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Archive for August, 2008

I like ice cream

I’ve been in the habit of making ice cream lately. We already know why I could never be a vegetarian. But if I could actually be a vegetarian, ice cream is the reason I could never be a vegan. Making the hot chocolate sauce in the double boiler is even more exciting for me than making the ice cream because I’ve come to find that I can dip many great things in it to make a meal. Sharp cheese (really). Fruit of all kinds. Or a spoon. Wa la. A meal. You’d think I weight a million pounds but alas, I don’t. 

I’m working at our local farmer’s market today, selling wares of our cooperative of artisans.  I love that we all gather with the things we create with passion and interest and motivation and care. I love that as women and mothers we bond together with high end products, we admire and respect each others’ talents.

Tonight will be cocktails on the ocean at a friend’s house with other ladies.

And then after I will see the piano man, when we gather together down at a place where a rockin’ band will play.

And the weekend hasn’t even begun.

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I have a friend and she and her husband had set me up with Steam over a year ago. If you read the “remember when” category, you will read about it. 

If you followed, you may remember that he was having trouble with anger and drinking. And that the final straw for me was feeling like my girls and I were in harm’s way on a boat, with him drinking so much he was a bit out of control.

The thing about his anger, which I saw when we were together, was that no matter what, he wasn’t  happy, nor was he able to let anything go. He spoke about things from his past as if it were yesterday, when in fact it was twenty years prior.  

Today she was up in my town visiting for a few days and when I was hanging out today, she told me he’d been down to visit her, way down South and had given her a painting I had given him when we were dating.

I am happy, I am happy she got a painting she always loved and happy he no longer has a painting I painted. Because as sad as his “stuff” is, he creeps me out. Did I really stay with him for almost a year?

It feels good to breathe and be free of that.

My friend went on to tell me about how he drank ten to twenty drinks every night when he was visiting her and her family. And how loud he got. And how when he first opened his mouth to start talking about me in anger, she put up her hand and said “If you are planning on talking about Stepping, don’t bother, I don’t want to hear it. She’s my friend.” 

It felt good that even without me there, she was sticking up for me.

Remember some of the emails he sent? I was getting about five a day in the end, some were angry, some were apologetic, some were poems, each line repeating the same thing over and over again, phrases like “where have you gone? I am alone now.” And things like that. It started to weird me out, as you read.

In the end, I sent him a three line email letting him know that I will not be responding and I didn’t expect anything productive to come from corresponding anymore, and could he please stop? 

So, I got another email that was slightly bi-polar but in essence, his final one. (I hoped and am glad it was, up until this point).

There were emails about bettering himself and how he was no longer drinking or eating flour or sugar and how he’s working out and things are great and grand (and it was slightly like an advertisement flier)? Well, apparently, none of that is true. The biggest thing that makes me grateful for the change I made is that she told me that every night, he went to the liquor store and stocked up on booze. And got drunk every night.

In her house. With his son, with she and her husband watching, with her three young children watching.

She was mortified. 

It makes me feel sad to hear this for many reasons.

Her parting comment before she left to go home was “I am glad you got away from that, it would have killed you.”

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I ate a pint of icecream the other day. All at once.

And last night took a hot bath with a People Magazine, eating Cheetos and drinking rootbeer.

And due to rain and chill, the arthritis in my back was acting up.

Ibuprofen wasn’t helping.

But it is warming up, to beach weather again. The girls have headed out of town for ten days with their dad and return next Monday. I’ve cleaned my house top to bottom, cut a dent in the pile of paperwork and invoicing, painted, slept, walked, run errands…and it is only the third day.

I went to the Piano Bar on Friday night, kind of by accident. I was working that night as well as figuring out some things on my new MAC (did I mention that I love it?) and the phone rang. It was my friend who plays the piano there…and I am thinking “why would he be calling while playing?”

I hear him playing the piano through the phone and he says “come on down, why don’t you? There’s plenty of seats!”

So I hung up after a semi-promise/”maybe I won’t be there, don’t be surprised” sort of answer…and then looked at all the shit piled up around the house, in my studio, and shrugged, grabbed my keys and walked out the door.

