Monday, November 8, 2010

The Art of Honesty

I reply to lengthy email questionnaires, sign up for junk at super-market sample stations, mail in box tops or cool-aid packets, donate blood AND run (okay mostly walk now) 5K races all for T-shirts.  Given my weakness for them-I was thrilled to know the good people at sent me an email saying I could have a FREE T-SHIRT if I posted a link to their online store in my blog.   OF COURSE I WILL DO IT----A FREE T-SHIRT IS UP FOR GRABS! Honestly, this "Martial Art" post is long over due.  I have internally wrestled with this for going on 6 years next month.  In December of 2004 while unloading cakes and pies of all things, from my car, a stranger (Hence forth known as Crack Head) crossed the street in front of my home, ran down the drive leading to my car where myself and two friends were unloading goods for a CHRISTMAS PARTY... put a 9 millimeter in my neck. He said one thing over and over "Give me your purse! Give me your purse! Give me your purse!"  Thinks are still a little blurry but I think he wanted my purse. No one was injured. The ordeal lasted less 3 minutes I think.  I don't know. I gave him my organizer containing check book, multiple credit cards and $78.00 cash.  He took the money and ran like the ski mask wearing, jobless- coward he is.  For the next few weeks-people would ask me about it-I would tell and re-tell the story always adding a couple of key pieces of information.  1. I am just thankful my friends are okay. 2.I am thankful no one was hurt.  I would verbally reassure people that I knew this would eventually help me help someone. Some good would eventually come from this experience.   Okay so that's me, trying to say the right thing-wanting to believe the right thing. I wasn't lying to people-I was trying to help them be okay with what  happened-so that I could be okay with what happened.  Six years later and having gone through a lot of "learning experiences" that are still on the "this will eventually help someone and good will eventually come from this" shelf, and having the complete freedom to be honest here on my very own blog-I will tell you this- 1. Although I WAS thankful my friends were okay and I WAS happy no one was hurt, I DID NOT see how anything good could come from this experience.  Nor did I wish to be the one who "got the chance to use this experience to help someone".  I would never have wished this on anyone-no matter what lesson could be learned.  I certainly wouldn't have wished this on MYSELF! Are you KIDDING?   I was afraid-and mad (not angry, mad.   I mean angry is what you are at your children or your spouse.  Mad is what you are at the person or people who hurt you or your children or your spouse-it's way way less controlled-it's way way more powerful and it's way way more honest.) And for the first and only time in my life I felt week and stupid.  I worried constantly-I was actually even made fun of by an X-Friend (talk about one of those experiences that could be used to help someone wow! it's still on the shelf too) for not "getting over it".  I tried.  I did well publicly-but internally I was very afraid.  
By August (8 months later) I was convinced the Crack Head knew where I worked and would one day show up in the parking lot to kill me.  (I know it's crazy talk. I'm just being honest here) The fear was just about to take over......Enter the Ninja.... No, seriously...I'm not kidding.  6 years after the event-I make a few honest statements leading to this whole "ninja thing"  1. I still have anger (notice it is now anger, I am no longer mad) 2. I still wish it had never happened (not just to me and my friends-but I wish that for our families.) 3. Only this week am I starting to accept the possibility that this experience could actually be beneficial to someone. (it's been 6 years) 4. If my experience is going to help someone I am going to have to be honest about it.  And that is what I am doing here.  I just realized by pretending I was okay with it all (and I wasn't) I might have been putting un-fair pressure on someone else to "be okay" with what they were going through.  (not helpful) and 5. I  am honestly not afraid now.     In the fall of 2005 I took a few self-defense classes from Chuck Williams a friend and security director at church. His classes focus on helping women who have been abused or have experienced a scary situation like mine.  I have so much respect for Chuck.  You know before I said one of things I felt after the mugging was week and stupid?  I still recall what I was wearing the day Chuck said "you were smart girl" when I explained what I did when the attacker told me to get in my car to get my purse.  As trivial as that sounds-that Thursday night in the gym at HP as Chuck reassured me I had done the smart thing by not getting into my car as commanded-I gained a bit of my self back. For that I am honestly thankful.   A few weeks later I checked out a different style of self defense.  A non-competitive style called Ninjutsu.  Being the peace-loving hippie chick I am, I found the aggressive-tough guy environment a little over-whelming at first.  When I say over-whelming I mean-I was in awe of their level of cool. I came and watched a few classes and thought to myself "I don't want to get to that level-I just want to feel stronger" About a month ago-I realized I am now at the level I thought was unattainable.  I only say that to make a point.  The point I make is this:  For me, taking self defense is not about the belt color or rank I attain (it was never about that).  It was never about competition.  And for 4 years or so it wasn't even about telling anyone I train.  For me it was mostly about the outfit- I mean seriously- Ninjas wear really cool outfits..  Seriously tho, for a while it was about ME-getting my head back-believing that everything was in fact going to be okay.  Now, I am starting to think it might actually be about helping someone else...Like if I can go through this thing-and end up stronger and braver-someone else, even someone who has been through much much worse, can be okay too....And honestly, it's a little bit about the clothes.  Now....send me my t-shirt!

For more information about ninjutsu check out this article  or look up Our Facebook Page  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I love Candy!

