Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making the 2008 Christmas Card... oh, I don't wanna

Saturday morning I made a fire and sat down to force myself to begin the 2008 Christmas card for The Frame Shop. It should have been finished in October but I haven't been in the mood to do any watercolor or even any sketching. I don't even wanna make Hot Snots. I guess mostly, all I wanna do is pout.

Anyway, I did a sketch and threw it away because it was so incredibly awful. It looked like some sort of very young insane asylum escapee. Then I did this one (above) and liked it better even though she looks kinda like she's gotta fat double chin... but can't think of a thing for the verse. Also, I drew about three different hats on this kid and then erased them (with my clever eraser machine) because they, also, looked lunatic.

The truth is, I don't care too much about the holidays this year. I normally love Christmas. I normally love Thanksgiving. I normally love New Year's. Normally, I even love my birthday and I am well too-old to be doing that. But this year is so off.

At first I thought it was the election and when that was over, things would get to normal. So, now that's over... but it's no better.

At the shop, without Karen, we wouldn't have ANYTHING ready for Christmas. She has completely carried that load because, truthfully, I just feel so b-o-r-e-d with it. And that's how I feel about this Christmas card. That's how I feel about everything. It's a uselessness that has settled over me and I can't shake it.

Today I am driving with my husband (who is still working 100 hours per week... he's a reporter... and I am very sad and lonely because of it) to Jefferson City for a ballgame of some sort and I think I'll go trudging through the stores there to see what's happening with Christmas while he covers the game. Maybe I'll feel like I'm in the 1940's at Macy's. But I think my clothes are too ugly to even pretend that.

Then, tomorrow, I'm going to make another fire and try to sit down and finish the painting for my cards. I have to have them ready by Friday, which is when Open House begins and we always give cards away.

A little good news is this: I am really happy to have sold another original at the shop, "For the Sake of 10" which was a mixed-media piece on Abraham's conversation with God about saving Sodom and his nephew Lot. It was extra-cool because it had broken glass and salt and lots of destruction and corruption. It was probably my second-favorite piece at the shop (my favorite is Shattering the Darkness) but I just realized that I have misplaced (or permanently lost is more likely) my snapshot of it and all my others of my original pieces. I am very sad to not have a picture of it.

And, obviously, I am just wanting to moan and groan about everything so I will just STOP IT right now!

Love, d.

P.S. to my friend Mary from Mary's Madness... I love your blog and how do you stay so not grouchy!?! You guys should go see her spare bedroom vintage hats and bags. I need to go there and borrow a set-up before I go pretend to be at Macy's while I'm really at old stupid Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lace and Pink and Gold

I opened the door to my studio
On this breezy and beautiful day
To find that somehow, incredibly
I'd cleaned it the last time I played!

I almost didn't recognize...
I just really couldn't believe!
How pretty it was and so inviting
I knew I would NEVER want to leave!

The light filtering in through the windows
The wind tugging at the sheers
Puppies lazing on their pink beds
Alleviated my creative fears.

The main thing you gotta know though
When you go to your studio so clean
Is you can't really do much of nothing
When you're worried about being a neat-fiend!

Now this poem is some of the worst
That I'll ever admit to have doing
But the point is that when it's too neat
Your studio is really pooh-poohing.

You know you're not going to work there
You don't want to make a big mess
So instead you go to the computer
And write and tell and confess...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

St. Louis City Art Museum

My older daughter Ashley and I went to the St. Louis City Museum this weekend and it was fabulous. You should go.

On the way there, I drove under fabulous skies and also found something else: these days, it's no big deal to get a clear shot (I didn't say a good picture, I said a clear shot) with these digital cameras. The bottom picture was taken out of the windshield of my little red pickup while I was driving along at 70 mph.

Unfortunately, there must be SOMETHING to it though, because just about the only picture at the museum I had that wasn't a blurry mess was this one picture of Ashley (top) and the crayons. I took a total of about 40 pictures there! But I guess because I was trying so hard to do a good job, they all were a shaky, terrible, ridiculous mess. That, and I went down the 7-story slide and I am pretty old to be doing that before I took the majority of those pictures.

