make a wish

today was a mighty whirlwind, as saturdays often are.  saving all thoughtful insights for tomorrow.  until then, sweet dreams.



when someone tells me it's about to snow smack dab in the middle of spring, damn right i get a little grouchy about it.  because i'm sick and tired of being cold, of wearing so many layers underneath my pants that my pants don't even fit around them.  i'm burned out on lighting fires or tending to lit fires, tracking sawdust in and out, in and out.  but even more so, i loathe forgetting about fires only to find that they are already burned out.  being cold is not glamourous, or comfortable, it's downright tense.  living here, in this drafty old barn, i've definitely grown thicker skin in my dealings with inclement weather, but still... it's not thick enough.  winter should be over by now, the crops are late, and by god, the farmers need a break.  frankly, snow is not welcome, and talk of it goes about as far with me as a dead baby joke.  

but lo and behold, the last few days, when we surrounded by hail storms, snow drifts and funnel clouds,  edison was shining in a glorious rain shadow.  i guess that will teach me to listen to rumours about the weather...or rumours regarding anything else for that matter.  no complaints here!  it's the freakin banana belt! so much so that i found me a new swimsuit at a local thrift establishment, and was able to try it on without freezing my buttcheecks off!  and today, as i was outside for a spell, just me and the baby ducks basking with the chirping birds, on a business phone call, the woman on the other end of the line sounded shocked: "oh my gosh i can hear a bird chirping!  are you outside?  how warm is it??"   why yes, i'm outside, i said.  in just my sweatshirt.... and no, i'm not even wearing socks, i didn't say. 

summer, i hope you're ready for me, cuz i'mma ready for you. i can see it now:  me, running barefoot on a sandy beach.



there are very few people in this world i dislike.  then there are the certain folks that get completely under my skin. for all the people in the world i love madly and deeply, and they are plentiful, there are a measly 1% that drive me absolutely batty.  in fact, those are the people that tend to preoccupy my mind with negative and bitter thoughts, all day long if i let them.  i feel my blood start to boil and curdle.  i know it's an unhealthy weakness, but hey: i'm human.  and usually, to my credit, it takes an awful lot of oblivious recklessness, self-centered narcissism, or greedy selfishness for someone to rattle my cage.  the worst part being: they usually don't even know they're doing it!  it's a true feat of meditation, telling myself again and again: let it goyou're not in charge of anyone but yourself.  because really, truly, its my own damn fault if i let someone else's actions or attitudes stress me out, get my goat, or ruin my day. i know. i should never give anyone that kind of power over me.  in the words of Gandhi: “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”  easier said than done, mr. mahatma, but i'll sure try.


up and away

i spent the day riding that tightrope margin between an itchy sneeze and an burning runny nose.  my head feels like a hot air balloon at full capacity.  this cold is the same cold that our small town has passed around like a piece of hot gossip.  enough echinacea, and i might just chase this cold away. until then, let it be an excuse to be a little less productive than normal.  because i have an intuition: my body wants to send me a message, that message being: slow down. 



trial and error

choosing watercolor paper is like trying to find a good fitting pair of jeans.  i did both today. and failed at both, as evidenced by this poorly rendered pile of cucumber slices. tomorrow, back to the drawing board...or art supply store, rather.  where buying the cheap discounted stuff doesn't always bode well for the finished product.


daily chore

The average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper per year (over 20,000 sheets).  It takes about 384 trees to make the toilet paper that one man uses within his lifetime.The daily production of toilet paper is about 83,048,116 rolls per day.An average tree weighs 1,000 pounds which would yield 450 pounds of bleached chemical pulp, assuming a 90% converting yield, approximately 810 rolls of toilet paper would be produced from a single tree.
nearly nine months into my one-a-day project, i've been thinking a lot about the finish line, my light at the end of the tunnel.  its one hundred and five days away, and i can't wait.  in some ways, painting has become such a routine, one of those automatic chores i do every day whether i want to or not, like making food or brushing my teeth.  but still, the project has been rigorous and unrelenting.  sure, many transformative things have happened for me in the past two-hundred-sixty day span.  i've certainly learned a lot about myself in the process. but i'm ready to stop, and try something else.  i'm ready to immerse my new skills in a style of work that takes more time and patience than just a single day.  will i miss my project?  maybe.  will i feel a certain emptiness, or lack of purpose?  i don't know.  but right now, in this moment, i feel a bit like a long haul trucker driving that white line through the black of night, still a lonestar state away from her destination.


