Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Story - Crab Apple

58th in the Tuesday Story Series

I have always enjoyed browsing through antique stores. The more I did, the more I learned and began to recognize certain aspects of age and what was once popular. For instance, I would often see a style of dishware that had a distinctive look of its own - not formal, but not mass produced either. When I check the backs of the dishes, they most often were stamped "Blue Ridge Pottery", sometimes I would find the older stamp "Southern Pottery. Not every dish was stamped on the back, but most were.

Southern Pottery, later Blue Ridge Pottery, was begun in Erwin, Tennessee, in the Blue Ridge mountains in 1938. It was an economically depressed area of the Appalachians and  women were hired from the surrounding areas to come and learn how to paint in the folk art style by practicing on broken pottery. Once the skill was learned, she became part of an assembly line of sorts, one painting leaves, one painting the fruit, one painting the trim, etc. The patterns were changed among groups of women to avoid monotony. Blue Ridge Pottery became the largest producer of china in the US during the WW II years because of restrictive imports laws. There are hundreds of distinct patterns, including plaids, flowers, people, birds, animals, farms, and fruit. No two pieces in a pattern are alike because of the hand painting.

I became intrigued with the pattern known as "Crab Apple" and began to collect the plates. Once I started my own antiques business, I found it easier to collect some of the harder to find pieces such as casseroles, coffee pot and salt and pepper shakers. I noticed that in certain parts of the county, you could find more of a certain pattern and sometimes you would see none at all. We still have everything I collected and use them frequently. Because of the under glazing process the company had developed, the pattern is as bright as it was when it was made. I enjoy seeing the brush strokes in each piece, thinking about the hand who made them, and the fact that they were helping their families stay together by providing much needed income. There is a type of connectedness there for me and a sense of something very unique and American.

 After WW II ended, the company found it hard to compete with cheaper imports from Japan, and also with the new style of plastic dishwares being offered. (I cannot believe people preferred plastic to something this pretty, but they did!) Now there are clubs and collective societies which celebrate the history and beauty of these American dishes, and there is a collector for every pattern. There are many websites to help you identify a pattern piece, but one of the best is this link. Once you are there, click on the pattern's button on the left side of the page; the patterns are listed alphabetically.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Hope For Tomorrow

My latest piece, this is mostly acrylic paint and a little bit of matte gel medium, with a couple of very old tattered book pages underneath the right side.

Hope For Tomorrow
(click for details)

On a 9 x 12 wrapped canvas, I used a limited palette of colors to make another "Street Wall". The decay and grunge are there, but they don't look depressing. Age has softened the colors rather than beat them up. 

I think I will need to start using some larger canvasses. I am thinking that these would look good larger! I really like it now, but I'm going to grow a little bit and start doing art a bit bigger!

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Friday, September 14, 2012

They Wait

I finished another artwork. Actually this is the second one, I did another one with a different focus, and I really disliked it after it was finished. But I learned some things and a good coat of gesso over the canvas and it can start anew. No, I won't show it! (I know just who would say that!) So, here is the second one.

They Wait
(click for details)

On a 12 x 12 wrapped canvas, this is a collage/mixed media piece. The tree and photo were transferred; the tree was a bit tricky for transferring and I ended up painting most of it in. There's some soft texture and running and pooling of paint. I also used oil pastels.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day Trimmed In Black - story

I wrote this story in 2011 and have published it every anniversary. I still have difficulty when viewing a large plane at a lower level, making a turn in the air. The scars run deep.
I hope that we never forget as a nation the horror of that time. 

A Day Trimmed In Black

My maternal grandmother was born on September 11, 1897, so while growing up that was the important fact to me about that date. After she died in October 1991, I sent flowers to my mother on what would have been my grandmother's birthday the following year. After 2001, however, I unfortunately had a different reason to remember the 11th of September.

As the anniversary comes up marking that tragic time, all of us who are American citizens, (and many who aren't) remember where we were when the events unfolded. It was a difficult day for all of us. Personally, for several hours that day, fear camped out beside me on the sofa because my husband had been in New York and was flying out that morning.

When a friend called me about 9:30 to tell me to turn on the news, I sat there in shock, and all that was being said at the time was that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. What plane? From where? No one knew. I quickly called my husband's assistant and asked her what time John's flight was supposed to leave New York and she told me that it had just left and that some of the men in the group who had been scheduled for an upcoming flight had told her that they were just informed that there would be no more planes out. Knowing that I could not get a hold of John while he was in flight, I was very afraid that the plane was his which had hit the building and then when it came out that the flight was from Boston, I had a such sense of relief which almost made me feel guilty.

John had been in the Financial District, right in the area of the World Trade Center, for a business meeting all day on Monday, September 10th, with several other businessmen from Charleston. He told me later that when his plane took off, it circled back around to fly over New York City on its way south. They passed the tower from a short distance away, and could see the black smoke billowing out. The pilot spoke to the passengers and told them that a small plane had accidentally flown into the building, but John and several others realized that no small plane would have caused the amount of smoke and flames they saw. There was no other word from the pilots until about a half hour later, when it was announced that the plane would be landing at Norfolk VA because of an emergency. No one on the plane knew what had happened until they came into the airport terminal.

He called me right away, knowing I'd be very concerned about his whereabouts. I don't think I was ever so relived to hear his voice! He sounded somewhat in shock, and there was so much confusion and noise in the terminal I could hardly hear him. He said that the pilot had told them they were the last plane out of the New York airport. We also realized later that the second plane to hit the towers had been in the same air space his plane was in, several miles behind. That gave us both chills.

