Tag Archives: memory

The end of innocence or why we grow potatoes

Many anniversaries precariously show their face to me during this time of year when summer begins to end and everything alive turns crunchy beneath your feet as it withers and dies.

What am I trying to say? August 26, 2009 passed just as any other day yet it did mark four years sobriety and it was nine years ago that day that I moved out and left my ex-husband. September 5, 2009 still looms in the near future and with it comes the painful memory of my appendix rotting and doctors telling me there was no sign of Crohn’s and that it was just a bad case of gangrenous appendicitis. Right! Three weeks later in 1997 I was having 11 inches of bowel removed and weighed a ghastly 98 pounds. Sorry, but you doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Halifax should never have sent me home to Fredericton. I wasn’t even eating solid food eight days post-op after you silly doctors cut and stapled my abdomen crooked.

If I had remained a wife, September 5th, would’ve marked my eleventh wedding anniversary.

Today… today…
I, saw him again

So what do you do when memories cloud your judgment? I turned inwards and let it ride and grew some purple skinned potatoes with my mom.

Etching Memories Without Fear

In a moment our lives switch and adapt to our surroundings, yearning for alternative ways of thinking in approaching life.

When you meet new people that in itself creates new pathways in your brain causing reflection, affirmation and acceptance of what once was. Memories are created and we can either forget about them moving onwards to other circumstances and events or remember them by thinking. This act of thinking about that event or time places it into your long term memory.

I traversed the town this weekend. The summer gallery hop was in full swing Friday night. My friend Karen had appeared at the front door with flowers in hand for me. I smiled! The last time someone bought me flowers was several years ago.

Creatively speaking, these last few weeks left me feeling drained and ultimately defunct and void of blissful energy. By Thursday of last week I wondered whether I’d ever draw again. Art paper didn’t make sense and the computer was following close behind in being unrecognizable. This was not a creative block it was fear!

Thursday evening I tied up all loose ends, wrote the folks who needed to be written to, emailed customers and clients and called it quits until today (Sunday). I planned to take Friday and Saturday off to attend the hop and then the following day a wedding. Two days in a row off from working is a record for me lately.

A painter named Chris on Friday night who had artwork on exhibit at the Kausen Gallery to spoke with me. He was in his early 60’s. I asked if he ever got scared that it wouldn’t come back? He’s laughed wholeheartedly replying “yes, on more than one occasion.” I smiled knowing that it was ok to relax and enjoy myself without worrying about my art, creativity, circumstance or status.

A memory did form from that night. One that will be etched forever secret until the story itself unfolds to those involved sometime in the not so distant future. I wish I could fly to Eastern Europe and take another few days off.

Until then,
I’ll be here,

…and recovering from wearing stiletto’s for eight odd hours!

About Dry Mounting Dead Baby Feet

I have custom picture framed many things in my life. From sew mounting a 24 by 36 inch Peruvian head dress to planning small multiple opening matted family photographs with frame I take care and pride in the work I do. More than that, people trust me with their precious items.

On occasion a *custom order stands out from the rest.

A woman recently came into the frame shop in search of a solution for framing ink prints of both hands and feet of her dead grand daughter. The black prints were on cotton. There was also an accompanying drop of blood on this white cotton. I suggested heat setting the prints, before she poured the planned thick coat of varnish over top of them in her shadow box collage, to set the ink in case it ran after the application of varnish. She left the store with the tiny 6 by 6 inch cotton and returned the following day with her shadow box. She showed me what she wanted to do. I said dry mounting to foam core would heat set the ink. I measured the inside of the shadow box at 12 by 12 inches. She placed the cotton and the other baby memorabilia where she wanted them, forming her collage and I punched those measurements into the framing computer system.

She paid for the mounting, gathered her shadow box, pictures and dried flowers then left. There was this smell. A smell I was unfamiliar with that came unbidden whenever the cotton was exposed… as though life or death was holding onto and surrounding the frame shop. I sandwiched these little feet, hands and blood into cardboard, numbered the bin and thought how sorry I was for this little still born soul. With the picture of the dead baby ringing clear in my mind from a few moments earlier I worked silently.

