Tuesday, November 29, 2005

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Autumn Kitten, a Funeral, and Florida

Moon and his Big Sammy.
Moon Kitten is baying at the door, Autumn kitten is scurrying away and then climbing up my leg soon to be on the keyboard or in my arms. She travels up and down and around the room, then eats some food and starts over again. I'll be relieved when she can join Moon running around the house. And eating regular kitten food instead of Gerber's baby chicken in gravy.
Yesterday was our Aunt Ray's funeral, down in someplace south of Southwest Philly. Aunt Ray lived in Florida with her daughter, son-in-law, grandson, and great-grandsons. She was a feisty little red-haired lady with strong opinions and lotsa love--but you had to earn that love, and meet her standards. Aunt Ray reminded me of my Aunt Betty from whom I learned manners and rebellion and I guess Aunt Ray liked that so she liked me. We visited Florida a couple of years ago to spend time with Aunt Ray. She was glad to see us but told us she was tired of living; she was bored; all her friends had died and she couldn't drive anymore. Aunt Ray was 90 when she died. So yesterday I spent time with Harry's relatives, half of which I like very much, and I felt good. Luckily, when we went to a diner to eat and spend time together, we sat with the good ones. I thought before yesterday that when we had more money we'd spend time in perhaps New Mexico during the lousy Philly winters; but I realized even all Florida has to recommend it is warmth and family, that's enough. Why would we go to New Mexico when our family is in Florida? I hope they all pick up and move West, but short of that, we'll go to the mall state in the winter. How long the trips will depend on where we live and how much American health care costs. For all I know, we might be living in a cardboard box with our medicines and checkbook.
Well, while I can afford a house with a studio, I'll exit here and go draw. Autumn seems to have abandoned my lap and finger biting for--nope, she's back. Time to paint.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

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Continued Kitten Stories

Still dealing with the infant cat. I worry about her, probably needlessly . She wants to be on the keyboard right now because I'm typing so this will last about another minute. I know she'll be a beautiful, wonderful kitten, but right now she's an infant but thank God, not human.
Anise, of blessed memory, on the right.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

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Autumn, our new kitten, has been taking up all my time in this room. We brought her home Sunday; it turned out she's hardly weaned at eight weeks and was terrified. So I've spent many hours loving her, without ...holding her now 4 an hr

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

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These have been three terrific days; Sunday was brunch with an old friend and pick up the new kitten; Monday was shopping all day with my friend Alice; and today was Center City with Jerry and a stop at Brian's. And Honey's coming by later. Plus the kitten is finally eating...baby food. She's here crying about three quarters of the time. Kvetching. But she's finally bopping around, not moping, or scared, at least in her room. Outside of here she's terrified.
So how am I? I'm on two more medications, one for the tremor in my hands and one to wake me, which I hope I won't need once I get used to the first medication. I'm also not sure it's helping. It messes up my balance more than usual--way more--and I feel foggy.
Anyway, I've got to go downstairs for more baby food shortly and I've nothing to say. I loved being in town; I don't know why, but I do. And for five months I've been working up to going back out with girlfriends and Jerry; it's taken that long. It felt really good. I'll put up a watercolor/pastel of cousin Jerry and son Brian.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

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My Never-Ending Meals and The Kitten Arrives

Today was such a nice day; the weather was lovely and we did happy things all day long. It was living a day on Sesame Street. First, we met an old friend and her husband for brunch at a deli restaurant nearby. We all very much enjoyed our food--my chopped herring was fresh and delicious and the coffee kept coming. I used to be scared of our friend Randi--she's a teacher and knows everything--but today, for some reason, I was confident enough and relaxed to have a good time. (I wonder if anyone will read this and want to throw up hearing "chopped herring" for breakfast.)
After brunch, we stopped home and I painted for a while. Then, at two, it was time to leave to pick up Heidi/Ginger/Rosie/Ruby our Maine Coon kitten. At eight weeks, she's a delicate little kitten who fits into two hands and is smart enough to be terrified. We carried her to the car in our cat carrier but as soon as she cried, I took her out and held her for the ride home. Right now, she's under this desk as far back away from the strangers as she could manage. I put out a just-right-sized tray of food and water for her a few inches from her hideout. When Moon can manage it, he sneaks in to hiss at her. The breeder assures me she'll come out in a couple of days. It's worrisome having her in hiding, not eating. In this house, that's tantamount to anarchy.
But, speaking of eating, we did get out to eat and I had my famous sausage which I wanted with the spaghetti in oil and garlic with anchovies, which was on the menu. (I'm actually the sausage lady.) The waitress was mildly shocked that I wanted anchovies and went back to the chef twice about whether I could have them, finally reporting I couldn't, but when I asked, she said I could have them on the side. Anchovies, sausage, fried onions, cookies, ice cream and candy; these are a few of my favorite things. I'm glad I could write that; somehow doing it quieted my wanting to eat one of those things right now.
Our son Brian loves most of those foods too, but daughter Honey has a sensitive stomach like her dad so tonight I knew she couldn't finish off my dinner when I got home. I couldn't get her on the phone to know if she was coming and then to bring her food; I didn't not want to feed her. Honey stopped by to meet the new kitten; I knew she would asap. Honey and I love animals; she worked at the Philly Zoo for years and with a veterinarian while she was in college. (I wish the kitten would come out of the hole.) It was good to have Honey visit; it's always good.
So that's it for our anniversary weekend. We're doing pretty well for two mismatched old folks who got married as virtually babies. It's a good life.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

