The Art of Patience

If we were sitting having coffee right now, I’d be animated and excited at the prospect of starting a new adventure in art…

Every now and again things in life conspire to bring you towards one particular creative decision in one place and time – like some kind of magical ‘hint, hint’ that screams at you from the rooftops… Today the combination of several different blog prompts on top of a regular post written by someone else have brought me to the realisation that it might be a good idea for me to start an art journal of some sort.

Instrumental in my decision was a blog post by Elizabeth at Tea & Paper, but much as I love what she’s doing with her art journal I worry that I simply don’t have the patience to commit to an all-bells-and-whistles big-time project with several layers of first water-colour-washing pages then sticking on collage stuff and all sorts afterwards. The kind of engrossing multi-faceted project that you leave out long-term while you complete it – fun, but not really what I need right now, particularly as our current living arrangements don’t allow for that level of otherwise unused space.

The thing is, I love the art of simple colouring-in, and have several adult-designed colouring books I dip in and out of whenever the mood takes me, and occasionally I have thought fleetingly about maybe drawing out my own outlines for colouring in but to date have done nothing about it. For some reason I just love the versatility and mobility of plain old-fashined traditional coloured pencils; no mess, no fuss, minimal space required, and instant gratification guaranteed in no time at all (nothing to tax my lack of patience too much).

So I think I might choose a small book to begin my experimental art journal, and intentionally start with simple ideas. I already have a really small Moleskine notebook given to me as a gift long ago, but sadly never used – I was never sure what to use it for, and its pristine pages lie as yet unmarked? I could stick to creating my own doodle-style outlines to colour in with my favourite coloured pencils – or perhaps use different coloured ball-point pens, or maybe even multi-coloured Sharpies? Just whatever takes my fancy at the time, unplanned – not quite a stream of consciousness creation but a time-limited tiny confection of colour, created just for me.

I have such a long history of starting relatively ambitious creative projects from time to time and inevitably giving up way too soon, which upsets me because I really don’t want to be like that but I do seem to have an issue with aiming for perfection, and knowing I won’t ever be able to reach it I somehow lose heart and give up. So hopefully by starting small and keeping things simple, I’ll manage to maintain some level of continuity for long enough for the habit (and the mindful pleasure it brings) to grow on me.

I read somewhere online that with an art journal, there are no rules – and for me, that’s the real challenge on offer. No right way or wrong way to do it, just your way, whatever that turns out to be… and as I find myself sitting here with a huge smile on my face as my untouched coffee grows cold, I take that as a sure sign that this little germ of an idea is indeed the best way for me to move forward in my latest attempt at an adventure in art 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Art

Weekly Word Prompt: Patience

Weekly Smile: 7 Jan 2019

Weekend Coffee Share: 11 Jan 2019

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Instrumental

Weekend Coffee Share: 21 Dec 2018

If we were having coffee this weekend, I’d be feeling tired but happy after four hectic weeks spent visiting with my family in the North of Scotland… ❤

In the midst of all the stress and excitement of a new baby arriving six weeks earlier than nature intended my 55th birthday came and went almost unnoticed, but with the wonderful gift of a new grandchild exactly one week beforehand, I enjoyed the perfect (for me) family oriented day free from any fuss.

Thankfully my newest granddaughter Lily is now safely home from hospital a full three weeks after her birth, but still three weeks before she was due to be born, so my daughter is understandably relieved and delighted to have her tiny new daughter home in time for Christmas.

We had all been joking while she was still in hospital that the little one (all of 4lb 5oz at birth) was probably still small enough to fit comfortably into her Christmas stocking – and even now she’s tipping the scales at just over 5lb in weight she does indeed fit, with room to spare! Happy Christmas everyone! 🙂

Lily-stocking

Weekend Coffee Share: 21 Dec 2018

Weekend Coffee Share: 16 Nov 2018

If we were having coffee this week, I’d be having mine in a large mug with a slightly warm fruit scone and butter – yum! And I’d probably talk at length about babies, and childbirth, and problems, because that’s what’s on my mind today.

My eldest daughter is currently just under 33 weeks pregnant with her third baby. As a long-term type 1 diabetic, she’s recently been struggling (through no fault of her own) to regulate her blood glucose levels during this pregnancy, and as baby’s growth is also concerning (really small this time and with a slightly erratic heart rate, not really big like last time) there is now a distinct possibility that her new little one will be born even earlier than the early birth already planned for.

Baby’s calculated due date is actually very early January 2019, but because of my daughter’s diabetes the plan all along has been to have baby delivered by 38 weeks at the latest – just before Christmas – and that’s what we’ve all been aiming towards.

But due to these recent complications of erratic blood glucose levels, erratic fetal heart rate and small baby, everything is up in the air just now and after a 3-day stay in hospital on constant IV Insulin to keep her levels stable while giving her steroids to ensure baby’s lungs mature early enough, my daughter was discharged yesterday with the understanding that at this point it looks like reaching 38 weeks gestation is unlikely.

At next week’s clinic appointment the consultants hope to have a rolling plan in place for booking an elective section for probably around 36 weeks, but with the proviso that any further problems would mean an emergency section at any time before that date – decisions will be made week to week, depending on the results of the ongoing twice-a-week scans and fetal monitor trace (already being carried out for the past month), and plan adjusted accordingly.

