Monday, October 16, 2017

The one about almost dying...

Today I celebrated my 47th birthday.  I have never really liked my birthday in the past.  I'd always get in some kind of weird funk and get depressed from my birthday all the way through Christmas.  This time I've actually been thankful for my birthday for the first time in quite a while.

I have told the story many times since it happened but have yet to write anything about it in detail.  Some of the facts may not be accurate, but I'm going to tell you the story as I remember it. On March 13th, I was working in my studio and came up to the house to drink a cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette (the last one I'll ever smoke), and to use the bathroom.  I had done my business and was fixing to start on the paperwork.  I heard something in my chest pop.  It sounded like the cork gun I played with as a child.  It felt like someone reached into my chest, grabbed a handful of stuff, and twisted it.  I remember everything getting blurry and going black.  My first thought was, "I ain't gonna die on the shitter like Elvis."  I began to pray a simple prayer, "God help me.  Please help me."  I didn't know what was going on.  I kinda had an idea that it was heart related but figured it wasn't too serious.  I almost laid down to see if it would get any better.  My eyesight was getting worse.  I decided that I wanted to try to get in touch with Lorri at work.  I was in pain but I was able to tolerate it.  I was walking around with my arm fully extended trying to see my phone to call.  I called her every few minutes for almost an hour and a half.  I finally was able to find her daughter's number. They work at the same place.  I called her and told her I was in pretty bad shape and to have Lorri call me.  A few minutes later, she called.  I told her what happened and she came home to take me to the hospital.  When she got here I was pacing back and forth across the porch.  I got in the car and we left for the hospital in Demorest.  Upon arriving, I got Lorri to let me out at the door while she parked and I walked in by myself.

I was greeted by the lady at the desk and told her I was having chest pains and I couldn't see.  From there things started happening pretty fast.  I remember them checking my blood pressure and it was extremely low on my left side.  The doctor asked me if I'd ever been told I had a heart murmur.  I told him No.  He had them check the blood pressure in my other arm and there was a significant difference.  He ordered a CAT scan with dye.  He stood there watching the whole time.  As soon as I was finished, they rolled me back into the exam room.  It seemed like only a matter of seconds before the doctor came in.  I remember him telling me that I had a dissected aorta and that my aorta was leaking.  An ambulance was on it's way to take me to Gainesville for emergency open heart surgery.   I don't remember the words, but he pretty much gave me a good idea as to the severity and possibility that I wouldn't make it.  I called my brother Tim and told him what was going on.  I made a facebook post asking people for prayer for me, posted a picture, then turned my phone off and handed it to Lorri.  The ambulance came and I was loaded up.  I started talking to the guy riding in the back with me.  I remember him telling me about his father had some heart complications and how good the care was that he had received at the hospital.  I remember asking him to pray for me.  He said that he would.  I did have a little fear, but mostly I was at peace.  I remember thinking I didn't want to die because I didn't want to miss football season or the last two Star Wars movies.  I thought about wanting to celebrate another birthday.

I arrive by ambulance at Northeast Ga Medical Center and as soon as the doors open, I'm greeted by the surgical team.  Dr. Winston introduces himself and we joke with each other as we are going through the emergency room into the operating room.  I remember rolling into the operating room.  I was given anesthesia pretty quick.  During the time I was under anesthesia, I had the vision that I was floating in yellow water.  There were bright lights shining thru the water.  I could see other people floating as well.  We were all connected to this giant nerve network that I figure was what was keeping us all alive.  I heard someone call my name, Mr. Granger.  There was an intense feeling of water rushing over my face, as if being pulled through the water.  I knew I was going somewhere.  Where was I going?  Was I alive or dead?  Am I going to heaven?  I heard my name again.  I woke up to the sound of one of the nurses calling my name, Mr. Granger.  There were monitors and hoses and tubes everywhere.  I was alive!!!!  I remember my brothers coming in there.  I remember Lorri coming in a little later.  I'm so thankful for her and everything she did during all of that.  She made so many things so much easier for me.  I don't remember much for several days.  I remember there were really cute nurses in Intensive Care but I was in no shape to flirt with them.  I do remember so many doctors and nurses telling me that I had no idea how lucky I was to be here.  That I should have died within minutes. Telling me that God had something in store for me because I shouldn't be here.  Telling me that I'm a miracle.  I felt like some sort of medical celebrity for a while.

