Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I am working a late shift this week, 430pm till 1am.  A shift familiar to me from my early days at Alaska Airlines.  But it's been years since I've worked that late.  And at the moment it's making me an insomniac.  I can't fall asleep in the middle of the night, and just about when I do, I have to wake up to get the kids off to school.  Then I can't sleep during the day, so my mind is very unfocused.  Thinking of million things at the same time.
Today, I drove an hour to the other side of town, looking forward to check an artist/mixed media/paper store, that I've been wanting to visit for some time.  It's called The Occasional Artist.  
And...out of all the times I've had time off to check it out, I had to pick a day when they are closed.  In fact, this whole week they are closed as they are participating in a big mixed media event that goes in Phoenix this time a year, Art Unraveled.

So I came home, made me lunch, tried to take a nap, and I all I could think of was moths.  I heard a story on NPR last Friday.  I didn't finish listening to it, but what stuck was this sentence: Moths are butterflies that come out at night.
And here...I used black board, lace, a part of a stamp, and created a moth.
Now off to pick up the kids from school, and then I have to go to work.
By the end of this week, I will be a mess if I don't get my body and mind to relax and go to sleep.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Last Thursday I had a mystical experience with a bird.  
See, birds chirp in the back yard all the time.  We have three trees and they like to hide in the shade.  But the chirping was so loud last Thursday, and so repetitive that I went out to see what was causing all that noise.  And there it was, a large black bird.  A raven perhaps, I am not sure.  And this blackbird started chasing me.  I thought it was either hurt or protecting something.  I looked for little ones, or eggs, but found nothing.  It chased after me, as I walked around the back yard.  It was getting so close to me, that I found it very unusual.  It was not scared of me.  
I reached out to touch it, and it let me.  After a while it even flew on my head, then moved onto my arm.  I fed it some bread and gave it some water.  

It spent the afternoon in our back yard; eating bread, drinking water, climbing on me when I'd go out to check on it, walking around my mint garden.  I was so happy.  I though I'd get a new pet, one that'd be free to fly around, and come to my backyard for food and water and to hang out with me.  
At dark, it flew on the lower part of our roof and I said good night to it.  
The next morning, it was gone.  I looked for it around the house, but not a trace.  It's almost like it never happened.  
And I am not sure what to think of the whole thing.  Why did it come?  What was it looking for?  Why was it not afraid of me?  I've never had a wild bird behave this way. 

Maybe it came to give me an inspiration to paint.  Because I have been painting it all day long.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Traded my first ATCs

Yesterday I went to my first ATC trade meet up/event.  There is one every month at the local craft store, Craft Fusion.  I took the ATCs I made painting poppies with acryclics.
And in exchange I got these:
I also have been practicing watercolors.  Poppies off course.  I can't stop thinking about them after seeing them back home in Macedonia.  
And tonight, I opened a box and found these tree seeds.  I am not even sure what type of tree they came from.  I am trying to remember where I picked them up.  I remember thinking they looked like wings when I found them on the ground some months ago.  Tonight they looked like birds.  So...........I gave it a try to practice watercolors painting birds.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Macedonia Pt.4 - Relatives

At one point during our trip, my husband asked me: so who are your relatives and who are your friends.  To someone who didn't know the relationships, it would be hard to distinguish, because both my relatives and my friends in Macedonia I have known all of my life.  
Even an unimportant trip to the grocery store will make you run into a relative or friend.  And when we visited people's homes who invited us, if one was to judge by their hospitality, it would be hard to distinguish whether they are a relative or a friend.  Our culture is very hospitable.  People open their homes and feed you all the time.
  So I want to say that the whole country is my family, because if they are not by blood, then certainly they will be somehow related by marriage.  It's a small country, you know!!

So lets start with my grandpa. 
I walked to his small apartment the very first day I arrived.  I guess I couldn't wait.  I am his first grandchild, he is my last surviving grandparent.  I wanted to see him and I wanted him to see my kids.  
He spends the summer days at our house just outside of the city.  There is a small vineyard there, and other fruit trees and vegetables.  It is there that he makes home made wine and rakija.  In the photo above, he is holding a photograph of him and my grandma, my dad and my uncle dating  back in the mid 1950's.
Above: My grandpa, my uncle and aunt, me and my kids.

Above: my uncle Krste and aunt Nada

Uncle Krste and aunt Nade, are not exactly my aunt and uncle, they are my dad's.  My uncle Krste is the youngest brother of my grandma (my dad's mom).  Growing up I spent a lot of time with my uncle Krste and aunt Nada.  I am also told that whenever I'd ask my parents to buy something for me, and they would tell me they didn't have money I'd answer back to them: let's go to uncle Krste, he's got money.
An unfortunate event happened during my last week in Skopje.  Their tiny condo caught on fire.  They share a common wall with their neighbor who is mentally ill.  He's tried to burn his condo many times.  This time, he burned down his condo, and having a common wall with my uncle, their home suffered a lot of damage. 

Above: my uncle Gjorgji and aunt Duska 
They live next to my uncle Krste.  They too are my dad's uncle and aunt.  Uncle Gjorgji was a journalist for the local newspaper.  And he was my saviour when I had to write essays for school assignment.  He was the person I went to for help.  Many thanks. 

Above: my uncle Lazo who lives in Ohrid.
Above: uncle Lazo and aunt Betti.
Many years ago I spent a week with them in the summer.  They didn't have kids back then, and now their son is about to graduate from college.

Above: my grandpa's brother with my son. 
Dedo Stavre (granpa Stavre) is my grandpa's brother.  He is uncle Lazo's father.  They live in Ohrid.  

Above: my unlce Janko in Gostivar.  He is my mom's first cousin.  His brother, uncle Pavel is the one that lives in Palm Springs, CA.  Uncle Janko took us to Vrutok, the spring of the river Vardar, that crosses through Macedonia and ends in Greece at the Aegean Sea.

Above: Maja, my cousin's wife.  This was the first time I met her.  I could not make it to their wedding a few years ago.  Maja is an artist, a sculptor.  She has a studio in the old part of town (Stara Carsija) which I enjoyed very much.  We spent a day with Maja, museum hopping through old town.

Above: Renata, one of my cousins.  She is actually my second cousin.  He parents bought the apartment where I grew up.  So I was fortunate to visit and show my kids the home where I lived when I was their age.

As I am going through my photos, I am realizing that I never took pictures of some of my relatives.  Wrapped up in our pleasant conversations after decades of not seeing each other, and enjoying the good food, the opportunity to capture the moment with a camera didn't even occur to me.  So the last photo is a courtesy of my cousin's cell phone.  See...sitting at a table eating food.  All the time, at every house.

Above from left: myself, my mom's brother, my cousin and his wife, my aunt.