Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

I'm going into a whine, so don't say I didn't warn you.

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

Road trip

I took a little baby road trip yesterday to visit my friend Rhonda. She lives in Vandalia, IL and I had never been there. It was one dreary-ass day(why can't the sun shine here!?!?!) and I made terrific time driving, got out there in one hour, forty minutes which included a stop at Starbucks.

The billboards claimed Vandalia as a "historic" destination which Rhonda 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

Matchmaker, matchmaker

An unnamed friend of mine wanted to put up an ad (I suppose that is what they are called?) on a certain unnamed website. One that is known for making matches of the romantic variety. I was chosen to assist.

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

The Aftermath

Ugh, I feel like I need to be in detox for my eating the last few days. And we were even at home most of the holiday, so I have no one to blame but myself for reaching my little mitt back into the cookie tin over and over and over. Of course it's generally that way with over-eating. I have rarely, ok that is never, experienced force feeding. Yes, I put each and every bite in my mouth all on my own.

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

It was 1991

My Year of Magical Thinking.

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

Easy as......

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.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A tale of two eggs

I have been cooking like a maniac lately. As I say this it occurs to me I rarely go into anything halfway. Either I am not doing it or I am doing it like a maniac, whatever that means. And well, cooking has been that way. Basically, I haven't cooked at all for months then I jumped into gear the past week.

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

I should still be sleeping

One of the great things about being an artist and working at home is I don't have a particular schedule. Meaning I can sleep in most days, no alarm necessary. So it is 5:03 am and I have been up for over an hour. Staring brainlessly at this computer screen, drifting through blog after blog of people I don't know. Finally found a funny chap (he lives in the UK so chap just sounds right plus I always wanted to use that word) who writes about every day stuff. He has an odd take which naturally I find interesting.

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 small world

Tonight we met up with my friend Barbara Bourne and her husband Larry at Lucas Park Grille.

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

Any day is a painting day

Since most of the shows are over or already hung (40+ hanging in various venues as we speak) I have been champing at the bit to start some new works. Not really part of my Common Denominator series, but other stuff, more abstract, possibly in line with the Stick a Fork in it already piece. In fact I had mentally blocked out next week for playing around with new ideas. I usually call this my "soul work." Or at least that's the code word I use with my coach.

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Do you hear what I hear?

I've been thinking about memory lately. That sounds kind of weird doesn't it, that phrase, "thinking about memory?"

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

The Day

I have been talking about this day for months......the day when the shows are it feels more like the day the music died. Naturally I am happy I will have some free time (of course I have tons of projects stacked up in addition to holiday preparations so I'm not sure how "free" my time will be) but it's kind of sad to think no more shows. Till February at least. Because even though it's a lot of hard work, I have found I truly like the scene. I have met some amazing people this past year, fellow artists, art collectors, art wannabee collectors - good people all around. What a wonderful experience.

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

So this is what it's like?

Hmmm, kind of a light crowd at my opening tonite. I don't know what to make of that. Everyone kept saying it was the weather. And of course there were lots of other openings tonite. can make tons of excuses for this sort of thing. But the bottom line is I was pleased with the people who came out.

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

Pet Peeve

I have a lot of pet peeves. Things that are stupidly insignificant but still bug the crap out of me. I usually tell John. At time it's so much stuff I feel sure he thinks I have entered an "angry artist" phase.

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

Art, art everywhere.....

Well, it's final exhibition weekend of the year. I am happy, sad, relieved, excited, invigorated, exhausted.......if you've been reading here for any period of time you know how obsessive compulsive neurotic I am, naturally I am experiencing all these emotions at the same time, ha! So anyway, here's the schedule. If you're in town, stop by!

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.
6275 Delmar
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 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.
Saturday 12-10PM
Sunday 10-6PM

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Here's what it REALLY looks like

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.
Then clean.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I see a gift coming on

Did anyone else see Howard Stern on 60 Minutes? He is intriguing to me. Not for the content of his shows, his outrageous behavior, or his wild-ass hairstyle. But for the fact he has attracted my mother as a fan.

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.

One Down

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. 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

Three Cat Night

It has been very cold here. And you know what that means.......all the cats sleep with us. Once again I am reminded of why we require a king size bed. Izzy and Gil are well trained and curl up at our feet. But Merlin, oh Lord.. he doesn't even know he's a cat.....sleeps right between me and John.

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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


We saw Wicked last night. It was great; I enjoyed it more than I expected and especially liked some of the special effects. The plot line was engaging and cleverly executed. The woman who played Elphaba stood out for me; she was terrific. I am so-so on the music. I won't be humming it for days like the songs from Phantom or anything like that.

The production was at the Fox, in downtown St. Louis.
The Fox is well named - it truly is fabulous with a gorgeous art deco interior. When we lived here before we had tickets to the Broadway series. Our seats last night were perhaps a row or two away from where we used to sit in the Mezzanine. It's the best spot for me because the height allows me to see without my vision being blocked by some tall person. But it's still close enough to get a nice view of the stage.

And it brought back fond memories of a night long ago when I had just gotten my engagement ring from John. The pre-show lighting was magical and my ring looked absolutely stunning. We had been searching for wedding rings that same day and found one (for me) we liked a lot but it was more than either of us had budgeted. That night at the show John told me he wanted to go ahead and get it for me. In all my life I never had anyone spoil me like that and I didn't know what to say. I had to pinch myself to make sure I was awake.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Is this my theme song?

I feel like I haven't written anything of substance for awhile. Actually I haven't done anything of substance for awhile, or at least it feels that way. I am a hamster on a wheel. Not really going anywhere, just spinning away.

The problem is the same. I have gotten seriously out of balance. I hate it when this happens. Somehow my exercise has fallen by the wayside and that is key for me. I have gone from 2 Yoga classes a week to one every few weeks. Not good. My walk/run routine has fallen apart too ever since that hip issue which still isn't perfect and bugs me from time to time. And, as my exercise has fallen apart, my work has increased (which is good) so I have been quite busy, but further out of whack.

Days turn into weeks turn into months and here I am, struggling to keep up, maintain pace, fulfill the obligations falling off my plate. Naturally I meet all the deadlines, I am driven that way, to a fault.

