After two days of muggy overcast skies we woke to a beautiful sunny morning. The perfect day for the last apple.
I have so many things I want to say and my list of thank yous is very, very long so I want to make sure to take the time to do it well. I’ve painted 50 apples today so far – we’ll see how far and how many I can paint. The number of apples from all of you have yet to be counted but I’m so touched by every single glorious one!
Day 365 was created in liquid acrylic paints – a golden apple!
*** So sorry for such a late post – can you believe that on Day 365 – I almost FORGOT to post!
I can’t believe it. Only one apple left after tonight. It’s been a crazy few days and to be honest – I’m feeling exhausted. Between the event preparations of this last month, the travel and jet lag, and the early morning today to get ready for being at KPIX at 7:00 am has been a bit much. When you have AS, you prepare and plan. How long can I do something, how long can I stand, sit, or walk. We think of contingencies and then prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But what happens is that sometimes we go to New York city and spend the day in the hotel room.
I expected this would be the schedule but I hoped for boundless and endless energy! Oh well – I know I’ll make it through the Apple-A-Thon. Resting today was just a little bit of added insurance. My family and friends will be with me – holding me up and cheering me on. I love you all so much for doing this with me, for taking your time and your energies and sharing them with me, for my dreams. I love you all so very much.
Day 364 was created in acrylics and graphite.
***For any of you who haven’t seen the interview yet – here’s the link! Make sure to take a look at the great article the station did for us below the video!
***When we got to the station – two things happened that I thought I’d share. First, the producer said “wow, we wish you could paint an apple while you talk” – can you imagine! I’d love to paint an apple on t.v. but no one would have heard a word I said about AS. Maybe if I’ve got 10 minutes on a show and not 2! How bout next time??? Second thing was that they said all of my apples were too small (I thought we’d gone over that!) and did I have something bigger? Quick call to my Dad back at the hotel and he jumped in a cab and brought over the Apple-A-Thon Poster which ended up being perfect – and Dad got to see the inner workings of the t.v. station too! All in all, it all worked out and it was a great experience. Hopefully a little bit of knowledge and awareness about AS was spread today!
***Here’s a photo of me resting with my niece Parker and nephew Beckett. Parker picked out this beautiful magnet for me today – it’s an apple and I adore it!
***My thoughts today with my friend Amanda and her daughter Alexandra.
A New York Yankees apple was in order – a big thank you to all New Yorkers for embracing the Apple-A-Thon.
Since I was born in Princeton, NJ and my Dad grew up in Upper Montclair, NJ – listening to the Yanks with my grandfather, Willard who was a huge fan – I will root for the Yankees happily this year. My brothers, Red Sox fans and my husband a Colorado Rockies fan will have to – have to – approve this year.
Here we’ve been all these days and I’ve been saying it’s about the apples.
Let me see if I can explain.
About a year after I finished college I ended up following a boy to Colorado. I had fallen big time – nothing else would have made me pick up my few belongings get into my grandmother’s Oldsmobile Calais and drive 2000 miles away from my family.
The boy was handsome and rugged and very involved in the mountaineering community of Boulder, CO. I was so completely intrigued by this set of people and of course by him that I threw myself into a life that was foreign and challenging. I had just graduated from art school and here I was trying to keep up with extreme athletes, skiers, and yes, even people who’d climbed Mr. Everest. I kid you not! What was I thinking? Well, as many of you have seen – I become focused on something and I don’t turn off to it easily. So, I started running the trails around Boulder, learned to rock climb, and back country ski. Each endeavor was enormous to me and it came so easily to them. I was proving something to myself – or trying to – I wasn’t succeeding. I lagged behind in every task. I could never find my wind (the reason I quit track in High School) I injured myself non-stop etc. etc. You are all shaking your heads – you know the drill because my body, my genes knew I had AS, it would just be years until I found out why I couldn’t do these things. It was frustrating to say the least and it eventually ended the relationship because really – I wasn’t worthy of the “group” or this silly boy.
One day near the end of my stint in Boulder, a large group of us went to hear Reinhold Messner speak on the CU Campus. I had to be explained who he was with many eye rolls. Reinhold Messner is thought to be the greatest mountaineer in history. He is renowned for making the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. Yes – amazing person to hear speak.
