Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cleaning Up

Sexy singing voice...aaaaaaat laaaaast...for the second time in a week I've had the energy and wherewithal to tackle my, in swanky language, studio.  The extra bedroom is dedicated to holding the art supplies and waiting for me to be disciplined enough to get off the computer and go in and make things.  Recently, I've had the extra incentive to create art for fundraisers for friends in need.  Wading through the...well, you'll make things has gotten irritating enough to finally do something about it.
This one of those adhesive plastic signs I had made for the studio window a few years ago.  Because of the sun, the sign has gotten chippy, pieces have fallen off, dots missing, but I can't get it off.  The instructions said to use alcohol but, no matter how much I drink, it won't come off.  Just KIDDING.  It's the least of my problems in there.

Here's the mess.  This a grand improvement from several days ago.  This is just one side of the room; the other three sides look better.
In the meantime I pulled this nugget out from behind some things; not hidden but not displayed the way it deserves.  This antique soap dish was given to me by my sister, Valori, and her then-husband, Greg.  They totally got me.  I was all of 14 and it was 1972.  I loved antiques starting at a young age.  This is a perfect, all three pieces, English soap dish.  The brand?  Bristol.  The street we grew up on.  I used it for years but over time I've realized it's just too precious to take the chance, so it's eye candy.  A pretty to make me smile; so simple yet so much love inside it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My inheritance

Okay y'all read this whole post before you hysterically change this window to and book a ticket to BWI.  And don't grab the phone just yet either.  I'm not sharing.  Get over it.
As you may or may not have read, my dear friend, Carolyn, passed away earlier this month.  Above are Carolyn, me, one of Carolyn's beautifully transformed mannequins, and Fab Janine.   Yeah, it's a good one of us all.  Janine, Woody, and I had gone to one of Carolyn's open houses at the Howard County Art Center.  Her mannequin was in the main gallery that night.  She was pretty sick here; chemo and dialysis, but nothing stopped her.  In fact, it was her last real fun outing that the three of us made together a couple of years ago, right before she was diagnosed with stomach cancer and kidney failure.  I accidentally parked too far away from the Mexican restaurant that was her favorite that I had introduced her to in Silver Spring.  It was a cool but pretty windy day and she was complaining constantly.  There had been a little wolf-crying over the years but Janine and I (rolling our eyes) did our best to make it easier for her as she said she hadn't been feeling well (well, no kidding in hindsight).  In fact, I walked to get the car and drove to pick them up after we ate so she wouldn't have to walk back (or did I just not get us lost on the way back to the car?).  We did have fun that day besides that part.  There's a little guilt that will probably never leave since she was, quite indeed, ill.  As I mentioned previously, I hadn't spent much time with her in the last few months because of all the other fucking shit (pardon meeeee) going on. As these things go, she was not bad off until the end and then it was fast.  Too fast for almost none of her friends to get to see her. So the funeral was the week we went to NYC for spring break.  It was over a week after she passed.  I had no idea I would miss it until it was too late and we were locked into our NY plans.  Yeah, I could have sent the guys and met them two days later but I knew she wouldn't want that-I did-but, trust me, there's no sense in arguing with her.  From my friends who did go...AND THIS MIGHT BE WHERE YOU WANT TO READ IF THIS HAS BEEN TOO LONG OF A POST SO FAR..., I learned that her grandson, D'angelo, who she raised and helped him raise his kids, said that when a person went to Carolyn's home, they were sure to get two things-a hot meal and the cold truth.  He got quite a laugh.  I have so many stories.  One was being caught in a disagreement of what I should do with a rug (they weren't disagreeing, they were each just telling me to do something different) between my newly-widowed mother and Carolyn.  Oh Lord, who do I side with?  I think I ended up running to the bathroom (this was at Oella Mill) and throwing up.  She was a loving force.  And so loved.  She brought big ol' Paul Wolfgang to his knees at least once a week (okay, he's a teddy bear anyway, but he would have given up his magic wand for her).  Anyway, I felt so honored that she thought to set aside some things for me.  She told her son, Sean, and D'angelo what to give me.  I heard it was more but things got confused and I don't care; I have pieces with her DNA on them.
 Heirlooms are the only material things that I truly love.  The things that people who I loved and/or ancestors I never met are all I have of them; it's a tangible piece of them.  What she left me were the molds that she used to make jewelry.  I have several of her art pieces that I purchased from her over the years but these are what she wanted for me.  Molds she made with her own hands...her hands.   
The ones in the top photo are my favorites-the faces.  I love all of them, of course.  The ones above look like something you would find in the pyramids in Egypt.  I have them, as you can see by the "boot picture" in a drawer (not a closed drawer, a drawer used as an open box type a deal) in my guest room all in one place.  There are many.  And then there were a couple of neat silver molds and also the (if you look close enough) some Creepy Crawler molds.  Oh, Justin and his friend, Luke, would spend hours and hours making those.  I still have the machine.  Anyway, I put them in the boot with the other molds and it made me think of Woody in Toy Story..."I've got a snake in my boot!".  Laugh or cry or...snort (wink, wink to someone below)...more on that later.  
Oh, P.S.  Something they mentioned at the funeral was how tickled Carolyn was by all the attention she got when she worked with me on an Historic Ellicott City show house one year.  She painted the floor.  By hand.  On her hands and knees (at 70?-no one ever knew her age until she passed).  And it was beautiful.  I tried to find the photos of that house in this blog archives but couldn't.  I'm going to hunt them down and post them.  It was a beautiful space; two small rooms and a very small balcony that she also painted.  The then-governer's wife loved it, but more importantly, we loved it.  And I loved her, I always will.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Okay, here's the deal with Pinterest.

