Thursday, December 28, 2017

I'm Not "Supposed" To Do This

Convention wisdom will tell you that if you have any kind of business-y online presence that you should keep it all business and not mix in your personal life.

I tried doing that.
A lot.
Many times.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows that me + conventional wisdom have never really gotten along so naturally all of my attempts to conform to it have failed.
In a blaze of fantastic disaster.

I can't separate my personal life - aka my real self - from my business self.
We are one.

I guess that if I have a blog (or Facebook, Instagram, etc) associated with my business that I'm just supposed to write about business stuff, but the one-dimensionality of that would keep you (and me) interested for all of about 2 or 3 minutes at best.

Conversely, I guess that I'm supposed to have a separate blog (or Facebook, Instagram, etc) for my personal stuff and I guess that I'm not supposed to write about business stuff there, but don't you think that's kind of ridiculous? 

My business is based on my creativity and I don't want to sound corny or dramatic but that creativity courses through my veins. Furthermore, I am a bona fide writer - yep, I get paid all professional-like for stuff I write and have written.  So it is completely natural that I would incorporate those two core things into what I put out into the world (wide web).  I wouldn't have the first clue how to separate that out into some conventional wisdom compartments.

I see a great many people out there compartmentalizing and presenting their business or personal life as this non-messy, everything's-always-fabulous Stepford Wives persona to the world and in between my yawns I'm like "BS". 

(By the way, perfection is boring.
I want to see the real you, warts and all.  I want to know what/who is behind that thing you create.  I want a little insight into what makes you tick.)

I've said this a gazillion times in my lifetime...I've said it to my kid, to my self, to my staff, and basically to anyone who needed to hear it:

If there was one way to do a thing, one way that would lead to the whatever the goal was, 
we would all be doing it and then basking in the riches that showered down upon us all.

That reality, thankfully, is not that there is any one RIGHT way to do anything...except maybe heart or brain surgery.  Probably there is a really right way to do either of those two things and so if you're a surgeon it's probably a good idea to not go rogue and to instead stick with the tried and true. No one wants their doctor to say let's try something new and see what happens.

My other big saying that those around me have heard ad nauseum is throw it at the wall and see if it sticks.

I do this a lot which might have something to do with why my husband is losing his hair kind of rapidly.  See, I have a lot of ideas, frequently...and I also happen to think that the real meaning of life is to grab hold of it and take chances and have as much fun as possible...so I try things. 
Lots and lots of things. 
They might work, they might not, but in the meantime I'm living and learning and proactively having a grand time with this life thing...even when I do nothing more than write about not having a great day, etc.

How about you? 


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Confession: Is It Over Yet?

There is a chalkboard hanging in my kitchen upon which I have chalked in a countdown that I change daily.

Many other people have some kind of similar thing hanging in their homes and each day they excitedly change the countdown number as the anticipated date draws nearer.

The difference between mine and theirs is that they are counting the days until Christmas and I am counting the days until the day after Christmas.

I was not always this way. There are several reasons why I no longer enjoy holidays but the biggest one has to do with becoming anosmic and no longer being able to smell the associated scents that come with holidays.

I'm not going to get into a big scientific explanation of how your sense of smell affects every single freaking thing in your life/world and that if you still have the ability to smell stuff you have no idea what I'm talking about.  Most people who smell (ha) think that if you can no longer smell that it simply means you don't smell stuff.  That is wrong.  Oh so very wrong.
You, smelling person, are smelling things right now that you are not even aware of that are giving your life a very rich, multi-faceted experience.  Like, an amazing technicolor life.
Me, as a non-smelling person, experience life in a completely one-dimensional way.  Like, in a dismal black & white kind of way even though all the colors are there, right in front of my, um, nose.

Here's a visual:

Me, as a smelling person enjoying the Christmas season, hands thrown out in joy
Me, as a formerly smelling person attempting to enjoy the Christmas season, hands thrown out in WTF
Let me explain even further: there are scents that evoke memories.  The holidays are filled with these scents and even without you knowing it, when you smell a particular something it wakes up the part of the brain that holds the memories associated with that scent - that's basic stuff, right?
Maybe for you it's Christmas cookies or pine needles or the ham/turkey in the oven or snow or your loved ones, etc.

