Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blank Cards for My Lovely Mother - continued

Hell Just Broke Loose

Shape Shifting

Monday, August 25, 2008

Joke's On Me: I & II

Images: Ricci ad [Vogue magazine], Copy of vintage postcard [my collection], ephemera from Double BB and my sons' trip to Las Vegas

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Whisper, Trust, Look At Me

[Images: Ricci ad, Vogue Magazine]


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Speaking of Blogs ...

RACHEL ASHWELL HAS STARTED A BLOG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO HERE!!! I bumbled into this yesterday and couldn't contain myself. I have all of her books, I watched her television design show, every episode, when it was aired, I have SO MISSED her presence in the media. This is maybe the best thing to happen all month. Her wry sense of humor, her genuine presence, the beauty she creates and inspires -- just the photographs of her rooms, works, little corners of objects, the inside of her dishwasher for cryin' out loud -- all those things are like seeing my insides, displayed. It's NOT just the 'Shabby Chic' design style, it's the whole incorporation of all things WOMAN!! GO RACHEL! GO RACHEL!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Blog Bliss

This blog makes my mouth drip buckets and my stomach growl obscenely.

This blog fills me with the same welcome sensations as curling up in a fat comfie recliner with the new issues of Victoria and Romantic Home.

This blog lifts my heart, inspires me to laugh laugh laugh, then run, scamper, and nap upside down with all four limbs in the air.

And this blog still makes me yearn to a) have more female friends and b) know how to make them. Also, today's post blew me away and I think EVERYONE will react the same way. Wowza.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Patio Beam

ACK! Eesh, blimey and triple shite!!! A 4"x6"x20' piece of galvanized square post costs $272.00. Ya think? NOT!!! I mean, I'd still have to have it cut down to regulation length (16'-4"), then weld some bases to it. Plus, upon further consideration, and in doing some hand placements on the stacked pieces outside our office, I realized those suckers hold heat. Not very smart in the desert. Like I'm going to drag out a hose to cool the sucker off every day, then wipe it down? Pffft.

Instead, when I got home from work, I had a meeting of the minds with Double BB about painting a beam onto the patio, or building a wooden one. Two phone call attempts and 35-minutes on hold to Home Depot's special order department later, with no answer, I can't tell you yet what might transpire with a wooden, homemade balance plank. Double BB was all for it, though, 'splaining me different ways we could do the base so the beam itself won't rock, etc., and still elevate the main plank at least 8" off the ground. Present, temporary solution: can you see it? The outline of my on-the-concrete patio beam? 20 minutes measuring, and plastering wobbly yellow pastel chalk lines, and the beam has landed. No surprising reality check when I 'got on it' to realize I have a very long way to go in obtaining the smallest portion of my a) endurance, b) flexibility, and c) overall balance beam chops. Indication: I can't even remember regulation time for a full-on beam routine, me who used to do full routines 20 times in a row, I loved them/the beam so much!! But I DO remember the routine I did in my senior year of high school, down to every wrist twist, every arch, every leg flourish, every echo of my coach's voice telling me "On your toes, full extension!!! On your toes!!!" [Note: I have possibly the ugliest toe point in the history of gymnastics, which is to say all knobby and out-of-whack, my second toe longer than my first. Eesh. True story.] But my legs remember, even if they don't quite go as far or as fast as they used to. It's like my brain says, 'ok, run-run-split leap' and my legs respond, 'Uh, hmmm, okay, well -- let's see.......OH YEA!!' (hee hee) But bliss, honies. I did dance elements & leaps & full turns {I 'fell off' on every one of those bad boys!] & wolf turns & some of the hops I saw on the Olympics & skips -- but nothing upside down, I admit it -- for a full 30 minutes. Me, who won't get off my lard a** for much o'anything anymore! I'm amazed what an imprint all those years made on my body. My arms and hands arced easily into beautiful balletic curves and lifts; my shoulders and hips launched instantly into automatic self-checking for squareness to the beam, to each other, without any conscious thought from me. And see these feet [dirty little buggers, ain't they]? Lots of dust and chalk and Sharpie smears from measuring out my patio beam on my hands and knees with a 4-foot metal ruler, a yellow pastel chalk piece, and 2 brown Sharpies. Oh, the nail polish remnants? That is from my pedicure of, what? 3 weeks ago? 4? They do a good job, eh? That's why I go there. But I just hate polish maintenance. Can ya tell? I think a few nights out arguing with the concrete and my patio beam and the rest of that maroon stuff oughta chip off right nicely!

If I Build It ...

And for my first from-the-heart act that has nothing to do with my studio but everything to do with me?

I am consulting with my good buddy here at work, the mighty Gregster, about building one of these: If you're laughing, zip it. I'm serious. Greg being the skilled Mr. Fix-It person that he is, I first asked, 'Yo, hey, what kinda wood that won't warp, and what about the base?' He came up and said, "Yo yourself, and hey, does it have to be wood, necessarily?" Out into the construction yard here at work he goes, then comes back and summons me -- points out two pieces of I-beam ... one of which is galvanized and pretty light and comes in 20-foot lengths, 4" wide by 4" high ... as in PERFECTION. Since my skill level is not what it was in years-gone-by, I'm not trying to get anything but 4" wide and 16'-4" long and maybe 12" off the ground ... no rounded edges, no cushion, no extra bounce or suede covering. I want something on my patio that will lure me to work out as a gym membership just cannot do.

So anyway, Master Gregory is finding out for me the price of said I-beam, or if it's an extra piece laying around that could require a new home. If the price is right we're going to brainstorm the stands ...

I did gymnastics from the time of Olga Korbut's 1972 Olympics (I was 11) until I was 21 years old. Gym rat. Balance Beam was my favorite event. It still is. [Note: I HATE working out where people are around. Gyms, even at 5 a.m., tend to have other people around. The only exception: a dance class, or Pilates/Yoga class.] And masking tape on the patio 'floor' just isn't the same. I spent 2 hours over my miserable past weekend looking at the websites for every gymnastics facility in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, and surrounding metropolitan area for adult classes -- no such animal, only 'open gym'. Pffft.

Truth is, I haven't done gymnastics at all since I was 29 and pregnant with my youngest male child, nary even a cartwheel in the grass. To have a balance beam on my patio and to REALLY SUCK AT IT [at first] is going to jump-start my lazy carcass as nothing else can.

If I build it ...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Then Again ...

The truth is, my blog isn't very honest. I don't like that. I don't want to move forward in that tradition. Oh, I don't mean I've been lying, but I also haven't let you in very far. Here is what I just wrote to my brothers and My Lovely Mother, who are asking 'what the heck?' about ending my blog:

"The blog feels false to me, very superficial, like zipping up a socially correct costume with pretty pictures and benign writings. My insides are on fire, I have 'real life' going on and don't see the blog as a forum for that kind of truth. I gotta get back to deep writing in my journal and not the superficial, duck-&-dodge shite it's become cuz I'm scared to write what's really going on, what I really feel. Truth ain't always pretty journal backgrounds. I also find my 'art' voice changes when I know I'm going to post it -- art for the audience, not art the way i feel it. I need to step back for a while and get my spine back, I guess."

And I wrote to my blogging buddy, Beth -- it seems that blog readers use blogs as feel-good food, to escape reality, that probably 'they' don't want the grit, the meat and bones. But how arrogant of me! Surely there are others out there who would love to encounter someone who is peeling back the layers and exposing -- Real Life.

I just don't know if I'm that brave.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Do Not Adjust Your Dial

After much consideration and contemplation, I've decided to bring my blog to a close. Over the last year, between Seaweed and Gardenias, and Undertones-Art Gypsy before it, I feel like I've done what I can do, shown what I can show, been where I can be -- until some new experiences and periods of gestation have taken place. Bloglandia is a blast, and has led me to some cool women/friendships. I think, too, that my blog has been a fun landing place, or so many wouldn't have visited. Thanks to everyone who did. Happy Continued Blogging to All!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

When Will I Be A Woman?

On Thursday, all three of my fellas rode off into the sunset, headed for my oldest male child's basketball tournament in Las Vegas. I was supposed to head out this morning to 'The Ranch', my bros' Cam and Chris, with Ciera and My Lovely Mother. It's My Lovely Mother's birthday tomorrow, and I also wanted to meet Patchy, the new puppy. Instead, I spent last night and most of the morning keeping company with the toilet bowl and one very obnoxious stomach. Sigh. My only alternative for so-called activity has been to lay in the bed with Zoe upside-down beside me and the remote control in hand. [Side Note: odd feeling, that, the remote control in MY hand.]

