Friday, April 30, 2010

Do you know what that can do to a guy my age?

It's easy to do. It happens to the best of us. It doesn't always mean you are getting old or need glasses. Most of the time it's harmless.

Toothpaste sometimes comes in the same type of packaging as hair care products.

The door of the freezer and the microwave oven are at the same height and have a similar feel.

The design on Newman's Own regular coffee looks almost exactly same as the design of the decaf coffee.
This one took me a week of headaches to figure out.

Japanese sedans in the Stop & Shop parking lot all look the same, regardless of color or year.

You can't always tell the difference between size six girl's clothing and size six women's clothing until you try to fit your head or leg through it.

Even if you don't name your kids in a rhyming fashion or with the same first letter, you are bound to yell their name loudly and incorrectly and in public.

Do be careful in the medicine cabinet. That itch might not go away.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#9, #9, #9, #9

Nine is such a cool number. You don't need to be a numerologist to figure that out. Any cat knows that.

Nine is edgy.
It's almost.
It's, "I'm awesome but I'm not perfect".

Nine wears black t-shirts with jeans and high top sneakers.

Nine knows big things are coming.
Nine is going to live like they don't care about tomorrow.

Ask 1969 or the 1990s or the Beatles.

Ask a nine-year-old. They will give you a smirky smile and then go ride their bike.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cafes Lined Up All Along the BQE

In 1991 Hal Hartley made a great short film called, "Theory of Achievement". It's about young artists and writers trying to figure out who they are.

It takes place in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY just before it became the hipster art capital it is today.

The film has the characters asking themselves who they are and how do they justify their definition.

Are you what you do? Are you what you say you do? Are you are what you are? Are you what you want to be?

I say it's what you put in the "occupation" box on your taxes.

I consistently fill that little box with the word, "artist".

I have however had numerous jobs.

Here is a list of all the jobs I've held, at least the ones I could remember:

babysitter (scary)
dog sitter (scary)
face painter (wish those kids would wipe the cotton candy off first)
camp counselor (taught me among other things that teenagers can handle more responsibility than you think)
waitress (hard work and dirty)
art history slide library assistant (remember slides? remember typewriters?)
general store clerk (early hours, great way to meet the whole community)
cottage cleaner (I was too slow to make good money)
dishwasher (one of the best jobs I've ever had)
newspaper layout (learned to use a proportion wheel)
bartender (if you put in enough alcohol people won't complain)
carnival ride operator (the explanation is too long for these parenthesis)
art supply store clerk (did it for the discount)
doll buyer (got to go to the Toy Fair in NYC)
painted furniture artist (learned how to paint with paint markers)
chambermaid (worst job)
bookstore clerk (did it for the discount)
florist phone operator (similar experience to Bob Cratchit's employment)
frame shop clerk (I recommend acid free mats that go with the picture not the couch)
home design store manager (pretty place to work)
mother (lifetime appointment)
corporate treasurer (current position)

I am sure there are some that I am forgetting. I've learned a lot about life and people from these jobs that took me from a tent in the woods to a New York penthouse to a trailer in a hurricane. But if you ask me the inescapable question, "What do you do?", I will say, "I'm an artist".

I didn't post a link to a YouTube clip for the movie. I could only find one. I recommend buying the DVD, "Surviving Desire" which has the short, "Theory of Achievement" included. It's worth adding to your hip collection.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Death and Taxes

you are the tide that ebbs and flows
you are the ocean made out of clothes
cotton, linen, polyester
dry clean only woolen sweater
plaid and dots
blue and green
a pre-soak in oxyclean
sort the colors
wash in cold
empty lint traps
and then fold
into the basket to be put away
maybe tomorrow
or another day
not rocket science or math equations
only ironed for special occasions
you are not my love
yet companion are thee
you are my constant
the laundry and me