Friday has been declared "candy day" at our house. We had to sort of "reign it in" to one day a week-mostly because of my recent relapse into a full fledged candy addiction. And by "mostly" I mean that's the whole reason. I go through these phases where I am really disciplined and do not eat anything unnatural, no artificial anything. Seriously People it's true.  Nothing from a package is my general rule with few exceptions to the following: yogurt, frozen vegetables and  brown ten minute rice. When in that zone-I am complete "granola". All whole foods-in complete moderation. The only real draw back-well...there are at least two draw backs. 1. Eating at a restaurant is pretty difficult with exception to the salad bar at Jason's Deli. (and a side note little plug for Jason's. They try to provide great-whole foods, as many organically grown vegetables and fruit as possible and no trans fats in their foods.  Even their processed meats and cheeses are minimally so. Plus when we go there on Monday nights at almost closing time-the manager is super nice to us and lets us stay well past closing-there we sit in our booth all hot and sweaty from self-defense class, gobbling up organic goodness from the salad bar just chatting and laughing completely unaware of the time when the manager says "hey- we are going to start cleaning off the salad bar and prepping for tomorrow-can we bring you anything else?" We scramble to say  we are sorry for staying so late but are interrupted by "oh no- we have another 2 hours of work to do-stay as long as you want! We are going to lock you in-but it's nice to have happy company this late in the day"  Kind of a tangent (now there is something new) anyway when I am eating clean and need to grab something quick for dinner-Jason's is my first choice. and TWO...It's kind of expensive to eat this way.  I mean it IS expensive to eat this way.  Fresh fruit and veggies are more expensive than pre-made pasta side items and seasoned rice packets for the microwave. Also more expensive than chips and crackers and cookies and sweets.....OH yes...candy... Right-  okay back on track now.   I was saying I eat clean when I am disciplined to do so.  I am currently allowing and really enjoying my Friday evening splurge.  Here is the deal, TK and I have date night-and at some point in the evening we make a really big deal about going to get CANDY! As you might imagine I talk a lot about it before we actually go- and then there is the "do you love candy as much as me?" line of rhetorical questions. I often start a survey "what is your FAVORITE candy?"  TK: "It's hard to say..." Me: "would it help if I put candy into category?"  TK: "sure"  He humors me.   So I say "What's your favorite chocolate candy?" TK answers... Me: "what's the best chocolate candy you ever ate?"  TK answers. Me: "Would you rather have sugary candy or chocolate candy?"  etc etc.    Once there was even this crazy create your own path type game I played in the car.  "would you choose M&Ms or Reece's Pieces?"  TK: "ohhh hard one....ummm Reece's Pieces." Me:  "okay, Reece's Pieces or Peanut Butter Cup?"   etc etc.  this went on and on and on.  In honor of  Candy Day I will now post images of my favorite candy things.  I must say this CANDY to me is things that are sugary- such as Skittles, Jujubes, Jelly Belly, Hot Tamales, Candy Corn, Jolly Ranchers etc.  Chocolate is a total different category in my book.  Really good chocolate like the kind you can purchase in Amsterdam (and is so rich if you have been eating "clean" for the past year an a half will make your 9 hour flight back to the US miserable I am just sayin') that kind of really good chocolate is an art form for sure.  What Fridays are for me is a day for the sticky-shiny-gummy bear kind of candy most adults think they "out grow".   
Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
Circus Peanuts-better than regular peanuts and Candy Corn- SO MUCH BETTER THAN REGULAR CORN! 
And now- there are these amazing flavors, this season I have tried Caramel, Caramel Apple, and Butterscotch. Along with the traditional flavors.  Anytime I talk about Candy Corn I think of two things.
1. When someone says "if you eat candy corn and peanuts together it tastes just like a Pay Day bar" My close friends know how I feel abou that statement.  It's always funny to hear someone new say it-b/c often times it's like they think they are getting "away" with telling some secret the "candy/peanut police" don't want you to know. (the combo is really great to me tho)  and 2. I think about -
Buddy The Elf

If you like Atomic Fire Balls-let me just share with you a little secret treat the I found on a trip to "The Nation" Me, TK and The Fireman took over a year ago.  There are in fact "soft" Atomic Fire Ball Candies- and they are so so so so good- and so addictive. One of the most appealing things about them is they are not found everywhere-So Far Hastings in Muskogee, OK. Gordman's in Memphis, TN and a fueling station in a remote part of Arkansas are the places I have seen and purchased these incredible edible pieces of art. ohhh man! Thinking about them makes my mouth water.

so..right- this is an art blog-and  some very talented artists actually create art from candy  like  Julia Chiang.  check out her website if you get a second   SWEET!

Another of my favorite  pieces of candy. This collection makes me smile! Enjoy!

Be Sweet!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kenya Dig It-Twenty-Ten

Kenya-Dig It
 Well....Kenya?   Last week a group of friends gathered up to see some cool art, eat cupcakes and hear live music.  I'd have to say this group of people "KEN" dig it!   Im having trouble with the layout of this blog for some reason-perhaps my punishment for not having blogged in a few months. I forget how to manipulate things and spend way too long re-learning the same things I learned before.  *note to self-blog more often*  For the sake of checking this off my list, and against my creative all-be-it Rain-manish desire for consistancy, I am going to upload a few photos and links relevant to the evening anyway.   First I would like to say- I have some of the most generous and talented friends one could hope for.  Just look at some of the donated art below.  