Hope you all had a great weekend and that this week is a safe and excellent one. d.

P.S. Ashley wasn't as awed by the big basket of crayons as I was. She wasn't flabbergasted at all. But me, I was like: DID YOU SEE THAT BIG BASKET OF CRAYONS!!!!! I took three pictures of them!

Another P.S. I am now kind of regretting that we did not roast marshmallows at the campfire at the museum. You should always do everything you want to do while you have the chance. It might be too late later and you'll never have the chance again. Man, I am really pretty sad about it! I could have eaten some of those marshmallows and it would have been nice.

Yet Another P.S. Despite what Ashley and Matt say, Nacho Libre and Stuck on You are great movies. You should watch them. Especially Stuck on You. You should try to watch it more than once... you should try to watch it at least twice! Especially if its your friend who is renting the movie!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Said the Night Wind...

and it's saying a lot.

I've been working on the slide show for Chocolate Panache.

Here it is so far!

Thanks! d.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Hot Snots Wiggling Leg

I worked quite a while late last week on making a wiggling leg for our Chocolate Panache banner and had it up there only intermittently seeing if it was satisfactory. I finally just decided I had wasted a ridiculous amount of time on something that didn't matter.

But then Sierra calls and says she likes the wiggly leg. So it is now re-wiggled and maybe it's good enough.

Unfortunately, the process of re-wiggling the legs meant I had to go in and actually read some directions. I am against this, you know. But the sacrifice was worth it, I suppose... (plus, I only read the first three on the list and the list went on and on and on... who can read directions that go on and on and on like that!)

And I'm with Sierra. It needs to wiggle.

Then, I called my son-in-law Matt and he's going to help me motorize a posterized Hot Snot for market in May which will lounge over our booth sign in NYC. See, one thing just leads to another.

Isn't it fine how life works and everything.

Thanks Sierra.

Thanks Matt.

P.S. It appears that blogger doesn't support my animated gif, but it's working on Chocolate Panache. Love again, Donna Ann

Baby Sierra

Making something is hard.
It doesn't matter what it is.
If it isn't hard, you might not be making much.

My little neice, Sierra, has been making-making-making.
And she knows it matters and she knows its hard.
But still she thinks she oughta be making more.
Oughta be doing more.

Well, baby Sierra.
You do.
You are.

To me, you are a superior and authentic encourager.
And man, but there aren't very many of them.

I get so happy when I see a little note from my little neice.
You can't even imagine (it's really kind of pathetic).

I see your little face and know that fury of a do-it-all you're feeling all mixed in with exhaustion and a brain that's thinking-thinking-thinking thinking while at the same time knowing, "ah, I don't even care about this!" but I still gotta work-work-work like mad to do it. (Only YOU can understand THAT sentence!)

So I made a little Sierra.

Baby Sierra, bride-to-be (do you like your big ring I made?... show that to Blake and tell him that's the size you were really thinking of when you said size didn't matter.)

Baby Sierra - the baby who is always so determined.

Love to you my sweet little neice and precious little friend, Princess Aunt Donna

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday and Princess Shoobydoo

I'm thankful for
the sun that is clinging to the horizon long enough to cast long inviting shadows outside my window
the last of this season's crickets and frogs which are singing as the sun fades
the breeze through this window that is pushing all my undone paperwork into even greater chaos
hands so cold it is hard to type
today's roast still on top of the stove for dinner tonight
our new stray kitty Princess Shoobydoo because now she's one of our babies
the translucent green of the leaves on the elm as the sun passes through them... and some of them are yellow
the hum of the freezer
time to think
my truck that always goes
Johnny Horton's North to Alaska song.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Workin' for a Livin'... Making our Booth!

I decided to add a fun thing to our Chocolate Panache website: a page off the See you in New York link about Lynne and me as we work on designing and then constructing our booth for the May 2009 show. I know I would like looking at what other people are preparing for their booths, so I thought I'd just start taking some pictures of our adventures and putting them into a little DIY video.

Here's the link!

