Saturday, December 29, 2007
It can be exhausting to travel around so much that when I do get back to my own home it is so nice just to crash out. Since this weekend is another away, we're at hotel Auntie until probably Sunday. The package at this hotel is groovy and flexible on your number of overnights depending on the crowd involved that weekend; it comes with dancing to Oldies 103.3, painting ceilings, Chinese food, moving furniture, ducks, coffee anytime of day, and chillin in pj's. Each "hotel" I stay at has so many fun amenities it is better to spread around the love and stay in a lot of them. In a manner of speaking you understand.
They have built their own eco-system here in the backyard with the number of ducks that have come to get fat & happy in the creek out back. Getting fat is courtesy of the hundreds of pounds of corn they're being fed by the proprietors Auntie & Uncle every day. Little ducks everywhere are screaming "Tell your friends!" "They'll feed you too if you don't poop on their heads as you fly over the house man." I have some pictures of the duck feeding from this morning but unfortunately they lie in my camera so you'll just have to imagine what it looks like for Auntie to be out by the snowy creek with a white bowl full of corn, tossing handfulls out to the100 some odd ducks at her feet, anxiously awaiting their breakfast. It was kind of magical in a way. Auntie must be the Duck Whisperer. Not to mention the bunny, dog, bird, well, really all animal Whisperer.
Good news too, there is no more smoking allowed in this Hotel anymore, the ceilings are now painted and beautiful. Been fun hanging with G&L this weekend too, don't really get a chance to connect with them a lot and L & I are probably going to try to blend our skills to give each other a hand with business stuff. She loves to paint, I love to faux so it is a no brainer to hook up and work together so neither of us have to do what we do not enjoy in the process. Cool!
Well it is back to the weekend of fun and food again. See. I keep trying to tell everyone we're all bears hibernating in the winter but no one listens.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday night at Dad’s & my “Evil Step Mom’s” (as she refers to herself, in jest I hope) was a blast. We met fantastic friends of theirs who were such a riot it amazed us when all of a sudden we were leaving at 11:30 PM to make the hour drive back home. Conversation just flowed all night and I even met an Interior Designer who said she would love to see my portfolio after the New Year. Turns out I probably grew up with her kids and didn’t even realize it as they summered just two houses away from where I lived until I was six and the street I also summered on every year of my life. The world is truly getting smaller by the day! My Dad blew me away when out of the blue, from across the living room, he asked “why didn’t you ever become a model?”. Thankfully he is biased since he is my Dad but my cheeks blazed with hot pink anyway as I said thanks but stop looking at me. That is pretty much the reason it did not ever happen, I prefer to remain behind the scenes, not in a public eye thanks.
Sunday was off to see the younger crowd and as usual the entire day was just not enough time to spend with them. Our five year old nephews are amazingly brilliant it blew me away just to watch them talk about space and science then to navigate the internet like pros. Sentences are slowly forming from our sixteen month old nephew as well and he is just Mister Independent running around, doing his own thing but yelling “cheese” as soon as he sees the camera. This is the spot where way too many little buttery cookies were consumed. Oh how I love those Russian Tea cakes. Thank goodness the recipe came home with me because I will certainly be making them this week. We built forts and train sets and danced around as usual. Not that I am biased or anything but those kids get smarter & cuter by the second. The timer dinged & it was off to my Mom’s where for one second I thought maybe my wish for an eighty five degree Christmas would come true since the temperature spiked almost twenty degrees in those fifteen short miles.
That night we ate pizza and drank wine while watching Christmas movies. It is always nice to just chill with my Mom; we were all snuggled up under flannel pj’s and us old folks went to bed long before she did. Waking up at my Mom’s house on Christmas Eve morning was great, we celebrated with the standard tradition of drinking coffee filled with M&M’s and eating way too much sugary food before everyone arrived for dinner. Once everyone showed up it was a flurry of hot cheese dip, pomegranate martinis, blue cheese and laughter. We yakked so long that getting to the next shindig seemed impossible but off we went to Auntie’s and Uncle’s house.
