ICAD 4: When you have no ideas, repurpose stuff

ICAD 4/61; no prompt. Acrylic paint, newspaper scrap, and inchies made with a metallic Sharpie and washi tape on repurposed cardboard.

This is one of likely many “I’m-overwhelmed-by-life-and-I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-I’m-doing” ICAD pieces.

I’ve been poking through a large stash of inchies I’ve created over the years and am trying to integrate them (and likely make new ones) into this project. It’s been a long week, and my brain cells are largely spent. So, I slapped this one together on a previously made paint background with inchies and newspaper scrap.

At the very least, this gives me somewhat of a template to play with for future cards.

ICAD 3: Blackbird singing in the dead of night

ICAD 3/61; “Lyrics” prompt. Acrylic paint; Sharpies; collage atop painted inchies with punched cardstock and printer paper.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I would sing “Blackbird” by the Beatles to her in my womb. She’s 13 now.

It’s that time of year. I would have rather voted for Victor Caratini over Austin Nola for NL catcher, but oh well.

MLB all-star ballot 2021

The losing battle, Week 20.5: Doing okay

I weighed myself Tuesday (rather than the usual Monday), but didn’t get around to posting anything. Preoccupied lately.

I hit 241.2 pounds on Tuesday; that’s 1.8 pounds down from the previous week. (I weighed myself this morning and was at 239, but I’m not going to count that. My eating habits were atypical yesterday, and I’m sure it’ll even out when I can get back on track.)

The Tuesday weight gets me down 41.8 pounds since I started all this in January.

This is what happens lately when my work day gets extra-stressful: I forget to eat. And then MyFitnessPal gets cranky on me because I didn’t log enough food for the day.

Probably not the best thing to just have a cheese stick for breakfast.

ICAD 2: From darkness to light

ICAD 2/61; no prompt. Paint markers, acrylic paint.

Inspired by a lousy first day of work after several days of bereavement leave.

I wanted to work with darkness and light in the midst of it. I might play with this kind of color scheme later in this ICAD stretch. Going from darkness to light is on my mind a lot lately.

Started my day weeping over Steve Stone’s dog dying and a sad cartoon about pets who “cross the Rainbow Bridge.” (I don’t feel like trying to discern whether that is theologically correct.) Then I discovered soon enough that returning to work today was a horrible idea. I forgot to eat and drink for much of the day.

And this apparent Cubs sweep of the Padres is just making this crummy day even crummier.

Pro tip: Take as much time off as possible after the death of a close loved one. Returning to work too soon is a terrible idea.

ICAD 1: Still life with Mom

ICAD 1/61; no prompt. (Most will be no prompt.) Paint markers, Sharpies, acrylic paint, gel pen, laser printer, and repurposed cardboard.

Produced a makeshift title card this afternoon. I was testing some old markers on a card to see if they were still usable, and opted to do something with that card.

I’ve made Mom my patron saint, as it were, for this maiden voyage into the ICAD world. So, here she is (with me behind her, age 5), joining me in this venture.

(Also, I’ve created a second Instagram account for my art experiments: @gratuitous.art. Unlike my personal account, @gratuitous.art is public.)

Spending time today to search for and scan old photos for Mom’s visitation in a couple of weeks. I am finding great joy in this, as well as some incredibly terrible hair and wardrobe choices.

An outlet in an index card

Taking the plunge at last in the annual 61-day Index-Card-A-Day Challenge. You just create a piece of art on a simple index card each day. Sounds simple, but it strikes me as daunting if I think about it enough. So I’m trying to not think (much) and just do.

Aiming to post what I do each day here (and at least some of the time on the ICAD group page on Facebook, if I’m brave enough).

I sense that I’m going to need this kind of outlet for the next few months to help keep myself sane. Grateful for it.

A good omen would be a nice thing right now

The small dot on my wedding dress, next to my brother’s disembodied limb, is a ladybug. Mom was completely giddy, as ladybugs are supposed to be good luck. Few things excited Mom more than good omens, and to have one at our wedding reception had delighted her no end.

(Not the greatest photo in the world, I know, but I still love it.)

And with this, I need a break. Two ballgames in the past four days, combined with a lot of emotional churn and a lot of photos and stories to sift through, left me spent. Maybe I leaned too hard into … into something over the past week.

