Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial's Day Weekend Finds

This weekend of Memorial Day was quite a whirlwind of study, travel, fun, and treasure hunting.

I always love to search for things that can be re-used. It's such a score finding things that I think brings beauty to my life and the lives of people around me.

We were able to stop at a church yard sale where they were selling grab bags for $7. I was able to score some nice brand shoes and summer sandals (all of which didn't fit me). And you may wonder why I bought them. But I'll get to that.

On the road down the cabin, we stopped by to get some fruits, where we met some Vets. I had an opportunity to thank them, donate to the fund and I got a little plastic rose for the gesture. (Can't forget the Vets this weekend!!!!)

So we headed down to the cabin, where my son Noah had a wonderful time playing on a inflatable "pool" on the deck that his daddy built. He was sooo happy to spend time with daddy and his aunts and mawmaw.

At the cabin, I was happy to give the shoes away. The shoes and sandals were put to use immediately. It's sooo enjoyable to be able to give, to get out of the box of thinking only for oneself. I received some nice presents too.

On our trip back, we passed by an estate sale, on a historic Corinthian house in Carthage, NC. We swung around like vultures (At least, I felt like one). I walked through someone's home and the first thing I encountered was a grand piano. I felt an immediate kinship to the lady who passed away. I looked through the music books, the collection of books, decorations, remnants of a beautiful life. We picked up a nice set of antique, red furniture, silver tea set, and these lovely wall hangings.

I always examine paintings or pieces of art that are being sold at flea markets/yard sales/estate sales. These pieces are expressions of someone's sense of beauty, someone's inner world at some point in time. I like to imagine the lady who passed away drew these pieces because it was in her room, properly framed. But who knows?

Hope you had a nice weekend too! Tell me about your finds :)

xo, Jem

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mantra and Mandala

Movement from one place to another can be physically exhausting and emotionally challenging especially after childbirth. It is difficult for two people to come to terms with a new phase in life, without examining the activities that is/was fulfilling, when beginning to raise a healthy child. NUTS AND BOLTS: But geese louise being a good momma while trying to maintain what you once were is next to impossible! For the past several months, I've dealt with being uprooted while remaining nurturing to myself and to my baby. Nurturing to myself has always meant creative expression via art or writing. But I've found that I didn't have time. The baby was a bit colicky and I had minimal help. Emotionally, I was going through post-partum depression, mourning the life I've left behind while trying to deal with the physical havoc of pregnancy. Anger colored my depression. Exercise was healthy but still unfulfilling. Then I began to meditate and sporadically practice yoga. Finally, I created a mandala. While painting this object, I began by not knowing my focus. It took several weeks to simply set up the brushes and prime the wood, and designing the pattern, because every few minutes I would have to run back to the next room to see why my baby was crying or complaining. Eventually, I got to a point in the process where I could do what I was doing next to him, so he could see my colors. Seeing me paint slowly calmed him down. There was an acute moment of peace and serenity when I realized my mandala's focus was on "health and wellness and happiness" and what this means to others around me. My god but that was a magical moment! There was a lot of chaos and insane amount of upheaval for people that kept me frozen in that particular space. What tied me to unhappiness literally unraveled. And my efforts for health and wellness blossomed in a matter of one day!! I was accepted to one of the best nursing programs in the country in what seems to me as a miracle. I'm now studying in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Nursing. My new space of "health, wellness and happiness". I am a firm believer that even if you don't know your intention, creating a mandala can help you gain clarity and can harness spiritual forces. As part of the act of spiritually releasing a mandala, I'm giving this piece away. (unfinished on this photo)



Thursday, May 2, 2013


During the Bank Bailout of 2008, everyone were friends, holding hands singing kumbaya, when they believed that the economy was going to crash. Everyone was afraid. What jobs are we going to have? Where are we going to go? What are we going to do? The bluecollared and white collared workers were united in fear. Without jobs, who was going to pay for the Armani suits, and the Italian shoes? Who's gonna go out for drinks and tip the waitstaff? In the middle of this confusion, an unknown bartender artist continues to paint on. And in an effort to commemorate the newfound friendships, she paints a series portraits for the wealthy bankers and CEOs of a local bar. One of the bankers, O’Sully, who got laid off kept telling the bartender his woes. Then the bartender artist also got laid off. They kept in touch, everyone had to keep in touch. Everyone were friends. The artist, no longer a bartender, lost her home. Jobless, she is sheltered by her friends. She gathers up her resources and hosts an art opening, an intimate gathering of friends. She also invites O’Sully even though she knew the guy couldn’t buy anything. During the first day of the opening, O’Sully came by and admired the paintings. He kept saying, if only he had a job he would purchase one of the paintings, which he thinks looks like him. During the second day of the opening, an obsessed x of the artist came by to take a look at the paintings. He still harbored some anger over the manner in which they broke up. It hurt his pride that he was a top exec who got dumped by a little nobody. A few paintings sold, but not enough to get the artist out of living off of her friends’ couches. So she concocted a plan that would help everyone win. It was brilliant. She forwards O’Sully’s resume to her X. Lo and behold her X had a “job” lined up for O’Sully. X’s company interviews O’Sully. There were 9 sets of interviews. Each interview was more difficult than the last. O’Sully was even placed in hot tortured chamber where he was forced to solve a puzzle while being stared at by all the people who worked for the company. After the final torture, and any more torture would be a bit too bizarre after that, he had his secretary call O’Sully. The boss is gone this week but he will call you next week. And next week would come up and same story. O’Sully was desperate and kept bugging the artist. The artist felt responsible for the torture O’Sully was going through. This same torture went on for four months. Every few weeks O’Sully would practically beg the artist for her help in getting the job. Feeling responsible for the torture O’Sully was going through, She goes to the bar and talks to her old banker/exec friends to get some advice. They asked questions like how much would she get if she helps O’Sully get a job? She said, O’Sully will buy a painting. How much is the painting? $700. They laughed. That’s the cheapest placement fee in they’ve ever heard of. In the corporate world, getting a job has a normal finder’s fee of up to 20% of the year’s salary! It’s a common practice. Your friend O’Sully is f*cking you over, and X knows that. Make a deal with O’Sully and get a fee on top of purchasing the painting. Then get in touch with X. EVERYONE WINS! BANK BAILOUT! So she calls up O’Sully who promises to pay up a fee and purchase the painting. Then she calls up her X who says, Come and see me. So she came to see him. Two weeks later, O’Sully gets a job. Things didn’t work out between X and the artist. He was X because of the same reason why he was X to begin with. O’Sully never pays up. He’s a typical Wallstreet cat. No contract signed? Not a real deal. A friend? What friend? Everyone Wins??! Sorry. X couldn’t care less. Doubly F*cked. So a year later, O’Sully is buying Armani suits, and Italian suits again. The artist is still sleeping in the couch of friends, still jobless. NO BAILOUT FOR THE LITTLE GUY The artist tried to donate the painting to the cancer society. Even the cancer society didn’t want the painting. Too much baggage they said. Wall street people are cancerous. The painting was later burnt at an Occupy Wall St movement