But I absolutely CRAVE some downtime. Like a food craving, except I feel it in every single pore. Real, serious, uninterrupted(this is key) downtime, not spent doing familial or other self imposed obligations. But selfish (yes, this is how it feels) ME time, I even sort of cringe to say it that way, it feels waaaayyy too self indulgent, worse than a pedicure which I also haven't had time for. But I digress. I want time when I can do whatever I want, just mess around in the studio and PLAY. Make Christmas cookies. Read a book. Do some sketching. Hike. Take a nap. Perhaps fix dinner, like actually cook, I think I remember how.

I promised my coach I would devote 2 full weeks after my shows are over, starting on Dec. 12th. Now of course I am negotiating with myself. Because honestly I can't really start just then, I have all the Christmas gifts to attend to, not only buying and wrapping, but shipping since 80% of our recipients live out of town. So I have pushed myself back to the 18th. And now my brother and his wife want to come and visit us between Xmas and New Year's, further eroding my time. Which means I have a window of about 5 days.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Indulging in Moderation

I need to remember this one every day. Courtesy of
November 28, 2005
Cancer Daily Horoscope
Food, drink, laughter, exercise, or love may be on your mind today, as you could be feeling a strong desire to indulge your physical senses. Your enjoyment can be more meaningful and intense if you make the choice to practice moderation. If you choose not to indulge excessively today, you can experience the pleasure and delight inherent in satisfying your cravings without any unpleasant effects. You may also want to find creative outlets that can inspire or excite you such as dancing, singing, cooking, or drawing. If there is a restaurant or dance class you've been meaning to try, today can be a great day to do so. When we practice moderation, we can fully savor what we love without fear of overindulgence or eventual boredom. When we do what we love to the point of fulfillment, we can't help want but to do more. We also don't fill ourselves beyond our thresholds. There can always be room for more later, and sometimes that means not filling yourself to overflowing. Too much of anything good can sometimes be bad for you. Even doing what we love can become tedious or tiring if we do too much of it. By indulging yourself through moderation today, you will be able to take pleasure in all of your activities and leave space for more later.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanskgiving

We are in Cincinnati celebrating with my family. Since we won't be together this year for Xmas (we do that every other year thing), Thanksgiving seemed like a good idea. My youngest brother and his family are flying in this morning. We got here Tuesday night and are at my parent's house. We'll move over to my brother Chris' house tonight so Brad, Kim and the kids can have the guest rooms here. And that way everyone gets to spend a little one on one time with my mom and dad.

It is C-O-L-D. We woke up to snow yesterday which was unexpected, at least for me since I never read the weather report. Fortunately I had grabbed my down coat before we left home.

I am glad we are here. I almost canceled the trip because I have so much work that needs to be done at home. But luckily I came to my senses because this is where I need to be right now. I am thankful for many things today.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm doin' Chemistry

This is the first time I have posted one of these tests.......I always take them "on the sly" usually after I find one on Ruth's site and I seldom agree with the results. But this one was kind of fun. I guess I like the idea of being an element. Plus it pegged me to some extent. You can do it yourself by clicking the link at the bottom.

So, for my stepdaughter Beth.......

You scored 27 Mass, 39 Electronegativity, 48 Metal, and 0 Radioactivity!
Nobody understands you... no, not even organic chemists. The social individualist. You like your attention... but not TOO MUCH attention. You are able to form incredibly close relationships with many individuals, but you don't really get along with preexisting groups. You value equality in relationships, and don't deal well with overly submissive or demanding people. Well, whatever... thanks for making life possible... oh, and cut the global warming out.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Holiday Show Schedule

In case you haven't already received my shameless publicity via some other delivery (mail, email, etc) here it is......I am hoping to see some people out at my reception December 9th at Subterranean. Naturally I have this (hopefully unwarranted) fear that no one will show up.

Please note new times for the Art Market on Dec 10-11th.

Oct 28 – Nov 26
Body and Soul
Three Sinks Gallery (314) 963-3448
8715 Big Bend
Webster Groves, MO 63119

Dec 3
Saturday Monday Sale
The Monday Club
37 South Maple
Webster Groves, MO

Dec 9 – Jan 9
Subterranean Books
Please join me for a reception on Dec 9 from 7- 9
Solo Show
6275 Delmar
University City, MO 63130

Dec 10-11
Independent Art Market
12-10 on Sat and 12-6 on Sun
Shaw’s Gallery
4065 Shaw
St. Louis, MO 63110

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Everything's coming up feathers

When we were in Memphis, the hotel had this amazing bed that must have had a feather topper. I didn't really look under the sheet, but it seemed like it and reminded me of this little boutique hotel where we lived in San Francisco before our condo was ready. The bed was so fluffy and wonderful for sleep I simply didn't want to get up.

Nowadays, I don't sleep so much and I rarely sleep well, so the fact I got good sleep in Memphis reminded me of how much I like these feathery products and got me going on my new "must have" item, that being a featherbed topper to place on our mattress.

Today was the day, one of the local department stores was having a big sale and Claire tipped me off that feather stuff was greatly reduced. After looking at a few I found there is a lot of variance in these toppers, some are made from the feathers only and feel way to dense for my taste. I prefer the ones made from down surrounding a core of feathers. So after feeling every single one of them I finally made my selection and wrestled it out to the car. We have a king size bed and you cannot believe how big it is; I saw more than several people chuckling as I walked by. Thankfully the package had a handle. .

Couldn't wait to get it on the bed, so I stripped off all the sheets and mattress pad because I wanted to have perfectly fresh linens (of course!). I placed the feather topper right on the mattress, then put the mattress pad over it and sheets on top. Luckily I have the extra deep fitted sheets so it all fit.

Oh. My. Gosh. It feels like a cloud. So glorious, John was laughing at me because I was in bed rolling around luxuriating in the excess of it all. The funny thing is the reaction of the cats. Gilligan jumped up on the bed and just stood there like he was paralyzed. Finally he walked a bit, then pawed around as if testing the give and take of this new surface. He must have approved because he is currently fast asleep on the bed.

