Early wake-up call for ballerinas

tutu Mimi

The ladies wake up early and crazed Saturday mornings, excited to go to ballet class. This morning they arrived at my bedside wearing the crazy white fluffy bride dresses their Grandma J made for them, complete with fluffy white veil and bouquets. Scary at first, truth be told, but now I’ve gotten used to the strange, fluffy white fairies that float through our house. Class is in two hours. Think I’ll try to hit the farmer’s market to secure fresh veggies and fruit for the week. At least summer is good for healthy food. This weekend is supposed to be 100 degrees F, with really high humidity. We may try to take the ladies to an air conditioned movie around the corner from our house.

tutu Beenie

I believe Toy Story 3 is playing, or some such silliness. Never took ’em to a movie before, but sweltering hot days seem to demand this kind of thing.

There are 3 or 4 art opportunities approaching. Three exhibits of some sort, and one grant application. I don’t wanna, but might just have to. If for no other reason than to collect the next rejection letter. Applied for it last year, and submitted some Camera Morte stuff, but no dice. This year will be paintings to the grant. Not sure why I bother, but appear to be driven to do so. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like for someone to give me a big chunk of cash to rent a studio space with, pay off some preschool bills and buy some art supplies… and cha-cha heels.


calculatus eliminatus

Everyone loves you when you’re a freelancer. Or temporary. There’s a certain Je ne sais quoi about someone who isn’t in the office from 9-5 every day, won’t always be available for meetings unless you give them lots of notice. I’m still the new girl in town. I know it. I see the tired eyes of the full-time office workers. My eyes are tired, too — not from sitting under florescent lights all day, knowing there is no end to this existence — but from being woken up two times every night to get certain 3 year old ladies to the potty. Still, though, I am not yet a known entity. In many ways I don’t want to be known, or owned, as the case may be. I like being hourly. Some weeks I can make lots of moolah, hopefully balancing out the weeks I just can’t do anything because my girls have infected me with numerous illnesses. I like not knowing. As long as I complete my projects when I say I will, I hope things will continue to run smoothly.

That’s what I’ve been up to, ya know. Working. The ladies have been going to school from 9:15-3, MWF. That gives me four solid hours to either go into the office to work, or work from home. I like both. What has changed is this: time they are spending in school has transferred from time I spend cleaning the house, or going grocery shopping, or writing my blog, to doing web stuff, trying to make a buck. Attempting to appear bona fide. For real.

I miss this, though. I miss having an hour or two, once or twice a week to tidy up, drink a cup of coffee, think about stuff, by myself. I lost this part of my life this past summer when daily naps disappeared, then again, when I started working more and they started staying in school longer so I could work longer, so they could stay in school longer… uh oh.

Nothing creative has happened in weeks. Nothing creative will happen again, until it does. Until it must. I’m going to go downstairs, get a big glass of water, take the last pill of my latest course of antibiotics, and lie in bed. No cocktails, no stretching or thinking. Just laying down on my bed. Waiting for someone to wake me up to piss. I am happy last night/this morning revealed nothing more than a light dusting of snow. Thanks, mother nature. And I am also glad my daughters are healthy again, back in school, and generally wonderful. Both stripped five minutes before we went upstairs for the bedtime ritual tonight, ‘swimming in the pool’, which meant jumping naked off the purple chair in the living room, onto a pile of pillows they set up as ‘slides’. Brrrr!

Baltimore, MD: The New South Pole

I bet hundreds, thousands of people all over the Mid-Atlantic of the U.S. are blogging-out over the mondo snow-blast that continues to drop piles of powder in the region. I suppose I will join the ranks. UNBELIEVABLE. Really. It started here around 1 p.m. yesterday and hasn’t stopped yet–it’s 1:55 p.m. now. 24 hours. Luckily, I purchased enough food Thursday to get us through a solid two weeks before the cats start looking like chicken. Hopefully we won’t get Donner Party levels of starvation here in the row house. There IS a grocery store about a seven minute walk from our house, so we may survive, if the shelves have anything left on them. Might take an hour to walk there in three feet of snow. Whatevz. We got food, the heat appears to be working (thanks, fifty year old, asbestos coated, barely working oil burner! kudos!), the girls are relatively healthy (however, Beenie appears to be sporting what I believe to be pink-eye as of last night…ugh), we still have electricity and really nice neighbors. I’m thinking of making some muffins this afternoon to share with the ladies on each side of us. Thanks for being great, Florence and Sue!

