Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You may or may not know it's possible to customize the welcome message on your cell phone. On my phone, this is the text that appears right above the time.......it previously said "Sprint PCS." Isn't that nice and personal. Ok fine, I never really thought about it before but once I heard this idea (from where I have no idea) I thought why not have any greeting I want!?!?!?

I changed it to "Breathe." Yeah, yeah, I should probably do this more than each time I look at my cell phone. But it's a start.

So now, every time I open the phone that little message gives me a instant of pleasure. Truly. I am easy to please.

Plus, oh yeah, I remember to take a nice long breath.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Daily OM

I've been receiving the Daily OM for quite awhile now and am frequently inspired by the writings. Today's newsletter really resonated with me, cause I'm all about passion (some might say to a fault).

February 27, 2006
A Life Of Passion
Getting Back To What You Love

There are times in life when we are committed to pursuing our passions. Every molecule in our body is focused on doing what we love. At other times, necessity and responsibility dictate that we put our dreams aside and do what needs to be done. It is during these moments that we may choose to forget what it is that we love to do. There are many other reasons for why we may leave our passions behind. A hobby may lose its appeal once we realize it will never turn into our dream job. Someone important to us may keep telling us that our passions are childish and unsuitable - until we finally believe them.

Forgetting about what you love to do can be a form of self-sabotage. If you can forget about your dreams, then you never have to risk failure. But just because we've decided to ignore our passions doesn't mean they no longer exist. Nothing can fill the emptiness that remains in a space vacated by a passion that we have tossed aside. Besides, life is too short to stop doing what you love, and it is never too late to rediscover your favorite things. If you gave up playing an instrument, painting, drawing, spending time in nature, or any other activity or interest that you once loved to do, now may be the time to take up that passion again. If you don't remember what it is that you used to be passionate about, you may want to think about the activities or interests that you used to love or the dreams that you always wished you could pursue.

You don't have to neglect your responsibilities to pursue your passions, and you don't have to neglect your commitments to do what you love. When you make an effort to incorporate your interests into your life, the fire within you ignites. You feel excited, inspired, and fed by the flames that are sparked by living your life with passion for what you love.

To sign up for newsletters, horoscopes or browse the library, go to this link:

Sunday, February 26, 2006

True fear confessions

My friend (I hope it's ok to call her this even though we have never met) Deb Trotter posted something that prompted me to tell this story. http://www.cowboyssweetheart.typepad.com/
Her blog is filled with funny observations, cowgirl sensibilities and yes, terrific art to boot. So check it out. But first, the story.....

Many years ago when I was a budding artist.....no, slash that, it was before I was budding.....more like a wannabee budding artist. I was simply playing around. Taking some art classes at UC Berkeley, doing art every day for the first time in my life and reveling in idealism and discovery.

I had this opportunity to enter a Box show at a gallery out in Pt. Reyes. This was a gallery I used to frequent; my friend Michelle lives in West Marin and we would drive out to Pt. Reyes for lunch, hanging out, hiking, etc. Anyway, they had a Box show every year where local artists were all given a box to paint, decorate, embellish. The boxes were then placed in a silent auction to raise money for some good cause that I cannot recall. A bunch of us decided to do it and somehow we snared boxes. Our efforts were thrown in among boxes by the "real" artists - names I recognized and respected. You see, in those days I couldn't even call myself an artist without stumbling over the word, muttering it under my breath or some such thing. I didn't feel worthy of the distinction.

To say I ruminated over my box minimizes my obsession. I just didn't know which way to go. Should I make a "pretty" box? What about the every popular nature theme? Or even go the functional route? I was in way over my head. Ultimately I just let loose and the muse took over.