All of that is gone for me.

So in the season of sensory overload, I'm over here being constantly inundated and reminded of what I'm missing and I try really really hard every single day to not think about it so that I can function to the best of my ability in this new world of sensory nothingness that I now live in thanks to my non-functioning nose.

I try to get into the spirit of things to the best of my ability, really I do.  The outside of my house is decorated so that our neighbors don't think we're Scrooges.  I have fake trees all over the inside of our house year round and one is rather tall with beautiful white lights, so that one conveniently serves as our Christmas tree.  I might bake some cookies even though I can't taste their flavors anymore.
Oh, did you not realize that when someone can't smell it means that they can't taste flavors either?
You can see what I mean by being inundated and reminded of what I'm missing.

Every day without fail I remind myself to not think about not being able to smell.  If I don't remind myself and I start thinking about it too much, despair comes, and if I let that happen I am in really big trouble.  So it's my daily battle and it's kind of exhausting.  Then along comes a holiday and screams in my face everywhere I turn and I'm just like

The only part of Christmas that I still love are the Christmas lights.  I still get little kid excited by them.  We still go for long rides to look at them.  That's Christmas to me now.

Regardless, my life is still blessed and I spend more time than you can imaging thanking God for all I have...primarily a husband and daughter who uplift me when I sink too low and who share oh-my-god-i-can't-breathe laughter with me...and let's not forget that unconditional love thing.

I just hope that in the middle of your hustle and bustle that you remember to appreciate - I mean really appreciate - the stuff you maybe take for granted.

Smell those smells, taste those tastes and in the middle of it all remember to count your own blessings.


Monday, December 4, 2017

I'm Big In Berlin

You might not know this but I am the resident artist at The Globe in Berlin, MD.

So fitting that I shared the spotlight with
Funk O Lisous (sp)!

All year round approximately 25 or so of my artwork hang downstairs.

I hung a bunch of new stuff there in September totaling 26 pieces and I got word that much of that has sold!  So that's pretty great 👍
We hustled and ordered a bunch of new stuff and trekked down there this past weekend to replenish stock and wound up hanging something like 39 new pieces.  Whoa.

For some reason I am pretty successful in the Berlin area.  Every single week, no kidding, I get messages from people who say they saw or bought my artwork there.  Fabulous.

Every time I write about The Globe and Berlin, MD, I have to expound on how magical it is there.  The movies Tuck Everlasting and Runaway Bride which tells you that even Hollywood thinks it's a pretty special place.

So, go, if you can manage it.

Buy some art while you're there 😏


Monday, November 20, 2017

I Am A Lazy Writer

Every single day I think of a bunch of stuff I want to write about and then I proceed to not write about it.

So much to write about...so much procrastination.

Guess I'll start with the selling of and then the non-selling of our house.

We decided to sell our house a couple of months ago.  There were several reasons for us wanting to do that, one of which included getting JP closer to his job.  Another reason was that we bought this house because it brought us closer to family and friends while still being reasonably commutable for JP.  We wanted our house to be a hub; a place where everyone could gather.  The giant pool in the yard was just the bonus scene in the visions of family and friends get-togethers we had dancing in our silly idealistic heads.

And so we moved into our new home two years ago with high hopes.  Tragic, naive high hopes.
All of those "we wish you lived closer" comments that we heard on a regular basis when we did not live closer were mysteriously forgotten as we sat alone together weekend after weekend, holiday after holiday, birthday after birthday...no visits from family and friends in site.
On average we are 80 miles away from all those people who said "we wished you lived closer" which is not really all that far to travel at least once or twice in the two-year time period that we've lived here.
But maybe it is...when you realize

...you're not a priority.


Anyway, so that stuff made us reconsider our location and take action that was best for us.
So the house went up for sale.

Within a month we had a buyer.

And our potential buyers wanted us to pay for everything and they also wanted us to throw in my beloved gazebo and - wait for it - JP's leaf blower.  Who asks for a leaf blower?  Granted, it's a fine leaf blower but, ya know, they sell them at Home Depot.
They also wanted my refrigerator even though we said in the disclosure that we were not sure if we were taking or leaving it based on what our needs would be in our new house.  But Oh No, they wanted that refrigerator and they wanted it bad.  Never underestimate the passion that could be ignited when a potential house buyer comes across a used refrigerator that is seven years old and was originally purchased at the Sears Scratch & Dent store.