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Anniversary Memories

I just changed the name of this, my blog, again; this time basically to THE ARTIST SPEAKS. I hope that's more accurate. Oh, I forgot complains. Or kvetches. I should put that in; like kvetches about Lupus. But then it sounds as though that's all I talk about... Or maybe it doesn't... Hmmm. I guess it will come to me.
Tomorrow the kitten comes to me! Her name might be Heidi, Rosie, Ruby or Sigrid. We'll give her a choice, like when kids choose their religion. Anyway, we'll be 'brunching' with a very old friend then travelling by boat, or maybe mule train, down to far away Chadds Ford, where the Maine Coon Cats are born. It's good we didn't have to go to Norway where they were from originally. I would have needed a sled probably, right?
Heidi/Rosie/Ruby/Sigrid is our anniversary present to ourselves; we've been attached at the hip for 41 years and have two offspring to show for it. We were congratulating ourselves over a half bottle of Mumms at a terrific little Thai restaurant--because I'm not getting paid just yet so we can't really afford the fabulous stuff--and enumerating our successes. We did really used to spend inordinate amounts of money on restaurant dinners before son Brian was born and we decided to turn our paychecks over to him.
Daughter Honey, who sat under the table at those French restaurant dinners, is painfully aware of the extreme difference in our parental style with Brian. He got private school and she got the open classroom in West Philly and the trolley by herself. Honey used to take the trolley from school and meet me at my studio in town where she'd paint or play witches in the bathroom. I had a great studio at the Penna. Academy (of Fine Arts) at the old Belgravia Hotel on Chestnut street, or maybe it was Walnut; I don't remember. But I could never afford anything like that ever again and I loved and appreciated that fine studio in Center City. I ate it up. Lots of days, I met my father for (a free) lunch at the Sansom House at 13th & Sansom, where he was the accountant. He was so proud of me, and I'm so glad I made those memories with him. It was a good time for me and I lived it with my whole heart and soul. I went to school mixed with therapy with Gerry Weiss where with the other hippies, I laid on the floor for hours crying and thinking. And Honey was there playing and talking. I took her everywhere: to Be-Ins, and feminist demonstrations, and I think to anti-war demonstrations in Washington too. Drugs were everywhere and I loved marijuana and hashish, but not the other stuff. I listened to Gerry and never took LSD; he warned me it caused psychosis and I thought I was crazy enough. I felt desperate, sad, angry, and happy to be in school and to have Honey. Maybe it wasn't such a good time, but it would have been if I lived it now. (<&>)
So here I am, middle-aged old, chubby, therapized, on tons of drugs but feeling fine. It's a good life and I can't hardly believe that today I've been married to Harry for 41 years and our kids are sensible, good people. Wow!

Friday, November 18, 2005

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It's late, almost my 41st anniversary--in 15 minutes--and I feel drunk on my new medication that's supposed to stop my tremor. I can't test my blood glucose level the way I'm supposed to do because I just ate all the left-over bacon, veggies and a banana. I think, even though those foods aren't sugary, they might bring my glucose levels up a bit, so I'll forego the blood-letting.
I'm going to try Provigil tomorrow--yet another drug--that maybe, perhaps, will wake me. Once I get to sleep I can't get up. I could if I had to; I'd just roll out of bed and do whatever had to be done. But when nothing is imperative, it's silly to come roaring onto the floor running for the paintbrushes that ain't going anywhere in the next four hours. I want to 'arise naturally' as a flower does in the sunshine. Or maybe popcorn does in the microwave. Whatever. Just not in response to an alarm, but before 11:30 AM.
I did get out early today despite dragging myself out of bed after 11 AM. I didn't drink coffee or work on anything; I just did my getting ready stuff and zipped around with Harry doing errands. I hit the Free Library, which, when I'm using it, is pretty neat. I find books I wouldn't have read otherwise, of course forgetting about the ones I want. I order them used when I get tired of not finding what I am really lusting after. Out of the three I grabbed, so far two look interesting. Nothing lost. I often enough buy books I can't read and then try and foist them off on Honey or friends so I feel the money hasn't been wasted.
Speaking of wasting money, Whole Foods had only one snack out today! That was another of our stops. Trader Joe's had nothing at all, and my favorite store didn't have even one cheese out to taste. That's the only store where my little feet cross the threshold and I know every sample hangout. I made the rounds deftly trying to appear as though I was cruising through the store, double latte in hand but without any kind of basket, just perusing the groceries before making a decision to actually shop. I probably didn't fool anyone because no one cared, but the act was for naught. No goodies. Oh, well. Harry made lovely lamb chops, cous cous, and veggies and we had Mumms champagne to celebrate and little confectionary-type cakes for dessert. I had mine with Reese's peanut thingys. I suspect they're not going to help me lose weight and they might even show up on that every-three-months 1AC blood test or whatever it's called for diabetes.
Might be a good idea to keep out of the stores completely and consciously limit myself to fruit. And maybe tea with honey. And peanut butter. This is ridiculous; I'm lucky I'm not a blimp.
I finished another painting but haven't got a picture of it yet and I'm finally working on my Lanscape page of my website. I actually put a picture on there that doesn't exist; no wonder it wouldn't come up. I'm going to fill that in and add more soon. I really like those scenes with houses in them when they come out well. Pretty neat. I've also started telling folks who are on one of my webrings about the others. It hadn't ever occurred to me to do that then I realized everybody else was and it matters how many websites are on a webring. And more than a few reject my site because the ringmaster judges my artwork to be porn. When that happens, I usually start my own.
Right now, I'm coughing and drinking water as though the I just came off the desert. (That might not go over too well at 3 AM since it's 12:15 now.) So maybe despite the 30 ounces of water I'm consuming in three minutes, I'll toddle off to bed. I love writing this; I don't know if anybody's reading it; but it's like painting--fun to create.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

