Posted in Emotions, Jewelry, Pain, Peripheral neuropathy, Photography, PTSD

Art And Other Stuff

I got up early on Wednesday to shoot the eclipse. I had good and not so good results. I was able to shoot the eclipse until only a tiny slice of moon was left. I wanted to shoot the rest of the eclipse, but the moon fell behind clouds then set behind the mountains.

Eclipse 1A 1-31-18 Use this oneEclipse 2 1-31-18Eclipse 3 1-31-18Eclipse 6 1-31-18Eclipse 8 1-31-18

I’ve been making more jewelry. I had ordered a new supply of beads and I’ve been playing with designs. These are all in my store, Deb Thuman Art. I’ve got these and a number of other pieces sale priced for Valentine’s Day. Shipping is included in the price.

Purple peacock earrings

Glass peacock feather earrings.

Oblong green earrings

African opal and glass.

Heart earrings 1 2-2-18

Brass hearts.

Green peacock earrings

Glass peacock feather earrings.

Green glass earrings

Recycled green glass earrings.

I’ve been having severe pain in my feet this week. I had to miss my neurobiology class on Thursday because I can’t function on three hours sleep. I love that class, but I had been frustrated by all the emphasis on the brain. I’ve got pain in my feet, my brain is just dandy. Or is it? I’ve been reading Childhood Interrupted. In the book, the authors mention healing neural pathways in the brain. The theory is that once the brain is healed, then the other diseases will also heal. I know there’s a mind/body interaction. I know that PTSD causes physical changes in the brain – changes that can be healed and reversed. Perhaps the real reason I was drawn to take neurobiology has nothing to do with my feet but rather with healing old wounds. Gabapentin doesn’t cure peripheral neuropathy or even halt the progression of the nerve damage. What it does is more or less stop the pain. Sometimes. Other times, it just leaves me stoned and walking into walls.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a special gift for the special person in your life? Check out the Valentine’s Day Special in my store here.

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Posted in bipolar disorder, Pain, PTSD

Crud

I have the crud.

The Friday before Christmas, we tried to get together with a friend to celebrate her birthday. Jim had the crud, so he stayed home. The Friday before New Years, we tried to get together to celebrate Jim’s birthday and my friend got the crud and couldn’t make it. This week, we tried to get together for lunch, but I have the crud. We’ll try again next Friday.

Crud sucks. The federal regulations for pseudo-ephedrine are absurd, ineffective, and a flaming nuisance. Claritin-D used to come in 750 mg strength. It was great. Now with the current regulations, I can only get Claritin-D in 270 mg dose. These are 24 hour pills and there are 15 in the box. They cost $20 if I buy the Walgreens version (which I did). I have to take at least two of them to get any relief. I can only buy 3.6 grams per day and only 9 grams in a 30-day period. Jim bought a box shortly before Christmas. I bought a box today. If I need any more, I may have to have the cat go buy them. And what does all this do to stop the production and use of methamphetamine? Not a darned thing. Why? As a client explained, it’s too difficult to extract the pseudo-ephedrine from Claritin-D. As for the number of meth addicts? I don’t see any progress there. I’m basing that on drug cases I’ve handled.

I’ve been dealing with slamming into both depressed and manic states. After the last trip to the neurology clinic at the medical school in El Paso, I had blood drawn. Lots and lots of blood. The good news: the ANA test is negative and I don’t have an auto-immune disease. The expected news: My A1C is in the pre-diabetes range. The glucose monitor will arrive this week. I’ll be monitoring my glucose, keeping a food diary, and hoping to have a better A1C result in a few months. The unexpected news: I got a call asking if I wanted financial aid to pay for a blood text that got sent out of network. How much is the blood test? $4,000. Nope – no financial aid and don’t run the test. Next, I got a letter telling me the out-of-network lab can’t use the blood that was sent because it was drawn at a hospital rather than in my doctor’s office.

I recovered from that, and called my HMO to see if the prior authorization request that was submitted early December for my appointment at the neurology clinic at the medical school in Albuquerque had been authorized. No, because the paperwork from my doctor’s office was wrong. I called the doctor’s office and asked for a call back or I would camp out in the office until I got a satisfactory answer. Turned out I had to camp out in the office. The doctor’s office sent in corrected paperwork late December. My appointment is for January 18. I get to call later this week to see what progress has been made. If I have to cancel this appointment, I won’t get another appointment for about 4 months – if I’m lucky.

