Thursday, September 30, 2010


One of the  big announcements I wanted to share with you all is that I am leaving the country.

I am going to visit America's Sombrero.  Yes that's right, for the next week I will only be singing..."Oh Canada" and eating gravy covered french fries.  I may play hockey...who knows.

I have never been to Canada.  I was there once when I was too young to remember...and that doesn't count.  I may not remember this time either, but it will be for different reasons.

My traveling companions have no relation to me at all.  But I love them as if they did, maybe a little more because they don't.

My traveling companions will not be bringing their children.   Neither will I. 
There will be no husbands or partners.

Just the girls.  

Just the girls for reasons so obvious that I shouldn't have to say...but we all need reminding sometimes.

Woman need to unite.  Woman need to rally.  Woman need to bond.  Woman need to share.  Woman need to dance.  Woman need to rejuvenate.  Woman need to laugh.  Woman need to cry.

My traveling companions and I will be doing all of these things.

Because that is what we women do.

So ladies...go get your girls and do what you and your girls do togehter.

My girls and I...we will be drinking.  And eating.  And dancing.  And laughing.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chip on My Shoulder

Yesterday I stopped by my local Goodwill.  I wasn't dropping stuff off, I had a few minutes and so I perused.

I love the Goodwill because I find things like this.

For many years of my early married life, when I would have my family over...all the woman would grumble and say..."Why don't you have any serving dishes?"  "Why don't you have serving utensils?"  "Why don't you have toilet paper?"  "Do you ever sweep this kitchen?" "Something in your refrigerator stinks."  "Why isn't there any ice?"  "Why do your kids have so many band-aids on?"  "Did you mean for his hair to look like that?"

Then I would feel badly about myself as a homemaker and woman and mother and cry and vow never to have those people to my house again.  

Then one day I decided that I was going to buy serving dishes instead.  It seemed a healthier route to go.

  Well it turns out, that the bowls and platters I like, are really expensive.  Mostly because they come from other countries and are hand painted or they come from Crate and Barrel.

So over time and after many difficult lessons, I have started to peruse second hand stores for these lovely items.  And I often find them.  I feel like I just won the lottery when I find a gem like this one I picked up yesterday.

Now there is a problem.  

I have teenagers.  Teenagers have little regard for things like hand painted Italian pottery. 
If it isn't food, or a text, or a phone call, or new clothes, or a movie, or an doesn't even enter their realm of awareness.

And because of this, everything I own is chipped.

This one is hard to see...but there is an even bigger one somewhere else.  It came from Crate and Barrel.

I was soooo excited about this one...from Goodwill...a Crate and Barrel...only $10...big white pasta dish...home two days...chipped.

This one isn't even ours...a friend brought it over with delicious guacamole...broken before I could return I am just hidding it because I feel so bad.

Hand painted Mexican pottery...full price, hand carried across the boarder and carried and coddled on two different airplanes...chipped!

This is handmade pottery that belonged to my mother.  She often traded her work for things she loved at craft fairs. I remember this being on our shelves.  This isn't just chipped...broken!

This pitcher was chipped changing the water in a fish tank...a FISH TANK!

Were these children raised by wolves?  Have they no decency?  

Ill mannered heathens!

There are numerous things not pictured here because they were straight up broken...and gone forever.

Someone remind me that they have some redeeming values...PLEASE!  For their sake.

Cross your fingers that this new piece makes it at least a couple of weeks.

And cross your fingers for my children.  

Because the line between "Oh, it's okay, I know you didn't mean to.  It's just a bowl."
and "I'm gonna get you for that!" is getting very, very, very thin.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A place for everything...everything in it's place

Since moving to Oregon, I have lived in three houses.  The one I am currently in is by far my most favoritist house.  My most favoritist ever really.  I have been here a year and have just now...this weekend, set up a place for me to work.  I am a little slow on the up take.

An area for all my stuff, an area that isn't in the basement.  An area I love.  An area that I can leave my stuff and it won't be in the way.

This area has a pretty red table that Marcus  fixed up so that I can use it like a drafting table of sorts.

This pretty red table can fit my computer, a cup of tea/coffee, works in progress, my camera and it's special bag, my journal and my pencils...and there might even be room for a sandwich, but I haven't tried that yet, but I am working on it.

This area is also shared with Sophia's violin practice area.

