Writer’s Block and Emotional Obstructions

Finally friends, I am able to write again. It’s been a long time, but I finally figured out how to get rid of my yearlong writer’s block. My hunny hubby can take all of the credit. I was upset and telling him as much. I was frustrated about not being able to think of anything good to write, that people would want to read. He reminded me that I started out writing for myself. Shouldn’t I just keep doing that?

Frankly, I was embarrassed. I only allowed my husband to read anything I write a year ago. Had I come so far from my own mental roots that I forgot how to write just because? When I wrote before, it was literally only because something was kicking around in my brain like a pair of tennis shoes rolling around in a dryer. I had to write because the thoughts just sticking in my mind had to be let out somehow. Before I went crazy.

Admittedly in the past I had a lot more driving me crazy, well at least bothering me. More recently, I also had something on my mind for a short time that I simply could not even come to terms with in my own head, much less verbalize it by word. But like everything else, it did pass and my resolve was kept strong by the love I have for and receive  from my family.

The ideal of the perfect life is misconstrued. We cannot have everything in our lives exactly how we want, but we can perfect those things in our world that we have control of. In this, you can really find a sort of active contentment. Things aren’t 100% hunky dory, but I sure as hell intend to make everything in my control as close to perfect as possible.

It’s taken a long time to get to where I am now, and I don’t think that I would be the person I am today without the many, many speedbumps along the way. I am not whole, but I am doing all that I can to make what I have right for me and for my family too.

I give full credit to the love and understanding I have received from my soulmate, my husband. We both have had troubles, but our commitment to our relationship and our family is what binds us, and keeps us strong in our more difficult times.

So, it turns out, I don’t have to look far for a writing topic. Usually what’s on my mind ends up being my writing, and as simple as that seems, it’s easy to forget how to write when the things you are thinking are not meant for any heart but your own. Until then, for future reference, don’t think about writing. Don’t wish you felt like writing. Just write. The rest will flow, in time.

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An Ode To Gus, The Suburban Gangster Cat

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Don’t Suffocate Me With Your Fur

Oh, kitty. Sweet kitty. As you lie here upon my belly, smacking my face with your paw when I stop petting you, I wonder just how much of a giant baby you really are. Remember, kitty, how I accidentally left the front door wide open for hours when I took the children to the supermarket? Do you recall when my hubby arrived back home and you were gone? How I cried when he called me. Gus got outside, I thought. I’ll never see him again! How we laughed when we found you upstairs hiding!

In the moment of shame that stemmed from you turning tail from your freedom and hiding in the closet, you did not concern yourself with our teasing laughter and name calling.

“Big fat chicken.” We said. “What a big old fat baby!” We said.

You did not care, sweet kitty, you were happy to have your humans home. You are a cat beyond description. No other cat in the world would sit in the middle of the chaos that is my three young children playing nomadic torture games all around you. Not only do you tolerate and absorb their anarchy, you lovingly rub your head on them if they glance near. If they ever do accidentally step on your tail, you give them a soft verbal reprimand “meooow” and retreat to a safer place nearby where you can still keep your watchful eye on them, or more likely, catch a snooze with some part of your body on some part of one of our bodies.

Gus, you have a knack for being the biggest baby in the house. We found you under a dumpster, we saved you from some chicken owners who probably would not have appreciated you sneaking into their chicken coop. Since the moment you walked in the door… you’ve been afraid to be in a different room from me. I love you, sweet Gus Gus. I will forever rub your belly, My babies will forever thrill at your fly catching skills. As always, when you get scared at the top of the stairs, up there all by yourself, and start meowing for help from the humans, I will always reassuringly call out to you.. “Come on down here, you big scaredy cat.”, and oh, how you’ll trot your chunky mountain lion physique down the stairs, sounding like a small child with your footfalls.

You make our family complete Mister Gustavo, and we will always love you and your awesome ability to annoy the hubby, whether it be rubbing on him while he’s trying to pop his back, licking yourself in his presence (we know you think it’s as funny as we do) and also running between his legs as he goes up and down the stairs EVERY SINGLE TIME.

 

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Joanie Montileone is a contributing writer to the Sisters Curious, as well as the co-founder. She loves her Italian husband and babies, and spends her free time… wait, she doesn’t have any!

