Friday, September 23, 2011

Be Captured...





Last week, as some say down here in the south, I had my "picture made" at BlueSky Studios in Charlotte, as part of a "Pimp My Profile" contest. This is a rare moment, as I am usually on the other side of the lens, where I am much more comfortable. Walking down a busy street in Charlotte in front of a camera while people in cars were being entertained is not in my realm of normalcy and waaaay out of my comfort zone. I love people watching, not being watched by people. Sitting and saying cheese is even hard for me. But Cassandra made it fun and I am glad I did it. Giving up control was hard for me I must admit.  I didn't get to peek or edit out dorky faces or double chins or anything! I had to keep the faith...


 I am the one in the family who captures all the memories of family trips, holidays, celebrations and the everyday ordinary moments. The problem is, and I am sure that this is one that many of you can relate to, if you are the photographer in the family, you are not in them. Or very few unless you hand the camera over to complete bumbling strangers who can never manage to push the button, let alone get a decent shot. OR you are scrambling, running like hell to beat the timer, barely making it to the outer nether regions of the group shot and looking frazzled with your skirt and your hairdo on sideways while everyone else looks calm and neat. And dare I mention the token flattering Christmas morning shot complete with bed head and the demonic red eye? 


Cami and Louie, captured
by BlueSky Charlotte Photography
These are great, because that's life, and we want to be real of course. But do these capture you? uh, no. Will your kids look back and sweetly say "awe, that is SO Mom..." uh, not so much. Will your family or friends get a sense of who you are? Not likely. Sometimes, though, we are lucky and we get caught by others during candid moments and if we do, we should be very very grateful. These are the ones that catch you with your smile, your look, your personality, doing what you do, what makes you YOU.  These are the best, invaluable, the gold, if you can get them. If you let yourself.






captured coolness: My Grandmother Jean,
"Ragin' Granny" 
I remember going through photos when my grandmother passed away, from the slideshow they had at her funeral and that's when I realized there is no such thing as a bad photograph when people are no longer here, and too many is not a number. Yes, I treasure the fuzzy image of aunts, uncles, friends and others I have lost. They are priceless. We are just glad to have an image of any quality, right? 




Beautiful Sisters captured by
iCandy Photography
But we can still get some good quality ones while we have a chance, if we make an effort. My aunt Gail - her beauty, inside and out, glows along with the love and support of her sister, my Aunt Carole, by her side in the photo, through life, and during her battle with cancer. That deep bond, and those beautiful women are captured(thank you Candice)



So if you don't get "caught" in a random moment just being you by your paparazzi friends or family, sometimes you might need to make it happen. 
So jump in front of that camera. Stop hiding. Don't run from it. Hand it over to your spouse or child or friend or relative. Or during your next family portrait session, take a time out and get a shot or two of... gasp...  JUST YOU.


Yes, it's awkward at the time. Yes, you feel might feel like you are being self centered and slightly ridiculous for a few moments. But some day, years from now, or maybe even only days from now, your family and the people who love you will thank you.  Make yourself known.


 and be captured...







http://www.blueskycharlotte.com/

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Junkblog

I'm junk blogging. It's a new term for writing while taking a break from cleaning the attic while the kids are at school.  I need to hurry and throw their crap away because soon they'll be out for good and the internal temperature in there will reach 150 degrees.  I must be careful, or they will come home and catch me red handed, telling me ""OH! I neeeeeeeed that!" or "OH! I was looking for that!" C will grab at a plastic horse with missing leg wrapped in pipe cleaners and Christmas ornaments like it is the Holy Grail. Covered with rainbow stickers of course.  We won't even mention poor Barbie. Who knows what she's been through, found naked with a bad haircut and and that eerie frozen smile. Even Ken can't help her now.



ruined Barbie cries for help


While immersed in all this stuff and fearing the film crew from Hoarders will arrive on my doorstep any moment, I am in awe of the things that have accumulated over the years. What alarms me most, is that this is not the initial clean out. This is what remains after previous attempts to de-junk. I have no logical explanation for this. I have tried, but I will never make it to the dreaded back corner of the attic.  I don't know what lurks in or behind the mysterious blue wooden trunk or the boxes stacked on top. I suspect baby clothes, bathroom tiles and some mouse poop . Or worse. Things that are ALIVE: Mice or bats. Or owls. Or skinks. A large skink came from there once, and ran under the bed. This was an experience one does not forget. Armed only with a pink hairbrush, I trapped it in a shoe box (which it barely fit in, it was so ENORMOUS) and I ran screaming down the stairs and outside as I hurled it into the woods. I knew it wouldn't come back. What reptile in it's right mind would want to go through that again?  I am in awe of my own bravery and I wish this was captured on You Tube, because no one but my kids believe me. ( thanks, kids)

SKINK- Warning: Reptilian objects appear larger in picture than actual size.
However, disgust to fear ratio is deadly accurate.
 
