Saturday, December 31, 2005
I have gained either 3 or 4 pounds during this holiday season. I say 3 or 4 because if I balance very carefully on one foot the scale flickers briefly at the lower weight. Now that might not sound like much but I am a short girl. Four pounds is a whole size for me. It is the difference between me wearing my "spent too much trendy to die for cute" jeans vs. the "on sale bought yesterday for this horrific occasion" jeans. They have stretchy fibers woven in, the horrific ones do. How pitiful is that? But the others are out of bounds at the moment. Even though I can get them on, they are low slung and I will NOT display my new "muffin top" (phrase that I learned from my friend Jeff) above the waistband. A girl's gotta have her limits ya know.
So looks like I need to get back on track here.
Right after we celebrate New Year's with lobster, champagne and flourless chocolate cake.........
Friday, December 30, 2005
The billboards claimed Vandalia as a "historic" destination which Rhonda explained.......it was the first capital of Illinois. We did a little driving tour around town; Rhonda has lived there all her life except for college and her parents still live there plus I think maybe one of her sisters. It's a very small town but you can tell they are trying to hold on to some identity. The fast food spots (and the prerequisite Wal-mart) have arrived but are near the highway while the historic part of town is a few miles away, thank goodness for that.
Whenever I am in a small town I always get this itch to pick up and move, how crazy is that!?!? I have this ongoing fantasy that I am going to buy a very remote property with a scenic view(must involve water) so I can hole up and do my art all the time. Of course my alternate vision is the "loft in the city" scenario. Once again confirming that I do have at least two distinct personalities going on in my head.
Anyway, Rhonda has a wonderful spot. A darling little house set on the edge of a wooded area, right next to water. Huge screened porch, big deck, mega hot tub. Yum. And her studio is fabulous, why I didn't think to carry my camera I don't know, but it is big, open, funky - a separate building from the house complete with 2 dogs and 2 kittens. She does clay work and has several kilns including one that she built herself. It was so interesting to see how she works, the entire process is exotic since I know nothing about clay. I loved wondering around looking at all her stuff.
We just yacked and yacked, talked about everything, food, diet, exercise, art, decorating, relationships, you name it. Brainstormed a bit regarding the show circuit which was oh-so-helpful to me since I still consider myself a newbie in that arena while Rhonda is a seasoned professional. It was a terrific day.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Why? Maybe because she thinks I have a way with words. Or perhaps because I know her quite well and she was hopeful I would come up with clever yet appealing phrases to describe her endearing idiosyncrasies? Or maybe it was my sheer stamina......
Seriously, we worked at this for I don't know how many hours last night, let's say 3 at least. It was nuts. Page after page of questions, checklists, places to put little essays, pictures, etc. It just went on and on. By the end I was ready to date her just to make it stop.
Before starting I wanted to check out the competition so I could see what other women in the age group were saying. Hmmm, there is no way to say this delicately.....they are liars. They have to be. With the rate of obesity in our country, there is absolutely no way that every available female in the 55-65 age group works out 3-4 days a week and has a slender well toned body. Now really. Although it could be that ol' fear of someone seeing you naked diet. I remember John and I were both on it when we met. Today it's the fat and happy eating plan.
But I digress.
After checking out the competition, we perused the supply of men. They are, for the most part, liars as well. Many claim to prefer cuddling, a moonlit walk on the beach, putting the needs of their partner first. They are frequently active with all types of outdoor hobbies, love to be out and about. I am sure these guys never lay on the couch watching sports on TV. And guys without shirts. Must be some sort of prerequisite for the men. Nearly every single guy had a photo of himself, very tan of course, without a shirt, typically standing next to or on a cool looking boat. Then there was this loser wearing a Speedo......pleasepleaseplease.....I offer this as a public service announcement to all male readers........women do NOT like Speedo bathing suits, never have and never will. Get rid of the Speedo. Now. Destroy all evidence you ever owned one and I beg you, for the love of God, burn any pictures.
