who are you ?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bleet(ness) - our big fat black velvet chiclet - Nessie Ness

It's as still as still can be this early morning. The air is warm and quiet and all our windows are open wide. The sky is overcast and pale grey and all I can hear are the birds in the garden. It's rained through the night and the air is damp and smells lush and green. Saturday. A lobster boat just trailed out of the harbour and past our second floor windows, sailing on water dark and grey and smooth like glass.

I had hoped to begin the second phase of a large new collection of photo frames this weekend - the final stage, the technical to-scale final drawings - the stage just before the invoice and les cheque. I hate to make it all sound about money but Mama's gotta pay some bills and this particular project (which seems like a big & lucrative one) has been lingering on far too long in the beginning stage. Sigh.

Which reminds me ... if you ever wonder why or how I could sell this house and move from this place. Please remember it's mostly a financial decision. It's not that I don't love this old brick house or this little village by the sea but the maintenance and upkeep and just plain living expenses are realistically too much for this single income gal to handle. I suspect I'm in some financial denial, I wonder if in the end I'm actually not going a little more into debt each year and likely have been for many years. I worry about money constantly and that is the biggest drag of all. The other factors I'm considering - I don't enjoy driving (at all) and my car is a beater (97' teal coloured Escort and former dog wagon) so I am stuck miles away from best friend and designer gal MLou, miles away from courses at the art college, more CE* possibilities and cultural, social and all round new and much desired general stimulation. I've felt, this past year, quite Lonely and really for the first time I can ever remember.

not good. I used to be Susan and her dogs. Oh hey! there's goes Susan with her car full of dogs. They filled me up, they were my family, they kept my life busy and full of purpose. I seem to know in my heart that the answer at this time is not more dogs although I do consider that possibility daily. I stalk my local animal shelter web site, daily, worrying that I'll miss another Jake dog. I promise myself I won't go there ... but I do, every day. I miss that life, I long for that old life. But that's not how it works. I am sure it's not about trying to go back somewhere, it's not about trying to recreate my past ... 'cause I've thought about that plenty. It's got to be about a new chapter. I need to go, to be, somewhere new, at the very least in my mind and in my heart - if not literally and physically somewhere new and I do feel afraid.

For now I am trying to have a little moratorium on those big thoughts, those big questions and decisions. I'm just trying - to be - day by day, moment by moment. I don't know who I am right now and I do know that I'm hiding out here in this little village by the sea while I wait to find out who it is I'm becoming now. And it is such a lovely, perfect place to hide.

Who are you ? said the Caterpillar
I–I hardly know, Sir, just at present Alice replied rather shyly
at least I know who I was when I got up this morning
but I think I may have changed many times since then.

Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

CE* Creative Empire


  1. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself in this post. I can relate to the anxiety. I've discovered that when I'm anxious-even for a good reason-it will find an object. Money, relationships,fear about the kid's saftey, fear the car will break down-whatever...I don't trust my anxiety at all. It leads me to general unhappyness.

    I love your strategy of looking at the closer picture...I think it's an excellent plan...sometimes the truth of an answer slips in when we're not thinking.

    May your day be filled with peace. (Btw I think I am the lady with the dogs now.)<3

  2. I can relate so well to your feelings, even though our circumstances are very different. There seems to be this 'time' in life, when we sense there is a danger of life narrowing down too much - when we've been used to having this mental 'wide open space' and a limitless horizon before us. I smiled when I read that you're checking the local animal shelter website daily - I have done that, too. Sought out hubbub and family there. :)

    I hope you get a break from the anxiety - I have spent the last year worrying about money, it's not fun at all. :) P.S. You write beautifully!

  3. Nice post, Susan. I can relate so well to what you are feeling, too. Lingering for a while in a place between what we used to be and what we are to become next.

    It's good that you have a lovely place to be for the present. I suspect that if you find a place closer to your friend MLou and eases your financial worries, your anxiety level will go down.

    I can understand how Alice feels, too.

