Day 365 – Not The End… Just The Beginning!

The Big Apple has been wonderful.

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!

Until Sunday.

Jenna

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!

Day 364 – One More Apple

One day to go.

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.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

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.

Day 363 – A Yankee Apple

New York here I come!

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.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 363 was created in pen & ink and watercolor.

Day 362 – It’s About The Cows

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!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

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!

Day 359 – Our Skeleton Key

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!

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

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.

*** Thank you Tom Contrino for your $150 donation!

In The Studio

Thank you Doug for working tirelessly today.

Thank you to my parents for working tirelessly today!

Thank you to Bill Beckwith of School House Farms for donating a bushel of apples for the event!

Day 358 – Don’t Be Fooled By The Calendar

Don’t be fooled by the calendar.  There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.  ~Charles Richards

Oy!

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.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 358 was created in watercolor.

*** Thankfully computer issues resolved!

*** Thank you to the Spondylitis Association of America for this wonderful page sharing the Apple-A-Thon

*** Have you seen the donations page? Holly set up a great page – please take a look!

*** Guest Apples are flooding in – please send in yours too. Here all the news that’s fit to print.

Day 357 – A New View

Take in a new view – you never know the wonders you might see.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 357 was created in watercolor.

***Update on my computer issues – they are official. I’m posting tonight from Doug’s computer. So frustrating.

Day 356 – Learn To Dance In The Rain

“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.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 356 was created in pen & Letraset Tria Pantone Markers

Bright Sun Shiny Day

*** 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 🙂

Day 355 – Pulling Myself Together

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Good plan. Will do!

I’m headed to the mall to shop at Nordstrom’s Rack in the hopes of finding just the right outfit for my t.v. appearance.

Oops – did I let that slip out?

Yes indeedy folks – I will be interviewed on a morning show in NYC the day before the Apple Paint-A-Thon and I need to make Liz and all of you proud. I will pull myself together!

One of my dear and best friends, Stacey is meeting me there tonight to help me come up with something that looks a bit more cosmopolitan and a bit less Colorado dusty back roads. I may even put on a bra! Special times call for special circumstances.

Love to you all for your continued and much needed cheering on. My thoughts with Betsy and her family tonight.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 355 was created in – lipstick!

Day 354 – Fading

I faded a bit today. My body called for an unexpected time out.

I could have pushed through but right now I’m on an endurance marathon and sprint to the last apple so – although my list is long and the details need to come together right now – I did what I usually don’t – and listened to my body and stopped.

I will get done what I can get done. Tomorrow is another day and today’s break was a huge help in rejuvenating me.

Until tomorrow.

Jenna

Day 354 was created in watercolor that I cut into a shape of an apple. I then placed a piece of tracing paper on top of the vivid image and sewed around three edges and dropped it in along with a bunch of seed beads.

Oh my goodness – I was thinking today that it’s a good thing I didn’t try to do as I wanted on Day 335 and break my apple rules – what was I possibly thinking?