Monday, June 30, 2008

Now Boarding Rows 11-44

Fly the Friendly Skies
We Love to Fly and it Shows

Does anybody know of any other airline jingles? I would love to have a collection of jingles from the good old days of happy flying.

Those days are not actually that long ago, although it seems much longer. I took my first flight less than 20 years ago. I loved it. The attendants were plentiful and friendly. You could stuff a large body into the overhead compartment if you wished. The attendant would offer a wide variety of magazines before takeoff. After takeoff, food was served. Hot dinners!!!! Perhaps James Beard (o.k. Bobby Flay – I hate to date myself) would have been displeased with the entrée, but what an adventure to pull down that tray, and have a happy little compartmentalized dinner served. And if there had been any delay or other annoyance on your flight, you would get a complementary adult beverage. After the meal had been whisked away, blankets and pillows would be proffered. A movie would then be shown with free headphones. Ahhh,well. No more.

I am going to San Francisco soon. My husband made flight reservations back in January. The flight times have been changed several times since then. Yesterday, the flight number had been changed. Apparently that gives the airline the right to mess with one’s reservations. My husband discovered that he had been moved elsewhere on the plane, away from his wife and child. My husband called an airline representative, located somewhere in India, to be told that something could open up, if not, he could ask another passenger to trade seats with him. Didn’t this use to be the domain of the flight attendant. Wouldn’t they cheerfully approach a passenger & ask if they wouldn’t mind moving to another seat. The passenger, after being asked so gently, and being generally content with flying, would quickly offer up his or her seat. Now, by the time they are seated, they are generally angry with the airline & a request from a fellow passenger would push them over an invisible line. The passenger would burrow further into their “assigned” seat with a hostile glare.

These are the days of do-it-your-own-darn-self flying. No one is behind the counter anymore to assist you when checking in. There are self-reservations, self check-in, self food provisions. Perhaps if one’s plane is plummeting to the earth, you can have self-oxygen (after you pay $25.00 dollars for the mask). They only time you are not on your own is when you and your bags are being inspected. Then you make some close “friends”.

Should I take quarters for the lavatory?

My five-plus-hour flight begins after compacting my clothes into a smaller than necessary carry-on (check a bag? Are you kidding?) a four-hour drive to the airport (a flight from the local airport is prohibitively expensive), an hour-and-a-half loitering at the airport rummaging through bookstalls and an attempt to scrounge up some food for our flight. I’m gonna be right jolly at boarding time.

It is hard to believe that air travel has sunk to this level in less than a generation. Will there be any airlines ten years from now? Is it time to look for vacation destinations closer to home? Boy, am I lucky that New York City is only five hours away!

What are your vacation plans? Do they involve air travel? Is the price of gas keeping you close to home?

Blanket and pillow anyone?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Empty Nest Syndrome?!?

Well, my last little birdie has flown the nest. My last quilted bird that is. Fly South has been sold and I am kind of sad. I'm still enjoying (when I get that infrequent moment) working on those blue and brown squares. But when I packaged up this piece to mail it, I felt a pang. I really feel the need to work with these colors again. But if I do not complete the series I am already working on, I will feel like somewhat of a failure. How can I be a "professional" artist when I am willing to drop a project for some whim? If I do force myself to complete the existing series, will it show that I forced myself? Perhaps I should not even ask myself that question yet. It will be over a week before I can get back to my studio.

My young one, of course, has not flown the nest yet. She is having school withdrawal, and so am I. I am going a little (a lot) whacko without time to myself. I really need time to be COMPLETELY alone. Time to not answer questions. Time to curse out loud if I feel the need. Time to talk to myself.

Right now, I am taking a bit of time to do some paperwork and blog. The television is on. I can hear the sounds of the Wonder Pets saving the lives of other little animals. I could use these little Wonder Pets. I want a guinea pig cutting fabric, a baby duck operating the sewing machine and a turtle to sew on beads. What, you don't know of this show? You watch politcal shows, movies for adults (no, not porn), read moving biographies. Ha! Good for you. I will be in the world of a six-year-old with that danged theme song from Wonder Pets in my head all day.

I would be in a slightly better mood if it weren't for weather forecasters. I REALLY wish I could get paid to make VERY inaccurate predictions. The newspaper shows a diagram with a big sun and a little cloud and a large number with a little circle next to it. Know what we have? Rain. And a not so big number with a little circle next to it. The park is out. Paper crafts are in. I'm tired and its only 9:30am.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Unprofessional

Lately, I have read a few blog posts of other artists that question the professionalism of their blogs. I've been doing some questioning myself.