I’ve decided I don’t want to go back to the medical school in El Paso. I had been wondering most visits if I were the only one in the room who had ever taken cell biology. I had a nerve conduction series that left me furious. First, I had to deal with a resident who is clearly hearing impaired and clearly too arrogant to do anything about it. He’s going to kill someone eventually. The neurologist supervising the test, after I asked in frustration how she would feel if someone told her she would be in pain for the rest of her life, said, “You’re not managing your pain well enough.” THIS ISN’T MY FAULT YOU TWIT. I didn’t say that. I asked her who was doing research on peripheral neuropathy. “No one here.” When I got home, I did a google search and found 496 clinical tests. There’s a pretty nice one in France, but I doubt the cheapskates at the HMO will authorize trips to France. There is a clinical test in Salt Lake City and in Albuquerque. That they might be willing to authorize.

The next appointment, I was in severe pain. When the pain hit a 5, I took a double dose of gabapentin and sat hooked up to a TENS unit for an hour or so. That’s when the pain hit a 7. I took another double dose of gabapentin. That meant I had taken a full day’s dosage in a span of 2 hours.The pain dropped back to a 5. I was walking into walls, stoned out of my mind, in pain, and pissed off. The neurologist said he could raise the dose. “No you can’t, because I won’t take it.” The gabapentin works sometimes, but not always. There’s no pattern that I’ve been able to spot.

After being told the nerve conduction series showed damage to the axion, I started asking microbiology type questions. Turns out, I really was the only one in the room who had taken cell biology. It was clear that the neurologist had no idea what I was asking about. I told him that I thought I figured out the problem. He’s used to dealing with big things and I’m used to microbiology. He told me neurology wasn’t rocket science. I strongly suspect the $4,000 blood test was retaliation. The test if for a genetic abnormality. No one asked me if anyone else in the family has neuropathy. And if this were genetic, it would have shown up 40 years earlier.

All of this excitement caused an outbreak of hives. It took me a couple days to figure out the redness and swelling was hives. Usually, stress hives start on the insides of my arms. This time, it was on the outsides of both arms. One antihistamine cleared up the hives.

I’ve been working, now and again, on designing the perfect purse. I know what I want…zippered pockets on the outside, the top with a recessed zipper, and a flap with a zippered pocket. I also need a pocket on the end that will hold a water bottle. I need a purse large enough to hold my 12.9” iPad Pro. I was trying to work out a pattern yesterday when Tinker decided to help by insisting on sitting on the drawing paper. He wants to be by his humans and he likes the sunbeams in the sewing room.

One odd thing has been happening. I’ve been having flashbacks of crap that happened to me when I was growing up. My psychologist, when I asked him if flashbacks ever end said it was finite. Got news for you. PTSD is for life. It’s been more than 45 years since I lived in an insane asylum run by a violent drunk and a violent narcissist. I’m still having flashbacks. Years ago, I stumbled upon a way to deal with the flashbacks – look at the memory, acknowledge that what happened was horrible. Since then, the flashbacks haven’t been debilitating. They seem to have less power. They also seem to show no signs of ever stopping.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. See what some other artists have been doing.

Please stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Emotions, Photography, Pottery, PTSD

Pottery & Pondering

On Sunday, I re-fired the pieces that didn’t fire well the first time and fired freshly glazed pieces. I’m almost satisfied with the plates.

Plate 8 9-9-17Plate 7 9-9-17Plate 6 9-9-17Plate 5 9-9-17Plate 4 9-9-17Plate 3 9-9-17Plate 2 9-9-17Plate 1 9-9-17

I like what happened with the glaze experiments on the rattling rocks.

Rattling Rocks 2 9-9-17Rattling Rocks 1 9-9-17

I gotta stop making boob soap dishes.

Soap dishes 2 9-9-17

Jim did a bit of glaze experimenting and I’ve no idea what he did.

Soap dishes 1 9-9-17Soap Dish 3 9-9-17

I decided to sew up a pair of shorts I had cut out a few weeks ago. When I went to attach the waist band, I realized I had neglected to cut a piece out. So I cut another piece. Still not enough waistband. I’ll give it another try later.

I’ve been working on an exercise that is supposed to allow for emotional and physical healing. I write about the crap that happened when I was a kid and the crap that happened when I was working for the Public Defender Department. This is triggering flashbacks and leaving me wanting to curl up into a ball and never again emerge. The theory behind this exercise is that I’ve buried the feelings, the feelings need to emerge, and then I can move on. I’m reading Childhood Disrupted –  I got the title wrong last week – and that’s from where the exercise comes. Sometimes, when I look back on all the years I’ve struggled with this crap, all the wasted time in my life infuriates me. What could I have become if I had decent parents?