So, my painting studio wall seems to have been rented. Damned lack of money! I just can’t do it right now. Good pal, art mentress Jiyun says that my finding myself again studio-less means that there’s something else I want/need more than a wall in a studio. Which, of course, would rule. I’d love to have a permanent place to put all my art crap — drawings, paintings, supplies, a desk, some quiet and focus. I want that. Though, I also have loved sharing Julia’s studio for the past few months. I actually completed the big flower painting — at least, I can’t think of anything else to do to it. So it must be done. Not bad timing, really. Though it is never a good time not to have a painting studio. Something else will come along at the right moment, it always does.

Have I mentioned I’m in an ice castle? WHEN WILL THE SNOW STOP?! Have been thinking about baking, maybe muffins of some sort. Pie. Cookies. Really, is there anything else to do during a blizzard? It’s that or bitch at everyone around me. More soon from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow… oh, how I wish there were hot springs here! Brrrrrrrrr…….

Ten days?!

This tree root is located at the end of my block, along with other filthy roots.

How has it been ten days since I’ve been focused enough to write up on this shits? What has happened in the past ten days? Lots, I suppose. At some point I went to a Capricorn party, funny, as it’s usually the Aquarians and Libras who have mass, astrologically driven birthday celebrations. Something great happened at this event. Most importantly for me, it somehow ended what seems like months of a nasty funk in my brain. You could call it depression, I suppose. You could call it enui. Whatever it was, it SUCKED the life out of me and SUCKED and I hope it never comes back (though what I have learned of the artistic temperament over the years means we shall meet again…). Whatever. It is gone now and suddenly life seems hopeful. The timing for this is strange. The earth shakes and quakes and people suffer terribly. Friends of friends die suddenly. The ether is amiss and for no good reason I am feeling inspired. Not because of the badness, perhaps in spite of it?

My neighbor’s family lives in Haiti, and I’ve been worried about her and them, and was relieved to speak with her today. She said her peeps live in the mountains so no big destruction. She also said that you shouldn’t send money to the gov’t there, because they will not share with the people. I’m glad her family is okay.

I would like to recommend a great international aid organization, a place I once worked for pre-babies, that puts your money directly into the communities of people who are in need. Catholic Relief Services. If you are moved to donate to the relief efforts in Haiti, I can say without hesitation, CRS will do good with it. www.crs.org.

This weekend has been simultaneously shitty and inspired. It seems like things are extreme in general at the moment. Lots of creative inspiration and opportunity. And tons of terrible behavior and money/job stresses. But this is hands-down a billion times better than depressed inertia, the inability to move or get excited about anything. Mania? Bring it on.

Painted this morning for 1.5 hours, which was violet, sienna, sap green, raw umbered bliss. The big painting is almost done. I was even able to tighten up Nappy’s Puddle Painting and start work again on that, which put me in a great mood. Gotta keep that good art energy window cracked. Shit, I should throw a rock through it. It’s hard to get motivated when you’re not motivated.


The flower painting, in an earlier iteration, 36"x36"

Eight days since I’ve had a chance to quietly sit and type something longer than a lame-assed fuckbook status blob. A pathetic existence. Though the past eight days haven’t been particularly horrible. Just too busy to focus and type, which is horrible in a way I suppose. No, really. The time has been spent working, getting medical things taken care of, grocery shopping, playing with the girls. Driving to North Carolina, about 8 hours away, for Thanksgiving, staying with spouse’s family, visiting with his sister and parents and Beenie and Mimi’s cousin, Sophia. Making gluten/dairy-free pies and stuffing, chili and cornbread, chicken soup/stew. Lots of cooking. Lots of eating. I made a pumpkin pie yesterday, just because I never got enough of a chance to have pie for breakfast from the T’giving feasts. The one sitting in my fridge at the moment has a butter crust. Mmmmm… butter.

I am feeling a little bit crazy since I’ve had so little time to myself the past week or so. Last night and this morning I got a teenie bit of “me” time. Read about meditation without actually doing any before bed, then this morning when I woke up, I jumped into clothes and headed to the painting studio for the first time in what seems like two weeks. Splendid. The big flower piece is shaping up. The background is pink, which I think will glow once I apply the rustier, earthier layer on top of it. Defined a few edges today, in some of the petals, added a small, fluffy, feather-like element at the top of the piece, which should help balance the composition. Before there was just a little bit too much empty space on top. Now it makes sense. The feathery shape will become more a part of the background, methinks, but some kind of presence is needed at the top right. I was also able to get real aquariffic on the puddle painting this morning. Don’t know how much more I can describe the act. Suffice to say phalo green and blue were factors. I may be able to finish that piece by springtime. But who knows.

Puddle painting a few weeks ago. It changed significantly today. More green.