I've come to the conclusion that my blog should reflect who I am at this point in my life. I am a part-time artist. I would like to be a full time artist, but that probably will not happen until my daughter goes off to college.

I am a mother. I don't just fit this part in when it is convenient for me (yeah, I know, I am blogging while my daughter is watching TV. I don't hear the folks from Social Services knocking down my door).

I am a wife. For some reason, that word has bad connotations. For some, the word means servant or perphaps merely something less than whole. For me, it means I am a partner in a relationship, so I like to spend time with my husband. I guess I could go to my studio as soon as my husband comes in from work. Then I could work 8-10 hours a day and be a full time artist. I would be missing out on a lot though.

I am a gardener. I am raising a wide variety of weeds interspersed with flowers.

There are a few other aspects of my life. I enjoy reading, writing, (not much on 'rithmetic).

So why shouldn't I tell about all (or, uh, maybe not quite all) aspects of my life?

Perhaps I don't have enough to say about my professional life. I did in the beginning of this blog. I discussed beginning a series, art supplies, galleries, etc. Now, well, I guess I have run out of information. There are other professional art blogs that discuss shows, goals, and galleries. I just can't keep up with that. I read those blogs. Sometimes I feel inspired. Sometimes I feel depressed.

So this blog is me. Skips some parts if you wish. I can be professional. I can be serious. I just don't want to be so here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More Finished Squares, More Summer Vacation

Here are two more pieces in the "Elemental" series. There are several more tops completed, but the quilting and embellishment will be a long time coming. These pieces can be found on my website and will show up in Ebay or Etsy. While I love these colors, I'm worried that I will burn out before I have completed the pieces I have laid out. I have one being quilted, three other tops sewn together and four ready to be sewn together.

There may not be many art updates for a few weeks. We are wrapped up in summer vacation now. My daughter has a list of things she would like to do. I have a list of things I would like to do. We will do the things that overlap first. Rollerskating is on her list. It is not on my list. Playdates at the park are on both of our lists. Today's playdate went well, except for the fact that my daughter kept calling her playmate her boyfriend. She has informed me that she has seven boyfriends. It's gonna be one hot summer here.

A recent comment by Daphne about summer vacation included a very good idea. I think it could be marketed and make a few people a great deal of money. Mommy day care. I envision a spa-like environment. Mom enters with kids in tow. The kids are whisked off for little tyke activities and Mom is whisked off for a day full of fun. Pedicures given by studly men, wine and cheese, massages, a dip in a pool with post dip facials and hair treatments. Then, late afternoon, mom and children are joined again. The studly men hand over cartons of premade dinners for the whole family and all is well. I'll be checking into real estate, someone else can gather up the studly men, stockholders could be rounded up, and we could create the hottest spot in town. Millions could me made. What do you think? Thanks for the great idea Daphne.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Vacation. For Who?

Summer vacation is here. My 6-year-old daughter has graduated from kindergarten and I have the photos to prove it. Sorry I didn't include it here. I don't have much time. It is summer vacation after all.

Twenty minutes into summer vacation (school was out at noon on Wednesday), we were out buying a birthday present for a party this Saturday. Then we went to the park & were soon rained out. Then many games were played at home and finally I turned the durned television on.

My daughter received a phone call from a boy in her class & he wanted to set up a play date. I swear I heard heavy breathing on the line. Dates already!?! Good Lord. They will be hooking up at the park next week. I saw them together when I went to volunteer in class on Tuesday. He had his arm around my daughter. Will summer entail a sex education course? I hope not.

Yesterday my daughter went to join a friend and her parents at the local ball park for some kid-friendly activities. I met with the contractor about the bathroom. We were told we could expect some unknown situations. Daughter came home, draped herself over a chair and said she was bored. I said "tough." Dad came home & I ran away to take a bath in my rotting bathroom.

Today, the vet came over for an emergency visit. As I was on my way from the downstairs shower (the only one that doesn't leak), I saw the dog sitting in a funny position. A few minutes later, my daughter informs me that he looks like he is pooping on the floor. I grab a towel, come downstairs to find him still sitting in a funny position. He has been prone to back problems for a couple years & we have been waiting for something bad to happen. Luckily my daughter sees the vet (who lives behind us) out in his yard. She runs to get him while I run to get some clothes. It looks quite serious for the dog for the next hour, but the drugs seem to kick in and he appears to be much better.

I have enjoyed the few adult moments I have had here on my computer, but now I have to make lunch. Perhaps do a couple cute things with carrots. Then off to the park. Maybe my daughter can pick up someone there. Some 2nd grade boy who is loitering by the jungle gym.