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Potato Chips and Brain Damage

The Painting is Hairdresser Amy, 11/05, Mixed Media

Thursday...I spent from 9:30 AM yesterday until 4 PM at Jefferson University Hospital taking a neuropsychological evaluation for central nervous system lupus. The evaluation identifies specific problems in cognition--brain damage--caused by the lupus. It was a grueling test; I drove home in the pouring rain eating three little bags of very hot barbecue potato chips, cheesies, and sour cream-type potato chips. Luckily, I'd finished the two candy bars in the parking lot. I didn't know when I paid for parking downstairs in the 'lobby', I had to bring anything back upstairs to the car with me. Harry called on the cell phone at just that minute anyway, and I was distracted. So when I pulled up in my old Toyota to the bar machine, it wouldn't let me out and folks started honking behind me. I needed the ticket apparently to insert into the machine but I couldn't find it. I dumped everything out of my handbag, my wallet, the potato chip bag, my pockets and my rain jacket but there was no ticket or receipt. The attendant walked over, asked what the problem was, and demanded I move my car out of the way. After some mild arguing I did that and she went looking for the ticket which she said might still be in the machine. That turned out to have been the problem so I thanked her profusely and drove home in the blazing rainstorm eating the potato chips.
For dinner, I wisely refused the very high-calorie pizza and ate cereal instead, followed by a little candy. I was shocked when my evening watching The Daily Show and Colbert Report was interrupted by an upset stomach! I'm used to my guts of iron, or at least steel. My remedy was to complain through the shows and Invasion, then eat my left-over home-made cole slaw that's absolutely delicious, hardly fattening at all and guaranteed to cure anything, followed by licorice thingies, which I believe are also good for digestion. Then I quickly ran upstairs, brushed my teeth, and got into bed before my stomach had any feedback for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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That's my daughter teaching. The nose ring came out gigantic, but otherwise, the picture captures how much she enjoys teaching.
I don't have much to say today so maybe I'll paste in a letter I wrote to a young woman who asked about the effects of lupus on my life.

Effects on your lifestyle

I just retired ten months early losing about $40000 because of Lupus. I got so sick for so long, I couldn't imagine returning to work; my husband and children urged me to stay home, and I did. I regretted losing the money but I have enough and it's important for me, with lupus, to follow a path of less stress.
I'm a professional artist; I paint everyday, but it's just too stressful and physically exhausting to participate in exhibits. I mostly can't tolerate gallery owners, but even with the ones I like, it's too hard. I love my work, love to celebrate it, and am thrilled by other people enjoying and buying it. I'm in a quandary now, ultimately because of lupus, as to how to show my artwork beyond my website. Because our house has essentially three floors and my balance is poor, we're considering moving to a one-story house which may or may not offer a better opportunity for exhibiting. My life-long goal had been to open a gallery, but that's just way above my abilities now. I've down-sized my plans but I haven't yet a good idea of how to manage and exactly what I need.
Years ago, I had an opportunity to pursue a FREE Ph.D in Therapeutic Recreation, which I wouldn't consider now if I had the energy, but at the time, I wanted to do it, but had to turn it down anyway. I didn't have the physical stamina to work and study too.
Effects on your family
I think my family worries about my health and my children do more for us than they might otherwise. Most of the caring for me when I'm sick falls to my husband though. He's been the chef, the shopper, laundryman and bookkeeper here for years,.
Effects on your diet
?? I'm fat; I've never weighed so much and it's a terrific struggle to lose a half pound.
Effects on your stress level
Pretty much every time I started a flare, I freaked out. I've been terrified the first three times of each type flare and sometimes also with new scary symptoms. In July I was titering down prednisone from a flare in May, hit 3 milligrams, and went into suicidal depression. This is not unusual with prednisone, I discovered, but I believe I had a nervous breakdown. Laying in bed, too depressed to sit up, walk, talk or eat was more than I could handle. I usually self-medicate with visits and consultations with my doctors. Not only was no one available when I was finally able to call, none of my doctors could appropriately address what was happening. I had to wait almost a month and a half to see a psychiatrist who knew exactly what was doing and how to handle it.
Effects on your emotional state
Other than when flares occur and my somewhat heightened response to stressful situation thanks to a daily dose of prednisone and some mild brain damage, I'm a happy camper. I'm thrilled being retired, painting and working on my website all day. I have a wonderful family; I'm proud of both my children and they both tell me they love me. Our children are 18 years apart. I had my daughter at 17, started art school at 23 and promptly began to get dizzy, I believe from the shock of seeing gay women on motorcycles and stuff. I'd led a relatively sheltered life.
Lupus really hit though after my son was born in 1983. I need to say my son Brian has been a joy for me every day for twenty-two years. There's is no pain that would ever change that and nothing emotionally that connects Brian or my pregnancy with Lupus. In 84 and 85 I had very bad flares that left me with aphasia and the serious need to change jobs. Eventually I did switch to working in Center City Philly at a job totally unrelated to my education--both BFA or M.Ed. but the position allowed me two days a week to paint and a much more relaxed atmosphere. That was the 'career' I left in August reluctantly.
My real career is lots of fun, but I do wish my hands wouldn't shake. Sometimes it's difficult to get lines right, and I have trouble with the pointer on the computer. I love wearing earrings too and they're a pain to get through my little ear holes when my hands are trembling. And the last annoyance is finding substitute words. Thank goodness people don't think it's odd that I say 'thingy' and 'doohickey a lot.
I hope all this helps you. It sure is a lot of words