I finally put my finger on the justification for all the obession of Pinterest.  Besides being a big bowl of candy for visual folk, it is a big book of tear sheets.  Seriously, for those of us who have piles and piles of pages ripped out of magazines we want to keep for ideas and/or inspiration.  All neatly ordered by color or subject or whatever you want.

I'd seen this on facebook but found it on Pinterest so I could save it to my "I Want It".  And by I Want It I mean that it's inspiration for a future home, not that Paul would go for this or, for that matter, most of the items in that category! 

And for a good laugh, appropriate or inappropriate.  I prefer, well, we all know. 

I remember this one from the book Rolling Homes.  My sister converted a school bus into a rolling home from this inspiration.  When this photo came up on Pinterest a woman commented that she remembered the photo from a book when she was little.  I was tickled that I could be the one who could remind her what the name of the book was.  BTW, you can't find that book now for under $50; it's out of print and a collectors item.

Self explanatory.

One of mine.  I love clocks.

I never outgrew dolls and doll houses.  The child in me is still alive and well.

This one is for real.  Seriously, this is my dream home.  I was describing this one night while we were out with friends for dinner.  I said that with Paul having been so unhappy with his job for, umm, 13 of the last 15 years, he should retire and we move to San Miguel de Allende and build this.  A friend, Mike, told Paul, "Good luck with that downsized $800,000 tree house".  He's probably right but a girl can dream.

Intervention on isle...she's on the move...hurry Lance!!!!

Okay, I'm an artist and have a shop where I need to sell items other than just my art in order to make huge amounts of money (ha!).  Most of the 15 other women in our co-op shop at garage or estate sales.  I don't like to do that because it makes me feel much the same way I do when I buy a lottery ticket; I get real jacked up about what's next-anxious about what I might find but, of course, don't.  Some shop at actual other retail stores and flip items; something I won't do because I'd would be mortified if someone recognized that I did that.  Not that there's anything wrong with it.  I will do thrift shops though.  And the first rule for dealers is DON'T BUY YOUR OWN SHIT.  After, in my case, 12 years, you would be surprised how many times you look at an item and wonder if you had donated it.  I have actually gotten home with something I'd bought then realized I had donated it and just purchases it again.  I went to a new place last week and had that deja vu feeling but I think I did okay.  However, the last few months, as y'all know, have been, mmm, rough.  I've still been purchasing (I've improved a lot the last few years) but, the kicker is, I haven't been doing well about unpacking and "doing" when I get the items home.  Just this last week and, especially the last few days, I've had a boost (knock wood) and am starting to follow through on the soooo many things I need to do.  Above is just the first piece I pulled out Sunday that I got while in New York.  I got some great things from Wendy (another post coming) that I haven't even waded through to but, on the right, is a Jill Scwartz collage that I picked up at a great little shop (Chaos) I spied through the taxi window while Matt and I were on our way somewhere else then walked back to.  I'd seen the cutest top in the window I thought I had to have. $400.  Right.  But, while trying to escape the focused saleswoman, I saw several fun things on some shelves in the back and grabbed three things.  Ha!, it was the clearance area.  I didn't remember that the collage was one of JS's until I unpacked it (I was wearing one of her necklaces when I bought it!).  Isn't it cute?  The book?  Well, that's a vintage Jell-o recipe book of Paul's mom's that I found while moving things around in our small guest room this morning which I thought looked good with the colors in the collage.  So more to come, as per use...

