Month: June 2013

Up Date.

I have been busy since the last post. Mostly I have been shopping.  I feel very much like Paris Hilton, except I have been going to the local mall and not to the streets of Beverly Hills or Milan.  It’s funny how a wedding in Barcelona has sent me into major mega search mode, trying to find the perfect outfit.  Despite liking to shop (as I stated last time) I am really not known for wearing great fashions on a daily basis.  I have even been known to go to the market in workout clothes.  (Remember, this is Carroll County, I still look fine.)

It’s also a bit embarrassing to be talking about fashion when it’s been such a difficult week in our house.  My 91 year-old mother-in-law suffered a stroke on the same day her brother was in the OR having heart surgery.  Talking about clothes seems rather frivolous compared to the stuff life and death are made of.  However, shopping for me can be a really wonderful distraction.  There is no doubt that the term “retail therapy” is a real thing in my life.  (In case you were wondering, both my mother-in-law and her brother have survived and are recuperating nicely.  In fact my mother-in-law’s doctors are in shock at how well she is doing.)

patterns, colors and textures
patterns, colors and textures of clothes and shoes

So, I shopped.  And shopped.  I found some dresses to wear while I wander around the streets of Barcelona, I found some dresses to wear when I am chilling in my back yard.  AND I found a great sleeveless dress: white, not too formal but classy.  Perfect for the wedding.  Oh God, now I need shoes.

So I shopped for shoes.  (I love DSW, it makes shoe shopping a much easier experience instead of traipsing through the mall and stopping at EVERY shoe store along the way.)  It didn’t take me long to find the perfect pair of shoes for the dress, lovely floral pumps that are not too formal but classy.  Oh God, now the scarf I had picked out won’t work.

So I shopped for a scarf.  Back to the mall, went through most of the stores, but couldn’t find anything that I liked.  Actually, that’s not true, I found one great scarf but it cost more than the dress did…I draw the line at spending that much money for an accessory.  I even spent an hour online looking at hundreds of scarves…yeesh.  On a whim, I stopped at (ugh) Wal-Mart (double ugh) and lo and behold, there was the perfect scarf.  Phew!

I can stop shopping now.  Oh God…I think I need a necklace…



today’s art …fashion

Okay, I have to admit it, I’m a bit of a clothes horse.  I’m not over the top, I don’t know designers’ names, but I have always liked going shopping and trying things on.  Sometimes my closet gets a bit full, but I try to recycle as much as possible.  This is not a problem at the moment, in fact my closet is quite sparse.  This can be attributed to one thing…I turned fifty last year.

a small selection from my closet
a small selection from my closet

Turning fifty is not, in and of itself, a losing proposition when it comes to dressing.  But unfortunately I have had a couple of added bonuses…well make that 15 to 20 of them.  Due to my brain fog (mentioned in a recent post) I am currently on a medication that changes my metabolism.  I eat the same amount, but it seems to stay on my body, specifically my hips and legs, in an unpleasant bunch of lumps and bumps.  My stomach is not immune to this expansion, in fact the only part of my body that I am thrilled to see increase is my bust.  After years of low self-esteem because of my chest size, I am able to walk proudly (okay, I admit, there is a little padding there, but everybody does it these days).

I always thought that when I gained weight, I would do it gracefully and elegantly.  Alas, another myth is stolen from me in the prime of my life.  It doesn’t help that today’s fashions are designed for the tall, smooth skinned and bubble-butt-free youth. Perhaps they always were but I didn’t notice, having been previously blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird.  While I didn’t fit into everything, certain fashions looked pretty good on me.

Now?  Not so much.  I can’t get pencil skirts over my thighs.  Tight fabrics show things that I would rather hide.  I was never into frills, lace or beads on my clothing.  I think pedal pushers (or capris as they call them today) look stupid on me.  Skinny jeans?  Forget about it.  I am trying to believe that the problem lies not with my bodily metamorphosis but with the designers and manufacturers who have no earthly idea what a woman’s body actually looks like (and don’t get me started on bras.)

So why am I ranting right at the moment?  It’s because in 10 days or so I am off to Barcelona where I will be going to a wedding.  Traveling always increases my anxieties which come out in my fear that I can’t possibly wear what I have in my closet, because I won’t look right.  Europeans have such flair when it comes to clothes.  People in Carroll County, MD don’t.  My closest shopping choices are Kohl’s and Wal-Mart (ugh).  Fortunately, I don’t need haute couture much in my life. Most of the time I can be found in my studio welding or outside gardening.  However, it’s not appropriate to wear steel toe boots and work jeans to a wedding in a foreign country.  Well, it may be for some people but I can’t bring myself to do that.  Besides, the boots are way too heavy.

Polka dots and colorful mosaic.
Polka dots and colorful mosaic.

Last night I spent some time in my closet pulling out all my dresses that seemed so cute and cool at the beginning of the season but had to reject most of them as too short, too wild or making me feel too dumpy.  I am drawn to polka dots and bright colors.  Black is prominent, but mostly in my winter clothes.  I managed to find a couple of skirts that would work but am finding that I am short on shirts that go well with them.  I don’t want to wear shorts, evidently that is gauche and makes you truly look like a tourist, which I will be but I don’t want to let anyone know that.  I have a dress for the wedding that will work, although it’s not, well, perfect.  I have never reached perfection when buying traveling clothes.