 It's not that I'm afraid to go there and finish the job, ( ok, yes I am, a little... ) it's just that I get sick of it all, overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS. After a few hours of feeling proud and cleansed, with my Hefty bags of mangled toys on one side and my Goodwill piles on the other, the glow of victory begins to fade.  The smile and warm fuzzies I got from finding the little childhood treasures of my kids summer camp adventures and journals and discarded toys and tiny ballet slippers wears off. Memory lane morphs into Nightmare on Junkyard Street. What am I going to DO with all this?? There are some things you just can't throw away unless you have an ice maker for a heart - like things that were made for just for me or have handprints on them. Others items I keep because I am just being practical - after all, you never know when you might need an inflatable parrot and world globe with no stand and the calligraphy set some day, right?
Ok, back to work....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Ugly Chair

Yesterday, I bought an ugly beige chair. Yes, I knew it was an ugly chair when I bought it, but I thought I could save it. I could transform it. I looked at it as a blank slate, a canvas just waiting for me. I was inspired by my new found admiration of the amazingly talented Shawna Robinson and her Happy Chairs. Yes, I admit it. I have Happy Chair envy. But unfortunately I also have Unhappy Bank Account and I can't have one of her chairs. Not yet anyway. And so, this is how Ugly Chair came to live with me.
"I'm not leather. I'm not vinyl. WHO am I?!
I'm so ugly. I need an extreme chair makeover!"


First of all, it was a deal. It swivels and that makes my kids happy - (weeeee! spin, spin, spin, yaaaay!!!)  I had high hopes it would survive spills and dogs and other tragedy. That makes me happy. I had visions and hopes and dreams of the coolest decorating project ever. I thought about sanding the obnoxious shine off it and painting it and adding trim and fabric and staining it and all sorts of things so it looked like I found it in some hip shop in San Francisco. You with me? So far you are looking at the brown blob in the photo and wondering if I have a head injury or am visually impaired. Maybe there was something in my falafel at lunch. Perhaps some exotic spice made me lose my mind.

 I taped beads and scraps and other nifty things to it trying to get a visual AND convince my highly skeptical family that it was going to look okay.  I channeled Martha and Nate and even Christopher Lowell for some inspiration. Christopher scared me so I switched to Ty Pennington. This morning, I googled "painting leather", called a guy from Turtlefeathers.com in Bryson City, NC who sells leather paint and dye and it was then that my cool chair dreams ended with a crash.

Apparently Frank Zappa likes Chair Cheese.
Or his mother does. Why am I not surprised by this?
Turns out, my chair is made of chair cheese. 
(Yes, I made that up.)
Or maybe Chair Spam. 




 Also known as Bonded Leather. A fancy schmansy word for PLEATHER, in my opinion. Don't be fooled, folks. This product is made up of a maximum of 17% leather SCRAPS squished and mished mashed together and pressed through some kind of mesh and coated in vinyl. Yep. No actual leather will touch your hiny when you sit on my UGLY chair. The tiny bit of leather is hidden underneath the vinyl. Yes vinyl.

So. After talking to the nice man at the leather and dye company he kindly informed me that I cannot paint or dye or burn or pretty much do anything to a VINYL chair. Except take it to Goodwill.
Well, maybe I'll put some glitter on it. Stick some velcro flowers on it. Draw on it with a Sharpie. We all know that doesn't come off your furniture or anything else....
An authentic  Happy Chair by Shawna Robinson,
the object of my desire. (The chair. Not Shawna)
This is why grammar is important, kids...


I should have known. It's like when we tried to change our boyfriends in high school. It doesn't work.  But we keep trying don't we. I'll keep trying too. Because there is no way I'm having an UGLY chair sitting in my room.  I have to pick up it's mate tomorrow. Yes, it has an evil twin and I bought them both.  You know what they say, the only thing worse than one ugly chair is two.

Stay tuned. I'll put up some after before and after pix. Just so you can recognize them and laugh when you see them at the Goodwill someday. And in the meantime, I'll keep saving my pennies for my real Happy Chair :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beware: Zombie Tweens

Today brings with it yet another milestone of motherhood for me. Like the loss of that first tooth, the first day of school, or the day they stopped believing in the Easter bunny, today is bittersweet with the passing of time. My youngest, my baby, my still sweet natured cheerful eleven year old child morphed into one of THEM.  A tweeeeeen. Like something from a zombie movie, she looks similar, but she's not the same anymore. I'm afraid... very, very afraid.

After a cold death stare and hard door slam, C stomped off to the bus without a goodbye. As I sat there in the front seat in shock, I replayed the mornings events to see where things went wrong. Of course, I knew I yelled, it's what I do at some point when they don't listen after the 15th time and we are already late. My fault? Maybe. Who cares. C was mad because I made her wear a coat because it was 43 degrees outside and calling for sleet. Ok, so maybe I yelled in my exorcist voice "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOST YOUR NEW COAT?!?"  But...a little extra dose of scary demonic yelling caused her to miraculously find it. So personally, I consider that to be "efficient" yelling.