By this point Matt had decided to stop eating but when I saw clam chowder and shrimp cocktail I knew it was pointless to try to stop so down the gullet it all went. Yum. I had to pull my Auntie aside to give her the CD I made as a tribute to my Grampa who passed away earlier this year and we both almost cried but she hugged me so tight and just said she couldn’t wait to listen to it on Christmas. Crying in one form or another is never outlawed in their house but there is no way to avoid crying with laughter, the spirit here is just so fun and anything goes; really nothing is off color or off topic. All of the usual suspects were there and a few people that I had never met but had a blast getting to know all night as I planted myself at the kitchen island that I didn’t move from until we were once again leaving a party after midnight.
On the way home last night, since it was so late, I noticed how quiet all the stores were and wondered just how many people had filled them earlier that day doing their last minute dash for the register. The glowing lights coming from the inside burned bright as if to say “don’t forget us tomorrow”. This year I am proud to say that I never stepped foot inside any shop. Sorry to the economy but all gifts this year were in the form of handmade or charitable donations as it really seemed to be more in the true spirit of the season. We went to bed full of everything from food to laughter to great times spent with family and friends and look forward to another terrific year of the same in 2008.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Haiku will tell a story
Leave comments below
Snow blows once again
There is no more sand to sea
Drift and fly around
Crank the thermostat
Mother f’ing frigid cold
Where are my wool socks?
Brave to step outside
Have to walk to Post Office
Pull hat and scarf tight
Wind off the water
Inhale the thick salty air
Exhale looks like fog
Flakes land on my tongue
The neighborhood starts quiet
Kids come out to play
Building snow people
Use rocks for silly faces
Finish it with smiles
Packages are mailed
One last icy shot of cold
Take a deep breath. Go!
Leave boots by the door
Slushy snow melts on the rug
Make a cup of tea
Eighty five degrees
In my imagination
Southwest sings my name
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Before I divulge the details of my crazy dream it would help if you knew a little background information to truly get the full effect of the insanity.
I am a fairly small gal, 5’-2”, with chin length reddish-brown hair. My hair is bone straight but has a lot of volume about 1” down from my scalp so I lovingly refer to it as my ‘brown football helmet’. This I stole from Steel Magnolias because it just seemed so fitting for my coif. Mine is not quite this big but hey, it was the 80’s.
Final related material: I do not live with my mom, I am organized & free of clutter to the point of OCD, Maple is my favorite wood and I do not like little girlie hair clips.
So the dream went something like this…
My Mom comes into my bedroom to tell me that Toca is here. Well of course he is, why wouldn’t he be at my house? I tell her I need a minute to get ready so tell him to wait. She leaves and I look around what I can only presume is my bedroom. The lighting is very dim, if there is even a light on at all, and there is crap everywhere that makes all the dark wood furniture seem that much darker. Piles of papers line every wall, hundreds of chotchkies fill every square inch of space on top of my dresser and other furniture pieces and I see all kinds of banners & ribbons hanging from the ceiling. The walls are stark white, but look grey in the light, and the shades on two enormous windows to my right are drawn tight.
Now before hanging out with Toca a girl obviously needs to freshen up to look her best so I cross the room to the other dresser with a large mirror. I glance at myself and for reasons unknown nod with approval at what is looking back at me. There is my face, my tiny bod and a two foot tall bouffant of twisted nappy hair bobbing around on top of my head. To add insult to this do I have apparently decided that there need to be hundreds of little hair clips in varying fluorescent colors strewn about it. There are little birds, smiling faces and tiny animals in every shade of hot pink, electric blue and lavender that a girl could ask for. For those who may not know what a bouffant is, think Marge Simpson (without the blue of course, there was enough of that color in the clips).
Finally, before any hang time I must check my podcasts so once again I cross the room and somehow manage to locate my iPod in all those hummels. I click through the buttons to get to what I am looking for and watch the show with great delight. There dancing around is a California Raisin with the face of Jason Mraz. Oh yes his little shuffling feet cause me to giggle with glee and he is even wearing a signature Mraz fedora.
