Jan 2015

Java Jing-a-Ling

Maybe it’s wrong of me to feel this way. I don’t know. But when a painting of mine attracts attention, it excites me! I suppose it’s a form of validation.

My 2009 painting
Java-Jing-a-Ling is just such an example. As far as my work goes, it is small--only 22”x28”, but it has gotten a lot of recent attention. First it was selected to be the cover of Volume 33 Issue Number 4 of the New England Review of Literature. This is a quality publication of Middleburg College in Middleburg, Vermont. This is the second of my paintings that has been selected to grace the covers of their magazine. My 2007 painting, Ripples, was used on the cover of the Volume 31 Issue Number 3 of the same publication.

Java Jing-A-Ling Java Jing-a-Ling

More recently,
Java Jing-a-Ling was included as a full-page illustration in the new book, Complete Guide to Painting in Acrylics, by Lorena Kloosterboer of Antwerp, Belgium. This was published in England in two versions. One is for England and Australia, and one is for the United States of America and Canada. Later this year it will published in Dutch for the Dutch-speaking market. To have been selected from worldwide artists is extremely flattering and a huge honor! This great book is a necessity for beginning painters as well as for the very experienced artist. It was obviously a monumental undertaking and should sell like crazy.

10391441_10202591874592697_2618011811533288300_n The cover of the book for distribution in England and Australia

Catching up a little

While I’ve not been consistent in submitting entries to my blog, you may have noticed a large gap since my last entry. That entry was dated 2/28/12. It is now 1/12/2015, almost three years later. Wow, what a ride!

Later in 2012 I would turn 70. I decided to take my whole family on a 7-day cruise to celebrate. As you might expect, it took a lot of arranging to get 11 people registered and ticketed for a cruise. Although my birthday wouldn’t be until September, the cruise was to be in July, while schools were out for vacation. We had a great time visiting Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands, and Nassau and Carnival’s private beach in The Bahamas.

When we returned to our home, my wife & I discovered that our area had been hard-hit by the
duracho. While we had never heard that term before, we certainly have since. Our home was without electricity for about a week, coinciding perfectly with the hottest hot spell in recent years. It was 100 or so during the day and dropped all the way into the 90s at night. Sleep was virtually impossible. But the power company, with the help of workers from many other areas, were finally able to get us up and running again. Happy days!

By the time my birthday arrived, we had nearly forgotten about the duracho. The birthday was uneventful.

However, about two weeks later I became extremely sick! Without boring you with details, let me just say that I wasn’t sure which end to point toward the toilet. By the time my wife came home from work, I was totally dehydrated and very feverish. A quick call to my doctor convinced her to call 911. The ambulance ride was less than thrilling. I was too sick to appreciate it.

A couple of hours lying on a slab (okay gurney) in the ED was followed by a quick examination, immediate IV, blood tests, x-rays, and CT scan, before being told that I was indeed sick. Very sick, in fact. Sick in the sense that I could go either way! In further fact, some of the doctors were unwilling to place money on my survival! Luckily, at that time I didn’t know any of this. I did know I was sick. After about 10 days of constant IVs, many antibiotics, delightful painkillers, weight loss due to inability of my body to digest food, more x-rays and CT scans, and other indignities, I was sent home to die. Not really. In fact they thought I was on the road to recovery.

But I had the last laugh! When the drug therapy regime didn’t cure my symptoms, and I continued to lose weight, it was back to the ED and back into the hospital! In fact, during the 6-1/2 months from the day I first got sick, I spent a total of 135 days in the hospital! During this time I had 4 abdominal surgeries, many more x-rays, a total of seven CT scans, hundreds of IVs, many antibiotics, E. coli infection (nearly did me in for the second time!), C. diff infection, many shots in the belly, morphine (hurray), Dilaudid (more please), and other things I’ve forgotten about (possibly because of the comforting drugs).

During this time a neighbor’s tree was felled by an ice storm. It fell on our house, causing several thousand dollars damage to the house. While those repairs were being made, our sewer line backed up and flooded the finished basement. This, too, caused several thousand dollars of damage. My wife Betsy, ever the trooper, was saddled with handling all of this while visiting me in the hospital or taking care of me at home. Oh, and about that time Betsy’s mother got sick and was herself in and out of the hospital. My wife was with her as much as she was able. People remark that I went through an incredible period of time, but I remind them that I only had to lie around and be taken care of. Betsy had to split herself into pieces and take care of so much!

On April 15, 2013, I was discharged. After about seven months of lying flat on my back, I was unable to walk without the use of a walker. It took great patience and dedication from the home health team that helped me through the recovery process. By the middle of that summer, I was able to walk again, although I often have to use a cane. Somehow the whole process has left me with constant tinnitus, extreme balance problems, and dizziness. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover completely, but I’m still alive. And there’s a lot to said about that.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!