Where's my summer vacation?

Oh, that comes soon when I travel to California with my inlaws.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Finished Squares

Thanks to those who responded to my rant. It's very theraputic to yell and have somebody to listen. Smoothies were served yesterday & the somewhat jaded children seemed to like them from what I heard.

Today is the last day of school and I am officially on forced vacation for the next two weeks until summer camps begin. The hubby may take a couple of afternoons off work so I can visit my studio, but I'm planning on being a stay at home mom for several days. I would like to take my daughter into my studio, but as she is a child of a million questions, it is hard to concentrate and get anything done, other than some basic sewing. Maybe I can do a few tops since the squares are already laid out.

I did manage to finish four pieces from my square making frenzy, two of which are shown here. I have enough squares to make a total of 9 or 10 pieces. After those are finished, I am planning to move on to a new color combination. No doubt one of the upcoming combinations will involve orange and brown. Perhaps I can challenge myself to work with colors that I have not used before. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blenders in Education - Its a Necessity!

I received an email from my daughter's elementary school last week. I've been steamed about it ever since, so I shall blog about it and then, hopefully, feel better.

Let me start out by saying that I like children. I have fun with my six-year-old daugher. I think all children should feel special. At special times. Not every waking moment.

There have been lots of parties in my daughter's classroom this year. Holiday parties (not just those around Christmas), birthday parties, spring parties, winter parties, and just for the heck of it parties. There are celebrations when teeth fall out, when a child first reads and when they can count to one hundred. I'm sure there are other celebrations that I don't even know about. The last couple of weeks have been rather hot. The school is not air conditioned in most places, and the children get ice cream and popsicles almost every afternoon to cool them off.

So when I received the smoothie email, my head blew off.

Many parents volunteer for various activities at the school. I go every Wednesday morning and do crafts and other activities with the children. Some parents work in the library, others in the cafeteria. So many others deal with fundraisers. So, naturally, when I was asked if I would like to brings supplies to make smoothies and serve the children in the school's lobby, I was not inclined to participate. I wanted to protest. Loudly.

I live in a fairly affluent area. I may not have the means to hob nob with the Country Clubbers, but am plenty able to buy my groceries and gasoline. The public school system is top notch in my town. There are few private schools. They are just not needed. The public schools have all they need and them some, as you will soon see. The kiddies in town have plenty of food, clothing and toys. I hear about it when I volunteer. The kids love to tell me about their own televisions, computers, computer games and cell phones. THEIR OWN. In their own rooms. They have it all.

The school provides the parties (with help from parents), popsicles, ice cream. And now the parents are supposed to come and spend the day SERVING the little princesses and princes smoothies. Excuse me, but aren't they coming into this building to LEARN.

The topper (aside from a cherry), is that if, in addition to SERVING our little offspring further, we can bring blenders from home. The PTO (parent teacher organization), already has two blenders from a grant, but more would be helpful so be can better SERVE the kiddies. A GRANT FOR BLENDERS. I thought grants were for such things as updating textbooks, computers, gym equipment. BLENDERS. Who the hell decided blenders were necessary for education?

Wouldn't money spent on blenders be somewhat more beneficial spent elsewhere? If my school does not NEED money (I'm guessing it does not), couldn't it be sent somewhere else? Wouldn't the New Orleans public schools need an item or two? How about inner-city schools? Good Heavens, we should be able to find a place that might just need one blender.

Whew! I feel a bit better now. Perhaps next year I could put a bug in the ears of the folks who discuss grants about sending money where it is needed. I'm sure my popularity rating would drop. Would my child then be shunned? I mean, its already hard enough on her at home. Ice cream at home is a treat. Call Social Services!!!!! Give us a blender!!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Before and After

I guess I could have said, During and After. The before wasn't too bad. The before just did not have enough storage. My house was encrusted with books. Now, I just have some to donate & we are pretty much done with the living room. Aside from some shades for privacy and a new sofa. This big ol' sofa here is nothing but a BIG pain in the back. One of those costly mistakes.

Next on the schedule is the bathroom. Wouldn't do it except everything in it is leaking all over the rest of the house. Sigh. I hate bathrooms. I cannot understand this trend for spending tens of thousands of dollars (or more) on spa bathrooms. To me, that's kind of like putting carpet in the garage. All I want to do is brush my teeth, do a few unmentionables and get out.

I suppose I will do some before and after photos of the bathroom. Prepare to be disgusted.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hillary Clinton is not a Loser

Hillary Clinton is not a loser.