All I can say is everyone needs one of these. If you aren't allergic to feathers, go now. Do not delay.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Elvis Lives

I saw him myself at Graceland....seriously, there was this guy in line for the shuttle with Elvis hair(I was too much a chicken shit to snap his picture). It was amazing. He was wearing very retro jeans with the hem turned up in a cuff. They had a button fly and two buttons were undone(I know, why was I looking anyway!?!). It kind of destroyed the look but I didn't have the heart to tell him.

We are back home now. The return trip was uneventful which is good. Memphis seems like it is trying to be a baby New Orleans? This is the view we had from the balcony of the hotel. Weird lighting that first night.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A questionably auspicious start

Through storms, tornadoes, and more storms we finally made it and are here in Memphis.

Absolutely horrendous driving weather - it was the kind where your butt puckers, your shoulders tense, your jaw clenches and you can't see a foot beyond the car no matter how hard you squint or how fast your wipers go. And I was just in the passenger seat.

We were listening to CD's and had not heard any weather reports, I mean shit, it was right out the window it wasn't like we needed to hear the reports. As we approached Memphis we switched over to local radio at the exact moment the Emergency signal sounded, yeah, it was that emergency signal, the ear piercing one that this time wasn't a test. They announced a list of towns in immediate danger and one of them was the town identified on the exit sign we were driving past. Since the National Weather service was urging people to seek immediate cover, we had a brief pow wow and decided to take action. We drove by lines of cars stopped along the highway, but in the event of a real tornado (and one had been spotted) it is better to actually exit the vehicle. McDonald's or a gas station were our only options. The McDonald's employees were so totally low key we started to question what we had heard and weren't sure we had gotten the towns right. Using our "when in Memphis" thinking, we assumed we were mistaken. So I ordered my very first McFlurry with oreos(yum). We later saw the national news which showed the path of the storm......hmm, pretty much the exact route we had traveled.

Checked into the hotel, a glammed up Hampton in the heart of Memphis, proximate to most everything. We have an apartment size suite with a semi-circular wall of windows and balcony. King size bed with amazing linens and duvet, poofy and wonderful. Very sweet indeed.

We had dinner at Rendezvous, one of the well known Bar-b-que spots. Excellent dry rubbed ribs and pulled pork. Then wandered around town a bit on foot. I was delighted to find a huge Tower records across the street from the hotel. Naturally I had to indulge in every single listening station in the store where I heard some great new music and bought CD's. Happy Birthday to John or something like that, yeesh, am I a little piggy or what.

All Aboard

Tomorrow is John's birthday, he is turning 60 believe it or not. Doesn't seem like it, yeesh, he isn't getting older, just better. And we are heading out of town to celebrate. We have had a lot of trips this year including Hawaii in May, so I just wanted to surprise him with a little get away. In usual MB fashion, I considered all sorts of wide ranging options from Santa Fe to San Francisco, but it seemed like the trip was turning in to what I wanted to do rather than what John would want. Plus I knew it was getting out of control when I actually considered a weekend in London. I ultimately decided to ask John what he wanted to do and he stunned me by saying he wanted to go to Memphis.

Hmmm, Memphis wasn't really on my radar. That would mean Graceland, blues and bar-b-que. Actually the kitsch of it all pleased me very much. With a little guidance from the recent NY Times article, I set it up. And I think it will be great fun.

We are heading out today. So Happy Birthday a day early sweetie. You know I couldn't do anything without are my rock and my foundation.....a wonderful dad, an inspired grandfather and absolutely the best husband I could have ever dreamed up.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Little Bunny Foo Foo

We are watching the grandkids tonight. They arrived late this afternoon and are now in bed fast alseep. Which is where I am going to be shortly as they have worn my butt out. You can see from the faces we have been having a good time.

Aidan is singing now. He is quite good with the lyrics, of Little Bunny Foo Foo; very accurate pronunciation, especially when he gets to the word "goon" which for some reason sounds hilarious to me coming out of the mouth of a 3-1/2 year old. He can also spell his name and can count to 33. Naturally I think he is brilliant. We spent time making art like we usually do. He loves to draw, fish of course, that is what he always draws. Lots of sharks that are accurate depictions; he knows which variety and can point out their dorsal fins. He drew a Moray Eel and identified it properly. I was cutting out his drawings and running them through my Xyron machine to make them into stickers. I showed him how to use the Xyron, let him turn the handle. He thinks this is all very cool.

Ian is a total cut up. The kid climbs like nothing I have ever seen which means we have to watch him like a hawk. He is also talking a lot and quite communicative although we don't know what he is saying much of the time but he somehow manages to convey whatever he needs perfectly. And he knows every word we are saying, I am convinced of it. He picks up books and then does this adorable little babble thing like he is reading out loud. When I am sitting on the floor (which is most of the time) he walks up, turns around and literally"backs" into my lap. He smashed his finger and instead of crying made a smooching sound with his lips and held it up so John could kiss it then he was fine. Melts my heart.

Too bad they aren't cute.
I am perhaps just a little biased. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Decision Time

I need to make a decision on the Florida shows. You may remember back a few months when I was entering the shows; it seemed like such a great idea - travel and see the world, spend the cold St. Louis winter in Florida, ahhhh, what could be better. I am being facetious but you get the point.

So I looked at a four week window of time, basically Febuary-early March. And I entered a bunch of high end, overlapping shows, hoping that I would get in enough of them to make the trip worthwhile from a financial standpoint. I was thinking that either 2 or 3 back to back shows and I would head down to Florida no problem.

I got rejected (that's "not accepted" here in the trade but it feels more like rejected) from Coconut Grove and Naples National. I did get in to 2 shows(Artigras & Boca), and am waitlisted for a 3rd(Gasparilla). But I pulled out of Boca already based on the bad artist rap that was so pervasive (and persuasive) when I was at the Plaza show(in retrospect, I maybe pulled the trigger a little too quickly, but everything I heard was so unappealing I simply regretted having sent the application). This situation leaves me with one for sure show and another waitlist. With a 2 week down time in between.....basically the worst case scenario. Now what do to do?

The money man (that would be John) figured it all out and came up with a $2000 price tag to do Artigras. That is pretty much the same figure I came up with(doing it in my head of course). It is kind of funny as he and all nearly always come to the same place but we seldom do it the same way. Needless to say this is an expensive show and would make for a tight profit picture. And I think it would be crazy to stay 3 weeks to maybe do 2 shows, cause I might not even get into the Gasparilla. It's not so much the money as the downtime in between that I can't afford. Collage is simply too complicated to try and travel with supplies - I use so much stuff in my work I cannot imagine trying to create them "on the road." So that's not an option.