My "look-a-like" created this-and I will go ahead and say on her behalf-she is not completely happy with it. Well dear friend-welcome to the world of art! Seldom does something I create feel "finished" and even less often am I really "happy" with the project.  I thank you for creating this!
Speaking of hidden talent- The Bass Chick painted this and she doesn't even think she can paint. Thanks so much to my ROCK STAR friend!
The Ninja drew this as well as another Asian inspired charcoal peice.  When I had this matted and framed, I had intentions of buying it for my own house.  A fellow ninja bought both drawings and proudly gave them to his son.
A new friend and super talented lady named Lauren showed and sold some of her work.  Her mother who works for the same company as me-displayed some amazing water color work.  The fun part about these two ladies is they have all this talent and had never shown anyone. I feel honored they chose Kenya Dig It Twenty-Ten as their first shows.  I know it was scary but I am so thankful they did it!

Dayo!  (It's pronounced Die-oh but she will never correct you) I will soon dedicate an entire blog to this artist and friend.  As I mentioned before, she donated a piece last year and when we met I was immediately tearful-I can not explain it. I just knew we would be friends.  And friends we are!  If you get a chance check out her web-shop at etsy.

And this is a cool picture of my friend Jen. She didn't paint anything for Kenya Dig It-but her friendship and life is an art all unto its self.  I would lay my life down for this friend and that is no joke.  We've been half way around the world together and will be doing that again!  Let me just say this about Jen-if you get to choose one person to have in your corner-you want it to be her.  I digress.  This picture curtesey of  Displayed behind Jen is some of my work.  The little girl in the blue dress was painted off a sketch that appeared in another blog some time ago- I also finally finished that dragon fly after a year of re-dos and do overs and ughhhhhs! 
sometimes I forget to name or title my paintings. I didn't think about this one until the guy who bought it was gone.  The bass chick acutally "told" me to do this painting-as she worked on something else in my art room.  If I could go back and name this painting I would call it "Sue's Cross"
This is the guy who purchased "Sue's Cross" He is a Secret Agent of sorts. And the hot chick with him is Andi.  Hence forth known as "26.2" She works for ISF the organization that got all this Kenya medical mission fever started for TK and I.   What a gal!

Just three of MANY MANY people who make an event like this possible.  I would like to point out the sheer dedication of Josi-she came in to work early so she could see everything before her shift started. And then pushed cupcakes to her co-workers.   Anything for the cause right?  right!
Speaking of cupcakes!  There were many!   I was inspired to create the cupcake display by a show on Food Net Work calld Cup Cake Wars. 
"Mean Bean"  A Vanilla Bean cupcake with Vanilla Bean Butter Cream Frosting and and Organic White Sprinkles. Garnished with an Organic White Chocolate Heart!
"The King"  Peanut Butter and Banana with chocolate-makes you say "ahh thankyou...thankyouvery much!"

One of the coolest things we had the chance to do this year at Kenya Dig It is have live musical acts.  Two of my coworkers shared their vocal talent  and then there is Steve.  Oh---MY- GOSH!  He plays drums in a couple of bands and man! He's awesome!  He's so talented and so passionate about that talent it makes me wish I played the drums! 

It feels kind of strange after an event like this is over.  It was the consumption of the majority of my free time since July.  I thought about it, prayed about it, TALKED about it- (I'll take this time to say to any friends who were sick of hearing about it- I am sorry)  Try as I may, I just can't help it.  It's what I love.  There were so many other friends who created jewelry (Adrian),sold T-shirts,took money and tickets at the door, asked for donations, cleaned up at the end,  set up trees or took down tables, made coffee, let me store cupcakes in your freezers,  sent tickets to invite guests or  showed up in support of the cause and for those people I am thankful in a way I can not easily express in words.  If you are reading this blog and you had any part in the event.  TK and I thank you!  Thanks for being a part of  our story!   
  The orphans-well...they have my heart.  And when a group of friends are willing to pull together and come out to raise awareness and money and bring hope to children they may never even meet, it gives total purpose to me.  It makes me believe we are all part of something truely worth while. 

TK, The Fireman and I will be traveling to Malava, Kenya in December this year.  We are going to spend our Christmas at Tumaini-Miles of Smiles Children's Home!!! What a cool chapter this will be!!!!  We will be working with a medical mission team to bring health care to 5 different communities in the area while we are there.  If you would like to be involved in our story by making a donation towards medical supplies or children's needs please visit  for more information or contact me via email.   

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paint by numbers...AKA A Blog To Remember

“my phone number?” I replied to the check out lady at Pottery Barn Outlet

“yes ma’am. Your home telephone number” she must have thought I didn’t understand the question or that I was irritated by it.
She was half right. I am irritated by it. I am NOT irritated at the girl asking, I am irritated at the concept. I understand this is how a company tracks it’s target audience and does low cost mail out advertisements. I get that. And still. It bothers me. I do not wish to be asked ANY questions while checking out at ANY store. (exceptions would be seasonal small talk “Hot enough for ya?” or “You finished with all your Christmas shopping?” these questions are okay. Additionally I do not mind chatter regarding my attire “ohh, I love those earrings” or the occasional inquiry as to where one might obtain a handbag such as the Vera Bradley I am carrying. All of these types of questions are okay with me, not necessary, but okay.