A couple of days ago I dry-mounted this order. Upon opening the cardboard the smell loomed. I cut the foamcore to 12 by 12 inches. I turned the dry mount machine on. I carefully placed the little hands, feet and blood stain a half inch from the bottom in the center on top of the foamcore. I tacked it on one corner with the heat gun adhering it to the board, lifted the seven foot long machine cover and placed this tiny order in the center. I closed the lid. I clasped the sides. Set the machine to three minutes and 150˚ Fahrenheit and hit start. I prayed.

It was quiet in the frame shop that Tuesday evening. The calm before the Christmas storm.

Three minutes later… beep. BEEP. BEEP…
I hit stop.
Time stopped.

Another 12 seconds pass as I wait for the machine to decompress. I open the lid and lift the light green protective covers revealing these perfect little black ink prints of both hands and feet with blood stain mounted to foamcore. The smell is gone. The cotton now smooth, flat and heat set. The water in my eyes dry and I breath in life again.

Her memory will forever live on now.


*The exact details of this custom order have been changed to protect the identity of all those involved save for myself.

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Into Today – paragraphed poem

Today I will be small. Today I am humble. Today I am thinking good thoughts. I am thinking sad thoughts of what came before today. I see these sad thoughts through a screen today. This screen is a mail sorter. This mail sorter is the sorter of memories. He can encircle a memory numerous ways using the screens. The screens are emotions associated with a single memory.

There is a special screen which allows her to see herself in the memory… as though she is looking at herself within the memory.

She evolves into third person.

Waiting for the phone to ring

I was away in the mountains this weekend in British Columbia with Eric and some of our friends. We were so far away that cell phone service did not work. I am home now waiting for the phone to ring from my mother in New Brunswick. I don’t like this. I can’t seem to do anything else but wait for the ring. She left me three messages and also sent an email to me. The subject line of this email was I have something to tell you!!!. I do not like this. September is already a strange time of year for me. Either someone has died, someone is getting married or someone is sick in my family.

It’s hard sometimes living on the other side of the continent from where I was born. Especially during a I have something to tell you time. I physically cannot travel the 2000 miles to talk to my folks in person.

And today is September 11th. September 11th. This particular time of year is already soo full of personal memories both good and bad that adding another bad one may be all… ahhhhh. This is why my BF and I took off to the mountains away from it all. I am going to call my brother.

Update – no answer on my brothers phone.
Update – The phone rang. My doggy Moochie has died. May she rest in peace. I love you Moochie.

Enjoy experience, laugh and leave it behind

“Fear drives an artist” She says to me.
I could not respond.

This lead me to thinking about what we had discussed on/from last Wednesday evening, to today. What do you think? Artists are not unlike any other creature. We are creatures of habit and observation. We place deeply feelings of others within ourselves regardless of it’s content. True also for memories, places, people and things. We tend not to forget yet when something is remembered it can take time for us to sort the pieces out to re-create it in our own understanding. An artist remembers, he sees and fortells through art creation. We are not soothsayers but posess some clairvoyance. We are not any weirder than you. We just express it 3-dimensionaly to see, hear, touch, interact or listen with.

And you know, yes, it could be, that, fear drives us to create.

We are the sensitive ones. The ones who love passionately and the ones who mourn with no shame. We know you. We see it. We do not inherently judge it. We are kind. We are crazy. Ok this is making me laugh. I feel like this has become a song and the question has arizen of whether to post or not post as I write this?

And one other thing!


Enjoy experience but leave it behind.
In the centre of that transition, turbulance combusts.
When the body and mind join
that is the true state of being.
All the fumes have evaporated
all the wounds healed
you talked to death
and faced yourself
you are a human being.

Don’t you realize the light at the end of the tunnel is yourself? Have you not fallen asleep and in the midst of that special time before you are asleep yet, not quite awake, you begin to see a tunnel. You are flying through a tube of many colors in a universe awash with stars. It twists and it turns as you spiral onwards beginning to look for the end. I reached it a few times. I saw this woman in disguise. She came to focus and said hello. We smiled and disapeared together.

Many times during my life has this similar remembered subconscious realization occurred, from early childhood onwards to now. All of us have distinct unusual brains. How wonderful.

and I hit [Publish]