First I covered it with green reptilian-like paper. I painted the inside and made these holographic stars that I glued on the walls. I embedded finger hooks in the side walls, beckoning fingers, kind of like follow me sort of fingers. I strung beads and looped them around each finger, entwisting them with a little bling. And then, the pièce de résistance.....my skeleton head. He is perched on top of a spring so he bobbles about wildly. I put a crucifix necklace on him, red of course. And then completed his look with a black cowboy hat. I encased the entire outside of the box with Caution tape that said:
"Caution: Buried Sewer Line Below"

Perfection. I was so proud. It was exactly as I had hoped. I named it What lies beneath.

To me it had deep meaning that was obvious.
All that glitters is not gold....temptation is at every corner....latent (or NOT) religious stuff.....split personalities.....good vs. evil.....in my own head I was saying so very many things.
What lies beneath.

But no one else seemed to get it. I could tell by the way their eyes would sort of dart about nervously as they gazed on my creation. Like what the hell is this all about. Thinking to themselves, ah, Mary Beth really needs to get back into therapy.

I loved this box.

But ultimately I became fearful that no one would bid on it and I would be publicly humiliated.

So I did what any self respecting artist would do. I had my husband enter a bid under an assumed name using his work address and phone number. He surreptitiously (at least I think) entered the minimum $25. During the opening I literally stalked my box, waiting to see if anyone would increase his offer.

But John won the box. Which is why it is still in my possession today. I displayed it in my studio for years but lately it has been relegated to the top of the closet. I got it out today to photograph and I am bringing it into the studio again. There are a lot of lessons in this box and I think I was meant to keep it for that reason.

That skeleton head is no longer mocking me. I think he gets it too.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I feel a collage coming on

Thanks to my friend Nancy for these sayings.....

1. You - Off my planet
2. Not the brightest crayon in the box now, are we?
3. Well, this day was a total waste of makeup.
4. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
5. I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.
6. Allow me to introduce my selves.
7. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
8. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
9. I'm just working here until a good fast-food job opens up.
10. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
11. Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you weren't asleep.
12. I can't remember if I'm the good twin or the evil one.
13. How many times do I have to flush before you go away?
14. I just want revenge. Is that so wrong?
15. Can I trade this job for what's behind door #2?
16. Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?
17. Chaos, panic, and disorder -- my work here is done.
18. Earth is full. Go home.
19. Is it time for your medication or mine?
20. How do I set a laser printer to stun?
21. I'm not tense, just terribly alert.

Trying to decide between my favorites.....#3, 6, 19 or 21.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Note to self

Never watch 2 episodes of 24 back to back and expect to sleep. I will be up all night. The good news is I didn't have a stroke.

We are catching up on our Tivo since we were out of town. And to say that 24 is getting intense is an understatement. I would have been screaming at the weiner President except I don't have a voice. Jack is the only one who could possibly fix this cluster fuck (that is a military term, my husband told me so). I am even liking Audrey this season.

So I guess I just have to wait till Monday to see where this goes next.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Of Eats and Feets

Our hotel in Orlando sold tickets to Universal Studios, tours, etc. Here is a portion of one of the signs, which cracked me up as I was eating breakfast. It probably also cracked up the gentleman sitting next to the sign as I was trying to photograph it. He was giving me a really weird look.

The hotel was a Hampton Inn which is our usual, but there was a bigger array of breakfast food than usual. Including all sorts of carry-out snack things. I was compelled to pick up a few like a package of Brown sugar Pop Tarts and a box of low fat Granola. Because they were free don'tcha know. What is it about the lure of free food?

The thing is, you never know when you might be stranded in the car and have to forage for food. Lordy, between the snacks I had on hand, the free snacks I gathered at the show (can you say Famous Amos cookies?) and the stash from the Hampton, we could have eaten out of the car for a week.

And, per request, here is a picture of my skinny ol' feet wearing their Princess shoes. First time I have ever photographed my own feet.

The shoes are made by Onex. They have some cushioning in the sole so they are cloud-like. Every part of them is soft as butter, I kid you not. Just a tiny wedge heel of about one inch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

So many stories, so little time....

