A Piece Of Me...
I was born in the second half of the 1900’s, possibly descended of "Scottish Tinkers" (still finding this), Tetched with Megalomania, Decidedly Hetro and an emerging Crone!
Winter, Blue, Spiritual, Empathic, Artist, Artisan, Wordist, Herbalist and a Stone Caster!
Most of my time, these days, is spent dealing with a semi-bizarre condition, "Arachnoiditis w/Myoclonic Dystonia"! Such is life after a fairly severe (ACDF C4-7) spinal incident. I am so grateful to no longer be paralyzed after successful surgery, that I try not to whine about the “Chump Change”! I’m sure any Quadriplegic out there would gladly accept the sacrifice for the freedom of Mobility!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I was so happy to see such a diverse display of artists! I had great time seeing some familiar faces like Troy and Adam from Hawkman Studios doing some demonstration as well some interesting new faces too! I especially had a great time discussing techniques with a lovely artist named Sandra Palmer, a fellow Abstract artist with her own flare that made me want to run home and dabble! I was also intrigued by a new introduction to an artist named Mandy Holt, "Declarations Of Love", wow, I couldn't stop looking!
I never did manage to find Raette Meredith, I heard I was chasing her around but I had to bolt for the door too soon! I believe she was the primary "ringleader" for the ArtSmart happening to begin with! I do not know how she does it, she is sooo talented and industrious too! My friend and I took the G- Kids down to cottonwood to see her Mural! So Cool! Very nice! I hear she is on another one too? I might catch her in action next time!
I hope there will be another Artist Gathering before Christmas, there was some really wonderful and unique pieces I know would be wonderful gifts!
Monday, August 17, 2009
I Love You Dad!
My Dad “Clem” died at Thanksgiving. So, instead of our ragtag family gathering to celebrate the blessings of life, we gathered to say good-bye to a loved one. His was not a quick and surprising departure, it was a slow, gut wrenching, painful and long death. There was no peaceful slipping off for the tired, old, weathered redneck. He had fancied himself like “John Wayne” most of his life but there would be no riding off in the sunset for him! But those surrounding him did love him and were there to do all we could to ease his suffering. He was at home, where he wanted to be, with all of us there by his side.
There are a lot of things that take new perspective at times like this. As my dad called out to me, “ Girl, go fetch me a towel, no, no, that green one!” I smiled, knowing he liked the green one, even though it was only a rag now. I paused, remembering the origins of this really ugly green terry scrap I held. We had bought that towel precisely because it was so ugly, so then he could wipe his greasy hands on it and it just wouldn’t even matter. I gazed at that inanimate object and started to think of the stories ingrained in those tattered terry fibers. How and when had it become so torn? How many times had my dad wiped the sweat and blood from his brow with this ugly thing? How many tears had it collected? I used it once to wipe my snoogers on after my Dad saved me from choking on a piece of beef jerky! I can remember seeing it once in his service truck, stiff and thick with who-knows-what. I rescued it by throwing it in the laundry. Do I even want to know what all those stains are? I wonder about the other adventures this “rag” has had living life with my Dad. It’s strange how this towel now seems to have had a “life” of it’s own. Some might ask, how is it that an inanimate object like a simple towel can take provoke such an emotional image and response?
Our family was poor. No, not the really bare bone, raggedly starving poor, but still, poor nonetheless we were always “surviving” between one job and the next. My dad was a mechanic, without any formal education beyond the 3rd or 4th grade. His idea of fine literature to his dying day would be a good comic book. Raised on a farm, life was pretty tough in North Dakota. A good strong back and a mechanical mind, he was needed at home to help run the farm. In this survivalist environment, an education was just a waste of good work time. He learned his trade by trial and error. But, his true “gift” was when it came to “fixin things”. He just loved the puzzle of it all, and he had a compulsion to find out how and why it did or didn’t work. Always an obsessive need to figure things out. We called it his “Thinking Hat”, most notably when he had his tongue working at the side if his mouth we knew he was going at it! (He and I had a special bond because we shared this strange trait). Nothing excites us more than an urgent need to “Mickey Rig” something to get us out of a jam. The whole T.V. series McGyver could have been conceived just based on my Dad! The farm taught him that hard work and perseverance was the measure of a good man, and he was a big, strong, steady man. He left the farm to join the service, then after leaving the service, his family life soon settled him in a small rural community in Southern California.
