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English Muse: A request....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A request....

It's raining tonight in Los Angeles and I'm trying to keep my spirits up. I snapped a few pictures of my latest decor finds: A 1950s ashtray, a colorful vintage Balinese screen, a black and white poster of a grandfather clock (with an actual clock that runs on a AA battery), more books to stuff into my giant pine armoire.

Decorating our new apartment has become my respite. Maybe it's because it's the one area of my life that I can control. I know this is going to sound very dreary, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by uncertainty and sorrow. Not exactly good fodder for an inspiration blog, that's for sure.

Last summer, my dad was diagnosed as having a serious bone marrow disease. (I took some time off work to take care of him. Even though I now believe it made me an easy layoff target, I would not trade the time I spent with him for the world.)

This week doctors confirmed what we've feared for several weeks: my father now has leukemia and the prognosis is not good. He is skin and bones.

One of my well-meaning blogger friends sent me a long email this week lecturing me about my low morale. Yes, my morale is bad. This is my year of loss, I guess.

So I have a request: Does anyone out there want to guest blog here for a few weeks while I sort things out? Email me if you do :) Posts with photos of funky flea market finds are always welcome here...

UPDATE: My friend Liss at the gorgeous blog Daydream Lily has generously offered to keep things running here at the English Muse. Liss (who has been nominated for a 2010 Cosmo Woman of the Year award!) will be posting, with occasional cameos from other talented bloggers. Thank you so much for helping me out during this very difficult time! I love you. Tina

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Blogger The Drifter and the Gypsy said...

aw, tina, i'm so sorry! when it rains, it pours, doesn't it? i recently had to go through the same with my grandfather-he was diagnosed with cancer in december and passed away shortly thereafter. i'll keep you and your family in my thoughts.

April 21, 2010 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

My heart goes out to you in a very real and very personal way. I lost my father a few years back after long illness. I know those hard times you speak of.
You are a lovely person. You are human. And, you're allowed to feel whatever you feel.
Just know that there's a fellow Angeleno out here who gets you and is saying a prayer for you and your loved ones.

April 21, 2010 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

I am so sorry you're going through this difficult time. My thoughts are with you. Love to you and your family.

April 21, 2010 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm very sorry that your father is going through such pain. My mother suffered through a long terminal illness when I was in my 20s and there is no way to express how difficult it was for all of us who loved her and love her still. I will keep your father and your family in my prayers. I'm sorry that I can't commit to guest blogging for you, as I have a hard enough time remembering to write new posts for my own blog. Good luck to you with all the hardships your family has been dealing with this year. I wish you all the best.

April 21, 2010 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Ms Smart said...

just keep going! don't shut us out. keep sharing. fun finds.

April 21, 2010 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Sundari said...

I'm sorry for the difficult times you and your family are currently experiencing. I'm sure it must be very painful. I hope you find a really great guest blogger who might inspire you to smile again.

April 21, 2010 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Giulia said...

So sorry, dear Tina. I'm in ill health or I'd surely sign up with a few folks. I'm sure some marvellous people would love to help out.

Lecturing you, huh? It's late here & my blood pressure & mood are not good or I might vent here. Wow, there are few things as dispiriting (& pompously presumptuous) than an ill-informed person's lecture to one about one's mood/etc.

(I don't care if they're well-meaning--they might not be but that's my evil East Coast cynicism + PTSD anger kicking in). But let's say they are. What is this happy talk garbage? I hate it. It's asking people to pretend & stuff their feelings. Are only "happy" novels & poems next allowed next?

big hugs & no fake cheerups from DC


April 21, 2010 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger alyssa said...

I'm so sorry about your dad. Worst news ever. You and your dad are in my prayers. I would love to guest blog, only I have exams coming up and well you know what that means, study study study! I'm sure you will find the time to blog again. It's a good idea to step down for a while as you and your family go through this trial time. Good luck!

April 21, 2010 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Oh, Tina, I'm so very sorry. You are a beautiful person and I'm sorry things are hard right now. Please do take time off if you need to.

I wish I could wrap up a hug and send it your way.

April 21, 2010 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Cheryl G. said...

I'm so sorry about your father.
You deserve to feel sad!
I just recently found your blog and adore it.
Certainly, take time off!

April 21, 2010 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Karena said...