 

MARGOT AND THE KIDDERS

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The nightlife of the Ozarks has seen an undeniable flux in special interest bands and events that reflect the millennial lifestyle that has come into light in the last ten years. The modernization of artistic interests just might be an influence of the technological advances over the same previous decade, but not in the way you might think. Certainly people check in more places and virtually share more outings with their social media friends, however the instant access to any information you may want to get your hands on has had an uncalculated effect on the masses. There has been a spike in interests in antiquities and in the fashion, art, and music surrounding them. 

One such phenomena, borne of the  urge to seek our cultural roots is the retro-styled cover band, MARGOT AND THE KIDDERS. A band borne, much out of necessity, on the waves of taking a look around at the world and thinking, “I missed something.”

That is why Margot LeMay and Corey Johnson started the roundup that ended with the group that was named Margot and the Kidders before there was more than just a Margot. DSCF9364

Months of practice and a couple of new band members later, the debut of Margot and the Kidders took place at the Classic Rock Coffee Shop in Springfield, Mo. This was one year ago. They have had a booking request every single weekend since.

With the summer in full swing, their shows are sometimes numbered 3 a week.

Farmer’s Park gigs, American Legion Outpost Fundraiser nights, Downtown, Uptown, weddings, birthday parties, and swingin’ roaring twenties prohibition parties; every booking suits them just fine. They have as much respect for the venues that DSCF9541have booked them to play music for burlesque routines as they do for the upper crust birthday party bookings and Branson Landing restaurants they have played for.

The only problem that Margot and her Kiddos ever have is meeting the high demand to book them, especially during the summer nightlife season. They have hopes of spreading the gospel of the likes of Amy Winehouse and Post Modern Jukebox to a more diverse audience in the Ozarks by way of their smooth integration of classy jazz and edgy rhythms into the modern scenes of the local millenials. 

Will the fame of Margot and the Kidders keep rising? Is their sudden ascent to the top of Ozarkian nightlife bands enough to satisfy their craving to spread their fever for vintage tunes? Not at all! What’s next for these hard-working and stylish musicians?  Margot, when asked, with a grin simply states, “Eureka Springs… then Atlantic City”.

UPCOMING EVENTS WITH MARGOT AND THE KIDDERS

Check out Margot and the Kidders on YOUTUBE

Book MARGOT AND THE KIDDERS on Gig Salad

Parenting the Gifted

FEELING LIKE A GREAT PARENT

I find myself extremely lucky to have three highly developed children with above average abilities in intelligence as well as motor skills and emotions. The defining trait of my two boys and my little girl is consistently empathy. They are all emotionally and academically intelligent. Their abilities far surpass my ability to fill their brains up with the knowledge that they crave. I spend all of my time trying to do just that. It’s been this way since the day my first son was born. He’s been read to almost every day of his life. He’s been told, shown, and taught to the best of my abilities what is right and wrong, and how to handle different situations properly. His siblings have received the same treatment to the best of my abilities. Motherhood was not a difficult task for me as I took to it in a way that I considered a lifelong plan to develop his and his siblings’ character and their minds. It was all wine and roses watching him develop so profoundly. When he started to have a closer eye on him by pre-kindergarten professionals, by way of PARENTS AS TEACHERS, I started to realize that the massive intelligence we had on our hands was not the norm for most preschool parents.

THE REALIZATION

The DIAL testing they do through parents as teachers is the assessment they use to gauge the kindergarten readiness of a preschool aged child. My son received a 99/100. The highest score possible. This is when everything started to come into light. I was dealing with what the MAPS assessment defined as possibly an actual genius. But with  great knowledge comes great sensitivity.

A GROWN UP MIND AND A SIX YEAR OLD BODY

Day to day living with my son, you wouldn’t really think anything of his superior intelligence, until he opened his mouth. His vocabulary is astounding. His empathy is unmatched by the greater majority of the human population. His calculations, both mathematical and strategic are incredible to watch unwind before you. When you look at the boy, you see the spark of intelligence in his eyes. He has the ability to learn from other people’s lessons and build upon it. As NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON stated on his series “COSMOS”, the unique quality of the human mind that sets it apart from other life on Earth is the ability to recognize patterns. This is what helps us build upon knowledge we have organized in our minds and build upon it. By the standards of my own personal experience, and with no actual bias, believe me when I say that my son is in the upper crust of that trait that sets us apart.