I'm leaning toward trying Artigras. It will be like sticking my toe into the Florida season.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Knitting fool

Now that the weather is getting colder I want to nest and that means I am back to my knitting. Which I was doing last night with all three (!) cats gathered around me, oh my my, life is good.

Here is my latest project...... this was my first time making something other than a scarf or dishcloth. For this purse I had to teach myself to purl which is the "other half" of the knitting game. Cause knit and purl combine in seemingly limitless combinations to create all kinds of fancy textures, patterns, etc. all with just these 2 stitches. Meaning the sky is the limit.

So anyway, the purse was great fun and ultimately so rewarding.....I made a lining for it, sewed it all together and everything actually worked. As you can see it turned out, well, looking like a purse, woo hoo, how cool is that?

The embellishments are some of my grandmother's earrings that are simply over the top garish and, while I wouldn't wear them on my ears, I think they are perfect here. Since they are clips I can even take them on and off as my mood changes. I am also going to look for a big silk flower pin as another decorative feature. And now I can't wait to make another one. Seems like a good Xmas gift, yes?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

At what price?

I am somewhat vain, ok, maybe a little more than "somewhat." I think it might be genetic as my middle brother (not my younger one who couldn't give a shit) is terribly vain. We used to have huge wars over sharing the bathroom when we were kids. Plus who could ever forget his face mask escapades, I mean he spent more time with skin care than I did, used to put this bright blue crap all over his face.

Imagine my reaction when earlier this week I found a furrow in my brow. Honestly I never knew what that word "furrow" even meant until I noticed one on my face and I went, oh, yeah, that's what it means. Yee Gads, it was enormous and I have no idea when it arrived. I know I didn't have it last year; I don't think I had it during the summer and swear it wasn't on my face last month. I am certain it made it's furrowey way onto my face sometime last week. I sort of pride myself on my low wrinkle factor, like I had anything to do with it, a genetic predisposition to wrinkles or not. But I like to think my careful (read obsessive) efforts at skin care have also worked to preserve my skin.

So consider my AF (after furrow) state of mind; I was feeling more than vulnerable when the "Lip Injection" sample arrived in the mail from Nordstrom. Since I couldn't imagine any immediate improvement in the furrow I figured I may as well help my lips. They are on the thin side, always have been, no Angelina pout for me. Aging has not been kind to them and lately I have wondered what I would look like with some modest collagen injection, something controlled, not Goldie Hawn in First Wives Club. So "Lip Injection" sounded like just the thing, "plumps your lips for lasting fullness - without a needle."

We were headed out to dinner and the theater last Thursday night, the perfect time to plump up my lips and take them for a trial run......

"To Use: Apply a generous coat over the entire lip area. You may experience a slightly intense tingle that can last up to 5-10 minutes, but don't worry sweetie, it's so worth it!
Note: Apply only within perimeter of lips. If applied on skin, a temporary redness may occur. If any discomfort is present, remove and discontinue use. "
Oh yeah baby, I could hardly wait as I carefully applied the extremely sticky high gloss gel to my lips. Within about 2 seconds I felt the burning, more than what I would call a tingle, more than what I would consider intense. It was like someone set my lips on fire. I started to breathe faster.........but wait.......look how cute and pink my lips were? Maybe I should hold on for a second because my lips were actually starting to plump up and they were such a pretty natural color plus it looked totally sexy. Did it really matter if it felt like they were covered in acid, oh surely I could tolerate this cause it was likely to stop in say 10 minutes, right? I left it on. Tried to distract myself but I felt the "tingling" spreading around my entire mouth, all the way up to my nose and down my chin. The delightful natural color was not such a good one round my mouth - I looked like a freak show clown.
Shitshitshit, I started to panic and grabbed some soap. The stuff was sticky and insidiously fused to my skin, but I finally got it off. Which is when I really started to panic. I was swollen and red all over the bottom half of my face. Plus it still tingled and hurt. I remembered something about using a high-fat milk product on your face to calm sensitive red skin. I went downstairs to get some half and half. Didn't dare show my face to John, so I just told him I was having a slight beauty emergency. I prepared a little compress of half and half which felt wonderful and was totally soothing. My skin finally started to settle down and the swelling subsided. After careful makeup application I disguised the remaining redness sufficiently to the point that John couldn't tell anything was wrong.
So now I am in the throes of a dilemma. Do I dare try it again, maybe under more controlled circumstances to see what happens? I mean what's a little pain? My lips looked so friggin amazing........

Friday, November 04, 2005

Body and Soul

The show opened earlier this week but the reception was tonight and it was quite well attended. Thank goodness we had great weather because the crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk. I knew a surprising number of people and am continually amazed at all the folks I have met in our 2 years here.

I was pleased with how the show was hung. That is my friend Marlene's piece to the right of mine.

John and I grabbed some Thai food before the show and had that terrific coconut milk/lemongrass comfort soup that I require when my throat is bothering me. Once at the show we hung out with some friends (thanks for coming Peggy and Neil!). It was nice all around. But I am tired and feel a little bit like I am fighting off something, maybe just sinus, who knows. Thanks Claire for this picture (which was taken Monday when there were no people around).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Horse Crazed

I went on another horse venture this past Saturday, a trail ride. It was beyond fun.

I really love those horses, they are amazing creatures. The more I am around them the more I like them. I am moving into a little bit of a comfort zone, like I led Rosie back into her stall, actually walked with her where I was on the ground, holding her rope, etc. I know that seems so basic but I've never spent enough time around horses to feel at ease before.

We rode for an hour or so. When we finished and I was back on the ground, Rosie nudged me with her head, practically knocking me over, sweetly acknowledging the experience we had together, girl to girl bonding. Bud said she was just scratching her nose and maybe so, but it felt like an expression of affection to me, similar to a head butt from a cat. And the way the horses deal with each other is so cool and unexpected. For instance, after the ride, we had the horses tied on opposite sides of the trailer. Bud loaded his horse onto the trailer first and Rosie just went crazy. It was very obvious she was afraid we would forget to put her in the trailer, that we might accidentally leave her at the park. Another example...Bud has 3 horses and only 2 of them got to go on the ride. When we arrived back at the house, the "left at home" horse was in the pasture and she ran along the driveway neighing her head off. It cracked me up, the way she galloped beside the vehicle clearly trying to say something.......perhaps give us shit for leaving her behind, maybe just talking to her buddies, who knows.