It looked a little something like this:
I watch for what seems like hours and then suddenly I am sitting on a sofa next to Toca. We chat away about who knows what but he never laughs at my hair. That is a true gentleman right there.
I awake to realize that my brain is apparently stranger than fiction.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The first thing I need to throw out there is my complete distaste for Santa’s reindeer. Well all but Rudolph of course. A friend of mine sent out one of those “getting to know your friends” emails. I get sucked in every time so I answered it and sent it off. One of the questions asked “Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?” so I said yes but I would not repeat their demon names because they are evil. A friend called me out on it and I wondered how she could not know my true feelings on this subject after all these years. Here is the email I sent back to her (edited for grammar). Take it for what it is.
“ok the thing w/ the reindeer...poor freaking Rudolph is just a little bit different & all those "chosen" beeatches just taunt him & never include him in anything...but oh how they need Rudolph’s little glowing nose when none of their sorry asses can lead that sleigh in the fog right? I mean come on, if they couldn't see the awesomeness of Rudolph before how can he ever trust them to be his real friends after that blizzard right? Rudy was just looking for some friends but I think he should have told those losers to pound sand & then took off for Manhattan or Harvard Square or somewhere where he would fit in just for being himself & not have to prove to anyone that he was kick ass”
The next important thing to note about winter in New England is even though the weather dudes can predict a storm that is no indication as to what type of insanity it will bring to a commute. I wrote a while ago about trying to imagine I was dreaming about the dusting of snow we got here at the beach. Picture me cackling hysterically when this happened yesterday.
Yeah. It actually took Matt about eight hours to get home yesterday. Four of those were to make it less than one mile from his office. He left work at 1:00. Of course so did everyone else. Visions of the Blizzard of ’78 came rushing back to all of us as hundreds, maybe thousands, of cars were abandoned in the middle of the highway because people ran out of gas. Either that or they decided to walk home because it would be faster.
On the positive side of all this crazy winter stuff is how helpful people can be and that neighbors will actually pitch in to give a hand to each other. I spoke with my Mom this morning and a neighbor on her street, who she has never spoken to before, came over last night to help her shovel her very large driveway. My neighbor called me yesterday to suggest I turn my car around before the snow so I would be able to get out of here if need be. On the news there were hundreds of shots of people helping to push each other’s cars. Even as of now I have heard of no incidents of road rage, major accidents or otherwise bad tidings anywhere. Being helpful and patient is really what the spirit of this holiday season is all about.
The final random and positive factor of winter living is when one lives at the beach people are really cool and I will even admit the scene is really pretty. To take all these photos I decided to walk towards the center of town (a term I use very loosely) by way of the beach and stop into the post office on the way back via the street. The beach walk was fun and funny as my boots sunk into the foot of virtually untouched snow to get down to the rocks. There was only one other person down there and as you can see by the tiny black dot near the water’s edge, they were nowhere near me.
Here is a more artsy shot I couldn’t pass up snapping even though it meant trudging through a huge drift that must have had me sink about 20” into the sandy snow.
Every single person I came in contact with was smiling, said hello or even chatted. There was a guy shoveling right by this public beach entrance who was really nice.
My final contact was at the post office where everyone, including the Post Master General, was laughing, singing or generally just in a great mood. I met a boy and his grandma who were about to go and build a snowman. A kind older gentleman held open the door for me & made a point to say that ladies are always first. The Post Master told the woman in front of me, who was having trouble with her credit cards, that he would wait for her to get back with cash even though he was already past the standard lobby hours. Of course he did say “Don’t go and have lunch first.”