LOW POINTS OF HIGH INTELLIGENCE

If there is anything to the phrase “the smarter you are, the less happy you are”, my household is the most unhappy. There is a real and true love that we bestow as well as show on a daily basis. They are loved and cared for. The only trouble is, when my son has a problem, there is an obsessive focus on negative outcome possibilities. He is constantly troubled by the possibility of a meteoric event, volcanic activity, tornadic storms, or even the spontaneous combustion of a household appliance in the night. Another troubling faction of the gift of high intelligence at such a young age is the inability to express the thoughts going through your head in a way that your speech can keep up with. There are so many hysterical instances where my son cannot explain the way that he is feeling and with the inability to arrange his feelings in a productive way, he is left feeling helpless or out of control of things that happen to him. That is a defining trait of a gifted child. Asynchronous development. His reading level is at about 7th grade, his mathematical ability is about 5th grade, and his emotional processing is at a kindergarten level at times. The amplification of the non-emotional surplus is a serious factor in making the emotional capabilities seem even more lagging than they are.

HOME LIFE WITH A MINI EINSTEIN

My son spends his time cataloging the health points, levels and attack power of different Pokémon. The catalog is in his head. If you have time, and want to learn about Pokémon, he has made videos on YouTube. He is an amazing conversationalist. A true empath at heart he really connects with parables, as well as with plights of his younger siblings. On the flip side, he also has to have ample warning of any events such as turning off a game, getting ready for bed, leaving for an outing. If there is not enough warning on any event he will not be able to adjust in the way he needs to and will become hysterical. He likes to build electronics with a snap circuit kit he received for his birthday. He fills dozens of notebooks with his drawings, writing and highly detailed Pokémon cards he designs himself.

OUTLOOK

Things are getting better for my son. The things that used to be a huge obstacle, such as getting his hair washed or cut, being examined at the doctor’s office, or using a mechanical pencil, they have all become old news. We made the proper adjustments and gave a proper warning for years, and finally, after 6 years, he has overcome most of these things. He does still have a deathly and hysterical fear of insects. He gets inconsolable when he imagines scenarios in which the fire alarm goes off in the house. But we accept his quirks, we adjust our plans to help him cope and proceed as we always have, and I am happy to say that although he does still need insect repellent bracelets to go to the zoo, and I am most likely going to have to do a smoke alarm fire drill to make sure he gets any sleep tonight. I don’t mind adjusting his needs, I never did. But now I can breathe a little easier now that I know, whatever comes this too shall pass.

The Dynamic Stylings of Jesse Welch, Tattoo Artist and Illustrator

Looking for ink in the Queen City?

Since the popularization of tattoos in the working middle class, the city of Springfield, Mo. has seen a massive growth of tattoo parlors in the area. There are dozens of shops to choose from within a 10 mile radius of the midwest suburbia. Unlike the options for shops a decade ago when I began getting tattooed, nowadays you have the choice of not only your shop but also your artist. This is a positive turnaround for the sometimes hesitant first time tattoo seeker. Now you don’t have to settle for an artist that you don’t especially trust or like. The trouble is how do you actually choose between the many, many shops and artists therein. HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU CAN TRUST AN ARTIST FOR YOUR FIRST (OR NEXT) TATTOO? Relax, friends. I think I have just what you need.

SACRED ART: Skilled and Professional Tattooists for the Working Class

Shops come and go in the area, let’s be honest. One shop has been around for over a decade, and has always been a source of reliable ink-masters who know what they are doing and prove it with every customer that walks in the door. SACRED ART TATTOO, on the Northeast Corner of Glenstone and Chestnut has been consistently clean and professional, with the ease of manner in the artists that has always brought new customers in, and kept return customers with their skill level and “bedside manner”. The shop is now the workplace and second home to possibly the best tattoo artist that the area has seen since the departure of Tim Pontillo from the former Miller Cotton’s on Glenstone Avenue. The high priced and particular artists of the city may have met their match, in an artist who DOES take walk ins, who DOES price tattoos reasonably, who DOES make his clients feel at ease and informed, and DOES do an AMAZING job on the many different styles requested by his customers on a daily basis.