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers, know that many care for you.

Art by Karena

April 21, 2010 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

I am so, so sorry that life is not a happy place right now for you. Please know that I am thinking about you and your father. xoxo

April 21, 2010 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger marthalena said...

Tina, if you want to post pictures of black clouds and road kill every day for a year, I'll keep reading.

If you feature guest bloggers every day, I'll keep reading.

And if you just go away for awhile, well... I'd miss you terribly, but I'll keep checking in for updates.

I suspect your other readers feel the same way. Sending all good thoughts your way.

April 21, 2010 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

I'm very sorry Tina darling...I can't pretend that I can understand what you are going through right now!
Be & stay strong~


April 21, 2010 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Ange said...

Tina, if people only want you for your inspiration then they don't want a real person... Hang in there. The bad stage will pass as do the good stages. Hang in there and allow yourself the support your blogging friends can give you! None of us can hide from real life and even the most optimistic of people experience sadness and helplessness at some point of their lives.
Let it happen - accept your feelings and TRUST! The real you, you and everyone else knows so well, will rise out if its own accord quite naturally.
If I find any great flea markets here in France I'll send you photos. In the mean time - flea markets don't fill the void left by a real person.
Your dad was a lucky man!!

April 22, 2010 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger Rebecca Snavely said...

Wanted to add my thoughts and prayers for you, your father and your family during this time. And to send encouragement that a time of loss and stepping away from what is usual in your life is necessary at times - we'll miss you and your blogs but are thankful for and supportive of you!

April 22, 2010 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

so sorry tina...thoughts and prayers...

April 22, 2010 at 3:19 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

I'm so sorry to hear. Yes, you need the time and yes, I'd be honored to help. May I suggest having a guest post each day or so? Take a look at my blog and contact me if interested. I love using repurposed and recycled things.

Take care,

April 22, 2010 at 5:06 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

You know, also the earlier commenters are right. I think you could also (if it's easier) just tell your readers you need a couple of weeks off and you'll be back as soon as you're able. Readers love you and will understand and respect your honesty and sincerity.

Prayers go up for you and your dad.

April 22, 2010 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger anna and the ring said...

Oh sweetheart. Please just take time away and concentrate on the more important things. We will always be here when you have time to come back.

P.S. I have the same clock and I love how it ticks and looks so grand!

April 22, 2010 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Cassandra Marie said...

I'm so sorry Tina :( Sometimes the best therapy is to just take a much needed time-out.


April 22, 2010 at 6:00 AM  
Blogger The Clever Pup said...

Tina, I lost my Dad in 07 to leukemia and my mum this past October to liver cancer. Visit him as often as you can. Say everything you need to. Ask questions about his past. Soak up as much love and support as you can from your husband and daughter. Just laying on the couch with them can be therapeutic.

You'll get through it.


April 22, 2010 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger kimberj said...

Tina, I have also suffered such losses and it is beyond hard. I would be happy to post something for you but I'm not a designer and probably not terribly inspirational. However I am at your disposal. I too would check your blog daily until you return. It does seem to be your year of loss and I feel so badly for you and your lovely Isabella. This might be the time to find someone to talk to for both of you. I found a therapist to occasionally help me keep my equilibrium when both my parents were fighting for their lives. Sorrow and depression are insidious companions and far more communicable than most think. I also took refuge in my home and diverted myself nesting. (We too had recently moved when the rain fell.) The best advice I can offer is to wake each day and take care of the task in front of you. Know that my thoughts are with you and your family every single day. If there's anything I can do or if you ever just need to purge, email me. I've been there.

April 22, 2010 at 6:08 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I love listening to you just the way you are.
And, have you ever seen the movie "Notting Hill" - Julie Roberts and Hugh Grant? There is a scene around the dinner table where they vie for a last dessert with a contest to see who can tell the saddest bit about themselves.

Have any brownies to give away? What about a writing contest- limited by number of words? The "Worse Than That" writing contest (like Frank McCourt in "Angela's Ashes")..Because lots of us out here have sad, tragic, real, absurdly choreographed or timed configurations of seemingly defeating events to share. We would all win the brownies. I'm old-56-and there has been enough time for me to realize it's all just life- and life is good in all it's forms. Lots of events are really humbling, but that's okay too. We all love, and feel loss on top of it.
just a thought.
best wishes.