Ma'am, do you have a tuba on your front porch?

How many times have we heard that; can I get an Amen?  I've been a wife and/or mother for 32+ years now-that's a lot of cooking if your men aren't cookers.  And they aren't.  Two husbands, three sons, two fathers-in-law-no happy cookers.  So, a couple of years ago I made a stand.  I no longer found thinking of appealing meals, gathering recipes, making a list, driving to the grocery store, spending an hour going through picking up the items, going to the check out and transferring the items onto the belt, then (if I haven't used self-check and bagged my own things) transferring the bags back into the cart, transferring the bags into the car, driving home, carrying the bags inside and putting them all away, then cooking, which I lost complete interest in about 30 years ago, interesting.  And I have some picky eaters and they all have different desires.  And, they often call audibles after the meal is made or feel the need to enhance what I've done.  They can't figure out why it pisses me off.  I'm of the mind that there are the two classic choices-take it or leave it.  The one who makes the "bacon" to buy the bacon is one of the worst offenders.  A product of the fifties, when it comes to anything other than sex, he wants me to be his mother-ugh.  Uh ha, ya, then I want to have sex.  Soooo, this stand I made?  I'm having the groceries delivered.  Paul is dying (mmm...) to crunch the numbers on the price of this form of grocery shopping but not badly enough to actually do the experiment himself so, until that day comes, I have most of my groceries delivered.  Not only does it save time and gas but I have lots of time to go over recipes and several hours to add items that I've forgotten which, of course, occurs several times during the process.  It also keeps me from grabbing those Twinkies or cookie dough roll that might catch my eye while in the store.  I do purchase a lot of things from Target since they expanded into full grocery store mode a while back; they are cheaper and I don't mind going there so much.  See, where we live (a planned community-don't get me started) they hide such unattractive places like gas stations and food stores so one must drive far to get to these places whereas Target was built after Mr. Rouse lost control and it's near us.  A Wegman's is being built and will open down the road in June.  It's like Harrod's without the clothing or huge prices.  It's a gourmet grocery store; mood lighting, all the different kinds of food that you have to scramble all over town to get but in one place.  Great health food section.  Peapod no more when W's opens.  Anyway...the tuba...last week after I ordered my groceries, I did it so late that I had the 4:30-9:30 time slot.  We always get the last delivery when I do this.  I had to pick up Matt and his buddy from the mall (Friday night) when I saw the guy turn onto our street.  Only Justin and "Woof Woof Woof Woof, you get it" were home so I stopped the guy to tell him just to drop the stuff on the porch and not ring the doorbell because Justin was ill and Boh would scare the crap outta him.  I signed the paperwork and drove away.  He was at the end of our not-that-long block.  TEN MINUTES LATER he called me back.  I felt terrible.  We had a new front porch installed a couple of months ago and I can't seem to remember to put new numbers on the house.  And we share a driveway with our neighbors whose house is turned ever so slightly enough that you can't read their house numbers, cell phone rings TEN MINUTES LATER and the guy says, "Ma'am, do you have a tuba on your front porch?".  I sheepishly said yes and apologized profusely for not having house numbers (and it was dark anyway).  Matt wondered why he didn't mention the sink in the front flowerbed...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mary, may I?

