Monday, January 31, 2011

Drugs and Alcohol

I don't know many families that don't have to deal with alcoholism or drug abuse; if not in their own family or extended family they have a friend who has to deal with a person who has an addiction. My husband and I understand addictions because they run through our family. I think it's interesting that some liquor store signs read: Wine and Spirits--because getting high, in excess, essentially replaces one's spirit.
We, my husband and I, were talking about how kids who may be drinking, or not, and make their first decision to try a pill, maybe the worst one: Oxycontin; or they have their first drink which leads to a life of "needing" to have drink after drink.
Once this starts so does the self-involved behavior. These people consider nobody except themselves and what they need; they become totally self absorbed. Therefore none can have a relationship unless it is a sick one that delivers what they need.
Sickeningly sad, it is, that when one delves in to this choice for the first time there is no understanding about its ramifications. Oh, how their lives will unravel and spiral downward.  How they, for the rest of their lives will struggle and even if they do try to stop and manage to "control" their urge, they still will have cravings and have to live a whole life as an addict keeping their MONSTER on a leash. They will always have a craving for the substance, always, always,always!!! Addicts will tell you over time it lessens to a degree but the urge comes and they spend lots of time fighting it off. Unfortunately, sometimes it comes in an overpowering way and they "fall off the wagon," or go "get high," again; and eventually, done often enough, early death is a result. Families mourn, and think of the life the person could have lived-- only IF.
We, as a family, have both an alcoholic and a drug addict, that no longer live nearby. For years we coped with their antics. We thank God, they no longer live close by. It was hellish to wonder what chaos and drama would visiting or ringing our phone at any hour. We could count on them to create an upheaval just as often as one can find a fry on the bottom of their fast food bag!
We discuss with sadness and grave realization that they are not even missed. Family, a family member, who is not missed; that is tragic. That's because they brought us absolutely no peace, no help, they simply added no value to our lives. That's right, an addict lives a valueless life. We wonder, as we hope and pray everyday, that they can go years off of their substance of choice so they may come to an awakening and we  all can rebuild a trusting, reciprocal relationships. Yet, honestly, we never really trust they will; you just become jaded about what you should expect. Since their addicted behavior has always led them to destruction and us to disappointment, we've come to expect more of the same.
I wonder if on their death beds they will have an epiphany: I didn't do anything for anyone but me, nobody trusted me, I have spent my whole life without clarity thinking about how I could live outside reality.
Whomever you are, try to reach someone with the news their brain will forever change-chemically- before they try this stuff---it only takes ONE time if you have alcoholism in your family to become an alcoholic and it only take ONE time to take an oxycontin and have it lead to your own HELL ON EARTH. If you happen to be personally struggling with an addiction my prayers are with you. Only you can bring the behavior to a halt and begin to fight the addict's battle: Fighting the craving and refusing to indulge. If you succeed you could help someone else; very imporatnt work. You can also take up something you've never done before. Once you help someone or engage in new activity you'll be in reality; where things aren't lovely but they're real.  You're in it with the rest of us. It's not a bad gig to have people actually want to be around you and help you through your struggles; we just can't help you when you don't have clarity or any thought but your next high.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Unlikely Antique Shop- Art- Blog Connection

One day, while in Lee, Massachusetts, I had a day long outing looking through antique shops. If you love antiques, or even if you know nothing about them, New England antique shops are heads and tails above all others. These places have every category of things old.

The artist in me loves to peruse the nooks in these shops which are filled with old letters and photos to find images.  I look for those over a hundred years old, that I can use in my art without any publishing/user conflicts. I scored a load of items in this one little, closet-like, antique shop. I found a letter that is 110 years old, in very good condition, that is beautifully written with a quill pen. Historically, this woman's writing highlights human intolerance for other cultures, energy problems, and paints a vivid picture of how far our technology has advanced since that letter was written. It is very interesting and the struggles and viewpoints of the writer are poignant; I think Smithsonian worthy.

