P!NK

In April my youngest son and I saw PINK in concert. We originally had tickets for the whole family for 2018, but she was ill and the concert was rescheduled. By the time the concert came around the following year B and D were no longer interested, so I used the money that was already spent to upgrade E and I to the Pit; after all, we are the huge fans. My dear friend and her son were able to get tickets also and joined us for the event.

E and I were so close, I swear we made eye contact a couple of times! At one point she was shaking hands with people in the pit and she grabbed my sons’ hand!! He was over the moon— I was able to capture it on video too. An experience we will never forget!

Get This Party Started!

20th anniversary

On January 9th, 1999 my husband and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary! It’s been a wild ride– combining two cultures and personalities hasn’t always been easy, but then again what marriage is? We complement each other very well: he’s the engineer with a crazy work ethic who’s very nurturing and takes good care of all of us and allows me to be me — the creative, independant, stubborn and a bit lazy one that needs her space. Our boys are mirror images, the older one takes after B and the younger one is a lot like me (but don’t tell him that! He’s 13 now and doesn’t want anything to do with mom).

We don’t always exchange gifts, but this year was special. I wanted a diamond anniversary band. We went back to our local jeweler Alexander J. Bongiorno. They had created a special addition to my wedding ring when I became a mother. For our anniversary, I chose a diamond band with two loose gold and two loose white gold bands so that I could interchange them for multiple looks. I love it and wear it everyday.

For B I surprised him with something he’s always wanted– a real cuckoo clock from Germany. I had ordered it back in early December and it was delayed a bit because it wasn’t in stock. I kind of liked that, knowing it was hand-made in Germany just for us, not sitting around the stockroom collecting dust. I chose a traditional mechanical clock that plays music, has dancing figurines, a little bird that pops out on the hour, a spinning water wheel and a cute couple that kiss. The name is Romance, perfect for an anniversary!

I didn’t realize all the intricacies of these incredible clocks until I went to purchase one. They are truly a work of art; each piece is hand carved and put together carefully in the Black Forest of Germany. The video below gives you an idea of the process.

2018

After my right Right Elbow replacement, I didn’t paint for for nearly two years! Partly because I got distracted with other interests and partly due to injuries — which I’ll explain in a bit.


DISTRACTIONS—

Instead of painting, I focused on another of my favorite passions: genealogy. It’s so easy for me to become obsessive when doing something I love. I find myself frequently getting lost in the weeds for hours. As my mom says, I’m “like a dog with a bone.” I always knew that I’m 100% Polish on my mother’s side but my father’s heritage has been more of a mystery. And with both of my paternal grandparents deceased, answers are hard to find. Luckily my grandma left some records and photos when she passed years ago. With these and some information from my dad, Ive been able to piece together a robust family tree.

My 4th great-grandparents, Nicholas Bowman and his wife, Isabell Moore from Kentucky. They were married in 1818.

I’ve traced several paternal generations and uncovered my relatives from multiple Southern states — some I can follow back to England and neighboring countries. I also had my DNA tested with both Ancestry and 23 & Me. As a result, I have been in contact with a few distant relatives, able to add several “cousins“ to my family tree, and most interestingly, resolve an old family mystery.


In addition to filling in my family tree, a friend introduced me to essential oils and I quickly became enamored with these plant products. I bought several books on the subject, scoured the Internet for credible and unbiased resources. I purchased several diffusers and filled our house with citrus’ for pick me ups, lavenders for calming, and Clove blends to fight off germs. Eventually, I began concocting blends for stomach/headaches and made foaming hand soap and face cleansers. My blends worked very well and smelled amazing. I wanted to understand more thoroughly how exactly these tiny, powerful essential oils worked.

Making Face Soap

Eventually, I discovered Andrea Butje’s online course at Aromahead Institute. You pay one fee and have access to hours of credible course material, online webinars, videos, and a forum to interact with all other past and present students and instructors. The best part is I can go at my own pace. Some people take a few months while others may take a couple of years. At the end I will earn a certificate that is acknowledged both nationally and internationally or I can go on to become a certified aromatherapist if I want to start a business. I’m currently about 50% done, but have taken a breather for a while. Looks like I might be on that “several year plan” 🙂


Injuries—

Over the July Fourth holiday we took a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico. On the 2nd of July (which happens to be my husband’s birthday) I had an awful fall. We were walking back from the beach, arm in arm, near the pool when my right foot caught some water and slipped out from under me. My knee buckled and I swear the tendon/ligament stretched like a rubber band. It was horrific.

I fell to the ground crying and yelling. In that moment, it was worse than pitocin-induced labor!! See the picture below? That’s my knee! I couldn’t really walk on it for a couple of days. I iced it, took my anti-inflammatories, and the following day I wallowed in misery in the pool and drowned my sorrows in way too many cocktails at the swim up bar — but that’s a tale for another day 🙂


Come Fall, I signed up to take an art class at the BBAC. Two days before the class began, I was purchasing a bike for my son. I took the bike for a quick ride to test it out. As I was getting off the bike, my foot caught on the bar and I fell hard onto the pavement. Because of my messed up joints and arthritis, I can’t put my hands out to break a fall like a normal person. My bad knee hit the ground first, then the back of my upper right shoulder and then my head hit the pavement really hard. I had a major goose egg for a long time!

Banged Up and Bruised

I didn’t know it at the time, but I actually fractured the end of my clavicle. The bump on my head took a long time to heal and as such I had a black eye and my chest/shoulder was black and blue and sore! Needless to say I couldn’t really start art class in two days. I talked to the program director and was able get a credit to use in the future.