Regardless, after explaining why I yelled, that I was sorry I yelled, how she needed a coat so I didn't get reported to child protective services ( oh, yes, and to be warm), she stared at me in cold icy silence, slammed the door and departed. Hours later I am still in shock but have come to realize that eventually these creatures we call our children really don't change all that much from newborns to teenagers when it comes to their wants and their emotions. It's simple. It's what they want, when they want it, how they want it. NOW.

They just grow more hair, get taller, talk more and demand more clothes. Sippy cups of milk turns into Starbucks lattes. That beloved stuffed animal they hugged so tight is now known as the cell phone. The rest are just details.
Remember these sweet things?...
Stage 1: Infants
Stage 2: The busy years. Too busy to capture an image...

Stage 3: Teens and Tweens



Well, at the end of this epic day, C transformed herself back to her original state of kid-ness. A sweet smiling child greeted me after school, no sign of the zombie tween in sight, for now anyway. I said "You're wearing your coat. Why? You never have it on when I pick you up. What's up?" She answered "Because you wanted me to. But I took it off to do cartwheels while I waited."

Good enough for me. 
My days are numbered, this I know.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't poke your eye out and other words of wisdom from a reject mother

Loser Cruiser. Meals on Wheels. 
There are times that I think I really suck at being a mom. There are times I know I do. And in between there are the days that I can keep my head above water and say I'm doing okay. This week it seems like I'm struggling to juggle it all for no apparent reason. Important papers and money have not been turned in to school on time and somewhere a teacher sits, giving me the stink eye. I picked up my child at an after school activity and could not come into a parent meeting I forgot about because I left in a hurry wearing no bra and pajama pants. It was four o'clock.  Last night, my kid ate meatballs on a stick for dinner, while we were driving to gymnastics. My advice to her, "If I slam on the brakes, move it over so you don't poke your eye out." Yes, I really said that.



C has been complaining about not being able to see the board at school for some time. It's like one day this semi-blind child showed up. And yet, do I remember to make her an eye doctor appointment? No. Everyday, I forget. Yesterday she asked me for the zillionth time if I'd made her  appointment. I sighed, this time out of excuses and simply said "I'm sorry. I forgot again. You'll just have to get another mother..." 

Cami ponders between Kelly Ripa and Martha Stewart as my replacement...


Expecting her to agree and add some sarcastic comment on how that other mother might actually know how to sew or garden or manage papers, she surprised me and said "NO!! I'd rather have a mother like YOU who forgets to make appointments and stuff like that but makes crafts and videos with me and talks in funny voices and and and ...." and she went on to list a whole bunch of ridiculous, silly, impractical non-motherly skills that apparently ARE of value. (although to the rest of the world I sound like a I need a ride to the looney bin)


C's comment caused me to have one of those "awe"... glowy mama moments, like in a Hallmark commercial: The reject mother gets affirmation and love despite her obvious and numerous flaws.  I'll remember this next time I am beating myself up for being a slacker, mixing the darks with the whites, putting the wrong kind of jelly on the wrong kids sandwich, showing up late for the school bus, offering a lint covered mint as a snack because I forgot to pack something, missing sporting events and all the other things I seem to mess up on regularly.

 I will remember that because I chose to make a video with a sculpy clay worm named Herman instead of making dinner, I am loved and appreciated even more. Even if we had to eat meatballs on a stick. While driving.



video
 Here is Herman, created and loved by C. Don't ask me why. There are some things even mothers do but not understand, we just go with it. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stop and smell the flowers but don't sniff the glue...

Damn flowers will be the end of me. Recently I got this brilliant idea to make some flowers and sell them to an art gallery/store. Keep in mind that I am not using the term "brilliant" with a crisp British accent, implying actual cleverness, but quite the opposite, more like out right, eye rolling stupidity. This is not in my realm of normal behaviour. I talk about things like this, I don't actually ever DO them. I go into these stores and want to be these people, always. But now,  I have crossed THE LINE... gulp.


F-bombed kitchen. Diner beware...
 In the past few days, I have morphed my kitchen from a normal place of food preparation into an art studio and a mad scientist lab construction zone.  My oven has been doing double duty this week baking polymer clay and frozen pizzas, so you might not want to eat here for awhile.  You can find the salad tongs somewhere near the wire cutters and glass nippers, over by a coil of copper and washers and clay wads. Watch out for dangerous shards of glass, and whatever you do, do not take a deep breath. Did I mention epoxy fumes can be considered entertainment on a rainy day? (Don't try this at home, kids... that was a joke!) Tinfoil remains permanently glued to my countertop, and at one point, me. I think it's a new decorative trend. Let's hope so.

So, I am freaking out, trying to meet a deadline, trying to make these flowers work. I get them all perfect and pretty and funky and beautiful, just the way Mother Nature never intended. And then, they break. They melt. They do everything but cooperate upon assembly. It seems that what I possess in the creativity department, I lack in the productivity and  R&D department. My inadequate old hands are incapable of cutting through the heavy copper wire by myself which really p**ses me off. I hurl F bombs (as pictured above), wish desperately for a torch or a margarita, and try to hold it together as I call in the troops for back up.

