Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back from the retreat, home sweet home.

It was an awesome time. The weather was great, the food was awesome, the company could not be beat. I have to say, this weekend was one of the best times I have had, EVER. I finally have pictures up on Facebook. Take a peek, it was some beautiful country.

Alisun picked me up late Wednesday afternoon, we were off. We had to make a quick side trip to Illinois and then we were on our way to Pennsylvania.
I grew up northeast of Chicago, so I am familiar with the area, I so miss Lake Michigan and some of the great food you get there, Chicago style hotdogs, polish sausages, Italian beef, pizza that is hard to beat. We stopped at Luke's and had Italian beef on our way to Indiana. It has been well over 15 years since I've had a REAL Chicago Italian beef, wet of course, ***burp***, it was delicious.

At the height of rush hour we hit the interstate and south we went to Indiana, passing O'Hare Airport, I caught sight of a few planes. Passing all the familiar signs I had not seen for a number of years. I left Illinois in 1994 and have only been back once for a weekend visit to my home town area. I do get very homesick, but no time for that, a beading retreat is on the horizon and I can't wait.

We put the pedal to the metal and after bumper to bumper in Chi for about 1-1/2 hours we finally escaped. Made it all the way to South Bend, IN before we had to stop. We're just not that young anymore. A good nights rest and we can do this. Up early, MapQuest has been checked, we have an Atlas map in the car, we were off again, Indiana went quickly, stopping for gas and coffee, grabbing our toll ticket and we're off again.

We buzz through Ohio, tolls, tolls, tolls, I-80 is a straight shot pretty much, lots of farm land, barns, cows, a beautiful fall day. Panera Bread for lunch, yummmmm!!!! I purchased some extra bagels and cream cheese for the trip, we will only be having 4 meals there. I have to start hoarding a few goodies, just in case. We expect to get to Pennsylvania by evening.

It was soon evident we were not in the midwest any longer, the hills became more frequent and started getting higher and higher, the roller coaster ride has begun. I soon noticed that we were even with the tree tops. Beautiful scenery and the mountains were not what I expected. Going through the mountain tunnels was fun, Blue Mountain and Alleghany mtn, were just two we passed under that I was able to catch a glimpse of their names. The hills keep coming and the road kept winding, soon we were in Carlisle, PA and near our destination for the night. Ali called Dawn and got directions, yep we were a bit lost. We were close though so we could do this! We rolled into Dawn's about 8PM, rest and relax, the fun begins in the morning.

Friday morning we were off again to the retreat. Was about an hours' drive, more winding roads and beautiful farms along the way. We were in Amish country. Lovely babbling brooks along the roadside, my ears kept popping as we drove up and down the mountains. We rolled into our little retreat, obeying the clearly posted 9.5MPH signs.

We spy the buildings, a large lower main building where we will be playing and taking classes and up above the cabins where we will sleep. We unload and set up, the fun begins. The rest of the weekend was full of laughter, beading, giveaways, great food, more beading, some bead shopping, more giveaways, more beading, and little sleep. I was so excited I won an Ott light, which was on my list for Christmas this year, I have to say I felt very lucky, I won many great gifts, a set 5 pcs set of Beadsmith tools, crystals, Czech glass, sparkly glass pendants. I traded for some awesome Hemimorphite stones. I was able to share with some great women on an entirely different level than I can with any others. It was learning, sharing, friendship and so much more.

Would I do it again? not even a question. I plan to be there again in May and have even more fun.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good things, I am going on vacation and great things, its a BEAD retreat

I'm going on a bead retreate. Dawn owner of Beadallaboutit on Artfire is a sponser for a weekend bead retreat, be sure and visit her shops for some quality stones and glass, I drool everytime I'm there. This Halloween weekend I will be hiding in the backwoods doing my favorite thing......not what your thinking now. Beads are packed, tools, wire, findings, several sets of fuzzy jammies, we're not going anywhere for the entire weekend. The weather is looking great for this time of year.

I will be going with another Artfire artisan Alisun, she and Dawn have both been friends of mine for a few years now and now will all get to meet in a little retreat in Pennsylvania for some quality beading. There will be other AF artisans there as well and the excitement here is toppling over. I can't wait to meet them all.

I've meet Ali before, I think we are long lost sisters. We are going to have a blast. I will be trying to post when I can, not sure how the connections are going to be and I will try and get some pictures, though I know many are going to try and hide behind the trees.

I will be back in my shop sometime next week and hopefully posting in a few days.

OH, Ho, Ho, Ho....Santa is coming soon. Take a peek at my facebook page and you will find this great contest, win $300 on Artfire, some awesome shops and wonderful artisans. Its going to be great fun, come and help find Santa.