I also found photos. Photos in that lovely sepia tone, and black and whites. Also found a daggerotype (tin photo), and many studio photos from the late 1800's and early 1900's when people posed but never cracked a smile; as if photo taking was very serious business!  I purchased the letter and all of the photos and flew back here to FL. I have made copies of the letter--which I have used as a lettered background for journaling, and copies of some of the old photos to use their heads or bodies in mixed media art (I know that sounds funny, but I draw the rest of them; haahaa).

Enter the blogosphere.  If you haven't ever checked out the blog called Old Forgotton Photos you must:  This blog was created and is run by Connie,  a Minnesotan. She places old photos on her blog hoping to make a family connection to an old photo. She has a marvelous researcher who digs until she finds a living reletive--if any descendants are still alive. Well, I was reading this blog and felt compelled to contact her to see if I could mail the photos I had to her and I would include a return mailer to me, so she could send them back once she scanned and posted them on her blog. Indeed, she said she love to have them and off they went.

After they posted, Connie's researcher made a connection to one of the people in one of the photos I sent. Then, she and Connie, sent me all of the information to contact the living descendent who they found residing in California. I told my 23 yr. old daughter this and she said," They'll think your nuts and hang up on you." It was a chance I took.

A man answered the phone. I said, Hi, I'm looking for Diana; my name is Pam and I'm calling from___; quickly he put her on- excitedly saying Hey, some woman from  -- FL! Maybe he thought I could transmit our sunny, dry, days since they were having flooding rains then, I don't know. Once Speaking with Diana, I conveyed the whole story and she was thrilled. She told me she and her sister would be traveling to Italy and this picture would travel with them if I would be so kind to send it. She asked me to email all of the information, which I did.

Come to find out, weeks later, when I hadn't heard anything nor received an address to mail to, I heard from her nephew who explained that his Aunt Diana didn't have an email and she gave me his address but he hadn't read it until recently. It was his mom, as a very young girl, in the photo I had. They said they want to know who mailed the photo from CA to MA and that's what they will find out and share with me. How did the photo get to Lee and who received it. Today, I mailed the photo to California.
And that is the unlikey Antique shop-Art- Blog Connection; pretty cool!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hook Us Up. Make us Superstar Divas'.

I received a deluxe Spa package for Christmas from my husband.  What a loving gesture to want me to be pampered; he even took a tour through the spa to see if it would suit me.  This is a very Ritzy-Zen like Spa. He bought it because he liked the smell and the ambiance; so he said.

I really do enjoy a massage, I indulge in them from time to time.  The last facial I had was probably, uh, maybe 5 years ago? I also go every six weeks or so and have a manicure and a pedicure. 

Today, I am going to the spa at noon and they told me to plan on being there until 7pm.  I am very grateful to have the opportunity to relax a day away like this. Yet, some part of me is somewhat ambivilent...and fretful, that when I get out from this day long relaxation fest, I'll get in the car, turn on NPR and  find out the mega-nuke is heading my way.  Crazy?  I don't live like a superstar diva so I'm just wondering --since I am indulging like this--what's the catch?

On the upside, since the first day of 2011, I have been on a cleansing mission. First I tossed out items and even some furniture, then I quit smoking (don't cheer yet its only been since the 10th) and also rid my self of people who have been, well, draining. So all negative and poisonous things I have worked to shed----now, the one trait I have is evident in the paragraph above---worrying that if I do something really great the balance will come from something ugly accompanying my own head is poison---today in the Superstar Diva domain of relaxation I will practice my mindfulness --the cure for a poison head--and stay soaked in each pamering moment grounding myself in gratefulness.

PS: Added at 9:40 pm on 1/21---I came home and said to my husband: " Ya know, I did it all wrong." "What do you mean?" He looked concerned. I continued, "When a woman is asked to marry she should have one question: Do you have $300.00 to send me for a Spa Day once a month? And if the guy's answer is no...the woman should tell him to ask again when he can afford to have a wife!! LOL.  What an incredible day I had honey!!  Thank you so much!"  xoxoxo