Every little thing that happens is new for me, but I am especially fascinated with how the horses act and interact. I am definitely enthralled by the whole scene. With the possible exception of that bruised feeling between my legs........or is that too much information?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Running with Scissors

Although I don't remember where I first heard it, I have always loved this phrase and sort of adopted it as my theme song so to speak - it's part of the tagline for my profile here on Blogger. Much to the chagrin of my family I am sure. So imagine my surprise when I find out there is a book by this name!

Claire turned me on to it, Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. It is a memoir of this guy who has lived an unbelievable life filled with dysfunction that is both tragic but also hilarious, a very dark humor which I absolutely love. I can no longer read the book while I am eating my lunch because it made me laugh out loud and snort my tomato soup, Not a pretty site.

If you like tales of crazy families, and I mean who doesn't (?)I would strongly recommend this book. It is strangely endearing. Plus this guy can really write. There is a movie in the works if you want to wait for that but I always prefer to read the book and frankly I can't imagine how they will put some of his experiences on the screen. You may want to check out his website for additional information I was pleased to find that he and I agree on a number of favorite books including Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg. If you've been reading my blog for awhile you will recall that was the book which spawned my run away from home trip to Chicago this past summer, tee, hee, hee....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Is anybody else getting tired of Oprah?

I have been an Oprah lover from years, when she was fat, when she was thin, when she got fat again, when she went New Age (coincided with my time in CA, so that's what I was doing too), when she got thin again. It's been so long I can't even tell you how many times I have used the phrase, "well I saw this thing on Oprah......" during conversation. In the beginning I read her books and watched every show without fail. I even subscribed to her magazine.

First I fell off the bookclub path as the choices seemed so depressing and dysfunctional, then they were classics I had already read, and now books I'm not sure I want to read anyway. Then I failed to renew my magazine subscription. And these days I rarely even watch a show that I have Tivoed. My stepdaughter stunned me with her announcement a few days ago......she took Oprah off of Tivo. Said, what's the point, she simply deleted them each day. And I guess that's where I am too. I can't even remember the last one that I watched. Maybe when Nate announced his new line of products? That had to have been a couple weeks ago at least.

So what's up with this and why don't we like Oprah anymore?

I think Oprah has transcended herself and become one of the celebrities. I liked her better when I somehow felt like she was "one of us" even though I knew she had a gazillion dollars socked away somewhere. In the old days she still made clothing mistakes and had bad hair days. These days she is perfect all the time, clearly she has a stylist or an army of people working it on her behalf. Never a hair out of place, always a great outfit appropriately accessorized. I mean good for her, but I guess I related to her better when she seemed normal. She had a farm in Indiana for God's sake, I mean how normal is that.

And this celebrity thing is out of hand. Ok, so she has them on her show. Sure, we want to see celebs spill their guts, talk about their movies, relationships, etc. Except they don't. They talk about when they "hung out" with Oprah. I mean it used to be that Maria Shriver was the main Oprah "friend," Maya Angelou, the "mentor." Now John Travolta, Jennifer Anniston, Julia Roberts.........Oprah has not just had them on her show, she has partied with them, shared weekends together, HUNG OUT with them. She has clearly crossed the line here. I think this is why all the interviews are suddenly so insipid except for that crazy one with Tom Cruise where he jumped on her furniture and I watched that like I was watching the scene of an accident.

So when did it all happen? Reflecting back, it seems like it has been coming for awhile and I should have seen the signs. Around the time Oprah ate that chicken sandwich and then bought the restaurant. Then the over the top birthday party, then the Legends thingie, I mean did you SEE the jewelry she gave the guests!?!? Enough already.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud her success, I say You go girl and truly mean that. It's just that I don't enjoy the show anymore and can't really relate to this new persona. So I am almost finished with her. I say "almost" because I still have hopes she may reinvent herself and once again seem more real to me. I'm keeping her on my Tivo but this could change any moment.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Whew, another Halloween done....

My husband hates Halloween. Something about organized begging or extortion, I don't get it, but that's his deal. So I skipped Yoga tonite in order to answer the door and hand out candy. And it wasn't bad, truly it wasn't. All appropriately aged children, meaning none of them were taller than me. Some even said thank you. I didn't keep track, but maybe 25% said Trick or Treat and Thank you. I reward the thankful children with extra candy. One child (with his mother) was extremely scary. He had a burlap sack over his head, no eye holes that I could see, (hmmm, maybe this is why he was with his mother, she had to lead him around?) and there was a rope around his neck. It was in very poor taste. Horrible really. The best kid all night was this tiny little boy, 3 or 4 years old perhaps, a short little guy. He was with his Dad and they each had their own umbrella The boy's was Sponge Bob. Anyway, he was dressed like a football player, nothing unusual about that, but he was just so darn cute with his little elfin face and I could tell he was freezing cold in the rain. Simply adorable though. And polite. Those are the children who make it all worthwhile for me. It was a slow night due to the rain so we have pretty much candy left over.......oh darn, I hate it when that happens.

Map Yourself
This is a pretty cool map where you can show your location. So head on over there and let me know where you're from.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

She's cookin' now

No, I'm not cookin' on my art work, I'm still in a little funk there. I did finally work on some smaller pieces though and made progress which felt good. Hopefully the 4th scanner will arrive tomorrow and we can get that installed so I can work on a commission or two.

In the meantime I have been really cooking, as in the kitchen. Not a lot really, just last Sunday and then again today. If I'm not careful, this may turn in to a ritual. You see, I used to cook before John retired and then he kind of took over that duty as I ramped up my artwork. I think it started because he wanted to eat and I sometimes forget all about food when I am working. I also think he wanted to experience some variety with his food, another thing I am bad about. For instance last week I had tomato soup and 1/2 of a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Every single day.