Family—

For the month of November, my Indian family came to stay with us. We had a family wedding to attend in Florida at the end of the month and decided we would all fly down together. My son Dylan was 14 at the time, and had met his Indian grandparents and aunt only once when he was just a baby. My younger son, Ethan, age 11, hadn’t met them yet in person; only through conversations via the Internet.

(I went to India with my husband back in 2000. He is from Mumbai or Bombay. We spent about 10 days in the city. The trip was one I will never forget. I can’t honestly say that I liked it, nor can I say that I disliked it. It was such a different experience than anything I knew; every sense is bombarded, constantly — it’s overwhelming and exhausting! But I am digressing.)

Probably due to stress, my colitis was acting up again. Thank goodness for medical marijuana; for which I had recently acquired a license. It really helps with my arthritis flares, headaches, G.I. issues, and for just plain chilling out.

All in all it was a great visit. I made lots of homemade Indian food – thanks to my Insta pot it was easy and delicious! We did some fun shopping, visited family and friends, and the best part was that the boys got to meet/know their Grandma and Auntie.

Near the end of November, we all flew to Florida. My husband’s cousin was married in Boca Raton. He was also born and raised in Bombay. In fact, the two boys went to school together as children. His Bride is American, like me. They had a predominately Indian wedding; since it was his first and her second. The ceremony and reception were just beautiful and we all had great fun; especially my youngest, who was gobbled up by his new extended Indian family!

Right Elbow

In November I had my right elbow replaced by the same orthopedic surgeon that did the left in 2016, Dr. Michael Wiater. My right elbow has been bent ever since I can remember. Looking back at pictures of my childhood, it probably began at age 4-5. I remember doing physical therapy for it as a kid. I was very stubborn and didn’t follow up with the home exercises as I was instructed. It never hurt too bad, and as a kid, I probably didn’t pay too much attention since my ankle pain overtook everything else. Eventually, it continued to restrict and stayed in @ a 45° angle. Over the last few years, it really began to hurt and I became more self conscious of it, especially in short sleeves, summertime, etc. I knew this one would be much more of a challenge, but since the left elbow surgery was a complete success, I decided to have the right one done as well.

Dr. Wiater had a much more difficult time in the OR with this one. Usually it can be done in about 2 hours — it took him four! Apparently, my bones were very hard and even after the new elbow was in, the joint could not be fully straightened– probably due to the soft tissues. Needless to say, I was in more pain afterwards and recuperation took a bit longer. Physical therapy helped regain function and it doesn’t hurt anymore, but my arm may never be completely straight.

After this surgery, my painting life slowed way down and eventually came to a standstill. I found other creative outlets to keep busy and after a while I was afraid to paint. It’d be two more years until I would pick up a paintbrush again.

Loving Vincent

Last month my mom and I saw the movie Loving Vincent at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The four-year project, directed by a Polish husband and wife team was brought to life by 120 artists from around the world. Together, they created the first ever hand-painted movie.

Vincent collage
Some of the Paintings Used In the Movie

Told through the eyes of the Postman’s son, the directors used Vincent’s letters and his incredible works of art to explore the mystery of why or even if Vincent took his own life at only 37 years old.

One-hundred-fifty oil paintings were painstakingly reproduced in Vincent’s style by the artists. Real-life actors, shot in front of a green screen, portrayed the characters in his paintings. In the end, the 90 minute movie used a total of 64,000 frames, each one hand-painted, to tell Vincent’s story.

If you have the opportunity to watch this incredibly unique and beautiful film, please do so. You will not regret it! 

Niagara Falls

Just prior to my oral surgery, mentioned in my last post, “Catching Up“, my family went on a mini weekend vacation to Niagara Falls. Originally we were thinking of doing a big vacation to California, but because I had no idea of how the recuperation would go and my husband’s work travel schedule, we had to nix it for now. So we settled on a long weekend over the July 4th holiday to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

Continue reading “Niagara Falls”

Eli Tea Bar

Artist of the Month

Tea can take you anywhere. The Himalayas. The Hawaiian Islands. The Horn of Africa. And right back home. Every cup is a journey. Every sip, a step forward. And wherever you end up, it all starts in Detroit.

What better place to celebrate the land, people and culture of tea than a city known for creativity and community? What better place from which to visit foreign lands than the land of opportunity, itself? Right now, it’s not just Detroit’s time. It’s Detroit’s Tea Time. The only question is, where do you want to go?

– Eli, CEO / Tea Master of Eli Tea

I am happy to announce that I have been chosen as the Featured Artist of the Month at  Eli Tea Bar in downtown Birmingham, Michigan. Each month a local artist is chosen to showcase their work on the large 9′ x 13′ wall just inside the contemporary cozy atmosphere.

The Tea Bar was established by Eli in 2013. Over 50 types of tea and herbal infusions are offered and each cup of tea is brewed from loose leaf to order. They also sell loose tea in bulk and all of their teas are free of artificial ingredients and flavors.

About two months ago, I serendipitously stumbled upon their website and noticed a call for local artists. I filled out the contact info with a link to my website. When I received the email congratulating me as the featured artist for June, I was shocked and excited: I had completely forgotten about it!

For the next few weeks I prepared for the show. I had to talk my son and Mom into letting me “borrow” their beloved paintings for the month with the promise that they would not be sold! However, my son let me know that he would not be completely opposed to selling if I was offered a nice price and split it with him. Always the little business man!

It turned into a family affair: my husband helped me arrange and hang my paintings while the boys entertained themselves; one sitting outside, always on the lookout for exotic, high-end vehicles, and the other performing card tricks for the tea patrons. (He even made $10 that evening!)

Later this month we’ll have a meet and greet and if I’m really lucky maybe I’ll even sell a painting or two! Thank you Eli!