Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The barn and milking parlor I am attempting to paint for Joann represent the dairy farm Raymond had. If you've ever been on a dairy farm or lived downwind of a dairy farm, you might have an inkling of the work involved. I am pretty sure my inkling is a very slight fraction of the whole picture of being a dairy farmer, though.
Joann, when I look at that saw and try to remember the dairy farm, I realize how little I know about your dad. I know I loved his smile behind the glasses. I know every Sunday after Thanksgiving, I will not fail to think of Raymond when I hear the first car coming down the driveway at my mom and dad's. I know Raymond always seemed an especially happy soul amongst all the Greers coming and going at a gathering.
On the surface, the things I don't know (or have forgotten if I did know them when I was a kid) are most probably easily answered. How did Raymond come to be a dairy farmer? He obviously liked to build things; did he sometimes work construction, too? When he moved off the dairy farm, was his workshop enough to keep him happily occupied or did he still miss the daily rhythms of the farm?
Somewhere in here, the line of thought becomes more than just points connected by a straight edge. The "line" of thought becomes more of a branched tree of many thoughts. When I hold the handle of that saw and contemplate how to make those damn dairy cows in the pasture look like cows and not some random splotches of paint with four legs and a tail, it's not just the painting on my mind. I wonder whether your dad enjoyed morning or evening milkings the most and what it was about those times of day he liked best. I wonder if he stopped to watch the sun rise every morning, listened to farm reports on the radio, and worried about the price of milk and what it meant for his way of life. I wonder what he looked at and mused about when he sat outside the screen door of the milking parlor and took a break.
And you know I have all sorts of questions about the things he made in his workshop, why he made them, and why this saw with the broken handle saw so much use. Just this last time when we were home, Pop was talking about some of the things his daddy had the boys do. Granddaddy Greer had those five boys doing all kinds of things and writing this makes me wonder what Uncle Bill taught Raymond and the rest of his kids. You know, I mostly remember Uncle Bill after his stroke, remember him calling Aunt Lula from his bed. "Luuuuuuluuuuuuuuuu, can I have some candy?" "Luuuuuuuluuuuuuu?" Your daddy moved into town next door to them around that time, right? How many memories of his dad before the stroke joined him in his workshop?
If I sat quietly with my right hand gripping the handle of this saw, would I be able to feel any of the thoughts Raymond felt when he was woodworking? The handle has been worn smooth by use. Would I be able to hold it and feel the rhythm and the sweat that wore it down to this point? What secrets about shaping wood would it teach me? You can learn a lot from the tools of someone's trade. . .
P.S. I know my little brother is standing over your shoulder while you read this. He's probably making a crack about me doing too much talking and not enough working. He might even be right. . . but I bet he also knows this isn't just any old handsaw blade that needs painting ;-)
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
- The Ramblings of a Lunatic Mom and Lampworker is Michelle's way of connecting with glass folks and friends. Check out her glass goodies, marvel at how the boys seem to get cuter every time you see them, and high five Mich for sticking up for what she believes is right!
Another thing I'd like to do is say a big THANK YOU to Capt. Elaine for passing along a blog award! Yep, the internet sure does a lot in the way of bringing us all together with people who share our interests! Isn't it great?
P.S. Here are some more peeps that little birdie told me you might enjoy:
- The Bead Blog
Woohooooooooo! That oughtta keep ya entertained and happy for a while! Now, to figure out how to escape the Mommy-Brain Syndrome today and get some work done. With temperatures in the teens, the kiddos won't stay outdoors for very long at a time. Two snow days in a row is practically guaranteed to result in a few minor squabbles, don't ya know!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
We've been talking about "How to Dress Like an Artist," as well as the artist's cloak (remember the last paragraph?). The point of these blurry faux action shots of Katie (okay, okay, I forgot the camera was in no flash mode) is that outrageous style is something some people develop early in life. I think that's the point. . .but you know me and rambling thoughts, so who knows what ideas we'll stumble across today :)
Kate is a non-girly-girl after her own Mommy's heart, except she does non-girly-girl with a flair I could never have imagined when I was six years old and she's been dressing herself since she was four! Some of those early combinations of red with pink or shinysequineddressup with t-shirt were a little much. I would make her switch to jeans instead of the fake fur pretend dressup skirt before we left the house. Occasionally, I would look the other way when she chose plastic Barbie-style high heels instead of real shoes.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
This is what happens when Katie "just feels like drawing a house, not a particular house but just what I want to draw." Kate's stylized people are very intriguing to me. Lately, they have developed a few very long eyelashes at the corners of their eyes, and this slight exaggeration does much to tell you about each character. I also really like the towers she added to her house, very magical. Way to go, K-a-t-i-e!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
- First admission. I have always wanted to look like one of those people with "style," one of those casual but elegant women who can mix vintage and modern and end up looking like they stepped out of a magazine instead of like someone threw them into a thrift store dressing room and made them get dressed in 30 seconds. It seems that these women are almost always the creative or artistic type. I thought that would be me, but I'm always a day late for the newest trend and a dash of flair too short. So, even though I've always wanted to look like an artist, I've never quite gotten the hang of this sort of style. . .and I sigh when I admit to myself that I don't really want to go to any of the trouble these women do in order to look that way.