As I walked back there was actually a smile on my face for the first time all winter. I didn’t even mind when I narrowly avoided being slushed by the passing cars or that the bottom of my jeans were soaked and freezing my little legs. It was just nice to know that there is still a community in the northeast where people can avoid being rude at this time of year and even smile despite the knowledge that another foot of snow is coming our way in a couple days. Come to our beach town Rudolph, there are wonderful, accepting people here.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Since it is actually 45 degrees today and not raining or snowing for the first time in a couple weeks my curiosity got the better of me and I had to walk up to see what was going on, after putting the milk away of course. I chatted for a minute or two with the crew who are obviously used to the type of gaping mouth reaction that was on my face. The foreman said ‘there is an entire family living in there still.’ And I answered back by asking where the ropes are that allow them to repel out the side. He said they are one ‘extreme family’. Of course I chuckled but shook my head anyway as I noticed there were actually a couple guys under the house working.
It occurred to me as I walked the beach that I should have asked what they were planning to do here. Were they crazy enough to pour a foundation only twenty five some odd feet from the water’s edge? Are they going up on stilts to avoid water in the house from all the nor-easters? Or was it just that they felt dwarfed by all the other three story megalomansions that have seemed to spawn in this quiet little beach community over the past few years? No matter what their reasoning it sure will be fun to watch them lower this baby back down onto whatever ends up underneath it. Let’s just hope the crew is long gone by then.
Monday, December 10, 2007
This past weekend began the fun and festive holiday party season. With the exception of the actual holiday, it also ended the fun and festive holiday party season as well. I love getting all parties out of the way in one weekend, it makes recovery time that much easier and also means that when I get back on the stair stepper this week it won’t be pointless. The weekend whirlwind began over a late lunch Saturday with a friend that I haven’t seen face to face in well over 2 years. She is one of my closest but unfortunately we both lead such different lives these days that carving out the time to see each other was just impossible before we moved back to the area. Three hours flew by so fast, while we shared fries and laughter, and then it was off to party number one.
This party is one to look forward to every year because it is put on by my oldest and dearest friend and her husband; at this point I really consider her my second sister instead of just a friend. There are always tons of people there, mostly old and current friends from both of their jobs as well as some crazy fun neighbors and other various friends gathered along the way. It is a safe and embracing environment despite the fact that this year they had an ice luge and more alcohol than the packie. For those of you not from Boston, the packie is an affectionate term for the liquor store. We drank, ate, danced, ate, drank, laughed, ate, got warm by the fire pit, drank, ate, ate and then we ate. When we finally crashed on their spare bed at 1:30 AM I wasn’t sure what I passed out from, a full stomach of food or booze, but come the next morning caffeine was definitely in order just to make it to and through the next party.
To say that the final party of our weekend was a bit more low key would be an extreme understatement. All party goers are my mom’s side of the family, mostly sisters and brothers of my grandmother and their kids and their kids as well. We all wander around this party talking to each other, asking what we are up to, where we are living, how many kids we all have, all the while searching the deepest reaches of our brains for the name of the person we’re talking to and how they are related to who. No one usually lets on to the fact that they don’t remember you, if they don’t you just won’t get a hug. I got two hugs all day. Actually now that I really think about it, I think it was just one. The food was good and conversation happened but by next year people will again say how nice it was to meet Matt for the first time.
With only 21 days left in the 2007 calendar year I feel great about having such a fun time with so many fun and different people. Now the road to Christmas is paved with laughter, charitable donations and lots of baking and the year can end on a note of full bellies and contented hearts.
Monday, December 3, 2007
It would have been easy to miss if he had not caught sight of it early since I woke up at 3AM to the loud pinging of sleet on the skylights. The sound was enough to keep me up for over an hour as it furiously pelted down, blanketing everything around us with its crusty, glistening layer, wiping out all evidence of the fluffy white flakes that came just hours before it.
If it had not been so dark out, I would have recorded the pretty scene of flakes falling through the wreath. It appeared so serene because I was on the side of the door where it was 68 degrees, not the other where it was 28. Can you say holy-mother-f’ing-cold? I sure can, and did, as I made crying noises resembling that of a wounded wookie. This is the part where I give thanks for wool socks, adjustable thermostats and scarves. Winter has officially arrived.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
of a new writing obsession,
Haiku is such a difficult style to achieve perfection with because the tiny poem must convey so much emotion, visual flow and conclusion using just 17 syllables. I considered writing this entire blog in haiku style but it is Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 and I do not have that much brain power just yet. Instead of a haiku blog, how about I share a little haiku history lesson & some of my newly created haiku poetry from this week.