Due to the massive rainstorms that night, very few people had ventured out. All but about twelve of us sitting around the piano bar. It was awesome and intimate and kind of romantic. There I had a few drinks and sang a bit and because of the weather, the piano bar closed early. Piano man said over the piano “there’s a great band next door, want to go?” So we walked next door and grabbed a drink at the bar and stood there for the last hour of the night.  I was acutely aware of the piano man next to me, who is also my guitar teacher, who is also the one I’ve gone out with a few times recently, previously mentioned. 

It felt really nice. And fun. And easy.

Laughter has been the theme the last few weeks, amongst guitar lessons, swapping music and talks, getting to know each other the old fashioned way. Hanging with him makes it easy to feel uplifted and not dragged down by my own stuff. My own stuff just kind of takes care of itself and I don’t feel terribly burdened by it. It’s still there and I recognize it and understand it but I don’t put as much weight on it right now. And for that I am glad.

That’s all I have to say about that right now. 

Speaking of laughter:

My friend, “Mo”, I will call her, is often already pretty wasted by the time I see her out on the weekend. You never know what will come out of her mouth, even sober. When she appeared in the Piano Bar, she gave me a hug, and blurted out “We were at a house party down the road and were going home to have sex but heard the music and had to come here instead.”

The girls are having a good time, despite that I left Blue with her father on Friday night (and her sister), crying and clutching me, not wanting to go, because she thought I might be sad. That kind of sucked. But later that evening she called, wanting to tell me about her new bathing suit for her trip.  The previous day we’d been at the beach and she spent the day on my lap. Every now and then, reaching up to hold onto my face and every now and then asking how many days she would be gone. “Ten” sounded like alot to her, but any time I tried to fudge the truth a little by giving her the whole “one week” answer, Red would pipe up “TEN days”. Blue can count to ten and it sounds like alot to her. Hell, it’s alot to me.

But honestly, I fucking need this. 

I miss them, but I need this.

I refuse to feel guilty about it.

And refuse to feel guilty about going out and meeting friends, or staying in and watching tv. I refuse to feel guilty about my plans for the beach on Wednesday, with a book and ipod and good beach food and isolate myself from anyone I know and just be on the deserted island I am going to create for myself.

There is another band playing on Thursday night, after a cocktail party at my friends’ house nearby, we will venture down the road to the place where the band is playing. And there I will also meet the piano man later on in the evening for some more time that I expect will be good again. It’s nice for a change to just have a good time without expectations or pressure, intensity or drama.

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A second installment of MY FAVORITE THINGS.

Favorites here at home, my favorites for different reasons…

Bowl of watercolor and gouache tubes. I dump them out when I am working on a huge painting and squeeze right onto the paper sometimes. And other times, I carefully fill each cup in my palette with appropriate colors. It depends on how spastic I feel at any given time. Sometimes I just run my fingers through the bowl.

Toasted English muffins with peanut butter and honey. At midnight.

19th century toolbox. Has two levels of trays. I use it for my sewing supplies. Bought in a local antique store and got a discount, merely because I asked.

A local textile place makes starfish throw pillows out of old white popcorn bedspreads. I love mine. It wasn’t cheap. But I love it.

Mermaid key hook. It’s where all the keys are suppose to go.

Bose ipod docking station. I couldn’t live without it. I can move it to my bedroom if I want. Or blast out the neighbors. We dance in the living room to this, it sounds like a stereo system in our tiny place.

We throw all our shells and sea glass in this big basket. Often the girls pull things out and make crafts with them. And then the basket fills up quickly afterwards. They sort the shells too, on rainy days and pretend it’s food with their tea sets.

This takes an adjustment to the smell but it feels good on my face and keeps it clean and balanced. Anything by Aveda, is a favorite.

Matt Kearney He’s hot. Oh, and I like his music too.