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Woody Allen

Where do I begin, when I see Woody Allen, think about Woody Allen, read a Woody Allen book, or watch another Woody Allen movie-- for the gazillionth time --- I feel he is indescribable. He is so deep and rich as a writer/director, and as a person.  He lasers in on his vision by being the person who writes and directs, making sure what he created is clear to the viewer and actors. Brilliant, he's brilliant to keep this control. One time, I sat in my car for nearly an hour as he interviewed with Terry Gross; anyway, I think this interview was on Fresh Air. Unlike in his movies, he spoke calmly and  assuredly mostly to deny that he is anything like the characters he plays or invents and how his life does not mirror his movies, or visa-versa,  in anyway.  I say "Art" doesn't lie about the creator's intimate connections/familiarity with their topics/subjects. Woody, Woody, I thought as I listened to him, I know you are a neurotic, eccentric, shabby-haired genious. Stop trying to hide and act; lord knows you can't act, you always play yourself (God, no, not like Jennifer Aniston!). Accept yourself for the legend you are; ah, Soon-Yi seems Now, this is where idolizing him gets sticky; as one of my dedicated blog readers pointed out he,  is to some a pervert, who married his own daughter. Can't deny there isn't any blood between them; but to honor her position as an adopted daughter, she is a daughter; therein lies the complexity. There have been many geniouses that have had proclivities that are not socially acceptable--I am not judging his personal life--I'll leave that to a higher authority. I still am attracted to his creativity.
Woody Allen is a genious, even if he humbly does not define himself as such. Woody's movies encompass the depths of  our psychological, social,  and political issues that irritate, puzzle, and drive us mad both personally and globally.
The only problem is waiting for his next the meantime I'll just find new things in the old films and keep on idolizing Woody.

Monday, January 17, 2011

If we are all English, Greek, Italian, etc... why can't we all relate?

Have you ever tried to explain how you felt, or stated your opinion about something, only to be argued with?  Yes, argued with about how you feel and debated with about what you have stated you believe! You know; those people who are quick to tell you that you can't or you shouldn't, or that you don't, feel like you claim you do? You know the retorts: Oh! you can't feel like that!! You shouldn't feel like that!  Oh! You don't really mean that!!  When I've encountered these reactions to my feelings I experience pure frustration.  Then, how about times when you've just strongly asserted your opinion about something and then you're told it isn't your opinion at all?  OH! NO! That's not what you believe!! Then they'll start a debate with you over behaviors or things you've said that they think; What about this/that!!?  Falsely interpreting your past statements as their proof to contradict what you've just stated your opinion is!!  It's baffling when we encounter this. I was discussing this kind of behavior to someone once. They explained that when this happens between people we simply aren't speaking each other's language. "Wait, I said, you're saying they're Japanese, and I'm Spanish?" "Yes, she nodded, that's right." Hmm; I was puzzled, we're both English. Yet, oddly I understand the analogy; we may as well be from different places.
Dreamily, I started to think about people like this as our shipmates; because we can be lost at sea together but when we stop at a port one of us is bound to jump ship and not return. Yet when we find our soulmate they drift with us, when we're lost we hold hands, we're happy to sail or to dock--or ride a wave. It's not confrontational [foreign] rhetoric we hope for in our closest relationships, its respectful acknowledgement, rich engagement, and heartfelt understanding. Even if we're from a different country a smile is universal-- something we can relate to. My belief is: if someone upsets you more than they can make you smile and you can't even own your feeings and opinions without a debate---who cares why you can't relate? Find a port, jump ship, and seek understanding.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Secret Challenges

The most challenging things can be the hopes or promises which one keeps hidden.  Most people will admit -silently- that they have or have had these internal stirrings that they don't share. I really want to stop this habit, or pretty soon I'm going to_____(fill in the blank).
It seems that only after the fullfillment of these hidden hopes or self promises are we ready to say them out loud. We generally talk about them or share them only when we know we are in the clear.
For example, if one promises themselves to quit smoking and makes an attempt but they aren't sure they want to or can stay with it they keep quiet. They don't say anything while trying; maybe they don't want smoke-free cheerleaders because they find all of the accolades and hooplah "for just trying" very annoying.  Maybe until they know they can meet the challenge and completely fullfill the goal they think staying quiet about their effort is best.  Maybe one wants ----makes a promise to self--to save money yet they continue to buy a $4.50 Starbuck's Latte everyday  while knowing that cutting out this one purchase could save them $135. a month. If they tell someone they want to save and are observed buying the daily latte, they may be told "hey, if you stopped buying your latte...,"; and we don't want to be told or judged as as an irresponsible person--because, we justify,  life is short and we deserve a daily indulgence--so we continue our self sabotage.
Perhaps part of us is uncertain about our private goal, or we know it is half-hearted, or we're afraid it'll be jinxed if we dare tell anyone; or are we trying to avoid judgement if it doesn't come to pass? Would we do better to put it "out there" in the universe?  Only, I guess, if you don't mind public failure or evaluation.  Maybe that's why they are most challenging, these hidden hopes or self-promises, because we have to be very sure of our success and our personal level of desire and committment before we dare whisper a word outside of our own heads.