April 22, 2010 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger jamaica byles said...

My heart goes out to you.I too had a tough year and the one thing that bolstered my spirits was my blog.It was my happy space...the one time in my day that was devoted to gathering eye candy.I'm not sure whether there is any data to support this but I've always felt that viewing images that please me triggers endogenous opiates that is mood uplifting. Hang in there....things will definitely improve.It would be an honor to guest blog if the offer still stands.You have a wonderful blog with a following I only dream about !

April 22, 2010 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger melody said...

you should listen to the song- "You hold me now" by: Hillsong United.
i highly recommend the whole album "across the earth: tear down the walls" is beautiful and such a lovely reminder of how good God is to us.

April 22, 2010 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger Mlle Paradis said...

so very very sorry for you about your Dad. what a year you've had! life can be very cruel sometimes. wow stunning that you are being scolded for the space that you are in vs. being supported. you've suffered at least a triple whammy this year.

very best wishes.

don't know what you have in mind as far as pinch hitting. check out my melrose/fairfax or santa monica posts at and let me know if that's the kind of thing you have in mind. don't know if i could swing weeks but i could do a couple guest posts.

hope you feel better. it's all a process that takes time. and has it's own life and schedule. see nadia's recent post at la porte rouge. her loss was different from yours but every grief is very real.

April 22, 2010 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Carey said...

Just sent up a prayer for you, your father, and your family. Go take care of yourself and those you love. We'll be here when you return.

April 22, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger texassky said...

I'm so sorry for your heartbreak. I pray for comfort and peace for your father. My grandmother had the same illness with the weight of Alzheimer's to exacerbate the situation. Much love to you and your sweet daughter. I will look forward to the day you post.

Please remember, it's ok to be sad and vent about it in blogworld. Sometimes the encourager needs encouragement.

April 22, 2010 at 10:16 AM  
OpenID sarahowens said...

My heart is breaking for you and your family Tina. I wish there was something, anything, we could do. Just know that we are thinking of you always.

I've been reading The English Muse for over a year and I'll read it for the next 100 matter what. You are such a wonderful, amazing person.

The blog is in great hands with Liss for sure!!! But I will miss you.

April 22, 2010 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger The Broke-Ass Bride said...

Tina I am so sorry to hear it. I'll be praying for your family. If you ever need a guest post from me, I'm more than happy to help - anytime! Good for you, for leaning on friends in tough times.
Love and light xoxoxo

April 22, 2010 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger denise, the prime magpie said...

I am so sorry to hear this news. Please stay strong, be with your loved ones and take the time you need to soothe your soul.

April 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Destination Inspiration said...

Oh Tina, thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. My heart goes out to you all, take all the time you need x

April 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm so sorry to hear what your going through. Sending you warm wishes of comfort. This is one of my favorite blogs and I will be looking forward to your return. Be extra good to yourself during this time. Lots of hugs. ~ Michelle

April 22, 2010 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Bobbi said...

Really sorry to hear about your dad. I've gone through a lot with my parents too. It's hard. Don't ignore the good moments. You'll need that to balance out the bad ones. I went around bragging about my kids and whatever positive news I had. I needed to know there were still good things in life. Take strength from those of us who have also gone through this and understand. Ignore the others, even if they are your friends.

April 22, 2010 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger kimberj said...

So glad to hear someone of such talent has offered to pick up your load. Take care of yourself, Isabella, and your family. Bravo to you for knowing what's truly important.

April 22, 2010 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger kelly ann said...

you are such a dear soul, i'm so sorry you're going through this difficult time. i am sending your dad and you and your family love and light and prayers right now. please take care, and we hope to see you back soon! we love you and your beautiful blog. <3

April 22, 2010 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Bunny, THE PARIS HOUSE said...

I'm so sorry you are going through this difficult time, I know we have never met but I you are in my prayers.

April 22, 2010 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Tina Tarnoff said...

Dear Tina, I'm so terribly sorry to hear about your dad. You've been through so much this year and no one can be inspirational in situations like this. You should not (on top of everything else) feel bad that your morale is low. I hope you'll find the strenght and courage to get up and keep going. With your spirit, I'm sure you will. Much love.

p.s. baking olways lifts my spirits, and the aroma makes the apartment feel homey. how about this Pink Champagne cupcakes? here is the recipe:


April 22, 2010 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Uncle Beefy said...