cause for celebration

today, i'm a little under the weather.  days like these, drizzly and grey, i can never quite get warm.  days like these, my outfit leans more towards pajamas than sophistication, and i hover near the fire most of the day.  days like these, comfort comes in the form of strong black tea, stretchpants and rich foods.  today was easter, the holiday i don't really celebrate and forgot entirely about, until sweet ol' james presented me with my "easter basket"... not a basket at all but a little brown box filled with the loveliest cheesecake ever made, the size of a small plate, just perfect, all for me.  i love cheesecake, i'll eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner if given the chance.  this one was made by jim at the fabulous farm-to-market bakery in edison washington, home of the best cheesecake i have ever had the opportunity to taste.  all day, i took to it in tiny slices, savoring every bite until i had eaten almost a third of the thing.  made me forget about the rain, forget about my cold, forget about my woes and worries for gosh sakes!  hallelujah! i don't really tend to celebrate easter, but i'm my mother's daughter after all: i'll take any opportunity i can to celebrate cheesecake!



it was a sunny saturday in edison, the kind of festive day that was made for motorcycle rides, wiffleball games, and painting outdoors.  just a taste of what's to come, really, just enough to wet the palette and shake the winter out of these cold bones before they freeze up completely!


save the earth

from an early age i was an environmentalist.  in fact,  i started a save the earth club as a gawky fifth grader, enlisting my buddies in regular trash pick-up around the neighborhood.  i had a three-ring binder, checklists, greenpeace literature and everything.  no, this wasn't just some hair-brained idea of fun for me.  deep inside, i knew things weren't quite right.  

as a high-schooler, i became vegan, back when it wasn't fashionable.  i did this after learning about some of the evils of factory farming. the disrespect for animals, for the environment, and for humanity at large that went into meat production was all too much for my weak little heart.  it was then that i began to read labels, and really examine what i was putting in, on or around my body.  lots of chemicals, it turned out.  

as a college student, i started to learn about the history of food production, and how the fda, corporate agribusiness and the pharmaceutical industry has jeopardized our health at large.  nowadays, the extent to which things aren't right with the world breaks my heart almost daily.  being married to an environmentalist carpenter, i've learned even more about high levels of toxicity in commonly used building materials, not to mention paints and finishes.  it's a lot to wrap your mind around.

frankly, you can never ask enough questions.  it's not enough to assume that people are looking out for your best interest. they might not even know that the meat they're serving you is full of hormones and antibiotics, or that the cabinets they're installing in your house are soaked in cancer-causing formaldehyde.  these days, there's no way to protect yourself completely.

supposedly, an ecological conscientiousness is growing, but simultaneously, so is the massive amount of waste we are creating.   to me, the blanket of ignorance, the dumb smiles, the what i don't know can't hurt me attitude is even more of a waste.  i believe, to this day, that chemical toxins in food, products, and the environment are what killed my mother, are the source of widespread terminal diseases like cancer.  that, my friends, is a bitter pill to swallow. 

we can only save ourselves with knowledge.  we are our only advocates.  for me, hiding out in the country is one solution, a place where the natural beauty outweighs the destruction of manpower.  but even still, the river water that flows to the bay is full of feces from the cows that make the burgers we may eat tomorrow, that bay may be a red tide full of pesticides and chemical fertilizers from the growing of genetically modified corn that someone will surely put on the grill at a family barbecue or grind into millions of processed foods we eat daily.  but even still, i may eat an oyster from that same bay.  because denial ain't just a river in egypt.....the world isn't perfect.  but we're not doing it or ourselves any favors by playing dumb.



