Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour Today 8:30 PM Local Time

Hey, what would it be like if you turned out your lights and shut down your computer and television for an entire hour today? What if you did this at the same time as lots of other people in your time zone? Check out Earth Hour and see what the impact can be if you participate.

Here are 10 things you can do during the hour the lights are out:

  1. Light a few candles, pour a glass of wine and talk to someone you love.
  2. Charge up your iPod and put on the headphones and listen to some music.
  3. Meditate.
  4. Have dinner by moon light.
  5. Have a party with your friends and play games by candle light.
  6. Charge your laptop and watch a movie on battery power (ok, this might be cheating a teeny, weenie bit).
  7. Make yourself a hot bath at 7:59 PM and enjoy a long and realxing soak.
  8. If you live some place warm, go for a moonlight walk.
  9. Make art by candle light. People actually used to this ALL the time before electricity!
  10. Go to bed early and get a good night's sleep.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nothing Like a Deadline to Get Me Moving....

Seeing as how work is looming in my schedule starting Monday, I put the pedal to the metal the last couple of days to get the studio somewhat finished. It was a lot of work (and dust....and sneezing....) but it is almost there. I know it would not have gotten this far without all the help from Vyn who gave up a lot of time these past few days to assemble shelves and furniture and carry heavy boxes from the store to the car and then from the car to the house. Thank you honey!!!

So, without further ado, here it is:



The two paintings in this shot are from the lovely and talented Anahata.



Chris....this is your new bed when you come to visit!


I still need to put the doors on the rest of these cabinets but they were out of stock at Ikea. The black doors here are actually glass and you can put your own artwork inside these or fabric. I thought it was pretty cool to be able to change the look without changing the furniture.

I want to get some bamboo shades for the windows and get art on the wall but, that aside, it is GREAT to have a place where I can think, relax and make art without the distraction of the giant mess that was my studio when I started this project.

In total:

  • 5 full garbage/recycle bins
  • 7 days of cleaning, sorting, keeping/tossing, moving, painting, resorting
  • 3 gallons of paint
  • 7 bottles of wine (I think)
  • Roughly $1,400 in furniture, storage, etc.
  • A couple of dozen Advil for sore muscles
  • A place to create - priceless!!
And I still have the weekend....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So Refreshing!

It is so darn refreshing to watch a presidential press conference where my leader is articulate and thoughtful all the while respectful of opposing opinions while still being confident. I know we are in tough times right now but I feel so much more confident that we can make it through the tough times with someone like Barack at the helm. (Note: The photo above is not mine - it is an official White House photo - no photographer name listed.)

In other news, today started out at Lux with Vyn (why fit into my work pants when I go back to the office next week??), then off to Ikea for 3 hours of studio planning and selection of the right solutions for the space. I ended up getting quite the deal on my desk. I knew I wanted a frosted glass desk for the studio. We looked at the various glass desk options and then happened to find ourselves in the dining area where they had the perfect glass dining table that would work for my desk and for $150 less than the desk (it was on sale for $99!!! Score!!!).

After we came home and dropped off the desk, we headed out to one of our favorite Mexican food places, Ritos. It is a little hole-in-the-wall place that has no indoor seating and is located in a tough part of town. They only serve burritos (bean and cheese and green or red sauce beef) and they are soooooooooo delicious!!! So we sat out on the patio and ate our very late lunch/early dinner (we call it Linner) and enjoyed the mild Spring day. We then headed to Costco for dog and cat food as well as some organic baby carrots for my furry friends at the farm. We stopped at the farm on the way home and fed the critters the entire 5 pound bag of carrots - they are so fun to feed that we couldn't stop until the carrots were all gone!

Not a very exciting day to blog about but such a great day to be in!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Question for the Universe...

Dear Universe,

Can you tell me why, when I spend a fortune on a gorgeous kitty condo like the one pictured below, which sits empty in my living room,

...the little fuzzy darlings insist on sleeping in Costco boxes in the garage?

It is quite the mystery to me and something I would love to get to the bottom of in this lifetime.



Thank God for Garbage Bins.

I spent a good part of the afternoon in the studio. Here is what I learned:

1. I've made a lot of bad art.

2. There are a lot of bad hair photos of me in various stages of life (the photo above is not one of them). Even though I think I have destroyed them all, each time I go through the photos they all seem to crop up. I think this is because I think about destroying them but then I decide against it and put said photos back in the box and close the lid.

3. It is okay to destroy one's bad art after the experiment is complete (see #1 above). I know some may disagree with me here. It certainly is a personal decision. For me, being able to move on from the experiments to something more fruitful that results from the experiments is key. I find bad art hanging around like a 10 pound weight around my neck. It weighs me down. If I had to look at every bad piece of art I have ever made over and over, it will probably kill all future hope for something good.

4. Keep the good art! Yes!!! This maintains the momentum and hope to keep me experimenting and making not-so-good art. Good art will come!

5. Although there are a lot of bad hair pictures of me around, I do not destroy these (see #2 above). For me, photos are like a story line of our lives. While every picture comes with a set of memories and emotions (some good, some not), I find them extremely important in helping me to remember where I have come from.

