Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sometimes Life Throws You A Curved Ball......Make Lemonade :)

 Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Have you ever woken up and felt so tired you just couldn't imagine getting out of bed, let alone facing the day, maybe you have had the flu, maybe jet lag, maybe that awful fatigue after surgery. Well, let me tell you a little story about being tired.

The unpredictability of the ocean reflects in life

When my youngest was 6 months old I decided I wanted to do the one important thing in my life I hadn't had an opportunity to do and that was to go to college. I had previously and sporadically taken college classes but not in any shape close to studying for a degree.

With my eldest happily ensconced in Elementary school, my 3 year old very content in Preschool and my one year old safe at home with a girlfriend I hired to Babysit, I took the plunge and enrolled in a liberal arts college and declared a major in Interior Design. I was nervously excited! Having left school at barely 16 and having no formal art training I was trepidacious about going to college with people who had actually graduated High School. I was passionate about most aspects of Architecture, Design and Art, so I chose Interior Design because it combined my talents for decorating and sewing and my passions all together.

I started at 3 quarter time and took as many weekend and evening classes as I could so I was home most of the time during the day to be a "MOM" which was my "REAL" job. Everything went really well, I was a 4 point student (Yay Me!). That was so validating to me because no matter how hard I tried in grade school I never got good grades. I always had the sense that I was not good enough and plenty of people in my life re-enforced that too!

I really felt for the first time in my life I had come into my own. I had a loving Hubby, 3 beautiful, smart, adorable and happy children and a home we all loved; And I was embarking on a college degree that would lead to a fulfilling career once all the kids were in full time education. This was what I had worked so very hard to achieve thru all my earlier struggles. I was really rather pleased, albeit cautiously, with myself and quietly confident that nobody could take this away from me.

I was fit and healthy, I ran half marathon distances, I worked out at least 4 times a week weight training and swimming or step aerobics; I made sure the family and I eat healthily. This was the best time of my life.

So, imagine my surprise when I started getting ocular migraines and blurry vision to the point that it became debilitating. I tried to push thru it and continue on my very, very busy schedule but some days it was impossible. I thought, well I knew, I was over doing it; But you know when you get a headache even migraines, although I had never had a migraine before, that eventually they will go away and even if you feel ravaged afterwards you will be able to sleep it off, but unfortunately that didn't happen. I had my blood work checked for the obvious, thyroid panel, blood sugar, hormones etc but none of the usual suspects showed as the cause. In Fact, according to my blood work there wasn't anything wrong with me. I dragged on for a month or so, I continued driving to school at night with blurry double vision after a day of struggling thru taking care of the kids but I wanted to continue going to school it meant so much to me, I didn't want to fall behind and I knew that could happen really quickly. I shouldn't have been driving I could barely concentrate on anything and staying awake was a challenge.

But then the nightmare happened; so suddenly it came from left field. I awoke one morning and was feeling really weird, I just couldn't get out of bed, I was so tired, unusually tired, I had slept well, I always slept well, so why was I so overwhelmingly tired? I just wanted to curl up and go back to sleep forever. Of course I did get out of bed but with a struggle and pushed myself to have a shower. You know when you are feeling tired a shower always seems to help wake you up right, but not this time. I could barely lift my arms to wash my hair and I had to keep leaning against the wall for support I was too weak to stand. I stumbled out of the shower in a daze and was sobbing uncontrollably. I opened the door, next to the bathroom, that led to the garage, my Hubby was outside playing ball with the boys, as I leaned on the door frame for support, I could hear the joyous giggles from the boys and I could see one running away, with the ball, screaming in delight at being chased by his Daddy. The tears were streaming down my face and at that moment I knew deep in my core that life would never be the same again. I told my Hubby I needed to go back to bed, I just didn't have the energy to stand. I knew the feeling! I had had a really bad case of Mono a few years before, but you can't get that twice that intensely, can you?! So what was happening?!?!

I had to quit school! I could barely get out of bed to care for the kids let alone leave the house. It seemed that my dream was being replaced by a nightmare and I had no clue when it would end and it didn't even have a name. After many, many Doctors and Specialists visits and years of misdiagnoses living with this frustratingly debilitating illness it finally materialises as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And so, for the past 18 years I have lived with C.F.S. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and for the past 16 years with Fibromyalgia.

You all know how hard it is to look after young kids on a regular basis if you are healthy so imagine what it is like when you are not able to get out of bed and your Hubby is away on a biz trip and there is literally no one to help! My friends either worked full time or dropped away because they didn't want to "Catch" it (It is a myth that either C.F.S or Fibromyalgia are contagious) All my family were 6000 miles away in England. So there was nothing I could do but literally crawl out of bed and try to do what I could to change diapers, feed little people, get the basics done as much as possible and lie on the floor all day hoping that the next day would not be as bad! Of course it was and the next and the next and the next!!!

Over the years I had to become very organised and very careful with my time and energy, it is no fun living with two debilitating illnesses that can knock you to the floor in a heart beat and leave you down for days, weeks or months at a time. I guess I count my self fortunate that this goes in relapse and remission but don't think for a second that a remission gives me the opportunity to have a normal life at all. It just means I have about a quarter of the energy of a normal 120 year old woman to get what I need to do done instead of lying on the sofa all day in a relapse.

Relapse or remission I am permanently exhausted, in chronic pain and have a constant headache. I can only describe it as the worst Mono fatigue you can imagine along with the extreme pain after major surgery, thankfully I am not a wimp but enduring this for so long makes even the strongest vulnerable. There are no cures for these illnesses.