His group was trying to find a rental car for the trip home, while the other part of the traveling contingency was now stuck in New York and would not arrive home for several more days. About midday, John's group finally found a minivan and started the long drive home. Traffic on I-95 was almost bumper to bumper the entire way, and they spent the trip listening to the radio and getting calls from their family members with updates as the day progressed. When I finally heard the van pull up about 10 pm, I rushed out the door and threw my arms around him. Even though I knew he was all right, watching the news programs all day made his absence much more acute and being with him was the only thing I really wanted!

On September 11, there will be many speeches and events marking the time since this tragedy happened. We will remember and pray for those families whose lives were directly impacted by the fall of the Towers. Life in this world has no certainty, but life in the next does and that understanding gives us the grace to go forward each day. Love the people in your life and let them know it with hugs and smiles. And let them love you and tell you how important you are to them!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Dog and The Shirt

When Tabitha comes over to help us twice a week, she often does the ironing. There isn't that much, it's usually some of John's dress shirts. But for some reason when she's ironing, our dog Abby will immediately come and join her. She loves to stand right under the shirts as they hang from the board, and often she doesn't move for several minutes. We haven't figured out why - often the shirts aren't warm yet because Tabitha has just started to iron it. My bed is not far from where the ironing board is set up, so this time I was able to get some shots to share with you.

Ahhhhh, feels so good!!

Click on any picture you want to see closer.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Some Really Slow Days

I am really missing John and Tabitha right now and am so glad they are returning tomorrow. They will have been gone for 6 days. Having this illness affects everyone touched by it who serve as caretakers and I am glad they could have a vacation.

Ampligen is back in the news again. The one medication that has been proven to help ME sufferers has been so far turned down by the FDA, or they are dragging their collective feet as they have the past few years. Just think though, if you were one of the MANY doctors in the US who have denied the existence of ME, you would be terribly embarrassed to have medicine approved for something you have insisted did not exist. And the American Medical Assc. is a very strong and influential lobby. But someday this medicine will be allowed to become legal and I really don't care what that does to any of those doctor's reputations! There are too many sick people speaking out and advocating through the Internet now, and many doctors and organizations joining them and pushing through research. Canada and Belgium have used Ampligen for years with good results. In February 2013, Ampligen has a chance at getting approval with the FDA.

The following essay was written by another blogger and I am sharing it here. It applies to all of us, and we are learning to speak up. Most ME sufferers have fibro as well.


1. My pain - My pain is not your pain. It is not caused by inflammation. Taking your arthritis medication will not help me. I can not work my pain out or shake it off. It is not even a pain that stays put. Today it is in my shoulder, but tomorrow it may be in my foot or gone. My pain is believed to be caused by improper s
ignals sent to the brain, possibly due to sleep disorders. It is not well understood, but it is real.

2. My fatigue - I am not merely tired. I am often in a severe state of exhaustion. I may want to participate in physical activities, but I can't. Please do not take this personally. If you saw me shopping in the mall yesterday, but I can't help you with yard work today, it isn't because I don't want to. I am, most likely, paying the price for stressing my muscles beyond their capability.

3. My forgetfulness - Those of us who suffer from it call it fibro fog. I may not remember your name, but I do remember you. I may not remember what I promised to do for you, even though you told me just seconds ago. My problem has nothing to do with my age but may be related to sleep deprivation. I do not have a selective memory. On some days, I just don't have any short-term memory at all.

4. My clumsiness - If I step on your toes or run into you five times in a crowd, I am not purposely targeting you. I do not have the muscle control for that. If you are behind me on the stairs, please be patient. These days, I take life and stairwells one step at a time.

5. My sensitivities - I just can't stand it! "It" could be any number of things: bright sunlight, loud or high-pitched noises, odours. FMS has been called the "aggravating everything disorder." So don't make me open the drapes or listen to your child scream. I really can't stand it.

6. My intolerance - I can't stand heat, either. Or humidity. If I am a man, I sweat...profusely. If I am a lady, I perspire. Both are equally embarrassing, so please don't feel compelled to point this shortcoming out to me. I know. And don't be surprised if I shake uncontrollably when it's cold. I don't tolerate cold, either. My internal thermostat is broken, and nobody knows how to fix it.

7. My depression - Yes, there are days when I would rather stay in bed or in the house or die. I have lost count of how many of Dr. Kevorkian's patients suffered from FMS as well as other related illnesses. Severe, unrelenting pain can cause depression. Your sincere concern and understanding can pull me back from the brink. Your snide remarks can tip me over the edge.

8. My stress - My body does not handle stress well. If I have to give up my job, work part time, or handle my responsibilities from home, I'm not lazy. Everyday stresses make my symptoms worse and can incapacitate me completely.

9. My weight - I may be fat or I may be skinny. Either way, it is not by choice. My body is not your body. My appestat is broken, and nobody can tell me how to fix it.

10. My need for therapy - If I get a massage every week, don't envy me. My massage is not your massage. Consider how a massage would feel if that charley horse you had in your leg last week was all over your body. Massaging it out was very painful, but it had to be done. My body is knot-filled. If I can stand the pain, regular massage can help, at least temporarily.

11. My good days - If you see me smiling and functioning normally, don't assume I am well. I suffer from a chronic pain and fatigue illness with no cure. I can have my good days or weeks or even months. In fact, the good days are what keep me going.

12. My uniqueness - Even those who suffer from FMS are not alike. That means I may not have all of the problems mentioned above. I do have pain above and below the waist and on both sides of my body which has lasted for a very long time. I may have migraines or hip pain or shoulder pain or knee pain, but I do not have exactly the same pain as anyone else.

I hope that this helps you understand me, but if you still doubt my pain, your local bookstore, library and the internet have many good books and articles on fibromyalgia.

Copyright © Christina Settje

Thanking God that all research and organizations are under His control!

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