Where to start.

My new Princess shoes……comfy little sandals with some bling on them. Just what a girl needs when in Florida. Some say they are "fancy" but I don't think so, perhaps just a smidge over the top. They look nice on my foot and they feel so great. I wore them for days on end with no blisters at all. Pretty amazing for me because I have tender feet, what else would you expect from a princess.

Vincent Van Gourd. Yes, I was in a show with an artist going by the name Vincent Van Gourd. Actually they were good looking gourds if you’re into that sort of thing. 'Nuff said.

Kiki of the Tiny Treasure Tent. Many of these shows have a tent where children can purchase small pieces of art for moderate prices, usually under $25. The Artigras organizers asked the participating artists to donate works so I gave a couple of repros. That's how I met Kiki. She selected my work and then her mother brought her over to meet the artist. She was adorable and shy, a petite redhead with creamy skin. She seemed "in awe" of me to say the least. What a doll; I am so pleased she selected my art to hang in her room.

Scrapbooking on Steroids. Every once in awhile someone will compare my work to scrapbooking and clearly there is a connection since I am using family photos in square format works. So this is my new phrase.

Small World. We were stunned and amazed when a couple we know from Cincinnati walked into the booth the first day. They were vacationing in a nearby town and attended the show with relatives. When they entered Artigras, Wayne joked, "wouldn't it be funny if Mary Beth was here?" Then another couple from St. Louis showed up. Everybody knew everybody else from when we all worked for Safeco Insurance years ago. It was great to catch up a bit; just wish I would have had more time. Needless to say, they were shaking their heads over the fact I worked in the insurance world all those years.

Monday, February 20, 2006

We are in Orlando. Drove over after the show. Teardown took us only a little over an hour even with my multi-tasking the final sale of the day. We are going to spend the night here to hopefully make our trip home a little bit more manageable. We took the turnpike and stopped to enjoy the array of fast food at Ft. Drum Plaza. Whew, that was a lot of stimulation. Lights, sounds, smells, you name it, much like an indoor carnival. Way too much going on for me. I ate a Nathan's chili cheese dog; John had a Philly Cheese Steak. Then we got the heck out of there.

Once we were back on the road, the first exit was Yeehaw Junction. I am not making this up. John kept driving despite my yelling Yeeeeeeeeee Hawwww. Of course this didn'’t help my already sore throat. Too much talking at the show on top of me being half sick already. I feel certain John is hoping I get laryngitis. It has happened a couple times during our marriage (that I lost my voice) and he tries to put on a face of concern but I know he is secretly rejoicing over the potential for peace and quiet.

Artigras ended up a financial success and even made up in part for the Boca show so the trip overall was profitable. It was strange though as I usually sell so many of my smaller works and the Florida people seemed more interested in the big stuff. I also sold 2 abstracts which was nice. Including one that has been living over my mantle for the last few months; I am going to miss that one. Which I guess means I need to get back to work.

Friday, February 17, 2006

When in Jupiter

Well, we are here, just 30-40 miles north yet it seems so different. The minute we arrived I felt more at home for some inexplicable reason.

The booth is set up and I am ready to go. I totally re-arranged my work and have presented the art in a new way. I think it is good. We can only hope. There is a champagne preview breakfast tomorrow morning so I need to be up and at em bright and early. Which means I should be sleeping now cause I didn't sleep last night and I am whacked. Physically and mentally exhausted and head-achey.

But first........dinner tonite was a spot called the Food Shack. It is pretty much a local's restaurant although I heard the NY Times did a review so I guess they get some tourists. Luckily Claire's friend Cher knew about it and told us. So of course we went. And had probably the best meal of the trip.