This cats life is GOOD.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Early years

A bit on crazy making They do it, sometimes its very subtle, sometimes out and out intimidation. A brutal act of violence and then days of apologies and always the attention. They know how to manipulate you, they know how to judge your actions and your moods, as well as you do their it’s a form of brain washing, mind control on a very vicious level.

I was always trying to figure out how, why this man could say he loved me and the children, yet do the things he did. Taking money that was needed for food and caring for the family and spending it on his needs for drugs and alcohol. Did I enable this behavior, yes, I felt I had to. If I did not, I would reap the abusive behaviors, my children, my home would be at risk, I always wanted it as calm in the home as possible for them, but I always minimized the affects so to ease the pain in my mind.

Why doesn’t she just leave. I did, more than once. On average a woman in an abusive relationship will leave several times before she finally gets away. The longest separation, during the last few years of marriage was 7 months. The first few times I left when we were first married, before children, I would call my mother, she would come and get me. On one occasion, my ex followed us and raced ahead of us, parking horizontally in the middle of the highway. My mother was terrified. I never called her again. After one particularly brutal attack, I think I was in shock for a few days, by then it had calmed down, I had forgotten the pain and he was being loving and nice. These are the times I am sure I have dreams of, often waking up wanting to fist the wall. During these times in the early years, I was so depressed and desperate to get away I tried suicide, I purchased a 100 tablet bottle of over the counter sleeping pills and a pop and went to the lake and took nearly all of them, big big mistake. I was able to drive home, my ex called my mother and then they called and ambulance, I was taken to the hospital. luckily they didn’t have to pump my stomach. My ex never ever asked me why, or talked about it again. Now, I was giving up hope of ever being free. A few months after that incident, my ex was in an accident, and the relationship changes again.

It was winter, cold and snowy, we always had older used cars, but my husband had always been able to keep them running and maintained. During our early years of marriage we had a different car every year or less. He was working on the old station wagon we had. We were at his best friend Willie Horn, they were drinking Boone’sfarm wine and beer, smoking and laughing, working on the car. My ex tells me to go ahead and lay down on the couch inside and we will be leaving soon. I was exhausted, it was 2AM, I just wanted to go home. I go inside and try to rest with my coat on.

6AM, Willie comes out of the kitchen; “Where’s Jimmy?” we race out to the garage. We go in through the side door, its choking us both, I run back in and call 911, Willie opens up the garage door, Jimmy is in the car, his head slumped back and snoring as loud as I had ever heard him before. We manage to pull him out and tried to wake him up. Water, slapping, yelling, nothing was getting any response. It seemed like an eternity, the ambulance came. They couldn’t wake him up either, we followed to the hospital.

There maybe some brain damage the doctors said, he was exposed for nearly 4 hours, carbon monoxide poisoning. We had now been married 4 years. I am hopeful this will get him to change his drinking and drug abuse, that I was blaming all the emotional and physical abuse on. That next year was the year of silence.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Taking my life back

I've not forgotten about Crazy making, I'm still working on that post.

These words came to me in the early morning hours last week. I could see how in that crazy making, is still affecting me.

In the night.

You know all the sounds,

the car engine stops, the hesitation

the footsteps

the keys, the keys falling,

the stumbling in the door,

the keys and coins hit the kitchen table,

the footsteps

to the bathroom, the vomiting.

the smell hit’s the room first, you pray for a good night,

not wanting to be touched pretending to be asleep.

he collapses into bed, snoring.

relief, you cry and go back to sleep,

safe until morning.

the smell is too much, you go sleep on the couch and get up before him,

the morning routine begins again, more vomiting, then sleep, then back out to the bars and drinking again, the ride goes on and on.

you care for the children and try to keep it as calm as possible, making sure he eats, getting alcohol, cigarettes, money, always walking on egg shells, afraid there will be pain, afraid for your children, afraid for the future, scared, hurting, exhausted, overwhelmed, alone and in poverty,

is there an end, will there ever be an end, you pray, your prayers go unanswered.

God doesn’t make people do things, people do it all themselves.

God doesn’t stop the fists, the slaps, the shoves, the pain, it goes on and on.

It hurts, from day one it hurts.

God can’t stop the pain only I can. I have to find a way, a way out, a safe place. Will he follow, yes, will I really be free, can I ever hope for a life without the chaos.

I have to try, I have to get away, I have to be safe, I have to be free. Will I ever be safe, will I ever be free.

I took my life back, I am rebuilding a life, one day at a time. I am safe, but I am not yet free.

I will win this battle with him, he is DEAD, he can’t hurt me any longer, but the words, the deeds, the pain, they resurface, they are still there, will I ever be truly free just to be me.

