Time Mismanagement…

I’m trying to do this for real this time. Just get thoughts down and work them out, put it out there into the virtual world. But wow, does everything else seem to take precedent? Keeping tiny people alive is a massive undertaking. And unfortunately at this moment not everyone needs a piece of my art to fill a void in their soul, so I still have to work too. My chickens, my dog and my husband also cannot survive without me (or so I choose to think). Point is, it’s 11:00pm and I see what’s coming down the line. Kids and husband out of school for the summer and me up in the wee hours trying to think and commit to working it out. Pretending to fold laundry while I slap together a piece of art or two. Summer is coming…

Of course Jack White is the pale speaker of truth regarding this messy creative process. I really like what Meg brings to the table in this discussion also. Kidding.

And out of the ashes of this messy weekend comes the phoenix…well, phoenixes actually. I managed to finish a piece for a friend of mine who just adopted a baby. I’m enjoying arrow and bullseye images lately so I’m going with it and am pleased at how it turned out. My son also ate something new- grapefruit. This seems minor, but for a kid who barely eats anything to eat something new, well I teared up and I’m not joking. Finally, my daughter insisted on being a “baby” this weekend. She’s 5. So I made her this “diaper” to wear. Every time I looked at her I chuckled because she looked like this cherubic angel wearing the outfit of a loinclothed sadhu. A mishmash of religious iconography to brighten any rainy weekend.

Her outfit all weekend...luckily we mostly stayed home.

Her outfit all weekend…luckily we mostly stayed home.

I know, he's just eating a grapefruit, but it's a moment I'll always cherish...

I know, he’s just eating a grapefruit, but it’s a moment I’ll always cherish…

Where's my bullseye?

Where’s my bullseye?

On Stomach Viruses and the Movie Point Break…

So, today I had quite the stomach bug. I was actually so nauseous I stayed I the tub for four hours. Yes, 4. I emerged resembling an albino California raisin and managed to crawl to the couch where I was blessed with watching Point Break for the first time since 1991. I was surprised to find out that PB was directed by Kathryn Bigelow of Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty fame. She has an Oscar. And she had to once give acting direction to Keanu Reeves. She’s come a long way, baby! Keanu was such a big star then. And my 18 year old self thought he was pretty and hot and assumed he had lots of deep thoughts. Today though, I just laughed and laughed at those acting skills of his. Don’t get me wrong, he was ace in Bill and Ted’s, but I get the sense that wasn’t much of a stretch. I digress, but I think this whole post is digression. So how do people become famous for doing things that they don’t do very well? It baffles me how as a culture we love to champion mediocrity while some amazingly talented people never get an ounce of recognition. I know, just doing what you love is the real victory. But we are fed so much cultural garbage, sometimes I question if anything I see in popular culture is worthy of acclaim?

I will say that the past few weeks I’ve been reading lots of blogs here on WP and I am blown away by the talent I am finding. Inspiring, thought provoking and hilarious. I know blogging is nothing new, but I feel like I’m reaching into the minds of folks I would never have connected with in any other capacity. We live in such a disconnected society. At times it’s even lonely when we are surrounded by people (or in my case, flying squirrels). It does feel a bit voyeuristic, but in a good way I guess.

What was I talking about again? That’s right, Point Break.

I’d like to go on record as saying that Patrick Swayze was great in that movie. Really. And how often in high school did I dream of him saying, “Nobody puts Anna in a corner.” Because I was usually in the corner, but no one put me there but me really. I needed fantasy Patrick Swayze to save me from myself basically. But he died, damn it. That’s a true loss. Oh, and I’m not in the corner anymore…it was super dusty over there. I got tired of waiting on Patrick and just picked myself up and hid in the bathroom instead.

So, in the same way I can no longer see a bottle of Boone’s farm wine without wanting to throw up (unfortunate high school event that haunts me to this day) now I’ll no longer be able to watch Point Break without a flash of nausea. And it’s not Keanu’s fault…blame it on the virus.

The Natural Linen Textile Has Got Itself the Positive Energetic…

So this is a description I ran across while looking for sheets on Etsy the other day. It cracked me up. I thought it sounded better than titling a post Ten Years Ago Today My Dad Died. Would anyone read that? And does it matter? I’ve written this in my head all day, but now I’m sitting down to actually write I’m not really sure what to say. And I’m here at work in the library and it’s final exam time and the students are so anxious and keep needing me. My thoughts are interrupted. The late shift tends to be more counseling and encouragement than anything. And teaching 20 year olds how to use a copier.