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.

You can find my web page, Deb Thuman Art, here.

Posted in Fiber, Photography, Pottery, PTSD

Fiber, Clay and Ruminations

I’ve been working on different things this week. I am reading “Childhood Interrupted.” It’s about adverse childhood experiences, how they alter one’s brain and express themselves years later in physical ailments, and how to heal. I grew up in an insane asylum run by a violent narcissist and a violent drunk. As you might imagine, I had a lovely childhood. I wonder if the peripheral neuropathy and the hypothyroid are yet another gift from my mother and her husband. I’m slowly working my way through the section on healing. One exercise is to write about the adverse experiences. I’m doing that. No one is ever going to see these writings. The process is causing flashbacks.My psychologist told me that the nightmares and flashbacks are finite and would eventually stop. I haven’t had a nightmare in several years, but the flashbacks still happen. It’s been 45 years since I lived with the narcissist and the drunk. How long does it take for the flashbacks to stop?

Most kids only have one or two crappy parents. I get to have three. My father, near as I can tell is still alive. Near as I can tell, he still lives in Houston. I saw him once in 1988. Then he walked out on me a second time. For most kids, the absent parent only walks out once. My father walked out twice. How did I ever manage to be so lucky? I’ve been watching the news to learn the names of those who died in the storm. So far, my father’s name hasn’t been listed. I’m amazed that I’m having difficulty dealing with the uncertainty and the notion of his death. He doesn’t mean much to me alive, but I’m still bothered by the though of him dead. I wonder how long it takes to get over an absent parent who walks out twice. I’m angry because he’s a selfish prick who thinks of himself and refused to even remotely think about me. Hey! I’m your kid, you asshole! When I did see him, I asked him why he left. He had no answer to give me. I was looking for a rational reason. No. It’s not rational. It’s just selfish and self-centered. Yes, evil people become parents. It happens all the time. There will never be a rational explanation.

A few years back, I started working on Bedside Boxes, ceramic boxes designed to hold things you don’t want to leave out in the open but don’t want to have to hunt for when you want to use them. I still like the idea, but it’s expensive to ship ceramics. I have been making Toy Bags. This is storage for toys you don’t want the kids to find but don’t want to have to hunt for when you want to play with them. There’s a place for the toy as well as a place for the charging cable

On my first attempt, I used something akin to Peltex for interfacing. That was way too stiff. My latest attempt utilized quilt batting. That worked out much better. I was going to have the side seams on the inside of the bag, but that would have made the flap look odd. Instead, I used fancy thread, fancy stitches and sewed the side seams on the right side. I put a row of hearts along the flap. How to close this? A button and button hole would work, but would that leave enough space for the toy? I decided on a button and a ribbon. The ribbon wraps around the button to hold the flap closed. This allows the Toy Bag to expand a bit to accommodate a toy. The bag is about 12″ wide and about 4″ tall.

Toy Bag 1 9-3-17Toy Bag 2 9-3-17

Once I figure out a price and take better photos, I’ll be listing this in my store here.

I did a glaze firing on Friday and managed to misread the cones. I am now doing a glaze firing with some of the under cooked pieces from Friday and some pieces I had glazed that didn’t go in the Friday load. I won’t know what this load looks like until Monday evening. Here are a few of the pieces that weren’t absurdly undercooked. I sort of like them.

Weeping Plum Plate 9-3-17

I took some desert plates and used them as a slump mold. I took some of the crocheted pieces I did over the winter and used them for texture. I’m not all that happy with the glazing.Lavender Plate 9-3-17This one is an experiment. I used a cobalt wash under a lavender celadon. I’m sort of happy with the cobalt wash, but I’m not happy with the glazing. I wonder if I  got so many streaks because the load was under cooked. I’m using ^6 clay and glazes and when I looked at the cone packs, only ^5 was moving but not down yet. Soap Dish 2 9-3-17Soap Dish 1 9-3-17

I’ve been working on soap dishes and experimenting with the animal cutters I got a couple months back. I also used crocheted pieces and texture tools Jim had made me. Yes, I do realize the purple one looks like breasts. If I use that tool again on a soap dish, I’ll have to make three impressions. Rattling Rocks 9-3-17

Rattling rocks. They are hollow and when you shake them, they make a rattling sound. I use them for glaze experiments.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing this week. You can find my web store at http://www.DebThumanArt.com, or click here.

