•July 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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•July 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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•July 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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•July 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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•July 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Finding your Inner Artist

•August 1, 2011 • 15 Comments

I come from an artistic family.  Now this is a hard thing to deal with when you are a mere mortal.  Many in my family have great skill and its intimidating.  My grandfather made his living as an artist for many years, doing scrimshaw on slate – first at Jackson Square in the French Quarter of  New Orleans, then for years he sold his works through galleries on Maui.  I was fortunate enough to have a couple of his paintings and one of his slates in our home. His original slates were from the roofs of the French Quarter though in later years he bought slates directly from the quarries.   His brother made his living for years carving wood and painting custom pieces.  I remember a King Tut wooden piece he did that looked like the top of the sarcophagus, and another he did of a mermaid as a poolside art piece.  Even their two sisters were artistic, the oldest was painting ceramics back before it was something anyone could go do, and the youngest worked with photography for years.

Now my mom has painted, sketched, done stained glass, you name it – very creative and does beautiful work.  Her brother has also earned his living as an artist and her sister was always the one who drew all kinds of wonderful things for me as a girl.  Again, as a mere mortal – very intimidating!!  On my father’s side, when I met my half sisters, one gave me a piece of art that the middle one had done.  And also some wooden pictures that our grandfather had made – he was a carpenter I believe.  Now – I am crafty.  I can crochet, I can do most crafts, I can ‘see’ how something will go together – but Im no artist.  My husband paints – how did I surround myself with art and yet have no talent??

There is one talent I do have.  Yes, I am a shopaholic.  In my defense – I am good at it!  My friend V and I have incredible ‘shopping karma’ to the point that its scary!  Before we go shopping we brainstorm on what we are really wanting – invariably we find it, at a discounted price and more!!  She once told me she wanted a huge wicker basket to put all her crocheted blankets in – and yeah – my dear friend has a LOT of blankets – many from me!  I was skeptical – she described how big it would need to be and i just didnt think it was going to happen – or at least not a good quality piece.  Lo and behold (and how often do you get to use that phrase?) there it was!  Great piece, good construction, and at a thrift store with half off!   V has moved out of state now, but I still do well in shopping, though I miss her even more.

Another friend and I went on a tea hunt one day – tea shops are not as common as they once were – so its an excursion to drive to her favorite.  I mentioned  a  little thrift store I hadn’t been to in a while and we stopped by.  I left her in the cups and saucers as I prowled around the art area.  Something caught my eye, a grey picture toward the back.  I drew it out and found myself shaking.  This was in fact a slate, with scrimshaw etched onto it, and a signature at the bottom of a Bill Christian, who in fact was my grandfather.  Looking on the back I saw his writing with the price of $25 and knew this was one of his older works from the early seventies in New Orleans.  The holes from the roofing nails had weathered and it was just incredible to hold this link from my own past.  I remember spending time in the summer with him at the quarter when I was just a little girl.  Feeding the pigeons in front of the cathedral and my favorite shop where they made handmade dolls – a very big deal to an eight year old girl!  Mom bought me an Amy doll from Little Women and I still have it somewhere.

So of course, I bought the slate.  It was half price – told you I was good – cost me all of $6 and I was almost in tears with memories as I bought it.   My grandfather has been gone for about six years now and I have many memories of him.  An artist is defined as  one such as a painter, sculptor, or writer, who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts.  A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill.  Or  one who is adept at an activity.  If you consider that shopping can be a talent then perhaps shopping is my art.  I would like to believe that I am an artist.  Makes me feel closer to the whole family.

The Rules of the Birthday…

•June 21, 2011 • 2 Comments

This blog is in honor of my friend Kijo who is celebrating this week.  I stumbled into a conversation about how she was allowed to celebrate it as her day until she went to sleep so stay up and party!  Thats when I realized – not everyone knows about the Birthday Rules!  Hence – our meeting here to discuss the same!

First there’s the actual day – when you only do what you want to do – and try to get free stuff doing it. Then there is the birthday week – usually taken as vacation –  when you do much as you please and give yourself special treats along the way.  This is the time to use all those gift certificates you forgot you had – and also a great time to let others take you to lunch!

Now it gets trickier….

Theres the birthday month, but thats only in your twenties and thirties, unless its a landmark birthday – like one ending in five or zero. Of course 21 has its own rules – mainly because why would you really want to celebrate that one before you actually CAN celebrate that one?   That’s also one of the mandatory drunken birthdays.  You dont have to do it that night- just sometime in the week surrounding the birthday itself.

Please, for your own sake – get a babysitter that night!  To babysit YOU!  A very good friend who will do things like stop you from drunk dialing your ex, hold your new shoes while you barf, get you a cool washcloth to wipe your face, and won’t let you go home with that weird guy with the one creepy eye who always wears the same light blue windbreaker with the picture of  his junior high school mascot  on it.

{This is the friend you should think of when you look for a maid of honor.  She will probably try to blackmail you with the photos of that night to get out of it, but if you are a good friend too – then you probably have pictures of her doing the same. }

Okay, any landmark birthday supercedes the one month time limit.  These fives and zeros require one month of odd behaviors prior to the event, as well as one month after to recuperate from the event.  For when you dye your hair fire engine red for the first time before considering that nothing in your closet will go with it.  For the tattoos, piercings, and bad relationship choices that if you can get rid of it in a month good for you!!  For the time you decide to give away everything you own and move to another state without knowing a soul.

Really, loan officers and legal professionals should take the month and year of any woman’s birthday into account before making any decisions or pressing any charges.   “I was turning 35 in twelve days…” should be a valid excuse for many crimes, including quitting your job to start a business making gift bows!  And credit card charges made in this time period should not be binding.  Hair dressers should be banned from dying or cutting your hair then too!  And marriage licenses?  Forget it!!!  While we are at it, calories shouldn’t count in the ‘danger zone’ and neither should carbs!

Now, in your forties, you actually begin to enjoy who you are so much that age isn’t as bothersome.  Well that and you keep forgetting that you had a few birthdays!  But you are moving toward the Jubilee years, and you get to make a few of your own rules now.  You get to decide about whether or not surprise parties exist.  You also get the weeknight party with a couple of dear friends as well as the weekend bash with everyone you know.  Be sure and multiply the amount you drink times the number of people there so you can keep track of your apologies the next day!

What are Jubilee years?  Fifty.  When you turn the big five zero you should have 50 days before and 50 days afterward to party and celebrate.  Each year you add a day on both sides.  At 60, you are celebrating your birthday for four months.  At 90, half of your year is a celebration of you.  This works for me!

By the way, outside of all these rules – there’s one other measure: Birthday spirit can consume you the first time anyone wishes you happy birthday or gives you a gift.  It doesn’t end until the last gift is given.  This is why we all keep a friend or two around who is always late (she gave me my gift two months later) and also a friend who is extremely busy.  They give you a gift of an event to share with them at a time later that is mutually beneficial to you both.  (This is how I get to tell Hubby that we are still celebrating MY birthday when his comes around!)

I like to be the person who takes you out a couple of weeks before your birthday ‘before you get too busy’  and starting your birthday season in full gear!  Feel free to remind me – I wouldn’t want to be late being early!