Over the next several days, I started learning more about what I'd gone through.  A ruptured aortic aneurysm and had been given an artificial aortic valve.  I started realizing the love and prayers and an amazing outpouring of love heaped on me by so many people.  I still cry when i think about it.  I'd like to thank everyone for those prayers, they worked!  Over the next several months, many shared with me the stories about what they were doing during the time I was in surgery.  Many prayed, some performed spiritual ceremonies, and several admitted to me that they were bracing themselves to hear the news of my death.  I also had quite a few tell me they thought I was pulling some sort of joke.

So I sit here on the night of my 47th birthday thinking back to that ambulance ride and the reasons I came up with for living at that time.  I celebrated my birthday today with Carvel Ice Cream Cake (i've always wanted one).    The Dawgs are currently 7-0.  The next Star Wars movie comes out in two months.  Looking forward to living some more.  Love you all so much.


Monday, December 26, 2016

A Year in the life.... and another one around the corner...

Less than a week left in 2016.  I'll be glad to see it over.  It's been a year of loss for many people.  Many of the people who influenced my early life have passed on.  I've lost friends due to both death, and life.  Some I will miss greatly, some not so much.

This past year has caused so much turmoil for many.  It seems that I see a world more full of hatred than at any point in my lifetime.  The newsman was talking about terrorism on television a couple of days ago.  He was talking about how violence and fear is the "new normal" that we must learn to accept.  It saddens me that we are being told to learn to accept hate.

Once at an art show, a lady came into my booth and was looking at my art.  As she walked away, she looked at me and told me that I was a "Living Paradox of Love and Sarcasm."  I've used that description many times over the years.  I think it describes me rather well.

What do I want for 2017?  I want to keep being me.  I want to be that same asshole, that you've all come to know and love.  I want to continue to make art without allowing myself to put filters on it so that it fits into someone else's ideals.  I know that I don't get invited to things sometimes because people are afraid someone may be offended.  I often get reminder emails from show coordinators that they are a family friendly event, and to please choose carefully the art I display.  That always makes me smile.  I've also burned some bridges, and have no regrets about doing so.  I want to find new people to show love too, and share more love than ever.  I want to work on building "World Famous SamG Land!!!"

I'm totally up in the air about how to show my art.  I have absolutely no plans of showing my art locally, except for events I have here.  I moved here because it was one of my better markets, but as soon as I was local, it for the most part dried up.  Some of those burnt bridges are to blame for that as well.  During my recent Grand Opening, over 90% of the people who visited were not locals.  Even had one friend drive down from Ohio to be here.

Part of me wants to hit the road and do shows way outside of my normal areas, but part of me wants to become a recluse and make people come to me.  I hope to figure out a decent balance of the two, but don't expect me to do as many shows as I've done in previous years.   You'll be much better off making your plans to visit SamG Land, if you want to see me.

with bunches of love.....


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving....

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  I have been hard at work on my biggest creation yet.  3 1/2 acres of World Famous SamG Land.  Having a home show here on Dec 10-11 that will be the Official Grand Opening.  Hope everyone comes out and sees all the hard work I've done and get a better understanding of my vision and what I hope to accomplish with i

Thanksgiving as a holiday, at this point in my life, has become nothing more than bumming a really good meal off of someone.  For many, it is merely a way of energizing themselves to prepare themselves to fight at WalMart over discounted toaster ovens.  We want to call ourselves thankful, but honestly, are we?

