Jacknjoan

the journey

Learning How to Acrylic Pour…

My eye has been caught by beautiful paintings, made when artists use the acrylic pouring technique.  And WOW, they are gorgeous! For example,  Emma Lindström’s paintings…

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Here’s Emma worthing her magic .

So.  I wanted to try. I researched and found out what tools I would  need. I still don’t have everything.

You need lots and lots of acrylic paint. Then you need a medium to mix with your paint of you don’t buy the ready to pour kind.  I used water for some,  and GAC 800  medium gloss acrylic additive for some.  To maje the gorgeous bubbles you can use bike brakes oil! I tried coconut oil (the liquid kind for hair) for the silicone.  Hmm, then you should have a creme brulee burner to use the heat to bring out the bubbles,  I don’t have that yet.

I used paint,  oil,  and water.  Here’s my results so far… oh and metallic powered pigments. .

 

 

I’m super happy with how these turned out, I did most of  them on ceramic tiles, and one on a 28×32″ canvas.  I love love love to work big,  but I’ll have to wait until I have gallons of paint for that! Let me know that you think,  or if you have any advice or tips I’d  love to hear them

Thanks for reading,

Sarah, x

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As a Woman Thinketh…

Just a quick update, things are in the works!

So I’ve recently been self-assessing, deciding what I am carrying in my life and deciding if it serves me. This is something that I have paid lip service to in the past, as I think we all have. However, this time around I am following my realizations with actions.

I am having the difficult talks with family, I am putting my intentions out there, setting boundaries. All of these good things!

Last week, my boyfriend, Jordan, got me the book, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. It is a small volume published in 1903. In it Allen lays down his beliefs on how each individual creates their own reality with the strength of their thoughts.

Now this is nothing new, visualization, the book The Secret, manifesting your world… Right thoughts lead to right life, etc. For whatever reason, reading this short volume at this particular time, really hit home for me. Furthermore, I started to read it aloud and replaced all male pronouns with female pronouns. That change transformed the text from general advice to a more personal teaching for me.

I looked this up and saw that I was not the first to have this idea. Dorothy Jean Hulst, re-wrote the book with all feminine descriptions. There is even an audio version available, by Florence Scovel Shinn. I was very happy to see that others had seen the need for a female directed version of this book. However, it gave me pause, because I had been thrilled with the thought of recording myself reading the novel and making the same substitutions, for my friends. I thought about it and then decided, go for it! I am uncertain of copyright issues, but the book is in the public domain (the original), and I won’t be making any money off of it, so I will do it.

Recording… well, it sucks! It is harder than expected. my mouth got dry, my voice changed from one paragraph to the next, my voice got tired, there were words I didn’t know how to pronounce, the microphone kept picking up all kinds of wet mouth sounds I never realized I made!  So it is a work in progress, I won’t give up…  Wish me luck!

I’ll post here as soon as I have a solid recording, and thanks for reading…

Also, if this works, and folks like it, I am open to other ideas for readings. .

Sarah

Meanwhile, ART!

Right before the big push to move Dad in, I discovered alcohol ink paintings. I used to make art, really all throughout my life in odd spurts and starts. I missed it. When I saw my first alcohol ink painting, I know I’m late to the scene, I was re-ignited to make it myself.

There is a back room on the 1st floor, which I turned into a functioning art studio. Not ideal (no windows, and who has heard of an art studio with no natural light!) but it serves. Pics Below…

 

Top pics are before clean out, and bottom two are post. Doesn’t look super different, but after some time in there it’s now full of art and light (although artificial).

From this time spent downstairs with my dad in the next room, and the going back and forth between spaces, I discovered something amazing. My Dad Paints!

Who knew! My mom said he never showed an interest in making art before. If one good thing came of this, I would say it’s my father finding a new interest at this time. He gets so focused, and appears to get lost in making his paintings.

What a tough time, and what a time of new beginnings as well. A picking up with renewed focus of forgotten or left behind passions. It has also been therapeutic to sit with my father and make art together. I am glad for that.

BIG CHANGES! And biting off more than you can chew.

I am writing this in January of 2018. A LOT has changed since my original blog post. One major change is that my father did not fair well in the nursing home that my mother and I chose for him.

He has always been stubborn, and always slept during the day in naps and not much at night, for as long as I can remember. The nursing home needed him to be on a schedule and it turned into a clash of wills. WHich eventually led to my father being 302’d. For those who do not know what a 302 is, it is an involuntary commitment of someone when they present a clear and present danger to themselves or others. Nursing homes frequently do this to their patients when they become unmanageable.  It is sad, and terrible that this happens. But it is a fact. When I worked as a nurse in a busy, city Emergency Department I would see this frequently. Elderly people being brought to us for medical clearance and then moved on to the psychiatric hospital. For minor reasons, that made you realize it was just to get them off of their hands.

This happened to my father over Thanksgiving last year. It was a very tough time, visiting him, trying to explain why he had to be there. He couldn’t leave to smoke cigarettes and kept pulling his nicotine patches off. Which just led to him being more anxious and wound up. When I would go for my visit with him after work, I would see him behind the door trying to get out and wandering around. It was terrible.

My boyfriend could see that this was tearing me up, and so we along with my mother discussed moving him into our house, converting the first floor into his apartment and arranging for home Health Aides.  We set this up in 2 weeks. WHEEEEEWWWWWW! (Pics of pre- mid- and post 1st Floor clean out posted below)

It was madness, we were exhausted physically and emotionally. We also had to install a bathroom for him as there was only a half bath, leading us to be financially exhausted as well!