Finally we got to the task of crafting a listing. We tried to be honest. Funny is hard in the singles arena as you never know how it will come off; I would love to do a completely humorous listing and see how that plays. But it's risky. So we went for playful yet sincere. Found a couple great photos - a casual portrait type plus a couple active shots, on a bike, next to a horse. You get the scene. I'm telling you, I would date her in a minute.
Anyway, it is done now. And I made sure she actually hit enter and paid for it(you have to PAY for this!?!?!? I am so naive). Pending approval. I suppose that is to make sure you haven't done anything unseemly or profane? Hard to imagine how that Speedo got through.
Monday, December 26, 2005
We are all gifted out. Lots of neat stuff including this adorable and functional JBL thingie that John got me for my iPod. It charges the iPod and also plays music. Plus just looks cool.
The sound quality is good, not like our "real" sound system of course, but certainly decent especially considering the mobility. It will be great for travel and even just using around the house. I will most likely keep it in the studio.
And books and more books, woo hoo. From me to John and John to me. I am a piggy with them - attempting to read several at a time, I keep them close at hand piled around me on the couch. Also got some nice clothes that I picked out for other family members (to give back to me, ha, this is a good gig). My stepdaughter needs no assistance whatsoever to pick terrific stuff that I will truly wear.
The grandkids were adorable. I believe that Ian would have been totally satisfied with the 59 cent bottle of bubbles that I put in his stocking. "Bubble" is one of the words he can say, so maybe it was cheating on my part. I cannot believe how much pleasure he derives from watching us all blow bubbles. He tries but can't quite do it himself. The site of the 2 puppies jumping to catch (and burst) bubbles with their mouth thrills him to no end. The remote control car I got was also a very big hit. It is made to be a child's "first." Way cute this one is, delighting parents and grandparents alike and even older brother.
And the huge box of stickers would have been it for Aidan. Forget the Leap Pad. It was all about those stickers especially the fish. Aidan is a child of moderation and seriously would have been content leaving all remaining gifts unopened. I think there is a lesson here somewhere.
The only return is the Automatic Tape Measure John received. Twice. Continuing in my family's tradition of all the men giving each other the same manly stuff.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Until I read Joan Didion's book, I never actually referred to it this way. But that is exactly what it was, that year following my son's death. The year when I waited and watched for him around every corner and conducted myself as though he were going to reappear. Played little penance games with myself on the off chance my behavior might tend to influence the timing of his arrival.
That first Mother's Day, in May of '91. It was just a few weeks after Nathan died. I so strongly felt that he would arrive then. A surprise gift, given quietly without hoopla. I was waiting in the little office off our bedroom (and Nathan's, the rooms were adjoining). I remember wondering when and how he would be presented to me.
Momentary craziness I suppose but it gave me hope.
I was deeply moved by this book. Didion is a beautiful writer and I intentionally slowed my reading to savor her words. I ache for her as I ache for myself. Yet there is no self pity(from either of us for that matter). Or maybe just a little, but it is carefully hidden.
Read this book.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Introducing my new painting.
This is a continuation of my un-named series on stuff that's in your head. All the compartments where you store information - layer on top of layer all competing for attention at any given moment.
The little piece of film inside the Viewmaster says FOCUS. It is the first frame from an old filmstrip.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
So last Tuesday I had my first manic session. I made meatloaf and chili. At the same time naturally, since I was in the kitchen already. Huge quantities of both; we didn't have to cook for the rest of the week and then still had meals to freeze.
Last night (also a Tuesday, hmmm, am I establishing a habit here?) I launched into the Xmas cookies, attempting to make three varieties simultaneously. I had both ovens fired up, bowls all over the kitchen, flour on the counters, every cooking sheet I own in use. It was, in military terms, a "cluster fuck." At one point John walked in and plucked cookie dough out of my hair, that's how it was. I was cooking for hours, to the point I was actually exhausted and can't imagine how real chefs do it, standing on their feet all that time!?!?! Our ceramic floor is certainly not good for this. Or I am getting too old, but that couldn't be it.