i awoke this morning at daylight to the sound of our two baby ducks partying down, running busily around their wooden box, feet slapping the sawdust. they were practicing their feeding technique by vibrating their tiny beaks in the water dish, against the rocks, and generally all around the box. the sound was similar to a vibrating phone on a wood table in a puddle of water.  it was an ecstatic and busy sound, that plus their squeaky chirps met by the morning cacophony of birds outside on the feeders.  i imagined they could hear those wild birds, wondering what the heck might lie outside the comfort of their little wooden infrared-lit interior abode.  the ducks were busy for an hour solid.  after their workout they snuggled in the corner to take a nap. i went back to sleep too, drifting off to memories of the first phone call from james, i rescued two baby ducks, he said, ducks tinier than the palm of my hand, ducks with their eyes not open yet that came in a box full of dead ducks, ducks that might not make it.  it is a tiny miracle, watching them grow visibly, by leaps and bounds, every day.

today was cleaning day for their duck box. they poop an awful lot so we have to clean it almost every other day.   it just so happened to be sunny warm and beautiful, so we decided to give them a taste of what's to come: the outdoors.  we made a little chicken wire corral in the wettest part of the yard and let them waddle around.  at first they were scared, and squawked awfully loud, but i got right in there with them, and made them feel more comfortable with a little food scratch scattered about. then, i picked them up to showed them where the puddles were.  they got right to it, instinctually dipping their beaks in the mud, sifting around for snacks.  i must say, watching them do what ducks do in their first moments out-of-doors, i was a proud mama duck, squatting there in the mud.


officially speaking

last week, in a response to some random facebook post proclaiming my intent to start a punk band, i got a phone call inquiry from karl blau.  as a result, this evening at five is my first practice as drummer with his new group.  it is met with anxiety and excitement.  initially, i wasn't sure that i would go through with it, i'm already in a band that i love, after all. but after talking with daddy treetops, our locally heroic prodigious blues guitarist and music aficionado, i am encouraged:  he told me that any opportunity to broaden your skill and gain more experience is beneficial to the musician.  so i decided, what the heck, i'll at least give it an old college try.

by no stretch of the imagination am i a professional drummer.  in fact, i've only been playing maybe two years.  it was the summer before last that we happened to hear word that a neighborhood kid wanted to sell his "first act:discovery" miniature drum kit.  we went straight for it, because you can't go wrong for thirty bucks.  i embellished the tiny drums with some masking tape and a picture of our nephew, plus our band name on the kick drum, and i was off to the races.  i practiced regularly by turning on the songs i liked, mostly by beck and starfucker, and playing along.  i'm not a technical drummer, but found out quickly: i'm steady.  i attribute this to my dancing years: enough "kick-ball-changes", dance routines and mall performances drenched in spandex and sequins, enough "80's dance nights" saturated with beer at the 3B, and you're going to have an internal tempo.  it wasn't but a few months later that i was awkwardly attempting to play my first show with our new band, me, james and tom as the daffodils. as the band practiced and grew tighter, so did i.  people seemed to love my tiny anomalous drums.  feeling a bit like a hack, i wanted something more substantial.  so just a week ago, when i was visiting my dad, i found the perfect drum kit at a resale joint called trade up music.  i splurged a whopping $150 (not bad, i'd say, when most drums go for a heck of a lot more) for an all white, great sounding, no name kid's kit, complete with an extra rack tom and newly replaced heads.  and now, folks, i can finally say: it's official.  i'm a drummer.



vintage can courtesy of lucas hicks and his ragtime suitcase drum kit.

weekends here are a blur.  i mean, it's a miracle that i get through them mostly unscathed.  it all starts on friday at eleven, when we open the store to the public.  our store is located smack dab in the middle of our house, which is essentially a glorified barn facing the main street of town. essentially, on the weekend, my house becomes a store, and my living room, a buzz of activity, full of people both known and unknown to me, checking it all out.  it's a vulnerable feeling, this is us, this is who we are, all of a sudden we go from having a private life to being public figures, simultaneously we become susceptible to judgement or scrutiny.  but we are proud, we are different, we let it all hang out. and fortunately, most people don't focus on the occasional cobweb, cluttered table or unpolished floors. fortunately, for the most part, people are generally pleasantly surprised by the art, the eclectic nature of the space, and its inhabitants.