- Besides those unique women who have that casual but elegant and creative look, have I ever really paid attention to how someone's dress fits in with their creative/artistic background? Yes and no. Yes, because during college, I could pick out the art majors a mile away (it had to be the burgundy hair flashing against the black trenchcoats). No, because I've learned you usually can't read the entire book of a person's life and personality by simply skimming part of a chapter. I remember one of the librarians during my grade school years. She looked like an "artist" to me, with her hippie-cleaned-up-for-a-day-job clothes and long hair in braids. . .but she was a librarian, and her husband was the artist in the family. Looks can be deceiving, no?
- I think for me, once I really found the medium (glass!! hot, molten glass!!) that let's me express myself, I started feeling confident and complete on the inside. Dang, all of a sudden my preference for worn out t-shirts and torn jeans makes sense! I can work in those. I can wipe spilled bead release on the hem of my t-shirt. Who cares if the glass spits and pops little pieces onto my old jeans when I'm torching? If I want to practice using that hand-me-down welding machine (oh, I gotta get that thing out again!), then short hair that springs back to wild, uncontrolled life after I remove the welding helmet is perfect.
- But do I *look* like an artist? Ummm, no. I don't think so. . . unless you look beyond the clothes and start to see me. See my obvious delight when someone asks what I make. See my eyes twinkle when I tell someone else, "Oh, you can do that, and here's why I know you can." See my ears perk up when someone has a new tool or a piece of scrap metal or a bit of glass. See all those things about me, the way I notice and admire those same types of things about you, and you'll never forget I am someone passionate about making things. That, right there, is my artist's cloak of many colors, and I like to think I wear it well :)
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
There's mine, along with a link to more pictures of her in my BeadArtists.org gallery pages. Okay, I showed you mine. Now, it's time for you to show us yours :) Leave me a link in the comments, and I'll post your name and the link right under this paragraph. Get click happy, peeps! Let's have some fun!
Thanks for playing and clicking, everyone!!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
- Boys will be boys will be boys, especially when it comes to toys. Uncle Bubby was quite delighted to show James the car collection again this weekend. The difference this time is that James has started to really notice cars. Yesterday morning, he ran out of the house in sock feet to get a closer look at the car. Mind you, this is the car he has ridden in off and on since his birth. Mind you, it was still verrrrrrrry cold outside. Why did he run outside without his shoes? Because I had the car's trunk lid up and he had to see "if those are two different lights on the back of the car, Mom. Can't you see it? The red lights are on the bottom *and* on the trunk. That's sweeeeeet!" So, you can imagine James' newfound delight at the thought of getting to inspect the car collection in Uncle Bubby's room!
- Time stands still in Michael's (or Hobby Lobby or any other craft store) and in Barnes & Noble. This is especially true if you do not have these types of stores in your hometown. Whenever I come to my parents' for a visit, I almost always end up going to Michael's and the bookstore, even if I can't think of a single thing I need. Today was one of those days, and I thoroughly enjoyed browsing all around Michael's, even though I walked out empty handed. Ah, the bookstore was nice, too. I snagged a book about labyrinths for $4. Can't wait to open that up and browse.
- Winter is beautiful, really it is. I know that to be true, really I do. I'm trying to convince myself that I can stand a few more months of such beauty. I'll let you know how that goes...when I unthaw!
- A bit of inspiration in the form of a colorful picture is always welcome! Check out Mallory's blog (For the Love of Beads, in the side bar) to see an awesome set of pictures of her lava lamp, as well as a creative challenge. Looks like fun!
- When you start out by saying "this much I know is true," you will inevitably tick off your muse and not be able to think of all the important things you wanted to include in such a list, LOL. Guess that means tonight is a short one, folks! Hope you've each had a terrific weekend and that Monday treats ya right!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
- It is always easier to apologize than to ask permission.
- A half-assed, but-let-me-explain-why apology is not a real apology.
- When the world hands you lemons, ask if you can please substitute limes, and make a big margarita. Once again, I think I am fixated on warm places and vacations at the moment, LOL.
- Don't Dish. Don't Direct. For crying out loud, if you're gonna watch t.v., then go ahead and put up with cable's constant price increases. Trust me. The satellite always messes up in the middle of the fourth down or at the most dramatic point of the movie.