His line of work has a lot of feast and famine aspects and he struggled constantly to fill the voids. Because he had an enormous heart and a deep loyalty to his family he would never turn down any work. Often working for favors, receiving minimal pay or “trades” most other times. Generous to a fault, he died with his riches; only of the soul. He had nothing left because he gave it all away while he lived. If you needed it and he had it, it was yours! His life was full of hardships and he worked doggedly through some really rough times, right up to the very end. He worked even when he had to lie on a scooter and push himself around. Although he was only a shell of himself when he passed, he will always be a “Giant” of a man to us!
Our family of seven (plus strays), was a real rag-tag mixture of “his, mine, ours and some of theirs” and we lived on a bare piece of land in the mountains. It was filled with every redneck cliche’ ever dreamed of; out houses, fetching water, kerosene lamps, farm animals in the house, plywood patched floors and a yard full of auto carcasses. Just about anything Jeff Fox worthy ever said about us was true in one way or another. Hell, that’s what makes him so damn funny! It was not an easy life, just a lot of plain, hard work with a good dose of “down home” realities. Things that were important to us may seem a little obscure to others. We most definitely learned an appreciation for some things that ordinary people may take for granted. Such as electricity, indoor plumbing and good clean towels!
If you’ve never had to haul huge buckets of water to fill a tub that you will inevitably share with several other people, you may not be a redneck! This is the real reason why rednecks only bathe once a week and or if you really just need to! Bucket after bucket from the well to the wood stove and then to the tub. One reluctant sibling after another would bring in their buckets of hot water, add it to the bath and climb in. Now, this is where one of those real life lessons occurred. What it really means to be a “middle” child. The older kids got first dibs, one by one, until they reach me. You see, I was not old enough to warrant a bath alone, having not reached that (puberty) line between “young’n” and “ girl” as yet. So my job was to bathe the babies. This was just how life was.
At least for a couple of years until me and my Dad finally got the pipe line in to run the water from the pump to the house! It had to be put down into a trench that we dug by hand. Okay I admit, I was only about 9 but I did my best. I certainly helped him more than anyone else over the course of a year and more, just a few hundred feet actually, but a long, long way with a pick, shovel and a wheel barrow!
Anyway, I would dutifully scrub each struggling child and hand it off (or chase them off) one by one until the water was dirty, cloudy and freezing. By then I would just rinse off right out of a bucket. It was cold by then, but at least it was still clear. The one redeeming moment was always that wonderfully blissful feeling of wrapping myself in a clean fresh towel. If all was going well at the moment, it was stiff, scratchy and smelled like soap and fresh air. If not, it could be anything from a funky smelling t-shirt to someone Else's "stolen" towel! , hopefully not a funky smelling t-shirt! Many a family feuds had begun in our house over the precious “clean towel” commodity.
We usually had a washing machine of some kind, for a long time a wringer washer, but never seemed to have any dryer that worked more than a couple of licks hit or miss. Most of the time laundry just hung perpetually from lines that straggled from all types of precarious perches. We struggled constantly to keep them off the ground. And I do wish that someone could explain just what it is about fresh laundry that attracts dirty animals? Dogs just love a good game of tug-o-war with a fresh, clean, stolen piece of clean laundry! Then the goats would always drag and chew whatever they could grab before we caught them. Cats climb, geese grab and the birds crap on them! Between the animals and everyone else running around like heathens, obstinate weather and just plain old nature, a fresh clean towel was a very precious thing. To help diminish the towel wars, we were all given our own personal towels to be responsible for. We took great care to choose different and unusual colors to keep track of what towel belonged to whom. Sometimes resorting to just huge permanent markers. If you didn’t have a clean towel, the alternatives were really hit or miss! Towels that live this harsh rugged kind of life do not usually last long, so a good, clean towel was always hard to come by!
The holidays always seem to pour on the stress and pose an extra challenge when the money is tight. It’s a given struggle to try to find the balance between things you need, things you want and things you can afford. Then the biggest challenge is then financing some of these little extras. Already under great strain just to make ends meet, my Dad worked day and night for the holidays, with dogged perseverance, for every dime he could. It really meant a lot to him to come up with that extra cash.