Monday, November 14, 2005

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Today I found something new in Dreamweaver that will help me a lot with my website. I kept experimenting after I couldn't find the information I needed through Google. And I scanned new work into the computer and started new new pieces which always makes me happy. I spent most of my time up here in the computer room today while Harry went to his doctor and made calls for his mom.
Harry's caught my cold though and he usually gets sicker than I do, which is proving true this time too. In years past, he's had pneumonia, and before flu shots, he used to get so ill, he became delirious. Right now, it's twelve thirty at night and usually, Harry's sound asleep by ten thirty, but tonight, he can't sleep because he's sick, and I hear sports through the closed bedroom door.
Marriage and having children, in learning about other people, is the best education. Both my children are interested in Science like Harry--one teaches Biology and the other one is in his fifth year of College Chemistry. I used to regular almost flunk Science and Math, so when we have family dinners and the conversation turns to cells and chemicals, I'm bored and either overeat, or go do the dishes. Over the last couple of years my daughter has become very spiritual; she's now a Buddhist, and will be taking her Bodhisattvas vow eventually. I'm proud of her dedication and enlightenment; I learn from her as well as from my son whose outlook is so rational. When they talk about subjects I can understand, that is.
I used to discuss my most recent job with both of them regularly and they helped me deal with the various problems that arose. Brian, my son, used to laugh and be incredulous at the other workers' antics, but Honey, my daughter, understood human nature better. One of the guys with whom I worked for about 16 years I'll call X., a misunderstood, intelligent, good-looking man, who'd grown up in my neighborhood but had never gone through psychotherapy and it was obvious. We worked together on and off through the years, and near the end, were in the same division. Everybody likes to work alone in his or her office and I understood when he freaked at a young woman suddenly being put into his. His remedy was to have a phone sex conversation with his girlfriend with his hands solidly in his pants while the young woman was at her desk. That worked. She ran screaming out of there to her previous boss who summarily had X. moved to another office without a phone. X. wasn't fired and I don't think he was punished. And the other workers (except me) blamed her. The world of work. I waited twenty years to retire, and I'm not surprised I'm thrilled.
The painting is called "Stop Work".

Sunday, November 13, 2005

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The Spirits Dance

Dancers...2005 There's a lot to be done but I don't feel like doing it. No dancing, painting, or singing. Or reading. Nothing appeals to me right now. Today's been a relaxing day with no visitors and no visits. I needed that. Daughter Honey studies non-stop; this weekend it was Buddhism. She's almost at the point where she'll take refuge which means she'll officially be Buddhist. Our son is officially an atheist, but we have faith he'll become spiritual sometime in his life. The dangers of religious training come home to roost. We pushed them both, Honey to religious Day School, and Brian to after school programs. Luckily, I don't believe in religion, just spirit and all that comes with that. Not religion per Se.
For a while I was psychic which had a relationship with my medications and frontal lobe problems. I still feel a strong connection to the 'other side' with an electric light in this room that comes on and/or blinks on its own usually when something is going to happen in the family. Once I saw a spirit so clearly--it was Aunt Millie, my neighbor's aunt--that I'll never forget her. That was a very special experience. Other times I've seen spirits or other things but not yet like Aunt Millie. Lately, I felt someone grasp my hand, but usually my family visits me in my dreams. I was born into a large family most of whom had been born in the Victorian and Edwardian Age. They taught me how to use silverware, speak, and dress correctly and my values are directly from them. Often the light comes on when I'm going to paint and I guess that's because they've always been my enthusiastic supporters.
One day about a year ago, when I could still see spirits, son Brian was here stating he didn't believe in any of it. He's a good speaker with a keen mind so I shut up and didn't argue with him. But I saw my grandmother and the rest of my family standing to his side beaming. They didn't care what he was saying, just that he was so smart and such a nice young man, and their grandchild.
Other times I've seen my great grandmother and a host of that generation from the 1870s with whom I feel familiar. They're fascinated with our 'new-fangled' machines and pleased to be remembered. My father especially gifted me with stories of his youth and our family's adventures. My aunt and uncle who'd died from the Spanish Flu and WWI were people I knew because of him. My grandfather, who died when I was four, has never left me, and I still remember him clearly. Psychics tell me he collects copies of my paintings. My dad visited me last night and every time he comes, I'm glad.
I don't know what lays ahead when we die; I believe we continue in another dimension with our family and friends who've gone before us. But my son would laugh, and my doctors, when I've told them this stuff, have taken notes attributing it to my brain damage. I'm sorry I've stopped seeing spirits but I was boring everybody in my family, seeing them everywhere, and eventually, it just wasn't interesting anymore to anyone but me.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