So I’m almost certain no one has, or ever will, love me as my dad did. (And mom, I know you are going to read this. I’ll write a post one day about how much you had to put up with raising me and how you still haven’t given up hope I’ll turn out respectably and how much I know you love me. I’ll also write about how you once gave me the very practically southern advice to not come downstairs in the morning before putting on lipstick, but that’s for another time. You must admit, dad had saintly patience and always tried to figure out where I was coming from, even when my purple hair and freshman 30 rendered him speechless.)

So 10 years ago I was at my little cabin on the side of the mountain where I lived by myself while in graduate school. And my sister called and my world changed. Simple as that. I had, minutes before, sent my dad an email telling him to get up to Boone, NC so we could do some fly fishing. I missed him and it had been too long and my semester was winding down. Boom. I remember every detail and it was 10 years ago. One minute he was of this world and then the next, he wasn’t. My Aunt came to get me and drive me home.

It’s hard to describe my dad because he was extraordinary. During the whole mourning process I can’t recall the number of people who told me stories of his kindness or how he inspired them to live differently or how he helped them change their lives. He kept our family business running successfully for many years and then spent the latter part of his career working at a community college helping people start businesses of their own. He brought in speakers. He helped people know themselves better. I took a lot of personality tests administered by my dad attempting to help me figure out what to do with my life (any other INFP’s out there? Holla!)

My dad was also hilarious. He wasn’t the “hey look at me and listen to my funny joke” kind of hilarious. He was who you wanted sitting next to you at a really boring function or dinner party. With a few glasses of wine in him, he was one of the wittiest people I’ve known. You know what else? He used to make wine, which is a great segway into my next section which is about my dad and his hobbies.

“Hobbies” is sort of a cheesy word. My dad was more renaissance man than hobbyist. If something interested him, he learned about it and made it happen. Did I mention he was one of the smartest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing? Anyway, yes, he made wine (I heard it was muscadine and it was awful). He was interested in Japanese and Chinese culture, so he collected swords and read all he could. He taught himself how to prune and cultivate bonsai trees and eventually taught classes at the community college. We were the only kids in the neighborhood who had bamboo planted in their backyard and who could authentically clean antique Japanese swords. Umm, did I mention we lived in a small town in Eastern North Carolina? Anyway, he modeled and built our river house after a Japanese Tea house. He painted beautiful scenes on the walls and we had a big paper lantern long before you could buy them everywhere. He also built wooden boats. A beautiful cedar canoe and a sailboat. I remember vividly being in the middle of the river as the boat took on water, my sister and I bailing and panicking. “All part of the experience girls,” is what I remember him calmly saying. I’ll also mention that he made pottery and helped with firing the kilns at the college. As he grew older, other interests took a back seat to fly fishing. He taught my sister and I how to cast a fly rod in our backyard. I’m sure at the time, I would have rather been playing Nintendo or something. But he was adamant we learn and being on the river connects me to him to this day. He also taught himself how to make amazing bamboo fly rods from reading books and eventually sold a few. The ones left unfinished are some of my favorite possessions.

I found a letter recently my dad had written to me when I was 24 or so. He was concerned that I was having a hard time figuring out what direction my life should take. I was sort of floating. In my eyes, I was seeing the world. In his eyes, I was directionless and wasting my talents. He suggested I write. He felt I was good at it and it would be fulfilling to me. 14 years later here I am. Even when he didn’t understand my choices, my dad always tried to listen with an open heart and mind. He may have wondered to my mother or to himself, “What in the hell is she doing (or not doing)?” but he always made me feel supported, even when he couldn’t understand the choices I was making.(Except that one time he found out I had gotten a tattoo. I was 18 and it was a terrible tattoo of a koi fish. And by terrible, I mean it looked like someone had broken open a bic pen and poked away on my shoulder blade while we were on shore leave. He never really got over that.)

I was 29 when my dad died. The weekend before was Easter. I was home from graduate school and he and I walked to the waterfront park near our house for a non-denominational sunrise service. On the way home we talked religion. My dad and I could talk religion for hours. He had studied many belief systems (he was the guy who invited the Mormon missionaries in just to hear what they had to say, much to the chagrin of my mom). He had once told me, while I was having yet another existential crisis, that most religions have some version of the Golden Rule. Just keep that in mind and I should be fine. He also told me he was worried that the life I was leading and that the men I dated (mostly outdoor enthusiasts, always unemployed) weren’t going to bring me happiness, because he could tell I was struggling. And why was I so scared of being successful? Or responsible? Or really loved? And that the greatest joy he had known in his life was marrying my mom and having my sister and I. And this wasn’t a line. It was his truth.

And yes, my dad faults. But not as many as most people.

