Friday, April 30, 2010

Time Machines, Aisle 6

I’ve got a new clock in my kitchen. Finally.

I found it after looking at all sorts of home décor mail order stores. I found one I really really really liked. Big! Bold! Two hundred dollars!!!

I then decided to have a look at the stunning home décor boutiques in my town (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA). I found a fine timepiece at Target. Where else?!? $4.99. Yes. That’s correct. $4.99. And its worth every single 499 pennies. It’s quite special.

Its not only a device for telling time. It is somewhat of a time machine. I’m used to the ticking of clocks telling me that my time on earth is running out and I’d better get my shit in gear and make something of myself. But this clock sends me back in time. It’s magic. But, it will only work for me. Not you. So don’t come into my house to steal my $4.99 Target clock. As I sat here on the computer, doing important things (surfing home décor websites), I realized that this clock sounded exactly like the clock my grandmother had in her kitchen.

Many evenings were spent at my grandmother’s house, sitting in the living room in my grandfather’s chair, watching Lassie or the Wonderful World of Disney and having a bowlful of non-nutritious snacks. The clock ticked away those pleasant moments. I often gazed at the clock with childhood apprehension, knowing that it was getting late and I would have to go to bed soon. But somehow, after getting past the dreaded toothbrushing (and seeing my grandmother’s teeth in a glass mere inches away), I would revel in the huge guest bed with those crisp, line-dried cotton sheets. All would be well. The crickets would sing me to bed. And in the morning, my grandfather would whip up some scrambled eggs. My grandmother would put some berries or apricots in Blue Willow bowls. A huge round of butter would be placed in the center of the table. Sunshine would spill in through the huge kitchen windows. And that clock would tick away the morning over the kitchen table.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Hey, that's me! I didn't know I looked so good. Wait. No, that's not me after all. Could be, though, if that cigarette were replaced with a chocolate bar.

There seems to be such little room for vice these days. It’s just sooooo politically incorrect.

I don’t think I have many.

Coffee: I do have high blood pressure and coffee does not mix well with my morning medication. But the afternoon, HA HA, the afternoon is all mine. I love some coffee then. I’ll get it where ever I can. And NO. I do not know if it is free trade or shade grown. Damn. That’s why it’s a vice, right?

Profanity. How I love profanity. I try to only use it when I think it fits. But sometimes it just fits too well. You would think I had worked on a ship during WWII.

Wine. Two glasses max (usually). Unless I’m driving, it’s two glasses minimum. Love it. If I restaurant doesn’t serve it, I don’t want to eat there. I like it red. I like it white. I like to know there are a lot of bottles in my basement ready to deploy on a second’s notice.

Magazines. There are so few of them these days. Its now all online. I don’t want my mags online. I want them printed out. I want to be able to look at pretty pictures whenever I want. If I look at magazines online, I can’t mix it with my other vices (except profanity). Hmmmm. Perhaps that could be my new vice. Drinking and internet surfing on the laptop. Risky! Dangerous! Fun!

So, I’m looking for a new vice or two. Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cats in Hats

Cat Hats.

Crochet cat hats.

Whatever. I can’t believe I saw it! On Etsy.

I’m not talking about hats for people that have cat ears on them. I’m talking about hats for cats.

And there was a model. And the cat looked angry. Very angry. I don’t like hats. I can’t believe that if I were a cat, I would like hats any better.

Right now I am experiencing an art sales slump What about cat hat makers? Are they experiencing a slump, also? Could they be selling them like hotcakes? Perhaps I should crochet up some hotcakes. Seems that cat hats has already been done.

I’m gonna check on Etsy for crochet hotcakes. Right now.

Damn. They exist.

I've got one more idea. Let's check Etsy and see if someone has already cornered the market on . . . crochet dildo covers.

Double damn.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No Loitering

I’ve been given the boot.

I picked up a book. I put it back. I looked at old work. I looked at my new fabrics. I looked at magazines. I cut out some shapes. I sighed. I sat down. I got back up.

Then, my studio kicked me out for loitering.

Some inspirational blogs I have read lately tried to convince me to head into the studio regardless of whether I felt creative or not. Once I was in the studio, I was told the juices would start flowing. Didn't happen.

No juices.

Dry. Very dry.

It seems I am unable to create. Could this be a result of my recent studio purge? I don’t think so. I believe the purge was a result of not being able to create. So here I sit, instead, at the computer. There are loads of things to do here. Read even more inspirational blogs. Check out Facebook. Read the Huffington Post. Cruise on Google Maps. Visit the People of WalMart site?