This area is also shared with the TV area...this is by no means an accident.  Sometimes I like to watch Food Network while I work.

From this area I can hear Marcus hard at work...(In a digital voice)"Welcome to the Conference Center...please enter your pass code."

I can also shut the pretty french doors and hear, "...............(The sounds of silence)"

From this area I can see trees and sky from my pretty red table.

This area is only one door away from my bedroom, incase I get sleepy and need a little nap.

It is wonderful to have a place for my work...just for my work.  It is wonderful to have a place for all my stuff.

I think it is important to carve out a little place for just you, even if it is just a corner, or shelf or drawer.

I am so lucky to have all of this.

Pretty red table, violin on the wall in the background.

Coffee cup, works in progress, computer, journal, pencils.  It will never be this orderly again.

Wool...I have a lot of wool.  It will never be this orderly again.

Jewelry stuff and office stuff,  a kitty cat and half of the french door that can be shut any time I please.

Everything else, art books, scissors, rulers, paper, cards, glue...I am sure more will pile up there, I already see stuff I didn't put on there. Darn kids!

My view.  It will soon have fewer leaves and less blue sky.

My view of Marcus and then a view of his office space.  He doesn't need much room for stuff, he doesn't have much stuff, most of his work is cyber work.  He doesn't have a view of trees and sky...but he has a nice skylight right over his desk, which is lovely in the winter.
 His space is never this orderly...he gave it a spruce up when we were putting my space together.  He is pretty competitive that way.  But my space is still prettier...and always will be.

So now I will be working more often and with better results I am sure of it.  

Stay tuned to the blog for some big announcements.  

I will give you some hints:

It may or may not involve crossing an international boarder.

It may or may not involve learning to tap dance.

It may or may not involve some dental work.

It may or may not involve an artistic collaboration with my sister Nava.

It may or may not involve eternal friendship.

It may or may not involve a chance to win paintings/felts and or jewelry.

It may or may not involve plastic surgery.

It may or may not involve a violin concerto.

It may or may not involve a granny panties.

And with that I leave you,
with the thought for the day...

A place for everything...and everything in it's place.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Books and Teaching

Last Friday I was going to teach a class.  A class to 7th and 8th graders that choose art as something they wanted to do.  That is my favorite kind of where the students want to be there.

I wanted to do something really fun and challenging with the students.

Sometimes I get a little too ambitious.

Last Friday was one of those times.

I spent all week preparing for this class.  Measuring, cutting, measuring cutting, estimating, budgeting, was going to be a big project.

Now one of the challenges of teaching this class is that I am on a very tight budget for materials.  Anyone teaching art these days has to empathize with this...we are all on very tight budgets.

I could just make bean pictures and macaroni necklaces with the kids to cut down on cost, but they are not six so I want to offer something a bit more sophisticated.

How does one offer a sophisticated, creative, fun, educational class on a shoe string budget?

Really...any ideas? Any at all?  Send them my way!

For this project, I had to get really creative, really resourceful.

Granted it is a little easier for me to get creative and resourceful because I am an artist and I have all kinds of stuff laying around my house that lends itself to projects.

None the less mental exertion is required...ugh.

But...onwards and upwards, I shall overcome!

We were going to make books.  These book to be precise.

Now making books requires many...many...components,  all of them pricey.  

I couldn't do pricey...sooooo....

Instead of cover paper that I like to buy at the art supply store...I cut up old National Geographic maps.

Instead of expensive Davy Board used for the covers...I had saved the backs of art paper pads, and I used those.

Instead of expensive glue spreaders...I used cardboard.

Instead of expensive ribbon...I braided cotton thread I bought at the thrift store.

The only thing I went out to buy was the glue to hold the books together.  So all in all...I offered a class for just over $1.00 per student.  That was a success!

I won't list here all the components I had to remember and think about and compile for this class because I want you to be able to go out and enjoy your day...not get stuck here reading my blog.

Suffice to say that there were many components, and with so many components there are an equal number of steps in the process of making the books.

I thought that I had prepared enough and laid out the process well enough for the students to successfully complete this very ambitious project.

Alas...I do not feel it was a successful project.  Thus...I carry the responsibility of that failure.  I will not be attempting it again next semester with another group of kids.

Now when I say it wasn't successful, it isn't because the students didn't produce wonderful books, because they a greater or lesser degree.  