Friday, January 7, 2011


My friend told me that she is a Golden Apple finalist; this is a wonderful honor for a teacher. This award is the fruit of being at the top of your profession, a true teacher of merit. I am also an educator, but I haven't been practicing for a while. Yet, I understand how much it takes to create lessons of merit and how wonderful it is to be able to be recognized in this way. My energy now goes toward creating art.  Much to my surprise and delight, I began to sell my art. Most recently, I was asked to supply ten pieces to showcase for a month in one venue, Starbuck's, but to hang it in time for our city Art Walk, which is held on the first Friday of each month.
I know both of us feel proud to be recognized. Not everyone will think a teacher who gains a Golden Apple has the best teaching technique nor will everyone love my art either. Nonetheless, these kudos are self-fulfilling because each of us knows how much heart we put into our work; the lack of total approval is good because that is what keeps us humble and growing.  We do our best, put our heart into what we do, and smile knowing that many people understand and appreciate what we've done.
Being humble will keep us focused on the fact that we are still evolving and continue to try new things, aiming  to do even better while fully understanding that we will never gain the approval of everyone. That really would be achieving the impossible, so it can never be the goal.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Geographical Separations

Anyone that is a baby boomer remembers growing up in some sort of a neighborhood. People really knew their neighbors- we'd open the door and go in like there house was ours!  More often than not, our siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and friends lived nearby long after high school ended. Remember when you could tell a mom and pop storekeeper you'd be back with the $1.00 you owed them and they'd trust you for it; and I'm pretty certain most people made good on their word. 
Then we grew up and most of us didn't stay in the same town, city or suburb we grew up in. I find myself longing for the connections to the local mom and pop merchants, family, my own children lately, because geography divides us. In my community, which I have lived in for 8 years, I only know my immediate next door neighbors; and we are friendly and help each other out but we don't socialize. The connections we have nowadays often come from a work environment, or a connection to some activity like art, church, etc. Yet, most often, the people in these places are not our family, children, or best friends. Many people can say that those who are closest to us in our hearts don't live close by.  These separations usually happen because a marriage begins or ends, a job or a wish for a change of some kind is desired. Now each person is in their own space but without quick support, other than the telephone, Skype, email, or a letter but never is their a ready hug available.  I wonder, are geographical separations part of the cause of family breakdowns?    Geographical separation definately took away the old neighborhood. Does living away from the people closest to us develop more self sufficient and independent people? I have often wondered if the popularity of blogging, facebook and other social media  aren't virtual medications for our underlying starvation for living closer, in  the old neighborhood community,  where the merchants know you and you can get a real hug from a trusted friend.

Meditation Door-hanger

Meditation Door-hanger

Making handpainted, jewelry

Making handpainted, jewelry
resin pour over all.

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA
Me, standing there, in my meditation image.

Tick tock

Tick tock
"Time flys, catches fire, and sinks." p. malafronte (2010)

My Blog List

All Art and text entries are the registered works of Pam Malafronte. Do not copy, distribute, or use any text or art on this blog without expressed permission.

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

Peaceful Buddha

Peaceful Buddha
Be compassionate toward yourself

Start a true Rebirth on Earth

Start a true Rebirth on Earth
SOLD 8/13/11

Birds of What Feather?

Birds of What Feather?
Not Available

Time is KING---SOLD

Time is KING---SOLD
Longevity and Joy within

In Kinder Garden

In Kinder Garden
Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge