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And the answer is? I haven’t the foggiest idea. The 4DCA didn’t post their opinion on my case yesterday, so I remain on justice watch. Even more frustrating is a “FAQ” I read today that was recently posted on the Appellate Court’s website that advised anyone wanting to know, that the average time between the judge’s conference on a case and when their written opinion is published is 180 days. That’s six full months!! And that is for “average” cases (which I suspect mine is not). So it sounds like I may have to stay in the dark until sometime in September – or even longer. And that may not be the end of it in the event they send the case back to the trial court for more determinations (such as the amount for legal fees and/or other sums. While I am glad they are taking the time to do a thorough job in reading the record and researching the applicable law and whatever else they do during this process, it is very nerve-wracking in general, but especially given my health.

Way back in 2003, just as I was starting on my second round of chemo, I was told that if it wasn’t successful, then I had a statistical chance of being able to survive only another 5 years. Well, while that round (which I was on for 12 months) and then a third round (which I was on for 15 months) did give my liver a reprieve while I was on the chemo, they both failed to get rid of the Hepatitis C virus which has been turning my liver to stone. And the genetic disorder (Hereditary Hemochromatosis) which put me at high risk for Hep C in the first place (and may actually have caused it) is wreaking havoc with my body in roller-coaster fashion, as it shifts from one problem to another and the intensity of the effects likewise rises and falls to extremes from one day to the next – and sometimes from one moment to the next.

If I didn’t have my artwork to bury my consciousness in, I don’t know that I could stand it. While I have somehow, miraculously, been able to survive this long (2 years past the original prognosis I was given) there is no way to foretell how much longer before my body gives out. Because the severity of the side-effects of the chemo (which are particularly severe in my case due to the combination of diseases and conditions I suffer from), my team of doctors feel that it is far too risky to put me through yet another round because, at this point, the side-effects of the chemo would probably kill me even faster than the diseases. So my only hope now (beyond a miracle) is to try to stay as calm as possible since stress is known to accelerate the disease process and weaken the immune system), until, hopefully, modern medicine comes up with some alternative “cure” or treatment. Whether or not I’ll still be alive when the court finally issues its opinion – or when this case is completely over on every possible level – only God knows and time will tell.

Now, as I’ve indulged myself in negative thoughts far beyond my allotment, forget I said all the above and let’s get on to something far more interesting and pleasant. Like… this morning’s freebies! What I’ve got for you today is somewhat hard to categorize. It is purely art for art’s sake – don’t know whether it’s the least bit useful for anything – but it was fun to create. My inspiration for this, believe it or not, was the cover art for a box of French cigarettes you may or may not be familiar with: Gitanes. I hope you enjoy!


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6 thoughts on “Nope.

  1. Hi Leslie,
    I came here looking for an icon to use for me to express a simple no and saw this post. I am completely moved by what you wrote. I don’t think it’s negative but I understand what you meant when you said it and moved on to your art.
    Reading your words I could feel you in a way that truly humbles me. I’m having a hard time finding words due to my own health issue, stress. You inspire me. Thank you.
    I am so sorry that you may have to wait that long for a decision. Your ability to carry on, facing what you are, creating and giving art along the way, staying strong the way you do, staying positive the way you do, is all more than I can wrap my mind around. It is a wonderful awesome way of being!
    I feel blessed to have come upon your blog, and you.
    I also felt sad, but I won’t stray there.
    So, I’ll move on and tell you that I love the Mother’s Day icons. I can send them to my sisters through the wire and of course, your link, although I don’t think they know what a blog is.
    Then the cigarettes! OMG! I could write a great story about a love affair I had with… Gitanes. And the little pipe and tobacco store I bought them from, tucked into a corner of a quaint little place, and the close friendship I developed with the manager who taught my son how to play and throw darts. What a wonderful time. I just realized I think I felt happy then. I’ve been trying to remember when I felt really happy. I miss my friend. I miss the Gitanes too!
    Thank you Leslie. You are in my thoughts and my heart. I wish you much peace and healing.

    • Every time I write a post like that, I hesitate publishing it. Worried that perhaps it’s too personal or too depressing. While I’m sure some probably are turned off and others will find a way to use the info in some way to either turn a profit (which is fine) or to harm me (which is not fine), when I receive back comments like yours, it clears all doubts in my mind. Finding people who can relate to my experiences and/or philosophy and who are as open and supportive as you, makes any risks in opening myself like this worthwhile. I have always wanted to find a way to reach out to people and make a difference as a way of thanking my foster family (i.e. “Paying it Forward”). I found ways in bits and drabs over the years but this blog, which I started purely for the selfish purpose of trying to keep my mind active and off of my own problems while I was confined to bed, has turned out to be far more than I imagined.

      The Inspiration goes both ways. I read both the posts and the stories you write on your blog and am touched by your own challenges and strength and the wonderful way you have with words. I think of your son and how lucky he is to have you and vice versa and I know that somehow we will all make it over our hurdles together like the Pied Piper of Hamlin. What the “Fence Sitter” hasn’t been able to see is that beyond the alligator and beyond the fire in the forest, there are clear, blue skies and a meadow of daisies waiting to be played in. Meet you there!

  2. Pingback: NO! « IconDoIt

  3. Dear Leslie,
    I just now read this and saw the images for “No!”
    Thank you Leslie! I love the images!
    Your words mean so much to me. I’m glad you felt good about having opened up because I have actually spoken of your post to my mother who is here visiting. My brother has hep-C. I told her how inspired I was by your attitude– but alas… she is talking about needing to “hem up a pair of pants.” She doesn’t hear me when I speak — but I love her anyway.
    As I write, I’m thinking how, “No!” means a lot to me. Saying no to people who never listen when I speak, like most of my family. They do not know how to talk to a person who has a chronic illness, so they don’t talk to me much. It’s like my mouth moves, sound comes out, and they look the other way and then change the subject. I am not even sure they believe fibromyalgia is real and especially that Chronic Fatigue syndrome is devastating. Sunday I couldn’t even walk! (My son does listen and he has a challenge greater than any of our family members have.)
    And of course, if I ever smell a narcissist again, NO is all I will think of!
    I think I mentioned to you that I had been trying to recall feeling happy. Well, last night I was happy. Really happy. I forgot about sadness and troubles for a little while. My son laughed. I laughed. Our two young neighbors, esp., my ten year old friend, has brought us some joy and laughter. We played games. We acted silly and walked like chickens. We laughed so hard, all of us, and in that moment I realized I felt really happy. I wanted to share that with you.
    Thank you for your friendship. I too find that having a blog is much more than I ever would have imagined. I have to go offline lately due to a problem I must not speak of online but it will get resolved. Once resolved I might need those “No” images b/c I imagine I’ll write about this experience I’m having.
    I’m glad you pointed out about the FenceSitter and the background. I had not seen it until now.
    My brain is not so foggy today. My mom is cooking as I write. She may not listen to me but she does cook and honestly, I felt like I was going to waste away without some intervention. I am grateful to her for what she is able to give.
    I hope your day is going well when you get this comment.
    Your friend,

    • I’m glad they can be useful to you. Knowing I’ve created something that people actually enjoy, can actually find a use for, and better yet, actually appreciate my efforts means everything to me at this stage of my life. After so many years being stuck in bed, unable to be productive or interact with people in the ways I had been used to, and before I started this blog, I had started to feel as if I no longer had a purpose or rather that I no longer had anything that I could give back to the world to justify my existence. Perhaps that was the chemo talking. But I’m glad to have discovered a new way to live my life that brings some comfort to others and keeps me interested and growing.
      I am sorry to hear about your brother. Don’t know what stage he’s at, but if it’s still early enough that there’s no sign of cirrhosis yet and doesn’t have any other complicating conditions, statistically he’s got an excellent chance of either being able to get rid of it completely through what they call “combo-therapy” or at least not to ever suffer debilitating problems from it. I’ll put him in my prayers!
      Yeah, it can be really frustrating when people (especially family) refuse to listen or understand. I guess they think that if they don’t ever acknowledge the truth of your condition that it somehow, magically, will no longer exist. It is amazing how many otherwise intelligent and caring people react this way. It is beyond me to understand how or why they talk themselves into such nonsense. While I mean no offense to your Mom or other family members, from my point of view, that kind of “head-in-the-sand” attitude is both selfish and cowardly. Yes, it hurts when we realize those we love are suffering, especially when we think there is nothing we can do to help them. But what some people fail to realize is that even though there may be nothing they can do to “cure” your physical ailments the healing power of simply having the emotional support and love is priceless.
      I love your son already! Any “kid” who can get his Mom to laugh and walk like a chicken when the world seems to be falling down is a real Hero in my eyes. The world needs more like him! Best yet, those special moments between you are so important for keeping him connected to people and the “real” world. Trying to stuff people into a square box of rigid rules and behavior as so many “experts” try to do, is so anti-productive. There is not just one way for people to think or act or live in order to lead a healthy, productive, and happy life. God Bless you both!

  4. Hi Leslie,
    Thank you so much for your kind words. You are most thoughtful. I’m writing on a very tiny computer and it’s difficult learning. I thought I would like it but the keyboard is too small! I am for the first time ever sitting outside writing so maybe I will keep it and hook my wireless keyboard up. I’ve had some disturbing computer issues so my friend, bless him, bought me this tiny but kind of cool net book.
    Thank you also for your prayers for my brother. I do not think he has cirrhosis and he took medicine for a while but lost lots of weight and was too sick to work. I don’t think he is doing anything and he is very stressed with life so I hope things change for him and he can retire and live long.
    My mother left sad, seems like that is usually the case when she comes and man do I feel guilty. Sometimes I break down, share some of my difficulties, and she ends up very depressed. Today she may have taken something for her nerves and she fell on her front porch. I had to dial 911 from my home. My sister was there though. My siblings think she needs counseling and I know she does but as I guess I said, they do not take action. I have tried to have a family intervention but they do not like to actually deal with illness. They want things to disappear.
    I love what you said about my son being your hero. He is a special person. He is my everything! He is at the beach as I write, with an older woman so I hope she is treating him nicely. She better.
    I hope your days are going okay. I haven’t read any posts because all my extra time has been dealing with computers.
    Blessings to you my friend! You are in my prayers too.
    Dogkisses and hugs to you!

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