The Questions You Can't Get Answered:
Hospitals and Autism and Coronavirus

A Facebook friend posted a question in a group which a local friend and I had been asking as well. What happens if our adult child with autism/developmental disability/intellectual disability becomes ill enough to need to go to the hospital? This is something all parents fear, I am sure. But when you have a grown child who has a communication disorder, it brings up a LOT of worries.

The state government agency says hospital policy will make the call.

My local friend called the local hospital and present policy is to allow ONE parent in for a child.

Illness, new locations, new faces can cause shutdown or bring challenging behaviors (which spring from anxiety) but nonetheless need skilled management. Nurses and ER Docs don't reliably have those skills. These professionals are working on solutions for mainstream America - for horses, so to speak, and we have zebra situations with additional wrinkles because of communication challenges, etc.

So I don't have *answers*. But as others write and share good information, I will add links to their posts here, and share on FB and other social media sites. We are all in this together.

Prayers in Cloth

Recently, I’ve been immersed in advocacy for people with developmental disabilities here in Maine. You can see what’s happening here:

Last spring, I met some families facing the same over the cliff “waitlist” time after school ends that our family experienced back in 2013. Something in me was galvanized when I realized the challenge wasn’t just our family. It was the system. So for about 9 months, some parents and a great legislator have been advocating to change things at the legislative level. It still has some hurdles to face, but it is more hopeful by the day that better things will happen.

When I need stress relief, I go to fabric stores. And sometimes I buy fabric! 😂. Today I went down to my workplace to try to get to organized for the project that I put on hold, and I saw the pile of fabrics that I had purchased these past six months.

Through the almost 250 years at our country has been here. Women have expressed their thoughts, their beliefs, and their feelings through textiles. Can you see how I’ve been praying in fabric?


I saw a somewhat naive but also modern feeling painting at a local antiques mall. I really loved it and kept thinking about it. I visited it about 4 times. You KNOW when you are visiting particular things in antique stores it means you should buy it, right? 

So I went to the antique mall with the intention of buying it and GASP there was a lovely older man pulling it off the wall and checking the price. I pretended I wasn't watching, and breathed a sigh of relief when he put it back on the wall. It was the BUMP I needed. When he left that stall, I took that painting directly to the front desk and asked them to hold it for me to buy. The painting needs cleaning. It appears it may have been hanging somewhere above a fireplace OR was owned by someone who smoked. I don't know anything about cleaning vintage and antique paintings. It doesn't smell like cigarette smoke, though. I wonder what lighthouse this is and if it is a MAINE lighthouse? 

While I was in the same antique store I visited this sign for the second time. 
I COULD pant a similar one, but if it is there for my birthday, I will buy it! 


Hope Makes Plans

I'm working on two projects lately. One is an artwork project, and another is an advocacy project for people who are autistic or have developmental disabilities. I haven't talked much about the art project. It is mostly a hopeful project for ME personally. When I'm closer to the end, I will share here. But I've been thinking about how these two projects - artwork and advocacy -  are similar in process, and what moves them forward.

In order to make art, and in order to make a positive difference in this world, you have to believe that you and your thoughts matter in the larger scheme of things. With the artwork project, when someone buys your work they are saying, "I agree with you. Yes, this is important. I want to be reminded of this visually." The advocacy project begins with the hope that we can make things better and those with power to make a difference will listen. And then they will act on what they've heard. 

Anyway, the energy to act at all comes from HOPE of seeing how things could be better. Hope knows that mediocrity isn't good enough. And HOPE makes plans. 

Ten Minutes at a Time

After being sidelined, I've been studying my schedule and trying to take advantage of very short periods of work time. I'm making some progress. When my son who is autistic was younger and in school I was able to immerse myself for hours at a time in creating patterns and artwork to sell. But since he graduated it's been difficult to string more than an hour of minutes together when I am at my best, so immersion isn't possible often.

Watching a Nicholas Wilton video encouraged me to look closely at my expectations about working on my art and also reasons/excuses I was making for NOT working on art.  What are my limiting beliefs vs. real limitations?

1) lack of uninterrupted work time
2) clogged work area
3) lack of creative energy
4) overwhelmed by choices
5) worries about originality
6) frustration with lack of progress

That's not all, but it's enough to start with. The first limiting belief I am facing down by working in ten minute chunks of time. When I leave my workroom, I leave it at a point where it is very clear what the next step is, and try to prepare for that. Things like threading the needle with the right color thread. It's really amazing what can be done in less than ten minutes. This works for cleaning as well. It's a flylady principle.

I will be writing more on this, so stay tuned. And here is a work in progress, a Little Red Riding Hood doll who wanted a striped body covering.  The body covering took about two hours, but I did it in ten minute chunks of time.