Springfield’s Answer for Excellent, Accessible Art

Jesse Welch has been an on again off again member of the Springfield community for years, citing his nomadic ways as cause for his different nesting grounds in California, Texas, Tennessee, and Missouri. The town to town lifestyle that this artist has experienced has instilled in him a diverse and ever expanding portfolio of artistic capabilities, and a knack for alternating styles seamlessly.

The kinds of pieces that Jesse has been asked to work on are as diverse as his background. There are endless samples of stunning work by his hand, ranging from death metal tributes, pin-up ladies, Barbies, Veteran’s Memorial tattoos, superheroes, watercolors, and even Samurai Storm Troopers. Those examples are just a glimpse of a week in the life of this seasoned tattoo artist.

Making a Tattoo a Pleasant Experience

The quality on every piece of art Jesse tattoos is undeniable, as attested by the many, many return customers that came to SACRED ART for the cleanliness, and came back time and time again due to the professionalism of the staff and the quality of the tattoos. As SACRED ART’s most frequently and well-reviewed artist,  Jesse puts accountability into every faction of his work, and it shows through the service that he and his fellow artists provide new and return customers. There is no off putting awkwardness or a disinterest in what you want. As soon as you walk in the door, Jesse and the other artists make sure that you are attended to and spoken to in a respectful and friendly manner.

The Personalized Touch

Our artist in question has a consistent policy of always doing his best to cater to the desires of his current customer. He strives to make every tattoo an experience especially for the client and the theme that their tattoo represents as a kind of nod to the ancient traditions of a tattoo being a symbol of honor and a celebration of accomplishment. You really do feel that when Jesse tattoos you, you have earned it, and there is nothing else more important to your artist than making sure that it turns out perfect, both the tattoo and the memory of getting the tattoo.

Inking Integrity

With Jesse Welch of SACRED ART tattoo, there are no gimmicks. There are no bloated egos , there is not a turned down nose attitude to a tattoo theme that he does not subscribe to. What a client wants, a client will get. If you ask him for something, he will do his best to meet your specifications, and if you are open to suggestion, he will be happy to make alterations to further personalize your very individual and personally meaningful tattoo.

Stand Alone Artwork

If you do elect to have a piece drawn up by him, you will not be disappointed. This is where an artist of Jesse’s caliber shines. There are not many artists that can so selflessly capture the things their clients have in mind and properly translate it to ink on skin.

Jesse Welch’s artwork is well known as having a dynamic range. With amazing line work, meticulous attention to detail, he has a flair for both classic and neo-classic styles, along with a knack for bright, bold, and beautiful colors. He has flexibility on scheduling, he keeps careful track of appointments and commitments, if one cannot be held, he will make every effort to amend any changes that have to be made to a scheduled session. Jesse will make every effort to take walk ins and cater to the needs of every one of the people that come in looking for his work, or have the serendipity of discovering it for the first time. Even with all of the professionalism and accountability, the thing that makes Jesse one of the best tattoo artists in Springfield is his art, so allow me to let it speak for itself.

You can find him on Jesse Welch Facebook.

ELISA EXECUTION ART: Local Artist of the Month

Today we at the Sister’s Curious are happy to present our first in a series of articles about up and coming artists in the area.

ELISA EXECUTION

An Army wife and mother of two young girls and a baby on the way. She has a license in cosmetology and is a freelance artist, doing commission based work for individuals and businesses alike.

If you are wondering what kind of art Elisa does, just take yourself down to VIVID SALON and check out her gigantic wall mural, a commissioned piece she completed last year.

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The art that Elisa creates is an inspiring combination of morbidity and style, mixed with a kind of passionate flair for color that makes every piece pop. Her dark inner demon pieces are just as good as her commissioned family, friends, and pets commissioned pieces.

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Taking a look at her diverse portfolio, you’ll discover a tenderness of heart in even the more serious pieces, a true love that is shown in her care and perfectionism in all that she does. Her creativity is as boundless as her capacity for different styles.