I could go on and list everything I am thankful for.  I'm not though.  Hopefully the people I'm thankful for, truly know.  One thing though that I am truly thankful for is my imagination. I've always had that. This week marks 9 years since I took an online career quiz that said that I should be an artist and I did my first painting.   I've taken breaks from art temporarily over the past 9 years due mostly to life circumstances, but it has been my one true love.  I feel like I'm just getting started, or at least starting over.  Whatever I'm doing, I'm going to do it big!!!

Moral of Today's Lesson:  Don't surround yourself with people who can help you, surround yourself with people who won't hurt you.

Peace, Love, and The World's Largest Grit

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Random Banter from a Sleep Deprived Fool

I haven't been creating much lately, so I thought I would do some writing.  Writing is something that I enjoy, but don't do nearly as much as I should.  I prefer my art as my way of expression.  I've been thinking about art and some of the decisions I've made pertaining to the business end of art.  That is the part I don't care for.  I don't show my art locally much anymore.  People in Northeast GA seem to think that having an art show is a good way of paying for a big party or a wine festival.  I've made enemies for taking a stand for art and have lost some friendships.  I will never regret being the one who says what everyone else is scared to, even if I know I'm on my own.

Now to the subject of art, I just spent a solid two weeks work on what I think may be my best piece yet.  I won't be unveiling it for a couple of months, but I really believe it's something special.  Now I have to get to work on show inventory for the coming months.  Time to step out into your world and hopefully introduce people to mine.

People tell me that my world is too weird.  Your world is a weird place to me now.  Looking at something that may open my world up to more people.  More on that at another time.

I was talking to a friend the other day.  The topic was politics and how people have become so hate filled.  Out of that discussion came this thought, that I'll end with...

  "Just keep being a light until either Jesus or the Mother Ship comes"

Art, Love, Perfect TV Hair


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Happy Anniversary to My Bionic Knee..... and me!!!!

Five years ago today, I had my partial knee replacement.  I don't remember what the actual procedure was called, but they sawed off the back of my knee cap, replaced it with a plastic piece and screwed some titanium onto my leg bone for it all to ride against.  There are some pretty good stories about my hospital stay and the recovery thereafter.  One of the best involves cops, a broken taillight, an expired tag, a dead dog, and a reasonable amount of alcohol.  I'll save that story for another day.  I want to talk about how that surgery altered my life course this time.

I had spent the previous five years working for an Auto Parts company travelling setting up and remodeling stores.  It was a job that I really enjoyed.  I worked a week, off a week.  The week that I was working, I could be anywhere in the country.  I've been many places that I would never have gotten to go if it had not been for that job.  Even got to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on company time when we were in Cleveland, OH once.

I've had problems with my knees since I was in High School.  A car accident in 1989 didn't help them any.  I'd had two previous orthroscopic surgeries.  Now it was time for the major one.  During my recovery I was out of work for four months.  I'd been making art for a couple of years by that time.  Art became a major part of my therapy, mainly because of my limited mobility, and to occupy and give me an outlet for my mind.

I'd become aware of changes being made at work while I was out.  Had pretty much found out that I was going to be laid off shorty upon returning to work.  So I made the decision not to go back to work, and make an attempt to become a full-time artist.  I won't say that I chose art as a career, I think that takes the meaning and feel away from the art.  Art to me is a way of life, a lifestyle.  I refuse to look at it as a job.

So i guess today marks the anniversary of the day that I became a full time artist.  I think I made a good decision.  It's been tough at times, but I wouldn't trade the freedoms and the opportunities I've had for anything in this world.  I am surprised every time someone tells me they are jealous of me for being able to live my dream doing what I want.

I'm ready to make more changes though.  I must have Gypsy blood in me somewhere.  Seems like it's about time to head off on another adventure, in a different direction somewhere.  SamG Spreading Love and Letting People Marvel at Perfect Television Hair World Tour!!!!