M. shows up with real flowers, knowing I am at my breaking point, makes dinner AND cuts wire!  L. from next door arrives to help with assembly challenges. We try again. And again. At this rate, my hourly rate is -$2.00 an hour and I am having thoughts of mailing them to Indonesia for some factory to deal with. But really... as my profit margin plummets, along with any remaining patience and enthusiasm, I am about to admit defeat. But I'm not in this for the money, because, well, that would make me an idiot. So we carry on and finally, voila! We have stable FLOWERS! Ok, so maybe not twelve as planned, but four. Four funky beautiful crazy flowers. With interchangeable cool unique magnetic centers!! (cue your line: oooh! ahhhh... how cool!) 
random sample of flower centers



So the next day, it's almost time to go and I am still in my pajamas as usual, with only minutes to spare. My index finger and thumb are partially glued together with epoxy like some mutant monkey woman. I think I am slightly high on glue as I send out texts even auto correct cannot decipher and head off  to present my creations for inspection. For me, it's equivalent to facing Simon Cowell at an American Idol audition.  I begin to wonder in a panic... what if they don't even LIKE them? What if she rolls her eyes at me?  Or worse, she laughs??   I continue my tirade of self doubt all the way there and sit in the parking lot for a few minutes, unsure whether to go in or not. But I've come this far, so it's now or never. I must face the truth. I must face M. and L. who will want to know. And if the truth is that they suck, that I suck, then I will give it up and at least know I tried. I will never again shop in one of these cool funky art gallery stores and say "what if" ( I also have a back up plan...Mothers Day. Teacher's Gifts. Everyone I know will be getting a FLOWER for a present! Act surprised everyone!)

But the good news? As Sally Field once said in her Oscar speech "She liked me. She really really liked me!" Well, she liked my flowers anyway, as well as a few other artsy fartsy creations I dragged along for good measure. So, it's back to the kitchen/lab/art studio to make some more art and flowers. I guess this makes it official! I have a "space" in the Art Garden in Cornelius starting next week.  Again, gulp. scary. Does this make me an official artist? haha, unlikely. But I am lucky to get to do something that I love to do, so who can complain about that? Not me, that's for sure.

So, like I said at the start, these damn flowers will be the end of me.... or, who knows, maybe the beginning :)


Check this place out. AND they have an awesome gourmet cupcake/coffee shop too!
http://www.carolinaartgarden.com/Carolina_Art_Garden/Carolina_Art_Garden_Home.html

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daffodil Revenge

The past few days have been springy here in NC, and the sunny yellow daffodils bloomed to make it official, in my book at least. Of course I had to go and tempt fate, and announce the arrival of spring by posting a cheerful photo of hope on Facebook and ruin everything. Somehow it even ended up as my screensaver on my iphone. Since I do not have the skills to be able to do this, I can only assume that Mother Nature herself did it, or C., my 11 year old daughter. (Seeing as Miley Cyrus has been mysteriously been playing on my phone at inappropriate moments lately, I'm putting my money on C....)

Anyway, after what seems like eternal months of cold weather and wishing for sunshine, this warmth was such a welcome gift. I could finally go outside not bundled up with my shoulders up to my ears and a scarf wrapped around my face and  dampness settled into my bones. Now I know, you northerners, are saying "Wah wah wah".  And I agree. I should not be complaining about our winter here. But the truth is, you get used to whatever winter you have, and over time, you learn to hate it too. Plain and simple. (Unless you are one of those weird "winter likers" -You know who you are, and I will never understand you.) The rest of us? Unless we live in some quaint ski village with a lot of bars, we burrow in, and wait for sunshine and spring just the same as everywhere else. We drink more hot beverages, we watch more movies, read more books, and some of us even wear snuggies so we can eat freely while  doing all of the above with ease. We just do it on a smaller scale. And for the record, by we, I mean "they"-  in my defense, I am a die hard lover of the duvet or any other warm blanket and have not yet given in to the dreaded Snuggie.

 I realized this week is that the arrival of spring is a double edged sword for some. Ok, me. While wishing  desperately for warmer temperatures on the coldest of days, while snowed in and sick with whatever winter ailments plagued us this year, now we have sudden warmth and sunshine. There was no transition weather this year. BAM. 70. Out came the shorts. The tshirts. The sandles. The SUMMER clothes.

That's fine and dandy- if you are HER.

But for some of us, (ok, again, me), we are left in a panic. Yes, we threw out the cookies and Cool Ranch Doritos and made resolutions on New Years day that we sort of intended to keep, but as usual didn't. But how did it get here so fast?!? What are we to do now! We can no longer hide under bulky sweaters and jeans. Feet are screaming "I need a pedicure!" and beg for the freedom of the flip flop, yet deserve to be banished to the fuzzy sock and boot where they came from. If Steve Irwin were still alive, he would take me down in a headlock in an instant.