- Aw, come on, don't even try to tell me you didn't see that 25 m.p.h. sign! This might be the first house as you leave the farmland and come into our little town, but surely you can spare a minute of your drive, especially if you are driving one of those tractor trailers to the grain elevator...Damn, son, you've got the rest of the winter to sell that grain, but my children are gonna cry for months and months if you run over their cat. P.S. It's quite likely that someone is going to have to restrain me to keep me from personally going to hunt you down and torture you until one of us dies if you lose control of that vehicle and come up in my yard and endanger my children in any way.
- Read the directions, okay? If you can't understand them, then ask someone. Seriously. Dude, I have a college education and still have trouble understanding some directions...but if I need to ask a question, then I do it.
- Thank goodness, the houses in this neighborhood are far enough apart that we can't look out the kitchen window straight into their dining table to see what's for supper. Of course, this could come in handy if your neighbor happens to be a really great cook. Let me tell you, though, while we are looking for houses and are tempted by beautiful houses that happen to be set very close to other houses, it is good to be reminded that a neighbor can make or break your peace at just about any time if they choose. You get this little tidbit of wisdom because I've been thinking about what a rotten neighbor is doing to hassle the peacefulness of someone's household lately. . .and I don't like it!
- There. Yes, I do feel better now. Thank you. You know what? I've hit that stage in life where I'm trying to be a better person, trying to let other people live their lives without me trying to steer them in the direction I find appropriate, trying to do my best to live and let live. BUT along with the beginning of this awareness comes a heightened awareness of the intolerance and ignorance of people who haven't traveled the same distance on this long and elusive journey to maturity. And, no, I don't really want to ever reach the end of this journey, but I do want to keep making progress as I go. And, yes, I do have lots of gratitude for those of you who've already been where I am now. . .thank you for putting up with me!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Every time I scan past this picture, the same sensation fleetingly crosses my mind. It is the sensation of warmth from laying your palm onto a piece of terra cotta that has been soaking up the sunlight.
Can you tell what season it was when this picture was taken? Early winter. My eyes see the purpled hen and chicks with some crinkled outer layers, but my brain sees a warm, sunlit flowerpot.
Feel it? Bet you don't even have to close your eyes to imagine it. If you are a gardener, you've picked up so many pots that you can feel the not quite smooth, barely bumpy, fairly interesting texture of this pot, just by looking at a picture or hearing the words "clay flowerpot" or "terra cotta". If you are a lover of gardens, you've trailed your fingers lightly across many a clay pot as you walked through gardens, stopping to admire everything from hardy hens and chicks to delicate impatiens.
Feel it? Bet the creative part of you doesn't even have to stop and think about it, you just feel it, soon as your eyes light upon the image. The artist in you, the lover of beauty, the soul who is appreciative of all the many varieties of color and texture made possible by Nature. . .the artist grabs this image and begins to play with it. You begin to mentally catalog the colors you like and don't like, the almost imperceptible differences in texture from top to bottom, the balance or imbalance of clay and plant and wood. Isn't it amazing how many of these vignettes our brains hold?
Life. Soak it up!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I can tell you, however, that I have glimpsed the possibility for addiction in myself. Yep, and it comes in the form of arcade games with Chuck E. Cheese ticket bonanzas (go ahead, click it, you know you want the jingle "where a kid can be a kid" stuck in your brain for at least the next thirty-six hours). In case you've never experienced Chuck E. Cheese, let me tell you, it's like crack for kids. Uh-huh, addiction might be a theme here. By the way, you know how guys have this annoying habit of claiming they go to Hooters just for the terrific chicken wings (as if! just admit you're going to ogle the chicks, guys, and don't try to feed us baloney about chicken wings)? Well, just as Hooters might indeed have pretty good wings, C.E.C.'s does have decent pizza, all things considered (and when I say "all things considered," I mean that parents with kids in tow don't usually get to enjoy a fine brick oven pizza in a quaint little bistro).
What do parents do while their mini-me's play ski-ball and jockey for position in the line for the fake roller coaster "ride" game? Well, the first few times, you nervously tag along behind your offspring, feeding them tokens, carrying the soda cups in case someone clears off your table while you're up, and fending off five year old hustlers who target innocent newbie kids, asking nonchalantly, "You got a token I can have?". The nice thing about C.E.C.'s is that those little hustlers are really the biggest threat to your child and a fake smile accompanied by a "Does your mama know you're hustling my kid?" usually takes care of that problem. You see, parents and kids get matching numbered handstamps when they enter the place, and kids cannot leave the premises without an adult with a matching handstamp. There ya go-- temporary peace of mind for the price of a pizza. After a few more trips, you finally figure out you don't really need to follow the munchkins and wince every time they "waste" a token on a game that obviously isn't going to give up any tickets (tokens go in the game slot, play the game, win anywhere from one to hundreds of tickets, take tickets to cheesy prize counter at end of visit to redeem for cheesy prizes).