Oddly enough, the week after he died I began an email correspondence with the person who I would eventually marry. My husband is an avid fly fisherman, which I don’t see as a coincidence. I have two amazing, bright kiddos who my dad would have been devoted to. I can see hints of who my dad was in my children and it makes me smile. And then cry. And then laugh…missing someone this much sometimes leads to mania.

Writing this hasn’t exactly gone where I anticipated. I guess I thought it would be funnier? I want to change parts, make it flow better, but I am tired and I’m just going to hit publish. I think I’ll continue to edit this story the rest of my life…

This is a photo of my parents taken before I was born. It’s one of my favorites. I mean, could my mom and dad look any lovelier?

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I’m Up to Something…

Yesterday my daughter (who is 5) was acting a bit fishy and I asked her what she was doing. “I’m up to something,” is what she said. Ha! She wouldn’t tell me what that something was and I still don’t know. But it made me want the same thing, to be up to something fun and stealthy…
So the appearance of this here blog isn’t as muy fantastico as I would like. One reason could be the fact that my Mac died after 7 long years of service (with 7 years of pictures along with it). The nearest genius bar is hours away (however, if some genius can get my pictures off of the hard drive for me I’ll give he or she a big kiss of gratitude!)
So, I’m in a quandary. I’m just using my old iphone camera to take these fuzzy pictures and I’m not getting a new one when this one works just fine, right? It still calls people and I don’t want to be a wasteful consumer. My ipad is also the ipad with the not so great camera. But I want my pictures to be clearer, at least where it doesn’t feel like looking at my blog is how life will feel when you are 80 and your eyes have lots of cataracts. And if I bought a decent digital camera, would I really use it? Maybe. If I keep doing this and can’t convey what I want to, then we’ll see. But for now, it’s fuzzy pictures and sort of messed up layouts. I know this visual delight keeps people coming back for more! And figuring out widgets and categories, geesh. Don’t get me started, I can barely work my programmable thermostat…
You see, sometimes too many choices paralyze me. In college when we finally had the chance to use some new fangled computer editing equipment to make our senior films shine, I chose to do my senior film in black and white actual FILM. I physically cut and taped the thing together. I didn’t need all of those visual effects like fading in and out and credits that weren’t written on poster paper and filmed! Ack, too many choices! Or when I was supposed to choose a “career”. There were so many things to be, I really couldn’t choose just one. I just ended up running away and seeing things and living in a truck for a while. The Grand Canyon was nice…finding a way to feed myself would have also been nice.
What am I talking about here? Not so sure. But maybe this not so visually stunning, rambling blog here just helps me move one step closer to being the female David Sedaris. Or some non-traditional artist. Or stalkable…who knows.
Here are some of the “somethings” I’ve been up to lately…excuse fuzzy photos.

 

Bullseye!

Bullseye!

Better camera needed...

Better camera needed…

Dedicated to all the blue chickens out there, you know who you are...

Dedicated to all the blue chickens out there, you know who you are…

Let the disco rut begin!

Let the disco rut begin!

Nothing says love like anatomy on a pillow...

Nothing says love like anatomy on a pillow…

Just in case you needed a close up...

Just in case you needed a close up…

I know it's a bit old lady, but someone took this beautiful needle point to the thrift shop and I had to rescue it and make a pillow...granny chic is back y'all!

I know it’s a bit old lady, but someone took this beautiful needle point to the thrift shop and I had to rescue it and make a pillow…granny chic is back y’all!

And finally, this was my porch view as I drank coffee this morning...it's two hours to Target, but completely worth it.

And finally, this was my porch view as I drank coffee this morning…it may take two hours to get to Target, but living here is completely worth it. Mostly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole….

Lay lady lay...hey, isn't brass making a comeback?

Lay lady lay…hey, isn’t brass making a comeback?

Yes, I found it at a thrift store here and yes, it still has the Herman Miller tag on it and yes, I'm keeping it...

Yes, I found it at a thrift store here and yes, it still has the Herman Miller tag on it and yes, I’m keeping it…

Obligatory before...years of outside storage magically disappear...

Obligatory before…years of outside storage magically disappear…

Now to find a house to put it in...

Now to find a house to put it in…

Rubbed down with homemade beeswax polish...

Rubbed down with homemade beeswax polish…

My friend's 9 year old son makes these amazing trellises...

My friend’s 9 year old son makes these amazing trellises…

Kept watching this place go up, wondering what it was going to be...

Kept watching this place go up, wondering what it was going to be…

If the cake flops, add a bunch of yummy layers and call it a trifle...

If the cake flops, add a bunch of yummy layers and call it a trifle…

Natural egg dying...turmeric is the winner here...

