Sunday schedule

I am going to try to get some “sorting” done amongst my craft supplies and my postcards, hopefully, so I am vowing to write here for no longer than an hour this morning.  (Tick, tock, tick, tock..)  I would like nothing more than to laze away in bed with the laptop, but I have a ton of things I only get done on the weekends, because week days get too packed with the distraction of work.

The headache is better… it is HOT again in New York, though, so I am seeking refuge in the bedroom where the cool air from the night’s airconditioning makes the morning more bearable.  I’ve been hit by allergies, though, so I am sniffing away again.  (Allergy meds to the rescue!)

I spoke with my Mom last night.  We don’t do that often enough, I realize. I think I’ll try to do it more often.  She’s telling me I should stop sending her black shoes — how about beige or brown.. =)  Now you know where my fettish for shoes came from. HA!

My Art Journal Every Day backgrounds were sitting in a folder under the laptop so I was reminded about moving forward on that.  Last week, I had one entry I posted to my facebook account but wasn’t able to post here because I had difficulty getting into the site from work (during my break!) because they are now using quota time for personal sites.  =(  Not happy.  It prevented me from going bloghopping myself, except for sites like mine which have their own domains tacked on.  (i.e., Pinaynewyorker.com and Gothamchick.com)  So I missed out on my daily dose of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer until the evening when I accessed from home.  I do have a technical remedy but it will mean not doing it from my desktop which shouldn’t be too much of a hassle if I can find the time to move away from my little corner of a desk at work.

But back to my unposted Art Journal Every Day entry — it’s also a little harder this time around because it’s speaks to a very emotional topic for me which is my Auntie Lydia, an older sister of my Dad —  a lady who stood by as a second mother to me in my formative years, more like a governess of sorts although I wouldn’t call her that.  (My mom was mostly attending to our business, so Auntie Lydia was there making sure the little things were duly taken cared of.)  She made sure we spoke English at home, had our homework done, that we were all in bed at a reasonable hour, and that we were always well-mannered, be it on the table, when meeting people or when speaking.  She used to  be a nun who had to leave her vocation due to one cancer after another hitting her — and she managed to survive to past 60.  She’s been gone more than 20 years now, but she is always a part of me.  I should really leave the post about her when I finally put up the entry.

(Momentarily distracted by the next post on Gothamchick.com)

July and August are turning out to be very emotionally ridden for me because of Dad’s birthday and death anniversary, Auntie Lydia’s birthday, and at the end of the month comes my older brother’s birthday and death anniversary.  Isn’t it strange that birth and death can bring such opposite forms of celebration or commemoration but which nonetheless strike such a cord in our hearts?  Yet at the same time, it reminds me that they are forever with me.

I have a friend on Facebook to whom I had sent a message of condolence and prayer as she celebrated her niece’s first year death anniversary.  I did not get a response — but I had expected that.  Grief is so uncanny in being forever present.  It doesn’t have a deadline or an “expiration date”.  They say you never really get over it.  It’s just “there”.  You just learn to live with it in a better way — even if the pain doesn’t dissipate or get any lighter.   Like most things that bring pain to me, I try instead to dwell on the positive — the happy memories.  I told her I was praying for her and her niece’s family.  I left it at that.  I don’t expect conversations about grief to be a real exchange.  It gets painful, even for me.  I just had to send my well-wishes, show a little kindness.

But even for those who are still living and who poke their head into that room where we sit quietly with our memories and who evoke only pain, sometimes the “happy” is not enough to keep the pain away.  Perhaps it’s an emotional defensive reaction that too much pain eventually transforms into anger, then we go numb.  When that comes over me, I close my eyes and I shut a door in my heart.  Then I remind myself to move on to the next room.

In the beginning, thoughts about my Dad used to do that to me.  The pain and the anger were too much that I didn’t even know how I got so close to tears and I’d have to take a deep breath to stop myself from giving in.  But eventually, it subsided.  Now I just miss Papa.  Two years after he passed on, I know that dealing with the anger and the hurt is an exercise in futility except when you hope to weed it out and bid it farewell.  It brings me nothing but bad memories, so I stick instead to his laughter, and the earlier years when there was more joy.  When we were father and daughter.

