Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mom doesn't need to read this one!

I wanted to share a lighter side of my musings from Anne Lamott's latest book. In one chapter she talks about the fact that she was the first one in her grade to get a bra. I felt VERY envious. I was second to LAST in my grade to get a bra. I don't know why my mother wouldn't let me get one, no one needed one, it was just a right-of-passage. My mom should have known I had wanted one for a very long time. I think I was about 10 when I first started stuffing my UNDERSHIRT. I mean like snow cones. She never said a word. I'm sure she was trying to save me from my own pathetic embarrassment but I was just trying to get attention I wasn't getting. I was a very late bloomer but that's no excuse. Okay so having reached the goal of bradom, I still didn't fill it with anything until my senior year of high school then I made up for lost time, ba-boom. I was always made fun of for being too skinny and also flat-chested, i.e. Carpenter's Dream, flat as a board and easy to screw. Only the first part was true. So I didn't date like normal other girls, the boys in school figured I wasn't worth the effort. But by the time I got my boobs in my senior year I was dating Aggies (the college guys) and was over the high school dating thing. Still skinny with boobs I still, of course, didn't appreciate it like the average teen, and now as a grown woman, I'd give my left nut for that bod now! So a few years later I met, dated, and married my first husband. He was in his senior year at Texas A&M and happened to take a class with a guy who was a year ahead of me in high school. Somehow they got to talking and Jim said I'd gone to Bryan High and Glenn said so had he and what was my name. So when Jim told him my name, that fannyhole Glenn Joyce asked, "Stephanie George? Is she still flat-chested?"! That was it, that's what he thought of me. Jim replied something like, "Umm...NOOOOO...I guess you haven't seen her in a while.". Glenn graduated the year before my maturity. I'm not bragging (I just hadn't thought of this for over 25 years and thought it was funny) but I was still about 100 pounds and wore a C cup; I was boobs on a stick. In fact once when Jim and I were on a camping trip at Lake Travis a drunk Fred Williams said in front of everyone, "I've never seen such big tits on such a skinny girl!". So, 30 years and 3 children later my body is very different and yet I appreciate my body (way more pounds, worse for the wear, more jokes about my weight just different ones, and my mother calls me a cow), my life, and myself more than I ever have. I think Oprah has really gotten to me. Thank you, Oprah. I was made fun of constantly growing up for being too skinny then as a mature adult for being overweight. I just decided a few years ago that I would not play either game any longer. The only solution is to be happy, that's also the best revenge. I've got my revenge...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Whew, that was close!

I told Paul last night that I was going today to apply for the job at Matt's school the principal told me was still open. It was for "lunch room assistant". This morning Paul asked me why I was applying for the job. I could have answered his questions in many ways, all snotty, of course. I could have said truthfully, "Ummm, you're the one who sent the job announcement email to me.". I could have said, "Because you complain about money all the time.". I could have said oh so many things. What I said was, "Ever since I was a little girl I've dreamed of wearing a hair net to work, to have huge, fat arms, wear a white uniform, and cook things that come in gigantic jars and cans.". Now I think I can get away with this mean sarcasm because I went to beauty school and was a hairdresser. Talk about stereo-type jokes. I was also a waitress for too many years. I've cleaned houses, hell, I've cleaned HIS pee off the toilet. Sorry I don't have a PhD. So I spent the greater part of the day finding the office, filling out 10 pages of application forms, and taking one of three of the reference forms to be completed by a "co-worker". When I got home there was a message on the answering machine from the principal saying the job had been filled. Disappointment and relief. Three hours a day, Matt's school, school at all (same schedule as the kid), $10 an hour... I was IN THE MONEY plus still some alone time. But, for an artist, that bad, bad four letter word, W...O...R...K, makes any self-respecting artiste run for the nearest bottle of Xanax. Because WORK is SUPPOSED to mean PAYCHECK. Huh! I'm a stay-at-home mom, take care of a too-big-for-me house, supposed to be a cook, am an artist, and have a shop. And still no money! Who do I need to meet with about this?