...and no laughing at our obvious stupidity. Okay, no laughing at MY obvious stupidity. Lynne is usually the voice of reason. (Who wants to be that, Lynne. That's BORING!)

Thank you Huey Lewis for that song!


A Saturday in the Studio

In their little pink bed
They slumber and sleep
And dreaming of art
They don't make a peep

They're studio dogs
It's the Saturday quandry:
Back and forth from a project
A little cooking... some laundry

It makes a dog tired
It can be such a pest
But old dogs know the drill:
"Stay baby dogs and rest!"

As the twilight falls its:
"Pups, this days a wrap!"
And they race to their other beds
For a well deserved L-O-N-G nap!

Love and kisses to my Lucy and Frankie from mommy-o-e-o-e-o-e-o

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Marketing 101... like I know what that is!

I have been a marketing machine today.

Having decided at some point this week that if I was doing this for someone else, I would be going all out, I decided I needed to get with the program and quit being so silly.

So I added my name all giant and grandiose onto all the Chocolate Panache slide shows and I also (sort of maybe) finalized the backs of my cards - which now includes my own big drawing of me-me-me.

I also began designing the wholesale catalog (I posted it on-line for the critiques of my critiquing buddies) and was aghast and delighted at how fast the money adds up and how easy it was. What in the world do I think I am doing???

I'm still working on the Business Plan - which I hate but also love - and I haven't had time to read but one or two pages of Brisingr because I have been up at the crack of dawn (if dawn were at 7:00 a.m.) and staying up until the next day (this part is not exaggerated).

While Frankie is still all loyal and everything right here with me, Lucy has long-gone gone to bed.

Love to all and hope you are sleeping snug as your own little puppies,

Donna Ann

P.S. Hey Harold! I had no idea! Why don't you leave me a note? Or, you're a big computer magician. Give me your e-mail address and help me by critiquing my wholesale site.

Love again, Donna Ann

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You know that Business Plan and the whining?

After I wrote my last big post I thought, you know what? That is RIDICULOUS!

I wouldn't accept that behavior from anybody.

So I thought, I gotta get out there and clean that mess up and then I gotta get in here and clean this mess and quit acting so stupid. If somebody was paying me to work for THEM, I wouldn't be acting so stupid... I'd just do what I needed to do and I wouldn't even complain!

So... here this is for my own good and I'm a whining and a squalling.

So I go out there (with my Five O'clock World song all a-playing so I can hear it and kindly dance like Drew)...

and I'll be a monkey's aunt!

Since I was out there to take those pictures about ten million wasps have moved in!


Ten million wasps did not move in.

But four did.

And I'm not staying out there with four wasps because they might sting me in the ear again and that's a terrible painful deal!

So now I gotta wait until those wasps go to sleep so I can spray their new and tidy little hives (I saw three new hives! When did they do this???)

So I took a picture of one of my new wasps and I took a picture of the hive but my hand was so shakey that you can't even tell what they are. I was a-sceerd!

So, I got you this picture instead right off someone else's blog.

My whole point is: I gotta get outta there so I can't do this work TODAY! Tomorrow, yeah yeah sure. But right now, the only safe thing to do is to take a nap.

So, I'm gonna.

Until I have to go pick up my mother so we can bravely go to a ladies thing tonight at church (it makes me a nervous wreck but if I ever expect to get over some of these ridiculous panics, I'm gonna have to quit acting like I'm completely insane.)

That's neither here nor now.

But I do think a nap is the answer.

Love, d.

P.S. Why is it here NOR now and not here or now? Is it because NOR sorta rhymes with NEITHER? Is it like this: I could say it's either here or now, or I could say it's neither here nor now... but you just can't hardly say, It's neither here or now. You know what? What does that even mean???

Oh my goodness! It's not IT'S NEITHER HERE NOR NOW!

What an idiot! I think it's IT'S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE!

Really, just run-forest-run! I DO need a nap!!!

The Messy Studio and The Business Plan


How am I supposed to work in this mess?

I came to the urgent conclusion today that I need to be investing some time in a Business Plan for Chocolate Panache but there's no place in my head to work on such a matter.