Tina, god, what can I say? You've been through the wringer and my heart is just aching for you! Honestly, I don't the "low morale" reprimand? You don't "owe" us anything and we're just happy to peruse through your world when you're able to share. But this is your time, your place and, for now, you'll be kept warmly in our hearts as we think of you. Take good care of yourself, your Dad, your time.

You're in my thoughts and prayers.

April 22, 2010 at 6:07 PM  
OpenID dutchbritishlove said...

Hi Tina! I'm also very sorry to hear about your dad. Seeing a loved one suffer has got to be one of the hardest things...

I, like others, have been truly enjoying your blog. I am excited every time my google reader tells me there's a new post from you. I think your honesty about what you've been going through is a part of what makes your blog compelling. I can only hope that I would handle things with the same amount of grace as you have when faced with similar situations!

You're a very inspiring woman. I've been very touched as well by the posts about your daughter - her video was just brilliant! It's obvious that your family means a lot to you and I wish you and your family the very best in what you're facing together now.

xo Jadyn

April 22, 2010 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

So glad you're taking time off to do what's important — looking after your family and yourself. Do what you need to do — we'll be here for you when you're ready (and here too if you need help now — email me if there's anything I can do).

Take care,

April 22, 2010 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Shell said...

Tina, all I can say is spend time with your dad as much as you can. You come back when you feel ready. Last year was my year of deep loss. My heart feels for you deeply. Losing people we love is always challenging.

April 22, 2010 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger TeamMcDonough said...

Tina...I'm pretty new to your site but from over here I can clearly see you have an awesome friend who is going to hold take the steering wheel,and an amazing daughter...and better yet I can see you have your priorities straight♥

April 22, 2010 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger vanessa joie said...

I'm so sorry about your dad. I'm no good at dealing with things like this so I can't offer any help but I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

If you or Liss need any help with guest bloggers I'd be happy to help.


April 23, 2010 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger fionaebell said...

This is a great blog and how wonderful that it is in such great hands while you take off the time you need. I lost my father-in-law just before Christmas from cancer; I don't believe that there is a right or wrong way to feel or be or do. You just have to do what you need to do and only you will truly know what that is. Take care.

April 24, 2010 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger Penney said...

Dear Tina,
Just catching up on my blog reading, and read about your dad.. I send you xo and hugs from the bottom of my heart..I lost my dad in a very similar way. He was the apple of my eye..
Spend every minute with him that you can..Tell old family stories, hold onto him..Kiss him..A very special time for you both..

xo, P

April 24, 2010 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger Swiss Miss said...

I love Marthalena's comment. Clouds and roadkill. Honesty and authenticity are inspirational. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

April 24, 2010 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger shoppingsmycardio said...

you know, one of the things i love about your blog is that you're so honest about your emotions, and what's going on with you. sometimes life is just hard, plain and simple...and i don't think it's your job to make things look bright and rosy when they're just not for you right now. blogs are supposed to be about your life and thoughts, and personally, i'm glad you share some of that "real life" makes it easier for some of us going through similar things to feel more normal.

i wish you and your dad all the good times you can have. and if liss needs a little help or respite, please let her know i'd be glad to lend a hand :)

April 25, 2010 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Meg Fee said...

i'm sure the email was well-meaning, but you're blog gets to be whatever you want/need it to be.
if you're morale is low, well hey--someone out there may just benefit from reading about it.
i think it's great that you're finding people to guest post if that's what you want to do, but know that in this virtual world there are people that will support you through whatever ups and downs you choose to post about.

that being said, the most important thing is that you take care of yourself and your family during this difficult time. know that you and your father are in my thoughts and prayers.

much love,

April 26, 2010 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger lavelle said...

thinking about you.

do not worry about the blog at all.
it is in good hands with Liss
Take all the time that you need
Myself and your other readers will still be here when you return


April 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Floddertje said...

There're already so much beautiful messages here, but I just want to ad that I hope you'll be better soon.
I would be very happy to be your guest blogger (if you're still looking for one).
See you soon,

April 29, 2010 at 4:12 AM  

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