  4. stunning flower photos, susan! and, of course, it is a joy to see bleet sunning himself. lewis carroll really go tit right when he had the caterpillar ask the question who are you. life is like that -- we sometimes change and evolve so rapidly that we're not sure who we are at any given moment.

    good for you that you know what you need to do and are on a path to get there and be there.

    hugs to you and les gang!

  5. amazing photos yet again. i think you should print them out onto some nice rag paper and fold them up into a nice accordion book (and send one to me.)

    this post answers my questions better than any of the previous. i can sure understand the stress of not having enough money to really take care of things. i went into debt little by little trying to hold on to my little gallery the first time i moved to chickory. (clearly the "nephews" of the town were not ready for me!)

    forward, not back. youve got that right. enjoy your day with black velvet and the rest of your pack.

    beautiful post xo

  6. Hey ! chickory you must email me your address please. The black velvet is presently out on his front porch surveying the lands and Saturday goings on ...

  7. Chicory's right, forward not back. But don't give up on finding another canine companion, not just for you but also for Winnie. Cats are nice but doggy buddies are special.

  8. B. Shamu Winnie would LOVE another dog and I know it would be so good for her worried little self. She's much more confident with dogs but I just feel so unsettled at the moment I'm trying to do the responsible thing. Plus now with just Winn we're able to go on road trips with MLou and Miss J. Life is a breeze, logistically with just one dog, especially with a quiet little sweetie like Miss D.

  9. Dear AMAZING Susan! I so love your blog...beautiful writing and glorious photos! You are on your way....just taking baby steps.

    Love to all of you!


  10. Yes, you are right about the ease of traveling with one dog. The Shamu Dog Van is on it's very last legs/tires. You want seven silent valets and I want one honest mechanic.
    Speaking of road trips when are you getting a ride on that boat you and MLou came down south to get? What incredible fun that looks like.

  11. I recently read a thesis about the issue of control in our life. From what I understand you are in a sort of in between stage, where you know you want/need change, but are not yet sure what that change will be and how it will come about. These stages may well be the most trying times in our live, but even if it is only the awareness of the need for a change, it already is a big step forward.

    I wish you all the best in all you may endeavour to in the future!

    Your images here are absolutely gorgeous, love the shadows especially! :-)

  12. The pesky problem of earning a living is often a drag for us self-employed creative types, isn't it? I do know what that's like.

    Regarding another dog....Keep in mind that there may be another guy that needs you just as much, or more, than you need him. Of course, it would be important to know if Ms. Win would approve. Do you think she would like a roommate?? I do know Edward and Apple are devoted to each other, and it actually makes life easier for all of us.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend!!

  13. Good morning, sweet Susan. Wonderful and very heartfelt post. (NOT that your others are not, but I think you know what I mean.)

    "It's got to be about a new chapter. I need to go, to be, somewhere new, at the very least in my mind and in my heart - if not literally and physically somewhere new and I do feel afraid." <<-----I can SOOOO relate those few lines there that you wrote.

    I will not lie. I wake every day, afraid of where my life is going to end up. But, I am really trying to change my focus on things. Believe me..it is NOT easy alot of times. But, I have to believe that the more I do it, the easier it will get.

    Love you tonnes! xo

  14. OK....is the cat black......or near black....?

  15. Dear Susan, I know exactly how you feel. That financial insecurity hovers over me too. It is a gradually increasing, threatening anxiety that is pushing me down into an abyss of shame and hopelessness where no one can help except me, and I don't know what else to do. I know what you mean about gradually increasing debt. It seems that I take one step forward and two steps back. What do people do when they are being pulled by a powerful undertow into an ocean of accusing creditors, where your credit score is gradually getting worse and you are unable to return to the safe shore you once knew? "The way things used to be" haunts your every breath.

    I had to go through the loss of a daughter four years ago, and I barely survived. Physical disability came next, and then not enough money to meet our needs. No more holidays with a house full of joy, decorations, food, and family. Only a dismal step by step journey of painful memories.