All I got is confusion in the studio.

The office looks like a tsunami hit it. I can't get any work done in that hole. I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of it it's so horrendous.

Everywhere I look, I'm supposed to be doing something.

Everywhere I go, I'm behind.

Everything I do, I should be doing something else.

So, what I like to do is run away.

Run, Forest, run.

Dear Lord, make me a bird so I can fly far-far away.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clara and Lana

I don't know what to think about this idea.

I snapped a picture of two beautiful women at church this morning (above). These two women have been friends for decades and today were wearing green dresses in similar colors, all dolled-up like they always are. I asked them if they had ever had their pictures taken together and they said no. So, since I happened to have my camera with me, I asked if I could snap one.

On the way home later this afternoon after running over all creation, I was going through the mental list of things I want to get done tomorrow (okay, I never get anything DONE... just STARTED tomorrow) and I was thinking about what to do with those pictures.
I thought that those women (Clara and Lana) are really, to me, like a real-life Hot Snot. They are always beautiful and are the ultimate in class. Elegant but vivacious. Prissy but competent. Feminine but determined. Vulnerable but strong.

So I thought I'd make them into Hot Snots and give them the drawing.

Then I thought, well, now that's an idea, maybe.

I could do Hot Snots portraits for commission. But then I'm not sure.

So since I had to de-DHTML my Chocolate Panache website links anyway (because they are malfunctioning and I'm sick of it and I don't know what I'm doing to fix it and they looked stupid anyway and loaded slow and I think they were actually cornier than I could stomach long-term) I added the Commission a Hot Snot Portrait offering with a dead-link on Chocolate Panache so I could look at it and think about it.

I put that link on and took it off twice before I just left it. (After all, no one's looking at that site yet anyway and it's sole purpose up there is to assist me in figuring out what in the world I am doing.)

So I stuck up that dead link and here's what I thought about commissioned Hot Snots portraits:

Do I really want to fool with it?

If I do, I want a lot of money to do it.

I don't want retail hassles... I just wanna make stuff but this would involve tete-a-tete.

I would have to listen to the person paying for the portrait about what it's going to look like to some extent.

I probably wouldn't like being bossed about what to draw or how to do it.

I would have to hurry up and get it done even if I thought I was too-too busy with something else and wasn't in the mood to work on their old picture (you know how that is!)

I actually probably wouldn't like any body's input about it and (hopefully) secretly (as in, hopefully I wouldn't just say it out loud!) I would think their suggestions were stupid (even though they probably wouldn't be).

I would not like constructive criticism from someone not paying me or from someone I didn't ask for it from and even though they might be paying me, I would always think it wasn't enough money to authorize them to tell me what they don't like about what I am doing.

The only input about my Snots I ever listen to, pretty much, is Lynne's and David's.

David doesn't care what I do with my snotty pictures. He doesn't even like the snotty name I picked. (He says they are for a certain kind of audience and that that audience is not him. Isn't he a clever little diplomat? Well, he's not a girl so how can he be expected to know about stuff for girls. I'm glad he's a boy!)

And Lynne doesn't think I listen to her anyway so I probably don't really listen even though I think I try to.

What to do.

I'm going to ask Lynne and then do what I want despite what she tells me.

Just kidding, Lynne.

I'm sure you'll tell me the right thing to do.

And, as always, I will quickly think up a bunch of reasons why your completely sensible idea can't possibly work.

Love and kisses, d.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Influenced and changed through 30 years of BOSSES!

Talking about some of the people I've worked with in the past combined with a night of practically no sleep made me remember a lot of things.

It's interesting how the way we interpret things changes over the years. I've never been much of a black-and-white girl because, as I said in the last post, both sides of my brain work. ha ha ha

But having the opportunity to work for a wide range of people (yes, all these people were my bosses in one way or another... isn't that gross?) in varying situations and in different climates over the past 30 years has had a tremendous impact on how I now think, reason and react.