And then this morning, I decided to make a new breakfast recipe out of Self magazine. Their recipes are not always the best. Although they are extremely healthy, I find that pertinent ingredients are often omitted, mainly fat flavorings. I do honestly try to eat healthy and, since dinner last night consisted of raw cookie dough, thought a sensible meal was in order plus this recipe did contain some fat.
Crack eggs into custard cups. Top each egg with 1 T. grated Gruyere. Microwave together 2 minutes on high. Then microwave 1/4 cup marinara sauce and spoon a bit onto each egg. Top with a little more Gruyere and serve.
Have you ever microwaved eggs? I am guessing there is maybe some trick with this that was not mentioned in the recipe. The first egg leaped completely out of it's cup within the first minute, not as a whole egg I might add but rather as a slime missile, spraying all over the interior walls and ceiling of the oven. I quickly turned the oven off, covered them both with a paper towel and then restarted. Right before my eyes, the second egg exploded upward, blasted the paper towel aside, and amazingly, landed in the other egg cup. Done. I opened the door and was stunned at the amount of mess created by these two detonated eggs.
Incidentally, this is a pretty good dish. Needs a little salt and pepper, but otherwise quite tasty and I must imagine fairly healthy because it was good fat. 322 calories if you include a slice of low cal whole grain toast, which I did not.
Monday, December 19, 2005
So why am I up you might ask? The sound of a barfing cat woke me. Why oh why do these cats have to barf in the middle of the night in the middle of our bedroom? I know it was Gilligan, I recognized his hack.
Of course once I was awake I realized I had to pee but was afraid to venture across the floor fearful my bare feet would land on fresh cat barf. I contemplated this for awhile and mapped a strategy in my head. Hugging the edge of the bed, then the skimming the chaise and keeping near the wall, I made it to the bathroom without incident. Returned to bed the same way. Couldn't get back to sleep, had a few hot flashes or night sweats whatever the hell they are called (yeesh I am waaaayyy too young for this) and now I am officially up and kind of dressed, meaning I grabbed clothing in the dark along with my Uggs (it's not pretty). I should go down to work on my new painting but it's still cold in the house; the furnace won't kick into its daytime mode for another hour or so.
I am watching my email as all my newsletters, Daily Sauce, NY Times, et al, are being delivered. I already have my horoscope which says something about Abundance and that I should splurge today. Hmmm, I thought I already did that with Amazon....... their evil little Prime Program along with its sibling One Click. Free trial my ass. They've already hooked me.
And two of my neighbors have gone to work. I can't believe all the action I usually miss.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
It's a funny story about Barbara and Larry.
They used to live in St. Louis, up until around 1998 I believe, which is when they moved to northern CA. Of course we also lived in St. Louis until 1998, which is when we relocated to northern CA. And in 2000 I happened to quit my day job to "pursue my art." (In retrospect I didn't really know what that meant but it sounded cool).
Then in 2001 I was invited to share studio space in this marvelous, incredible warehouse in Sausalito.
Which is where I met Barbara. How odd that we had moved from the same city to live in the same area to actually share a studio in the same 1800 square foot space.
I haven't seen her since we left the Bay area 2 years ago. She called last week and said they would be in town and would like to meet for drinks, plus she wanted me to meet a good woman friend of hers who she thought I would like.
It was great to catch up. She and Larry look exactly the same and are just as fun as ever. We talked "studio" talk, about that magical spot in Sausalito where Barbara bore witness to all my early attempts at art, some successful, some.........well, let's just say they were early attempts. We reminisced about how I progressed from a 6ft x 6ft. space (I swear it was really that small) to the "middle" spot (a slightly larger space with walkway in the middle of it!) to (finally!) a prime window location overlooking the water. It was so glorious, idyllic really, the studio of a lifetime. I can't think of it without getting a little weepy. Larry told of my first open studio, how I barely even knew what I was doing, hardly had adequate work to cover my walls but then, in some insanely freakish moment, sold more than I ever would have imagined. What a total rush to realize that perhaps, just maybe, I was making stuff that people LIKED???????