We sat at the bar/counter which meant we could watch the cooking. We met the owner/chef who is delightful. Also pretty easy on the eyes. I had a "regular" next to me and I ordered what he suggested. Sweet Potato Crusted Yellowtail Snapper over greens, green beans & mangoes with key lime garlic dressing. Oh my goodness, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Honestly, all my taste buds were covered.
Sweet. Check.
Salty. Check.
Crunchy. Check.
John had horseradish crusted Swordfish. It was also delish. We shared some amazing Key Lime pie for dessert. Truly, this was a charmed dining experience.

We are going back tomorrow night.

Miami Beach Sunset

Not the beach really, this is the view over the traffic jam as I was hanging out the top of Claire's convertible. The clouds were so incredible I was immune to the traffic, but then I wasn't driving.

It was a beautiful day and I finally caught some rays. I even have budding tan lines, attained while sensibly wearing a #30 sunscreen.

Claire and I had a great day touring Miami Beach. The architecture is amazing, such crisp style paired with the retro pastel color palette that is so Miami Beach. Fashion abounds and the people watching is world class. The boat show is also in town.....to use the word "boat" to describe these floating monstrosities is not really adequate. We are talking multi million dollar ocean going yachts here, many are 3 and 4 stories tall, simply stunning in appearance. This little Midwestern girl has never seen anything like it.

We met up with John for dinner in Ft. Lauderdale. Sidewalk dining at a fantastic Italian spot on Las Olas. I think we were all in the mood for Italian after hearing the food talk from Olympics coverage. And it did not disappoint. Yum.

Then came home and stayed up late watching Whale Rider. Claire and I were drawn to this film because Lisa Gerrard (of Dead can Dance) was the composer. Her music is a haunting backdrop. And the movie is good; sweetly touching. You might need Kleenex. We also saw The Parrots of Telegraph Hill the other night. A great documentary that any animal lover would enjoy plus lots of San Francisco scenery that brought back memories for me and John.

But I am back to work today. We are heading a little north to Jupiter. We'll set up the booth or rather John will set up the booth and I will hang the art. Then get settled in a hotel for the next few days. I believe we are going to have lovely weather this weekend. The show is Sat, Sun, Mon. I am cautiously excited.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This is my new friend. Let's call him Francis. He hangs out in the wetland area near the pool. I was sketching over there the other day (yes, I actually pulled out a sketchbook!) and he kept coming closer and closer. I took about thirty pictures of him, a la fashion photographer. I wasn't able to draw him cause he kept moving so much. He is a very curious guy and seems remarkably tame.

The weather has been so darn cold here, record breaking in fact. Which totally sucks. I mean crap, it has been warmer AT HOME than it is here. It is balmy today though and I am hoping we will get to the pool or beach. I had a pedicure yesterday so my toes are ready for their debut.

Continuing in our exploration of country music, we saw Walk the Line the other night and WOW what a great movie. I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Prior to the movie, I knew very little about Johnny and June, except for a few performances I had seen on TV when I was a child. Joaquim Phoenix IS Johnny Cash though, at least it seemed that way to me. An amazing and inspired performance. I bought the soundtrack for John as a Valentine's gift. That is code for I got it for me, especially since I opened it and listened to it in the car before I gave it to him. I also bought some chocolate hearts that John claimed he gave them to me for Valentine's. We have an easy marriage that way.

We are headed to Miami Beach today. The sun is shining and it is gorgeous.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Well I have dipped my toe into the Florida market and now I have gangrene. Ok, maybe it's not that bad, my inner/outer drama queen must be talking. Sales were low as in horrible. As in non-profitable we lost money on the trip low. My neighbors at the Boca show tell me this was not the norm and to definitely give FL another try. Which I will because of course I'm in Artigras next weekend. And I am hopeful that will present a group of more like minded people. Cause the Boca crowd was just a little different. Sunglasses worth more than my computer. Not to mention purses and shoes. I am a little vain about my looks and such but these women put me to shame. I am positively LOW maintenance down here.