Although Mr. Messner has a long list of ascents his talk was mostly about one fateful day in 1970 when he and his brother attempted the first climb of Rupal face of Nanga Parbat – tragically his brother Günther Messner died on the decent. It was obvious to everyone in the captivated auditorium that although he would continue to climb, the tragedy was always there haunting him and in his mind on every trek. With his heavily accented English he spoke of how you can do everything in life to be prepared for contingencies but that life simply comes down to the “cows.” To a stunned and confused audience of Messner worshipers – they all nodded and agreed. I sat silently with a smile on my face. So strong was the misunderstanding that it became the biggest topic of discussion after the talk was over. You could hear people saying “what was he talking about cows for?” I couldn’t believe it actually. People wanted to believe and hang on each and every word of this amazing man that they ended up missing the context of the powerful message. Life doesn’t come down to cows; it comes down to CHAOS! That element of science, of life that cannot be predicted. Once we can accept this – we can handle anything that comes our way.
Guess who was in that auditorium that night – guess who I may have walked right past. The chaos would show up in it’s glory for us and we’d be married just a few short years later.
So, when you’re feeling like you just wish you could wrangle life and make her go your way. Remember that there is no controlling chaos – not so sure about cows!
Day 362 was created in acrylic. A cow with an Apple Bell.
***I wonder if Reinhold Messner ever thought he’s make such an impact in the life of an artist who crossed his path by sheer – chaos!
I for one will celebrating and thinking about the glorious apple.
They have come to mean so much to me and hopefully to you all as well. Maybe I had apples on the brain all those months ago because it is simply the time of the year for the apple harvests. Perhaps it was that the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was so meaningful at the time but for sure the idea sparked in me for a reason.
What do you think Johnny Appleseed would think of blue spondylitis apples? I have a feeling he’d approve!
Day 361 was created with a few separate images of an old Johnny Appleseed $.05 postage stamp pieced together to make into a square instead of a rectangle as the original stamp was created. Ink and watercolors to give it a bit of paint and color!
*** My Mom asked me to add a note to today’s post that she plans on responding to every comment that you all made on her guest blog post from Day 350 – My Mom’s Perspective. She was so touched by your comments that she wanted to have the time to respond thoughtfully to each of you. I will post here once she’s done in the next week or so. In the mean time she’s says she’s looking forward to the Apple-A-Thon!
His article explains in clear terms what happens in the body when Autoimmune Disease is triggered. I was stunned by the comments – I had to weigh in myself because people turned his article into a three ring circus of ways to “cure” us and all of the things we’ve done to bring these diseases on ourselves. These comments we feel deeply. Very deeply. Like arrows in our hearts.
It’s time for us to fight back – shoot those arrows back at them. One comment here and there won’t have an effect but if we bundle our shots together, we can change this perception.
The comments could wound me if I let them. I choose to not let them anymore.
A skeleton key has come to symbolize something that can unlock a mystery.
Sometimes I think that Ankylosing Spondylitis will always remain somewhat of an enigma to me.
I wish I could unlock each door I have to pass through on this journey with my health and know what was on the other side. I wish we all had a magic key – an AS key to be a symbol or talisman to help us get through times of change with courage and strength. It might look something like this!
Day 359 was created in gold ink and watercolor.
*** I’m stunned and awed by the support that is coming in. A big thank you to everyone who has donated to the Apple-A-Thon fundraiser.
*** We received our first corporate donation today in the amount of $500 from BJC Health in Australia! who will be putting their commissioned apple in the lobby of their Spondyloarthritis Clinic – too cool.
Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. ~Charles Richards
Every day is made use of even the ones where we rest, reflect, and chill! I remember the days on end when all I wanted was some relief of my symptoms. I know many of you are still in that place and I so wish it weren’t so. I still have those days although they are fewer between. I am feeling a huge responsibility to make sure that I express correctly how difficult most of the days with Spondylitis can be.
Please know I will do my best in my upcoming interviews. If you can express for me how you would say it – it would help me.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – unknown
Dance in that storm! Even if it takes using a bright big red umbrella to give you a feeling that you can make it through. My great big red umbrella has been my friends and family, my sweet furry companions, and hope for a bright sun shiny day.
I see it clearly.
Day 356 was created in pen & Letraset Tria Pantone Markers
*** I apologize for the quality of this image – something is not working with my wordpress blog. I was in a panic but…. weathered the storm and decided to see if I could post the image from my PHONE! Crazy but it worked and then I was able to add the words. Where there is a will – there is a way 🙂