Here is one I wrote to submit to a contest:
Coffee to the brim
is spilled on the motherboard.
Ship it back damaged
Here is one I wrote from the point of view of a kid:
Run and run around.
Everyone fights for a seat.
There are two parts to a haiku – the phrase & fragment – which basically refers to the fact that there is a distinct break & sentence structure in each line. The Japanese typically use kireji at the end of each line (a word which implies a break) but in English we more commonly use punctuation to imply the rhythm of the poem. This creates two very distinct types where Japanese haiku (potentially originating from the linked verse form of renga) is one continuous flowing sentence and English versions tend to be multi-line poetry.
Hokku in early 19th century Japanese culture was sometimes written with regard to nature and followed closely to Zen practice thanks to Kobayashi Issa who helped to develop a somewhat new form of haiki, drawing from his own sad life experiences. After the 18th century this former beautiful art of wordplay fell into a time of overall frivolity but was soon redeemed by Masaoka Shiki with an introduction of interest in Western culture. Shiki is considered the first true haiku poet as he helped to transform the ancient art into a new and beautiful form of expression. In haiku today themes not previously explored are prevalent such as sex, love and technology.
Last night I actually went to sleep dreaming about how to format a great haiku poem relating to falling asleep. Unfortunately the theory that if you think about it before you fall asleep you will remember in the morning did not quite work out for me today. Well, it worked to a point, I remembered there was a poem in my mind but what the words were is a mystery given up to eight hours of dreaming.
was the resource used.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Apparently the addiction was smaller than my fear to stop doing it because it is 3:00, I have been up since 7:00 and I have only walked 150 steps. For you math novices out there that translates into 3 pangs, pings or pongs depending on the time of day & what else I was doing at the time. There is no denying that while paying attention to how my body feels with this change I am noticing how much it was a habit that I fed right into one too many times. I am actually staying home today on purpose because I am afraid I will drive myself right to the smoke shop and we all know what happens then.
Driving was one of the only habitual times I had not altered in the last couple years. The habitual times would be when there is an activity occurring that sparks some firework in the brain to think about smoking at the same time as the other activity, always. When that happens it is instinctual to light up; no one is asking me do I want a cigarette and it is not always when someone else is doing it. The old adage ‘caffeine & nicotine’ is one that works here. Well, it is an old adage to a smoker. Trust me. Ask one.
How I will interact with other people now is really just a big old mystery. I am sure it will be tough at first since my cigarette burned the smoke that formed my safety blanket from actual interaction with anyone. I could always be distracted or have something to do so I never really had much to say to other people except ‘got a light?’ Poor Matt. He is sure to bear the brunt of any special brands of crazy that result from my detox; the kind of crazy you only discover on the most rare of first dates, the ones that never result in scheduling a second date. I would just like to apologize in advance for that one babe.
OK, in the spirit of truth is stranger than fiction…
The very moment I was writing that line about apologizing to Matt he called. After our conversation I would just like to change my mind to say I hope you bear the brunt of a whole sock full of crazy tonight hunny. Thanks for, inside our mere 3 minute conversation, letting me know you were just hanging out having a cigarette before grocery shopping. When I promptly bugged my eyes out and said ‘gee thanks for letting me know’ with heavy derision, you paused for a mili-moment to wonder what the issue was. As if you feel my heart and eyes leap out of my body, you remember to ask ‘how’s that going anyway?’ as if it was something you knew you should ask but abhorred doing since you didn’t care about the answer. I am no longer one of your people.
Maybe it is a good idea to stay home tomorrow too so the good idea of quitting smoking remains good and not most of the contents of the crazy sock.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The reality that I was looking to run my own business is true but faux finishing would not have been what I would have considered two years ago. After completing 2 years of design school my brain was going to explode if I had to make any more labels for a CEO so when I came across the job ad it was like my creative nature began to smile. I dove into finishing with reckless abandon, and OCD, just like I tackle everything else. Working with those crazy LI gals was the best education I ever could have asked for! Now, with every job I complete on my own I will think of all the time we spent working together and inevitably start laughing hysterically.