Oh Mother Mary, I am so not full of grace.  Not even a little.  When I started this post three hours ago it was going to be pretty much solely about Pinterest, my latest down falling.  But the new (as of this very morning) doorbell rang and the Enterprise guy was picking me up...just as they advertise.  So I dropped him off.  Then things went off track.  There were many post topics going through my mind as I worked my mini spinout.   As I left a troubled spot, caring a heavyish set of drawers out of the door, the woman ahead of me walked out and let the door shut on me.  When she heard me say (louder, obviously than I intended), "Oh, hell no.", she immediately turned back, apologized profusely, and opened the door for me.  Craaaap (Reba).  Then she complimented me on my keen taste.  Craaap.  See, sometimes I get so pissed off that,  not only don't I live in Texas but, I live in one of the most unfriendly places in the U.S.  I'm saying this fully aware that the lion's share of my handful of readers are my sweet peeps from here.  Please don't take offense, my dear friends.  We all know that this area is known as a "city of strangers" meaning that, while you can find fab friends as I have been blessed to, if you don't know someone you don't speak, nod, and NEVER make eye contact.  If you accidentally make eye contact, look away asap to make amends.  Soooooo, the point?  Do I have to have one?  I shall not toy with my shrinking audience...I tend to jump to negative conclusions about people when I'm on auto-pilot comparison-with-Texans mode.  But Karma is pretty good about kicking my ass quickly when I slip; usually within minutes, just as in this most recent case. 
Okay, I know blog readers.  Posts should not be longer than a potty sitting.  We have other blogs to get to or, in my case, back to Pinterest before I miss that next great pin-oy.  That will lead to another post here because this one is going past my readers' attention.  No offense, again.  Y'all have always been patient with me unlike my family who likes my stories to be in haiku form.  My usual stories can barely squeeze into a yellow pages book size area.
Okay, well I was going to talk about my shrink and my intervention needs but I shan't push it this time around.  Funny from Pinterest above.  Also, quickly, if you haven't seen my post on FB, a light, oh so funny author (I find akin to Miz Juney but perhaps even more prolific, if possible, and she gets paid...and so should Miz Juney), Celia Riverbark.  She is a riot.  You can pick up any one of her books anywhere and get a buzz of giggles.  She was apparently a columnist who published her articles.  She's the kind who can make the sad truth hilarious (like Anne LaMott only with Marshmallow Fluff).

Great play if you can get there.

Believe it or not, as many times as we have been to NYC and that Paul was born and raised there, none of us had seen a Broadway play.  My parents and, especially my mom, took me to a lot of plays and cultural events in general as I was growing up.  Paul and Matt had always resisted when I begged to go to a play many times-every time we went to Da City.  When our next door neighbors told us about all they had scheduled for their trip (see us having dinner with them on one of the other posts), I could see Paul felt a little shamed that we had never done many basic things one should do while there.  Then we went to dinner with our friend Ron, also from NY, and he so put the shame on Paul about us never having seen ANY of the endless, fabulous show proffered there.  Booyah.

They have three sites in the city where you can get same day tickets.  It's a long line.  Fortunately, or unfortunately (I don't know who had it worse), I had to stay at the hotel because we were being moved from an ant sized room to an anthill sized room and someone needed to be there for the move.  So, as the line got shorter, so did the list of options and Paul was calling every 5 minutes as he got closer to the front of the line.  In the end, two of the top choices we had talked about were available-Jesus Christ Superstar and Nice Work.  I was the only one who had seen JCS (at the movies) but, at the last minute I felt that JCS would be somewhat intense and we really needed light.  And I had seen or read about Matthew Broderick and the show and I had thought at the time it sounded good.  Good thing that seeped through my fog of my short-term memory at decision time.
The show doesn't technically open until April 24th; this was a preview performance.  Although MB needed to work on his moves a little more (he did well, but looked slightly labored), the talent was amazing.  The music was Ira and George Gershwin, classic great songs, and the story was an amalgam of the classic 1920's bootleg stories.  On top of that was the cherry that was hilarity.  The first song I thought, uh-oh, Matt's not going to like this, but seconds later a huge grin came across his face.  This, my friends, is the ultimate compliment; this guy is not at all easy to please.  Check his clothes and, especially, his shoes.  Hey, it's all new to me; I didn't have any of this with the other two-we was po and they were skateboarders who wore Chucks and torn jeans.  But I digress.  

The main theme here is that if you get to NY, go see it.  And if you go to NY and don't let me meet you there (or go with you), you are in big trouble.  Six thumbs up from here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Okay, enough already.

Matt and Paul went to the new Ground Zero Memorial.  The inscriptions are deep enough to place flowers.  This person had place four.

As promised, just one of the many photos of flowers around the city I took.  This has a beautiful carousel in the background.  Okay, I'm on break until I can unpack my art goodies and post photos of my awesome meeting experience in mecca...coming soon.
 I warned that this might be repetitious and a little mixed up. This is back in Central Park.  The fountain above, with the pond behind where you can rent a boat or hire a gondola ride.  One of the castles in the park, below.