That girl who worked at Dairy Queen at age 15 was so gullible and innocent and wide-eyed and vulnerable. I believed in everything. Those attributes caused me a lot of pain over the years but also saved my sanity. You gotta balance that locus of control.

So, thank you. Even you old bosses that I still hate because you were such jerks. Thank you. ha ha ha

Here's what I learned from you (five words each):

Bill Cremer: Watch out for those hands

Terry Cremer: Sweep under the cigarette machine

Rick Cremer: Marrying the boss has advantages

Joe Marling: Speak up about free-cling peaches

Vernon Light: People misunderstand and tell fibs

Dixie Peck: The night shift gets screwed

Marsha Fuller: Answer phone... work 12 1/2 hours

Dan Waggoner: Change your displays between visits

Bill Snow: Those you admire can fall

Stan Williams: 26 year olds are ignorant

Bobby Lawson: 24 year olds are too

Hal Sel: 60 seconds equals 60 words

Jim Byers: Small companies make big money

Ken Kwantes: Stay outta the batting cages

Gary Heaven: People do what they can

Everett Briggs: Being meticulous is under appreciated

Jim Tarr: Military men love their wives

Gene Humphrey: Saints can have checkered backgrounds

Don Brookshire: Men look different without hats

Mike Gyovai: Military men are secretly vulnerable

Jim Matlock: People are watching your Fridays

George Lewis: Rush Limbaugh isn't a jerk

Dennis Spurgeon: Wild boys can be good

Steve Hargis: Understanding breeds empathy and patience

Merle Strouse: City Councilmen like to gripe

Floyd Ferrell: People always have their reasons

Kent King: Being upfront and clever works

Lenoard Westbrook: Everyone walks a difficult road

Nick Ginos: Being social saves your tail

Allen Litz: Even accountants are really fun

Larry Ewing: Idea people work too hard

Dana Rapier: Take the next step reliably

Annie Bass: Energy combined with talent rocks

Randy Stratman: Small town political knowledge rocks

Sharon Meusch: Elegant and savvy really rocks

Robert McKay: Miscommunicate and they'll throw rocks

Carol Green: Think carefully through all options

Nadine Miller: God knows what's most important

Lynne Bergman: Our dreams are God-owned

and my favorite boss, Dave Roberts: A man loves you anyway

Love to all of you and thank you for EVERYTHING. Like I said before: You rock! Even the ones of you I still hate because you, well you know, you were my boss!!! d.

P.S. Thank you, also, Joel Goodridge for the me and Skipper picture from 1982. That's what I looked like at the beginning of this so-called career. Look how young and sweet and hopeful. You people know what I look like now. You know how bitter I've become! You've all had a part in killing me and I'd say not a few of you have hot pokers waiting for you.

Love, d., your best employee

I gotta tell you... I kinda like it!

I just finished (okay, I quit where I was and went ahead and did it... there is a difference... ask Lynne. She knows it as this: "Better is the enemy of Good Enough." Ken would be so proud!)...

So, anyway, I just finished putting together a drawing demo for Chocolate Panache and decided to do it more than less. I know how I love watching them for other artists, so I thought it was a good idea.

Here's where the slide show is on-line (with it's too-cool music)...

And I gotta tell you: I kind of like it! Which surprises me. Because I normally hate everything I do until at least a few days have passed.

Many many years ago when I was still young and listening to people, I messed up something or other at work and my boss said this to me, "I don't need to say anything to you. You'll feel worse than I could ever make you feel."

(P.S. I was working as a secretary and my boss was, OMG, an engineer! I am not suited to work for an engineer! They only use one side of their brains... ! I'm not saying they're not smart. They're smart, but can be so essentially stupid because they are so left-brained. Both my daughters married these types of creatures. So, I've seen it numerous times up close and everything now and these boys, along with that first good boss, I gotta say: NOT REALLY about the stupid part. He was a great boss and I was crazy about him. He was instrumental in my beginning to learn to get over myself. And all this has nothing to do with anything I am trying to tell. But it's 12:30 a.m. and I am really getting wild. But my husband is not left-brained. He's a writer. He just comes across as left-brain to me because he's just disinterested in all my big pile of crap for other reasons I suppose, most of which have to do with me always having yet another big pile of crap that I'm trying to sell him on. ha ha ha Look how it doesn't even bother me! Man! Have I changed!)