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An Easy Day

My kids are all downstairs with Harry watching George Carlin. I saw the show already, worked on my paintings, and I'm ready to relax and see a movie, but George Carlin has to finish first, so I'm writing.
I'm getting a little bored doing my little pictures so perhaps I'll start my paintings soon. Or something else. Retirement certainly isn't boring--it's wonderful and every time I think about being able to do what I want whenever I want, I feel good.
Two hours later... The kids have gone home; Harry's gone to bed. I checked on the artwork and one of the paintings ran badly. It will need more work and I think it's actually ruined.

Friday, November 11, 2005

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Eating and Drinking In the Paint and Pencils

Just a note before I zoom downstairs to watch TV with husband Harry. Over the last few days I've spent a lot of money on art supplies. I love to dump out the bags and look at my loot, contemplate the colors, and admire them. I need pastel pencils and pastels but they'll come later when I get to a real art supply store. The stores I've been frequenting have been craft stores. Much of the media I use can only be purchased in craft stores because I like sparkles and crayons. So I give money to all of them and that's okay.
I'm working on a couple of paintings now, slowly adding layers. What I've been doing is completing the paintings and keeping them in my drawing books so I can gaze at them when I'm out and about. But I started looking at ready-made mattes today--because they're so small I may be able to use ready-made--so I guess the framing part of me is swinging into action after all. All I have to do is keep from over scheduling my time doing other things and keep in mind what's important to me. That's not easy, and I will keep it in mind.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

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Erotic Drawings Are Passe

This will be an early night; I've got a cold. I worked on my little paintings today--I paint or draw nearly every day and I love the stuff I do. Not that it's daVinci, it's maybe 50th rate, but I enjoy making art tremendously. I'm not underestimating my work, I don't think, because I would rate a lot of the stuff shown in galleries as at best 60th rate, and in New York, total shit. There, the Art Scene is definitely the Emperor's New Clothes.
I'm planning on attending some kind of Art shindig Saturday night. That's a definite maybe because I go or don't depending totally on how I feel. And this Saturday night, I'm planning to sit near the exit so if it's nonsense, I can leave. Not like last week in the middle of the balcony on the hard little seats watching an execrable movie. What I don't like is that I almost never get to stop afterward to have decaf or a drink because Harry always feels exhausted. In the morning he's the EverReady bunny, but at night, he's the walking dead.
We were going to parties nearly every week but I've gotten tired of the scene. Bored with what happens, uncomfortable with fucked up macho men and the women who wait on them. I enjoy chatting so much and adore meeting folks who are on my own wavelength, but that was so rare. Lately, I've been unwilling to be around unfriendly people even mixed in with with folks I like. No antidepressant would make that better so I guess I'll just have to wait until I work it out emotionally or it passes.
I used to draw their scenes and ultimately was a so-called dominant lady, which makes sense because I'm such an angry rebellious feminist. But I don't want to be bothered with submissive guys and spend my drawing time training them to be sissy maids or tell them how to clean. Yes, I love teas and I get a kick out of sissy maids but I want to do my own work.
Our party friends and the guys used to pose for me and I thought drawing nudes would be good for me, like practicing, and it was good to have models all the time. When I accepted the fact I didn't want to draw naked people, that it was work, I let myself rest and do what I wanted even though a little voice inside my head thought this work wasn't as acceptable, as valuable, as the realistic bodies with the beautiful lines. So maybe I'm hiding now with my funny fine art and strange personality. Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

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Applying Elbow Grease...(at work) 1990
Today ended 37 years of working at jobs outside of Art. I'm done. And it's wonderful. I'm not retired, dead, or divorced; I'm free. I've worked as a Good Humor Lady driving an ice cream truck--from which I made no profit because I ate so much--a secretary--which was the worst I think; a Recreational Therapist--that had good points--and an Real Estate assessor. I must have had other jobs; I just can't remember. I didn't fit into any of them because I rebel against authority and I reek of being a person who thinks my own way. But I'm quiet too, shy, and compassionate. I like honest open people very much and I tell them. But I've got a bad temper too and I've too often said way too much and regretted it later. I still felt the same way about the other people, but I knew I should have kept my mouth shut for my own sake. Oh, well. I still got my little boy through private school and college and earned a pension. What more could I ask for? As an artist, I've done exceptionally well and being me, I'm amazed.
It seems like I've met the worst people in my life at work. I'm not sure which job was my first but I remember being hired at Thrivo, a small company that made dog food. I was eighteen and terribly innocent even though I'd already been married for more than a year with a baby. The owner and manager stepped over the dead mice and insects and made dirty jokes all day. In my great wisdom, I decided this was wrong since I was uncomfortable, so I gave them dirty looks. That was the first time I was fired. So I took the clerk-typist test for the City and eventually was hired, working in Center City Philly. Every day I dressed up in a little dress, stockings, and high heels. I had no idea how adorable I was with long black hair, petite, thin, and very pretty. (I'm 57 now and very "chubby". I think it's okay for me to say how pretty I was.) My calf-skin shoes cost $16, which was expensive then, and I still remember them. I sat at a desk with a typewriter amongst a bunch of other young women also at typewriters under the watchful eye of our supervisor, who seemed to be on a desk higher than ours so she could watch us minute-to-minute. We weren't allowed to talk or stay long at lunch. The woman at the desk in front of mine was perhaps a year older and maybe had worked a year longer so she designated herself as my supervisor. We didn't get along well at all, so shortly after I asked for a transfer and ended up at an installation in the northeast part of the city. I'll leave that sad story for later. For now, I'll go paint.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