It seems, at least in this country, if you do not win you are a loser. As I see it, Hillary Clinton is not a loser. She is just not the winner. Some people are VERY angry. Blame has been put on the other side of the party. Blame has been put on Hillary’s campaign team. Now that the primary is essentially over, some people have not enough places to put their vast amounts of anger. Why must all of these people be so angry? Why must all of these people remain so angry? What is the best way to direct or diffuse this anger?

Let me let you know where I stand before I go any further. I supported and will support Barack Obama. I have read articles and watched debates. I have had discussions with other involved Democrats and I have made my choice. I am happy with the outcome. I understand that others are not. Perhaps they will get over it. Hopefully, once Hillary Clinton acknowledges that the primary is over, she will gather her strength again and support Barack Obama. I feel sure that she will.

I do acknowledge that this has been a tough primary. Both sides have made great accomplishments and mistakes. However, that time is over. It is time to support our nominees for the general election. Our next vote should be cast based on our values and beliefs, not for spite.

I am proud of Senator Obama. I am also proud of Hillary Clinton. I am proud to have been able to vote for either of these candidates. In a previous post, "Yes We Can Vote", I told of my excitement in voting in the primary election. When the I-Votronic machine pulled up the Democratic ballot, chills went down my spine. I almost jumped up and down. Why? I was given a choice of two candidates: a Woman and an African American. Yes, I’m sure that there are some out there that do not like minorities running for the most important job in the country, but for the majority of Americans, this was MONUMENTAL in a good way. It was thrilling to be a part of it.

Once all the yelling and screaming has died down (and I think it will soon), we need to really think about the great thing that happened in this country. For the first time EVER.
I was watching one of those talking head political shows last night with my six-year-old daughter (yes, she really is interested). When she saw Barack Obama, she asked if he was the president yet. I explained that that would be decided in November. I actually got tears in my eyes watching the Chris Matthews show and explaining to her how important this election was. I told her that this was the first time a woman had run for President. I also told her that a black man had never been President either. I want her to be able to remember some of this election. It is a lesson that should never be forgotten.

The Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton is over. But she is not gone and she will not be forgotten. Hillary Clinton came close to winning the primary. She never gave up. She couldn’t. Senator Clinton had no choice but to see this thing to the end. Why? Why did she not give up months ago? Because she is a woman. If she had given up, then that would have been a signal to other potential female candidates in years to come to not even try it. Yes, she held on a little too tight. Better that than let go. Did she have the best campaign? Did she make the best speeches? Did she always say and do the right thing? Nobody is perfect. From what I remember, there were so pretty low valleys in her campaign, but it is time to patch up those mistakes and move on.

Hillary Clinton has paved the way for women who seek the highest office in America. I actually think I saw her on a street-paving machine wearing a hard hat. She may have paved over a few things she shouldn’t, but now that road is down and women are able to get on it and drive.
There will be a female president. There will be one in my lifetime (hey, I’m only 44). There are women out there now who are thinking about it, who are planning on it, who are preparing for it. This was the right time. Perhaps just not the right candidate. (Oh, I feel the scorn from some of you.)

It is not time for Hillary Clinton to crawl under a rock. It is time for her to continue her work, no matter where that will be.

Hillary Clinton is not a loser. Hopefully she will be an important part of the first female President’s campaign. Perhaps a mentor to the next woman who runs. She is imperfect. She is human. And by golly, she wanted to be first.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

All Play, No Work

Well, I had convinced myself not to do a new post until I received at least one comment. I then unconvinced myself. Sigh. Perhaps I will implement that plan in the future.

For now, I am still playing with squares, carving new stamps, and creating stamps from sticky-back foam. I have absolutely no plan for these squares yet. I think that this is driving my goal-oriented engineering husband quite crazy. Here's the script:


Hubby: What did you work on today?

Me: Making squares.

Hubby: What are you going to do with those squares?

Me: I don't know yet.


Hubby: What did you work on today?
Me: Making squares.
Hubby: What are you going to do with those squares?
Me: I don't know yet.


Hubby: What did you work on today?
Me: Making squares.
Hubby: What are you going to do with those squares?
Me: I don't know yet.


Hubby: What did you work on today?
Me: Making squares.
Hubby: What are you going to do with those squares?
Me: I don't know yet.

Today is Wednesday. I wonder what the script will be.

The photos are of just some of the squares laid out in, well, a square. They are not sewn together.

Tune in again to see what I will do with squares.

P.S. Yes, I do consider this play to be work. So there.