But what I feel was not successful was that not all of them felt good about what they made.  Not all of them felt good about the process.  Some were frustrated and felt a  loss as I walked them through the steps.  I don't like when a student walks away feeling like they were the ones who failed, because I don't think that is ever the is always, always, always my failure as a teacher.

I wanted them all to feel successful, I wanted them all to be empowered by the process.  

That is really important to me as a teacher.  Because it isn't just about the end product.

  I wasn't able to facilitate that for all of them this week and thus...not totally successful.

Maybe I next week.

Next week I will fill my briefcase with felting things, not bookmaking things.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waldorf School

I used to be a Waldorf Kid.  A Waldie.  A Waldorfian.  A Waldork.

I still consider myself a Waldork.

In case you have no idea what the hell I am talking about, too bad, go do something else.

NOOO...just kidding, or as Sophia says...JK.  (Short for just kidding...teenagers today!)

I went to a Waldorf School from 1st through 8th grade.

If you don't know about Waldorf should check them out, especially if you have children.

There are a lot of things to be said about these learning institutions.

Such as...

1.  Their kindergartens make the best bread on the face of the planet.

2.  They aim to teach the whole person in all aspects of a human being's life...not just the brain.

3.  They discourage the use of media as  entertainment or as a learning tool for children.

4.  Jennifer Aniston is a Waldorf graduate.

5.  They were founded by a German philosopher named Rudolf Steiner, who was hired to create a school for the workers of a german cigarette factory.  Ole' Rudy(Thats what we Waldorks call him) was the founder of an obscure and little known philosophy, Anthroposophy.  The schools, some more loosely  than others, are based on this philosophy.

6. Waldorf Schools are so expensive they make me want to eat a frosted cupcake and pull the blankets over my eyes.  (My kids went to "Waldorf inspired" charter schools (free)...except for pre-school, kindergarten and first grade...before I realized that money doesn't grow on trees)

7. Pamela Anderson Lee sends her children to Waldorf School.  I wonder how Rudolf Steiner would feel about silicone and sex tapes?

8.  Birkenstocks are part of the dress code.  (JK)

9.    Every teacher does a drawing on the chalk board every week, or every day...or's been a long time, I don't remember some things.  

10. The approach to ART  that these institutions have...unsurpassed, revolutionary, right on the money as far as I am concerned.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Information Overload

There are so many things going on in world and we have constant and continual access to it all.  TV, internet, newspapers, billboards, magazines, flashing, ringing, blinking, advertising, it is everywhere.

It is easy to take this new and constant information without processing it and coming up with our own opinion.  With the media and corporations dominating our information, it is hard to get away from, we are surrounded.  Now this is not going to be a left wing conspiracy attempt to dissuade you from getting your information from the media or to stop shopping mega-marts.  Because although I feel our main stream media and large corporations are flawed in countless and fundamental ways, we are  the ones choosing to participate in the information and choosing where we spend our money.

We do after all have free will.

Let us not loose sight of that.  We are in control of it all.  Our dollars, our viewing, our subscriptions...we have the power.

It's liberating and frightening all at the same time.

It is  easy for us to say, in so many situations, well they made me do it, they have been shoving this down my  throat, they are producing this junk food, these violent movies, these sexually laden marketing campaigns...I am surrounded, overwhelmed, it's just awful.

It is easy for us to deflect responsibility, say to ourselves, it is the other, the outer, the"them".

It is easy to forget we control what we take in.

I for instance, love serial killers.  Let me rephrase that, I am fascinated by serial killers.  It is an area of profound interest to me because I want to know how people become a killer and then how they live with it and do it again and again.  The whole thing fascinates me.  I will watch documentaries, read books, articles, watch movies and then...I get scared, I can't sleep.  I want to talk about it with someone and Marcus wants nothing to do with it.  As far as movies and documentaries...I am on my own, he refuses to watch them, and also refuses to talk about the subject with me.  If I can't talk about it...I get even more scared.  It's harder for me to sleep.

Now,  I have to take full responsibility for that stupidity.  Even though I don't want to.  I would rather just say...the Devil made me do it.  (The devil also makes me eat more than my fair share of cookies at least once a week too) But really I do it to myself, no one makes me, no one asks me.  I could say (Marcus certainly does)...Why do they even show this stuff?  Why do they even write books about this?  Why do we need to know this?