We deal with grief in different ways.  I blog… I do my art.. I dream about those days when Papa made me feel like I was THAT special to him.  I hear myself telling my half-sister that we have to make allowances for Papa’s shortcomings.  He loves us but he just didn’t know how to love us the right way.  I hear my voice and I take those words to heart.  And I realize that I had the good fortune to see Papa’s better side — that during those years when I resented him for being with my half-sister and her mom, he had actually been a better father to me.

I miss him dearly, despite all his shortcomings.. despite the pain.  I sometimes wish that he was still here.  I wish I could talk to him, but the upside of him being on the other side is that now, I can talk to him wherever and whenever.  (No need for a phonecard.)  Like right now.

Postcards and Mail Art: Newspaper Collage

I’m not feeling too well today.  I don’t know if it’s the heat or just my present medical condition, but I am really feeling weak.  I did manage to do errands with the boys and get home in one piece — and even pull together a decent dinner for all of us, but I’ve mostly done everything tonight while in bed.  (Like right now.)

So yes, I’ve started putting up some of my postcards in my Flickr account which you can view by going to this collection which, as of tonight, contains 5 sets: Lighthouses, Maps, Modern New York, Americana and Mail Art.   I have a subpage on Mail Art Backgrounds which I just uploaded but I am not including that in the collection for now.   I haven’t quite figured out how I will identify the postcards that I have duplicates to trade with — but that can wait for next time.  I have a long, long way to go, but at least I got it started.  (FINALLY!)

I’ve also put up a Postcard Exchange page (see link on the sections corner up on the left or on top of the page) which is still a work in progress.

Three days ago, during the course of my bloghopping, I chanced upon some art blogs which mentioned art postcard swaps which totally piqued my curiosity.  (One particular postcard swap I would’ve loved to participate in would have been Liberate Your Art 2012 from Kat Eye Studio but sign ups are already closed. )   End result was I found myself toying with the idea of creating newspaper collages on old postcards or just about any other paper I can cut into a 4.25″ x 6″ piece.

I was so inspired I created four pieces right away during my lunch hour but which I totally ruined by applying mod podge to later at night, then trying to flatten them by pressing them between the pages of a book I weighted down with something heavy.  End result was that the mod podge caused some of the “white” of the book page to adhere to the postcard, ruining it.

Newspaper Collage on Postcard gone wrong
Newspaper Collage on Postcard Gone Wrong

Well, it’s a learning experience for me.  As you can see, I’m Michael Phelps crazy (again).. just as I was 4 years ago.

As a postcard collector, I think it’s a novel idea to pull together part of the newspaper edition of the day in one postcard or several, then keeping them for posterity or to trade.  I make sure, though, to include the newspaper banner or part of it (which, in the case of my first batch, came from the August 1, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal.)  You will see a full “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL” and the full day and date in the piece.  These are all headlines and graphics and part caption.

My next set of collages done yesterday were more photo-centered, and this time, I made sure the photo credits were likewise included.  Or at least those that I can pull.  (I seem to have forgotten to clip the credits for the photo background but I will try to remedy that if I can still find a spare copy of this issue.  I managed to make a set of four from the August 1, 2012 edition of the New York Times this time around.)    Still Michael Phelps crazy but he’s the big news in the papers these days.

[4]  Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - NYTimes 01Aug2012 #4

Right now I’m still trying to decide if I will still try and do modpodge on this one, add other embellishments or elements to it, or maybe paint in some color?  If I do add some form of sealant or glaze on top, I will make sure to flatten it between sheets of parchment paper to avoid any part of the book page from adhering to the piece.  (Lesson learned!)

When the collages are ready, I intend to offer them for trade or just to send out to anyone interested.  Or I might just keep them and instead offer up photo print postcards instead to trade.

How-tos to follow via GothamChick.com.  I brought home three copies of Friday’s Wall Street Journal but had gotten busy with the watercolor backgrounds I did instead.  (More on that in another post.)

Art Postcards: Watercolor Backgrounds