I got ANOTHER rejection letter, this time from a recent art grant application. For a few minutes I thought I might actually have gotten it — was able to semi-articulate my love and inspiration derived from Camera Morte, how I would spend the grant monies (time and space), and all of that crap. Am I barking up a dead horse? Is it possible Camera Morte is not an inspiration — no — LIFE ALTERING experience, like I think it is? I will not be beaten down on this, you jerks. I know it is something great, even if you don’t. Hell, add it to the pile of one million rejections. IT DOESN’T AFFECT ME! Well, actually, it does kind of bum me out. It would be so great to get a little extra something for art supplies and studio rental, or a nod from my arts community. The next grant deadline coming up is in early December, and I’m tempted to ignore it, since there isn’t a huge amount of new work to show. Why waste my time? I have so little time to spend on that kind of crap, it would be better spent making more art. Oh I don’t know.

I spent this morning, from 9:15 till 11:15 painting. I already wrote about that, eh? It was just… so… great! It is almost better to not have excess free time. Now when I go to paint, I contemplate the task before me, decide what color/s to work with in the next hour or two, then focus and paint. No time wasted, since there is absolutely no time to waste. It is baffling how much of my youthful artistic energy was spent NOT making a goddam thing, but just sitting around thinking or talking about ideas of what to do. Yes, I painted lots then, too, but I had few time constraints, and if it tickled my fancy, I could paint for a morning, take a lunch break, then paint the rest of the day. Hours and hours. Incredible luxury. Even when I was working crazy hours doing floral design, I still had plenty of extra time to waste. When you have children, there is no time to waste, unless you think time spent doing the parenting thing with them is a waste, which I do not. I’m talking idle hands, friends. With a capital ‘I’. Full ego immersion. At this point, what’s left of my ego has cheap sneaker footprints on it, and it is covered in yogurt and ketchup. Good riddance, I say. Me and me had plenty of good times. I think I like the more recent me better, though I am far more depressed than I used to be. But also, far less tortured. More, especially of late, truly enjoying communicating with my daughters, all three + three years of them. Making art helps, working helps, getting them into a preschool environment where I am not part of the goings on helps. Regular exercise would also, tremendously, help. That’s next on the list.

Do you ever think about the edges of things? In a way, when I’m painting, it is almost all I think about. How one color or line or color field meets another. Is the edge flat? or does it have a Raw Umber layer beneath an Indigo layer. Does the space betwixt layers vibrate? Is the edge alive?

Another deception

I thought things would be easier with them in preschool… is that just another one of the millions of lies they tell you to get you to make more humans? The school is going well, i guess. This morning wasn’t as frantic as the past two mornings they went. We actually got up earlier than 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave. And they ate yogurt before we left. Mimi screamed for a while before I left the classroom this morning. When I picked them up, she was happily dancing around the playground while Beenie was throwing sand in other children’s faces with a small plastic shovel. Precious.

Yes, despite the fact that I started my grant proposal at 11a.m. yesterday and finished it and the application and 2 CD’s worth of images at 5p.m yesterday, it did get postmarked yesterday, so hopefully it will at least get to the place it needs to get to and into the proper hands. Wish me luck. Camera Morte and I need some funding.

There’s always tomorrow

Today was nowhere near as horrific as yesterday was. When I woke up this morning to some snotty nosed crazy peeps, not having much sleep myself, I said to B, “They are sick. We’re not going to school today.” After those words left my mouth, and I woke up a little more, I realized if I didn’t get these girls out of the house this morning, I would throw myself out a window and they would miss out on their first real day of school. Something inside me, a thing that resides in pure desperation, rose up and somehow got these girls down the stairs, into clothes and then into the car within a half hour of waking up. SNOTTY NOSE OR NOT, THEY’RE GOING. Beenie wasn’t that sick… just a really bad case of gas and the snots. The rule is no fevers, which she didn’t have, at least this morning she didn’t. Mimi was actually the one I thought was sick, but I believe now that her snotty nose was due to much tormented, exhausted weeping on her part yesterday. Ultimately I was able to scrub a truly disgusting bathroom at mi casa for one solid hour with a bleach product until it sort of shined. Then I packed up some stuff and hauled arse back to school to collect the ladies at 12 noon and trekked down to my folk’s place for the afternoon, evening and tomorrow morning. Not bad for waking up 45 minutes before I was supposed to leave the house. The girls will eventually get used to my lack of foresight. I am incapable of such things without proper sleep of at least 7ish hours per night, which I have not been getting lately due to early a.m. pee pee wake up calls. I should start going to bed at 9 p.m. just to keep up with this madness.

Grant application postmark deadline is tomorrow, September 15th, 2009.