That means I've been channeling between the rowing & running & volleyballing of the Olympics, What Not To Wear, The Iron Chef (secret ingregient: pastry dough), American's Next Top Model, Project Runway, 10 gag-filled minutes of Hugh Hefner's "The Girls Next Door", The Millionaire Matchmaker, and ... let me see ... the last 40 minutes of a Clint Eastwood shoot-em-up show.

Because my head is swimmy & foggy & throbbing & not generally paying attention very well to the (cough) plots, what I noticed over and over and over and over is the way all these shows refer to women as 'girls'. I'm going to cut Tyra Banks some slack on that, because since most of those models are under 20, maybe there's some leeway there. But Project Runway? What Not to Wear? And The Millionaire Matchmaker -- ok, this matchmaker woman [who desperately needs to go on What Not To Wear herself!] is trying to hook-up millionaire bachelors [most of whom are late thirties and up] with serious romances, but she talks to the men about the 'girls' she has to 'show' them.

If I wasn't already sick, I would've been pretty soon. Call it the Rabid Feminist in me if you must, but I think it's wretched, demeaning, and insulting. Sad. Pitiful. Degrading. I think it's just one pervasive collective means to take the edge off WOMEN. Women, real ones, fully developed ones, the ones with intellect and emotional maturity and explorative, creative, confident natures -- we scare the general population, men, sure, but also including 'the girls', the women who want to stay in that less-is-more trap and wear the Girl Sash.

I started referring to my female friends as 'woman' when I hit 25. As in: 'Hey, Woman!' I was married that year, had my first child a month shy of my 26th birthday. Women don't seem to have those stereotypical transitional moments that take males from boy to man. We don't qualify as women when our menstrual cycles begin, right? [And we're the butt of jokes when we hit menopause - go figure!] Or when we purchase our first real bra. Or host our first dinner party, including our or our husband's boss. Or when our income is critical in our ability as a married couple to purchase a crib, a car, or a home. Having a baby doesn't even count, anymore, since in our culture as it exists today, baby-hatching has become a trend for 13 year olds. Earning a living, raising kids, getting an education, establishing ourselves in careers -- it has no bearing on how we're addressed. The men I work with now, and have worked with all of my professional life, still refer to me and any other woman/women in the office as 'girls'. 'You girls have a great weekend!" In my current office, the other of us two 'girls' working there is a) one of 3 owners and b) the president of the company. She's also nearing 60 years of age.

Speaking of age: Women hit our 18th, 21st, 25th, 30th birthdays without the kind of fanfare that hails WOMEN. In fact, we're taught to backpedal, deny, count backwards, fudge, ignore, or outright lie about our true ages. God help us, if we can't stay hard-bodied 22 year olds to all eternity, we have no value. And that's not even true, so much -- look at Britney Spears -- the girl has 2 children and bloats from a size Minus 18 to a Size 4, goes on MTV with a body most of US would kill for, and she's dissed, dismissed, put down, criticized. Celebrities race to see who can have their Celeb Bod back the fastest after giving birth -- but that's a whole different rant, so I'll save it.

What we women know isn't enough. What we've seen, learned, experienced, assimilated, tasted, tested -- none of that is enough to earn us the Woman Badge. Why didn't they tell me that in Brownies? That'd I'd be a girl all the way to my grave? Why didn't someone warn me that cloistering my intelligence, masking my confidence, downplaying my decision-making abilities, muting everything about the WOMAN I am, is what society at large would prefer? Embrace? Applaud?

Botox and boobs, yes sir and 'how do you want your coffee'? Be the efficient and effective decorative office accessory, SILENT of course, no original thoughts, no questionning or innovation, no parlaying of my 25 years of construction experience into a better way of doing anything. Make the coffee, happily clean up the grounds and goobers left by the men, be the smiling approving face, the listening bright eyed audience as if fascinated by any and all male conversation. Never notice that said men never reciprocate with even a single personal question, let alone lend the same listening ear. You are an appliance they call 'girl'.

LESSON: BE A GIRL. A girl who can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and turn up the heat in the bedroom later, but a girl nonetheless. If you have an independent thought, for crying out loud, get thee to a therapist who can prescribe prohibitive and quelling medications, imbibe said concoctions and GET THYSELF IN HAND.

