grief is messy & highly caloric.

I lost my Dad in the early morning hours of August 30th.  He was a generous, loving, humorous and complex man.  He also was in a great deal of pain. Thankfully he no longer is.  But, damnit, he isn’t here anymore either.  Now, I’m in pain and I would like to talk with him about what bullshit it is to lose someone I love.  He knew this pain, he lost his baby brother, my Uncle Tom, almost exactly one year ago.  

I flew home to South Dakota from Vermont the morning Dad died.  I wept through both airports—Burlington, Vermont and Chicago’s O’Hare. I had a light blanket wrapped around my shoulders that dried my tears as needed.  I walked to my gate in Chicago, blanket draped and carrying a garment bag.  I caught the eye of a few people who offered nods of acknowledgement and held my gaze, maybe understanding that grief is messy.

Oddly, I kept hoping I could tell someone, anyone that I just lost my Dad.  I now understand what to do if I see someone else in the shape I was in.  To hell with privacy.  I will offer a hug.  Or I will buy them a coffee.  Or I will ask them why they are crying and listen, even if I only have a minute before my flight.

I arrived mid-afternoon.  Flowers, casseroles, baked goods, fruit baskets, cheese and meat trays had already begun arriving at the house.  The doorbell was ringing.  The landline was ringing.  Our cell phones were ringing and pinging.  Hugs and tears filled Mom’s back entryway and helped eased the weight of it all.

I knew the process of the “business” of death wasn’t going to be easy.  However, writing the obituary, picking out Dad’s casket and clothes, making phone calls and so on—these things kept us busy.  Busy is needed those first few days.  Making arrangements gave us something to focus on with a deadline, providing a little scaffolding to a messy emotional process.

There were times before the prayer service and funeral, I wanted the whole world to just leave me alone in my sorrow, because I just lost my Dad.

Thankfully the world didn’t.

I’m now keenly aware of how I didn’t give nearly enough attention to the loss of other people’s parents.  I’m sorry if I seemed cavalier.  I just didn’t know how much even a small gesture could mean.  I always thought of grief as a private process.  I understand better now what’s necessary to get through it all.

I’m so sorry for your loss, no matter how many years it’s been for you.

The outpouring of love, time and culinary talents from the good folks in Burke, South Dakota made it the whole process a lot more bearable.  No one would’ve loved having all of those goodies around more than John.  Right, Dad?  Although I think he would’ve hidden the bag of Dorothy’s famous peanut butter cookies in the freezer and pretended they were already gone.

I’m grateful to you all.  Thank you so much.

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PLEASE NOTE:  Is there a metabolic trick that helps burn the calories (mostly from homemade baked goods) that are delivered to the family during a time of loss?

grief + baked goods + casseroles + visiting + crying + fatigue = COMFORT

____________________________________________________________________

John Lowell Lillibridge lived 79 years, 3 months & 21 days.

Rest, in peace, Big Guy.

You will be greatly missed.

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Herrick, South Dakota

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The week before Thanksgiving I was in South Dakota visiting my family.  I had an afternoon to drive around and shoot some photos.  I headed to Herrick, just east of Burke, listening to korn country 92.1. I love Keith Urban’s song; Blue Ain’t Your Color.  If you don’t know this song, it’s a damn shame.  Here’s the video.

I spent a lot of time in Herrick growing up.  I “worked bees” two summers. That was highly educational, messy and sometimes painful work.  I got stung 17 times one day (my forearms looked like Popeye’s). I played softball in the field behind the truck.  I think I might’ve even knocked back a few beers at parties in the outfield on occasion. I had a friend who lived on a farm in Herrick and since I was a “city kid” riding the bus to Anita’s farm was a grand adventure.  We could drive at fourteen.  We didn’t have to ride the bus too long.  So, I had a blast driving around Herrick in beautiful, autumn, late afternoon light and thinking about my Herrick Days.