Starting to remember why bereavement leave requires a good chunk of time.

The Sox game brought me some joy today. But I’m kind of crashing right now, emotionally and physically. Time to lay low — maybe here, definitely on social media — for a bit. Very grateful tomorrow is a holiday.

Another day, another ballgame. I finally got to wear my A.J. Pierzynski jersey to a Sox game. But Mom’s namesake player went 0-for-4 today. And I saw a Titan’s son (Tyler Nevin, son of Phil) go 0-for-3 with the Orioles.

The good guys won, as Hawk Harrelson would say. And the fact that the Padres lost – just as they did Thursday – makes me worry that maybe my attending ballgames jinxes my hometown team.

It was still a beautiful day for baseball. And there was joy today.

Finally coming to terms with the fact that I get my most meaningful prayer time done in the car, either when parked or driving. No wonder the acedia has been so bad since I started working from home full-time more than a year ago.

Just got home. Drove around a lot today.

Chris to Brewers parking lot attendant: “So, you charge Cubs fans more for parking?”

Attendant: “Yes, sir!”

The guy had a mask on, but I could swear he was smiling.

Pressing into grief at the ballpark

One of the first things my sister told me Tuesday after she broke the news of our mom’s passing: Go ahead and go to your ballgame on Thursday. It wasn’t exactly what I was thinking about at the time.

But she reiterated the point during another phone call that night. “Daddy would want you to go,” she said. “Mams would want you to go.” Even my boss – who signed off on my day off for the game weeks ago – said the next morning, unprompted, I needed to go.

Finally, one of my wisest friends wrote me in an email this morning: “Don’t be shy about enjoying life (like ice cream and baseball) as you also press into waves of grief.”

So, we’re in Milwaukee today to watch my Padres. Mom wasn’t much of a baseball fan, but I’m still thinking of her anyway.

An obituary for Mom

Mercedes Vinluan Garcia died peacefully Tuesday afternoon in Bonita, California, slightly more than three months after celebrating her 90th birthday. Her oldest daughter and youngest sister were at her bedside.

It is awkward and deeply frustrating to have to grieve from afar. It is even more awkward to grieve when, in many respects, we lost our mother years ago. She was diagnosed with dementia around the time Frannie was born, so my daughter never knew her grandmother at her liveliest, most lucid self. But Mom’s illness never got in the way of her fierce devotion and love for all of us, and she delighted in her only grandchild – especially given that we named her after the husband she lost nearly 30 years ago.

It doesn’t help that COVID-19 concerns will likely limit arrangements to grieve together in California, even as many pandemic restrictions are being eased. It may be weeks before my sister and brother and I can lay her to rest.

I don’t really have it in me to weave the kind of lengthy, heartfelt tribute my mother deserves, so I won’t even try right now. The memories – her sardonic, surprisingly goofy sense of humor; her generosity of spirit; her almost comical worry about the tiniest things that might befall us – will arise here and there and at the weirdest times, as grief does. Just know that our hearts are broken, and we will miss her deeply.

The New Era “Local Market” hats are among the worst examples of MLB desperation for cash cow ventures.

The losing battle, Week 19: A pretty nice milestone

Late post in the wee hours of Tuesday. Just marking a bit of a happy moment here. Not much more to add. Onward.

Researched information on Amazon yesterday about litter boxes and stuff to calm agitated cats. Ever since, we’ve been getting ads for self-cleaning litter boxes and feline pheromone sprays when we stream ballgames on MLB.TV via the Amazon Fire stick on our television.

As Chris said in response to this, welcome to 21st century marketing.

We went for a walk on a hot and humid Saturday around a local reservoir. Only a bit over a mile. Only needed to stop twice for mild back discomfort and annoyance with the heat. I couldn’t have made this walk easily six months ago.

This week’s favorite subreddit: /r/CatsAreAssholes/.

And in a related development, this week’s favorite McSweeney’s list: Eight Famous Poems Rewritten by Your Asshole Cat.

The husband brought this home per the veterinarian’s suggestion to deal with some cat behavior issues.

If I knew this would work on you,” the husband said to me, “I would have bought them for the entire house.”