Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh no you not

Me: "on your mark... get set... GO!"
S: "No, mommy, you NOT say go, I say go. Ready... GO" and takes off.

H, singing, "a,b,c,d,e,f,g..."
S "NO H! That MY song. You NOT sing my song"

H, sitting in car, looking out the window.
S, "NO H, That MY window. You NOT look out my window."

Monday, December 28, 2009


There are few things I enjoy more than a studio overflowing with editioned prints. I had forgotten that. I finished this print (better picture of single print to follow- I'm just so loving the herd of prints right now.)

This print will be part of the Southern Graphic Council portfolio exchange- and will be exhibited (venue to be determined) in March.

I spent the entire day preparing paper, ink, printing. Its been a while... this size, a predetermined 16x20, is much smaller than I usually work, and I usually do tiny editions, 10 tops, but usually 5. This is an edition of 25- It felt great to be back in the saddle.

My favorite Christmas present

We have seemingly survived another Christmas. I again did all the things this year that I swore last year I wouldn't do, and I am swearing again not to do them next year. I am striving to take the insanity out of Christmas. I don't think feeling on the verge of a nervous breakdown is anyway to celebrate anything.

This year, after the traditional gift giving time line that starts with me deciding I'm going to go minimal with gifts, then deciding I'm going make all the gifts I'll give, then realizing I needed to start way earlier in the year so one person will get a made gift, and who will that be... My daughter H planted some simplicity.

With out telling anyone, with out asking anyone to spell anything, without asking where the tape was, where the paper was, where the markers were, made and wrapped her own gifts and put them under the tree. We opened them last, they were small and the first things placed under the tree. Once again, I sat with tears in my eyes. Amazed at my daughter.

One of H's presents wrapped

Friday, December 18, 2009

The purple spoon

I was expecting my neighbors to stop by, one by one, holding a purple spoon as an offering to the demon child who screamed for one for an hour this morning. I am quite sure S's screams and demands could be heard for miles.

I could have just washed the purple spoon.

That would have been much easier. We had been awake for mere moments before the demands started. I negotiated getting dressed. I compromised about lemonade. Then I was sick of it. No. No purple spoon.

H, who used to love the purple spoon too, has relinquished it because her sister has such a fit if she doesn't have the purple spoon. Its not even about the purple spoon. S will act the same way with whatever color H chooses. The turquoise cup, for example. I fight this battle becasue I know it goes way beyond the color of cups and spoons. It is wearing me down. I know its for the greater good.

There must be a color stealing villain in some story somewhere- I imagine myself to be said villain. No! No color for you! I threatened once, when H was going through a similar color insistance, to replace all the colored place settings with white. No more colors! I yelled. H, not impressed at all, quietly said, "White is a color too."

H sets the table and will go to great lengths to find "not fighting" place settings. "Look!" she says excitedly, "both pink plates! No fighting!" I am at once impressed by her peace keeping skills and annoyed that she needs them.

S refused to eat breakfast with out the purple spoon. I am not exaggerating the hour long screaming. We had to take H to school, I had to drag S out to the car, couldn't get her coat on. Didn't care. S screamed half way to school then finally stopped.
"Look at the birds" she said.
I told her I saw them.
"NO" she said. "I talkin to H."

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Its really too bad I have no time at all to write, because there is so much to write about. Since I should be working on a print, or trying to get the Christmas cards out before February, I will nutshell the last week. Trip to Colorado, then Nebraska then back to Colorado. With photos.

First of all, I was very concerned about being away from the girls for 5 days. Not so much for them. I knew they'd be fine. What I didn't know was how fine I would be. I missed them, I was ready to come home, but it was very nice to have a break. And it is only a mother of small children who would think a funeral sandwiched between 5 hour drives sandwiched between 4 hour flights would be a break. But it was. So be it.


This was the view from the hotel where we stayed. The whole town smelled like cows- which I loved.

My sister, M with my father. We were at a restaurant that was also a bowling ally. There was bud or bud light to drink and chicken gizzards on the menu. Along with 30 kinds of steak. I love a steak and have reached my quota for the year I think, as all I ate for breakfast lunch and dinner was steak. My sister K was there too. Shes a vegetarian. She ordered the iceberg lettuce. With a side of potato.

The day of my grandfather's service was appropriately grey. And very cold.

After the service, which was just us, and not really a service, more of a gathering, we all went to lunch. My father, his cousin from Colorado, my sisters, my nephew and the Nebraska contingency of our family. Representing Nebraska are Uncle Jerry, my grandmothers brother, his wife Caroline and my fathers cousins Mike and Steve. Uncle Jerry farms- cattle, corn, soybeans- Steve and Mike run the farm now that Jerry's older. I don't know them well, anymore. Lately we've been together at funerals, I haven't been back to Nebraska for 10 years. We saw each other more when I was young. We'd visit Nebraska and ride horses, 4x4s, and ride around off road in Uncle Jerry's pick up truck for a tour, which included pointing out where marijuana grew wild.