The momentary bliss of a springy day is quickly crushed as Winter Couch Potato Syndrome  (WCPS) presents itself. Months of sloth like behavior in the cocoon of the snuggie has resulted in some very unpleasant side effects. Digging through the closet for spring clothes, smiling, we gather them up and prance out, with a light heart and and a sunshiney attitude. Until we put them on and see the following side effects of WCPS staring at us in the mirror: (those winter,tanning, workout readers need not read on... go do your sit ups and eat some carrots)

-neon, glow in the dark white flesh, glaring in the sunlight. Makes Edward Cullen look Hispanic.
-more jiggles than a a tray full of jello shapes at a preschool party and way less cute.
-muffin tops aren't just in the bakery anymore, and what's to love about a love handle anyway?
-flash backs to high school as you contemplate using a coat hanger to zip up your shorts just to say you could, but then you have to chose between sitting and breathing.
-and last but not least, the dreaded swimsuit. more frightening than the latest serial killer or being forced to watch Andrew Zimmerman eat animal parts he shouldn't in countries we've never heard of.

 Panic stricken, we fling our Snuggies and our springy outfits aside, and grab our athletic clothing and join the other victims of WCPS.   Suddenly the streets and gyms are filled with huffy puffy former sloths with gruesome beach images in their heads, a powerful motivating force. Driven by fear, they run, they walk, they schlep, they starve.

But as is typical of our weather here, just when we get going, and finally figure out what the heck we are going to wear, finally locate that lost flip flop and the hand weights, buy the tanning package and the pedicure, renew the gym membership, buy new shorts a size larger and stock up on Lean Cuisines and salads, it gets cold again.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we wrap our tired worn out traumatized bodies back into the blankets and snuggies and go hug our good friends Ben and Jerry and Orville and Mike and Ike.  We grab the remote, flip the bird to the damn daffodil and have a 6 more days of winter party.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Scariest Story - flashbacks of my own and review of latest Hyperbole and a Half post

Yay! Allie is finally back with a superb story of childhood nightmares. We've all been there,  frightened little kids ourselves, staring in horror at the closet door, barely holding back unknown beasts. Or leaping into our beds like Olympic athletes, so the something doesn't grab our legs and drag us under, never to be seen again. As parents, if you are one, we can recall our own little darlings as they came calling in the night for a dose of parental comfort when these tricks inevitably failed. Or maybe they just liked our mattress better and it was all a devious scam. 

I'm having flashbacks of my daughter L, when she was little, freaking out regularly with vivid nightmares. Not in the tiny CinyLouWho sweet voiced "mommy? I had a bad dream..." kind. I am talking the sleepwalking, bloodcurdling screaming "Maaomaom!!- auouehwuu-  PURPLE DINOSAURS!!- oiuoha -RUN!!-Daaad! - kjdhgdkx - mmm cupcakes? -kdjauyeo- HELP CHUCK E CHEESE!!"  mumbo-jumbo speaking night terror kind, something from a zombie movie, only from the mouth of an adorable blue eyed redheaded five year old girl. 


I swear, these were the days before the Hostel and Saw III movies she watches now. We viewed nothing more violent then Barney back then. (I was the only one with violent thoughts against that purple dinosaur and I kept them to myself at the time.) After snapping her out of it, and then giving in to her pleas, the blanket hogging began, as did a long night of kicking me in the kidneys. Our bed could have been 17 feet wide. Like a heat seeking missile, or a the pets from The Incredible Journey, she would find me. Finally, we too, had to resort to tough love because nothing worked.  Not even Chuck E Cheese himself could work his magic in the form of bribery. Good ol' fashioned discomfort did though. When banished to the floor night after night, she finally gave it up and returned to her own bed, and outgrew those terrors. (I think it was middle school sometime - my theory is she started texting friends in the night... "OMG. Wake up! I just had a bad dream...")

just kidding, L... love you. But you still talk a mean streak in your sleep though ;)


Enough of MY kid already! Back to Hyperbole and a Half: The Scariest Story Ever: 

scene from the blog Allie vs the closet... muahhhhaahaha 

In Hyperbole and a Half's blog, it's all funny, but it's hard to say which part I liked the best as far as the drawings go. I'm torn between the "strainer on the head", because, well, who hasn't done that?! Or could it be the the "it's intoxicating" bed scene, because I've lived that as stated above. Dad in the boxers is a close third, although he kind of scares me, actually. Jesus in boxers. Need I say more? I might have a nightmare of my own. He's rarely seen in the blogs. Now I know why. I'm not showing more of the pix here, I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone... so stop begging! 


So, fans of the blog, you've been waiting a long time, so wait no more!  Newbies, check it out and the rest! Warning. Pee first. Always pee first. Because you will laugh-
creature inspired by bad spelling. from hyperbole and a half 


click, view, laugh :)  The Scariest Story  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Interview with a Blog Mocker.

Blog Mocker finds out what makes a crazy blogger tick and what it takes to to get not so rich and not so famous...
----
Blog Mocker: So, tell me, do you really think the world needs another blogger, seriously?
Painterchic: Actually, no. But the other bloggers got tired of me commenting on theirs relentlessly. I feared I would be blocked, so I started my own.


Blogmocker: Do you ever think your blog will make you rich and famous?
Painterchic: Yes. Absolutely. My plans to continue writing insignificant verbage with two followers and 11 views and no advertising will surely bring me fame and fortune in no time. I believe that. In the meantime, I am staring at the unfinished novel and partially illustrated children's books and other unsubmitted works in nonprogress.  The unpurchased lottery tickets might pan out. Then there's that guy who called about the money in Nigeria... might work something out with him soon. Next week I'm going to be a glassblower because I got a Groupon. I always wanted to do that when I grow up. Just ask my moum.



Blog Mocker: Do you really think anyone reads this mindless drivel you write?
Painterchic: No. Somedays I hope they do, but most days I'm glad they don't. Depends on my mood and what I wrote. Sometimes I wish I had a comment, even if it's YOU STINK! Once, I had 2 readers from Russia. But that's because I think they were looking for porn and that creepy looking lady with the bad makeup picture came up on a search engine. It's the only explanation that let's me sleep at night anyway...


Blog Mocker: How many followers do you have?
Painterchic: I have 2. That I know of. They are my friends. Even though I've never met them in real life. But they still count! My own family does not read it. Although they know it exists. I think they are afraid I write about them.


Blog Mocker: Why do you put pictures in your blog? Are you copying other blogs?
Painterchic: NO! I did it first! Well before I discovered my love of the hyberbole blog anyway. I would do more if I had the time. It's fun. I've been drawing goofy pictures since they locked me in a hospital room at the age of 12. Ask my mom. She will verify that as will my friends. It's another way to express myself. And I love taking photos. Besides, if the writing sucks, it helps make it a less painful experience for the reader.  Here, smile. I'll put us in...




Blogmocker: Why don't you use real swear words in your blogs?
Painterchic: Because I have a trash potty mouth in real life that I am unable to control despite my best efforts and some darn good medication. Internet words lives forever. So someday when I've morphed into a sweet old tea sippin' knitting grandma my words won't come back to haunt me, dammit.

Blogmocker: Does it annoy you when people refer to your blog like this: "oh, your "bloooog" with an almost imperceptible eye roll?
Painterchic: No. I expect that. It's a self indulgent pastime for me at this point. Until I am promoting my best selling novel. Then I fully intend to become a pompous ass about my BLOG. But in the meantime... let's just say it's my quiet little nerdy hobby like Pokemon card collecting or Civil war re-enactment. I mostly keep it to myself. (Wait! I don't actually DO either of those hobbies. They were just examples!)
Blogmocker: ahem. coughs politely. sure. if you say so... (smirks.)



Blog Mocker: Why do you write this stuff. Honestly, it's about nothing. No politics, no topic, no theme. You aren't promoting a business, or changing the world. So, why do you bother?
Painterchic:  I can say "Sorry, we're having Lean Cuisine for dinner because I was working on my blog."  "Umm the house is a mess because I was learning HTML code for my header." So, nothing wrong with using my brain, right? Actually, the truth is I like writing and the blog keeps my mind busy when my body conks out on me., which is often.  Also, it keeps me from having to face my half written novel. Both which scare the living crap out of me.



Blogmocker: What is your favorite blog?
Painterchic: I have two. www.hyperboleandahalf.com because she is hilarious. I relate to the stories on a personal level which make them even funnier and her artwork is simple yet expressive. Pure genius. I have my kids addicted. I am not sure if this is good or not. They call me moum and stare at me with cartoon faces now. I'm starting to worry, yet in an odd way I am kind of proud. I'm weird that way.
The other, www.icandyphotography.com She can take a photo that tells a story. Watch out for Candice. She's going to go places. I just know it. And it's not just because she is my cousin. She's really good. Look at the dogs. They are thinking about something, in those secret canine brains. And she makes winter beautiful. Coming from me, HATER of all things COLD, that says ALOT. (i spelled that wrong on purpose, haha) <----- hyperboleaddicition setting in now badly


Blogmocker: Thank you for taking time out of your not so busy day to agree to this interview. By the way, I really like your pajamas and the cookies for breakfast even though it's the afternoon. Maybe there is something to this blogger  gig thing after all.
Painterchic: Sure is. Thanks.
Dude... check out this video on youtube... midgets racing a camel....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drivers Beware: Minivan Mamas and Stoplight Makeover Women are out there...

We all know that it is dangerous out there on the roads these days, and that you need to drive defensively. It's you against them. You may think it's the drunk driver or the texting teenager you should watch out for, or the traveling salesman talking on the phone and typing directions into the GPS. Or worse, the dreaded 3 foot tall grandma sitting on a phone book peeking over the steering wheel of her 1978 Caddy driving 45 mph on the Interstate with her signal flashing looking for the exit to the bingo hall. But no... it gets worse. 


Even more dangerous than these species is the Minivan Mama, hurling snacks and sippy cups over her head into car seats with deadly accuracy while being a contortionist worthy of Cirque du Soleil, all in the name of peace and quiet and her quest for sanity. Whatever object is needed - the pacifier, the remote, the nintendo, the blankie, you name it, this supermom will do whatever it takes and still keep driving. So, if you see a minivan, get the hell out of the way, do it and fast. Your life may depend upon it.


But, even more dangerous than Minivan Mama is Stoplight Makeover Woman. Yes, it's the woman on the go. Too late to finish her grooming routine at home because she had to update her Facebook status and take care of Farmville, she either uses the sun roof, window or heater to dry her hair, tipping and fluffing it along the roads, disregarding pedestrians and oncoming traffic. Eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, are all applied using the rearview mirror at each stop light or during slow traffic. If the car in front of you does not go when the light changes, chances are it's a stoplight makeover in progress. If the car behind you suddenly slams into you during bumper to bumper morning traffic, and the woman resembles a circus clown or a drag queen, chances are, it was a stoplight makeover once again.


 These Cosmetic Car Queens don't always get to finish what they started unfortunately, especially if the trip is a short one. Lights turn green too soon. Speed bumps are an menace to them, to say the least. They drive off the road as they apply the second coat of mascara and hit parked cars, double wides, fire hydrants, or goats. They get arrested. Anything is possible. You will recognize them easily in Walmart after they make bail. 
"But wait! I'm not finished yet!!" 






So, drive safe out there.  Mascara and the Wiggles can be very dangerous indeed. 






















































































Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hackley goes to Target

My last trip to the pharmacy almost required anger management classes. I think I was too sick to blog at the time. Or too drugged to spell. Or both. Anyway, better late than never. The following story is based on a true incident. The names have been changed to protect to the innocent or not so innocent. Except Trixie. I'm sure that's her real name...and don't buyTwinkies, for so many reasons.

Once upon a time there was a very sick girl we shall call Hackley. After endless days sick in bed (25 but who's counting) and relentless coughing, her friends and family finally made her go to the doctor, who then sent her to the pharmacy in the big store with the big red circles, who, as we all know, holds the magic cure and anything else you need to buy while you wait for it!  Hackley dragged herself wearily into the department store, not bothering even to get a cart, so you know it was serious. Sliding over the crumpled wad of multiple prescriptions, she grunted at the perky unfamiliar pharmacy receptionist,  croaked "I'll wait" and headed for the bench.

Hackley was a little concerned because she didn't recognize this new girl. The others knew her name, she was like Norm at Cheers and she oddly liked it, the way they started gathering her packages of goodies immediately upon her arrival. She knew they probably had a secret profiling game they played during slow days. It kind of worried Hackley some days, the combinations of things you could put together based on prescription ailments looked up on the internet. Were you a psychopathic insomniac  with an STD or a narcoleptic epileptic migraine sufferer with hormonal issues and gout? What fun that game could be with patients, she only imagined, but today, she did not care. She just wanted to go home, to her bed and back under her duvet, her happy place. Miss Perky asked for her cell phone number "Just in case there is a problem" she said, grinning. Rule #1. Don't grin when anticipating problems. Rule#2. Hurry the hell up.



Hackley muttered the phone numbers and went back to the hard metal bench. The kind that looks like a giant red metal waffle. There is no comfort to be found on these benches. Their sole purpose is to make you get up and shop, not wait for your medicine. But even Hackley, professional shopper, could not do this today. She sat, and schlumped, and slid lower and lower on the bench, gloves on hands, face wrapped in a scarf, looking somewhere between a terrorist and a bag lady and tried to take a nap. Naturally everyone Hackley knew came into Target that day to get out of the house after the snow storm and made a point of mentioning how awful Hackley looked, how awful Hackley sounded, as if Hackley was completely unaware of this fact. Customers who did not know Hackley quickly turned their carts around or grabbed their children and left, either at the sight or the sound of her, or both.


 Hackley was a little annoyed, because at least she TRIED to contain her germs. Not like the lady in the ill fitting 80's green track suit on aisle 4 she saw cough on the Twinkies and then put them back on the shelf. That woman not only looked like a Gumby, she was a walking petri dish! It was that Tracksuit Trixie who deserved their scorn, not Hackley. She sighed.. and tried to pass the time, thinking at least Howie Mandel would appreciate her efforts.

 Hackley looked at the clock, and winced as she peeled her self from the bench to inform the pharmacy of her presence -  just in case they forgot about her. Not that they would admit it of course, but it could happen, just as surely as it is possible to ignore the sounds of barking sea lions 2 feet away. The stink eye she received from the real pharmasist ensured her that her reminder was not appreciated. She sulked back to the bench to play more Angry Birds and wait the full forty minutes. The promised inhaler awaited, the Holy Grail of Oxygen and dammit, Hacklely would not go home without it. Or so she thought....
Finally she heard Mis Perky's voice. Like an angel...

"Ummm... Mrs. Spackley? Hockely? Hackely?"

"Hhhaaaaaaaaaackkkkk"
"Hhaaaaaaaaaaaaachkkkkkkkk""
"HahhhhhhhhhhhhhhKKKKK"
"aaahhhhhhhhhhh....Yyhhhyess?" (extra drama for effect and making her wait extra long AND getting her name wrong)

"Well alrighty! Here are your prescriptions. The inhaler won't be in until tomorrow afternoon and the other one blah blah blah..." Perkys mouth kept talking but her words faded into a buzz as the anger rose in Hackley's ears.
All she could hear was the words "won't"  "tomorrow" being used together in the same sentence. She was tired, she was sick, her ass looked like an Eggo waffle and now she had waited for nothing.
She started to lean over the counter and get really close to Perky. Hackley took off her gloves. She unwrapped her scarf, very slowly. Perky stopped smiling a little. She took a step back as Hackley entered her personal bubble.
"WHY did you take my CELL #  but not CALL and then make me wait 40 minutes on the bench if it's not in until TOMORROW?"
Hackley picked up the little electronic pen on the cord to sign and coughed on it. She pointed it at Miss Perky. "Don't you think my TIME is important?!?? Don't you think OXYGEN is important!?!" Miss Perky looked very gratefully at the little black cord holding the pen onto the base knowing only this little string of plastic might save her from the pen become a projectile object aimed for her eyes. She took another step back.

"Hhhhhhhaaaaaaaack"
"HHhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaachhhhkkkkkkkk"
Hackely wiped off the pen and looked up at Miss Perky's now unsmiling face.
"Wwwwoould you like to sppppeak with the ppppharmacist?" she asked, no longer perky.
"No, thank you."
Hackley put on her gloves, wrapped up her face with her scarf, grabbed her bag of goodies and took her  sick and waffled butted self home to bed. She was too tired to beat, maim or even yell at Perky or anyone else that day.
Miss Perky was never seen at the pharmacy again and Hackely never sat on the bench again.
                                                              

(Ok I really didn't cough on Perky or the pen or threaten her with it, but I thought about it, I admit. The rest, it's true. I have witnesses. You know who you are :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Doggone crazy

If you have a dog who eats things it should not then this is something to make you laugh or just roll your eyes and say "eeeewwwh gross" Or maybe save you lots of money at the vet someday perhaps, who knows? After the last two posts of doom and gloom I feel like I should lighten up a bit and a glimpse of a Louie moment usually does the trick.
My snaggle toothed dog has been labeled and "Eater" by the vet's office. Yes, they actually have an official list for this they keep for these misbehaving snackers of foreign objects. Meaning if he gets brought in for stomach issues he is know as "one of those" who could have ingested anything from rocks to basketballs. (yes, he once ate a basketball)
This weeks treat of the week was the head off his beloved red squeaky bear. Why, I don't know. He loved that little guy. Now headless and resting peacefully in the trash can much to Louie's dismay, the remains are in the nether regions we shall not name. Hard plastic is not good upon exit as you can imagine and sitting is not Louie's favorite position when this happens. The first thing vets like to do is xray of course, and then say we must cut! You must PAY! But who wants to do that to their dog?!? But there are other options. Like cat lax, meant for hair balls, which works pretty well actually. OR....

A nice peanut butter and vaseline sandwich. Yes, you read that right. Let it slide. Be sure not to mix it up with the kids PJ & J while making lunches. They surely won't appreciate the error. This is a trick we learned for the old vet and his predecessor and fellow trash pickin' bone and rock eater Barley.  Louie gets down right excited to see the peanut butter jar and vaseline come out now. I think he is catching on and eating crap just to get these sandwhiches, I swear, the rotten little mongrel. He's no fool. But hey, I'm not the one sorting through dog doodoo with rubber gloves at the vet office while still paying off student loans, haha.
So, if it takes a little sandwich and some time for things to 'work out' then let it be. Maybe someday he will learn. Or not. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but maybe you can make him a new sandwich.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

black cloud

It seems like the proverbial black cloud has settled over the world or at least the parts of it that have come to my attention lately. Whether it's on a global, local or personal scale, chaos and tragedy rule. Egyptians hurl sharp and dangerous objects at each other in the name of peace, while a little girl in Charlotte begs for a marrow donor and a plane to save her life. A perfectly nice family in my small community is obliterated by the father as he shoots his teenage daughter, his wife and then himself for no apparent reason. The very next day we catch our breath from this horror and then honor the memory of two amazing teenagers lost in a tragic car accident two years ago. The children in our town are reeling in tragedy once again. These are just OUR hurts. They are everywhere, this I know. Somewhere, everyday, someone's heart is breaking with loss and suffering and no explanation or words can fix it either. Life happens. You can't undo it, you can't fix it no matter how badly you wish you could. You can just be there for people the best you can. Can anyone explain it? How do you make peace with this? Is it winter? Maybe when spring comes it will be better. Looking out the window the sun is shining but it's a trick. It's cold and the trees look sharp and edgy. Winter bones. Snap. Snap. We need spring. Softness. Rebirth. Warmth. Forgiveness. Healing. Growing. Something. How much can we take, really...

But we will take it and be the strong ones. Let the trees do the snapping. Not us. Live life five minutes at time and see where it takes us. It's going to get better. I believe that.

And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold.

After the Storm- Mumford & Sons
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blog with art and photography by Joelle Broughton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at painter-chic.blogspot.com.
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