Friday, August 08, 2008

The picture is a painting I did, reworking Honore Daumier's "Don Quixote". It reminds me that "impossible dreams" sometimes have to be tweaked and refined along the path of pursuit in order to reach them...dreams of growth and change and renewal. I went to an Art Crawl last night. 4 new galleries have opened in the downtown area just blocks from my apartment. I've been researching and writing about the "renewal" efforts that are taking place in the old inner core of the small city where I live in Northeast LA., and this is an encouraging sign of life...(not to mention more stuff for me to write about... emoticon I got to meet with a man who has invested heavily in the rennovation of several old historic buildings in this area, (one among about 5 private investors that I've stumbled on so far) and he took me through a stunningly lovely building overlooking the River that is to become an upscale restaurant , bar and live music venue in just a few short months. It won't be a place that my meager budget will be able to afford, but it looks like it's going to be an enticing new asset for the city's cultural and economic growth.

Richard Florida has written about the process of urban renewal in books such as "The Rise of the Creative Class", documenting the way that artists and other creative types often form the "first wave" of renewal in a city, since they aren't afraid to move into older, "less desireable" segments of real estate, investing ideas, sweat equity, and whatever money they can come by, to carve out space to work, live, and exhibit. Eating establishments and other service industries ultimately follow, and "renewal" begins. Creativity isn't limited to the "arts", though. Similar processes have occurred with centers of technological, scientific, and commercial creativity, such as Silicon Valley, Austin, TX., and Atlanta, GA. Anyway, I see hopeful signs of emerging life in a region that has long had little to commend it to industry as a place to invest in, build businesses in, and relocate their employees to.

Meanwhile, on the personal front, my uncle has agreed to move in with my mother and brother...that ought to make for something of a simmering volcano with the relationship between my hot-tempered brother and equally hot-tempered uncle. There will have to be personal character growth on someone's part in order for them to not destroy my mother in the crossfire. I have to go down to my Mother's place next week for a couple of days to help move the "office" out of the bedroom into which my uncle will move, reconfigure the computer system in Mother's room instead, and generally offer her "moral support."

As for me, I restarted baby steps in exercise this week with 3 slow 15 minute sessions on my Nordic Track. (for about the 35th time in as many years) Every time I "start over", I am able to do less and less because of the aging and illness process, but to be able to begin at all is a glorious gift. I used to become so discouraged whenever I went through the "relapse" phases that meant that once more, I had to back off the exercise or stop it altogether. Now I can tell myself that I'm just taking a "pit stop", and I will be able to resume the race when the engine has been overhauled. I've battled severe muscle weakness and painful spasms/cramps for years, causing doctors to try to add MS to my list of autoimmune conditions, but tests have always been "inconclusive", so I keep doing what I can do. I came to a "new" conclusion this week though: I am no longer pursuing weight loss as my primary goal. I am just trying to stay out of a wheelchair. I believe weight loss is part of that, but immune system care through nutritional, cardiovascular and muscular/neurological fitness is my primary emphasis. Staying the course day by day is my "impossible dream".I'm glad to be alive and able to keep learning! Have a great day, friends and neighbors!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Bravo! Absolutely beautiful painting! It reminds me of Monet. My daughter recreated Monet's Starry Night when in middle school--with crayon and chalk...of coarse I still have it. Once again, magnificent!
    3867 days ago
    Did I understand you to say that you live in Louisiana? Or am I nuts, and it's Los Angeles. . .
    GORGEOUS painting!! You do fine work. thank you for sharing it with us!!
    3870 days ago
    I wonder what talented artist painted that and was SHOCKED that it was my spark buddy! Wow are you talented. In so many ways. You write with equal talent creating a mental picture and feeling of being with you.
    I love urban renewal. Something about living in a city seems so right to me. However I don't live in the city because my husband is a country guy. He needs land for all this plantings. I garden too but I could do that in the city.
    I bet the move of your uncle is going to be the subject of many many conversations with you Mom over the next weeks. Oh my.'U
    Also I commend you on tweaking your goals. I think Health should be everyone' s goal and exercise does increase ones strength in most cases.
    I am praying that the current stem cell research and genetic work will reveal a lot about the autoimmune system. It is amazing how many times our own body attacks itself. Arthritis and Cancer being two main incidents.
    3871 days ago
    Yup, this journey is about health and well being. Being as healthy as I can at this point, no this point, no right now, in time. You are doing your best. Eat well, be happy- if you lose, great, if not- you are eating well!
    I love to read your blogs. Please keep on keeping on.
    3872 days ago
    What a gorgeous painting! Thank you so much for sharing your work with us here. I really admire your talent.

    I'm glad your uncle's living situation has been settled. Again, your family is to be commended for sticking together through thick or thin. I hope it will all work out, and bless you for giving your mom moral support.

    You should be so proud of yourself for the exercises you did this week! I've always called this a journey to better health instead of weight loss. For me, weight loss is just a means to reach better health. It should never be about the numbers on the scale or on the labels on my clothes. What's important is we feel healthier. Keep up your great work, my friend.
    3874 days ago
    Fascinating picture!! What medium do you work in--or do you do several?? Some do.
    I have restarted so many times that I have lost count, But you sound so positive in determining to "make it" that you will!!. I look forward to seeing how you progress.. Have a good weekend! Ginny x
    3874 days ago
    It's a beautiful painting and this is a fascinating entry.

    I am particularly interested in what you write about renewal. Having been a part of many groups that weren't afraid to move their art into "bad" or broken down neighborhoods, I've watched what you describe first hand. The only downside to the story is that too often, once the trendy shops and restaurants move in, the artists can no longer afford the rent on the space they have lovingly rehabbed, and they're forced to move on. I've never understood why landlords don't get that keeping the artists around is a good thing.

    I'm visiting my sister and my elderly mother (nearly 94) this week. Some of my job while I'm here is to give my sister time off to get things done for herself. My other job is to try to assure her that moving mom into the health care center last year was a good thing. It's never an easy decision but in our case, it was the only decision to be made.

    I hope things work out all right for your family. If she doesn't already have one, maybe you should get your mom an I-Pod so she can make them all go away while she listens to her favorite music.

    Good for you for getting back on your Nordic Track. Those things aren't easy! I used to cross-country ski when I lived in MN and I think the Nordic T is harder. A little bit each day is definitely the way to go. Before you know it, you'll be a champ. And you're right, movement is the very best way to stay out of a wheelchair. I too hope I will lose weight through all this life-change, but like you, my primary focus is very much my health.

    3874 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/8/2008 5:10:59 PM
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