Not Very Dog Friendly Today — Fourth Quarter Begins pg286

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Dog Friendly detail 2015

The style of painting I teach to emerging artists is quicker and freer than the more exacting, commissioned work that earns my tofu and potatoes. Painting in my loose instructor-style is more happy, joyous and free. In my kitchen storage area were piles of larger, odd-size frames people had given me over the years. They needed to be filled with lots more paintings with more verve.

My new chihuahua had forced me out of the studio, and opened up a brighter world along the Bay Trail on our daily walks. There were so many people with small dogs, I thought there was a new town ordinance I had accidentally obeyed. Neighbors chatted companionably in groups, while the quadruped kids tore up beaches and chased balls on the many lawns along the shoreline paths. These cheerful scenes had me on the ground taking pictures from doggie eye level, and I started painting pooches and their people from this perspective. — From Chapter 15

I’m stuck and staring at this quote from my memoir during a time when all my stars aligned in the newly formed Chihuahua Constellation in 2015— the Year of the Unicorn. I stared at this quote yesterday, too, and gave up trying to think of something hopeful to write. This morning is no better. Inspiration eludes.

My one ongoing task to get through a long winter of covid isolation was to compose this artsy companion blog every day. I was triumphant for 163 days in a row right up until yesterday. I might blow off today, too. How I normally handle being disappointed with myself follows a pattern. Let’s say that pattern was a posy of pansies in once useful carpet that is now filthy, threadbare landfill and still underfoot. What a yucky metaphor. Oh well.

Chastising myself isn’t working this time. Often self flagellation does. There is so much to be grateful for and I’m such an ingrate. Next step in the downward spiral is casting about for blame. No really… this is not my fault. Well, forgetting to get the big heating oil tank filled is on me. The boiler went silent cuz the gauze hit E last night because I am stupid. It is 55 degrees in here and no one delivers on Sunday. Hey. I can type with glofes.

This morning I woke up to the sound of the dog horking on the rug. That sound should be an alarm ring-tone because it works to get an ass out of bed much faster than trying to come up with a reason. Of course the dog was on the nicer, newer carpet. Yikes. Why is the house so cold? Oh.

I could blame this block on Friday’s second shot of Moderna. Of course I’m grateful to all the brilliant, dedicated people who developed and delivered a fabulous vaccine. At this moment all my ribonucleic acids are being reprogramed as tiny warriors to identify and kill spiky proteins. I would celebrate if I didn’t feel so muzzy. I might even could write something worth reading if I wasn’t so tired. And cold. Again, my fault. Okay… not the tired part. That’s on the upchucky dog who got me up too early post second dose.

Well hey. I just found another reason why this brain freeze. I took a quick break with the weekend edition of the New York Times and discovered… behavioral anhedonia. I have behavioral anhedonia! “When people are under a long period of chronic, unpredictable stress, they develop behavioral anhedonia,” Dr. Wehrenberg said, meaning the loss of the ability to take pleasure in their activities. “And so they get lethargic, and they show a lack of interest — and obviously that plays a huge role in productivity.”

For some reason this cheers me up, although not as much as taking pictures of smiling dogs and then painting them. But this is just a pukey day at the end of a long winter. Spring will come. The sap will rise again and maybe, just maybe get transformed into something sweeter and more useful. I think we all need more maple syrup right now. My goodness. It’s Easter Sunday. I could make pancakes. Or not.

A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at www.etsy.com/listing/839838936

Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.

Mernie paints and writes in Woodstock NY. A signed copy of her memoir The Incompetent Psychic available via www.mernie.com

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