I had the best of intentions when I wrote that last post 8 months ago - and then life stepped in and mucked up my plans. A lot has transpired over the last 3/4 of a year the most significant of which was the death of my mother. She had multiple illnesses including stage 4 lung cancer and emphysema. The last few months of her life involved numerous trips to the emergency room, brief hospitalizations to stabilize her, returning home - rinse and repeat. The final few months were especially tragic - I had finally gotten her to agree to receiving Hospice care and I made arrangements for her to have 24/7 care so she could go home - she'd been back and forth between a rehab facility and the hospital for weeks - she'd get stable at the hospital, go back to rehab, code and then be resuscitated (despite her Advance Directives indicating that she had other wishes), then back to rehab - (again rinse and repeat) - I flew to Phoenix more times that I can remember, each time thinking it would be the last and each time she pulled through. Unfortunately the last time her heart stopped it was the day before she was supposed to be moved home - May 20th. It was very sad to me that she didn't get to see her precious cats and her lovely home before she died - she hadn't been home in well over 2 months. Instead she died alone in the rehab facility. My adult son and I flew to Phoenix to tend to immediate business - find a placement for the cats, deal with things in the house, make funeral arrangements. . . We took care of what we could in our rather wobbly state and drove home with her van - the wonder van that has the lift in the back for her power wheelchair/my mobility scooter. The wonder van is 12 years old and when we drove it back to Washington, it had 29,000 original miles on it - I took it in for a 30,000 mile service in Phoenix and it was pretty funny to see the look on the service guy's face when he checked the odometer. The wonder van now has 36,000 miles on it - we drove it back from Phoenix and then a few weeks ago Charles and I drove it back to Phoenix to make arrangements to empty the house and sell it, turn off the cable, all of those things that need to be done. Then we drove back to Washington taking the long way via Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Santa Maria, CA, San Francisco and then the Oregon Coast. It was a long trip - a bit over 4500 miles but it was good for us to just be together and drive in the car - sometimes chatting - sometimes just being quiet watching the world go by. It was a trip that was planned for both of us - Charles got lots of desert time and I got lots of ocean time. We went to lots of museums and gardens and cemeteries. We ate at dinky little local restaurants and sometimes just got off the highway and investigated little towns. We could do that every day for the rest of our lives - just explore the world - learn new things, meet new people, eat different things - we tried things like cactus in green sauce and Peruvian beans. I had the best french toast in the world at a little place on the side of the road that was decorated with more dusty plastic plants that I thought existed in the world. We ate the best Mexican food in a little bar in South San Francisco in the middle of the afternoon where we were the only customers and the waitress sat in the booth behind us watching Mexican soap operas on t.v. We reaffirmed our relationship with one another which was important because I've been so distant and preoccupied with my mother's health and living situation. I feel that the I am finally coming out of the funk - my Mother's death represents a closure for me - a closure of a situation that has sometimes been quite volatile. I no longer have the constant stress of not knowing when the phone would ring and I'd need to get on a plane as soon as I could. But there is also the realization that I'm on my own - well I've been on my own for decades but on my own as far as not having parental support. My mother was never really that supportive but at least she was there. And now she's not. I need to figure out what to do with the cremains - my parents are currently in a gift bag from the funeral home in Phoenix sitting in the closet so that the dogs and/or cats don't get into them - Which leads me to my plan - (there's always a plan brewing) - I have been inspired by Sunny Cavahlo to do ceramics again - but my kiln building has been unused for over 10 years and being at the back of the property I'm certain it has become the home to numerous creatures - and the kiln there is giant - it's my old production kiln - I don't want to have to stand on my head to load a kiln again - I'm too old and crippled for that nonsense. And so, I'm taking the money from the sale of my mother's house and having a new studio built! A studio for the noisy, messy stuff - the clay and metal and mosaics and fabric dying - a studio for the big noisy tools and maybe even the big messy canvases. The quiet, tidy things will stay in the indoor studio - the fabric and ribbons and beads - makes sense huh? I'm very excited - (who wouldn't be?) And so I'm researching outbuildings - and tiny kilns. ********** This post was begun a few months ago - the end of August I think and I never finished it. The new studio has been built, I'm still researching small kilns but I have purchased a dreamy new sewing machine that I am learning how to operate and I've joined the Bead Journal Project for another year. Hopefully that will prompt me to do some art and post here more regularly. Until then, here is a photo of the sweet new machine.