Anyway, that was a painful epiphany for me: that I could make myself feel worse about myself than anyone else could. I thought I was just trying to be good at my job but really I was indulging in what has tried to rear its head over the years as a mental illness that will begrudge anyone of EVER being successful in anything because all you do is beat yourself over the brain for all your failures. And believe me, I have amassed a lot of those.

So anyway, I don't really know what I'm saying here: But I think I like the how-to-draw-a-hot-snot and I bet I dream I'm running around naked tonight because I feel like I have let people into my big secrets that nobody cares about anyway. It's so dumb.

I watched that video five times: once I obsessed over how crackly my hands look. Then I obsessed over how old lady my fingernails are. Then I read through the retarded (still struggling not to say that word after watching the new Ben Stiller movie) stuff I was quoted as saying. Then I was freaked out by how ignorant my drawing is and that I didn't even finish or start it on the show. Then, as I watched it through for the fifth time, I just felt all on display and exhibited and ridiculous and out of control and like I was showing too much (the pictures of my messy little studio are enough!)...

So why is it so different on here? Because this is for my friends (and ka-billions of fans who will be buying my stationery products in May ha ha ha). It's really embarrassing to market. But I knew that was one of the major obstacles I was going to have to get over.

(The truth about marketing is: nobody is paying attention anyway. So get over yourself and do what you gotta do. If you look stupid, that's no different than usual. The only one who didn't realize previously that I looked stupid was me. Now I'm in on the secret too.)

So, Lynne. To market to market. You know what they say next don't you? To buy a fat hog. That's what they say, Lynne! How come you just keep egging me on? Well, I love you for it.

And I waxed on in my big slide show like a nut about women needing to be vulnerable and now that's it! It's that feeling vulnerable and knowing - just KNOWING - there are people who can't wait to see you screw up and look like a fool and die laughing at you.

And you know what? And it's the truth. It really seems to have become the truth somewhere over all those years since I worked for an engineer and both my daughters married engineers. I still love to indulge in cruel self analysis and judgement. But I'm also over it. So to-market-to-market and for those who don't like it - or me - and are waiting for me to fall apart... well, I probably will.

Because that's what vulnerable people do.

And that's why they can be vulnerable.

And people who can't be vulnerable are the REAL wounded ones.

And they are the ones who really have nothing. And will never have anything but.

Thank you to all and each one of the people I have been blessed to work with over the years. I sometimes think of people like Jim Tarr and Rick Mercier and JoAnn Boatman and Bev Mitchell and Mary Alexander and they've all gone on... and I think of the ones I loved the most like Gene Humphrey and Millie Street and Anne Falkenrath and Lori Vaughn... and now my beloved Lynne Bergman and Shonette Jones and all the girls at the shop.

You guys have pushed me to ever greater realms of mental illness and to such a despair that now, I truly WILL, do anything.

ha ha ha

Love, Donna Ann

Hot Snot Artist


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And the "new me"...

Okay. I wanted to show you my "me" too.

This is my self-portrait that I did for
Chocolate Panache. I want you to notice that it looks just like me except that I am uglier, fatter, stupider, and don't have wings. I do, however, have more wild, dry, broke-off, and fuzzy hair.

Here is the real me:

Actually, this is my drivers license picture from last year and the only current picture I have.

Anyway, this is what I used as my reference. Here is what I do:

Each drawing usually has some aspect exaggerated, many times the eyes.

P.S. I sort of think it means you're not very loved when there are no pictures of you AT ALL except your stinking drivers license picture. My friend, Dana Rapier, once said that she needed to have pictures taken in case she was ever murdered and they didn't have any pictures to use for the TV's America's Most Wanted show but her drivers license picture. I thought that was hilarious! Now I know exactly what she meant. Of course, when people love you so little that they never take your picture, doesn't it sort of indicate that if you were to be missing and murdered, probably no one would really be looking for you so hard that they would put a picture of you on TV's America's Most Wanted in the first place???