In all fairness, I met many lovely folks and the vast majority were supportive and complimentary of my art. My friend Karyl told me she heard that you have to hear 100 compliments to erase the sting of one ugly remark. Luckily I did experience that kind of ratio because there were a couple real cutting comments that just knocked me flat. The woman who stood in the middle of my booth and proclaimed (imagine loud east coast accent) "why anyone would want pictures of someone else in their home is beyond me." But on the other hand, I so enjoyed my conversations with a number of people including a woman who had recently left her corporate job to pursue creative interests. Much like I did six years ago. She was delightful.

And I saw the most amazing sights. Dogs were the hit of the weekend. Wearing visors, the favored doggie accessory here on the southeast coast. Saw one dog wearing a ruffled dress. But the winner of the doggie fashion show was a Peekapoo sporting a pink suede jacket with matching pink suede boots. On all four feet.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

I’ll tell you a secret about my husband. He listens to country music. One day I got into his truck and the radio display said “The Bull”…..I didn’t know the station but it only took me a second or so to identify it as country. Ya think?

Generally I am not a big fan of country music but every once in awhile I kind of enjoy listening. Some of the tunes are pretty snappy and the musicians seem decently talented. And I really like to make fun of the lyrics.

So we’re on this road trip and I am controlling the radio, a play mix of NPR, iPod, CD’s. It's pretty eclectic. Yesterday I was playing the Seek game and found a Nashville station called The Wolf. I don’t know what’s up with the animal names but yeah, you guessed it. They were just voted #1 country station in the nation at a self proclaimed big deal radio thing in Vegas. And I will have to say, it’s a great station. 40 minute spots of music featuring a very unusual mix of old and new country, classic rock, and a female DJ with a British accent. Hmmm, are we still in Nashville?

The first song we heard was “Cheatin,” a soulful tune about the down side of cheating. Our song’s heroine basically took everything from her bum ex, prize possessions such as the trailer and the truck. It is actually a pretty funny song to which I could relate although the terms were slightly different in my situation.

The second song was about a guy coming home from work, he’s tired, just driving his truck minding his own business when someone in a foreign car (while talking on a cell phone) cuts him off then gives him the finger. Our hero plugs along and loses a parking spot to a Mercedes Benz. Etc, then goes into his refrain, Some Beach.........you get the drift. It’s hilarious.

This morning NPR was playing classical instead of Diane Rheem. We were about to fall asleep so I punched up another station and couldn’t believe my ears. The first song I heard was “Cheatin.” And then…….I already knew what it was just from the first notes……..'"Some Beach"…I couldn’t hear the whole song cause we were getting gas and John turned the car off. Most likely to stop me from singing at the top of my lungs. And my cowboy boots sauntered in to pick up a Yoohoo Mocha. They don’t exactly have Starbucks here in the middle of nowhere Georgia.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We are staying in a Motel Six masquerading as a Hampton Inn. All right, perhaps I am being a bitch. The room is actually fine. There is a Hampton signature lap desk that I have come to know and love. It is available for purchase by calling 1-888-224-7730. I think that means you will be charged if it shows up missing. We have free wi-fi. But it still looks like a souped up Motel Six. The doors open to the parking lot.

The trip so far was uneventful which is good. John drove. I slept. When I was awake I was knitting. I didn't sleep at all last night so the car seemed like my best option. This is why I have my special car pillow to prevent my neck from lolling out of control and giving myself whiplash.

Atlanta is fucked traffic-wise. People are nuts, driving like they are crazed which always complicates things. Especially some fool in a white Lexus. He gave us the finger. John waved. We finally got through Atlanta rush hour, which lasts until past 7 pm apparently. We are in Macon.