Then finally, tonight, Barbara introduced me to her friend, the person she wanted me to meet. I felt an instant affinity to Cindy, she had such kind eyes. She reached for her purse to get a business card and I did the same. We made the exchange. She looked at my card, then smiled and said, "I have this card." I must have looked puzzled but she recalled that she had signed up for my mailing list and had received my holiday flyer.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
I didn't expect to do it today. We had the grandkids last night for a sleepover and I thought most of the morning and longer would be spent with them. But Ian got sick - poor little guy barfed on me 3 times (you can imagine how charming I smelled!). And this led to an early departure so the kiddos could go home to mom. After changing clothes (again), I threw the smelly stuff in the laundry and decided I would Play in my studio. Woo, hoo, it doesn't get any better than this, a bonus studio day!!!
Working with a 24x30 canvas, I collaged and painted, then painted and collaged some more, layers on layers.....soft pastels, gesso, inks, wax crayons, you name it, true mixed media or is that mixed up media!?!? Plus spray bottles of water and alcohol. And my hair dryer. I had put the tarp down first and that was good thinking because of course I went wild with the drips. It is odd, but anytime I return to "soul work" I have to gear up with some drips. It is almost a ritual with me. There is something so absolutely soothing about the process. I love to watch paints and ink drip and am fascinated with directing the movement with my hair dryer. It is mesmerizing to do over and over again, layering up then wiping away to re-expose parts previously covered. It just feels so right to me.
So now I'm a happy girl again.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
this funny friend of mine.
As she forwarded the link below......
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Last night I decided to put up the Xmas tree and do some decorating around the house. I had been playing Scrooge up till now but got to feeling the guilts about our grandkids primarily. And truth be known, I do actually like to see a decorated tree standing in the living room. Particularly since we have so little furniture, ha, ha.
So John brought the tree up (it's a fake, he is allergic to pine) and put it in front of the windows where it looks pretty cool from the outside plus we also have a nice view from the family room. After Yoga and dinner, I finally got started on the decorating. It was late and I wasn't really in the best of moods. I had this idea that John and I would do it together - in my imaginary tree decorating scenario, a fire would be crackling, lovely jazzy versions of Christmas carols playing, we would be sipping some mulled cider or perhaps hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows......but alas, it was just me with 3 cat spectators while John watched Monday night football.
And it started the minute I opened the ornament box. The memories that is.
Because it seems like every ornament has it's story. Perhaps it was home made, I have lots of those. There are also some from my childhood and John's. Others were passed down through the years and are preciously old. Many were gifts to people who are now gone, remnants of another day. They all have a story to tell, these bastard ornaments. Some were so lame they made me chuckle and I chose to not even put them on the tree. But others brought tears to my eyes, especially the expansive collection of shooting stars.
I guess it is a collection of lives. I remember the stories that go along with each one. So odd because I can't even remember where I put my cell phone but I have carefully catalogued every one of these memories. And I wonder will anyone want to listen to my stories?
Monday, December 12, 2005
And on that note, let's talk about the weekend.
The Independent Art Market was a grand success in my book. Our fearless organizers staged a classy little event. Held in a fabulous gallery space (can you say exposed brick, wood floors, architectural features, ooh la la), the "market" was more upscale boutique which is a good thing in my book. I felt proud to be included. Plus I sold a decent amount of work, woo hoo. Heard some good music from fabulously talented musicians. Drank some wine. Had a chance to get to know some artists I had not met before. Drank some more wine. Caught up with some old friends. And had even more wine. What a life, eh?