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Olympic Mountains

In this painting, we were in the Olympic Mountains with my brother who's facing away in the hat. I'm leaning on Harry and Brian is sitting on a rock. It was a magnificent place with friendly deer and glaciers. The Northwest, to me--well, the West in general--is the most beautiful part of the United States. We've been to most of the U.S. The red rock formations in the Southwest and the incredible vistas of the Northwest surpass what's left in the East. We've pretty much ruined the East and the South and I guess we're working on Alaska and the West. Arizona is slowly being eaten and spit out as ugly, ugly, ugly. Our park service is underfunded and poorly run; pretty soon we'll have smog in the Grand Canyon. That's if it's not there already. We watched George Carlin last night--we'd taped his HBO special--and he was very negative about the state of the country. I couldn't disagree with him, except about fat people because I'm one and I'm not eating nachos and otherwise feeding my face at every opportunity. However, he talked about the real owners of this nation--the corporations and zillionaires-- who bankroll and control our politicians and write our laws. It would be ridiculous to think that any of them cared about our air, water, food, or us. And I know that politicians care only about themselves and grabbing more power and money. I involuntarily worked with them and learned first-hand. G.C. was thought-provoking. I voted today, but realized my vote meant nothing. I like our District Attorney here in Philly, so I walked across the street and voted for her and a bunch of others. I do know one judge personally because he's an old friend of my cousin's and as far as I can tell, he's the only decent one.
That's glitter on the little people in this picture. It doesn't show up well. I'm not sure what this painting means, although I like it. All ideas are welcome. I've got more coming too.

Monday, November 07, 2005

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Bubba Comes Home to Pumpkin and He Eats

My mother-in-law came home from the hospital today after a small procedure that's a big deal because everything is a big deal when a person is 84. She couldn't wait to get home because she was worried Pumpkin, her cat, was missing a meal. She was exhausted, worn out. She was too tired too eat, could only go to sleep--after she fed Pumpkin. Pumpkin weighs sixteen pounds, too heavy for her to lift. He's a beautiful golden tabby cat, sweet and affectionate. When he had to stay here because only I could manage to get the medicine he needed in his ears, he terrorized our kitten, taking over anything Moon tried to do. He sat on my head, laid on my lap, climbed onto Moon's favorite high spots, and challenged Moon to just try to get them back. I hope my mother-in-law lives to be 100.

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Tough Going But It's Begun

I spent three days on it and at 1AM, now, my Lupus Page is finally working which it hasn't done in months. It's working poorly, but it's possible to navigate it and that couldn't have been done, ever, using Netscape Composer. I'm really tired now and off to bed satisfied I finally accomplished what I wanted.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

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How I'd Look Nude If I Had Lots of Plastic Surgery, Hair Extensions, New Longer Legs, Etc..lol

Anymore I truly don't know what I'm doing on Netscape Composer. I tried Window's Office page builder, but that was worse, if that's possible. I'm hoping Dreamweaver is better. And comprehensible.
Pretty soon I have to get dressed. I'm hungry, haven't watered my plants up here, and have to figure out what to wear tonight. My foot is still healing from whatever I did to it weeks ago, so I have to consider my shoes. And whether to use my cane which is actually fabulous but kind of a pain to use, unless it's going to help me from falling, in which case it's worth bringing. We're going to eat at a restaurant in Center City and go see a Jewish movie at the "Y". I enjoy Center City, miss being every week. Actually, I will be there once a week for the next couple of weeks for appointments but now I don't need any more clothes and I don't like the shoes downtown. They're all plastic and the leather ones cost the world. I'm going to get rid of any shoes that might cause me to lose my balance or cause another fall which means I need a different pair of black clogs. Aren't clogs neat? I love to wear colorful socks too and they're usually cheap and so much fun. Of course, my foot has to heal so it doesn't feel like sausage meat in my shoe.
I guess I should go put on some makeup so I don't feel homely, old and fat walking down Broad Street. When I look at my face now, I see my dad and my grandmother, sometimes my mom, depending on the day. I can certainly understand why people go have their fat cut off, hire work out folks, and have face lifts. At the same time, looking old is reality and just being, and I like that. Not being artificially adjusted reflects honesty, and I never was phony.
It's time for me to choose a picture. I picked a nude who's not wearing socks or clogs and isn't me.