I always try to end these things with some kind of moral:  so this post's moral is....  "Don't do dumb shit."

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Random Year End Bantering of a Crazy Fool

Thinking about a New Year, I've read some of my previous posts in regards to such things.  We always go into new things with optimism.  Seldom do we make any changes though.  I'm not going to go into all the stuff that happened in 2015.  I could tell about all the bad things that happened, but I won't.  I do want to talk about some good stuff though.  

I want to thank everyone for "Kind Words."  A kind word is a little drop of love that you can give someone just by saying something nice.  A kind word can be a source of strength, comfort, encouragement, or support.  I have received kind words from many over the past year.  They have meant a lot to me.

I'd like to mention "Love" as well.  It's difficult many times to see love in our current world.  Just reading the thoughts and ideas of your "friends" on social media, it is easy to see much more hatred than love.  One of the things I said many times back when I was doing the "Free Hug" thing, "There ain't much love left in the world, my job is to do a little something about it."  It is everyone's job.  

I'd like to also talk about friendships.  Friendships are a constantly evolving thing.  Some will be friends for life, while others are just for a season.  I've made many wonderful friends during the past year, and lost some as well.  Some I lost due to death, others I lost due to the drama that is life.  I wish everyone of them well.  

I had some accomplishments this year that I'm proud of.  I don't want to talk about them either.  I will say that the disappointments outweigh them for me though.  

So basically, I haven't said much at all.  I haven't promised to make any changes.  I don't want to even try to imagine what the future holds.  I've been chasing a dream for a long time.  It hasn't come true yet.  I don't know that it ever will.  

I remember seeing people wearing shirts and hats that would read, "Kill them all, Let God Sort Them Out!!!"  Earlier i had a vision of a sign that read that.  Someone had painted an X over the word Kill.  and had written above it... "LOVE." 

 Love them All, and Let God Sort them Out!!!  

Be love to one another, and turn off the tv, and be happy until the world explodes.....

Happy New Year


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hopes, Dreams, and the World's Largest Grit

I was looking through my Facebook Memories earlier today and came across a post from 4 years ago that read, "i have an idea for an art thing and need a big huge rock... anybody got one or know where i can get one?"  That post started my idea for a major tourist attraction and the fiberglass well cover rock was transformed into "The World's Largest Grit."  I took it to a few shows with me, even had it at the Doo-Nanny one year.  Then when me and my exgirlfriend split up, I thought I'd left it behind her house.  Two years ago, on my birthday, I discovered it under my brother's barn where I'd lived briefly.  I brought it home to the mountains and although it is need of restoration, i proudly displayed it on my front porch.  When I moved earlier this year, it went into storage with all of my other worldly possessions where it remains.

My original vision for "The World's Largest Grit" was a major tourist attraction.  Every good Southerner across the galaxy would have to come see it for themselves.  Over the years, the dream has grown much bigger.  Since I began doing art in November of 2007, I've dreamed of doing an art environment.  I want to create a home, a studio, and my own world.  I've long said that I want to be a tourist attraction.  Also as part of it, I'd like to have a place where other artists could stay and participate in development as well as create and sell their own work.

Not only would it be the new permanent home for the World's Largest Grit, it would also be the location for my Magic Hippy Circus, and the World's Greatest Imaginary Amusement Park, which is also currently stored in an empty box inside my storage building.

I have the property picked out.  When I first drove by it, I saw it completed as "World Famous SamG Land."  I already know from my vision how it is supposed to look, I just have to make the transformation happen.  There are currently about 75,000 reasons that I can't make it happen.  I tell people about my idea and they all tell me I should set up a GoFundMe account.  I tell them if you want to support it, then buy my art.  I don't want anyone to give me anything.

So at this point I'm still looking for a dumbass or an entrepreneur.  I always get those two words mixed up.  Until this crazy dream of mine comes true, I'm going to keep chasing it......

Art, Love, Perfect TV hair..........