Big hugs to my brilliant and beautiful friends John and Darryl who have now earned the #1 stalker spot by coming to both (yes, BOTH) of my shows this weekend. I am just being a snot because of course I LOVE seeing them. They are not only fun and frivolous (ok, maybe that's just John) but can also be slightly outrageous and caustic with their humor and God only knows I appreciate the laughs. They also engage (and even encourage) the Princess in me, not that I need much encouragement, ha! So thanks you guys for hanging this weekend. It means a lot to me.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Because they were thoughtful and seemed truly interested in my art. Or maybe they were just stroking me? Or maybe they were just my friends or family? Who knows? But I did sell a decent amount of originals and nearly all my repros which means I need to make more.
So it was a good deal.
Naturally I didn't get anything to eat. I did have lots of wine. And we have lots left over.
I had Life cereal when I got home. C'est la vie.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Here's one. And all you guy readers probably won't get this.
You enter the ladies bathroom to find 2 stalls and a line. Clearly, the only option at hand is to get in line which you do. You wait patiently as women move in and out of the stalls until you are first in line. Usually there are still a couple of women behind you when this happens, so it's clearly "a line." A new woman enters the bathroom. Then (and this is the pet peeve part) she queries you on whether the stalls are occupied or not.
"Are you waiting," she says, to whoever is listening.
"Did you check the doors?" she queries.
"No," I say since I have seen women enter the stalls hence no need to check the doors. Exchange glances with woman behind me, both of us roll our eyes.
"Hmmmm," as new woman boldly steps around the line and proceeds to peer under the doors. She tests the handles but they are locked. Big sigh; she gets back in line.
Like we are all just standing there for our own amusement? Like I am so friggin' stupid I would never think to actually check and see if anyone is using the bathroom. Do I look that much like a doormat?
Ok, I feel better now.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Friday, Dec 9th at Subterranean Books my solo show opens with a reception from 7-9pm. This is a terrific bookstore in the loop that bears exploring (books are my next favorite obsession after art) and I will have about 30 pieces on exhibit including many new works from my Common Denominator series plus my new figurative piece and some small reproductions just in time for holiday gift giving.
Subterranean Books – Dec 9th from 7-9PM.
University City, MO 63130
From 40, exit at McCausland and go north. This will turn in to Skinker. Turn left on Delmar and Subterranean will be about a block down on the right.
From 170, take the Delmar exit and go east until you get to the loop. Watch for Subterranean on the left. It is about a block before you get to Skinker.
The show runs until Jan 9th.
See http://www.subbooks.com/ for hours.
Saturday and Sunday (Dec 10th + 11th ) I will be at Shaw’s Gallery (no relation, I am just lucky with my name) at the Independent Art Market. I am very excited to be part of this event which is a holiday market featuring all kinds of very cool fine art items from 13 different artists. I will have a lot of collage work (yes, more new stuff!) at this show including some reproductions. So, if you’re like me and haven’t really had time to do your shopping, this is the spot! Plus there will be music on Saturday night so expect a party.
From 40, exit at Kings Highway and head south. Left on Shaw - go past the Botanical Garden. The gallery will be on the left about 2 blocks down.
4065 Shaw Blvd.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
My studio that is.
Visitors often tell me how neat my studio is. Well, the fact is, if I am having a visitor I usually clean. At the very least, I put supplies back where they belong, unpack the latest shipment from Dick Blick, and organize so that I can see the tops of the tables.
But now it is a friggin' mess. I have been reduced to perhaps a 6 inch square working space. The varnish table is packed with new works. I haven't put the acetate (repro) packaging away so Merlin has grabbed a few and deemed them cat toys. He apparently likes to nosh on the plastic, not to eat but to produce a crunchcrunchcrunch sound which seems to amuse him to no end - OCD cat behavior (akin to a bubblewrap addiction with humans).