Which Leads Me To...

...I'm just finishing up Anne Lamott's latest book. I've enjoyed it reading it more than any other of her books because her last book, Plan B, I had on CD and listened to it several times over a year ago while I painted the whole interior of a townhouse. She reads her book herself and has this monotone voice which sounds like it wouldn't be appealing but it's a perfect match to her dry, rye humor. So as I'm reading this one I can hear her voice reading it to me, can hear her sarcasm, her deadpan honesty. My last post led me into this one as Anne is passionately against the war in Iraq and the president. As she talks about all the rallies and meetings and the heartwarming out-pouring of people coming to aide for others, caring both globally and locally, I was shocked by my feelings about these stories. As I pondered what she was saying, I was surprised to notice that I felt envious of her and also my sister who has a lot of the same experiences. I felt envious, I'm embarrassed to say, because I was thinking, "That's all they have to worry about-Iraq.". Please don't get me wrong, I know very well we all have similar daily worries and stress due to our fast-paced lives-I'm not talking about that part. And I'm not trivializing the war or all the wonderful, hard work that so many brave folks step up and do. I say it because of all the violence we are experiencing here in Baltimore and DC. I'm against the war in Iraq; I think we should get out a.s.a.p., should have never gone, never have lost a single person over whatever convoluted, inane reason we ever started it. IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE. But what we experience here is not unlike a war zone, there are guns EVERYWHERE. Even my own 10 year old son was shot at while at our little park behind our home. It turned out to be "just" a BB gun but he didn't know that at the time. Of course, selfishly, I don't want this inner city violence to bleed out to the burbs but I don't want it to be anywhere. I'm a global thinker knowing very well that anything that happens anywhere affects everyone. No mayonnaise in Ireland. I know that there are many big cities in the U.S. that struggle with this problem (Balto and DC just happen to be in my face) but I also know there are a lot of places where they don't have to worry and agonize over this everyday. EVERYDAY there is another or others teen/s dead by guns, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, killers and victims. All the way to 12 and 13. EVERYDAY. There are rallies, meetings, town halls with the mayors, police, and citizens working as hard as possible to get some kind of lid on this. There's a legal curfew, more police, a new police chief, but still, open the paper everyday and there it is AGAIN. Some days I want to flee to Iowa, some days to Switzerland. My family begs us to move to Oregon. We love our life here in spite of all the warts. Most days I just vacillate between the war at home and the war in Iraq. In the meantime I'm working on getting a neighborhood watch up and running on our street. We are lucky to be pretty close-knit, we have great neighbors who care and look after each other, we all have the same basic desire, to keep our neighborhood safe for our children, ourselves, and each other. This is a quote my sis, Valori, sent to me a while back, so true... If mothers from the First World and from the Third World, black, white, yellow, Russian, American----if all would unite and tell the makers of wars that they will not tolerate any force that will undo what they have knit together so patiently in the womb for nine months, they could insure peace from generation to generation. ~Doris Donnelly

Mira, Mira Again! I Got Ink Again!

There is not much humble about me, I love having my picture and/or words in the newspaper. I guess I can defend such feelings by saying that I feel validated and heard. So here's the article that was in the Baltimore Examiner last week that set my fuse: P.S. If you can't read it, here is the link: Here's my rebuttal letter that was in the paper today. Paul and I "debated" my thoughts most of the time that I was writing this letter. He always plays the devil's advocate even though he agreed with me on some points. He thought I was misconstruing Mr. Williams' recommendations of a solution. The article steamed me at the get-go with his gun control stance, one I ponder constantly. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people", puleeeeeeeeeeeeeese. Throw a rock at me, take a swing, I'll take the odds. If you can't read this, here's the link: is the only part that the paper edited out of my letter, I mean no prejudice here, just stating what I think is an obvious fact of irony:
Here is an excerpt from an article, Japanese Gun Control, by David B. Kopel (, (Mr. Williams sited Japanese-Americans in his article), “Gun control in Japan is the most stringent in the democratic world. The weapons law begins by stating 'No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords', and very few exceptions are allowed. Gun ownership is minuscule, and so is gun crime.”. I find it, however, highly ironic that the Japanese make the video games that teach our children how to gun down others so well…

Monday, August 27, 2007

Too sensitive or not sensitive enough?