Do I try to make up with the studio? Do I bring it flowers? A gift? A sacrifice?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear Blockbuster Employee

Dear Blockbuster Employee,

I am a customer. Not a turd on your shoe.

I’m here for pretty much one reason. My hubby is out of town and my daughter and I are in desperate need of movies with little hearts on the boxes. Yeah. We want a Barbie movie and a romantic comedy.

It is, indeed, highway robbery to pay $5 a pop to rent a shitty kids movie and comedy that is several years old. I’m sure if I had that patience to flip around through 472,000 channels, I could find this mediocre movie on television. But I don’t and that’s another reason why I’m here.

So, I’m denying my daughter an ice cream from your little freezer bin. Sometimes we get one of those sherbet pushy things, sometimes we don’t. Today, I tell my little girl with the sweet face, “Momma’s wallet is a bit light. She’s been tossing money left and right. She forgot to have Daddy hand over some cash before he left on his business trip. So, we’ll just stick to these two movies and you can have a popsicle when we get home. “ Agreed.

So, Blockbuster employee, with your jovial little baby face, you’re asking me for an additional $2.12 for an unpaid balance. Let’s see. That must be my husband’s fault, if it is true. You’re just relaying what your Blockbuster computer is telling you, so it's true to you. But, I really don’t believe you since my husband is one of the most organized people on the face of the earth. But I can’t prove anything. So I will give you $2.12 in addition to the $10.00 it should have required a deadly weapon to have me fork over in the first place.

But, dear employee, let me tell you about the last movie my daughter rented. I wasn’t going to bring this up, but that $2.12 charge is making me say this. Yes, it was yet another shitty Barbie movie. This movie was disgusting. In all ways. After getting hung up over and over and skipping huge chunks of time, I pulled it out of the player and carefully wiped off all of the boogers and snot the last several kids have wiped onto the disc. In my opinion, when a movie is returned, an employee ought to have a glance at each disc (especially childrens’ DVDs) to make sure there is not a green coating. The disk skipped 7 minutes in one spot, and was digital hell for the last 20 minutes.

No, no one said anything when the disc was returned. My husband put a note on the box explaining its rotten condition. But it looks like he dropped off the box on his way to work when you weren’t open (UPDATE - hubby denies all wrongdoing). I wouldn’t have even brought this up, but that $2.12 extortion fee really pissed me off. I’m sure that the movie was due by midnight on Monday. I’m sure my husband dropped off the damn thing at 7:15 on Tuesday morning when no one was here. I’m sure the Blockbuster Bureaucrats would say that it was late. Fine.

But from the look on your face, I can tell you really don’t give a shit that my child did not enjoy her movie. I’m not really looking for a free coupon (yes I am, because my daughter’s last Blockbuster movie-watching experience really sucked), but your hands are in my wallet scooping out every last penny. I would, at the very least, appreciate a little tsk tsk of sympathy. But I don’t even get a tsk tsk. Just a demand for $12.72.

I hear you saying that if someone had dropped off the DVD and note in person that you would have given a damn. But since that did not happen, there’s nothing you can do. Uh huh. But you do know the movie of which I am speaking. You’ve pulled that information up on your Blockbuster computer with superpowers. It seems as if you can do all sorts of things. If you want. But . . . regarding the damaged movie . . .there’s nothing you can do. Sure. Sure.

Perhaps there’s nothing you can do (bullshit). But here’s what you’ve done . . .

You have rented a child a booger-caked DVD. You charged $5 (plus tax). You made her sad. You pulled her mama away from the computer to wipe the crud off of the DVD. No one in my family had a good experience with this shitty (I gotta say it) Barbie movie. You’ve put the stupid DVD back on the shelf without checking it (it still skips 7 minutes and has digital hell, just not quite as much as it did before I removed the green goo) in order to upset another child. You are making me mad right now. Thinking about this incident will make me angry in the future. You are making me wonder why the hell I didn’t rent these potentially terrible movies from Netflix. You have single-handedly improved business for Netflix.

Perhaps you already know that businesses like Blockbuster are tanking. And you just don’t care. Your enjoyment of upsetting children (and their mamas) far outranks your employer’s profits. What, are you not getting healthcare or something? Do you have a grievance with middle management? Do you really think that f*cking over your company will improve your life?

What you’re really done, genius, is to make my future decision making easier. Now all I have to do is flip the top of my laptop and click on “add to queue” in Netflix. It doesn’t get much easier.

