years ago there are things that stand out. It was HARD to leave Maine. my heart is still there in many ways. It was amazing to come here and get my student loans paid off . It was great to be in Colorado again after being away for 20 years.
One of the most amazing things for Kelly and I was reconnecting with Cathy and Toby. We met when we were kitty corner neighbors in Lyons, Colorado . We were having our babies. We shared stories and drinks and projects and recipes and Gardening! Our babies played together. It was a friendship that mattered .
We then left so i could go back east for medical school . We kind of lost touch but Cathy was so great about Christmas cards. It was a thread of connection. It happens that I got an offer for a job in Grand Junction that would pay off all of my student loans and would bring us back to Cathy and Toby who now live on the western slope and are peach farmers amongst many other things.
We have now been here for 6 years. Cathy and Toby have been our best friends. We share food and gardening and travel and drinks and friendship and real conversation. The ones that are hard to have sometimes. We have spent many amazing moments together loving life.
While we were in the Grand Canyon yesterday, with limited service we received word that our dear friend Toby left us.
Because of our many conversations, I know that he is free and dancing with the angels. My dear friend is left to pick up the pieces. These moments are so profound. They leave you speechless. I am not sure what else to say but we will somehow figure out how to carry on without Toby.
There is a serious absence in my life at this moment..... a void. what will replace it?
If you know me you know that i do not like to complain.
For the last year we have been getting a taste of the system that we face for Lucas as he transitions into adulthood. We have spent hours in meetings identifying his needs and how the system can help us. Lucas will be finishing high school in 4 months. The greatest freedom Kelly and i have gotten in the last 10 years is when Keenan came here to Colorado a couple of years ago.
Keenan had 10 years of a very unstable life. It was hard for our family . But he adores and has always adored his brother Lucas and he is now present and stable.
In the last year or so, Kelly and I have had more getaways then we have in the 20 years that Lucas has been alive. We got to spend our 30th anniversary in Italy because Keenan stayed with him for two weeks. We have been able to go to Mexico for a week. We have taken countless weekends to the front range to see friends, or to the mountains or to Utah or various other places where we could just kick back . We come home to Lucas well cared for, happy and our cups full
Keenan has a history. His has a background. But he is the best brother Lucas will ever have. Keenan has given us a freedom that is invaluable. We want him to get paid. yes , we could pay him but the state has money set aside for Lucas. For the last year or so we have tried to access that money. It takes meetings, many unanswered emails and voicemails. Staff turns over and so you have to start over. He has funding but there is noone to provide the service. We have had people signed up who don't show up and come to find out they called that day and quit their job.
So we decided to have Keenan apply so that he can get paid when he is covering for "us" as it should be. He is working so he is not looking to be Lucas's caretaker but we hoped he could get reimbursed when he covers when Kelly and I go away. Respite, right?
He has spent the last three months trying to apply. No phone calls returned. Finally a foot in the door. He started the training process and come to find out that there is something on his background check that makes him incapable of being hired. He is our number one choice to care for his brother but the agency can not hire him. It is truly a broken system. And so the funds that the state designates for Lucas will go to someone who really does not care for him the way his brother would. I think as Lucas's parents we should be able to decide whether we trust Keenan to do the work .
The system is just broken in my mind. I am tired of trying to play it. It brings me back to my alternative ideas. Time to think outside the box. Again it brings me to my idea of moving to Mexico.
Feeling frustrated but in the long run, Lucas is happiest at home with us and we will make it work one way or the other
Longing for the perfect world... I am sure i will be longing for a while but i do believe that there is a better way than this.
And to keep it all in perspective. I feel sorrow and am praying for the people in Houston. I am also reminded of the amazingness of the human community spirit in stories that I hear and see.
My heart goes out especially strongly to my dear friend Randi Patel and her family ... xoxoxo . I hope you are comfortable and that your needs are met.
I love to come and i love to go . Yes it is true. I cannot wait to leave my home and to go on an adventure that takes me away from my everyday life. As i have said before, I am really and truly a gypsy.
I love my home. The fact that I love to leave does not take away from how much i love it. This weekend we went to Crested Butte Colorado for the wedding of our dear friends Jessica and Charlie. It was sooooo amazing. I mean first it is in Crested Butte which if you don't know it is is stunning!
There is something about 7000-9000 feet Colorado in the summer and fall that is crazy amazing. Combine that with good people who love life and love each other and you have an amazing time. Meeting their family was so fun. They came from Oklahoma and Connecticut. Wild fun and totally crazy bunch of family loving people.
It has been 5 years since I completed breast cancer treatment .
For me hitting the five mark has been a big goal. I am there and i feel amazing. When i was starting treatment, one of my dearest friends, Kim Curless told me about a national organization called Casting For Recovery. It is a program that you have to know about. Breast cancer survivors of all stages get to go to amazingly beautiful places in this country to fly fish with people who are divine. It is fun. It is healing. If you have a loved one with breast cancer please tell them.
After Kim told me about it I decided to go. I went on a trip here in Colorado. I met amazing women. women who had something in common with me. There was a woman named Julie. She was very young. Like 30. She had young children and we completely connected. I am sorry to say that today Julie has passed. She left a trail of amazingness . I met Peggy who now is the national leader of this organization for 18 states and got to totally get down with her last night at the wedding. yes!
Jessica was a fly fishing guide and she was also a medical student. We met the first night and hit it off! The next day I found out that she picked me ! She was going to be my own personal guide. She is a crazy lady fly fisherwoman! Not to mention she is so smart, compassionate, loving and funny and adventurous. We took off in the morning. She taught me to fish. She cheered me on about how natural i was as a fisherman, haha! She celebrated with me, cried with me, shared with me her personal challenges. She went on to graduate from medical school and is now an intern. She helped me to heal from breast cancer and I supported her journey to be a doctor. She is going to be totally amazing at it. She will be a lifelong friend of mine. I adore her
This weekend in Crested Butte we celebrated life, love , fly fishing memories and the gorgeousness that is Crested Butte. I met her family and I saw the love that is palpable between Charlie and Jessica. It was a joy to be at her wedding.
Kelly and I now both have ebikes and we Love them! we were able to ride all over the place in crested butte!