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Harry Can't Hear So He Won't Know When I Get Into Bed And That It's So Late

Today I wasted approximately five hours re-doing my lupus page on Netscape Composer which simply didn't work, then trying to figure out what free webpage authoring program might work finding none. Then I downloaded something called TreePad which sounded okay but it wouldn't allow me to import my own pages and develop them. I'm out-priced by Dreamweaver and simply disgusted. I corrected all the html on my page and it still didn't work. I have no idea why. I found a new decent free ftp program rather than continue to try and reach the Voyager folks who simply don't answer. But I have nothing good to ftp. So this time it wasn't my computer, so I guess it's the web gods.
I did scan in new work, or pieces I improved. And I got my new drivers' license processed with a new photo in which I look about 65 with a nice double chin, fat face and grimace. Then I cleaned the bathroom so after this, I can happily take a hot bath and smell the fruity chemicals while I read.
I read a lot: books, newspapers and magazines. The newspaper cuts into my day substantially, and I read my books at every opportunity, mostly while I'm waiting for something or someone which happens a lot. I don't mind waiting though because I don't bother to read the whole book if I don't like it. I go on to read the middle and ends too, while I'm still in the beginning. I always want to know what happens and if I like the writing enough, I read the in-betweens. Otherwise, I just stop whenever I feel like it and go on to the next book I've stored under the bed behind my shoes. They're like little presents, still in their original bags. I save special bookmarks too--one from the gay Baptists that says something like "Everyone is blessed", another with the 23rd psalm, and others that are just colorful postcards. The bathrooms are filled with books, magazines, and catalogs. More lean against the sofa and lay on the dining room table. We just move them to the end of the table with the telephones and eat, or read our newspapers.
Yeah, we have all kinds of telephones too. Harry is hard-of-hearing and buys every new version of phone that's supposed to help people like him. None of them ever have so he yells into the phone, and garbles the messages from it. On our answering machine, I ask people to simply call me on my cell phone. One year, he had the flu, and that was it. His hearing, which hadn't been great, was suddenly almost kaput. Eventually, he got state-of-the-art hearing aids which do help, but in a crowd or a restaurant--or on the phone--he's at a loss. People don't have much patience for handicapped folks, and our health care system certainly doesn't care. Insurance doesn't cover hearing aids at all. We owe more now on the house because of that, but he can hear and our son is finishing college.
I sound resentful of our health care system and I am, but I'm content really. Just up too late and I have a lot to do before I can get to sleep.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

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The Wonder of Being an Artist

I miss staying at home, cleaning, and painting. Working on the computer for hours at a time. I'm so busy all the time now and I'll get more jammed up as time goes by because I have more I want to do. There's writing, painting, visiting my friends and more. I'm driving again so it's time.
When I could get out of bed after being in it for the month of August, I was afraid to drive. So I didn't until about a week ago. In that time, two of my closest friends moved. Now, Philly has a transit strike on, so the streets are parking lots anywhere near rush hour. Theresa's Ardmore calls, and as soon as the buses are riding the streets, so will I. Theresa is my friend whose artwork wins all kinds of competitions, gets grants, sells like very expensive big hotcakes, and is shown all over the world. (She thinks she's not good enough because her degrees aren't in Art. hahaha Silly.) On the other hand, my wonderful friend Nancy thinks her work is crap and I can't imagine why. She graduated from art school but knows that means nothing. I like her work though.
And today, I found out what happened to some unfriendly artist I went to school with. He started an art school which teaches other aspiring artists how to paint realistically. He's very good at it, in fact, way better than the (awful) portrait artists the New York Times was extolling last week. Like I said, he was a cold character so I won't mention his name unless somebody asks personally.
I noticed one of my old teachers--Barclay Hendricks was reviewed in the NY Times and they said his old stuff was better than the new. They showed a picture from more than ten years ago which did look pretty good. In the art world, names are worshipped for a few years when artists graduate from school and then forgotten. It's just another form of honoring youth and vitality. And stupid. Empty and phony.
I really want to start talking about my incredible work experiences now that I'm finished with that whole world. I have great stories of blow jobs in cars to get jobs--no, not me--and masturbation combined with phone sex to terrify an assistant--also not me. But they'll hold. Today was about Art. I did my first Funny Fine Art commissioned drawing today. I've done my family and my animals, but never anyone else. People are asking and it's very hard. I never tried to program my imagination. My drawings just flow out of my unconscious and who thinks about acquaintances? It looks as though I can do it though. I'm pretty cynical, but about art, I'm truly grateful. My parents weren't artists and I wasn't a prodigy. I simply loved art with all my heart and pursued it all my life. For whatever talent I have, I am forever always thankful. I've never gotten complacent about being able to draw what I see, or create a picture that tickles my fancy. If I like a painting, I love it; I admire it hourly minute by minute more than a precious jewel. I made this...it's wonderful..and it makes me happy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

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Moon Kitten Is Angry About the Bus Strike