Back to my phone number- “I uhhh…well…I have drawn a complete blank” I told the girl who just rolled her eyes. I don’t care that she didn’t believe me, what I care about is the fact that it was true! I could not-for the life of me recall my own phone number. A complete blank.. I have wondered about this incident off and on since it happened and there is the common assumption of getting older and the pressure of the moment caused me to draw a blank and then there is what I find the most comical excuse “I never call myself.” For the record and for me personally, this excuse is invalid-I have never really called myself so the fact that now all of a sudden I can’t remember my phone number requires a better explanation.

My best reasoning is this: I have too many numbers/passwords and names to manage.
There are PIN numbers for no less than 4 different debit card/credit cards. There are PIN numbers for my cell phone voice mail, work phone voice mail, and my work-cell phone voice mail (of course they are not all the same…have you met me?) and my bosses voice mail. There is a security alarm code, The fireman’s garage door code (the fact that I remember this is crazy since I only knew it for the purpose of painting while he wasn’t at home and since then he changed the code and gave that information to me. I remember the first one AND now the new one) TK’s mail box number at the UPS store, the log in for face book, my space, AOL, Gmail, Outlook, Ebay, Paypal, Snap fish, Walgreens photo, Amazon, Itunes and three operating systems used for my work PC. Then there are birthdays and Anniversaries which I almost never get right. Not to mention the names of friend’s pets. (The ninja’s dog-Peanut, Maggies dog, Kittie, (RIP Kittie) The actors dogs-Pomp and Zoe, Sisters dog-Izzie, Little sister’s cats-Van and Harleigh, Aim’s house full O’ dogs, Tink, BW (stands for Bruce Wayne) Einstein and there is another one I can’t recall, Jdub has a dog named Jennie (I never spell it correctly) and just recently he told me that his love has a dog-and I promised to commit that to memory but… See what I mean? And there’s the inanimate objects I have named over the years. My Kitchen-aid stand mixer who is the color of gun metal and the heavy duty version (the pro-6) I named him Gunner, My newest Ipod, I-Tod, (as in “the Todd” from Scrubs) I named my net-book computer Hector, (without reason) and my 2.5 inch square twist phone-Huey (as in Lewis-b/c it’s “Hip To Be Square”). I did not name my cars tho (and I find this a little inconsistent since I obviously name lots of other things) But little sisters convinced me my new car needed a name-thus he was named Maurice. Maurice Nelson the 6th officially-But “Mo Nelson” to those who love him. My point is this, I have, we ALL have lots and lots to remember. For those of you with children the list is even longer b/c let’s face it-the kids want you to remember their names right? and then they have birthdays and social security numbers and favorite pets and stuffed toys they name and teachers and dance instructors and schedules to keep. I also have a mind full of information I really don’t need anymore but can not forget. Like the Preamble to The Constitution. (Thanks so much Miss J Allen for teaching me this in 7th grade) I mean with exception to last Wednesday night in church- I have never once been asked to recite the preamble. And in fairness I wasn’t directly asked to recite it then- I believe it was kind of an open ended rhetorical question-so that doesn’t even count. I also remember what I wore to school the first day of school every school year. I can recall the color of socks my dad was wearing and the song on the radio as he drove his team to the High-School boys State Tournament in 1984. Oddly enough I recall the numerical combination to the lock on a musician friend’s brief case-He gave me the code on a Friday in 1997…I was wearing Doc Martin lace up brown leather shoes (purchased for Christmas by my BFF Darla the previous year) Jeans and my room-mate Natalie’s red half zip fleece. See….. My mind is like a steel trap-I like to say…but only when it comes to things of little use. My phone number…well. Somehow it escaped.
All of this is true but it serves as a nice lead to tell you...
This weekend I will begin painting some numbers. I could have just said that at the start but what a short blog this would have been.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Like The Fruit..Part 3 (Cheri's Cherries)

See Cherries......

See Cheri WITH her Cherries.....

She's more than just a fruit you know...I mean YOU may not know, but you should. (And Universal You, what I would call my band if I had one) Universal You---already knows.  She IS a fruit-no one is trying to argue that point-but she's so much more.  Oh yes faithful followers of this crazy blog...This fruit we call Cheri is more complex than her name and elementary school age-self given title would imply...Cheri is in fact if we are sticking with the food analogy---like an onion.  You know....layers..depth...each one peeled back uncovers the next.   Each layer cohesively making the onion as a whole. The most visible layers would be like that bright purple exterior on a red onion (side note, why is purple cabbage called PURPLE...but purple onions are called RED? That is not a rhetorical question...If someone knows the answer to this-I really would like to know) As I was saying...That first layer-is the all important outside-We'll call this The fashionista part of my dear friend-and does she ever have that layer- I mean seriously...This gal can take a $8.00 consignment store scarf and a clearance rack skirt-throw on a pair of boots and some bangle bracelets and HOLY COW she is all about it. Just beyond that is the humor.  I can not begin to communicate the whit and humor that make up this layer.  I won't even try....but if you saw what is pasted on the door to her office right now you would award appropriate humor points.  She's a word-smith.  She can turn a phrase like few I have known (and keep in mind I am married to a three time published author). I haven't known this fruit for long- but we have shared countless hours of banter-music, politics, travel, wishes, criticisms, complaints and compliments.   Hands down one of the coolest chicks I've known.  And just when you get all caught up in the cool, you find this "momma" layer and this wisdom layer and this "I'll challenge you to be better than you think you are" layer and the "I'm so confident in what I am doing-it is sure to rub off on you." layer. Layer after layer you find motivation, drive, determination (all those characteristics found on cheesy office posters). make your own motivational poster I fear Cheri, like the onion, doesn't have quite the appeal as it's predecessor and wouldn't want to change it anyway, however I hope to leave you with a visual depiction of this layered up fruit.  I went to my faithful friend and searched "onion art"  and found this super cool digital art by Edward Kinnally- Electric Onion he calls her....beautiful...just like the fruit!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sweet Caroline has arrived!