So anyway, I had promised John I would get back to some cooking after the shows slowed down. Last Sunday I fixed a very large pot of chili which is one of my specialty dishes if I do say so myself. Not that I could tell you how I do it, it's slightly different each time because I sort of throw stuff in until it tastes right, I don't have anything written down. But tonite I used a recipe that was a winner. I got it from The Splendid Table and they apparently excerpted it from The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor by Jerry Traunfeld. This dish is so good I may need the cookbook.

Tarragon Chicken Breasts with Buttered Leeks

4 servings

2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts
2 cups chicken broth
4 T. unsalted butter
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 t. fresh lemon juice
2 T chopped tarragon

Put leeks in a large skillet with chicken broth and 2 T. butter. Cook over medium heat until tender and broth has boiled down so the leeks are no longer completely submerged, about 8 minutes.

Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place them on top of leeks, spoon some leeks over top, cover the pan tightly. Reduce heat to low and cook until done, probably 10-15 minutes, depends on the size of the breasts. Don't overcook.

When chicken is done, life pieces out. Increase heat and stir in lemon juice , remaining 2 T. butter and tarragon until butter is melted. Salt and pepper if necessary. Pour leek sauce over chicken and serve.

So that's it, very simple really but a lovely blend of flavors. This definitely needs the fresh tarragon and lemon, so don't even think about dried stuff or that fake lemon.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yes, it's true

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination for the Supreme Court.
And Mary Beth Shaw watched 3 hours of QVC last night. The Breast Cancer shoe sale as if the charitable angle somehow validates and excuses me from this complete waste of time. I didn't even buy any shoes.
'Nuff said about that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

How many scanners can a girl ruin in 30 days?

Well I have crapped out another scanner. In warranty (hooray) this time so Canon is sending us another one. This obviously delays my work as I can't get started on any of the commissions (I have 3 stacked up) without my scanner. Not that I was going to start them anyway but it's as good an excuse as any.

And in other news, I was accepted into Artigras, a Florida show scheduled for February. I should be getting news on some of the other FL shows within the next 10 days and then it's decision time as to whether we are doing it or not. "It" being the FL thing. Artigras is the one I really wanted although I am not sure why since it is not as highly ranked as some of the others. But word of mouth for one thing - other artists seem to think it's a good show. Plus some people who bought my work thought it would be a great venue for me. Plus George Whipple, the patriarch of the Whipple clan told me it is better than Coconut Grove in his opinion, like the new Coconut Grove. I met George at the Plaza show, our booths were back to back and he was a major league sweetie. He has been around the circuit for 35 years and I just feel like George knows what the heck is going on. Plus he brought me chocolate every day during the show which makes him numero uno in my book.

So John and I are both in bad moods, trying to out-bitch each other. I think I am winning, actually I know I am winning. I have had a lot more practice for one thing plus I started earlier today or maybe even last night. That scanner issue, right after I woke up (I was still on my first cup of coffee) did not help. I spent an hour or more working on it till I was frustrated, angry and just generally pissy. John took over and worked on it for 4(!) hours until he became frustrated. He has a much longer fuse that I do, oh what a surprise you might say!?!?! And those of you who know John are simply nodding your heads. He finally talked to Canon and that's when they said they would send a new scanner. I tried to boost my mood by working in the studio a bit and I tore my big closet apart, threw some shit away, reorganized some other shit. Sanded some 6x6's and cut out some images. But I couldn't really work; I just kept staring at the images and had no inspiration whatsoever. I didn't feel funny, I suddenly hated all my images and couldn't think of any remotely amusing commentary about any of them. I hate it when I get like this. Ugh. I finally ended up painting some papers for the Saturday Monday Sale Not sure whether I am going to sell the papers as is or whether I am going to make stuff with them. But it soothes me to paint.

And I feel like knitting tonite. I haven't knit anything for several months, it always seems like a "winter" activity to me. I want to make a purse though, I saw this very cute funky little purse on Carol Duvall the other day and I want to try to make one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

4:05 AM

I have been having trouble sleeping again, so what's new, huh? Anyway, my Dr. gave me some stuff to try, it's not a sleeping pill per se, but something to help your system regulate the sleep cycle, sort of like a ramped up melatonin. I just got some sample pills and first tried it in Chicago where it did NOT work and I was seriously disappointed. But last night I gave it a second chance. I had been to Yoga earlier in the evening and also had some sake with dinner so I was pretty chilled out and very hopeful for a solid night's sleep. Alas, if I hadn't had so much water to drink I would have been good to go.

But, as nature would have it, I had to pee at 4:05 am and got up in a somewhat comatose state, nearly stumbling to the bathroom. Merlin could hardly believe his luck that someone was up so early and he celebrated by tipping over the waste basket. He further couldn't believe his luck when he found a piece of acetate that I had removed from a package of makeup. That cat is such a freak; he loves to chomp on acetate and will nosh on it basically until we take it away from him; he has an obsession that almost rivals bubblewrap popping. In fact, I feel certain that if he had an opposable thumb he would be totally in to bubblewrap.

You know how loud a cat crunching acetate is at 4 am? Really really loud. I feared that even my half deaf husband would hear him, so I jumped up to grab it from him and he ran. Naturally he carried it in his mouth as he ran and hopped up into the middle of the bed, so pleased was he with his prize.........I heard a little moan out of John as I grabbed the acetate out of Merlin's mouth and put it on top of the dresser on top of the TV, a height he could never reach.

And then I fell right back to sleep.

P.S.............The painting was accepted into the show!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Stick a fork in it already

Finally finished the new piece and quickly varnished it so I could enter the Women's Caucus Body and Soul show. I should find out today if I get in or not as they juried yesterday off the live art. Claire thought the piece would make it for sure as she assessed the competition when we dropped off on Saturday. Regrettably she is not on the jury.

Lots of text in this piece which is not that evident as it is intentionally concealed, hidden by writing with the same color as the background or smeared. There is enough showing to get the drift though. It is kind of like a huge journal entry where I obsess about my stomach and my imagined issues with my weight. Ok, I know TMI for some of you. But this is a heartfelt piece and I am so glad I painted it. Not matter what happens regarding the show, this was truly soul work for me.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Constant Gardener

After riding yesterday, (I've just been dying to throw this phrase around, "ah yes, after riding," "when I came in from my ride, dahling".....well you get the idea). And yes, that would be like ON a of my friends had to query me and when I told her I was learning to ride a horse she laughed (she being a person who was born on a horse and takes this for granted) and said, "lessons, what do you mean lessons, you just get on the horse and ride....." Oh well Rhonda, I am a little wussy girl, you know that.