Next time, perhaps a whole series of photos devoted to Bernie’s Inn, the historic watering hole in Herrick.  Would that be a possibility?  Let me know.

I added red.

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I’m ready for a new wall to work on.  That was fun.

Transformation is my jam.

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In December of 2011 I began work on renovating a studio apartment in Burlington, Vermont.  It was a total mess.  I’ll be posting more photos of the before pictures as I come across them.  I’ve begun looking back at my projects to understand when I’m in my happiest state of mind.  I’ve identified that my HAPPY PLACE is when I’m very singularly focused on one project.  I’m at my best creatively (and emotionally) when I’m working on a deadline and toward a singular goal.

So, first my insight is when I’m fully engaged creatively—I’m happiest.

Then the realization of the tiny deaths I experience creatively when I’m not in the middle of a project.

Now the REFRAME. When I’m not in the middle of big projects, I can—plan, dream, sketch, research and remind myself of what it WILL feel like when I’m fully “in flow” again.  It’s happened many times before.  I’m planning on it happening again soon.

To renovate this apartment I worked alongside a contractor (Joe at Workhorse Construction) from December 2010 through March of 2011.  I learned so much in that short amount of time.  The very first thing I did was all the of the demo work (which might be my second favorite pastime).  Then I called GOT JUNK because I would’ve had to make many many trips down an elevator (this apartment is on the 5th floor with rubbish in wheelbarrows).  I felt so guilty about the guys doing the work that I offered to stay and help.  They assured me that wasn’t necessary.  I tipped them handsomely (it was the holidays and the tip made me feel much better about my lack of rubbish removal involvement).

What was your happiest time of your life?

What made it so?

How can you make some version of that time happen in your life now?

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Best,

Lisa

 

POP UP SHOP this Friday & Saturday

levity pop up square

This weekend is a Pop Up Shop at Maglianero Cafe in Burlington, Vermont. I will have a few one of a kind clutches and evening bags for sale. Stop by if you get a chance.  With all of these talented women selling art, fused glass, jewelry, tote bags made from coffee sacks and ideas for garden design, there’s sure to be something to check out for everyone.

Here’s a peak at a few of the clutches.  I think you would have as much fun carrying them as I’ve had making them.  They really are a piece of art to carry your phone, cash/cards and a lipstick when you’re out on the town.

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photo

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when worlds collide/part II

sd farmhouse colliding with italy lillibridge sd farmhouse dog days burke south dakota

1. A side street in Florence, Italy

2. Dog Days Celebration, Burke, South Dakota 2014

my art wants a change of scenery too.

bird lillibridge beach flowers blue skyace hotel girl lillibridge

boy on pier carving lillibridge dakota 1966old lady legs carving arno lillibridge dakota 1966beach roses town neck beach lillibridge

I am getting tired of the cold.

I think my paintings are too.

Look where they ended up?

These designers need to get the credit they deserve.

Check out this interesting and innovative packaging design.  Conceptually these are all so beautiful and functional. Designers & Design Teams take a bow!  Well worth clicking through.

http://www.crazyleafdesign.com/blog/10-amazing-design-packaging-will-inspire/

Beer Colors by Txaber

Beer colors by Txaber

 

I thought I would go clean the studio today, however…

I think I will just go and be innovative and creative.

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From the article…
“…people greatly preferred convention in the tidy room and novelty in the messy room. ”

Great New York Times article by KATHLEEN D. VOHS regarding the studies around messy and tidy work environments.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/opinion/sunday/its-not-mess-its-creativity.html?_r=0

seeking perspective…

I know I ramble about perspective all the time, but it’s so easy to think we are seeing things clearly and rely on our certainty instead of digging deeper or searching for another angle. I liked playing with the mirror image from my photos. I do my best thinking in the car and I love the idea of looking back in my mirror and seeing something new in a different light.

perspective series beach cottage shot

perspectice series italian man

perspectives lillibridge city scene

perspective series cowboy boots

perspective series lillibridge beach approach

Perspective Series