I have to be free, I have to keep trying, I will not allow him to take anymore of this life.

The battle continues day to day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crazy Making

Crazy making.

I don’t know what is wrong, I can't figure out what I can do, I can’t find help, I have no money, I feel threatened, I feel most of all like I’m going crazy or I feel nothing at all.

So often I felt this way, I was able to realize how my abuser had done this, crazy making is a definite tactic of emotionally abusive partners.

I still have a hard time putting my finger on certain event triggers, it seemed sometimes there were none, it was unprovoked, unexpected and unwarranted. I was being punished for something, being a bad wife, a bad mother, less than a good person, not being smart enough, not working hard enough, you name it, I was it. You hear these things enough and you begin to believe them.

It was after he had spent my inheritance on drugs and alcohol, after he hocked every item of any value in our home, after he had hit me and threatened me with a gun laying on the table, after evictions, losing a $100,000 house, choked me, stalked me, to name a few things that I finally gave up, managed to get away to a shelter again, get my tax refund and my last check from my job, buy a $600 car and leave, get as far away as possible. I grabbed my children, yes he did threaten me with charging me with kidnapping, I told him to try it, no court would give him custody, he was never capable of caring for our children. he was an alcoholic, drug user, who fantasized about being rich some how, whatever it might take, he turned to religion for awhile when we were separated before the divorce, even had his pastor write me a letter. I was livid. He was truly obsessed.

He canvassed the entire mid-western states looking for me. He had my social and had an agency checking, my new license number got a hit. I had to renewed my driver’s license two years after I had left, two weeks later we received the first letter. He found me again, I was thrown right back into that world of pain and horror, I so wanted to run again, hide, leave, die. The nightmare wasn’t over yet.

Well at least now that he has found me, I can have him served with divorce papers. I called the police the next day and inquired about getting an out of state Order of Protection issued, I had to do something.

October is Breast cancer and Domestic Violence month, please take a peek at the Artfire AJDJSS guild blog, of which I am a proud member is having an on going promotion for these great causes. Come help us support and fight against these horrible problems that afflict women and men alike. You are not alone, others do care, show you care, come support us with this great promotion. You could get some great sparklies too.

More to come, Crazy making tactics, its a long list so please check back, I'll be posting again soon.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Night in a previous life

A night in a previous life, the Machete Incident

I have been writing about some of my experiences when I was younger. Married at 18 years of age, I was young and naïve, in love and soon trying to raise three children and cope with a text book abusive man.

Surviving and being married for nearly 20 years to a sociopath and manic depressive, physically and emotionally abusive partner took some education and skill to survive, this is just one of many nights that I learned some lessons for survival.

Learning the Ropes, a key to surviving an alcoholic, abusive relationship.

It’s the 80’s, the visions of the incident are sharp, I had been married for over 10 years by this time and was still hopeful for a resolve to the problems of alcohol, abuse and providing a happy home for my three children. There were still many more years of lessons to come.

Its 10:00 on a Thursday night, very warm out, I am still in my work dress, payday tomorrow, and just enough gas to make it to work, dishes need to be washed and children put to bed. My children are young 9, 7, and 5 years old.

No money until tomorrow, none for the bar, my husband Jimmy, tells me he needs to go right now to talk to Jerry Moon, his drinking, druggie buddy, who is a pretty good shade tree mechanic. I don’t want to leave the children and voice my concern, I have things to do to get ready for work at 6AM. That will not stop him if he wants to go. We average a new car every few years, usually totaled. Always financially struggling, I have to work and use this car, I need to drive, if I don‘t work we don‘t eat. I have to take him.

Children are quickly told to go to bed and we will be right back, he yells at them to get to bed, they know he will punish them if they don’t. Moon’s garage is only 6 blocks away, I know they won’t go to sleep until we get back and hope it’s a very short stay.

We enter and Moon is in the garage, there is a large Rebel flag on the east wall, Sweet Home Alabama is cranked up on the radio, Jerry Moon is a redneck, beer drinkin, smokin, hillbilly from Alabama, who will try any drug or method to get high, he will tell you so. He is sitting in his lawn chair next to the refrigerator, work cap on, long red hair and nicotine stained beard flowing. beer in one hand and non-filter Camel cigarette in the other, he is half way through his 3rd case of Miller for the day at this time of night. Moon offers us a beer, Jimmy and Moon begin talking about cars, bars, drinking beer, getting high. I am quiet as usual, hoping I wouldn’t get yelled at for not being social enough, not drinking, I just want to go as soon as possible, knowing what I need to get done at home before bed and work in the morning.