Now, most families have holiday traditions, those small things that play them selves out year after year with just minor adaptations to suit life. My father had just such a tradition. He would come in on Christmas Eve, covered from head to toe in grease and oil. He would peel off his filthy coveralls, wash up in the kitchen sink, run his thick fingers through his crew cut and eyeball all of us, just waiting in anticipation. With a grin that could only be described as “from ear to ear”, (with a great deal of drama and production), he would dig deep into his pocket, fish around and then haul out, flash, and fan a huge roll of bills. Then with a long exaggerated drawl, announce, “Weeellll, I might just run into town, think anyone wants to ride along?” You bet, we would beat each other down to all pile into that old beat up service truck and then freeze, huddled together for that long, bumpy ride into town.
The only store open in our small town on Christmas Eve was the Thrifty’s drug store. (In later years there was a K–mart that would then became the scene of our invasion. Till then, Thrifty’s was the biggest store in town.) As we swarmed into the store, this dirty, rowdy and raucous mob, my dad would holler to gather us around. He would grandiosely pull that wad out of his pocket and begin to peel them off and hand them out. He would sternly say, “Now, make sure you get something for everyone” and then “you can pick out one thing for yourself.” As we scattered and scurried away, he would add “and get yourself a new towel.” This ritual played out numerous ways and numerous times throughout our lives. For birthdays as well as other celebrations. Getting a new towel was always better than socks!
Needless to say, I am now an admitted towel hoarder. There are towels in my house that I have been dragging around for more than half my life. They ceaselessly follow from one domain to the next. I collect and adopt towels from everywhere. Old towels, new towels, it doesn’t matter. I have towels that have made their way over the years from beautiful fluffy showpieces to stringy little squares that I keep in a basket, ever ready with their last few strands of terry to meet the needs of life. Sacrificing themselves for spills, scrapes or dirty jobs that could very well be their last. These rags have many years of my life entwined in their shreds. As I look at one, I see the stain from helping my daughter learn to tie-dye, I think about some of the other memories in this basket of “rags.” There’s one that was torn and stained as I rescued an oil soaked and injured bird from the beach, here’s the one that I held to my shoulder for my grandchildren and there’s one I seem to favor when I’m sick. A lot of these and other memories are embedded into the ugly scraps left here.
As I sat with my Dad I pondered this strange ingrained ideal of the towel. I have to chuckle, because this “story” has been an on going “joke” in our family for years. I still try to buy towels for my family at Christmas. They will all laugh about it, but if I don’t get them the towels, then they will concertedly whine, “Where’s my towel?” My Dad would actually ask us, usually in a quiet way and with all sincerity, “Do you have enough towels?” More than one trip has been made to K-mart when a visit discloses that our house is lacking something, “need soap”? “Okay, might as well grab a couple of those towels on sale there while your at it.” This was to him a small but important measure of just how well (or not) things were going in your life. If you have plenty of towels, well then, you must be doing okay!
When my Dad passed away, I gathered up his things and washed his linens. Then when I returned home it was with a small scrap of a green towel tucked into my bags. I grab it now and then and use it. I try to make sure it is a gentle retirement. At least as long as I am still here to hold the memory close to me. As I fold up that piece of towel and put it away in my beat up old rag basket, I can’t help but feel a tug of love and fondness. It seems that every piece here, having had some memory or story of it’s own, speaks out to me. I know it is funny, and I silently chuckle, because I know the memories are really all in my heart and in my mind and that the basket is really just full of “Rags”!
Thank You For Reading My Story!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Make sure you see the spider on top of this THREESOME! Great picture Darren!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Now let me tell you, this is really cool! A little morbid, but still cool... My VBF JM has a son that plays with molten metals. This is what happens to an ANT Mound when molten metal is poured down the hole!
Wow, who knew? Star Ship Enterprise!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
So my ongoing love afair with this new book I am reading has inspired me to keep plugging away at my dream of launching myself into Vlogging with a meaning at my new website coming soon...www.icedview.com.. I am pushing myself out with my camcorder to give it a try! What good is a website with no content? I will have my new computer soon and will ACTUALLY be able to download my camcorder drivers onto my "machine" and then put videos on my site! WhooHoo!
