Thursday, June 11, 2015

Needs More Ray Gun

I used to think it was unnecessary of people to post ongoing pictures of works in progress; like, each one's not that different.
But now I'm spending hours on this piece of sewing, I get it.

So here's another wip photo of my floating islands armor (no longer looks like ravioli, now looks like puffs of meringue on pudding):
 I think it would pair well with this ray gun, below (via). I want to try making things out of metal--I am inspired by Mad Max's "DIY face shields out of tea-strainers" inventiveness.

Marz (below, left), bink (right) and I drove to Milwaukee last weekend to see my auntie, Vi (center), who was having an art show.

Vi took up painting a couple years ago, and the owner of the boutique where she worked until last year shows her pictures. 
Here's my auntie in the high heels she bought for her art opening. She turns 90 years old in two months:

Vi is the most resilient person I know. 
She grew up overlooked in the middle of ten kids of Sicilian parents who lost everything in the Depression. With her first job, delivering telegrams during WWII, she saved money to buy a bright red skirt and jacket, and she's never been drab since.

It's weird--she greatly inspires me, yet in her presence, my spirit develops a slow leak. I think the problem is, her relentless positivity leaves no room for sadness.  When I get home from a visit, it takes me a few days to reinflate. 

Hm, maybe that ray gun could be an air pump.


Laura B said...

That is an inspiring photo of your Auntie Vi at her art opening! Not much to add but I can see the positivity!

bink said...

I want the ray gun! And I want it to work! But no death rays... joy rays, purple rays, spaghetti rays--whatever you want, provided it's good.

Michael Leddy said...

Your aunt just radiates happiness (as does everyone in the photos).

I’ve always wanted to ask someone who’s reached a great age what it’s like to keep going when so many people they’ve known are gone. I never have had the nerve. Has your aunt ever answered that question?

The Crow said...

I want to be like your Aunt Vi when I grow up. I love her clothes and her engaging smile. Long may she reign!

Fresca said...

LAURA: I see your future as an artist...

BINK: Help me make a ray gun!

CROW: Me too.

MICHAEL: Yes, I've asked my auntie how she keeps going and stays happy.

Her answers are along the line of that pert young couple in Annie Hall, when the Woody Allen character asks them how they stay happy:
She says she doesn't dwell on her problems.

When she feels bad, she gets up and does physical work to shake it off--house work or gardening or art.

Her motto is "Enjoy life!" and she believes you're about as happy as you make up your mind to be, given luck is on your side.

She cultivates and generously shares "abondanza" (Italian for "abundance")--like, always have extra pork chops in the freezer in case someone drops by for dinner.
Make big batches of whatever you're cooking, and take some to the neighbors.

She also says, "Have young friends."
She was only 71 when her husband, Gil, died. (They never had children.) After he died, she picked herself up, moved to a new neighborhood, got a job in a little clothing boutique, and made friends--mostly middle-aged, at that time, now retirement age.

She is not religious, but she says she feels Gil's loving presence in her life.

She also acknowledges and is thankful that she's lucky, lucky, lucky to have the best aid to a happy old age:
And she's lucky, again, not to have money worries--Gil saved and planned carefully for his retirement or possible early death (he was only 73 when he died).

She reminds me of that woman musician and concentration camp survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer, who said every day is beautiful.

Her favorite book is The Secret life of Bees, about surviving hardship and abuse and building a new life.

I don't find much of this terribly helpful, since it's rooted in luck and her personality, which, as I wrote, is relentlessly positive and not susceptible to sadness.

Fresca said...

P.S. Maybe I could sum up my auntie's approach to life this way:

bink said...

Great job of summing Vi up. Very accurate.

makiko hastings said...

Hi Fresca, thank you for leaving me a lovely comment on my blog.
Glad to hear you liked the post.
Happy creating :)

Zhoen said...

Some people are just energetic and resilient. Those of us more sluggish can learn from them, but I understand about feeling exhausted around them. They pour out energy, but they also suck some up. They are rare birds, we are fortunate to have them in our lives. But we have to live with our own temperaments and abilities, as best we can make them.

Fresca said...

BINK: I'm glad you agree.

MAKIKO: Thanks for visiting!

ZHOEN: Rare birds, indeed.

ArtSparker said...

My sister has the same effect on me - I admire her tremendously, but don't enjoy spending vast amounts of time with her - I feel that I don't exist completely around her, and that I am more taken care of than accepted.

Fresca said...

ARTSPARKER: Yes! That's exactly it--I don't feel I exist in full, in the round, with these people (and my sister's another)---and I can sometimes feel more like a charity case.