Is it wrong to take from your best friend one of her most enviably fabulous furniture pieces for your own selfish use?
Okay, now in my defense, in Nene and Woody's new house they wanted a big, round dining room table which Nene had already said meant she'd have to sell the dresser to make room for said big, round table with her wonderful Hickory chairs. I had already schemed that I would do a trade with her for a dresser which I bought, painted, and would stripe sometime in the next 4 1/2 years. I liked my dresser but, as you can see, nothing comes close to this beauty. I had already planted my evil scheme seed into Nene's brain and she was going for it!!!
Nene had found a suitable table base while we were out searching which she was working on. Then on Saturday, while out pursuing productive activities I decided I wanted to visit my favorite P at PJ's Antiques on my way to see my favorite J from PJ's. I walked into the store and sucked in my breath when I spied the perfect base and top for Nene's table. Perfect. When I asked Paul the price he quoted me a deal I couldn't refuse. I panickly called Nene who proceeded to ho and hum, I hung up the phone, and told Paul I would be back to pick it up with or without Nene's permission. I hadn't gotten far when Nene called me back and said okay and when and how much was delivery. I said in a couple of hours and margaritas. Delivery proved Woody and Nene quite happy with the table and, to get the new room arrangement kicked off, the removal of the dresser ensued. I drug that new baby into the house and staged it as soon as Paul went to tee off the next morning. I had to put the urn lamp that Nene had made (I think I paid retail for it) and, voila, I'm the happiest girl in the whole USA. I will feel so much better when they are finished with their new dining room design and love it. Until then there will be a little guilt but still much enjoyment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Yahoooooooooooooo! Surgery's Over!!!!

Well the big girl panties stayed on long enough for me to get through my surgery yesterday. Big shout out to St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore; everyone there was so sweet and gentle and kind. And afterwards it was as close to a spa that I've ever been...what can we get you?...what do you need?...WARM TOWEL FROM THE HEATED THING? My favorite part was when they said, "You can wake up it's over."! Sooooooooooo fun. Thanks for all of y'all's well-wishes and sweet thoughts. I'm still not quite used to the idea that it's finally "behind" me after almost 4 years. Yippie!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Poopy Day Has Finally Come

Tomorrow my little Wally Polyp is taking his leave and moving into a jar and on a slide. I can't say that I'll miss his pesky ass but I CAN say I'll be glad to have it over with. He and I have been together for over 3 years and it's time for him to move on. Please pray and think of me and my needle phobia. It's "routine" surgery, but Webster's definition of "routine" is when it's someone else who's having it done. And wish me good drugs! Thanks!

