December 22, 2011

Bah Humbugging as a Sport

Is it just me?  Everyone on the roads and in all of the shops seem to be less than courteous or even civilized these days.  The holidays used to bring out the best in many people, but these days it seems to bring out the worst.  While running errands yesterday, I can say with all confidence that I felt like the only person left on planet Earth that used the words, "Excuse me" or "Pardon me."  Seriously.  After one errand, I encountered a family with elders, one of which was clearly experiencing a medical emergency.  I called for help and stayed until help arrived, offering my cell phone for their use while we waited for paramedics.  How sad that they seemed surprised to receive help!  I spent the rest of the day in holiday traffic, letting bedraggled shoppers trying desperately to get out of parking lots and into the clogged roads go ahead of me, hoping they'll pass it on and be kinder on the road.

Today I am going to be busy shopping for holiday meals, wrapping gifts and enjoying holiday music playing loudly.  I may even bake some cookies (or buy some and smear flour on my face to make it look like I did again :-)  There's got to be at least one house in the neighborhood where the occupants aren't trying to perfect their bah humbugging skills.  No art, but lots of time on mom duty.

December 14, 2011

The Legs Have No Bird

My lovely husband is coming home after a week in China and I decided I should really do a little more deeper cleaning than usual to perk him up when he walks in the door.  If I run out of time, I may employ the trick of spilling and spraying cleaning products all over the place to make it smell brilliantly spotless, regardless what it looks like.  Boys are dumb and it has worked in the past.  Bahaha!  It's like tossing flour on your face and spilling some on the counter to make it look like you slaved over dinner ;-)

So the bird legs still sit on my artsy desk with no bird, but the cat's bathroom is free of litter all over the floor and I've vacuumed an entire school of Goldfish crackers from the living room floor.  Sigh.  Such is the life of a mom trying to be an artist.  There was yet another battle for the crackers, with two "kids," aged almost 17 and 26, running around the house, screaming and laughing and stealing the gigantic box of crackers from each other, applying graffiti in an effort to "tag" the carton as their own.  It was the silliest thing that I ever thought (the key word, thought) I got on video.  There's always that darned little button I forget to press sometimes....

December 13, 2011

Gotta Love Pavlov

Yesterday I actually managed to get some artwork done!  OK, I'm not sure if it qualifies as art if I'm using a pattern.  The intensity of focus is something I've missed.  It takes much longer to turn two pieces of floral wire and a bunch of ridiculously sticky floral tape into bird legs than I had anticipated.  It's a good thing I had the garage door closed (it was freezing and I had my little space heater zooming) because I think I had my tongue sticking out to one side, clearly aiding me in my bird-leg making efforts, as I focused on how to make proper legs with too-short wire.  It would have been embarrassing to have been spotted by the neighbors looking like that.  In any event, I enjoyed plowing through my stash of fabric and finding the perfect trio for the project.  Not everything from the indoor studio has made it to the garage studio, so I found myself muttering a few choice words under my breath each and every time I realized that something I needed was in the house.  Did I mention that it was pouring rain?  And that there is no path from the garage to the house free of said rain?

Today I had hoped to clean up for a while (my children are savages) and then move on to the next stage of bird making.  There were a multitude of distractions - the charming Egyptian gentleman that lives around the corner feels compelled to come to the door and share a bit of his religious beliefs with me in exchange for letting him pick all of the oranges he wants.  Does one get assigned a special place in you-know-where when one ducks and hides after hearing his car pull up?  I just wanted to get some art work done!

Then I found myself having to actually holster an air horn (ok, I don't have an actual holster; the front pocket of my jeans served me well).  One of my two cats has discovered the kitty version of carpet sliders.  Carpet sliders are the most magnificent invention for boys named Kevin with carpeted homes.  They are made of flat pieces of plastic with velcro straps and are worn like very unattractive shoes, then the boy runs and stops so as to skid across the carpeting.  Sox, the deviant cat, started in the living room and absolutely bolted across the house, leaping to the dining room table that is complete with a lovely red holiday tablecloth.  He was sliding at great speed, and I actually watched him spin like an ice skater, making horrible scratches with his back claws in the wood.  I lost my mind, yelled, blasted the air horn and watched him bolt.  Hiding behind the sofa while I returned the tablecloth to its proper state, that rotten cat waited until I left the room, wound himself up and did it again.  And again.  And again.  There has been a lot of hollering, blasting of the air horn, and a cat doing a good impression of Fred Flintstone.  In order to save the dining room table, I've propped the air horn in the middle of it.  Pavlov had it right.  So far, so good.

But no progress on the bird or the art journal.  Without any kids home for more than an hour, I'm going to try to get something done.

Stupid cat.

P.S.  The air horn works great for arguing kids.  It's a most glorious Mom tool.  :-)

December 11, 2011

Stepping Out

Moving the studio to the garage has been a mixed bag for me.  It's often noisy, and it's a serious pain in the patootie to have to shut down the big door for security purposes every time I have to go into the house to retrieve something.  My books are still in the house and, after the little puddle of water I saw inside the garage door after the sprinklers ran, I think the books are going to stay indoors.  I will say that the inconvenience does keep me from over-referencing books! 

Stepping out of the house and away from the hustle and bustle with kids, cats, televisions and phones does have its perks.  I have actually begun to make headway on my art journal.  I feel a little flummoxed by the project (am I ever happy with my own work?) but have plodded along a bit with my iTunes going on the laptop.

Today I stepped a little more out of my comfort zone and signed up for an online class with artist Susan Sorrell.  An article about her appeared in a magazine I purchased about a year ago and I must admit to returning to the article and loving the photos time and time again.  Her artwork is fun, colourful and engages a lot of the skills that I've not used for a long time such as applying embroidery and beading and applying them to fabric collage.  How exciting!

In the meantime, I continue to try to do a little something every day in my new art cave.  We'll see what I can accomplish today before the rain starts.   I've got this much done - the journal stitched, the pages painted and the first few bits of paper collage started, all with the glare of the light coming in from the garage door windows.  Whoops!

December 6, 2011

Another Day...Little Done

I had the joy (sarcasm alert) of spending the morning at the doctor's office getting an over-due peek-a-boo-oscopy.  For once I felt like the practitioner was listening to me!  I'm sure this is TMI, but several years ago I had bilateral breast reduction surgery in an effort to qualm the never ending migraine headaches.  It was a miracle!  I haven't had one since.  However, I was left with what has yet to be identified, initially thought to be a hematoma near an incision site.  Eleven years later, it's still there and I think it's bigger.  I've expressed concern to several physicians over the years, and they've all blown it off telling me it was probably scar tissue.  Probably?  Really?  We're going to guess, cross our fingers and swing chickens and hope for the best?  So the mammogram scheduled for today was cancelled and, instead, I was referred to the breast clinic at the hospital.  I'm not going to fret, but just plug along taking control of health issues as they arise.  I've lost 42 lbs. (with a good chunk still to go) and I'm working out HARD several days a week trying to improve my health.  Needless to say, the elliptical isn't in the studio, so guess what I'm NOT getting done.  Sigh.

Today I decided that I won't get any art done, but I will get my son to the sports shop to order his Letterman jacket, having lettered in marching band, and get the house really tidy so that tomorrow I can focus on art for the entire day.  I am committing to looking away from any "how to" book or magazine article and just play, going to the next step on my art journal.  The Mom job is certainly taking a front seat these days. 

Wish me luck.