Sunday, March 20, 2011

foreign films and fashion.

Uschi Obermaier

Lately, I've been immersing myself in an array of foreign films (mainly French) while working in my studio.  I would love to speak French, and when I studied, the hardest thing was learning the tongue.  So, I figure if I'm more immersed in it, maybe it will be easier to pick up.  Of course I have no idea what's really being said because of my poor movie-watching skills when working, but I figure just listening can't hurt.

Last week I watched Eight Miles High (Das Wilde Leben).  I wouldn't say it was the greatest movie by any means, but I loved the style.

Achim Bornhak's film about the famous German model/muse Uschi Obermaier.  An icon of the 1968 movement in Germany and a rock and roll vixen with a gorgeous head of hair. Known for seducing men like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; she travels the world wearing the most beautiful clothes or sometimes none at all, and dances like an ethereal goddess of music.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

in memory of the most amazing grandpa.

Christmas 2010
When I was about four or five I lost my cat and best friend, Tiger, to a motor vehicle.  I'll never forget the first-time-feeling of such an intense pain to the heart.   Of course, that's not the only time I've felt such immense pain,  it's just the only other time I've lost someone very dear to me.

Although, it's still not exactly official at this point.  I have lost my grandpa.  Just last weekend he collapsed, falling unconscious, and while there was hope then; it's been a week and now we are just waiting for worst to come.

He was, to put it blankly, the one person I admire most in life.  He always has been.   Not to discredit the admiration for others in my life, but his strength, courage, and strong values were always incredibly admirable to me.

It's such a strange thing when you dissect the concept of loss and death.

I've been writing this post for about four days now.  And its a little out of order.  The thing is, I think and analyze A LOT.  I think the ins and outs, and try to see things from all the angeles.  Its just what I do.  Losing my grandpa has been an interesting process (to put it lightly), not only have I learnt more about myself in seeing and understanding how I have dealt with such a loss, but also how my mom and other family members have been coping.  I was sad, yes, but really I am just so thankful to have had him as my grandpa.  I am by no means the strongest person, although I do try to appear as though I am, as to not let my vulnerability shine through.  Keeping a strait face and then crying behind closed doors has just been more my thing.  However, I think its been easier for me to deal with this loss because I've understood for the last couple of years now, that each time I would say my goodbyes to him (before heading back to LA) that they could always be the last.  For as difficult as it may be, I was able to make peace with that.  Each time I was back visiting my grandparents, I would make it a point to study my grandpa's face, embed it into my brain, ask him questions, remember his stories, the sound of his voice, and the feel of his hugs.

I know it's been especially difficult for my mom and her sisters; and my for my grandma, I can't even imagine.  The void the comes with such a loss can be difficult.  But, I think the best thing you can do is to be happy that you once had each other.  You can't dwell in the past, you can't feel sorry for yourself for having lost someone you loved.  Change may be hard for some, but I believe in embracing it.  Because when one door closes, another one opens.

Of course, there were and are moments when part of me wants to be sad, when I want nothing more than to curl up like a ball and cry until there are no more tears left.  I let that wave come, sometimes a few tear slip out, but then I hold onto my strength because I know thats what he'd want.  And honestly, maybe its just psychological, but I feel as though he is still very present, maybe even more so.  Like a little bit of his spirit latched off and has been drifting two inches above my shoulder.  I don't know where souls go when they pass on, but I do feel his energy around me.

Edward Karcz was born in Poland, a prisoner of war, fought in WWII, and after escaping to England he met and married my grandma.  In hopes of opportunity and a better quality of life, they boarded a ship to come to America not long after having their first child.  My grandpa found a sponsor (I believe it was his uncle) and job in Chicago, so they decided to build their new journey there.  He started off as a mechanic, eventually working for Ford, then moved on to his own business, where he built machines, some of which made contact boards for computers.  I think I was about seven when he retired from that, but I remember the machines he had built in his garage.  There was nothing my grandpa couldn't do.   I think he passed that trait on to my mom, and from my mom on to me. :)  With an abundance of common sense, skill and determination; he was a mechanic, he could fix anything, he could reupholster couches, sew, he'd always patch his clothing and socks whenever he got a hole, he loved to bake oatmeal raisin cookies (I ate way to many of them this past Christmas),  he always insisted on washing the dishes for my grandma- he was so good to her - they were so good to each other.  They had their 50th anniversary when I was in middle school.  My grandpa gardened, played card games, loved camping, he liked his marshmallows cooked the same way as me.  He was always encouraging to me, acknowledged my skills and strengths.  He always had a consistently unique compliment for me, "you're so good with your hands" he'd say, then he'd turn to my grandma, "she's so good with her hands, isn't she.."  Whether I was twelve, gluing model army guys & cars together with my brother, drawing,  painting, or twenty-three designing making jewelry.  I'll miss him.

One of his machines.
To anyone reading this.  If you have lost a loved one, my heart goes out to you.
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