 This is the part that allows me to be able to enjoy NYC, the open parts like this one of many huge expanses of grassy park in Central Park.  Times Square is usually very open (it was blocked off after 9/11) with bistro tables and chairs to sit and relax, talk, people-watch.  There are many parks in the city like that.  Apparently I can't upload any more than these photos on this post (the machine rules the human-I am submissive); you will see some of my flower photos from other parks in another post.  Yeah, we aren't done yet.
 At Carnegie Deli, one of the most famous restaurants in NYC, this is an 11 year old girl singing opera for the customers.  The owner (behind her) had heard she was singing at Carnegie Hall that night and had her perform; she was amazing.  Just as the last time we were there, we ate next to a table of Texans.  You can't spit anywhere...she had on a Texas Tech sweatshirt, him a UT t-shirt.  It's all good when it's Texas.  That's the little Red Raider/Longhorn spawn in the forefront of the photo.
 This guy on the left is the brother of the young opera singer.  We're gonna be seeing him on the tee vee one day soon.  I don't know if you can tell but he's HUGE.  And check out that sandwich-also huge; the owner made sure he got the house special.  His legs were bigger than my waist-big.  They were right across the isle from us.  Lunch and a show.
 Back in Central Park.  Remember the fountain?  This is a tunnel going from the fountain to the other side of the street from there.  Beautiful painting on the ceilings and wall and fab arches, as you can see.  If that wasn't enough, these two dudes pull up and start playing Vivaldi.  Inside that tunnel...well, it was amazing.
 This is the start of Strawberry Fields, the area that John Lennon had dedicated to the countries in peaceful treaties; this is the plaque for that.  (That's my boot-I had to prove I was there-I was not trespassing)
 Me at the official John Lennon memorial-Imagine.
 He's the official mayor of Strawberry Fields and gives the spiel on all things SF and John Lennon.  He pointed out The Dakota behind, where John was shot (I wouldn't look), the window where the white room is, the shutters where...I didn't keep up-Yoko still lives there-I felt the need to respect her privacy.  Yep, we found a boundary for Stephanie and celebrities.  Who knew?
 Immense respect and reverence for a man who was so dedicated to peace.  That drew a line for me.
This is the stage they were building in Times Square Friday afternoon.  Mum was the word as to what it was for until late that day then it was revealed that Nicki Minaj was performing that night but the reason was still secret.  Matt and I decided, after much waffling, that seeing NM in TS would look pretty good on our life resume so we went.  It turns out she sang to promote the lauch of Nokia's new touch phone.  She started out with Super Bass, of course, then sang a new song that Matt actually liked because it hadn't been worn completely out via radio.  We were glad we went; it was very crowded but we are pros at navigating and did very well.  I forgot my camera, took a photo on my phone, and sent it out.  Justin replied back, "Miley Cyrus?".  Ya, easy to get them mixed up.

Little Italy, Night 1

 We had dinner the first night with our next door neighbors from home.  We've had a couple of near misses with them on vacations.  We were actually in Bermuda at the same time (them on a cruise) and didn't realize it until afterward.  This time Alana and Matt had talked about it.  On our ride home one day we all talked about it (Matt, Alana, and I) and decided it would be fun to see each other outside of our usual zone.
 Matt and Alana have grown up next to each other.  They are like brother and sister and we love Jerome and Colleen.  We met at Cafe' Napoli in Little Italy where we'd eaten before.
 After several texts back and forth with Ron at home, he remembered that it was Ferrara's that had the good cannoli.  Ron and I are kind of connoisseurs of cannoli.  Well, not kinda, we are professional cannoli tasters.  And Ferrara's came through-they were good.  I did have one at another place (no, didn't get the name, dur) the next day and it was even better.  It's a thang I gotta do in NY (or anywhere else).  
Ferrara's had the cutest and, I'm sure, the tastiest Easter baskets.  They were just fun to look at too.  It was a fun night.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New York, Part 1

 These photos are probably going to be all over the place.  For some reason Blogger is making me upload from Picasa and now making me purchase more room for my photos.  I have no idea what's going on.  I bought more "space" so I can keep posting without them interrupting, I hope.  The one above and the next three are of Central Park.  We sprung for a pedi-cab to take us through on a 45 minute ride.  Well worth it; we've only seen bits and pieces and we got the whole overview.  When I next post, I will have photos of Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon memorials.

 There were lots of flowers all around the city.  Everywhere possible the bulbs were freshly popped.  It did indeed look like Easter.
 A boy and the city he loves.

 Pics from Matt and Paul's walk across The Brooklyn Bridge.
Please keep your fingers crossed...