6. The cavernous bad art cave, a.k.a. my studio, is slowly being emptied out (another full garbage bin and recycle bin and 2 more boxes of donations today). I can see the floor of the entire room, I can see the back of the closet, I can see the walls. I can definitely see the possibilities for a new space with new energy forming in front of me. (Side Note: I can NOT see the top of my dining room table as all the desired art supplies that will be staying with me are sitting on it....but that is another story).

7. I truly do have the best husband ever! He has been so helpful, so patient and so understanding through this gigantic mess of mine. Today he patched holes in the studio walls so I could start painting these walls tomorrow. All the while, encouraging me and listening to me talk about all my bad art as I marched it outside to it's new home. He even offered to go to Ikea (gasp!!!) on his vacation. I must have done something incredibly noble and good in a past life to deserve such a wonderful and kind man in this life.

In other news, I was thinking about how important some places are in my life. Places that play such a key role in the things that occur in my life that I can not imagine what life would be like without these places. One of these places is our coffee hang out, Lux, which I mentioned yesterday. For me, Lux is a reprieve, a treat in my week, a ritual, a place to go with my old friends and to meet new one's. It a place where I have reconnected with people I thought I had lost contact with. It is a place to sit with my hubby and talk through ambitious plans and to dream, all while getting hopped up on caffeine and sugar. Life is good with places like this in our lives. The owner of Lux, Jeff, is so incredible and works tirelessly to create a space for community to come together. The people that Jeff employs are so kind and energetic and happy to be there. Thank God for people like this on the Earth that are so completely committed to bringing something special into being for the rest of us to experience.

What places are special in your life?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gone Fishing....Be Back Soon.

Well, the studio remodel project is slow going. It is, after all, vacation and Spring has sprung in the Southwest. There are birds to be watched, flowers blooming everywhere in the garden and fresh herbs and veggies to be eaten fresh from our very own plot and cooked in deliciously simple dishes enjoyed at sunset sitting with my wonderful husband in the garden (whew, huge run on sentence there). Thank goodness my dear man is a lover of dirt - I have certainly reaped all the wonderful benefits of his passion for all things growing and green! I think it is true that it tastes better when it comes from your garden and you get to pick it. I got a lesson the other night in how to properly cut spinach and herbs so that new growth can emerge. Pretty damn cool!

Today we ventured to the best nursery in town to meander through the fields of plants. We happened upon a huge selection of roses in every color, size and variety imaginable. Such a coincidence (if there is such a thing....) as yesterday we were on a garden tour in town and ran into the queen of roses. She gave us lots of information and advice on when, how and what to plant. Roses seem to me, brown thumb that I am, elusive and complex. The Rose Queen simplified it tremendously and we are now planning our rose garden that will sit outside the studio window (lucky me!). Back at the nursery, we were able to see all the plants in full bloom and take photos so we know which bare root roses to ask for when we are ready to plant. The Rose Queen strongly advised us to plant bare roots in January and not fall into the tantalizing trap of planting blooming roses now as it is better for the rose bushes that way (must be a desert thing). We will take her advice and spend the summer and fall planning the space and prepping the soil for all our exotically named varieties (Falling in Love, St. Patrick's, Marilyn Monroe, Pink Passion, Bob Hope....and on the list goes).

Oh, and we had to go feed the farm animals down the street at our local urban farm. There is something to be said for living in an older, urban area where there are no home owner associations, rules and regs, etc. etc. etc. We live in an older area of town, some houses lovely and unique with character, others not so much. The wonderful thing is that we have urban farms within 5 minutes of our home in most any direction. Our favorite is Marlette Farm (no website) which is run by a local family that has been in the area for several generations. They have a large piece of property right in the middle of town which they turned into a rescue for goats, sheep, pot bellied pigs, minature horses, burros, chickens, geese and the occasional duck. They support the farm with their own funds (no non-profit status....we know because we asked to make a donation at one point). There is nothing more therapeutic and grounding for me than to go feed the lovelies some fresh carrots from the farmers market. It is such a positive experience for so many people who bring their children on their evening walk to the farm to bond with animals and give them treats. I will get some pictures of our four-legged friends on our next visit so you can meet them.

While avoiding the home project (it really is too nice to be indoors!) I have been enjoying longer, more frequent visits to our favorite coffee place in town, Lux. It truly is the best place to hang out, drink coffee roasted fresh on site and eat high-calorie, homemade goodies that are too good to pass up (even if my pants are getting tight...ahem.)

My goal is to get the studio mostly done before I return to work in a week. I did spend two full days sorting, sifting, recycling, tossing and testing ink pens for good working order (all 300 of them). I have to admit I was more than a little overwhelmed by all the supplies I had collected in the last 5 years (the last time I went through everything). In keeping with my desire to simplify, I am keeping those things which still speak to me and donating the rest. I made a nice big box of art goodies for our next door neighbor's kids - all 3 of which are aspiring artists in their own regard. The rest will go to donations or, in some cases, in the recycle bin. This leaves me with a dining room table, breakfast bar and a couple of shelves worth of stuff. Still a lot to work with and still things that truly speak to my creativity.