Actually she arrived some weeks back. And I could not be happier for The List Maker and The Red Hot Mamma! Sure this is a blog about the painting I completed for their baby’s room, and you can see the completed project just right here. But this blog in particular is about one of those art forms you don’t find in a gallery or museum. We see it all around us-it’s the kind of art that is small and often silent while at the same time LOUD and IN YOUR FACE! It’s the kind of art that invites, almost necessitates you interact.
I remember the first time I interacted with The RHM. TK and I were co-leading a cultural class. My part of the class was teaching multi-cultural cooking lessons. At the end of the first class I gave a “chop, slice and dice” home work assignment. The very next week she arrived at class proudly displaying her home work-complete. Three very nicely prepared bell peppers. “A-Plus for Cindy” I said (she was one of just a couple who actually did the home work) and we’ve been friends ever since. Really? She just chopped up, excuse me sliced up some produce and that made you friends? Really? Well…yes. But to me it was more than that. If you are not a John Travolta fan please just indulge me for a moment and read along anyway. (By the way, I am going to need a written explanation from anyone reading this blog who considers him/herself NOT a fan of John Travolta) Let me set this clip up for you. The film Phenomenon-George (John Travolta) is in love with Lace (Kyra Sedgwick) who for a multitude of reasons, will not allow George to get close. Lace is a crafts person and makes chairs-she puts her heart and soul into her work. George buys multiple chairs (he does not need)

This monologue explains the significance of “buying chairs” which could also be called “slicing vegetables”.

Bane is explaining to the Doc that his girl, Lisa has left him (AGAIN)

Doc: Really? Now George has a love at his side and she is sticking with him. You know why? Because he bought her chairs. That's pretty smart to me. You ever buy Lisa's chairs?
Doc: Every woman has her chair, something she needs to put herself into, Banes. You ever figure out what Lisa's chairs were and buy 'em?

It’s amazingly simple, yet I don’t always do it. The best practice for the art of love, romantic love AND platonic love, is to invest. Invest in people. Find out what matters to another person and extend a little effort to show your support of that venture. BUY THE CHAIRS! It’s what Rich and Cindy were doing when they showed up at that second cultural class with their “home work completed” It’s what they did last summer when we had an idea to create a coffee shop on Wednesday nights. The list maker came strait from work and began serving coffee, RHM, did the same. In October when the crazy idea for an art auction to raise money for my orphans in Kenya was presented---Here they were again, “buying chairs” making item donations for the auction and buying art for this sweet baby’s room. I realize it may sound as if I have a connection with these people because they have helped with so many projects. I suppose one could draw that assumption. It’s true, they have participated in many of the things which I have passion. That in its self deserves a giant thank you. To me, their support of my little projects is less about the “work” they have done-and more about the investments they have made. It challenges me in a way I find difficult to understand.

While painting the dots on the wall in Caroline’s room, I had conversation with The RHM, part of the conversation turned to the loss of an amazing friend and we shared the same sentiments-with this exception. I expressed my regrets having not verbalized my love and appreciation for him while he was here. She said something about the list maker at that point and it inspired this whole blog. She said something like this “Now The List Maker, he doesn’t do that- He believes in telling people how he feels. What they mean to him, that he loves them. He lives that way-no regrets now.”

See what I mean? There is an art form to that way of living. Living Love to the people around you. I love an analogy so… saying “I love you” is like taking a stroll thru your favorite gallery-but the art of really LIVING OUT “I love you” involves that interaction I spoke of before, it involves the buying of chairs.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

like the fruit...part 2 (in color)

Phase 2.  Color. 

Stayed up late to play in the paint.
It was TOTALLY worth it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Like The Fruit.. Part 1


“umm…it’s Cheri. Like the fruit.”

So…At the request of “Sharay” I mean Cheri.

Cherries…phase 1. The Background.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

There is always room for ice cream!

I firmly believe that. I am living proof that no matter how much dinner I have, no matter how many times I am offered seconds and I’ve refused, stating I am just “toooooo fullllll” no matter how tight the button on my “just out of the dryer-not worn in a few days so not stretched out or relaxed at all, almost a size too small at this point” jeans is…I can ALWAYS find room for ice cream. I believe ice cream is the perfect food and I believe the person responsible for the invention of this manna from heaven deserves at the very least a Nobel Peace Prize.