Japan Spa and Hong Kong Spa are nearby. Whatever that means. I don't know if this is code for something else, like a massage that isn't really a massage, winkwink. John didn't know either but there were billboards. Also several billboards to "Donate your Boat. Once again, I don't know what they meant, like donate your boat meaning a huge car. Or donate your boat meaning a money sucking flotation device. I am not sure. Honestly I never thought charitable organizations were that interested in boating. But we're in the South now so who knows?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

And now, for the packing part of the program

Packing the art is one thing. Even though there's a lot of it, 100+ pieces, there are only so many ways you can do it. We use carpet padding for the large canvasses, with bungie cords to hold it in place. The smaller stuff fits into large plastic containers, each piece separated by carpet padding and/or wax paper. The wax paper helps with varnish stickiness, clearly more of a problem when there's a lot of humidity.

But my clothes. That is another story. Yee gads, I wish I could simplify this in some way. But no, I always have to pull everything that fits ( a moving target) out of my closet and try on various combinations while I consider every possible layering option. Then I look to shoe choices and complicate it further.

After considering many options I believe I am going with my kitschy skirts and cowboy boots which is what I usually wear to the fall shows. The summer shows I wear the same skirts with flip flops. But I don't think it will be warm enough for that as 60's is not what I consider flip flop weather. Usually a camisole on top but in this case I think I will have another layer or two on top as well.

This image is a new t-shirt I just got........what you can't see from the photo are the sequins! Is this NOT Boca!?!??!?!? It will be perfect with a denim skirt and my boots.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The gallery visit was good on Saturday, great in fact. I liked them, they liked me and they wanted the art for a show. My abstracts!!! It was a good match all around. Once we have some details firmed up I will post more information.

Here are the Florida shows if anyone wants to come!

Feb 11-12
Boca Raton Museum of Art
Art Festival
Mizner Park, Boca Raton, FL

Feb 18, 19, 20
Jupiter, FL

I am starting to get excited which means my energy is flying off in every different direction. Again. At times like this it is very hard for me to stay in the moment. Which is just one of the many many reasons I do Yoga. Class last night was wonderful and the meditation at the end.......well, there just aren't any words. I felt at peace.

For a few hours anyway. Got home about 8 pm, had dinner, watched 24 on Tivo, went to bed, got up (about 11 pm) worked for awhile, went back to bed.

The good news is I have lost some of the pesky holiday weight. The other, even better good news is I got a good report on the biopsy, as in it's nothing. It is looking much better too.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Hometown Team

That would be Anheuser-Busch this year. Now I always think they have great commercials. And this year was no exception as my number one commercial from the Super Bowl was the one with the horses. Of course.

There is a baby Clydesdale (guess that is a colt?) who is in the barn looking at the wagon the big horses pull. There are lots of close up shots of his face and you can tell he is dreaming of the day when he will be a big horse and finally get his turn. He figures out a way to get his head into the harness and tries to get it rolling. You see him struggling at this for awhile then finally the wagon is moving out of the barn and he is simply glowing with little horse pride. Pan to a shot of the back of the wagon where there are two of the big horses pushing it from behind.

Awwwwwwww............I know I know I am sappy. But I loved it.

And the Steeler's won so John is happy.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I got up at 6:30 am today. Did some quick email, slammed coffee with my daily raw nuts fix, showered and was out the door by 7:30 am for a very early appointment with the dermatologist. He had to biopsy this thing on my chest which sucks as we are going to Florida next week and I know I'll want to wear tanks and camisoles. Hopefully it will be healed?

I know it shouldn't surprise me, but I am amazed at how much I got done today. Certainly it was due to my early rising. Plus the fact that I got up and just started moving, didn't do my usual slow mosey into the day. So I was quite productive and have many items crossed off the list. Of course I have also added a bunch of stuff to the list. But everything seems do-able.

Got accepted into Brookside. Hooray, I did that show last year and did well. But I am finding you can take nothing for granted in this fickle business. So I never for a second assumed I would get in again this year. A very dear friend of mine (who was in Cherry Creek last year) has suffered a horrible rash of rejections for no apparent reason and she is freaking out. I am painfully aware this could happen to me at any second. Nothing is certain, there are no guarantees.