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I was found out by Red. I thought she’d not notice if I ate about half her bag of tangerine flavored Jelly Bellies. Yes, my daughter chose that out of the bin recently. I love tangerine Jelly Bellies. Apparently, so does she. And apparently, she doesn’t forget how many are in the bag even after a week of not seeing them. So I kind of got in trouble.

Note to self: buy self candy. Do not raid children’s treat bags.

I packed the cooler for a day of kayaking with the girls and realized I needed to grocery shop.

What do do when there is no time and the cooler stands empty?

I looked at the door of the fridge and pulled out pickles and olives and peanut butter. I had some crackers. I had some cold pizza. Carrots. And lots of snacks.

So I just put it all in the cooler.

In the end, we stopped off at a fried fish shack. Problem solved and I avoided whining of “bad bad food that you give us, just to make us cry”. (seriously)

There’s nothing wrong with tamales and grapes for dinner, is there? Because that’s what I had for dinner. Or blueberry muffins and coleslaw? Really. The kids ate pickles and a hot dog on whole wheat toast.

I eventually went to the market and bought $139 worth of groceries. Sometimes, I come back with enough for a bunch of great meals. Other times, it is full of things to snack on or garnish a plate and I wonder what I was thinking in planning for the week.

I love to grocery shop.

Send me to the mall and I hyperventilate.

Send me to the market and I’m lovin’ it.

I love to put my change in the Coin star thing. I love to recycle my cans and bottles and get the coupon thing to use towards my groceries. I love perusing the sale aisle and comparison shop. I love the produce, especially the cilantro and onions. The cheese section is overwhelming so I just end up buying about three blocks of it and $20 later, am set for the week with cheese.

There is one thing I hate about the market.

The baggers.

They suck.

I take my own bags with me, they happen to be the Trader Joe’s ones. I love e’m. But when I shop at a different chain, it never fails. The baggers give me a hard time for using another store’s bags. One time, a bagger actually refused to put my groceries in the Trader Joe’s bags until the checker intervened.

It was a different experience at the bank today when I went to close my accounts. I have my small business account, my savings and checking accounts there. I recently moved stuff over to another bank. I went in to see my friend who has helped me with things there over the last 3 years. He’s awesome and friendly and doesn’t seem to mind my kids hiding under his desk and eating the candy in his top drawer when we are there. I whispered “I’ve come to close my accounts” and he said loudly “MAY I ASK WHY?”

My response? (because really, who fires their bank unless they have royally screwed up?)

My response was this, “Honestly, James, it’s because the bank I moved to is at the end of my street and they have a drive through atm AND a drive through teller (an actual person) from 6:30am-7pm every day! (including Sat and Sun)

He laughed and whispered back “I’d change too!”

Yesterday, I took the girls to the market with a small list. Something I don’t usually do is wait until I am out of butter to shop. Because, you know, if you have butter, you can pretty much make anything leftover taste good. But anyway, I was out of butter so I made a list and too them shopping and in the end I was breaking up their bickering, fighting over which side they would walk on, or where their hands would rest on the side of the cart. And then they were begging for marshmallows and Twinkies (never), Juicy Fruit gum and magazines with Hannah Montana on the cover. I felt like a schizophrenic trying to get past the geriatrics shopping in slow motion in the narrow aisles. In the end I came home with $79 worth of groceries, missing three vital items that were on my list, including the butter.

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Dear Snackbar people, I can’t figure out why in the height of summer, you can’t hire at least one other person to run the snack shack. You see that line stretching out down near the beach? We’re all hungry. We want ice cream. We want chips. A hotdog! It’s like this every day and it is already August. Don’t you think you’d learn by now that you need one more person in the snack shack?

 

Dear Friends, Please stop trying to set me up with single men you know. Just because they are single and I am single, doesn’t mean we are right for each other. You know that guy you mentioned to me today? You described him and he sounds interesting and all but I can’t get past the fact that he has a ponytail. Um. Yeah. No. Would it be controlling if say, I did meet him, like him enough, started dating him and then asked him to cut the thing off? Probably.