Full Peek at the Aesthetically Finished New Workroom

I finally aesthetically-only finished my new studio work room. So here are the photos, well-edited so that you can't see how I've already got trash on the floor as I treated myself to some creative time in there yesterday and today. I moved along the beloved favorites, like Mr. Man lamp below, on acid today. One of many areas where I stash just one area of my little control problems, ribbon.
I gave you a peek of the setting up of my favorite artists still life but it's full now and ready for the complete view. We've got Hope Wallace, Mel Lobdell, Judie Bomberger, Glynnis Gelaro, Nicole Sayre, black apple, Duncan Todd, Becky Christian, and Whataburger (what a burger should be) all represented just here (there are plenty of other artists represented in other areas).
I got the cutie white shelf/planter from the cottage and the scale (as you may recall from last Sunday) from The Pink Cabbage (NAILED DOWN MELLIE!). I hope to soon turn Prince Albert into a lamp.
Another angle which includes some of the mayhem but also my wonderful "Nurse Nancy" costume from childhood.
My little cutie area which began with taking a book case and adding the old kitchen cabinet doors from Janine's house which she had decoupaged with John Derian prints. I begged them to salvage the ones they could for me and they sweetly obliged when they demolished the kitchen.
Below is the desk that Paul's dad made 40 years ago that I've painted who knows how many different colors until I finally got to my favorite-PINK-and recently found the cabinet on top, painted it to match, and filled it with goodies.
Here are my "gonna be's", all my little sweeties I've collected and restarted the process of making little home collages for them. The two pictures on the right are old faves of mine, one of me and one of Justin that he painted in 2nd grade.
And the requisite Texas vignette complete with my metal Texas Sheriff's gun from childhood.
Check out this hand embroidered linen hand towel I got in Oxford hanging from the drawer pull on my work desk. As if I would wipe glue and glitter on it!!!!
Ever the child, one of my favorite lamps, on my work desk. An antique pink girl on a swing with a fab shade from the cottage and a posie from Alicia Paulson. Below is what the old studio room still looks like. If only a match could just make that room go away! I do have a deadline as Paul has a friend coming to stay with us the second weekend in September so it has to be a guest room by then. A deadline can be a really good thing.
P.S. Little pictures of the other projects I was doing intertwined with all the other rooms I was working on which got me a little over the edge for a while. But now that most of the work is over I'm very happy with the outcomes. This is the second bath upstairs. I hadn't noticed for almost 11 years how dorky the crappy oak cabinets looked with the stupid toe kick the same. So I stained over the existing finish with black stain and painted all the trim the same color and voila!, what a crisp, clean improvement.
All I did in our master bath was paint the gross moulding and toe kick and covered the blind on the window with cheetah fabric. Oh how I love paint. And, fortunately, am very good and fast at it.
The next couple of days will be rest and filling my brain with inspiration through a big stack of mags, books, and blogs. Yippie!

Friday, August 17, 2007

My Annual Ink

On the heels of Matt's best summer ever this letter shows up in one of our local newspapers, The Baltimore Examiner. While listening to peels of laughter coming from all the kids playing outside in the evening I typed my rebuttal email to the Examiner. I was ripe for the baiting. Oddly, I couldn't get his to line up straight on the scanner, my machine just wouldn't accept his slant! The only challenge was the little note on the "To Add Your Voice" box, "We will consider publishing letters containing fewer than 150 words". It takes me 150 words just to get warmed up, as I'm sure anyone who reads this blog is painfully aware of. I think his is more than 150 words, easily, but I'm not so obsessed that I counted. Really. I wanted to say that I agreed with the uniforms idea very much. Especially when the kids get to middle school but an early start is good for getting used to. I like a level playing field, I have a two page op-ed saved in my computer from last year regarding homework and the uneven playing field it causes to prove it.
I'm hoping I wasn't too upstaged by the facing page's thought-provoking question, below, especially in places such as Darfur and Iraq. These are all copied in actual size...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's all in my head...

After I got finished with the previous post I was whining on the phone to my husband about all the whining going on in our house. As I said to him, and it's so true, people should pay to live our life as a fantasy camp. I guess I've been lax in listening to India Aire lately. I got off the phone and had a bit of a wee in our powder room, I know, TMI, but that caused me to muse about recent movement in our powder room. (Puns are ALWAYS intended) When Betty Mellie (BM) was moved up to my new studio room she was replaced by these two doll heads. My husband asked me the other day what the heck they were doing in there and I responded, "They are where they belong, in the head.". He thought it was creepy I thought it was hilarious. I thought I'd share this little funny since I was so whiny before. Let's all of us look for the fun rather than the poop of life, shall we? Note to self mostly.

What Did I Get Myself Into?????