I won't do it. I refuse. Just thought I'd let you know that. I AM a woman, and I'm not going back. And whenever I discover that my WOMAN-NESS scares someone, I'm going to consider that my Woman Merit Badge.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Journal Begins

Front Cover!
Opening page. I haven't decided on which portrait I'm going to use yet, and I haven't found a word or phrase.
Harlequin patterns, awesome floral scroll-y rub-ons. The gray harlequin flap lifts for more writing space.
I can't get enough of this apple paper - it has so many moods. Felt Asian to me tonight. Resist/faux batik technique with a foamie stamp, then painted over it with my Pearlescent gold ... used a glass stenciling paint for the borders, torched them with a heat gun to make them bubbly & crackly. Photo is one of my own, papers from The Tuscan Rose. Just seem to be gravitating toward introspective layouts. Photo from FOCUS magazine, love it! Wanting to go inward, take time for it, be still and listening, LOOK inside. Hoping to travel to exotic new internal places. Image from my personal collection. Cat card from the folks at work. Zoe could pull this off! The Back Cover. [I got this journal at Bookstar, in the sales section. They have several different covers.]

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 13th is My One Year Blog Anniversary!

Hey, Homegirls! Tomorrow is my one year blog anniversary. I wanted to PLAY! Hence the face and hand paints, and then I recruited my youngest male child to play photographer. One of these shots will be the portrait for my new journal! Wondering What Is To Come, with milk mustache accessory. Jealous, aren't ya? [Well, YOU try putting on face paint without your spectacles and see what YOU look like when you're done!] It's all about the growth. [And having HUGE PAWS for hands means lots of room to play with paints, anyway!]
Ah, the deep thoughts. Half in and half out of reality [or: Your Hair Clashes with your Mask] My Magic Hands! Wild thing, you make my heart sing!

Put It On And Go Out The Door [For Beth]

Beth, my blog buddy, recently came under the influence of the Mighty Nina Bagley, she of the perfectly wrapped head scarf, by way of a 2-day class, then found herself shopping for scarves and making attempts at head-scarf headway. I told Beth my operating policy when it comes to scarves, new-to-me styles, possibly ugly shoes, anything different and slightly nerve-wracking: Put it on and go out the door like you own it. Below -- examples of Toni putting her operating policies where her mouth is, by request (for you, Beth!) And yes, I DO dress like this, and own it. As I told Beth, if it were socially correct for this mermaid to unleash her tail, I'd wrap that sucker in scarves, too! Swish, swish! Babushka A La Toni. Also, if I weren't terrified of The Evil Eye, this would be me giving one. Ok, ok, my fan handling needs work! [So does my youngest male child's MuthaCam handling, huh? Just a wee tad, I think.] I promise I was standing up straight. Not sure what youngest male child's condition was! Oh, sweet! This is so me, FlIRT! [Fan from Venice, just before our gondola ride.] Explicit Instructions to Youngest Male Child: "Zoom in, Baby, I don't want all this non-existent cleavage showing." "Mom, I'm not all about this camera stuff. I'm just pointing and shooting." Viewers, welcome to my non-existent cleavage. Please re-direct your attention to the head scarf, starting immediately! I AM a growing thang! [Youngest male child is still working on his camera angles. Patience!] That's what I'm talking about! Zorro Girl, at last!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Final Journal Backgrounds, This Volume

These are the last four backgrounds of my current written journal. Wow, this one has only taken me 3 months and a few days to finish. Kinda surprised me, because I've been in/on somewhat of a quiet, inward, laid-low place/path during this journal period! Sources: "Ladies" from a free paper sheet in a Stampington publication. Egyptian Treasure business card came from My Beloved Aunt Judy's frog gift wrapping. Papers, sticker, statue image, from my stash. Leaf is polymer clay experiment leftover; red apple button. "The Invitation' is for me to freelance where I'm headed, what I'm feeling going into it. 'Hot Tempered, don't be afraid' is a message to my inner self! Sources: My papers and stickers. Tuscan Rose woman image. Palm Trees/Pond from a postcard, my collection. Rose stamp image from Veronica. 'I always dreamed that' sticker is to kick-start my ideas for the next few months that will be captured in the new journal.
Sources: Mary Mata flower image. Roses/music strip from Veronica. My stamps (large woman image is Leo Cioci, probably my all time favorite stamp designer), my papers and stickers. Desire having to do with what I want to see happen as I begin a new journal volume. Sources: Images, Mary Mata. My stash of papers, small coffee filter pocket. 'Cry', and a dancing woman image, because a journal is ending -- that's always both difficult and exciting! The Arabic paper fills me with joy -- such lovely lovely lettering.