In her artwork, you can see her creativity embodied in her own mind’s creations as well as in the pieces requested by clients. The personal, passionate touch is what makes this stunning lady a true class act. The intensity behind each work is obvious in its meticulousness. The same can be said of her cosmetic work.

As a hair stylist and make up artist, I’m not sure that there is anyone that can quite compare. Years before obtaining her license in cosmetology, she was doing amazing work on her friends, always conceding to her friends’ requests for her stylist services. She spent her whole life learning and perfecting different ways, to cut, style, and particularly color different hair types. I’ve never seen quite the skill with hair color that she has.

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When it comes to make-up artistry, she also has an uncannily professional knack for glamour, creativity, and symmetry that I have yet to see in more professionally employed make up artists.

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You may ask yourself, where can I get ahold of this young lady and get her to make me over in her inspired and unique fashion… well, unfortunately she lives in the middle of no where right now, a very secluded lady, who is due for a move back to the hub of Springfield activity. We definitely need her back here, but if you try to go to her when she comes back to the Queen City, just remember, I am first in line!

To get a piece commissioned, check out more examples of her work, or to just get in touch with this talented lady go to her page:

ELISA EXECUTION ART FACEBOOK

 

Watching a kind of hell unravel before my eyes. That is how I would describe the horrible moments leading up to yet another bout of violent sickness becoming visibly closer to erupting out of the tired, dried out mouth of my miserably ache-y 6 year old. Reflecting now upon the half of me that finds the first sentence I’ve written here long winded, and snickering with the half of me that loves the first sentence so much, and thinks I’m so clever. I feel deathly ill for the sake of my son and his 55th hour missed of school. Hour, not day. I have no good idea on earth why my son loves school, but he sincerely adores it. It may be more understandable if I consider the fact that the school work I had 23 years ago was not even remotely as interesting as the technological playplace our children have . It is easy to see why the really smart kids just keep getting smarter, but it also makes sense that the same kind of kids that fell behind when I was a child are still falling behind today. It’s not because of their attitude, their status, or their intelligence, if you ask me.

One thing I notice about the same category of kids that don’t do as well today, their parents may not be neglectful, but you can  really tell what kind of quality time they put in with their kids, and the common ground on these kids, rich or poor, black or white, is the amount of concern they have for one on one time, and the kind of investment they put into time with their kids. Is it so outrageous to want to hang out with your kids? Is it that hard to want to know how your kids are feeling or wanting to tell them a story of your favorite childhood memory?

Let’s forget about their poor faces when you have to say no that you can’t sleep in their bed tonight. And just forget how weird they act when they’ve spent the night at gramma’s, and you feel guilty you’ve been a neglectful mother by allowing anyone else to watch over them as they sleep. Think about a kid actually being completely unable to get attention from a parent that does not think of them as a human being, at least not enough to give them any kind of special time to themselves.

There are many reasons why a kid may fall behind, obviously. I don’t mean to suggest that every child who doesn’t excel at learning in a set structure is neglected. Not at all. I am aware of jobs and commitments. I’m not talking about time that must be spent away from your family, I’m talking about using the time you do have with your kids to do something meaningful with them, or say something meaningful to them, or just get face to face on their level and talk to them about anything they want to. It takes such little time and means so much to them.

The kids that I see now and saw as a child not being able to succeed are the ones that don’t have someone personally invested in them. It can be a rich kid, poor kid, black kid, or white kid. When you have a child who feels like they mean something to someone, they do so much better at everything.

I absolutely am on a rant. I didn’t even mean to get on one. I just feel as though sometimes things get out of hand with everything in every day life that I am more worried about cleaning than I am listening to a story about Captain Hook and the Jolly Roger, watching the speed of a car Pokemon attack versus any kind of miscellaneous made up monster or bouncy ball, or listening to Jingle Bells, Batman Smells for the thirtieth time on the ever more obnoxious microphone. I have to remind myself what is really important. I have to keep reminding myself.

Featured Image Credit

 

Joanie is the elder sister of The Sisters Curious. She writes from home and wants to one day actually make some money off of her carry on sentences.

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The Cloud of Depression (and Its Silver Lining)

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Image Credit

As much as I was inclined to write about something amusing to display on the blog I share with my lovely and hardworking sister, this past week it has been hard to be amusing, because I haven’t been able to be amused, I haven’t been able to be lighthearted or funny. The beginning of this past week marked the start of a particularly extreme bout of depression for me. .