More computer stuff...I 'removed' the fancy Print Shop, leaving the plebian one in the computer and finally printed a thank you card for the folks I used to work with. And it came out blue. Ugh. I'm guessing the cheap cartridges aren't under quality-control exactly. But! I have a bag of my previously-printed greeting cards in my downstairs studio and I can use one. I'd love to do some cross-dresser or erotic nude but they'd never put it up and nobody would know I said "Thank you."
I owe a thank you today to the Great Spirit for Pumpkin going home and my having been able to get rid of the kitty litter in this room. I was getting used to smelling shit all the time and I didn't think that was a good thing. We bought a battery powered vacuum which is powering up right now to combat the cat detritus. Up here, there's a lot of clean kitty litter flicked onto the rug and Moon Kitten leaves a trail of gray fur wherever he goes. It looks like dust bunnies but it's little gobs of fur. On the other hand, I love that little baby and I don't mind his trash-picking or computer walking very much.
He likes to sit in our living room window and watch the school kids come and go. (I do too. I love their energy and costumes.) Usually there are buses and lots of congestion on our street. Not today though. This week and perhaps for some time, there won't be any buses because they're on strike. So the streets are packed with cars and everyone has to make special plans to avoid rush hour if possible. I'm rising at the crack of dawn tomorrow--about 9:30 AM-- to get a haircut in South Philly and cancelling my Friday visit to my girlfriend's house.
SEPTA is like every other business: they starve the workers and handsomely reward the administration. This country is a mess. Nobody can control the insane amounts of money paid to CEOs and their ilk, but everybody thinks it's okay to cut working people's wages and pensions, and later, their medicare and social security. What's going to happen to us? I guess the folks who can manage will keep ignoring those who are shut out. It's human nature and it's mean. I read today W put forward a new tax scheme that would further enrich the wealthiest 1% of us and hit the middle class even harder than at present. Do working people really want that? What were the people in Nebraska and Kansas thinking when they elected this dolt? Doesn't everybody know about Cheney and Rove or do they not see through their charade? All I know is they make me sick and that increases my love for my Moon Kitty.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

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Painting and Not Exhibiting

I'm installing Print Shop for the second or third time. Either I don't know what I'm doing or these programs are poorly made. Yep, it told me another program was using the application. I'm back somewhere near the beginning. All this for a home-made thank you card that should have been sent weeks ago. I don't give up easily though, so I'm confident I'll succeed somehow, to some extent with this stuff.
Speaking of overcoming difficulties, I really didn't do that today. I saw my neurologist who happens to be my favorite doctor and he said he's never seen me so relaxed. I'm guessing it's retirement, sleeping late, soft clothing, and painting. I'll be interested to see if I get a reaction when I wear the painting/pajama pants to the doctors' offices and various restaurants. I'm not really retired; I'm just free of confinement; free to be myself. Life is easy and I'm happy. Do I need to be celebrated as a painter by anyone else? I wonder a little, watching Theresa win awards, grants and be invited to exhibit. I'm glad for her, and I worry about the hundreds of paintings that are piling up in the basement. I don't want to be bothered with galleries; the whole experience is exhausting. Hell, I put off matting until I can't walk through my studio and when I exhibit, suddenly I have to matte and frame twenty pieces in one month. Or two weeks because I procrastinated or forgot. My goal used to be moving to a property where I could open my own gallery, put my work up and forget it for at least a three months. Maybe six. Whatever. Then adulthood set in and I realized commercial properties cost more and pay higher taxes, and even my own gallery would be a lot of work. I need ideas; I can see so many negatives but I'm not thinking through to possibilities.. Not yet.
Well, Print Shop didn't actually install, so tomorrow I'll try it again. And paint some more.

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Drinking Bourbon and Painting

It's only the beginning of the evening, but I've just added the archives to my blog and I'm proud of myself. Of course, I had to set up another blog--for Sammy Dog--and cannibalize it, but in my ignorance of HTML, that's understandable and I'm pleased. I also added a meter so I can see how many people read this and if anybody then goes on to my website. This week, the traffic on my website doubled to more than 1000 people a week from about 750. Originally, the numbers had been in the 1000s, but after a while the erotica viewers realized my stuff wasn't enough of a turn-on, so they went on to real masturbation material. Now, I'm not interested in painting erotica... That phase has ended but I am having fun with painting whatever this stuff is and enjoying the process is really what's important.
I'm going to check my work next-door in my studio, then skedaddle downstairs and have some more bourbon. I had a Bourbon Manhattan with dinner and then a wonderful meal with tuna, anchovies, olives, and linguine in white sauce. I ate too much but still brought some home for breakfast. I guess lower-middle-class artists still can eat pretty well. I had a lovely breakfast too with home-made home fries, ham and eggs. (Harry loves to eat and cooks to make the food exactly the way he wants it. Then I, and sometimes everybody in the family, get to enjoy it too.)
Tomorrow, finally, Pumpkin goes home. He and Moon Kitten sit close to one another, but Pumpkin still makes horrible threatening cat noise to Moon and frightens Moon from wherever Pumpkin wants to go. Pumpkin is like an old, cranky guy. He begs people food from the table and we get a kick out of that, but then he hisses when Moon comes to gawk. Pumpkin shared my ham this morning, but there's nothing like a kitten who walks on your palette and watches every brushstroke as though you're daVinci. That's my Moon.

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Wars All Over

I love the work I've been doing. I'm not painting oils yet, and not drawing large, but the little stuff is, to my eyes, beautiful. And I got all the finished ones on here today because the scanner's connected again.
I don't have much to say, other than the artwork..I've been working all evening and it's late for me. I'm disgusted with who W chose to put up for the Supreme Court vacancy, but what did we all expect. At least this guy wasn't his window washer. But he is some kind of mean-spirited heartless Dickensonian character. What is Cheney? Ah..War criminal. And Carl Rove? Goebbels reborn without the religious prejudice.
I should just go to bed. So much is screwed up on here and when I wake up, the day is half gone. Carl Rove will still be there tomorrow and kids will still be dying in Iraq and Durfur. And this room will still smell bad from the kitty litter box that I can't wait to get out of this place.