Uncle Jerry, Steve and Mike are smart, witty, and love to make you squirm. They have big tractors and shoot big guns. One of them (I wasn't in the truck at the time) once ran over a rabbit because my vegetarian step mother was in the pickup asking them how they could be cattle farmers, and had they seen the movie 'babe'. As long as you accept their way of life, they'll accept yours. They backed right off the Obama jokes, and were very kind to K for being a vegetarian. When I'm with them I have such awe and respect for their lives and how hard it must be to be a farmer. I can't believe we share a bloodline. I imagine they feel the same way when they look at me. Less awe and respect, more how am I related to that crazy liberal?

The farm. K's car in the distance, driven by my father driving like a manic trying to make sure we all take note of his mad snow driving skills.

Another picture of the farm. Steve rebuilds old tractors. This is tractor purgatory.

Sunflowers that didn't make the early frost


Colorado. Which, yes, was more colorful. But the sun was finally out. It could have been that.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A trip

I a getting ready to go on a trip. A trip that has all the makings of the kind of dysfunctional family movie that comes out at this time of year. I am flying to the state one of my sisters lives in so she and I can drive 5 hours, possibly through a blizzard if the weather remains as predicted, to the state where the service for my grandfather will be held. Where we will meet up with our sister and nephew. And our father who makes us all crazy, but who we have come from all directions to support in his time of need, which is ironic since he knows nothing about time of need. There will also be assorted family members who I can't identify in photographs and only barely know the names of.

This trip came about quickly, and part of me can't believe I'm going. I hate to fly. The most I have been away from S is over night, and H 2 nights- each of those was one time only- I am about to go for 4 nights- 5 days. I am torn between loving the idea of a break and being completely frantic about not seeing H and S for that long. I'm not worried about the day to day, although it will be trying (to say the least) for J. I am trying to concentrate on seeing my sisters, and being the only person I have to worry about, something I haven't done in 5 years. (There are those who say I have never done that. But that is my goal. Looking out for number one.) But then, wait a minute, theres a funeral in the middle of all this. I expect it will hit me that my grandparents are gone- although I do realize I am fortunate to have known them as long as I did. I have not been to my grandmothers grave site, and I am bracing for that sucker punch.

Right now its the minutia. Its always the damn minutia. What food should I make sure is in the house? What should I pack thats warm enough but takes up no room because I don't want to check luggage? Should I print out that knitting pattern? Should I buy new pens to draw with? Should I write the girls a letter they can open every day that I'm away? Is that ridiculous? I don't care, I think I'll do it anyway.

And when is this christmas shopping going to get done?

My grandfather

My grandfather died last week. I'm not entirely sure how yet, and it was unexpected in the way that he hadn't been sick, but not unexpected in the way that he was 89. At least I think he was 89- in our family one doesn't discuss age or money. I work hard to buck that trend in my immediate family, but my grandfather was deeply entrenched in that non talking philosophy. In fact, he and I had a running joke where I sent him a happy 40th birthday card every year.

I am sad. I am sometimes surprised by how sad. I am sad for my father, who has had the misfortune of already burying his sister and his mother. I am sad that with the passing of my grandfather, my grandmother feels really gone.

My grandfather worked setting type, later owning his own of typesetting company. His obituary, written by my father, calls him "a pioneer in the development of computer typesetting." which I will have to ask him about. There is a strange genetic printing connection in my family, my father worked for Xerox- neither my father or grandfather are artists, but some times I wonder if my love of print is genetic.

My grandparents were married for 60 some years. They were both flew planes, they spent a lot of time ballroom dancing. When they updated (its all relative) their home, a log cabin (first bought as a vacation home, that had no electricity or running water. The outhouse still stands.) they made sure to include a dance floor. I always loved the image of the two of them dancing on their dance floor in their log cabin.

My grandmother died, 6 years ago, prematurely after a fight with cancer. I was with her when she passed, after somehow flying out to Colorado to see her that same day. Despite being told my by father and grandfather that things weren't so bad and I shouldn't come. I watched my grandfather- a man who would have you believe he was made of steel and leather and had rocks running through his veins, crumble. Lost. His fingers, bent with arthritis, shaking. Everything I knew to be true had been turned upside down. Now, that man, that bad ass motherfucker, who softened with age but never gave in. Still traveled, still danced- who was more free with his words of love and appreciation in his last years- is gone too.

This is a picture of my grandfather who evidently asked my father to pull over at 14,000 ft, so he could make a snowball. The fact that he wanted to, and the fact that my father actually did pull over is proof that people can change.

He has no regrets, he has said. Which I guess is all you can ask for.

Friday, December 4, 2009

MamaCita Holiday Party & Show

If you're in the area tomorrow night, stop by:

There will be a lot of great art by a lot of great mamas!

I'll be there with some fused glass jewelry I've been playing around with.

That is a 2 year old hand, by the way, throwing off the scale. The rings are big, but not *that* big!

I'll have some prints, too. Some of the monoprints I'll have there are pictured below.

I have been working on printing with glitter, and am excited to work this into woodcuts as well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My street this week

Pianos that have been left out in the rain. Why?

Two chairs getting it on.