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Posted in bipolar disorder, Emotions, Grief, Judiasm, PTSD

Depression. It sucks.

Depression. It’s not fun. It hurts. It kills. It destroys. It renders a person unable to function. Other than that, it’s no big deal.

My youngest sister died June 24, 1997. She was 35, 10 years younger than me, and left behind a husband and a 3-year-old daughter. Melanoma killed her. I didn’t know any of that until a friend read the obit in the newspaper and called me to ask how I was doing. My mother had decreed that my surviving siblings not tell me that my sister was sick or that she died. Penalty for doings so was being cut out of the will. My revenge is that my mother spent the last years of her life in a nursing home so there was nothing left to inherit. They had sold their humanity for nothing. No, they haven’t apologized. They decided not to call me when my mother died. I only found out she died when I saw the obituary. I subscribe to Legacy.com and I get a list of all the people with the last name Thuman who have obituaries published each day. My siblings were surprised when I crashed the funeral. They haven’t apologized for that, either.

Now, I have two difficult days each year. April 1 which was my sister’s birthday and June 24. I thought I’d get past grieving by now. Guess I was wrong. Some years are better than others. This isn’t one of the better ones. The flashbacks started a couple weeks ago. I get them in clusters rather than one at a time. Long ago, I discovered that if I look at the flashback, acknowledge that what happened to me was terrible, the memory would sink back down into my brain and leave me alone. It’s a great technique and I urge anyone who has PTSD to give it a try. Except it’s not working for me this time.

Usually, I can bury myself in art when I’m depressed or upset and I find myself back at center. Not today. I’m working on ceramic lanterns and bowls. I stopped mid-lantern because I was too depressed to continue. I don’t like to have music playing when I work, and working with mud makes very little noise. Critters come right up to the patio. A bird nearly stepped on my foot until it realized that a human was sitting there. Rabbits come up to the patio and eat whatever is growing. A small bird perched on plant stand and drank water from the saucer under the pot with chives growing in it. Maybe 10 feet from where I was sitting. Normally, close encounters with critters is a wonderful, special thing. Providing the critter isn’t a rattlesnake and I’m not about to step on it. This morning, it was just something that happened.

Years ago, a friend suggested I do something to honor my sister’s life. I thought perhaps if I could put my feelings into a piece of art  I’d feel better. Except I can’t figure out how I want to do this. What do I make? A giant, stuffed malignant mole? Then what? Take it out in the desert and shoot it? A mangled foot to commemorate the day my mother watched my sister play with oven cleaner, then washed her off, put the oven cleaner soaked sneaker back on her foot and then yelled at her for the next 4 hours to stop crying? Finally, she took my sister to the hospital. Second and third degree burns from her waist down. The worst was her right foot. The scar covered nearly the entire top of her foot. No, there was never any plastic surgery to remove the scar. There was also never any report made to child protective services. We’re white and we had private insurance.

Maybe a quilt of a woman skiing. My sister skied. She tore wild down the mountain as if she were Franz Klamer attacking the downhill race in the olympics. Her friends asked her where she learned to hot dog like that. In those days, flying over moguls and other fancy stuff was called hot dogging. My sister replied that she didn’t know how to ski.

Maybe I can attach a maxi-pad to the quilt. When my sister had her first period, she looked under the bathroom sink, found feminine supplies (there were always feminine supplies under the bathroom sink), pinned the pad in her pants, and went on with life. She didn’t think she needed to tell anyone. That’s what convinced me I never needed to worry about my sister. I knew she would always figure out a way to handle any situation in which she found herself.

She graduated from high school, but she didn’t go to the ceremony. Our mother couldn’t be bothered so my sister’s passage from high school to adult woman went unnoticed and undocumented.

The grief never goes away. Some years, like this one, the grief is unbearable.

Tonight, kaddish is being read during services for my sister. Jim will go with me. Maybe I’ll be able to get through the prayer without crying. Next week, Jim and I are going to Albuquerque to buy clay and shop for some other art supplies. Maybe that will help me feel less depressed.

This wasn’t the best week to do this, but I bought a domain name and opened an on-line shop. Getting the shop up and running was frustrating, and I’m not handling frustration well this week. I do have an etsy shop, but it gets no traffic and I have to pay each time I list something. So I opened my own shop, Deb Thuman Art. You can get there from here. Stop by and let me know what you think. I’m still getting inventory loaded into the shop and at the moment, there are only photographs.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.