What's a parent to do while the kiddos play, then? Don't say call somebody on your cell phone, because you'll never be able to hear them over the din of all the games, shrieking two year olds, and Chuck E. Cheese's animated, fur covered, rodent robotic, rock band! You can try a book (I took along one about creating backyard attractions for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife this time), but chances are you'll find it hard to concentrate. Chances are, there will be some obviously seasoned C.E.C. parent veteran playing a game near your table, and you will become mesmerized by their ability to make the game spit out tickets, tickets, and more tickets. Hey, if you're gonna go, you might as well hope for lots of tickets, right? Sunday night, our table was right by one of those hit the button as a certain light is lit for a split-second kind of games. This particular one mimicked a dragstrip-- Corvette revving its engine (don't even ask how many decibels are possible on a mere game), announcer booming the countdown, and the peel of tires as soon as you hit the start button.
Wait a minute, Ang. Where in the name of all things strange does Zen come into this post? Hang on, I'm almost there. I sat there listening to the "announcer" over and over and over, as some thirty-something dad played that game for all the tickets he could get. He was pretty good, too. His back was to me, but I could tell how he was timing it from the slight movement of his right shoulder a second after the peel of tires. Oh, yeah, I had to try that. While the kids are away, the mommy will use some of their tokens and play!
Needless to say, the game wasn't as easy as that guy made it look. Hand-eye coordination being what it is, you must know I was handicapped from the get-go (go ahead, call me Grace, call me clumsy, call me just plain un-freaking-coordinated, it ain't news to me). I fed the game a token. Hit the start button. Tires peeled. Lights traveled down the strip. Damn. Missed it. No 57 tickets for me, just three measley tickets. Repeat about four times. Hmmph. Sit back down. Read about birdbaths and try to resist sneaking a few more of the kiddos' token stash.
Well, shoot, we paid for the tokens, didn't we? And the kids are gonna be happy if we add to their tickets, right? Of course, right. I grab five more tokens (we used the coupon deal that came with 100 tokens this time, so maybe James and Kate won't notice). Three tickets, stopped about four lights before the jackpot bulb. Four tickets, close but no jackpot. Here's the Zen part, guys. I could feel my arm moving, could feel the effort to make my hand press the button a split-second too early or too late. . .but the next time the tires peeled, my body almost felt as if it was floating along with the electric current and I hit the jackpot without even feeling as if I'd moved. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet! That right there, that had to be some sort of Zen moment!
Oh, do you have to ask? You know I took more tokens and tried it again. And again. Hope the kids don't notice too many tokens missing. Here, one more time. Aha! Jackpot #2. Still the sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet Zen moment. Same with Jackpot #3. Just in case you didn't hear me, it was swwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttt!
I think I'm hooked. Anybody want to meet me at Chuck's for lunch?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Ah, what a great song!
So, some of youse guys has been spreadin' da love, and I gotta say Tanks for dat!
Rachel from Wilmoth Farms Handmade Soaps passed along this cool Kreativ Blog award.
These are the rules:
1. The winner may put this award on their blog.
2. Please put a link to the person that presented you for this award.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to all their blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.
Deborah from Sweetwater Designs Lampwork passed along this Lemonade Stand blog award.
Pass the award along and nominate up to ten blogs which show great attitude/gratitude.
Thanks, ladies! It's an honor. . .and it's always hard for me to narrow down any list and just pass along an award for a few, so thanks for being patient with me :)
So, how did I do it? Who did I pick? Bwahahahahaha! I didn't. Well, at least, I didn't try to pick five or ten of my favorite blogs that I follow (waaaaaaaaaaaay too hard to narrow that list down!). Also, I have to admit (yet again) my utter haplessness when it comes to copying images on the web and reposting them, so you have to go to Deborah or Rachel and snag your own award image.
May I present to you, my cop-out of the day, chosen after a couple of hours of thinking about this, getting stumped, going to fix a peanut butter sandwich, checking on the kitten, checking on the cat, checking on the children who are constantly bothering the kitten by checking on her, typing a few more sentences, still not being happy with what I've written, etc. Here are links to blog posts about unusual blogs or ideas for blog posts :)
Vandelay Design on 13 Ways to Create Unique Blog Content
Blog Core Values on Unusual Blogs
Ode Magazine is an online community with several blog contributors
Truly Unique and Outstanding Blogs listed here
Hope you'll have fun checking out these links! I know I'm going back in search of one I saw in a list. It was named "World's Dullest Blog," and the last entry had over 200 comments!
P.S. If you want tried and true good blog reading, just click on any of the great blogs on my Smidgeon of Reading blog list :)