But anyway, after riding yesterday, I took a long shower cause I was freezing my ass off, then piled on a bunch of clothes(still freezing my ass off) and John and I went to lunch and a movie. We saw The Constant Gardener
which was terrific. I would definitely recommend the movie - it is suspenseful and visually stunning yet also gut wrenching in theme and significance. Now I know it's a work of fiction but it had such a grain of truth to it. It has that conspiracy thing going on..... where passionate people are working to get to the truth. I always dig this sort of story-line because I am wired that way too, imagine many things as a conspiracy. And in my imaginary life I am bold and impassioned enough to pursue these matters of the under dog.

Of course in real life I am still just a wussy girl who needs lessons to ride a horse.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Giddy Up

Well it finally happened, I got to ride a horse today. I have had this little half baked dream for years now, that some day I would finally learn to ride a horse. The dream has been half baked because I haven't had the money to really get into it like I would want. But luckily I now have a generous friend who has horses. Yeesh it couldn't get any better than this unless he also had a boat. So anyway, our friend Bud made an offer I simply couldn't put me up on a horse. The pics did not come out well, some setting on the camera must have been screwed up or something but here I am, looking pretty decent with my form if I do say so myself although perhaps a little too tight with the reigns in this shot. It was hard to get the right amount of tension without overdoing it and yeah, I have this teeny weeny little tendency to over analyze. But anyway, Bud was patient with me and he is quite the horse guy, lordy I had no idea! Ribbons and such. He has Paso Fino horses and I was riding Rosie, a horse he bought for his grandchildren which I took to mean she was gentle and would be nice to me. I know I shouldn't anthropomorphize the animals, but what can I say, I am not really anthropomorphizing........I truly believe animals are just as human as we are. There are many animals I like more than people. Let's just say that by the end of the lesson I think Rosie and I had bonded a wee bit. She seemed a little more relaxed, not so wary and I know I was better! Honestly I didn't feel too nervous, it was just so new to me and I didn't want to mess up, that type A thing kicking in. Bud is a great teacher though and I loved it!!! Terrific fun in spite of the sudden cold snap in the weather and the misting rain. I look forward to heading out on a trail ride some day soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I got more than I could ax for the words of Buddy Guy.

My morning walk was late, almost eleven before I got my butt in gear. I listened to this psychotic mix of Gipsy Kings, French rock classics, David Gray and Buddy Guy and wow did it get me going.

I am in a bit of a mania or I am twirling as Claire would say and I like that analogy because it seems so accurate. The very best thing about being like this is the heightened senses, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my tastebuds......they have all blurred together. It's as if I can feel and hear the colors, taste and touch the sounds. I feel surrounded by beauty from the alizarin crimson of the changing tree leaves(probably the poison ivy which always turns into a stunning yet dangerous color) to the crunch of acorns on the sidewalk. Yesterday when I was working on my painting I became so mesmerized by the various blues I used in the upper part of the painting. I was sitting on my tarp, legs stretched in front of me and working extremely wet, using a spray bottle of water in one hand and a hair dryer in the other, directing the flow of paint as I had the canvas propped up against my feet as an easel. I was a total mess afterwards as your might imagine. My bare feet were stained with various hues.

But I digress.

The commission meeting went very well. It is a go! And I am so excited because this is the largest project I have done and it will take me months to complete. I am thrilled to have this opportunity; it feels so special to be chosen for the job of memorializing 5 generations of a family in a painting of this size, 6ft x 4 ft. I may or may not be able to do the FL Art Fair season (assuming I even get in to any of those shows) depending on how this work progresses. We will see.

I am incredibly busy all of a sudden, I can't imagine how I thought I was going to have "down" time after the shows ended. What the heck was I thinking!!?!??! Anyway, next week I hang a show at Fleishman-Hillard, 10-20 pieces. Then the following week I pull down the show that is at Washington Press. On December 7th I hang a solo show at Subterranean Books Gallery, opening to be December 9th. On Dec. 3rd I have a small art fair I am doing. And I entered another one for Dec. 10-11 but I haven't heard whether I am accepted to that one or not. Plus I thought I would deliver entry for jurying in the Women's Caucus Body and Soul show. This being largely dependent on whether I can manage to finish this new painting in time. I have some final work to do on it today and should just head downstairs and do it already.

Good thing I am twirling.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wish me Luck

I have been working on this collage painting or at least I'm thinking about working on it. I have really been working on a quote I am doing for this really big would-be commission. I am so nuts that I came up with too many ideas. I went so far as to do mock ups (that would be maquette per my friend Karyl who knows these things) of a few of them and that helped me to hone in on the best ones. Then I drew up some plans since the maquettes just show process and technique more than anything else. Then I obsessed about the whole thing for a couple of days. And then I stayed up late obsessing more. Cause I'm excited you know, I would really like to do this thing. I finally narrowed down to the cream of the crop and wrote a cohesive proposal which I will present to the potential client tonite. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 17, 2005

New Scam that made me laugh



Saturday, October 15, 2005

What a bargain

Today's experience at the Belleville Flea Market reminded me that I need to carry my camera more often. So I apologize for no visual here. The best sign of the day........hand written on a white paper plate......

"Sack of balls $5"

Scenes from Chicago

Norma didn't seem to enjoy the boat tour as much as her companions.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wishful thinking?

Claire......need I say more.......

That is my new best friend Joshua in the green striped sweater by the way. This picture was taken before I had even met him at the fantastic City Soles shoe store in Wicker Park. Claire made a new friend too. While I was chatting up Joshua (or vice versa) she was chatting up Rose. All I can say for sure is the retailers in Chicagoland are very friendly.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Dead Can Dance

Wow, what a concert. Here's the site if anyway wants to check out out. It was fabulous, I swear portions of it were nearly a religious experience. Of course I got a t-shirt, the long sleeve model which is nice and skinny. Afterwards we had a cab ride with a driver who must have recently transferred from NY, yeesh, it was kind of hilarious really as we absolutely flew through the streets in record time. But he delivered us to the House of Blues where we heard some good music and had a light bite. We are staying at the House of Blues Hotel which is pretty cool; very kitschy artsy decor punctuated with a ton of outsider art that I hope is really what it appears and not mass produced like those horses in front of all the PF Changs.