The answer is simple.  We don't. Just because it is out there, doesn't mean we have to participate. But I am drawn to it.  Just like pictures of Lady Gaga in her lasted ensemble that I just gotta see. I make that choice, however flawed.  And it is clearly flawed in so many ways.

So the same goes for all this information swirling out there in the ethers just waiting to attach itself to our consciousness.  Left unfiltered, this information can actually do us damage, like giving a child more information than they can process at their developmental stage.  We must filter, discern, weed out, assert our emotional and spiritual boundaries.

In this age of information overload, I think the time has come for us as individuals, communities, parents, partners, students, consumers, voters, and human beings to make a conscious choice and take full and complete responsibility for our intake on this planet.

 Before you  decide to bring information into your life, take one second to decide if that is the direction you want to go.

Whether you are getting your daily dose of news, watching a movie, stopping to fill up the tank, buying a new outfit, choosing a detergent, raising a child, or casting a vote...make sure you are making an informed decision.  But make sure your decision is coming from you, what you think, what you want, not just from the information that has been dumped on you.

In the world of art these days (just as in the media and pretty much everywhere), anything goes.  The lines are very blurred.  Sometimes shock and awe are passed off as artwork and creativity.  Sometimes entertainment is passed of as news.

Artwork is supposed to uplift you.  Media is suppose to inform you.  Food is meant to nourish you.

Let's not get sidetracked but agendas, narratives and profits and especially not those of others that don't have our best interest at heart.

Choose your art carefully.  Choose your news carefully.  Choose your fuel carefully.  Choose your food carefully.  Choose your clothes carefully.  Choose your media carefully.

Because once you see Lady Gaga in a meat can't un-see it.

And because I have to live with this and can never un-see it...I thought all of you might want to share my pain...and maybe understand why I am the way I am.

Click on the link at the bottom...

This is my the white and purple.

For those who know and love him, he is #22 and you can scroll through to check out the other pictures.  For those who don't know him...pray for's gonna be a long season.

And is a late hit out of bounds...and it wasn't called!

Oh, the injustice of it all!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Reverse Graffiti Project

My cousin Derek shared this on Facebook and I stole it from him.  He isn't really my cousin, he is Marcus' cousin, but I have known him since he was a little whipper snapper of a thing, so I consider him my cousin too.  He was 11 when Marcus and I started dating, approximately 153 years ago.  I distinctly remember everyone yelling at poor little Derek (He is the youngest of 7 boy cousins, Marcus being the oldest) because when we would all watch a movie together, he would tell us what was going to happen moments before it came on screen.  He has come a long way since then.  He is all grown up and I hope grown out of that habit.  

Anyway, I stole this from Derek, he is alway posting interesting things about art and really all sorts of different things.

Thank you Derek!

This is why I am sharing this.

1. I like innovative things...people doing things outside the box.

2.  I love when people use things that already exist, change them, and make them into art.

3.  I love art.

4.  I LOVE gorilla art...people doing art where and when they aren't suppose to.  

5.  I love when people incorporate local images and themes in their work.

5.  I love pressure washers.  

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shiny, bright, texture...

I have been working...(slowly between card games and snacks.)...on jewelry.

I love jewelry.  I love pretty sparkly, textured, shiny, adornments.

There are many ideas about why we as a people wear jewelry.   But rather than look up all those reasons and share them with you here as I might on another day, (I have too much to do, like sit still and soak up the quiet house before the kids get home and want to talk to me about their day.  They are pretty selfish that way.) I will just share why I like jewelry so much.

1.  Both my parents were silversmiths.  They made jewelry for a living.  It's in my blood.

2.  I love color and texture in any form...any creative, artistic way.

3.  When I find a piece that I connect makes me feel good to wear it.  In the 80's and early 90's and maybe still some new age circles...these pieces would be considered Power Pieces.  They might even help you connect to your totem animal...the possibilities are endless it seems.

4.  I love to see other people's adornments, I always think it makes them look beautiful and interesting.  It also makes me think I should get up earlier and put something like that on as well,  instead of throwing on the pants and sweater closet to my side of the bed and calling it good.

5.  I think you can learn a lot about a person by what they chose to wear for jewelry.  Neither good nor bad, simply interesting.  Okay...sometimes it goes to a bad place...but at least those aesthetically challenged individuals have style, it may not be mine but at least they have one.