    But I do BELIEVE as your book says. I couldn't live without the PROMISES in Amazing Grace. "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we've first begun." But God didn't promise a life without sorror and pain. But sometimes we really think we have had too much. And lately I have that. But the disappointment in self and the accusatory voices from my own mind are the worst part. "How could you?" they say.

    So my contribution to "Les Miserables" is over. Thank you for listening, Susan and all. You are a dear friend across the world, but near in my heart!!

  16. Martha I am so sorry for your loss. That must be a terrible lingering grief losing a daughter - one that never goes away especially if you two were close.

    Thankfully I'm not at a critical creditor or credit rating situation it's more just the constant state of having to watch and think about every penny I spend. I do splurge occasionally especially on food items, books and creative supplies but my wardrobe is shockingly terrible - definitely What Not to Wear material. But I've somehow managed to fair well in keeping up with my bills.

    Can you get credit counseling where you live - I know here they have amazing resources for people who find themselves in that ever sinking state. I would think also, with Obama's big progressive plans and the overall state of both of our countries economies, that these organizations that help people wade out of financial crisis must be popping up everywhere.

    You must let me know if you've called one of these organizations. I really believe they could help.

    Hang in there
    xo S, Miss D & les Chats

  17. Susan, I appreciate your concern about my financial problems. The people who call are from doctors offices, hospitals, etc. Also I hear from the collection agencies that now "own" some of these accounts. I have to pay most of these bills if I want to go back to the doctors. Some of them have been great about allowing me to take longer to pay, and that has helped. My husband and I get a pension from the City of Memphis, where he retired after 25 years as a policeman. Also we get his reduced social security (because he has a pension). ~not fair~ And we still have a mortgage on our house because of refinancing for emergencies, etc. Then the other large amt. is for medical, and for another expenses regarding a former employer, etc. Just like so many people now, we have our financial "sad" story. We talked to counselors when we redid our house and at another time, and they were helpful, but this is about all we can do. We may refinance the house for 30 years (if we can) at a lower interest rate. (we don't have heirs, so whoever gets it will have to pay it off!) We have 7 acres of land and a pretty large house on a lake, and property values have increased, so I guess this is our "nest egg." We need to do a lot of things to it though! So here we go! Bill sells men's boots at two flea markets a month. (Thank goodness for that!) My sister has a large boot store.

    I feel like we are always going backwards, and it COULD be worse..very worse. When I read about all the people losing jobs etc., I wonder what they do. We are trying to get another flea market too. Bill is 70 and I am 63..so we are not exactly in our prime! But we will survive. In about two years we hope to have that big loan paid, so we should be better. I am sorry for all the rambling. It just helps to tell it all to someone. Thank you for being the patient "Someone."

    I grieve with you every time you mention Jake. Whe we lost our two Labs and other dogs and cats, I suffered tremendously. Some people don't understand that this grief can be so much worse because people think we are not "supposed to be carrying on so long." But it is real and heartwrenching. It is like there is a hole in our hearts for each one we have lost. So I love Jake just from your pictures and comments. He must have been one that you could never replace..an individual with character and irrepressible personality. I wish I could have known him.

    All your kitties sound like "little comforters!" I call them that..and also "hug fitters." I think a soft cat on your neck is the best feeling in the world when you need comforting. So here's to you and the fur people...hope you are cooking something good tonight..and that someone will soon call about your house! Love to all of you, Martha

  18. Oh gosh, I totally forgot what I was going to write, reading through Martha's comments. Heart wrenching. I can relate to a lot of this too although much younger.

    "I need to go, to be, somewhere new, at the very least in my mind and in my heart - if not literally and physically somewhere new and I do feel afraid."
    --I can realte so well to this too. It is comforting, in a sense, knowing that we are al in teh same boat so often.

    If you do end up moving, which i certainly understand, I can not wait to read of your new adjustments and am quite sure a lot of goodwill come there too.

    Looking for Jakes at teh shelter--I can relate to this too. I try not to go to the pound very often as a result. Too much pull there for me. I already have two dogs, bunnies, and such.


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