Patina'd Pennies and the Decluttering Your Fantasy Self Video

Watching Allison Anderson's "Decluttering Your Fantasy Self” video has been eye opening for me about the things I save. My fantasy self would do something with these patina’d pennies and entitle it “A Penny Saved”.

Wait. I just did. 🙂  Here’s the video in case you need to watch it:

Day 3:
Art Comes from
Learning and Working

I don't apologize. I don't apologize for reposting writing from the past which applies to now.
~ Dixie, on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. 😂

I received this email after yesterday's post on making choices. It was  helpful for me to read, and I think might be helpful for some of you, too.  I'll share my thoughts after you read it. 

I have reached the same fork in the road that you have - I am 52 and starting to realize all those things I wanted to make and all the wonderful things I have bought to make them are still sitting here.  I have a sewing room with fabric and everything else you could think of and I have a mixed media, collage room, with everything you can imagine.  I am very lucky (or I used to be  this economy is tightening our budget quite a bit), but I have enough stuff that I could make things the rest of my life and never have to buy another thing.  But all I continue to do is, buy more stuff, look at all the great things that other artists have made (I can spend hours doing that) and also reading their blogs and thinking I wish I could be like they are.  I am reaching a point where I am going to have to force my self to get started and when I say force, I don't mean it in a bad way, but I always sabatoge myself by thinking of a household chore or an errand to run and then I can get back home and make things, which never happens because by the time I get it done is when everyone starts getting home and I am busy with helping them and spending time with them and before I know it, it is time for bed and I still have not made one thing.  I am really mad at myself and have decided that I am following you, I am going to make different choices, I am going to take the time to nourish myself and put art in my routine - I have plenty of time to do it if I just start doing it.  I am asking myself what do I want to accomplish in the next 5 years and another big stop sign for me is not being good enough, but as you say I have to be fearless, that sounds so good to me - now if I can pull it off.  Making art has been my dream and I am going to start making that dream come true, with your encouragement of course.

I am here with you because I need to clean my slate too!!  Thanks for being brave and putting it out there because I totally understand where you are because I am in the same place my friend.

What you see online 
is someone's best foot forward.   

They are not showing you their disaster works or their failed experiments. Or their messy workrooms.  Usually they are showing you their best works and their workrooms on a day after major cleaning.  Here's a better side of my sewing room.  There, don't you feel better? 


Our Art Is Not In the Other Artist

When we look at other people's work we see them using wonderful things and we think, I want to do that, too.  And that's okay.  But what we are seeing them do is work after becoming very experienced with a medium.  We are not seeing their first work ever in that medium.   And you cannot expect that your first work with a particular medium is going to be wonderful.   

The magic is not what the other artist is doing.  The magic is when we take our unique point of view and we express it somehow. We don't want to make work that is a copy of someone else's.  We want to make work that gives us joy and hopefully interests other people, too.   

If I tried embossing copper my first try would look wildly different than Maureen White's work, who has been working with the medium for several years now and makes some stunning embossed metal pieces


Our Art Is Not in the Art Supplies

We think when we look at other people's work that it's the supplies that bring the magic.  If I buy the exact paint/glue/crackle/clay Artist X uses then I will be able to make great work, too.  But the magic is in the experience of using those supplies, and the way the artists have honed their use of the supplies to express their vision.   We are not seeing their first attempt! 

 Inktense pencils I bought  because  
Sandy Mastroni's work makes me smile.  
My first attempt was somewhat sad. 

Our Art Comes From Learning

Tools are tools, whether they cost $3 or $3,000.  It's what we do with them that makes magic.  It's US.  But we have to let ourselves be learners.That doesn't mean throw all your art supplies out.   But maybe it does mean limiting yourself to one medium for a while.   Pick the one that makes you feel most at home while working on it.   And let yourself really get to know that particular paint, clay, pencil, whatever you're using. Or even if it's really hard, the one that makes you feel best when you break from the day.  

Our Art Comes from Starting

Here's what I do sometimes (something I learned from Flylady) to get myself going.   I set a timer to get myself OFF the darn computer.   I let myself have x amount of time to check sites.  Then I set a timer to work for so many minutes.    When I go down to the creativity zone, I say, "Today I will make imperfect art."  There, I've let myself off the hook from the get-go.   Then I work for that amount of time.  Usually by that amount of time I'm engrossed and don't want to stop. 

There's a lot in your email - those of us who are parents have a lot on our plate keeping a home running.  And we are surrounded with our to-do list when we work at home.   Sometimes we hop on the computer to connect with the outside world.  It's wonderful.  But sometimes real life friends are just the ticket.  I would suggest finding some art buddies locally to "work out with" artistically.   ;-)  

Guess, what?
I still have to sort my supplies!  

Any thoughts from other artists?

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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