Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

My assistant T. bribed me to come to her home for dinner tomorrow. She said if I came she'd work on Saturday for me. Can you believe it took such a bribe to get me out of the house to accept a lovely invitation? Sheesh, I am getting kind of pathetic. But this is crunch time, more orders to get to galleries in time for them to sell for the holidays, and then my own studio sale...
But I just made cranberry relish to contribute (along with wine) and I will actually take several hours off tomorrow to enjoy time around a groaning table with lovely people.

Lots to be thankful for, and only a few of them include: the return of my health, the feel of air on my face, my little business is still alive, a wonderful assistant, a delightful rascal of a kitten, the big soft hearts inside of all the various and often confounding people in my life, rain on the roof as I snuggle deeper into the covers, a roof over my head, that people like and buy the things I make, that I get to spend most of my time making pretty things, red wine and gin (not together), good food, an improving ability to surf the waves that Life rolls toward me, and so much more.

A few years ago I called my mom to ask her for her special family cranberry relish recipe. She told me it was on the back of the bag. The romance was destroyed, but I still love the relish. I just ate several big spoons full of it. (spoonfulls? I didn't eat the spoons... these things confuse me). How about: I just ate a bunch of it, using a spoon to fill my mouth several times? Having a poet as an assistant has made me begin to obsess about grammar.

My favorite thing about Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the food, really. I love how acknowledging what I am grateful for in my life makes me feel full. Really.

I have quite a bit more I could write, lots of thoughts while out for my jog today, but work is calling me.

Happy Thanks-Giving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If I were a poet

IF I were a poet (sing to: The Fiddler on the Roof)

If I were a poet (sing to: If I had a Hammer...)

Ok, that's a scary glimpse inside my brain while jogging and seeing cool stuff I'd describe much better if I were a POET.
Yes, I know this blog is sort of supposed to be about the life of a working artist-type.

But sometimes there is not much to write:

I get up and reluctantly emerge from my cozy warm bed, make coffee, drink coffee while reading the internet(s), put on my jogging costume, go jogging, come home, shower & change into my work costume, work with my lovely assistant T, put on my yoga costume, go to yoga, come home, eat something, change into my "second shift" costume (jammies), work while sipping something like red wine or gin or decaf tea with milk while watching something mildly engaging on TV or dvd, and go to bed, read, sleep...

Or I could write about all the amazing thoughts inside my head:

"oh! can we possibly get everything done on time? damn, that piece is cracked, what an adorable kitten! I''m hungry, pizza sounds good, oh, right, I don't eat pizza, where is that one piece that is supposed to go with that order? here? but it's the wrong color, oh, that one broke? damn, I'd better make another, how is it I work all the time and STILL don't make any money? keep practicing gratefulness: I have a roof over my head, I love my job, I have an adorable kitten, UPS will be here soon, can we get the labels printed in time? I wonder what colors I should paint the next batch? Oh-oh, the paint is dripping, oh, will you look at that adorable kitten? I don't WANT to go jogging today, I have too much work to do, what would be the harm of one day off? Just get out there and do it and quit your whining, I hope I get a couple payments in the mail today, the mortgage and health insurance are due in three days, Is it REALLY mid-November? Do I REALLY have to deliver to the Pratt sale THIS Friday? Ohhhhhh, the anxiety is knotting up my stomach, don't think! just keep working! It will be ok. No problem. Don't think! Just Do! Wow, what a beautiful color THAT is! Look at this piece, I don't know if I can part with it, it's so gorgeous!

(and so on and so on...)

So the thoughts inside my head are a little boring to, no?

Unless you take the hilarious and scintillating conversations T. and I have when we are spending our days working together. Details will not released, but I CAN tell you that we are brilliant, hilarious, insightful, and that we laugh so hard I've come to rely on it for my abdominal strengthening. Oh yes, really. WE are truly hilarious. Odd that no one else gets it.

But back to the "if I were a poet" thing.

A couple days ago as I was running along the path by the lake (in the rain, mind you), a big flock of small black water fowl floating on the lake all started flapping and skimming the surface of the water at once. The water was whipped into a silver froth, and the birds were black dots stitched like beads on a silver chiffon tutu. Accompanied by a sound exactly like one of those "rain sticks" that sound so cool when you tip them from one end to the other. Poetry, I tell you!

