Today I am struggling with the death of a colleague. She was my age and lost her battle with breast cancer last night. I am so very, very sad that she is gone but I know she would be the first to tell me to suck it up buttercup and move forward because that was just the very essence of Marie. I’m also very angry at the unfairness of her losing a battle she fought valiantly, with grace and quite comically as well.
She was the toughest chick you ever met and she could be the softest and most understanding woman all in the same breath. She took on her first battle of breast cancer with the force of an Amazon Warrior. She laughed in the face of cancer, literally, and she beat the odds by removing both her breasts. All of her sisters had breast cancer and they beat it. I was sure Marie was going to beat it too. But life is cruel and she was diagnosed with her second round with cancer late last year, 2013. The doctors told her it was terminal but I refused to believe she couldn’t beat it again. She was Marie, Cancer should be scared of HER. But Marie took her leave from our company and went home to be with her husband, step-children and her many animals on her quaint hobby farm. I sure missed those organic eggs when she left and I missed her terribly too. We emailed weekly but it’s just not the same as seeing her smiling face every day.
I know she would not want me to be sad so I will try my hardest to be brave. I’ll think of her as I watch the fireworks from my rooftop tomorrow night, I’ll raise a glass of beer to her as I wish for her a happy and safe journey to her next destination. I adopted one of her barn cats. His name is Marshall. As I sit at my desk trying to keep back the tears, I know once I go home and kiss that little ginger cat, I’ll let the tears flow freely.
My emotions are pretty raw right now but through the pain I can clearly say that Marie is my hero. I often wondered when I would be called to run for the cure. Marie, I’ll run for you. I will try to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer and I will do it for you because you have done so very much for me. Everyone at the office knows that I’m the one to make everyone smile and laugh on a daily basis. You were that for me. I loved listening to you tell stories and each one of them made me giggle. Your light will be a constant missing for me. If there is a God, you’re already entertaining and challenging her!
I love you Marie. I never told you cuz you know…you never were a mushy muffin. I’ll sign this blog off the way we signed off all of our emails since you left the office….HUGS AND STUFF
As some of you already know I’ve been heavily involved in yarn bombing for the past two years. Slowly but surely my team, the O-Town Bombers have dwindled from 21 member to about 6 regular members and we are not doing as many yarn bombs as we used to. We still love the art form but our numbers are so low that we can only pull off tiny projects. I’m a little sad about this and I’m a little relieved. I love my team and we have a lot of fun together. I also love my studio, which gets neglected while I’m sat crocheting for days, sometimes weeks at a time. So I think a balance is something that was missing and is being put into place through universal forces. I actually spoke to a few people in January about how tired I was of crochet and that I wanted to spend more time painting. Crochet always excites me and I tend to jump into a project before I weigh all the logistics and level of commitment needed.
This is what happened with the Nuit Blanche project this year. I got excited by an idea that one of the bombers pitched and I dove right in. Before too long I realized that I was not truly committed to the project. I hemmed and hawed at the amount of time I would have to spend away from the studio again. I remembered the many hours and days it took to round people up, put together submissions, find funding etc. and I knew that a team of three or four people was not going to be sufficient. I want my team to be honest about whether they can or cannot commit to a project so I had to give that same honesty back to them. I resigned from the project after we had submitted to Nuit Blanche. I gave my team the option to stay in and for someone else to take the lead on the project. Alas, it was all too obvious that even if we had one or two more members able to give their time and jump on board, the project is bigger than our team is. We sadly withdrew. What’s really ironic is a week later I received a wedding invitation from two of my favorite artists and its the same day as Nuit Blanche! I would have had to miss their wedding if we stayed in and that would not have been cool in my books. So I think, nae, deeply suspect, that the universe has aligned with my thinking and my words.
I feel like I’m emerging from a cocoon and hopefully I become a butterfly and not a big furry moth. I will keep the cocoon close to me because I put so much love and effort into it, but it has a big hole in it and it will take a lot of energy and dedication to repair it. In the meantime, I’m going to spread my wings and paint till my new easel is covered in drips.
I’m not saying this is the end of O-Town Bombers, not at all. What is happening is a shift and we shall have to wait and see where that shift takes us. I wouldn’t trade my bombers for anything and I love our Sunday sessions. A major recruit is needed and we shall see when and where that will be. I need to teach a whole new generation of hookers but maybe closer to the fall. I think I need to put my hook down and enjoy my summer by just working on personal projects. Studio, Health, Garden and then crochet in that order.
This painting was actually 95% finished a few weeks ago but the Bombers had the Chinatown Remixed commitment to put the wall up every weekend. That lasted three weeks before interest completely fizzled out. We spent our last weekend in Dundonald Park just crocheting and chatting and seeing our old pal Kenny Ingram!!
Last weekend I finally took two days to get back to the studio and complete “Drip Interuptus”. Enriched Bread Artists were taking part in Doors Open Ottawa and one of my studio mates had left our studio door open to the public. It was a good feeling to have people come and go and ask questions and see my art. I’m looking forward to the next official Open House at The Loft and I’m determined to have many more paintings finished by then.
I even have time for my rooftop garden now as well so as much as I regret the stillness of the Bombers, I’m appreciating the spare time for personal projects.
I haven’t managed to get into my studio for almost three weeks now and I’m jonesing for it I swear! I am going three or four times this week if it kills me ! I’ve just completed weekend installations for Chintatown Remixed and the end is in sight. One more project with the O-Town Bombers is in the works but after that I’m taking a much needed break from textiles. I’m missing my studio, my paints, my sexy mannequin and the ambiance of fellow artists surrounding me.
I’m going get back into art walks again. I’ve missed going from gallery to gallery and there are so many new ones lately. It’s blatantly obvious that summer is here now!
I have a bucket list of things I need to do this summer:
1. Visit the new Gallery 101
2. Visit Central Art Garage
3. Attend as many Vernisage as possible
4. Go back to House of Targ for more pinball and badass perogies
5. Have my art weekend with little Miss Shyanne in July
6. Have my own art retreat outdoors ( I used to do this every year, its been about 4 years that I haven’t) .
7. Visit my sisters in Toronto for a weekend.