Now, if I see you working at the shoe store next week because you’ve been fired for being rude/sadistic/oblivious or your former company has closed its doors, I’ll be glad to stick my stinky foot out for you to get down on your knees and measure.

Oh, wait. I don’t shop at shoe stores anymore. They never have my size. I’ll just mail order from Zappos. Perhaps you’ll be working in the stockroom.


Mad Mama

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Loitering in the Library

I took my daughter downtown to dance class this morning. Her ballet class is normally held on Wednesdays, but with the recital coming up soon (Heaven help us) we were “persuaded” by the instructor to come in for extra classes on Saturdays. Our social calendar was fairly empty today, so in we went.

While my daughter is dancing, I often go to the library a block away. (If you walk much more than a block, you are no longer downtown.) Some people are reading, some people are on computers, some people are studying. However, I’m assuming that we all know that public libraries are not always full of intellectuals (hence, me, flipping through decorating magazines).

Today I have chosen a guidebook for Amsterdam. Not planning on going. Just interested. Have a magazine as backup. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him. Yes, the fellow that is just one hair (or two hairs) over the line of having a job and/or home. Not a humorous situation. Not making fun of that. However, I know as soon as I select a seat, he will come and sit near me. And I know what will happen when he does. And I am not wrong. And it is humorous.

I select a seat near one of the large windows. This enables me to look at the downtown skyline. It is a bit difficult to have a view higher than the second floor in this town. It is a skyline similar to the line created on a heart monitor by a dead person. Anyway, I choose a seat. The fellow grabs a magazine and takes a seat behind me.

After a minute or two, he speaks. Softly, at first. I assume he is talking to someone. Well, in a way he is. He begins to speak louder.

“Well, get rid of 20 pounds and you’ll get a job.”

“Gotta get rid of that weight, honey.”

“What IS she doin’ with him?”

“Uh, Uh. That just don’t look good on you.”

“Why don’t you drop 50 pounds and then come back and audition?”

“Sequels. Ain’t nothin’ but sequels.”

“Jesus, Lord. Another sequel.”

“Sherlock Holmes? Don’t know about that.”

“Robert Downey, Jr. Lord, Lord. Robert Downey, Jr. Just keep givin’ ya jobs and leavin’ ya stranded. Robert Downey, Jr. Uh, Uh. Just can’t get any lower, can he?”

“Another sequel. Can’t nobody think of nothin’ new?”

“Naw, Naw. Gotta lose that 20 pounds.”

I’m assuming it was a recent copy of People magazine. Now wait. It was. He said so.

“People Magazine. April (something). Yeah! Yeah! That’s new. That’s the new one.”

I’m thinking about returning to the library next Saturday. Today’s visit was VERY educational. And isn’t that was libraries are for?

My only question now is:

Does Robert Downey, Jr. need to lose 20 pounds?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sniffle Sniffle Cough

What a nasty day. What a nasty me. I am disgusting to myself. I can't imagine what others would think of me in this state.

I am supposed to be attending an ice show with my family to watch a friend of my daughter's skate. I really really really want to go. There aren't too many chances to get out of the house in my neck of the woods, so even going to stand in the neighbor's yard in the rain would be an opportunity for fun and excitement that I would hate to miss.

If my husband would carry me, I could go. If I could go for 2 hours without coughing, I could go. If I could stop mouth-breathing and looking like an fool, I could go. None of that is going to happen though. I'm just a rotten, stinking, hacking, infectious mass of kelp right now. No one wants to sit next to that, huh?

Perhaps if I sucked on cough drops the entire time, I could pull it off. But then I'd make those funny noises. You know the noises, don't you. Those gagging, gurgling noises one makes when they are trying to stifle a cough. Everyone looks at you thinking you are about to eject dinner a la Linda Blair.

No, I'll just stay here and futz about on the computer. I'll search for new blogs and contaminate the keyboard.

I'll check in here frequently to see if anyone has left any "there, there, now" comments to make me feel better.

Until then, its a bath and pizza I cannot taste.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dear Art Gallery Owner

Dear Art Gallery Owner:

Enclosed you will find a portfolio of my recent works.

If my works displease you, please refrain from using the round file and return my not-so-inexpensive portfolio. Enclosed is a postage-paid, self-addressed envelope. This is for the return of my portfolio. It is not to be used to mail items to anyone else at my expense. This envelope is included along with many other items that identify who I am, in the event you wish to contact me.