Love, me, the unloved and unpictured and unsearched for.

P.S. Blogger's spacing between paragraphs is retarded. I actually DO go in and fix the html, but it just changes it to whatever retarded spacing it wants. Also, please forgive me for using the word retard. I understand this is no longer allowed. However, after watching Ben Stiller's new movie, I can't seem to stop myself. Now I have to re-break a habit I had as a kid!!! Seems like I heard that word a lot as a kid. Wonder why???

P.S. That is my sister's dog Misha on there peeking from behind the stool. I wanted to look real prissy-butt and I have wiener dogs and they aren't very prissy looking except for Lucy and she is so fat and old it's kind of ruins the prissy-butt affect. So I used Misha as my model. And now, after writing this, I feel REAL guilty about what I said about Lucy. And here she is, right here beside me, laying out on the floor all sprawled out and fat and fuzzy and old and wonderful just like she always does... right next to handsome curled-up-in-a-ball Frankie. How could I be so cruel as to deny my true heritage and show a dadgum poodle in my self-portrait and not my beloved little angel-wienies??? I will surely burn several days in Hell just for that. And I'll deserve it too! But there's no way I'm doing that drawing over! I have too much work to do!!!

Back to work in the (now cooler) studio!


It's cool enough now to get back into the studio (in our converted screened-in porch) and its wonderful, glorious, splendid, beautiful and very dusty.

And the dust doesn't bother me. That stuffy nose I get from it reminds me of when I was little and so busy that I didn't even notice that snot dripping onto my top lip. I like that feeling. Maybe not the snot on the lip per se, but the single-mindedness and complete involvement in the here-and-now it once demonstrated.

I finished remaking the entry splash to Chocolate Panache. I hadn't been really happy with it but needed something up there so I posted using things I had... now what I've got is more in line with what I had envisioned.

To finish this drawing I had to take a clue from Christopher Paolini's Eldest (which is a shame since the child writing it could be my son... but taking advice where you find it is actually wisdom! And besides, I adore Mr. Paolini, find him quite insightful and I prefer reading children's books whenever possible anyway because they aren't usually filled with filth and I like that I can actually accomplish finishing a book without my eyes rolling back into my head and causing even more permanent damage!)...
Anyway, Eragon said that the finest human trait is determination. I have very little determination. I always poop out when the going gets tough. That old saying, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going..." well, I have always done that. I get going right out of the room and abandon that too-hard-for-me-deal. So I wrote down the word DETERMINATION on my drawings and got busy.

Now I'm in the groove and I like it again.

Is this another last born trait: this abandoning of projects whenever they get too hard or too tiresome or just too too? I'm going to blame it on that. Surely it can't be just my lack of discipline, intelligence and will and of course, those ever persistent voices-in-the-head that whatever you do is going to be nothing but a big failure and waste of time anyway. Surely it must be caused by something I can't control. Otherwise: What a loser! What a complete and ridiculous loser!
Any last-borns have the same problem? What about you middlers and firsts? I know those firsts have all the advantages (except for staying out late when they are teens... that's reserved for the baby).
Anyway, advantageless by my lack of determination though I am and crippled by the coddling I received from my brother because he was the oldest and I was the (apparently very cute and sweet little) baby... (ha ha!) Here we come a wassailing! (p.s., I don't really know what wassailing is. You probably don't either so I'm using that word. It feels kind of slick on the tongue today. But that might be the snot. Who knows.)

Love and kisses and keep in touch! d.
P.S. My older daughter is a great believer in birth order. I have found that she exhibits all the strengths of a first-born but all the glamour of a baby. I think this is due to excellent parenting and someone tutoring her with the sort of knowledge one might some day pick up in a Christopher Paolini book. Don't you think?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Star Watching and the North Star

This is for my sister, Linda:

How can I find the North Star?

