On my Mind

See “Bird of Light” oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Before I type anything else, I just noticed that the exact temperate outside at this very second is 62 degrees. It’s been in the 50s, 40s, and 30s for weeks on end and now exactly 62. I’ve been seeing 62’s all day. I also had a dream about Mom a couple of nights ago, and a little bird (a tufted titmouse) has been driving me crazy by throwing itself at my patio window, inches from where I’m sitting now, cheeping incessantly. Now, there’s a scientific explanation for this behavior if the little guy is attacking his reflection, which can happen, but spiritually it was very unnerving and now suddenly he’s stopped doing it after several days of tormenting me. When Mom was dying, it was a yellow goldfinch that was at my window behaving oddly.

What does it all mean? I don’t know! I can’t think of anything memorable about this date or any reason why there should be such a strong pull. Anyway, although I’ve shared this story before, if this is the first time you’ve seen this painting, here is the explanation:

Oil painting “Bird of Light” was created especially for this collection, and specifically for this section on “Life after Death”. I wanted to share with you about how Mom seems to communicate with us. Numbers were important to her, and Mom had a habit of calculating figures in a notebook. She would do this by hand, usually to add and subtract purchases. She kept a balanced checkbook and would become anxious if even a single penny was off. She’d do the math over and over until she found the error and the account was balanced. This type of focus is a big part of who she was, so it makes sense that, instead of seeing cardinals or butterflies- as many people see when loved ones pass- we were instead seeing a number. Specifically, we were seeing the number 62. It took us a while to catch on that this number kept popping up, happening so often that it defied the statistical laws of probability, but eventually we made the connection. Mom was sixty-two when she died. That number was connected to her, and I also knew that the age she was would have been significant to her. So, it makes sense, as long as I’m open to the idea that our loved ones communicate with us in a way that is recognizable, identifiable, and also timely. As in, we see 62’s more often when we are going through a hardship, approaching a milestone, or coming up on the anniversary of something. We’d see 62 on a license plate directly in front of us, on billboards, in a show, on a receipt, in a price tag, in a phone number- anywhere where numbers are found, we may see a 62 several times in a single day. I didn’t know how to paint a number, without actually painting the number, but the idea came to me to paint an abstract that captures the idea of the number, drawing into my emotions about Mom, and the essence of her- what colors did she like, what colors seemed to represent her? I began by literally painting the number sixty-two on the canvas and using a variation of the “doodle game” that she and her family used to play with me when I was little. I could always draw very well, like my dad. The other side of the family was enchanted by watching Dad and I draw. They’d draw a doodle- just a curved line or shape- and challenge us to draw something from it. When I painted the number sixty-two, it felt like Mom had given me a doodle game challenge, which I thought I’d blend into an abstract art, but it took on the shape of a bird. I was attempting to blend the colors while deliberately avoiding making recognizable shapes, but shapes formed anyway. It looked like wings were in my brush strokes, and part of a bird shape. I realized that Mom wouldn’t like abstract art, but a subtle simple bird in her favorite colors would probably be her cup of tea. So, again, it all made sense… as long as I was open to the experience. And that’s how, instead of an abstract named “62”, Mom’s painting became “Bird of Light”. Then, something breathtaking happened the next morning to this painting, and I took a video of it to show you.

About 1 minute in (after my closing remarks) I show you what it looked like the next day

And now I’ve just burnt cupcakes that I’ve made several times before, perfectly. Well, they aren’t burned exactly. They overflowed and the batter that ran onto the oven floor is now burning and it’s filling the house with an obnoxious smokey burning smell that has sent one of my kids downstairs to make inquiries! 😀 Well, I don’t know why they overflowed like lava when that’s never happened before with this recipe, but I pulled them out just now and scraped some of the burnt batter off the oven floor. By then, they were cool enough to test a bit of the sloppy edges- delicious! So, they still taste fine, but they look TERRIBLE! It looks like one big massive cake. You can’t even see the cupcake paper liners because the cake has completely over taken the entire muffin tray!

What a strange day. I’m now trying to quickly air out the house before the rest of the family comes in the door. I guess that’s it from me. See you tomorrow! WAIT, don’t go yet…. UPDATE Ok, I’m back for a minute with an update: we figured out what happened with the cupcakes. I had tried a struesel topping which sank into the middle, causing the batter to overflow. That’s it, mystery solved. The cake is DELICIOUS and all clean now because the family came in and ate all the parts that spilled over, and each took a sloppy cupcake besides, LOL. All are happy and it was an easy problem to solve!

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