And yes! I already have my new volume; will scan soon, but not until I've found my quote and poem to go along with it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day Trip with Dad

Dad and I today packed cameras, film, water, sunscreen and hats and mosied up to Jerome, the same place Double BB and I visited on our last anniversary. Dad, however, had a specific destination in mind. I can't show you that yet, as those pictures are on film and I haven't developed it yet. But the photos below were taken on my trusty MuthaCam after we got back into town. Always irresistible vistas, such as this! Stunning cloudworks today. And we noticed new activity taking place in one of the old mine locations. All of that area is roped off, no trespassing signs everywhere, so we couldn't even think of trying to get near it. There are old walls from the original mine buildings, and 2 remaining concrete buildings from the original site. We both ITCH to get in there and shoot! One of my favorite buildings in Jerome to photograph, although none of the shots ever quite capture it, the patina on the wire around the balconies, the pitch of the building, the peeling paint. I keep trying, though, every time I go up there.
Because of the steep slopes upon which the houses were erected, many over the years have shifted, foundations cracked, roofs caved in. Those which go unwanted and unloved and unrescued end up forlornly, beautifully photogenic, like this one. Dad had to explain to me that this was an old gas pump. At that time, the numbers on the little tags were enclosed in glass. The patron told the pump attendant how many gallons were wanted. The attendant then flipped a lever at the bottom and the gas rose UP, into the glass-enclosed cylinder, to the quantity requested. The old high school in Jerome is now home to several artists' studios. This painted poster greeted us at one door -- the image is of the triangular corner housing the restaurant where Dad treated me to breakfast, The Flat Iron, named one of the 25 best in Arizona -- yes, definitely!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Keeping it Real

It is my plan to read this post of Ms. SuziBlu's at least twice a day, to ingest it like medicine or hot coffee or a foot massage (whatever is required) to straighten my spine, clear my head, and give me back my bark. I also recommend it to anyone out there who is arting, in whatever form, and trying to keep it real. Actually, I pretty much recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Burrito, Boys, Horseplay & School Clothes

This would be my oldest male child's Lair -- black sheets, black curtains, fake fur throw, black fur pillow shams [pfft, thrrff, flaaah says Mother, trying to nap on said shams, spitting out fake fur], but beautiful and HUGE pieces of dark cherry furniture selected and purchased by oldest male child. Youngest male child tends to gravitate to The Lair for noshing, DVD-watching, wrestling matches, conversation, and sleep. Oldest male child never succeeds in evicting youngest male child. By 6 a.m., male children in tangled pile of limbs that melts Mother's heart. [Note: Mother still giggling privately about choice of black for oldest male child's linens, but nonetheless coveting the incredible ceiling fan he also chose, paid for, and installed, an accessory MUCH NEEDED in Mother's studio. True story.] Youngest torments Oldest. Kodak Moment Not Captured By The MuthaCam: when Oldest swats Youngest then wrestles burrito out of his hands. Ensuing Battle for Possession of the Burrito. Mother ducking, protecting MuthaCam with both hands from flying son limbs and burrito contents. And here we have my youngest male child noshing on said carne asada burrito with pico de gallo and guacomole. I brought that boy up right, didn't I? I'm so proud! Ah, the Oldest Male Child, he does tolerate Mother with MuthaCam so beautifully, doesn't he? The two of 'em were ogling a Mariah Carey video -- forgive me, but inasmuchas yes, she can sing, she is also a HOOCHIE DELUXE!! I wonder when she'll stop dressing like a 17 year old cheerleader? Never seen a woman more proud of her -- uh -- lungs! Double BB's school clothes shopping expedition with the youngest male child meets with far greater success than Mother's. Eesh. Blimey. Shite. Ain't it always so? My GQ guys stick together, they surely do. K for Kevin? I was too scared to ask, thinking it would be taken as a 'stoopid, only-a-Mother-would-ask' species of question. "No, don't shoot the logo, Mom. Shoot the pockets. The left pocket!" Yes Sir. And my youngest male child has the NERVE to tell me he needs a pair of 'all white tennis shoes'. Hmmm. I can at least do a Snoopy Dance because he's earned the money to pay for 90% of these.