I guess my goal is to stick with who I really am and wear what is comfortable and makes me feel good about myself.  I would like to get to a place where I am okay wearing clothes that continue the concept of art that I strive for daily.  This can be a simple thing, a ring that I picked up on Bonaire, a scarf that I got in Kohl’s of all places, a pair of shoes…aaaack!  Now I have to think about shoes!!!

what you can’t see

My mother was diagnosed with macular degeneration when she was in her 70’s.  She kept it quiet for five years (in true mom fashion).  Then she let us know that she was slowly losing her sight.  By the time she died she was legally blind.

The funny thing was that I could never tell exactly what she could see.  She always claimed to see the birds flying in and out of her favorite tree.  I walked across the lawn one day and waved to her while she was sitting in the window.  She waved back.  And yet I’m sure she could not tell who I was when I approached her, unless I said something.

One of the first things she lost was her ability to see faces and read lips.  Interestingly, this increased her inability to hear.  I wonder if she had been slowly going deaf but had compensated for it by reading lips and expressions.  Once she couldn’t do this anymore, she stopped being able to hear as well.

Despite this affliction (and I still think it was the meanest handicap she had to deal with), mom found beauty and art in everyday life.  Even if she couldn’t see her favorite things, she knew they were there.  She pictured them in her mind.  (I always described this as “seeing it in my eyes”.)

In this day and age of visual representation at our finger tips, we tend to forget that art can be viewed, stored and remembered.  We also forget that art is not just about the seeing, but the experiencing through all senses.  Touch, smell, hearing, tasting…all of these senses are a gift with which to experience the world, and experience the art in the world.  The only thing you need to do is make time for the experience.

VBV 02/19/49
VBV 02/19/49

I’m including this picture of mom on her wedding day.  She was beautiful, young and could not see all the blessings and trials to come in her life.  I always have been in awe of her natural beauty.  The funny thing is that while she was able to take in much of the beauty around her, the one she couldn’t see was herself.  She never thought she was all that good looking.  I guess blindness comes in all forms.



My friend and fellow artist Melinda Byrd (of Byrdcall Studio) sent me these pictures recently after telling the story of how this black snake climbed the wall to get into her wren house.  I won’t bore you with the gory details (although it was a fascinating story) but you can see the wonderful pictures of the snake seemingly curled up on the wall.  If you look closely, it is actually hanging on one nail.  Evidently it made its way back up to the birdhouse and is sleeping and digesting the baby wren it ate.

Such is life.


Melinda's snake3 Melinda's snake2 Melinda's snake


I don’t know why I’m posting this except that it caught my eye the other day.  I am currently working with my sister on clearing out my dad’s house to sell.  He is now living in an assisted living place because his dementia was causing him to make really unwise decisions when he was living at home.  Thus, this sign at the local library just seemed, well, humorous.  I want to know what this means. Is this to find out how to have fun with people who have dementia?  How to make fun of people with dementia?  Or is it for people who have dementia to learn how to have fun, in which case do you really think they’ll remember what they’ve learned?

I was going to go to find out what it was about, but, well, I forgot.  No, not really, I was just busy.  But after having a dad with dementia, it is clear that a sense of humor is really important.

What exactly does this mean?
What exactly does this mean?









If you have any ideas for a good title, let me know!

Tree Bubbles

Today is a banner day.  It is the day I post my first video.  It is a silly little video and very basic but it is a start to my new career as a videographer…HA!!!  Okay, maybe not.  But at the very least, I am on my way to taking videos of my sculptures, especially the ones that move.  That is exciting.

I even figured out how to upload it to YouTube (yup, got my own channel and everything).  Seriously, this stuff has gotten way too easy to do if I can figure it out.

tree bubblesThe video started when I saw this white thing on the trunk of my maple tree.  Upon closer inspection, I saw these bubbles coming out of the tree.  There is no way to do this weird phenomenon justice in a still photo, so I decided to make a movie.  Four hours later…



art happens

My art for the day happened so quickly I barely had time to register what it was.  I was standing in my bathroom which overlooks the garage, idly staring out the window when a bird flew into my line of sight.  It was a large bird with black and white on its wings, but I couldn’t identify it immediately until I realized that the top of the head was bright red and pointy…”Ah” I said ” a pileated woodpecker”.  It was flying low, right over the roof of the garage.  This would have been exciting enough but then…a SECOND pileated woodpecker flew right behind it.


If you know anything about pileated woodpeckers, they are not known for showing themselves, they prefer to announce themselves with their distinctive sound (and no, Woody Woodpecker is not really what it sounds like) and their loud rat-a-tat as they find food in trees.  I hear them in the woods behind the house but I very rarely see them.  I am reminded, once again, that you can find art if you just take a moment to idly stare out the window.

Hear what a pileated woodpecker sounds like.

Here are pictures of a flying pileated woodpecker.