Lots of shopping yesterday and I went to the Jeans store I used to frequent in SF which specializes in imports and lesser known brands. I tried on about 10 pairs and finally made a selection of Red Engine which I don't think is an import but it's a new brand for me and most importantly, these jeans were designed for my body. They are simply perfect, cashmere soft and faded in all the right places. Naturally I need to have a good portion cut off so I will have them hemmed once I get home.

Got a call from my commission client who received her package yesterday with the two pieces in it. She called to express her delight at my work (oh what a way to start the day!!!) and said they will be unveiled this weekend at a party for her husband. also said she would be calling me that sounds good.

Claire and I are off for more shopping today I think. There is a store with all kinds of funky sneakers........

Monday, October 10, 2005

New Work

This is my latest piece. As you can see, Merlin is assisting and I have my favorite tools right at hand - a torch, spray bottle, hair dryer and sand paper. I guess I am just a trifle destructive in my process. The piece has actually changed a lot since John took the picture this morning. I am not sure where it will end up. I had a plan but it seems to be a moving target. I have changed the legs quite a bit and the boobs are also different, a little smaller and more integrated. I've done a lot more collage and painted some contours. She has hair now too, all vintage wallpaper flowers which looks pretty cool. I have to take a break though for a few days but hopefully I will get back to this one by the weekend. And perhaps I will show stages as it progresses.......if I can remember to do it. Obviously I will also show it in color at some point as well.

And in the meantime I am heading up to Chicago tomorrow for a concert with my friend Claire. We are seeing the group Dead Can Dance on Wednesday night and I am sure it will be a lot of fun. Not to mention the shopping and museum stuff we have planned. Girls just havin' fun. Can't wait. More on that later!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Shall we dance?

It's my anniversary, actually tomorrow is, 12 years to be exact although I honestly thought it was 13 years until my husband set me straight a few days ago. Yeesh, how embarrassing is that!??! I am horrible with dates but I don't know how I lost an entire year. We had decided to stay at home because it seems we go out too much lately and it was the perfect celebration - some fresh lobsters which John cooked up for dinner along with corn on the cob and sourdough bread and peach cobbler which I baked (!). I also surprised John with a bottle of 12 year aged single malt scotch. Which we enjoyed with appetizers. Then champagne with dinner.

When I was picking the scotch, I noticed it comes in a variety of ages, there is 10 year, 12 year, 15 year, 18 year, 20 year and so on. So I thought this was a great commemorative thing, get a bottle of special scotch for each appropriate year. I mentioned that to John and he thought it was a bribe. I prefer to call it an incentive bonus.

Anyway, we had a lovely evening, just us and the cats. Earlier in the night I had this hair brained idea that we should put a litter box in the dining room exactly in the spot where the unknown feline(is it Gil, is it Izzy, is it Merlin?) has been shitting. So I carried the studio litter box up there around 8 or so. And now, less than 3 hours later, there is already shit in the box. Hmmm. Now what's up with that!??!

After dinner we watched the movie Shall we Dance. I have been wanting to see it. First of all because I love Richard Gere - maybe because my husband reminds me of Richard Gere. And then because I have this little hidden desire to dance. And believe me, I have 2 left feet, any dancing I am doing is either in my head or in private. Just ask John. But I really want to take dance lessons, to be light on my feet, to be flying through the air, soaring to the music. Oh I would just love that. And if I weren't such a control freak it might even happen......I have this teeny tiny little problem with the whole issue of who takes a strong man to endure anyway, we watched the movie and who knows where we will go from here. In my heart I think I could dance. Reality may be another story. I know John could dance, shit he already does, I am the impediment here.

So, no matter whether we dance together or not, it has been a great 12 years and I am one lucky girl. Thanks baby.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Am I on vacation yet?

No of course not. I am playing catch up with all the stuff I have been neglecting while I was doing the shows. And then I had a couple of commissions to finish this week so that meant I couldn't really relax yet. Then of course I heard about some holiday shows so I sent in entries which means if I get in I will obviously have to create some more work.

So no slacking for MB. My friend Michelle says to me, "promise me you will take 7 days of vacation before the end of the year." And I said, "7 consecutive days?" I mean seriously, I don't know if I can take 7 days off. I love what I do for one thing, why would I want 7 days off from it? But Michelle, I know you are reading honey, and I know what you mean. I do need a break. And I will take one. I promise. But first I've got to get some work done.

I did finish the commissions today and Hallelujah for that. A different more neutral color palette but that is what was requested and I was pleased with the result. It was good to finish them and I will feel even better once they are shipped.

And I got rejected from a show this week. The Paper show at the Foundry. Bummer, I wanted to be part of it well duh, I use paper, of course I resonated with the theme. Maybe I use too much paint? Who knows? I haven't gotten a rejection for awhile though and it felt a little weird. But that's ok, just one juror's opinion. Not like 2002 when I got rejected from every single show I entered. That seemed like consensus from a bunch of jurors and it got old really fast.

I have been on an antibiotic, 2 of them actually (don't ask) and now I have a rash. Good grief, what a pain. It is pretty much all over my body, little tiny red dots that itch like a bastard. Called my Dr. and she suggested I take Benadryl. Well you know I need to generally stay awake during the day so that wasn't real handy for me. But I eventually got too itchy and took a pill around 1-ish. About an hour later I was overwhelmingly tired. I couldn't stay awake for anything. So I called for a cat (Merlin obliged) and took a nap in the sun. For like ALL afternoon. I could NOT wake up, I was comatose. Merlin was cozy in my arms and we just lay on the couch for hours. I finally got up around 4:30 and took a shower but was a zombie until dinner time. Now I have kicked back into gear and will probably be up all night.

Before I passed out though I started a new canvas. I have this crazy idea, totally out of my usual theme. In fact, it is more figurative in nature. I am pretty excited about the concept so we will see where this goes. I am hoping to work on it more tomorrow. Or perhaps tonite if I can't sleep.