I went for my first "SPOT" to "Dees Gardens" out on 299 just east of redding. It was a nice day and they are geared up for the season and have tons of activity and plenty of goodies for ANY gardeners out there needing just that something "special"! Just visit their own website to get an idea of some of their great offerings!
I will post my pitiful video as soon as I get a chance, meanwhile I have my sights on a new adventure this week! I am off to .... uhuhuh...I'm not sure!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Then we went for a drive and happened on a really cool old cemetery, what an awesome way to stroll through a lovely sunset and contemplate the history and memories that lay all around us! I took some great pictures, but alas, my poor computer will be unable to participate at this time! I am out of memory! I'm working on it! Solving the problem, not the computer! HAHAHA!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Was great to listen to a fun and entertaining set from Michael Gaither while enjoying my own slice as well. He is a very talented songster, I hear he will be at the Post Office with Jim Dyer this Friday too! Make sure you check out Michael's podcast, The not-for-musicians-only music podcast! People don't know it yet, but Podcasting is the way of the future! It willl be all about PODS! Oh no the Pod-People will get us! AAcckkkk....
As always, Nick Ciampi was delightful and entertaining! I didn't get to stay for the "Pine Dogs" performance, but I did get to meet them! I am going to have to take my autograph book with me and start getting some autographs! LOL! I did catch them at the City Hall gig awhile back and they were GREAT! I look forward to seeing everyone for the next showcase! Coming up this Friday, April 24th from 3-7, for the Opening of the Cottonwood Farmers Market! I here it will be a YEAR ROUND market? Awesome I say!
I always wonder if the establishment knows how benificial it is for them to sponser these types of events, for example, I would never have even known that "Little Filly's" Pizzaria was located where it is if I had not gone looking for the band! Let alone that they have some KA pizza too! Went with the Gourmet Veggie, nice, very nice! Will be back!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Wow, what beautiful things they have in store for the hungry eye! I was amazed at the level of artistic talents spread throughout their inventory! I found so many different things to look at I lingered way too long! It would be very easy to buy all your gifts there and never get anyone the same thing!
But, I was there in time to see Howard "Luke" Lucas and Barbara setting up for the "Free Color" demonstration, always fun and so cool for the kids to jump into! Seems there was a boo-boo in the map, had mis-listed the store, mixed up some numbers on the map, so I hope there was still plenty of people that found it! Well worth any extra searching for sure!
I did stop by on my way downtown to see the childrens work at the Medical Home Care Professionals, as well as made sure I got by the Riverfront Playhouse's brand spanking new digs to see the Shasta County Womens Refuge representations from the kids. Some of those pieces really leave you thinking!
KIXE over on Market was having a good time too! I could not get out and walk so I only got to do a drive by, but I saw a lot of people going in and out! Music was playing in the streets out at the Vintage and I could hardly get into Pacific West Graphics! Ohh La La, I believe that Troy and Adam have really started something here! Thank you so much Hawkman Studios!
I did manage to get up to the loft at one of my favs, Carnegie's, and see some really cool and interesting Ink Block Prints done by a young fellow named Eli Heleniak. I was struck by it's understatement and could see he has an critical eye!
I finished off the evening stopping by the North Valley Art League and as always was enthralled by the artwork! What can I say, they always have such fine work there! I cannot stress enough to people that they should drop by there often, just to see whats new! Thank you League Volunteers, for such a nice spread of goodies as well as open smiling faces to greet the visitors! The League members should be proud and grateful for all you do and such fine representation as well!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Now, I just drug myself in from the ArtHop and I am so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open, I just wanted to get some of this all down for the night!
The "Swing Cats" were having an unbelievable jam at the Eatery, met quite a few great artists and then was blown away at the Art Council show from the High School Kids! WOWwowWOW!
More later...sleep first!
Monday, February 16, 2009
As a final tribute, Big Kudos to the ladies manning the doors and floors at the NVAL, Bless them as it was wet and lonely! Especially after the packed house they had last month!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
We hit Turtle Bay, and even though the Geckos were fantastic, there was not too much art, I'm not sure why though? There was only a couple of pieces but from Bay area artists? No local artists could supply anything for them?