And then yesterday (it was COLD!) I was jogging along a neighborhood sidewalk and one forlorn pink rosebud was hanging over a fence. It's stem was nearly rotted, and the bud itself was ragged and turning a bit brown on its outer petals. I took a moment to sniff if (for some reason) and was immediately startled by the sweet, sweet scent still present in that dying bud.
The courage! The bravery! The persistence! To keep bringing forth its sweetness in spite of all the obstacles (huge wind, rain, frost) thrown in its path. And likely, I was the only one who had the inclination to stop and sniff the offering of the nearly dead bud. I was touched by the metaphor of something barely living but still able to share its sweetness even if it would never be appreciated. In spite of it all.

If I were a poet!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

impostor syndrome

I've always been prone to impostor syndrome, a feeling that would trigger a fear of being "found out", of others knowing that I didn't belong, that I wasn't REALLY a ... (fill in the blank, it has been true in most every context). I've gotten over it to a very functional degree by not claiming to be deserving of the category: "I just make pretty things and sell them, I'm not an Artist (so don't challenge me and tell me to go away and embarrass me!)".

The sign pictured above is a place I get my paints, etc. It has taken me many, many trips to get over my fear (subtle, but still there!) that someone would be waiting at the door to check my credentials and be sure I had the proper license to enter. When they added the "open to public" sign to their billboard I had to laugh and realize I wasn't the only one feeling the same intimidation (but would they have a special section for the real artists, and a different one for the public???).

To their credit, I've been treated very, very well there. They've never even asked to see any paperwork confirming my right to shop there. AND I've come to rely on their incredible friendliness and generous help. Even when I have no idea what I'm asking about. I asked yesterday if there was such a thing as a pencil that could be permanent without a fixative (there is not) but the guy helping me took me all over the store talking with me about possible options. THEY have helped me feel more like a "real" artist, by taking my questions seriously when I told them what I wanted to use something for. By me exposing myself as not knowing anything.

Huh. Life lesson, you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

a very special treat

as I was jogging this evening on the path alongside the lake, a strong fresh wind came straight at me from the south. It ran it's fingers through my hair, and it's nails scratched along my scalp, and I tossed my head like a horse.


Sunday, November 1, 2009


So, for the past week I've been obsessing about where I could possibly go during the trick-or-treat hours so that I could
1. Get work done (busy! read past entries).
2. Not have to spend $50 on candy (severe budget, read past entries).
3. Not eat the candy (dieting & exercising like a plum fool, read past entries).
4. Not spend all evening answering the door and not getting work done in the evening prime production time (read past entries).

I obsessed and couldn't come up with a single idea that would allow me accomplish what I needed without shutting myself upstairs, but there is no work table so that wouldn't work and I live in a real live neighborhood with lots of kids. They'd SEE me working in the house. And then I realized I was becoming a serious scrooge and swung by the store on my way home from my jog for the most odious & cheap candy I could find. Odious so I wouldn't be tempted, and cheap for my budget. I'm a candy corn freak and I averted my eyes as I walked by the bags of it...).

Turns out almost all the kids gasped at my candy and said it was their very favorite. I said "so I did ok?" "Oh yeah, you did hella-good!" And the big group of them applauded.

I even got some work done, and had a blast seeing all those sweet little faces, all dressed up for the magic of the sanctioned "taking candy from strangers." I could see the magic on all their faces as their bags got filled up with CANDY!, and was filled with joy, and felt SOOOOO foolish for obsessing over it.


And then memories: I remember when I was very young my mom made homemade fried doughnuts to give out-hot and fresh! I can still taste them. I remember making caramel apples to give out. Little bags of homemade cookies & candies. Ah, the olden days before razor blades and poison.

And I remember on the isolated island we were a bit older, my mom went trick-or-treating with a martini glass to the homes of some of the other island-dwellers. Brilliant! I will do that sometime to the home of someone I am certain will have gin & olives.

An old dear friend of my mom's (one of the several with whom we kids played as a tribe while our moms played bridge and solved the world's problems) called me yesterday to ask me what I remembered of those days. Alas, mostly I remembered loving getting all the candy, but she reminded me of some of the costumes she used to make for the kids. One big mistake one year: she made a magnificent costume for one of her sons that had no armholes. So he couldn't take candy. She never made that mistake again. And she reminded me that my mother would let us have a few pieces of our haul and then took the candy and doled it out to us one piece at a time. My mom's friend said she always thought that was mean. SHE let her kids have ALL the candy to eat as they pleased. Yes. Clear evidence I suffered in my childhood. I made up for it in later years and bought all the candy corn I wanted. Hence the current diet and exercise program. Life's not fair.

Candy corn shouldn't count.