Oh my dear goodness (Sis), I have fallen and I can't get up. I accidentally got myself caught in the catch 22 web of home maintenance and upkeep. It's like just when I put out one fire another pops up somewhere else. Okay, I finished Matt's room, I finished our second bathroom upstairs, but then the bathroom looked so much better with a very overdue coat of paint on the baseboards that the bathroom in our bedroom started screaming at me, "11 years and nothing but builders' paint on these baseboards!". Oh they were bad. How could I have not noticed? Too much house, too little brain. I am almost finished with The Kite Runner! It's great(update, finished it, it is great but kind of reminds me of those movies like Country, The River, etc., where you keep thinking, "what could possibly go wrong now and, sure enough, something else bad happens, okay ending though). Finished Middlesex before that and it's a must-read. I was having fun up until I made that pleasant post about how far I had gotten then it's been, so not like me, dragging my heels to finish the rest. I want to lay in bed and read for a week. Oh, be careful what you ask for, I am having my Wally Polly taken out on Monday and hope recovery will be quick for me, the rest just milking it, so I shouldn't complain. Maybe it's Wally bringing me down. I'll go with that. I had imagined that I would have all this done and be spending this and next week in my new studio making fabulous new prizes for my new shop space. I thought I was just going to have fun and then I discovered all this stuff that had needed to be done for a while and the fun was over and the work began. Okay, enough whining...I'm pullin' up my boot straps and getting back on my head (Nene), back to my rat killin' (Dad). I'm gonna try like crazy to get a post of the finished product before my surgery. Wish me luck but mostly energy!

Monday, August 13, 2007

sneak peek at new shop digs and doggies in bikinis

Here's a sneak peek photo of the shop that I'm moving into the first of September, The Pink Cabbage. How cute is it? Old house turned into 10 individual shops. Sister team, Jody and Marcie, have done a great job putting together a great group at a great location. Below, goodies on the front porch.
Goodies inside. Oh, don't get attached to the antique scale, it came home with me yesterday.
Yesterday The Pink Cabbage hosted a dog-in-bikini contest to help support a local animal rescue organization. Of course I had to go, see, and post. It was too cute.
Check out the fun food for the humans...
Great crowd to view the contest...
...the judge, she seems fully qualified...
...the first prize winner below, won "fingernails down", as she had painted pink nails to match her bikini...
...this little dust mop was just a wee bit too small for any bikini except maybe for Barbie's...
...looking sassy in her two piece with a removable skirt, she was very popular...
...Buster had a few too many cocktails before he showed up and forgot where he put his bathing suit...
...and modest but no less fabulously attired...
...lots of fun was had by all. Stay tuned for more from The Pink Cabbage...

My perfect version of Las Vegas, The County Fair!

We had waited all week for the weather to cooperate so we could make our annual sojourn to the County Fair and Friday was finally the night. Below is Matt's yearly fave, the hang glider. That's us on the bottom, I know, terrible pic but my camera has a hard time with moving things. Or perhaps if I find the instruction book for the camera I could find out what all those icon options mean...but I digress. This is Matt and I on The Tornado. We were sure Paul would want to go on The Tornado but alas, he doesn't like twirly things which are the only ones that Matt and I like.
And Matt went alone on this Vegas-esk looking mini-coaster.
My very favorite, the animals and especially the smells. Self defense here, we had an exotic animal farm when I was growing up and the farm smells always bring back wonderful memories. Also fave, the llamas. The llamas were my family's favorite pets at our farm. Paul puts up with my soul-soothing alone time with the llamas each year but still hasn't caved from the constant repetition of, "I don't have a llama, I need a llama, I want a llama, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease". He's tough.
I love the sights and lights and colors of the mini-Vegas carney atmosphere.
And then there's the FOOD. Oh my goodness...shoutout to Mellie...can you believe I didn't try one? I was already...ummmmm...close to...spinney, hot dog, pudding, beets, cotton candy...twirly. I still regret that I didn't take the chance but I think it's the first time I've seen the actual booth for Fried Oreos in person, not that I didn't believe you, it's was just kind of like seeing the Grand Canyon the first time, you just have to see it for yourself to get the full effect.
Another that I wanted but skipped, Paul would definitely have wrestled me to the ground and taken it away from me so I didn't even try.
I just love looking at these places and wish they were in my backyard...
The Candy Tower, come on! Forget the moon bounce for my birthday, I want a Candy Tower!