monday through thursday, i get my house back.  on the weekdays, when most people are working their normal jobs and town is quiet, store returns to living room, where the cats sleep tucked in boxes, the woodstove churns as i work watercolor to paper on the large university lab table covered in clipboards and pencil-filled mugs.  these are the golden days that i spend recovering from store days and party weekend evenings.  usually, over the hectic weekend, i make quite a tornado: the dishes go undone, the dirty laundry explodes across the bedroom floor, and the studio is a warzone.  weekdays, i methodically chisel away at the mountain of chores, bit by bit, until they are mostly done.  it's a soothing sense of accomplishment found in taming the nest.  

and then, just about as quickly as it disappeared, friday comes again.

half empty

everyone is fallible.  we all make mistakes.  so i will go out on a limb and venture to say: it's okay that i didn't finish my painting today.  that's right, i said it:  i didn't finish.  it was a full moon, and today, i was a mess.  so here's a half-finished masterpiece in the making. because some days, it's hard enough to complete a though, let alone get anything done.


good night

after a long weekend, it's time to sleep.  tomorrow, hopefully i'll arise refreshed, and have something relevant to say.  but for now, nothing but a little shuteye, a tonic for these weary bones.


express yourself

sometimes, when i hang out with little kids, life just makes more sense.  kids are creative, naturally, and more uninhibited than adults.  they're willing to take risks. trying new things is an adventure.  they make great playmates.  life is spontaneous and fun.   with my little toolbox of an art arsenal, i find them easy to impress.  give me a giant cardboard box, scissors and tape, and i'll fashion the best drive up bank or fortune teller machine you've ever seen.  but give them a paintbrush and a piece of paper, and even this artist can learn a thing or two about a little thing called self-expression.


stories seldom told

so far, the best part of having this blog has been connecting with people.  sometimes, folks identify with the stories i write.  they may let me know in a comment, or in person.  we may commiserate, form a bond over things that we have in common.  sometimes, people identify with the objects in the paintings.  i never know what a certain object may conjure for someone in terms of memories.  often times, the objects chosen are loaded with references to my childhood and life.  other times, the objects are picked for their feeling of americana, their catchy old-fashioned labeling, or their banal everyday plainness.  sometimes, i let a third party choose the object.  it may have it's own meaning to that person, which i may or may not be privy to.  either way, when someone shares a story or a memory with me relating to my work, the painting is that much more complete, and the process that much more fulfilling.  what are we, as humans, but a lifetime of stories?  and what are those stories if they're not shared?  they have a tendency to disappear into the ethers.  as we share, memories become embedded in the work we do. as the meaning of my work grows and evolves over time, it makes me wish i could tell all the stories of all these paintings, all over again.

i met johanna went while she was visiting my friend sheila in the tiny town edison. hailing from the boomtown of los angeles, johanna is a punk rock art goddess.  i have admired her since i was just a bleach-blonde baby of an art student, with a studded belt and a penchant for punk in my headphones, and so it was exhilarating to meet her in person.  she expressed interest in my work, bought a few paintings (which was entirely flattering), and since then we have been in friendly correspondence.  recently, my sardines painting brought up a lovely memory story of hers that i just had to share:

One of my very early memories is from when I was about 3 and we lived in Kansas at the time and my Dad worked the swing shift so he would come home late maybe 12 or one am and I remember waking up and he would let me sit on his lap and I would eat sardines with him. It must've happened more than once because I remember the different kinds. The ones with oil we ate on Saltine crackers and the ones with catsup we ate on white bread with butter. The ones with catsup were bigger and my dad would split them open and take the bones out for me. He would eat the bones, as I do now. My mother would try to get me to go to sleep so she could be with my father alone, but he would let me stay until the sardines were all gone. My brothers were sound asleep and my parents spoke in whispers so they wouldn't wake anyone up. None of my siblings especially liked the fish, but I loved them, we also ate kippered snacks. We used to put the can in a frying pan filled with boiling water to heat them up before we would open the can. Sometimes we ate the mustard sardines too, but i loved the oily ones the best.

I almost forgot the most important thing, back then sardine cans had a key that was used to open the can.  I remember playing with the keys and sometimes the cans after the lid was removed. There was something magical about the way the lid would roll up on the key...when I think about it, I wonder at what an amazing invention. a key to open a can. In fact when I was a kid I didn't understand why all cans didn't open with keys.


a summary

i want to grow gracefully old.  and be the healthiest me that i can be.  i aspire to feel content,  satisfied.  i wish to create beauty to combat all of the ugliness.  i want to love the world for all that it is, and forgive it for what it isn't.  i hope to be surrounded by a family, a family that depends on me as much as i depend on them.  i want that family to consist of mammal, man, woman, child, bird, fish, reptile, plant and insect.  may we coexist harmoniously.  there is room for us all.

this is all i ask.  these are my goals.  this is what i live for.


clean sweep

i've determined that if you watch enough episodes of hoarders, you're gonna want to clean your house.  throw in a little pawn stars and american pickers, and you'll want to sell some stuff too.  after a week long television marathon at dad's house, i came home wanting to do just that.  but the age old question we all ask ourselves at the beginning of a vast cleanup project is:  where do i begin?  often times, the answer is, i'll just shuffle things around until it starts to make sense, amounting to a lack of real direction.  where oh where is a professional organizer when i need it most?  today, i started rearranging the studio, sorting through stuff and filling goodwill boxes.  i quickly realized something:  organization takes time, and tools, one of which is good organizational furniture, shelves and drawers and things like that.  it also requires patience, diligence, and a devout willingness to part with things, something i've never been so good at.  in an attempt not to get discouraged, i sorted a few things into a new red computer disk, designated the drawers to specifics, gave away a coffee table, threw a bunch of clothes in the giveaway bozes....and then as ADD set in, moved on to something else entirely: making a new house for the baby ducks.  it was fun, watching them run around in their new expansive space.  yes, i want my house clean and sparse, like theirs.  biting off a little at a time seems like the way to go about it, but as scavengers, the speed we accumulate things outruns the rate at which we can give them away.  more objects enter our doors than ever leave, and i've got a sinking feeling that policy has got to change.  boy, it seems like this whole organization thing could take forever.


sea level

it was good to be back in my studio today.  i had the place mostly to myself, just the two squeaking baby ducks, pato and gonzo, to keep company, while the lazy cats slept, close together, but not too close.  the music was on punk rock loud like the old college days, the kind of music that motivates, drives the work, makes you feel edgier than you may actually be.  the sun shone through the curtains and warmed the room.  i painted larger than usual, felt the luxury of spreading out in my own space, splattering to the beat and dancing ridiculous while the watercolor dried, taking turns on the new drums when i needed breaks.  it felt so perfect, so purposeful, this is what i was born to do, i thought, this is where i am supposed to be.



waiting for the train in union station today felt like a scene from a movie.  i searched out an empty wooden bench to wait my hour-and-a-half.  hungry, i found concessions, and was pleasantly surprised by a nice big bowl of steamy aromatic udon from the japanese family that ran the shop.  as i blew on the fat noodles to try and cool them, the benches filled around me.  a loony-bin type of fellow made incoherent conversation about the military and old wars fought, talking at but not with the white bearded man next to me.  when asked if i was his daughter, for shits and giggles, i said yes.  i watched a squealing toddler eat a sponge bob popsicle, and teenage girls in stretchpants and short shorts head to the ladies room to primp.  i tried to avoid eye contact and subsequent conversation with a lost and lonely looking older traveling man, but found him pleasant and non-offensive instead.  i looked down the bench: a couple eating strawberries from a clear plastic box, resting their feet on suitcases, a man on his laptop, and a bearded fellow with a backwards hat reading, whom i happened to recognize as dominic. i called out, hey don't i know youyes he said, that look of familiarity in his eyes, an old friend of james, a comfort in a sea of anonymity.  we sat across from each other on the six hour ride, its better to sit next to someone you know, alternately sleeping, reading, knitting, and chatting pleasantly. he said he didn't mind if i painted his portrait.  my hand was wobbly with the churning of the train, the light was waning and inconsistent through the blurred landscape windows, but even still, he said he thought it had a good resemblance.

the journey

vacation's over. can't wait to get home.