 

Dear Apple help desk people, I paid three hundred and something to have free full reign of help desk help. When I called for help with my email set up because my mac address was sending but not receiving, you weren’t able to help me and sent me to online help. When I went to online help, the wait was 30 minutes. For my first time on a help system that is costing me over three hundred dollars, you suck. (but I still love my Mac!) My problem is still unresolved because I didn’t have 30 minutes to wait online. Maybe in the Fall.

 

Dear Dateman, I had a good time and appreciate that you don’t call me all the time and don’t push me into another date. Because of that, I want to see you again so I can laugh as hard as I did before.

 

Dear Ohio, I think about you every day. I have had to try to separate from what I felt for you and see the reality. And then I go back to feeling the same thing and know there is nothing I can do and just leave it there and move on with my day. Right now is really hard for you, I’ll bet, and that inside you are trying to be still and silent and breathing and perhaps you can hear it in your chest. I hope there is something that helps you or someone you are comfortable enough with to reach out to that will help or add some comfort. Know I am thinking about you every day and hear you in music, more than you know.

 

Dear Chef, I have no room and can’t think of talking to you because it will draw me back in to a place I don’t want to be. You were one of the greatest loves of my life and I adored you and wanted you. I learned the greatest things in being with you and find now, I am learning even more by not being with you. You didn’t love me, and I fell out of love with you in the end because of that. I can’t talk to you now.

 

Dear neighbors, Would you please stop letting your friends park in my parking spot? Give them yours. When I come home from the beach at the end of the day, I would like to park my car in the place that I pay for.

 

Dear Peet’s Coffee, I need you to go back on sale at the market this week so I can stock up again. Otherwise, I’ll have to go with a bag of Starbucks.

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Hazards and Blessings

There are some hazards to working for yerself. Yes. Like, this morning at 5am I woke up and finished a painting and needed to open a tube of yellow ochre and it was kind of dried and stuck so I used my teeth. Even after all the years (and one broken tooth) my mother told me “never use your teeth!”

So, now I have dried watercolor paint (yellow ochre) stuck in my teeth.

But I got the tube open!

Working from home is a blessing, especially when I can stop when I want and  be with my kids when they are home from school.

A hazard is that it sometimes always comes first and my children will sometimes yell “HEY MOMMY, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO PLAY WITH US?” or make comments about not snuggling enough. 

And another hazard is when I put it last. When at midnight, I am just sitting down to paint with my headphones. Or at five a.m. I wake up with a jolt and realize I can get work done before the girls get up at seven. And then I go get my coffee and end up reading the news on the internet for the next two hours instead.

But the blessings are greater. I love that I bring people into my home who not only get to see my work stacked in the corners and cabinets, but that they enjoy seeing that I live and work here. I love that I can work all day in my pajamas when the girls are away and that I can spread out and work in the living room with CNN on in the background, or music. And that I can stop and leave it to go for a run or coffee with a friend. I love that I can work here without a commute. With a full coffee pot nearby. Warmth and space and light.

Most of all, I love that my children can see me work. They stand next to me sometimes when I am painting and I let them sprinkle salt on some of the paintings that call for it. I’ve even had Red paint portions of the sky in a landscape. And the proud look on her face is immense.

Lately, I’ve had alot of people come by to look at my work, and thankfully some sales have come through from them. I am painting frantically now, along with marketing materials for a show in October, which are due to the gallery in about three weeks. And what am I doing? 

Procrastinating.

I am up late working. 

I am tired.

I feel stupid.

I have no structure to my days.

In three weeks, school starts and I will be grateful, despite the bittersweetness of it. Losing time with my kids but bringing back sanity and structure and time for work to bring in more income. That isn’t the goal in what I do but more like a sense of “balance” in everything in my life.

I have finished a ton of new little paintings for a holiday show in Newport, RI, I spent about six hours yesterday working on some of them. The rest of the time I spent creating marketing pieces for one of the other shows in November. I will post them when I get my camera in order. But for now, I finished “How Pomegranates Grow”, above. It’s 22×30 unframed watercolor. For more info, email me at movindowntheroad@gmail.com.

Off to paint now…it is in fact, nearing midnight.

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