It is debilitating, exhausting, painful, challenging, depressing but mostly downright overwhelmingly frustrating. Because I am constantly in the pattern of relapse and remission I feel like I am constantly mourning a life that could have been.

I feel trapped in a body that doesn’t work well for me and is constantly letting me down and is, at best, unpredictable but it is the only one I get so I have to make the most of it. :)

I try every day to be positive and realistic but the older I get the harder it is to do that. Yet, everyday, I am truly grateful that at least I have another day to try again. So, I think, when life throws you a curved ball, make lemonade. :)

Cheers, T.

© Teresa Chipperfield 2010

                                                       "Thy fate is the common fate of all,

                                                         Into each life some rain must fall,"

                                                                    "The Rainy Day"
                                                          Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy Painting/Creating! :) T.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Integrate My Circuits" :)

Happy Saturday Everyone!

I missed Friday Flowers yesterday but they will be back next week I'm not done yet  :)

If you missed last week's FRIDAY FLOWERS you can see the Happy Sunflowers and the "WATCH" Cat HERE :)

I wanted to share with you one of my pieces of Artwork that I have hanging in a local business right now.

(Click on photos to see larger images)

"Integrate My Circuits" (4' x 5')

I love how the spotlights bounce off this piece creating a powerful reflective light from the foils and gold leaf.

Here is the description of this piece that I wrote for my Etsy posting :)

This artwork is a swirl of connectedness. Layers of multi coloured paper, vivid acrylics and electronic components all come together in an ensemble piece.

I love to place everyday objects in my artwork. This time it is electronic components thanks to my Hubby the Engineer. Yes, who would have thought an Engineer and an Artist could be compatible??

The playful movement of the acrylic paint connecting the components, overlapping the many textural papers, brings to mind the connectedness we all need, desire and cherish in our lives and on this planet.

"Integrate My Circuits" starts, like so many of my pieces, first with the strong textural layer of gesso. Next I placed a C.D. in the centre (corny I know!) as they were constantly arriving in the mail a few years ago and I knew I would use it one day, maybe not in the way it was intended! Then the multi layers of coloured paper (symbolic of office?) Next the randomness of the electronic components plus the acrylic paint trying to link it all together.

"Integrate MY Circuits" is created on a 60 x 48 unframed canvas with wrapped sides.


"Integrate MY Circuits" is an original work of art, it is signed on the front and back, this art piece has not been copied or reproduced in any way.

This was such a fun piece to create, I love working big, I love working with found objects, I love using mixed media and I love finding a way to make the connections in my work.  

I hope you enjoyed this :)

Have a Lovely Weekend :)

Happy Painting/Creating! :) T.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Making The Most Of The Rain! :)

Happy Tuesday Everyone! :)

It has been raining here, in Portland, so much that I have been trying to ignore it, it is too soon, GO AWAY!!!!!! :(

So, to cheer myself up I decided to Make the Most of it and take some fun pictures :)

I hope you Enjoy them :)

"Raindrops on Roses........." (now I am going to have to watch the Sound Of Music :)

I really love this one, I think because of the sense of intrigue :)

We are surrounded, literally every window and door, with Spiders and their webs, must have been a bumper year for them, I have walked into so many webs recently, yuck!  :(

Yep, that is a glimmer of Sunshine in between the torrential rain!

I love how in these shots the outside lighting makes beautiful shapes with reflective light bouncing off the raindrops on the Bamboo :)

I am really enjoying working with the Black and White photos right now. :)

I am going crazy trying to get everything co-ordinated for the upcoming shows but hopefully the stress and the expense will pay off.  Seriously, you would think I had never done a show before!

I hope your Week got off to a great start :)

And a little better then mine, back to trying to block out the sound of a chain saw right outside my office while our "DARLING" neighbours hack down yet another tree, AAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

Happy Painting/Creating! :) T.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Happy Friday Everyone! :)

This week has just flown by! I didn't get as much done as I planned to do but hopefully I will hit the painting with a vengeance later today. :)

But before that I wanted to share my Friday Flowers with you :)

I have pretty much run out of Flower pictures in my Garden, it has started raining here and everything is turning brown and not in a lovely Fall colour way :(

So, on my travels around the local neighbourhoods (just call me the Garden Stalker, get it (He! He!) I found some lovely Flowers that I do not get to grow in my Garden :)

So, this week's Friday Flowers are some of the pretty Sunflowers that I found in the "Hoods" :)

I hope you enjoy them too! :)

I love the colours in this one :)

And the way the Petals curl and wave :)

All the fun things that are happening in the centre :)

How some can be small :)

And some large :)

Such Happy Faces :)

I love this in B. & W. What do you think?

Oh that Sunflower is definitely waving at me :)

Some grow in different directions :)

Such powerful colour :)

Little Tutus :)

Looks like a Sunflower Coffee Morning get tog. :)

This center is so orderly, beautiful :)

Radiant :)

Is this Australian! (jk :)

I was really excited about this shot and the "Bokeh" on the left  :)

I love the hint of the distant fields still in late afternoon sunshine at the top of this shot :)

This is my Fav. I think because of the colours and the near perfection of the flower and the complete sturdiness and uplifted and uplifting Face :)

My Hubby and I were walking around a community garden and we were greeted by this adorable Cat :)

Who processed to escort us around, maybe it was a "Watch Cat" making sure we didn't steal any of the AMAZING produce :)

Those marking are just gorgeous :)

I think at one point it got bored with us :)

Giving my Hubby the evil eye :)

And just look at those Whiskers, beautiful :)

I hope you enjoyed Friday Flowers!

Have a Lovely Weekend everyone, see you next week :)

Happy Painting/Creating! :) T.