I am no ice cream snob-I like it all. Everything from that little clear cup of Turner vanilla that comes with a paper lid and wooden-splinterish spoonula, to the obvious Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. Although it’s not good math I reason if that tiny single serving of Turner is to be consumed at one setting, the same is true for the four servings that come in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I do have a favorite ice cream. For the sake of trival information I will tell you. It is from Braums (the local favorite in my home town).   Chocolate Almond. I can rest in comfort at  both ends of the spectrum as far as ice cream goes. While I truly love the crunchy salty deliciousness of almonds mixed with frozen chocolate love from Braum’s, I simultaneously feel a vanilla soft serve from DQ is ice cream in it’s purest form.

Likewise apparently the same is true for Art. There is always room in my life. No matter how busy the week has been, no matter how many nights of 4 hours sleep I got, no matter how many times I silently declare “I’m toooo fulllll””” or more appropriately “I’m toooo tiiirreedddd” If an opportunity presents its self to go see some art, or even better participate in something artistic….I can muster up enough energy, re-dry some “been worn a few times now way too baggy “ jeans, and head out the door to indulge.

Last Friday was one of those times, the end of a strand of really long weeks-really long nights and lots of activities-feeling completely exhausted and silently declaring “this weekend I am doing NOTHING. I wish to stay in a hoodie and sweat pants all evening and all day tomorrow…Heck I many not even shower tomorrow….I’ll just veg out ALL weekend. (and by “veg out” I of course mean stay at home and wash clothes, clean the bathroom, organize the laundry room storage that is becoming a place Fred Sanford himself might be a little uncomfortable) I am leaving work at 5:00 and will begin my weekend of rest….I mean I’ve go to, I have absolutely no energy to give anyone or anything…I am spent.” Beep Beep- AHHH new email from TK-----All thoughts of rest were immediately put on hold as I read this invitation to travel to Memphis for “Trolley Night in the Art District.” See what I mean? ALWAYS room…..

And…at 5:00 this theory was tested and proved true. We met with The fireman and his woman and away we went to Memphis (side note, and this may be more information than you care to know but…I didn’t go home to re-dry those jeans I mentioned, just wore a pair that had been in my car for nearly a week…reasoning I had an amazing green scarf (super artistic) and my favorite Blueberry coat. Confident I could work these pieces into something acceptable in the art district) We traveled to Memphis and made a quick stop at a little pizza joint-then arrived down town. Trolley Night is the last Friday of each month. As the name implies, you can ride the trolley downtown (no charge), all the galleries and shops are open and offering Trolley Night specials, food, drinks, and live music. After stopping by an exhibition of photographs taken in Japan and a folk art show-complete with a 4 piece acoustic band *fantastic cover of Brown Eyed Girl* then a really random and creepy encounter with a pair of uber talented photographers-I faked a phone call to get back out on the main street and stumbled into……wwwwaaaaahhhhhhhhhh…….A boutique called Muse. Now before you read any further- I would ask you to look back into my archives 2009-There are only 2 blogs in 2009 so it will only take you a second to find “year in review” I posted a link to an artists’ page and a photo of my tribute painting I call “poxie”. Seriously….go look at that---it’s important to the rest of this story. As I said in that blog- I love this artist. And Aspire to own a big big piece of her work some day. Well…in my attempt to escape the insulting photo-bugger guys-I stumbled into Muse and found their plaster peeled/semi brick walls randomly decorated with nothing else but…Lattimere’s work. I became a little emotional at the sight of it all. I find it difficult to describe the feeling of seeing art-in real life. It’s a totally different experience than I get scrolling thru a line of thumbnails on a web site. (I mean it’s as different as watching someone eat ice cream and actually grabbing a spoon and indulging yourself…) As I walked thru this quirky boutique where there was a woman playing a Kimball piano for a 4 year old child who was signing songs from Annie (for real this was happening at 8:30 last Friday night and it was not a performance) The child is singing, the store owner is helping a customer fit into a pair of overpriced but fabulous all the same heels, and I am just wondering about with tear filled eyes-loving each new painting more then the one I saw before… We looked thru some interesting jewelry art and decided to end the trip on that high note and travel home. Afterall—I was exhausted and couldn’t even imagine another stop. Must. Go. Home….oooohhh wait- let’s stop by Starbuckie on the way out of town. *I will now add “a visit over good coffee” to the list of things I am never too tired to do.

Friday, January 29, 2010

food for art

Not every work of art will appear under a glass case in a museum, nor will it be meticulously positioned on exhibit in some rare “too cool for the room” gallery down town. It will never be criticized or adored by critics, no. Sometimes a work of art will be presented to the audience for whom it was created and before it has time to cool, the masterpiece will be devoured. Yes I am talking about the art of good food. If food is art, tonight’s meal was worthy of its own show.