The worst part though is you can barely walk because I have a show sort of laid out on the floor. In my planning for Subterranean, I wanted to eyeball exactly how the works would look. This is sort of my pre-show ritual; I like to sketch it (to scale) then do a floor lay-out to see if everything looks good, spacing, colors, etc. That way the hanging goes so much quicker. Of course I always make changes once I am there but at least this is a good starting point. But suffice to say there are about thirty pieces laying all over the floor. Along with my door. A real door in the floor (awesome movie by the way, emotionally charged) although it is not functional. I use it as an extra flat surface and sort of drag it around the studio as necessary. Why it is on the floor at this point I couldn't say as I simply don't remember.
I am at my wit's end with the mess. Today I am going to pack for the next two shows.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Yes, my mother.....same woman who won't wear white shoes after Labor Day. Defies logic I know, but she was actually a regular viewer of his show until it was taken off the air. And it wasn't like she was secretive about it; everyone in our family knew and her language was peppered with "well, on the Howard Stern show yesterday....." She even tried to pull me in for awhile. But I could never understand exactly what she was getting out of the show.
So now Howard is back and has this hee-yuge contract with Sirius (can you say 500 million dollars?) And a new girlfriend with lots of hair, big cleavage, bright teeth. Who seems to live and breathe simply to fawn over this guy. Good gig I suppose, if you're into that.
Perhaps I'll get my mom satellite radio for Xmas this year.
Yesterday was the Saturday Monday sale and it went very well. Not only did I get some great Xmas gifts (can't say what they are or Michelle won't have a surprise, tee, hee, hee), but I had so much fun hanging out. Especially with my booth buddy Dana who is a riot and makes the most adorable greeting cards I have ever seen. Naturally I broke my own "buying rule" when I HAD to have this fantastic necklace made by PJ, that says "I run with scissors." Hmmm, thanks Beth for helping me spend my money......actually it is just soooo perfect, I love it!!!
Of course a very big thanks to Heidi, newly elevated to Empress status by those who know and love her. http://www.queenfor1day.blogspot.com/. She is definitely the hostess with the mostess. I know she is probably really really tired today but I hope she decides to do this again next year.
My grid walls look terrific if I do say so myself; they were a good purchase as I will be able to use them here at home as a small display area too. Many people had a bigger area but I was happy with this diminutive (!) display and it served me well. By the way, thanks also to Marian (my official event photographer!) for the pic. It is indeed colorful.
The new greeting cards were a big hit and the repros did well too; you can see "The Perfect Purse" hanging just above my shoulder. It features my 3 favorite perfect purse collages, all reproduced on one ribbon hanging piece. The little baby repros were also well received, so I think they will be nice offerings for the holiday shows.
Now, moving onward. I need to plan my strategy for Subterranean which we hang on Wed. John took measurements yesterday as he was uncomfortable with my "eyeball" measurements, gee, I wonder why.......then I need to re-work my inventory for the Independent Art Market (note Eric's VERY cool poster hanging on the left side of my booth, he soooooo rocks).
Plus make some new art. My fingers are itching.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Between the new feather bed and the cats, I have actually gotten hot the last few nights. Wait, that could have been night sweats I suppose. Who knows. Anyway, I love it when all the cats crawl into bed and I wake up surrounded by my family.
We went to the final play of the season last night, the Off Ramp production of This is Our Youth. It was good, funny at times, but also thought provoking. And very well acted, especially the guy who played Warren, he was such a lovable slacker.
What a crazy week though, with so many evenings "out." I seriously need to be home, doing my nesting thing. Which we will do tonite and then I have the show tomorrow. I am pretty much ready, my packaging bags arrived yesterday (thank goodness as I ordered so late) so the new repros look all fresh and professional in their acetate sleeves. I had my products all set up yesterday and stupid me should have snapped a picture but I wasn't thinking. Suffice to say, the new grid walls (black epoxy) are nice and make for a clean look in a situation where I have limited space and am unable to use my usual booth. Like tomorrow.
So, if you're in the St. Louis area, come on out to the Saturday Monday Sale. I feel sure there will be lots of wonderful gift items. My focus for the day will be to NOT spend every cent that I earn.