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Remember the clip-on Koalas (notice I didn't say Koala Bear? turns out they aren't bears at all)? They were about 3" long stuffed animals that had a metal clip built into it's arms. You could clip them to your pocketbook or backpack or radio antenna.
They were all the rage back in the early 1980s. This time period was the peak of my attempt to follow all trends.
When I tried to conform, I failed miserably.
My hair didn't feather.
Blue eyeshadow gave an anemic look and not in a good way. People often asked me if I was feeling alright.
Bradlees brand "designer" jeans don't look good on anyone, definitely not a sixty pound no butt seventh-grader.
Failing at trendiness taught me a lot about myself and life. Perhaps the most important lesson came from the clip-on Koala that I kept attached to my lampshade.
The Koala was a little too heavy and the weight caused the shade to tilt and make contact with the hot bulb which started to melt and then smoke while no one was in the room.
Mom caught it in time before it went up in flames. The shade and Koala were a loss.
Since then I have done my own thing because it's a disaster when I don't.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Play Ball

I signed my son up for baseball this year. He's in the youngest group and they have had one practice so far. He loves it. He can't wait until the next practice.
Back in February I filled the registration form out, made a copy of his birth certificate and wrote a modest check. This is all pretty standard stuff that we're all use to these days. We are constantly re-identifying ourselves and signing waivers that we agree to not hold anyone responsible for anything that can possibly go wrong.
So when I got to the bottom of the form and read a line that my child would not be able to participate without the signed parental agreement on the back of the form I was not surprised.
I get it. No one wants to get sued in case Owen Meany comes up to bat.
I was surprised though when I turned the page over to find that this was a parental behavior agreement.
There were about 15 numbered statements of parental expectations including, volunteering at the snack shack and picking the kids up on time.
Most of the points however, were a lengthy pledge that as a parent of a little league participant, you will not be a jerk. No swearing, drinking, coaching, booing, taunting, humiliating, etc.
I don't really want to work the snack shack and I'm often a couple minutes late. I do pledge though, that I will do my best to not start a fistfight in the bleachers.

Here's an example of one from the Little League website. I didn't save a copy of ours.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

You can not go wrong giving an artist art supplies or gift certificates to art supply stores. Even if you give us something that is not our medium we will find a way to use it or play with it.
A gift certificate though, that's a beautiful thing. You can't buy groceries or shoes for the kids at the art supply store. What you can get is that item that you have talked yourself out of. "I can make do with what I've got."
In my case, that item was a drafting table.
I had one years ago from my high school days that I toted around from apartment to apartment. I was mostly painting then and didn't use it enough to justify moving it again, this time to another state. So I gave it away.
I didn't really miss it. I was still living in small apartments and focused only on painting.
My old drawing board from college, propped up on a box worked fine when I needed it.
Flash forward to the past few years. I live in a house with an actual art studio and illustration is back on my radar.
I still didn't think I needed the table but then I had a birthday.
And then I had a gift card.
And now I have a drafting table.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Do You Believe in Fairies?

There's something about a toothless smile that is endearing. It reminds us of that first grader bliss, just before a kid gets self-concious about how they look or how they sound as their tongue gets stuck in the empty space of their missing tooth.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New and Improved

Last year, I made a video of the book I illustrated for Kathleen Healy's song, "Clouds". At the time I used the only recorded version of the song that I had. I didn't realize until after I posted it on the World Wide Web that the vocals didn't exactly match the text in the book.

I now have an updated recording from the CD, "Songs for a Cloudy Day" (available with the purchase of the book). So here is an updated video with matching text and vocals.

If you are interested in purchasing the Book/CD, send me an email

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fisherman's Blues

When my husband saw this picture he said, "He looks angry".

I told him that wasn't the look of anger.

What you see in the bird's narrow eyed, as-if-they-can-see-through-you look is the look of a fisherman.

He spends most of his life out over the water hunting for fish. He has a biological imperative to stay out there.

He is cold and tired. He is on the brink of death and ruin. Yet when he returns to land (usually to mate) all he can think about is going back to sea.