Although my job does not define me it does encompass such a large part of my day that it is important for it to provide some joy while I do it. As my business begins to take off I am reminded of all the things I love about doing finishes. Number one is the level of satisfaction to stand back and enjoy the beauty of the final result. It is also gratifying to mix a color perfectly to match what a client is looking for without having more of a reference than what they are telling me they would like. I guess the final joy would be that it keeps me in shape; thousands of steps up and down ladders will surely tone my butt over time. No drama. No stress.
Things that are happening right now that are long overdue:
The world is catching on to going green and reducing CO2 emissions
Writers are going on strike
Jason Mraz is working on a 3rd studio album
Newscasters are hosting SNL and proving they are funny
Brett Favre is helping to lead the Packers to an amazing winning season
New England sports are at the top of everyone’s radar
Designers are contacting me to view my faux portfolio
A plane is landing in Boston today with sick crew members and the dark side of my brain immediately begins to laugh as the movie Airplane comes to mind. “Chump don’t want no help chump don’t get no help.” I am sick this week with some heavy coughing and yucky green stuff which is forcing me to cut down on smoking. Maybe it is fate telling me that this is truly the time to be done with that nasty habit. This is the year I have pledged to quit after all. Life keeps moving and shaking through all its many ups and downs and I plan to do the same.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The coverage, like the fires themselves, began slowly and gained strength as the days have worn on. Over 1300 homes have now been destroyed and at least 1,000,000 people have been displaced through evacuations, but this is not the real story.
The lives are what really matter. Within each story lies a beautiful turn of events such as the woman who’s friend is letting her entire family stay with them or the video clips of three people, obviously civilians, helping to drag hoses along the lines of the fires assisting the firefighters in their efforts. People have come together to help; people are no longer only concerned with their own world but are there to lend a hand to each other. This is the true embodiment of what it means to be human.
Reporting on this story from New England is difficult for many right now; the top three stories seem to all revolve around the start of the World Series this evening. At first it seemed annoying to hear about such a thing because when compared to the fires it sounds like fluff. Does Josh Beckett starting game one matter more than how many people are taking shelter? Do people want to hear about a tarot card reader who is predicting the Red Sox to take this series in six games? The answer to both questions is yes. The reason it is yes has nothing specifically to do with the Red Sox team or their chances to win a World Series, the reason is what the stories are based on and that is hope.
Hope may sound like a far away emotion for the residents of communities like Ramona, California but it is hope that allows these people to make it through; to realize the only loss is material and although tragic, their families have survived. The helping hands that are carrying bottled water, lending their time as a grief counselor, or taking people in for a warm place to rest all provide the hope to survive, to start over with life. With this hope the human spirit lives on strong and will allow the people of southern California to prevail.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Getting over the fear of rejection is something I have never been good at so I have never really put myself out there to experience it. BAD! It is a difficult battle that always takes place in my head where the perfectionist meets the artist and I sit back to let them fight it out. The big secret is that neither of them ever does win and the battle continues to rage on. For the first time, today is the day where I pick a side and let the artist win. After all, how can I make any mistakes to learn from if I never allow myself to do anything at all?
My first client meeting is already booked for next Monday, she wants a finish in her bathroom and will possibly re-hire me to do her living room as well, so having my book together when we meet is necessary. The job will definitely be a test of my creativity and intimate knowledge of color interaction seeing she loves the colors of autumn but has slate gray tile in the shower. This is where my training in Interior Design will certainly come in very handy as I furiously thumb through my pantone to locate the perfect color to mix. This job will go off without a hitch though, I truly believe that, because I know my skills exist to make it so. Sometimes I just need to write it down to convince the perfectionist to take a hike.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Short and sweet for now, off to faux finish a grocery store.