I have included some pictures however; I do not feel they do the meal justice. I read a t-shirt one time that said “really good art will not match your sofa” The ultra artsy woman wearing this shirt struck up a conversation with me and we had a nice chat. I hesitated before I asked but kind of fell into the trap and asked about the shirt anyway-(you know how you see someone just begging to be noticed and OF COURSE you notice them but there is just something in you that says almost in slow motion …DOOOONNNNNT DOO IIITTT….Dooonnnn’t aaasssskkkk quueeesstiiioonnnsss….) well I hear that voice a lot and I normally listen to it, but there was something about this chick-I liked her, I liked the concept of her shirt and to be honest I liked that even though she was wearing “paint” clothes (I could break here for just a moment and vent a little about the pretentiousness I find in those who wear their “paint clothes” out-I mean seriously..We get it, you paint. You are an artist. You are deep and talented and way cooler than those of us who insist on wearing clean clothes in public.) Ech hmm…as I was saying chick was rocken the “I just took a break from my studio to grab a soy skim whatever “vibe and we began to chat. She explained her t-shirt and we had a nice exchange. I don’t know her name, and I have never seen her again. I did walk away from the encounter with a shared understanding and agreement with her t-shirt. “Good art makes you feel something.” By that standard alone. Tonight’s dinner was in fact. Good Art.

I have always associated food with an expression of love. When I am sitting at a table with friends and we are sharing grilled asparagus wrapped in thick sliced bacon, and pork tenderloin stuffed with granny smith apples and onions that were sautéed in a Dijon mustard sauce, slow roasted in garlic and rosemary. When I eat food like that- I feel something…I have lots of feelings regarding a meal like this. And love is at the top of the list.

Do I think food is art? Maybe not all food-but the food I had tonight was prepared with the love and the talent and passion of a Rembrandt. Yea baby, this food had the master’s touch!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sketchy sort of day!

Last night I had the perfect opportunity to finish a major project. I did not seize such opportunity. Rather I cooked dinner, washed dishes, ironed clothes for work, packed clothes for gym, folded warm towels right out of the dryer (ahhh) and watched The Ace Of Cakes on food network. Whew! I do anticipate much productivity this weekend. Work today has been filled with lengthy phone conversations. Which make for easy “doodling” Additionally I’ve had a lot on my mind and I have a long standing habit of “doodling” when in this state. On a side note, the things I doodle may or may not coincide with said telephone conversation. Likewise my “deep thought” doodles may or may not reflect those thoughts.

I will post today’s works in the order they were sketched.

"hmmph" This would just about sum it up.  I began sketching this some time during a "well I know you are not really responsible for this-but" phone call. Now this is a case where the doodle has NOTHING to do with that phone call.  It's just a random doodle of the skirt I wore today and I added my hair and sunglasses (answer to unasked question, one of my favorite things to draw and paint is "flippy hair".  Flipped hair makes me happy and I will normally give any female a flippy hair do. :) 

Happy Birthday Dayo!!!!  Dayo is an artist I met this past summer.  Now I need to explain a couple of things. I will try to be breif.  The moment I met Dayo and looked at her paintings-I started crying. I can't explain it, I just did. Not sobbing sad tears just tears, her art overwhealmed me with emotion.  And she made a very generous donation of "imagine" one of her works to my Kenya Dig It? auction.   That paintnig is posted here. (Go to and befriend Dayoart if you would like to see more of her stuff. ) We were instantly friends. I love her very much!  Today is her birthday and she has been on my mind all day.  While on hold with a medical equipment sales rep, I doodled out this cake then added lots of the other stuff.  I did this for Dayo!

You ever try to give up something you love? I have never been a smoker, or drug user, but I am without a doubt a sugar and caffiene addict. I mean HARDCORE addict. I crave sugar- and feel I can not function without caffiene. I make attempts to cut back from time to time to no avail. This would cement the assumption that I am addicted. I have no sense of moderation when it comes to these two things.  I am once again on a quest to "eat clean" and although I have not attempted to kick the coffee/diet pop thing this time, I am doing without sugar and MAN OH MAN---Do I have a Cupcake-Jones!! wow! Obviously-this doodle is a direct reflection of those feelings.
And then there is that sweet Caroline.  That baby's room is the project I need to finish this weekend and I have been thinking and thinking about her.  I ran across a great image during my lunch today-It was done by an artist Karin Taylor.  This is her origianal work   Go to her site and check out her talent if you get the chance. She is great!   The black and white sketch is my brain processing what reamins undone on her room and what I hope to accomplish before she arrives in TWO WEEKS!!! HOLY COW!!  I know the Red Hot Momma and The List Maker are so excited!   Have a  sketchy weekend everyone!  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dance Me

Since I am currently working on a project for “Sweet Caroline” and have had way too much fun in my free time lately to make any progress worth photographing. I will default to blogging about one of my favorite artists and one of the coolest things to ever happen to me (artistically I mean).