it's always wonderful to me when a scumbag gets a break.  by break, i mean healthy opportunity.  i love it when a broke ass mutha makes it big.  and when a dropout gets a great job.  and when the losing team sweeps the playoffs.  or when a dirtbag street artist gets a prestigious show.  i love it because it's kind of like a break for everyone that's on the level. when one buzzard wins, we all win.   for example, reader's new show at the lawrimore project in seattle:  i went to art school with the guy, we did a couple of collaborative canvases, we were just fuck-up kids with no idea where life would take us...since then, noticing his tags and stickers on many an urban walk, hearing of grandiose burners in precarious places, i know he's been one busy boy, making his mark *illegally* all across the country.   and now, seeing his politically poignant work cleanly and formally presented in a room, while simultaneously MOCA in los angeles is hosting the the first major U.S. museum survey of the history of graffiti and street art, Art in the Streets...well, it makes me all giddy.  one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.


eyes open

hats off to my friend shirley who, as a substitute teacher, recently had to lead a classroom full of heinously immature seventh graders through a sheep eyeball dissection. yikes! listening to her talk about the perils of being a teacher, i realized what immense amounts of strength and patience are required.  to be engaging and impress learning upon groups of mostly irreverent teenagers while also retaining composure and grace is a true act of juggling.  thanks to all the teachers out there, sacrificing their sanity, calm and peace of mind in an effort to make a difference.



sometimes, you see finer art pinned haphazardly to the wall of your friend's dirty cluttered garage studio than you could ever see in the walls of a gallery.  it is sincere art, and gut-wrenchingly beautiful art, straight from the heart art that defies description and commercialization.  and sometimes, walking down the dingy streets, face in the sun, eating lunch and laughing with that good friend is better than any vip pass to any world class show.  yes, those days you thank the world for showing you how to find beauty and sincerity and inspiration, tucked away in the hidden corners of this world.  and those days, you thank the world for showing you real connections in a sea of superficiality and slick salesmanship.



i always get a good dose of tv when i'm visiting my dad.  for a hippie girl like me who swears off the things, it is a guilty luxury to stay up late after everyone's asleep, drinking tea with the dogs and watching trashy reality programming.  it sure feels like a departure from the days when "coming to town" meant going out every night and partying like a madwoman with the homies, staying up till two or three,  sneaking in trying not to rustle the dogs or parents, feeling hungover  lousy the next day, and trying my hardest to pass a self-inflicted misery off as the stomach flu.  nowadays, my homies drink tea, go to bed early and swear off late nights and the hard stuff. truth be told, i was a little disappointed i couldn't rally the troops tonight,  but i guess there are some virtues to growing older, laying low and being more moderate... like feeling healthily wholesome, optimistic and energetic.  maybe this time, with scarcely more planned than long walks, lunches, and positive family time,  my visit will actually be relaxing.


the underbelly

riding the train is a rare opportunity to bear witness to the underbelly of america. through those windows, you see things few people see.   if you're paying attention, you become privy to the private backyards, the industrial gravel lots, the remote beaches, the back alleys, the capsized ships and abandoned boats.  you discover the hidden nesting grounds of egret and heron, the washed-out signs hand-painted on backsides of brick buildings, the shanty villages of transients, the collapsed marinas, the hidden wetlands and waterfalls.   as you fly by remote beaches, people wave, and you feel strangely omniscient.  it is a unique and distant kind of voyeurism, a five hour slideshow of images that saturates your memory and spins the wheels of your imagination, telling stories of our culture: who we are, how we are, what we build, how we fall


which came first

when you live in the country, or if you have hens yourself, sometimes and most often the eggs you eat pop directly out of a hen's butt, with scarcely a moment to sit there and incubate.  they come from the roost, not the grocery store, complete with a lovely bird shit patina.  wash that bird shit off, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the loveliest saturated pastel greens and browns. when you crack the eggs, depending on the food those happy birds have been eating, the yolk will be firm and perky and of the most radiant yellow.  these are the colors that don't come in a paint tube.  i am always in awe of nature's perfect color palette.  as an artist and color mixologist, it is an endless pursuit, and nearly impossible to replicate.