This letter is printed on my letterhead. This information is also included on my business card. Also, each page of my portfolio contains all pertinent information. You will note that these include my home address, my email address, website and telephone number. You have many ways in which to contact me. You may think my work is crap or just not to your taste. That’s fine. I can’t please everyone. If this is the case, please use the self-addressed, stamped envelope to return my photos.

I am a fiber artist. Yes, I know those words probably repulse you. You represent painters and sculptors, which we all know are fine artists and I just whip up placemats. But these are fine placemats (and coasters) which I think will appeal to your customers.

Oh, so you do represent a fiber artist? Good for you for reaching out to the artistically underprivileged. But, therefore, you do not want another one of us fiber artists. Uh, huh. Sure I understand. I have noted by reviewing your website and/or visiting your gallery that you represent a number of painters, photographers, ceramists, jewelry artists, and sculptors. Would you tell one of these artists that since you already represent one of them that you could not possibly be interested in another? Doubt it.

Regardless, I have great respect for what you do. I know you want to represent artists who will appeal to the greatest number of customers. If not that, you wish to represent artists who will shock the greatest number of customers. Whatever gets the word out there. I know you work long hours and work tirelessly. You have built up a fine business from scratch. Your gallery is beautiful. If I have visited in person, I’m sure that I did not eat an ice cream cone in your gallery, spit on your floor or flip you the bird. Therefore, I do think I deserve a bit, just a teensy bit, of respect myself.

So, now that you realize my work is just not right for your gallery, kindly pick my portfolio out of the trash, use the self-addressed, pre-paid envelope and send it back to me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Piranha

She's busy shredding her way through the public library. Soon, there will be nothing left but teeny scraps of paper and book spines.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Is This Just the End of A Series???

I’ve just finished number 32 in a series of small pieces. As I’ve worked on this series, there have always been several in the works at once, in various stages of progress. Yesterday at 2:00, I sewed on the last bit. Done. All of them. Nothing waiting in the wings. Nothing. Not a scrap. Not an idea. I still have more to photograph and more to post on Etsy, Facebook, my website, etc. I’ll stack up the little pieces and store them somewhere. Along with my other pieces. Lots of other pieces.

I’m not sure where that art-buying public went. Did they move to other countries or did they move to the back of the unemployment line? If they are still around, they aint buyin’. I don’t blame them. I’ve cut back myself. Will they return? I don’t know. Should I just keep on making? I don’t know. I do feel compelled. Like a cat that constantly washes itself—its just what I do. What I know.

I’ve had dry spots before. I’ve had low sales before. I’ve had doubts, self-pity, and viral lethargy. But now all of these things seem to have ganged up on me.

What’s next?

PTA? Daytime television? Volunteer work at the hospital? Loitering? Drinking and drugs? Making sex tapes and showing up on reality TV? Whittling toys for little girls and boys? Becoming a hypochondriac? Blogging for profit?

There’s all kinds of advice waiting for me out there. Go to a museum. Go shopping and look at the beautiful colors. Ha! Not in this little burg. I’m really not up for a three-hour drive to and from such places today.

I guess I’ll go get the vacuum and suck up all the muck from my last project. And file away all the pieces that are too large to be sucked up. And wait.

I’m going to get some bonbons and a daytime TV guide in case inspiration visits someone else.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fashion Week in Central Pennsylvania

My new look.

Today is a hot one. I decided to get out of the attic studio for the afternoon and go shopping.

I went to the mall. I left empty-handed.

I once heard that Central Pennsylvania is an Alabama between two New Yorks. I think that Alabama was insulted. At least retail-wise. There just aint nothin' here.

Unless you are a teenage hooker. Or a buffet-binging octogenarian. I don't know with which group to classify myself. I'm a few decades off in either direction. Should I choose the sequined mini-skirt or the tropical-flowered teepee? And what to do with my hair? Straighten it and let my long locks hang in my face or cut it short and get that light blue curly perm?

Perhaps I just don't fit my central PA demographic. If a woman has hit the age of forty (and dared to go beyond), she apparently no longer has a waist. Perhaps because now that's where her boobs are. She should want everything to stretch and be cantaloupe-colored.

I know, I know. Try mail order. I have. I'm the reason that UPS is still in business. Packages come in. I try things on. I scream. I head out to UPS to return. I try again. And again.

There are two solutions:

1. Nudity. pros: cheap. cons: illegal in most places, works only in warm months.

2. Try the look shown above. What could I have to lose. It's a smart look with shades.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Get Your Kicks on Route . . .