6.  It is one of only a handful of art forms we put on our bodies, which makes it VERY personal.

7.  Unlike tattoos, we can change out our jewelry to suit our ever changing moods and phases of life.

8.  It is sometimes a conversation starter.  (I sometimes find it hard to start conversations, and also difficult to keep them going.  I get weirder and weirder in my advancing years.)

9.  It's creative...there are not rules except the ones you make!  Those are the kind of rules I like!  Those are really the only kind I can follow...and I even struggle with those.  Someone help me...I have issues.

This "body of work" has been under way for several years give or take, I am just now feeling as though it is beginning to have a life of it's own.  It is beginning to be more than...just a "piece of jewelry".  It is more a series and less a mish mash assortment of random things I like and more...a look. 

I may be slow (in more ways than one) and I may be easily distracted by things like snacks, road work outside my window, and toe fuzz, but I eventually get there.  

That is the important thing...right?

So what happens now with all this I am making?  

Hopefully I won't just put it in a pretty box in my desk and pull it out to look at when I am feeling down.  Don't be surprised if that happens though.  

Someone help seems to be a pattern I have.

Don't fall into my pattern...get help quick...there is still hope for you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's been a while...

I have been away a long, long time.

I didn't go anywhere, I simply wasn't cyberspace.

I have been busy soaking up the last bits of summer and all the last moments with my kids before yet another year of school and football and soccer and violin and softball and baseball and bake sales and volunteer opportunities and lunches and dinners and snacks and dances and costumes and field trips and parent meetings begin.

It is fitting that I was away, metaphorically speaking, it was summer after all.

But now, especially here in my soggy little part of Oregon, Autumn has begun it's slow descent.  School is starting back up and rhythm is setting in.

Although I will grow nostalgic for summer and bemuse it's slow retreat, I somehow love the way that Autumn comes in and soothes, slows down, calms and gives form to my life.

Like a nurturing mother who knows when her little one needs their rest from a long exciting day, Autumn comes in and tucks everyone in for the long winter to come.

Now if you live in Arizona, none of that applies.  Autumn?  What is this Autumn you speak of?

But if you live anywhere that the air has cooled, there are a few leaves loosing their chlorophyll, and sweaters and scarves are starting to can relate.

I take this time, my very favorite time of year, to do things like make jam, make green tomato salsa and put them up for a cold dark winter night when summer is a distant half dream and also a promise of things to come.

This is the time I take to deal with everything that I have been avoiding all summer while I was swimming, picking berries and playing cards with my kids.

I also take time to relish the quiet house, rhythm, order, and the coming depth of darkness and introspection this change of season offers.

I like dark nights, cold nights, cups of tea, reading a book, baking bread, like I said earlier...autumn nourishes.  At least it does for me.  It fortifies the soul so that we can make it through the winter.

This years pending autumn has been no less indicative of the 34 that I have already experienced. What has changed in these many years

I am more centered, happier, more creative, less exhausted than autumns before this.  Yet at the same time, I am more certain that I know nothing about anything.  And I am totally okay with that, it is actually a relief.

This time around I am dealing with new things, formidable things, tragic things, messy things, and uncertain things.

I think we all are in our own ways.  And I think I have always faced this sorts of issues and obstacles, they just look different this year, as they do every year.

The difference this time?...I am wise now.  Not quite Yoda wise...but I am working on it.

The reason I feel so wise, is that for the first time in my life, I came to the realization that I can't change what the world hurls at me.  I can only change what I do with it and how I react to it.

This may not be a revelation for any of you, but for me this is really big stuff.

So as the trees and the light change this fall, remember...

1.  Summer will be back next year.
2.  Soon apples will be coming into season and with them, apple pie.  Yippee!
3.  Count your blessings, because where ever you are in your life right now, you are infinitely better off than wherever  Lidsay Lohan is.  May the universe bless that lost soul.
4.  It isn't what you are given or what you have that counts, it is what you do with what you have and what you are given that really makes a difference.

Go forth into the darkest depths of the soul or simply your junk draw and face it without fear, remorse, guilt, expectation, shoulds or shouldn'ts, have to's or intimidation.

Face it with shoulders back and smile on your face.  Say to those deep dark shall we resolve this? And then proceed.

And then...go make a pie, or just eat one.