BUT, we did it. We moved Dad in on November 28th of last year. It has been 2 months and we are starting to already feel caregiver fatigue. We have aides to help 7 days a week, which believe me is lucky! Many people do not qualify for that and thank God Dad does.  But after work and having the evenings to make sure he doesn’t fall, and has his medicine, and is safe, and that we can spend some quality time together, and then also spending quality time with my boyfriend, and dinner for us (which is different than Dad’s as he does not like anything resembling healthy), and walking the dogs, and doing the dishes, and tucking him in, and checking on him when I see on the monitor we have set up that he is walking around at night…… It doesn’t stop.

Let me take a break here to say a couple of things. I do not want this to sound like I am whinging. I realize that so many people find themselves and their loved ones in a situation like this or worse. I am aware that I asked for this, fought for this.

So. From the last post to this post, a lot has changed. Did we bite of more than we could chew? Probably yes. For our on self-care, but also for Dad’s safety. Is he happier here? I believe he is happier here than he would be in a home, however he is so confused and doesn’t really understand where here is. And that really makes me sad.

The upper left picture is the 1st Floor before we did anything to it. My boyfriend bought the house last year and the previous owner just left his whole life there… The 1st floor is commercially zoned, so we left that as we were getting our living space together upstairs…

The bottom left picture is the room mid process, we did a Herculean moving day to junk everything, then painted. Dad wanted a blue and gold room, so that’s what we did!

Finally the right side picture is the finished product at the time of move in. After dad moved in we had a friend help install a full bathroom.

I’d love to hear from you, do you have a similar story? Are you going through a tough time with things right now? Please leave a comment, let me know what s going on in your world.

And thanks for reading such a looooong post. I’ll get the knack of writing shorter ones maybe.

My Dear Demented Dad

 

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This is my dad.

And this is my first post. I had big plans for starting a blog, travel blogging (although I am not traveling), blogging to earn income (I have no idea about what), and then I let it sit for awhile.. I did not know what to write about. All the research I have done has said, blog about what you know, blog about something that someone else will be interested in.  I was stumped.

I let it sit for awhile longer, and now, well now I have something to write about. It is personal, and I am not totally comfortable sharing this. I may just be writing this for myself, unsure if I will share it.

My father is 97 years old. He has lived at home with my mother up until this past Monday (*October of 2017), when we had to take him into the hospital for a urinary tract infection (UTI). Outside of this UTI, he is healthy. He has smoked a pack a day since he was 12 ( he grew up on a farm in Georgia where they grew their own tobacco). Growing up we would hear stories of how his grandmother used to sit on the porch and smoke a pipe of their home-grown tobacco. He is arthritic. It is getting harder for him to walk around, he uses a cane. When he was 83 years old we worked on a roofing job together. He has always been my strong father. Capable of anything.

My mother is significantly younger than my father, 73 years old, and has survived 2 strokes. She is not functioning at 100% nowadays, she moves at a much slower and less steady pace. My father and my mother are an enigma. If you ever asked me, I would have said they should not have stayed together. My mother meditates, she loves classical music, she sang in the Bach choir, she eats lentils and almond butter. My father is Baptist, he smokes, he drinks mountain dew and eats fried chicken, he does not like music. I do not know how they came together. I do not know how they stayed together. Now they are too old.

The problem is that my father has dementia. There is a broad spectrum of symptoms that term covers. He is confused, agitated, has significant memory loss, he’s combative. My father has been confused for some time now, living in the past. He always had told us stories of his childhood, however in the past few years he has told these stories as if he were living them. More recently he has stopped even telling us these stories. It is work to get him to talk, he has withdrawn.

His days consisted of waking, refusing to bathe, sitting on the porch and smoking. A year ago we had a house fire, he had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette. Luckily I was there and smelled smoke, my parents did not lose their home. every few weeks he will leave a tap on, and we will have to clean up a puddle in the kitchen. The wood flooring is warped and ruined now. He tries to cook on the stove, and will put a plastic bowl on top of a burner. It is dangerous, and it is hard work.

These are all things I realize that many people with aging parents deal with. My mother and I kept thinking of ways to “get by”. There is an aide that comes to the house to help 6 days a week. we are getting by. Or we thought we were. His increased confusion, led us to take him to the Emergency Department. He had a raging UTI, and was admitted for IV antibiotic treatment. His confusion is worse in the hospital. When I stay the night with him, he does not recognize me, he gets up every half hour at night and wants to go on the porch. the other night, they had to give him Haldol. An antipsychotic, to medically restrain him. He was agitated, he did not understand, he wanted to leave, and was swinging at nurses and aides that were trying to stop him.

This is a terrible thing to see your father going through. I am a nurse, this is something that I have done before to someone else’s loved one. I understand that this is for the patients safety. It is a terrible thing.

My mother cannot control him or keep him safe. Now we are having conversations about nursing homes. We went to look at nursing homes yesterday. It is moving so quickly. From a professional viewpoint, the homes we have looked at are good, they offer activities, their patients aren’t bedridden, there is stimulation, it is safe. From a daughters viewpoint it is sad, and scary, and not ok. These visits have me wishing we lived in Norway, where I’ve read the elder care system is terrific and compassionate.

The guilt. I have guilt. I should be taking my father in to live with me, I should take care of him like he took care of us when we were babies. In other countries it is common to have multi-generational households. Where everyone lives together and cares for each other. I am struggling with this guilt, and feeling selfish. I keep coming back to , “But can I keep him safe?” That is the only point I feel certain about, I cannot keep him safe.

So. This is where we are at right now. I have no real purpose for this post. A release maybe, a ‘getting it out and down’. I know that I am not alone, that so many are going through this, or have gone through this.

It is not an easy thing. Placing your loved one in a home.