We headed straight over to the North Valley Art League to watch the Awards for the 25th Annual National Art Show! Wow, what a great idea to combine the two events! Unfortunately, I think they may have been ill prepared for just how great of an idea it was! Maybe next year someone could come up with a microphone? The HUGE crowd was totally unable to hear anything and there was even some angry people at the back of the crowd. I have to say though... THE ART! WOW,wow,wow! More on that later!
The one place I was totally stoked about was going out to the Shasta College Art Center, I thought they had a show by the instructors going on. I was wrong, way wrong! So wrong I will not even go on about it other than to say.."Who Was IN CHARGE of that?" OMG, I'll probably never go back there again, it was VERY disappointing is the nicest thing I can say! Is there only one artist out at that place? Did they not have enough time to prepare something, someone, anything else?
I do not want to end on a bad note so I will say that we had a great time overall and it brings me to a new level of appreciation for the level of effort that people do put into making these events happen for us!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I started out the evening by setting out straight over to see my fellow bloggers from reddingblog.com, “Still Married” setting up to kick off the Hop with some great tunes over at the "Backyard Destinations". I had intended to get there early enough to get their autograph and a personal picture to add to my file! But alas, I got held up at the last second and was late arriving. I did try to get up to meet them but was only on time for the introduction of their first set! Dagnabbitt! Then, I could not figure out how to operate my camera! What a kink! I did run into Troy and Adam as well as many other great local notables. I spoke briefly with the hostess of the evening, Thank you Lisa and James for the lovely spread of edibles! The featured artist, Barbara Enochian, had some really striking pieces on display but I did not get a chance to meet the artist because I was too busy trying to pay attention to Erin and Craig delivering a couple of their great songs!
I went from there on over to "Sues Java Cafe" were I ran into a cool artist "Mike" that had some great pieces on display there. He has a great toon hand that reminded me of Tim Burtons stuff! He spoke of book he is working on illustrating and I am sure he'll be up and coming quite soon there after!
I strolled into "Fabrics, Etc" because it was finally an excuse for me to go look through their goodies! I met with the hostesses, Sherry and Barbara and discussed some of the lovely Home Decore they had in the store as well as the brilliant artwork there provided by Sandy Howell, one of the most spectacular hands in the northstate! She has such vibrant colors!
I stopped by to see what they had to offer at the "Medical Home Professionals" and was delighted to see Sandy Howell showing some reall beatiful work. My favorite was a stunning piece called "Hum Bug" that perfectly captured the moment that a hummingbird snatched itself a juicy little bug! It was like seeing it for yourself! And the "goodies" were pretty snazzy too! I think they were homemade!
I was dying to explore the art work on display at the Cascade Theater, but unfortunately I could not make it up the stairs. I did have a great conversation about the theater and some of it's life with "Ruthie", a volunteer for the theater! I wanted to stay for the dance presentation, but I had to leave before they started.
I tried to get into the "Vintage" but it was packed to the rim and I figured I would press on because there was still plenty to see! I always wanted to, so I stopped into the "Clover Club" just to see what they had going on in there. I had my self a little B&B with a nice little conversation with "Bill" the keep about a mutual favorite" Slam Buckra"! I LOVE SLAM! He is on my list of autographs for 2009!
Some of the most interesting works was by Jeremy Sawtelle at the Posh-Mama Boutique, his large pieces are done with Kool-Aid and Coffee! Wow, super cool! You have to see it, stop by!
All night long I was following around a couple of great photographers and finally felt compelled to at least introduce myself, so, shout out to Chris and Jessica from Hanna Gallery, check them out,(they blog too)! I know who to turn to for great pictures at least!
I have to give a big set of KUDOS out to Nicole Gullixson for having some cool work out for her first show! WOOHOO! Nathans Anthem's Body Piercing And Tattoo's sure picked a winner! Nice, and she is still in High school folks! Wow, I see some great stuff coming from her. My favorite was "Urban Sunset", I heard Troy likes that one too! LOL!
I ended the evening strolling through the Arts Council displays of Encaustics and even met with two of the wonderful artists that produced most of the works I saw! Ann Kinkade and Rodney Thompson were there and were very informative about there work and trials! Great finish to a long evening for me!