Natural egg dying…turmeric is the winner here…

Fantastically built bamboo "hoop" house at the Folk School...

Fantastically built bamboo “hoop” house at the Folk School…

If we had enough land...

If we had enough land…

Chicken Don King...

Chicken Don King…

Sister cleo...

Sister cleo…

Of course she wanted to keep it...

Of course she wanted to keep it…

It’s been a while. No excuse other than I fell down the rabbit hole. And each time I came up, it was still winter and there was no sun, so I just slid back down and hid out. And oh the drama going on above! People being selfish and grumpy and lacking vitamin D. Children running amok in tight spaces. Technological diversions. Work issues. I did surface to celebrate birthdays, my son’s and my forever 39 (a really amazing night really). Now, it’s almost the end of April. The sun is out, things are growing again. Cheeks are actually flushing. The baby chicks are now medium chicks and living comfortably outside (their day consists of running away in fear anytime a grown-up chicken comes near them…good times.)
My creative energies have been taking me different places March and April. I did a lot of thrift store browsing, buying some cool old furniture no one else wanted. I had my first and last experience stripping furniture and I also sanded an old butcher block table…for hours. I found some needlework on linen I am making into pillows. I bought a fantastic old brass bed off of Craig’s List and didn’t go missing while picking it up. “You see,” I told my husband, “My clue he was a good person was that he was talking to me while road biking…evil people don’t road bike, right?” (Insert Lance Armstrong joke here, please). I did scour an old lumber pile looking for wood for my next silhouette projects and my brain has thawed out enough to be excited about those too.
I did manage to take some pictures. I hope you survived the winter and came out of the rabbit hole to lay in the sun…

She’s Like a Rainbow…

What We Want is What's Beyond the Rainbow Dome...

What We Want is What’s Beyond the Rainbow Dome…

Here chickie chickie chickie!

Here chickie chickie chickie!

House on the Hill...

House on the Hill…

It is still raining. Sometimes I think that if I wanted to live somewhere this rainy, I’d live in Portland, OR, where at least there are good coffee shops and interesting homeless vagabonds to converse with. It may snow this weekend. But this weekend will be March, yea! We made it, even without ordering a light therapy kit. So, I finally went downstairs, pushed the clutter aside and made something. I’m going to donate it for a fundraiser at my children’s school. It wasn’t easy and I was very distracted by a weeks worth of laundry staring at me, but I did it. And the muscles in my neck loosened and I actually smiled when I was done. Relief.
I went ahead and bought some baby chicks to try and force spring to come. Unfortunately, I didn’t think through the fact that a friend is now living with us in our basement, so the chickens are in my tiny kitchen at the moment. Who cares? They peep and are hilarious and require very little currently. One even looks like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra…picture to come.
I stopped the car this morning and took this picture with my phone. Doesn’t the rainbow look like the edge of some sort of biodome? Like inside the rainbow there is light and outside it is stormy? I’m going to try and stay inside the rainbow dome this week…all sun and creativity.

February. The Longest, Shortest Month…

I’ve put a lot of energy this week into not being creative and trying my best to do the things that make me unhappy. Comparing my life to others. Feeling hopeless despite all of the great blessings in my life. Dreaming of being any place in the world but rural Georgia. What’s interesting is that mentally, I know better. I am so much smarter than that trap! But emotionally, at times I’m a puppet. It doesn’t help that it has been grayer than gray around here. Or that I can’t afford to put an addition on my house with a regulation sized gymnasium and indoor pool to swim the blues away and give my kids a place to run instead of inside the house. Or that every time I see a studio sneak peek on the Design Sponge website I cannot believe artists actually have spaces like that to create in! Really?
But enough of that. I am healthy. My family and friends are healthy. Today I saw some early flowering Lily of the Valley in someone’s yard, so I know spring will arrive and with it, some sunshine. And tomorrow I am not going to be distracted by thrift store “fabric expeditions” or scouring Craig’s List for something I don’t really need. I’m going downstairs, pushing the laundry aside, sucking the dead spiders up in a vacuum and I’m going to make something. It’s going to be cool. Or maybe it won’t be cool, who cares? No one is going to be there taking pictures of my studio in the basement because it’s not funky or filled with Brimstone finds. It’s going to be raining…again. But I am not leaving until I have poured all of these feelings into something. I hope it’s not too scary.
On a side note, my husband took this photo in New Orleans this past weekend. These people are sleeping. I want her glasses. I also want to be so much at peace in my surroundings and with the person beside me I can fall asleep on a park bench. I love this. I love her.

Peace in Chaos...

Peace in Chaos…