to be a kid again

i miss being a kid.  it was the best.  i miss my little ponies, barbies, my boombox, my madonna tapes, my glass animal collection.  i wonder where all that stuff went.  when i was young, it was lucky charms in the morning, cream of wheat that we called mush, and cinnamon and sugar toast for breakfast.  i can still smell the waffles dad would make on sunday, or when mom cooked swedish pancakes for dinner in that yellow pan.  i can still picture my little outfits: stretchpants and keds, saltwater sandals, hypercolor sweatshirts that hung to my knees, or the matching koolot and blouses i made myself on my new home sewing machine.  i burned the motor out on that thing sewing clothes for myself and my barbies.  i remember painting my fingernails on the front porch with my best little friend katrina, or building supermarkets out of legos in her beige carpeted basement while eating cheese whiz on ritz crackers.  i can still hear the popping of the pillsbury cinnamon roll tube that my brother and i would bake for every father and mother's day.  breakfast in bed was always a special treat.    in the summer, we'd spend time swimming in norma's pool, only when the towel was out on the fence to signal could we come over to play.  festive were the days of selling lemonade at the massive garage sales we used to have.  i miss my rudimentary computer with the green dot matrix screen, with games like oregon trail and odell lake, conan and donkey kong, printshop and the perforated paper that would make the long banners with dorky graphics celebrating every occasion.  i miss those Christmases we used to have, decorations and presents to the hilt.  i used to watch shows like family ties, you can't do that on television, saved by the bell, charles in charge, but they don't make programs like that anymore.  i miss the way mom would sit nestled on the couch in her pink robe mornings before school.  i'm just resting my eyes, she'd say, dozing off.  i miss it, miss it all bad, and somedays, just thinking about it, i feel like crying.  i miss the days when i didn't know pain, and death, and the world was full of magic and fun and excitement.   things can seem perfect when you don't know any better, but eventually you grow up.  growing up is hard enough...and then you learn the ways of the world.


the essence

i'm a lucky girl.  i don't need a lot materially to be happy.  i feel satiated with who i am and where i sit in the world.  i don't  need no diamond rings, designer jeans, or a fancy car.  that's good, because i can't afford them anyways.  i don't mind my haphazard house, my dirty carpets, my craft explosions, my mountains of laundry or my cat-haired life.  if my life was flawless, it would be boring.  i want a life with soul.  i try my best to keep things together, but i don't fret so much anymore when life becomes chaotic.  it's an adventure, mom used to say when things got a little hairy,  making it a little less scary for us kids and a little more like a thrilling indiana jones saga.  yes, when you live life on the edge, when you push the boundaries of convention, you certainly don't have to travel farther than your own backyard for that cliffhanger feeling.  these days, i can hear mom's voice, those words, stuck in a reassuring repeat: it's an adventure.  adversity nurtures depth and sincerity.  i don't worry too much anymore about what other people do, scrambling to get ahead of me in the rat race for wealth or success.  i used to get a little hotheaded about it all, but i learned quickly: that stuff only affects me if i let it.  i've heard that peace comes with age and the wisdom of experience.  whatever the reason, the more that peace of mind grows, the better i feel.  these days, i am content to know that my friends and family love me, just the way i am.  simple as that.  it's a wholeness, a kind of security, a true fortress, filled with riches beyond riches.

all in all

the most embarrassing part of today was getting our debit card declined at the gas pump after just spending our last fifteen dollars on six boxes of hostess donuts plus two boxes of ding dongs for the art reception.  now who's the ding dong we thought to ourselves, embarrassed at our lack of money management and other adult lifestyle planning skills. we coasted down chuckanut on fumes, crossing every one of our fingers toes and even our legs for good luck.  we made it home by the grace of god, grabbed some money out of the jar, that jar that is so reassuringly tactile at times yet so inconvenient at others, and held our breath for the last ten miles from home to the gas station. phew. we made it, by the skin of our teeth. nothin like a good old adventure to raise the blood pressure.

so after a long few days and nights of art show bonanza, we drove home tonight in the dark to find a welcoming bar staff and some of that down-home cookin from across the street.  they treated us right good, we filled up with all kinds of curly fries, happy to be in our home turf.  entering our house, cold and dark except for the black fuzzy kitties wrapped neatly in their boxes, the carnage of art projects half finished and supplies gone wild looked a lot like a battlefield.  yes, the house is a complete disaster, i can barely lift my eyelids to type this, and could hardly keep the brush from falling out of my hands to paint this measly spoon.  but all in all, in the end, it was well worth it.  the art that drains also sustains.