On a regular day, when my depression is being managed, I have fun, act like a big dork, love on my babies. I go out of my way to do something special and fun to entertain them as well as taking any chance I can to educate them. I can’t be slowed down when it comes to keeping up with them. I stay on top of the housekeeping (most of the time) and diapers, as well as situational maintenance (potty messes, etc.). I am a funny and outgoing mother and a devoted and overwhelmingly clingy wife.

However, when the depression sinks in my heart drops and I can feel everything bad anyone’s ever done to me like it is a testament to what a foul person I am, I feel like everything that has ever troubled my beautiful babies is my fault, and I’m ashamed to have them see my self-pity. The thought of them seeing me depressed and crying makes me more upset and disappointed in myself.

On these days where I have this hopeless feeling in my heart and an angry and morbidly upset film over each and every thought I have, I don’t do very well on my own. Sitting or lying alone in my room while my husband watches our kids exacerbates the theme that I am, in fact, useless. Going out among my family in times like these is even more painful, on account of the fact that even though my family is everything to make me realize the amazing quality of my life, they are so beautiful and funny, ornery and loving, that I am struck with a bad case of “I don’t deserve them”. I begin to think that everyone would be better off without me. To my husband, I perceive myself to be an annoyance. To my children, I feel as though I keep them from happiness because of my mothering skills.

Now, let’s be clear… there is no part of this individual that does not think myself amazing in all aspects of family life. I have some annoying quirks, like anyone with half of a personality, but I’m generally adored by the people whose opinions I value. The trouble is, like anyone who has suffered from severe depression knows, all the good things don’t matter when you feel that dark cloud starting to loom. Attempts to cheer you up by yourself or by a concerned bystander, or even a family member, are not only futile, the outside aide not working will only make you feel like more of a horrible person. My husband starts out wanting to know why I’m upset, wanting to help, but when I can’t even bring myself to speak, only cry, and beg him with my eyes to help me, just help me somehow feel better, he doesn’t know how to help me, or even where to begin. I can’t imagine seeing him feeling the way that I do at these times and not being able to help. It would break my heart.

Looking back on the history of my emotional and mental health problems, I remember the first time I felt this severe depression. I was less than 3 months pregnant with my first son and all I wanted to do was lay in bed and be left alone. I had no issue with being pregnant, I just let the smallest thing start a downward spiral in my mind that ended with a feeling of just not wanting to be. Not suicidal, not angry. Just a feeling of wishing I would simply stop existing.

The worst part about this feeling? When you let it go untreated for as long as I did, it can be debilitating to you as well as the people who depend upon you. No one wants to be married to someone that cries so much they have to hide from their children so that they don’t worry about Mommy? Who wants to hang out with someone that is always thinking people are against them, or find them annoying, or are friends with them out of pity?

I used to think that most embarrassing thing in the world was to be diagnosed as depressive, and to take medicine for something that normal people just power through, to get upset by things that other people just deal with so much that it stops you dead in your tracks to where you can’t function on a daily basis. However, after receiving treatment and maintaining that treatment at the insistence of my obstetrical physician I can honestly say the most embarrassing thing in the world is to deal with this huge and very real problem on your own.

You see, I haven’t had a bout of depression that was so very, very bad, (like the one I had over the last week) in a long time. It was my antibiotics for a sinus infection that inhibited my antidepressant. In this time that I was still taking the antibiotic and antidepressant, I felt back to my old, easily excitable and horribly morbid self. This is not something I was proud of, but it was also something that I couldn’t control, and this feeling is like you will have it for the rest of your life. The thing is, after my antidepressant kicked back in I felt like a normal person again. I don’t intend to suggest that medication is what I recommend for people who suffer from depression. But please, please just acknowledge you need help and seek it, because as soon as you work towards being able to control your depression, the more hopeful you can feel during the onset of depression, as far as believing you can one day not feel that way, and that is the real way to fight off the long and damaging effects of depression, treat it and make it seem like it can be overcome, one day at a time.

If you struggle with depression there are multiple physical and online aids to help you. Check out Depression Chat Rooms.