The easiest way to find the North Star (also called Polaris) is to first find the Big Dipper in the northern part of the sky. To find the North Star use the two stars that form the edge of the cup of the Big Dipper away from the handle. These stars are often called the pointer stars because when you line them up they point to the North Star. Follow an imaginary line through these two stars and this line will point you toward the North Star. The North Star is not a very bright star, so it might take some practice to find it easily.

Also, let's make it known:
on this night...
I saw 10 falling stars.

My sister saw 3.

Mom saw 1.

Now, who has the longest attention span here (and probably deserves several apologies)?

And, who can sit under these stars and doubt they were not created? Who would be so arrogant? Who would be so proud? Who would be so blind?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

At the Beach (in August)...

We are so blessed to have taken a trip with my parents and both our married daughters and their husbands in August. We all went to the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Above is our view out the back of the condo where we stayed. That is hubby David in the picture above.

We spent one day in Montgomery touring the World War II battleship there. Above is David, my mom and dad, and my daughter Ashley and her husband Matt. (Alicia and Josh had to leave early for Josh's new job.)

If you ever get a chance to go through the ship, you really should. It makes you better appreciate not only the danger those crewman were in, but also the sheer sacrifice they made day-in and day-out by living in such cramped quarters for months on end. We should all fall on our knees to them and kiss their feet.

P.S. This was our first vacation in FIVE years! Where does the time go? But maybe the next time we go to the beach we'll be taking a little grandbaby along! Wouldn't that be a peach?!?

Working on the Living Room

I've been updating our living room by retro dating the furniture and looking everywhere for 50's and 60's "prissy-butt" pieces. I've been collecting them for about three years now, waiting for the big change-over when the kids were all gone and the dogs were all perfect angels (yeah, sure!)

The first picture in each set is our before... the next picture is the after (forgive the messiness... I didn't do anything but snap the pictures).

Also: All the curtains aren't hung yet (and certainly not ironed). The walls haven't been repainted. The floors aren't done. The rugs aren't vacuumed. The old rocker needs recovered. The pictures aren't hung yet. The TV is blaring... but here's what I've been puttering around with.

This first area (above) is the entry way.

This is the regular living room area (above) with my cool French Provincial couches I bought from this lady off e-bay for a hundred bucks each. Until they became ours, the only time these couches were ever "sat upon" was for a bridal shower and a wedding shower. She had had them since 1965!

Following is part of the dining room, including the humongous old china cabinet that I am remaking into a coat closet (it wouldn't fit by our front door... about four inches too big for the opening, poodle-dogs!) I've taken out the shelves and am re-glassing the doors with yellowish glass you can't see through (like old church window glass) then I'm going to put hooks for coats inside. The cabinet is from 1967 and was also in the same family since it was purchased. I bought it on e-bay for $50.

First picture is before, second is after. All are in the works still.

This is the no-mans land between the dining room and living room. We have this horrible huge bump on the floor where the "new" living room (in the 50's) was connected to the old house. I guess I'll just have to paint it. It makes arranging furniture a challenge, but I guess that's part of the character of these old houses. I love it... wouldn't trade it for a newer one and I'm sure no one with a new one would trade me either!

P.S. My cool old phone actually works. We use these old dial-up phones to call between the house and the apartment (where my girls lived after high school when they were in college and before they got married). I feel like a regular Doris Day when I talk on this telephone!

Here are some pictures of some odds and ins that are in the room, including the old color of the room and what color it will be after I (ever) paint.

My beloved Nancy Drews... several of them courtesy of baby daughter Alicia.

The prissy-butt box that serves no purpose and is made of plastic but which, for me, is pretty much as Hollywood as it gets.

One of several of my prissy-butt 50's lamps with the little night lights in the bottom. That's the best part!

Our stellar Syrocco peacocks that actually were stellar before I got them and broke the plume off the boy. Lasted in tact for 50 years in somebody else's collection... 10 minutes in mine!

Here are the frosted windows I'm working on for the china-cabinet-not-any-more-now-a-coat-closet-so-now-you-can't-see-the-coats.

And here's the paint. It's pretty much the same, I guess, just like the curtains are pretty much the same... but really it's REAL different (that's what I tell my husband).