Doesn’t have that same rhythm as when you cap it off with “66”. But there are plenty of kicks to be had on Route 22 in Pennsylvania.

My family went to Pittsburgh to visit some friends this past weekend. The shortest route there takes you from Altoona to Pittsburgh on good ol’ number 22. It’s a route straight out of hell, especially for the mother of a daughter who has recently learned how to read. Everything.

Route 22 might be the preferred path for horny truckers or friends and family of Larry Flint, however, I’m quite repelled by it. Why, you ask?

First of all, its ugly. Damn ugly. Recently, we went to a zoo and saw hippos. My daughter is (used to be) quite a fan of the animals. We had the pleasure of watching one emptying its colon against a rock wall. There’s no nice way of putting it. Cute words like poo and doodoo don’t do it. It was a shit spray. And so is Route 22. This is a stretch where old buildings go to die. This is where new cinder block and metal buildings are born and quickly join the old buildings in their deaths. Just plain, jaw-droppingly hideous.

Secondly (there will be no need for a third place), there are the multitudes of sex shops. Adult lounges. Titty bars. Call ‘em what you will. At one point, my vision of the outside world was eclipsed by a yellow and black billboard. In letters five or so feet high was the word “Adult.” Beneath that, I read, “videos, games, toys, magazines, live girls.” That last one really iced my cake. LIVE GIRLS. I am so lucky that my daughter was reading signs out of the left side of the car. I really didn’t want to explain why a place was advertising LIVE GIRLS.

I feel sure that I have explained what a LIVE BAIT sign means. She’s surprised one can go into a store and buy worms and bugs and stuff. But she understands it. What the hell would I say about live girls? That they are better than dead ones? Will she think that one can purchase LIVE GIRLS and take them home? Will she think that she can be purchased? Will she think it is her job as a girl to dance or perform in other ways for men?

Should I just go on and tell her the truth and then proceed to inform her that she should stay far away from any man wearing a stained wife-beater T-shirt barely enveloping a basketball-sized belly who reeks of urine and sweat (no doubt the proprietor) who will lure her into a career of pole dancing? Do I just point in the other direction at something, anything, that will divert her attention from these signs? Sure would be a lot of pointing.

I’m quite annoyed that I have to prepare the sex talk before I, or my daughter, are ready for it. So thank you dudes in your stained shirts and soggy britches in your cinderblock and metal bunkers along the shit-spray highway. Thank you so much for a great talking point in discussing the birds and bees with my beautiful, innocent daughter.

p.s. I really don't intend for this to become a man-hating blog. I'm just letting off steam about what's on my mind lately.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Driving While Manly

I've found that most men over the age of 40 are still courteous. They'll hold a door for others. Pick up an item that is dropped. Etc. Those much older (retired and have fewer places to be on time) might just let you ahead of them in a line.

But, put these men behind the wheel of a car, and they turn into something else. Flaming assholes.

Yesterday, my light turned green. Way green. A man turning left onto my street went on and turned. He was not in the intersection when the light turned red. It was red before he turned. Way red. Yet, his shirt and tie indicated he was important and had places to be. I, of course, waved my fist and asked what his problem was. My actions were met by a look of disgust. Interpreted by me, the NON housewife, as a look of superiority. His look said that he was a CEO and I only had a soccer game to get to.

No, I actually had to go to Target. So I could get some bonbons. To eat while watching my stories. As I was tooling through the main aisle of the parking lot to leave, another man, professionally suited, looked at me to size me up, and pulled out in front of me. See, the light ahead was green and his business was more important than mine. His SUV was much larger than mine, and I guess he figured that, combined with his CEO look of importance, was his green light to be an asshole.

Perhaps I was having a sensitive day yesterday. I might agree with that statement if such things had not happened before.

A few weeks ago, I had to take my cat to the vet. I'm sure I appeared to be the little housewife there in my old jeans and fleece jacket. Who the hell dresses up to take a shedding cat to the vet? Man in suit enters. Has poop to drop off. Asks if I mind if he goes first. That he has an important appointment. Then proceeds to do it before he gets his answer. He moves to the desk and starts yakking. And yakking. And yakking. Several minutes later he goes. I'm still standing there slack-jawed while he thanks me for letting him go first. I know my response should have been to tell him that he could not go first. Or to tell him as he left that I did not let him go first, that he just did it and he is a completely rude bastard. Imagine him behind the wheel of a car.

Is it time for the NON housewife avenger to put her cape on? Some pointy-toed boots just in case I need them?