I will begin the story in the beginning. I live about 8 hours away from my extended family. Parents, siblings, etc. I like it this way. Most of the time. In the spring of 2003 I was not enjoying the distance so much. A little homesick and to be honest just bored on a Wednesday. (at that time I worked in a bakery as a cake decorator and my weekends were filled with weddings and birthdays etc. My day off was Wednesday) *side bar- weekdays are great for venturing into galleries and museums-most offer a week day special like “free or reduced admission prices”* So…engulfed in self pity I decided to visit Art Under A Hot Tin Roof.   She’s calm and peaceful but not in your typical “art gallery” style. True, her walls are white and she has her share of track and focused lighting, but something is clever about this gallery. I find it difficult to pin point exactly what it is…even now, having been there at least a dozen times, I struggle to verbalize her appeal. None the less… I began looking around and found some serenity. The Reverend Al Green was playing quietly over the sound system (told you this was not an ordinary gallery didn’t I?) I sorta got lost in the creativity of other people-wondering what the artist think about as they paint or sculpt and honestly? Sizing up my abilities to theirs, wondering if I will ever experience something that inspires me to THIS magnitude of cool and then….I saw it… “Dance Me” by Felix Sherman.A Russian born artist who now lives in New York. ttp://  (due to copy writes I can not post the picture from his site- however, if you go to the link above, then click paintings and the blue collection- the painting is found there. The female subject is wearing a red dress)  Here are the reasons I love this painting. 1. I love her red dress 2. The man is  wearing a suit. 3.  and has a balding head. 4.  I love that Mr. Sherman does not view his people as perfect so he does not paint them as such.5.  I love that it is “folkish” but way way hipper than any old Americana type folk art.6. The couple appears to addore each other. 7. They are DANCING! Hellooo-0.  And yes. Of course. There is a part of me that likes to think the subjects resemble me and TK. (right? oh who cares, I think so) I adore this work. I wanted to buy it. I could not afford it. I looked around the gallery a bit longer then came back to it. It made me smile. Each time I looked away and then back again I smiled again. The next Wednesday I brought TK to see it, and he loved it as well. (although not as deeply as me) He likes the colors and agrees the couple could be us.  I found out all I could about the artist and sent him an email. I inquired as to the availability of “prints”. I assumed his agent/manager/secretary would be in touch with a form response. Nope. Felix emailed me back a few days later. He told me there are no prints available and he appreciated my inquiry. For six years I thought about this painting. I have envisioned it in two different locations in my house since then. I have mentally designed our master bedroom color scheme around this work of art. Yea, I like it that much. In an oddly fortunate turn of events, I saw Felix would be coming to Memphis this past October. I emailed him to ask about “Dance Me” I asked if he would be bringing the original to the opening of Art Under A Hot Tin Roof’s new location. Once again the artist himself emailed me to say “thanks for the enquiry but the piece has been sold” My hopes dashed-(yea right, I NEVER had hopes of purchasing a $5,000 piece of art for my home- Are you kidding me? I doubt if my car is worth that much!) I did however hope to see the original again and was disappointed. I took a chance at the whole print idea once more and replied to the email. This time I said something a really dorky boy-band fan would say to JT or TJ or AJ or whoever those boy-band boys are- This time I said this “Mr. Sherman, I have admired your work for six years now and want to say thank you for sharing your talent with all of us. I have never stopped thinking about the painting “Dance Me” since I first saw it in  2003. At that time I asked about purchasing a print of the original and I understand you did not have prints of this work. I do not mean to be a bother to you, but if you ever do print this original I would be very interested in purchasing one. Again, I do appreciate your talent and I love your work! Yada Yada Yada---Gush Gush Gush” Now get THIS….he replied “if you will give me your address, I will make arrangements to send a print to you.” WHAT????? I wanted to make sure I wasn’t purchasing a print for a zillion dollars and politely made sure the price was in my budget. Okay are you ready? He wanted to send it to me as a GIFT! That’s right people…ME! I received an 9x13 original print from the artist himself….A.MAY.ZING! Things like this don’t really happen to me. For several reasons. The first and perhaps biggest of which is I don’t ever try. I mean I can say I never won a radio contest. And in the interest of fairness... I would also have to admit I have never tried to call in to a radio contest. I have never stood around near the stage after a concert hoping to get a guitar pic or the set list or something cool like that- I just figure I’ll respect the privacy of the artist and go on home. Reasoning I got my $35.00 worth.  But then again, I have never really cared that much about winning a free Power 92 beer Koozy and what would I do with the scribbled set list from Nickle Creek’s show anyway?

Thursday, January 7, 2010


On a previous blog I merely mentioned the jealousy I felt towards children who had such toys as Easy Bake Ovens. I casually mentioned the fact that I never had one of those light-bulb powered magic machines. I mighhhht have mentioned that I was also never the owner of a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine…So, picture this…I am sitting at my desk working like the little worker bee I am-on the telephone, taking directions to a meeting tomorrow, responding to an email regarding the Love Bigger T-shirt orders (side bar---designing and ordering t-shirts-NO PROBLEM….It’s the constant “can I change my medium to a large? Can I get a small-even though I ordered a medium and you tried to tell me they are cut for a man so they run big? Can you bring mine to me and I’ll pay you three days after the lunar eclipse…Or you can hold my purse and I can dig $15.00 in change out of my car ash-tray and pay you now…” It’s all that stuff that makes the T-shirt thing a little taxing. (you were warned) ) echh hmmm…I was at my desk working and around the corner peeks this little woman- (Mr. Peepers, Miss Priss, Boss Lady, or Little Lori DISCLAIMER: that’s not to say the other Lori here is BIG- but Mr. Peepers is smaller in stature and as politically not correct as it may be I defaulted to calling her “little Lori” when we first began working together. I am progressively retraining my brain. So---Miss Priss peaks around the corner and much to my delight she has a “happy” for me. *I just LOVE! a little surprise for no reason what so ever* But this was no ordinary treat folks, this was in fact a SNOOPY SNOW CONE MAKER!!! I now have one of my very own. I am overwhelmed with gratitude! This token of kindness has made my week.

Thank you. Thank you. A thousand times thank you!

Now…who wants a frozen Margarita?