Praying and hoping this visit is just about the car and we take the ride home after a few beers. I am quiet, I’m very tired and want to go, I let my mind wander from their conversation. Looking at the beer that is left, between the two of them, we will be here at least an hour or more. It is going to be a long night.

Moon will get defensive when he gets down to his last few beers. Its quickly midnight, the tone changes between them quickly, Jerry is drunk, my ex has had quite a few beers by now, Jerry is getting concerned about how little beer is left, he wants Jimmy to go to Al’s and get another case. My ex is telling him we have to get going.

Moon, rarely has cash and will work for beer, Jimmy is trying not to argue, he is laughing, Moon is getting more agitated, Moon is a small man, alcoholic and three pack a day smoker for his 30 some odd years, and not a physical threat, especially drunk to anyone.

The conversation is getting hotter, Moon is weaving a bit, my ex has helped him finish the case, he wants us to go to Al‘s bar and get a six pack before they close, again, we have no money payday is tomorrow.

“Go get in the car” , Jimmy tells me sharply, I get up and get in the driver’s side of the car.

They are starting to argue louder, I’m in the car, in first gear, foot holding the clutch waiting for Jimmy to get in the car, at last going home.

Jerry gets up and starts walking around the garage becoming more and more animated, the heated conversation continues, Jimmy is getting closer to the garage door.

I am viewing this looking in the rear view mirror, Jerry reaches up towards the ceiling and pulls down a large Machete blade, several feet long, Jimmy motions forward for me to go, go, go, I panic, I start going forward, Jimmy is hobbling after me, limping, from a knee injury from a blackout car accident,.

I jam on the brakes, he jumps in, yelling begins, with a loud pinging bang, Moon hit’s the trunk of car with the enormous blade, more yelling at me, drive, drive, drive, then more yelling, all the way home,

I was glad it was only a few blocks to drive, walking into the house, looking behind our shoulders for Moon to pop up with the blade. More yelling, “what is wrong with you“, “you would let him cut me“. I know the children hear and won’t come out of their rooms.

Suddenly, I feel the sting across the side of my face, it was open handed at least, I could not say a word, I knew better, I knew to just let the rant blow over, he was drunk and the adrenaline was flowing, he had not eaten, always a bad combination.

I offered to make him something to eat, at least he might fall asleep. More yelling and then laughing, he thought it was very funny how Jerry acted. I gave him his sandwich with a smile, I go into the bathroom to survey the damage, swollen a bit, but doesn’t show. Whew!

I'm exhaused, tomorrow is payday, he will be gone to the bar tomorrow night. I gotta show my girlfriend at work the 4” slice in my trunk, she won’t believe me. Dishes will wait.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Its been a long hot summer

On the bright side, only a few weeks possible for this weather. Iowa is hot, steamy, rainy, heat indexes in the triple digits. Iowa is the air you wear. I hibernate most of the time.

Kids are going back to school and its time to start thinking of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and rut row!!!! Christmas Holidays.

One way to beat the heat is to do some early holiday gift shopping. Looking for Halloween costumes, the perfect gift for him, the perfect gift for her, you really need only shop till your drop. Uniquely, talented artisans of every kind and medium. I am always just blown away with the talent I am finding.

I never think anyone wants to know what I have to say, well by chance I have a few friends now on-line over the past few years and I think they peek once in awhile.

Exciting things are happening. My oldest is due really any day, for sure, baby Gianna, newest granddaughter will be here by the 10th of September, that makes an even dozen. Boy, do I feel old. It can be overwhelming, I am an only child, I always said I was not prepared for having three children myself, but they did survive it.

more later, this old cat is learning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

being a computertard

Well not totally, but pretty close. I have said it before, just show me where to click. So don't expect a fancy blog with all the bells and whistles just yet.

I'm still learning the on-line business game, found some very promising venues. Bonanzle and Zibbet are two now shops I am going to be opening in the next few months. Bonanzle, does have some listings up now. "catinalife" of course.

I am still very much active in my shops on Artfire, I have opened a destash store for my extra rocks and glass, (www.deStashNotTrash.Artfire.com) I am now doing so much more with wire, I really just do not need them, so if I can help another starving jewelry artist get the supplies they need, that is wonderful. PIF I always say, and boy do I have the rocks!

I have mastered the technique of Viking knit weaving with wire and adapted it to my own designs, as well as Egyptian coil swirl links, using lots of beautiful silver coated colored wire, they are turning out fantastic, you may see a few on the shopping cart below. Loving these ancient techniques, they do make some beautiful jewelry.

Its becoming a long winter and I cannot wait for spring, but the doves are cooing in the morning and no more below zero temperatures predicted so here's hoping.

If you are looking for a great Mother's Day present, and I do ship to England also, take a look, you might find some of mom's favorite colors.