So it now seems likely that my daughter will definitely have a section, and her new baby will probably be in the Special Care Baby Unit for an indeterminate time after birth, assuming all goes well. As ever, there are no guarantees that all will go well, and that is a concern. I’m hoping above hope that all goes to plan, not only that baby stays safe inside for as long as possible, but also is born safely and in good health. The not knowing is hard, as is the interminable waiting.

I mean, I know no-one ever knows exactly when a baby will be born, or how things will go, but this feels like an extra layer of not knowing all over again. My youngest daughter also had complications in the latter stages of both her last two pregnancies (for an entirely different reason), and both babies were born early but thankfully healthy. Those last few crucial weeks of waiting were excrutiating, with frequent hospital monitoring and never knowing week to week if baby was still ok.

I tell myself it will be fine this time too, but of course we can never know how things will turn out. So for now I’m more concerned than excited, but remind myself just how lucky we are to have such an excellent national health service here in the UK in spite of ongoing funding difficulties… 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share

Weekend Coffee Share: 10 November 2018

If we were having coffee and a chat today, I’d be feeling very much like reminiscing retrospectively over the past, because today my first-born turns 36…

It hardly seems possible that my beautiful little baby boy I can still picture so cleary cradled in my arms is now a grown man with a deep voice who towers over me (but then I suppose all my children have been taller than me since their teens). It never ceases to amaze me that in delivering him safely into the world at 18 after such a horribly long and tedious labour, I also delivered myself unceremoniously into motherhood, a role we keep for life.

That means that right now I’ve been a mother for pretty much two thirds of my lifetime – admittedly not always a particularly good one, but thankfully they all still speak to me so I must have got something right!

As well as my son I also have two daughters, both of whom are mothers themselves now, giving me three grandsons and almost three granddaughters – the newest one is due to be born at the end of this year. The most fascinating thing about daughters is that, as baby girls are born with all the unformed egg cells they will ever need already inside their tiny bodies, the dormant potential eggs that eventually became my potential grandchildren were already inside my daughters at birth, and so were inside me for a time too, like a real life matryoshka doll.

And I was saying to my husband the other day as I looked critically into the mirror – isn’t it strange to see ourselves growing older?

We are in some ways the same as we used to be, but decidely less solid and springy and smooth around the edges, less colourful, less vibrant than we were. Slightly faded and worn and more than a little threadbare, each like a favourite much-loved armchair. I’ve known my husband since 1973, and in my mind’s eye I can still see us as we were then, firm and fresh and full of life, facing forward to our unformed futures. Yet here we are 45 years on, with more life behind us than in front, and inevitably we carry the ravages of the past with us…

By now, of course, my coffee is cold and with all my ramblings I’ve probably not given you a chance to get a word in edgeways, so all I can do is apologise and promise not to do the same next week – if, that is, you choose to come back to visit! 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share: 10 November 2018 

Weekend Coffee Share: 26 October 2018

Eeek! As a bit of an introvert the thought of meeting up for coffee with a whole blog-load of strangers as well as my usual phalanx of virtual friends terrifies me, but I’m sure once I settle down and see how nice you all are I’ll start to feel much more relaxed… I hope!

Being a typical Brit, I like to nibble on a biscuit of some sort with my hot beverage – generally I drink loads of tea, but when meeting up for coffee I do usually have coffee, so today mine’s a large latte and a slice (or maybe two, because I’m nervous) of crumbly, buttery home made shortbread… mmmm…!

I’ll probably worry about talking far too much and far too fast to begin with (also because I’m nervous), and being mindful of not causing offence to anyone will try to keep our discussion away from discussing any potentially contraversial topics such as parenting, politics or religion, and I’ll inevitably be thinking… help… what should I say… how do I start this conversation?

We’ll maybe break the ice by talking about the recent change in the weather, because that too is a very British thing to do – it’s a common point of reference in our temperate island climate – and I’ll suddenly remember an odd incident that happened on my way to my GP surgery early last week and will immediately forget my anxiety at the thought of being in the company of strangers…

It was an unseasonably warm day for mid-to-late-October (unlike today, which is decidedly cold and damp and miserable) so even in the thin T-shirt and crop jeans I was wearing I already felt hot and uncomfortably sticky walking swiftly along the street to my appointment. I was thinking to myself, it’s England in the autumn, and by now it’s usually blustery with a distinct nip in the air, how strange for it to be so mild this late in the year…

And just before I reached the surgery, lost in thought, the soft movement of a door opening slightly caught my eye to my right, and in my peripheral vision I saw a figure standing there, quite still, half-hidden behind the door. Without thinking I automatically glanced over in that direction and was somewhat surprised to see a grown man, completely naked and motionless in the half-open doorway, looking off down the street in the direction I’d just come from.

The weirdest thing is, it didn’t seem weird at all at the time – I mean, he was just standing there, naked, apparently absent-mindedly waiting for something or someone, as if he wasn’t really aware of either his nakedness or of me passing by quizzically only a few feet away. He had a nice body, too – taut muscles and relaxed genitals, not sexualised or in any way potentially threatening, he was more like an al-fresco life drawing model; a real-life still-life.

In a hurry not to be late for my doctor’s appointment I just carried on walking along the street and put it out of my mind, and would probably have thought no more about it until our impromptu discussion about the weather jogged my random memory and my nervousness prompted me to share it. Nakedness doesn’t bother me, so I wasn’t shocked, then or now… more curious and intrigued by why he had no clothes on in the middle of a weekday afternoon? 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share: 26 October 2018