You can't make any of this up, by the way.

Also within that same month we also found and contracted a house and then afterwards were informed of some stuff and realized some stuff, like:
a. the state we were wanting to move to charges 4x as much as NJ to close + also charges something called an "entrance tax" and a bunch of other fees which amounts to a lot more money output ($10,000+!) than we had figured on and could pull off.
b. we kinda really liked our house even if it was just us enjoying its charm and our own hospitality.
c. maybe we needed some time to think this through a little more.

Our home is warm and cozy and inviting.  It has a giant fireplace and a big pool and tons of privacy.  It's really really quiet here, there is no traffic on our street or neighborhood and the whole area is kind of slow-paced and unstressful.  We don't have traffic jams anywhere near here and the grocery stores are never crowded.  We're surrounded by tall, majestic, beautiful trees that are filled year-round with birds that sing all the time which makes my heart ridiculously happy.  I have a large flock of wild turkeys that come looking for me to feed them each day.  People around here still go to church each Sunday and the churches have bazaars and bake sales and free Thanksgiving dinners for those in need. Farmland is everywhere and within 5 minutes from my driveway I can be on a meandering backroad that soothes and calms as I drive past pastures filled with horses and cows and everything in between.  Yes, it is New Jersey.  No, it is not the New Jersey that is well known.  We live in the most poor and rural county in the state and you know what?

It's good here.
Not convenient to much, but very, very nice.  We are not the types who need a mall around the corner.  I hate the mall.  I hate people crowds.  I hate traffic.

We took the house off the market last week and decided to stay put, at least for a while.
In the meantime, we've already started doing some renovations to make the house even more awesome than it already is.

An example of one of those renovations was to immediately march myself into the master bedroom and tear down the god-awful wallpaper border that the previous owners had put up.

This picture of the god-awful wallpaper border is really bad because probably I convulse every time I looked at or came near it but you can sort of tell how spectacularly terrible it is.  Doesn't it look like there was some kind of fire all along the ceiling line?

This picture shows the atrocity better.  I think the actual name of the border is Repetition Of Stone Bridges Akin To A Dystopian Nightmare or maybe Scenes From A Victorian Purgatory.

I'm stuck with the yellow and white stripes for now because we can't even deal with the idea of steaming off all that wallpaper let along doing the actual work.  Sadly but not surprisingly considering some of the other "creative" ways the previous owners did things, the striped wallpaper does not go all the way to the ceiling and in some places it is 4" from the ceiling and in other places it is 8" from the ceiling.  Uh oh, someone seems to have been drinking on the wallpaper job!
Because of their ineptitude, I may be forced to put up another border unless we can figure something else out.  If you have any ideas, please send them my way as I have developed a very strong aversion to all things wallpaper-ish.

Stay tuned for tales of even more drama adventures that have happened in the past week.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Friend Ennui

Lately my usual faithful companion Ennui has upped its game.

Normally I would wake up as I always do - so happy for another day to do stuff - and then within a few minutes Ennui would poke me in the ribs and remind me that it was there to bland-ize* everything.

Then we would just sort of sit together throughout the day, mildly acknowledging each other's existence as I went about my business of creating art and writing as best I could.

Apparently that is no longer enough for Ennui.

Ennui is hungry.  Ennui wants more.

I started to notice the Ennui's amplification a few weeks back.  I was on Facebook and my eyerolls were coming even more fast and furious than usual.  This must have gotten Ennui's attention because it suddenly screamed in my ear, "thank you for boring yourself to death with this Facebook crap that you're force feeding your brain everyday! I'm thriving on it!".

I tried to ignore Ennui's outburst.  Later that day I posted my latest artwork to my Facebook business page and as usual it got the attention of about three people even though 650+ people follow my page.  This makes my eyes twitch.

Ennui said, "The way that you keep hoping that people are really going to pay attention to anything for longer than a nanosecond is my lifeblood. I'm thriving on your disappointment."

The same thing happened the next day.

Ennui said, "That you are a glutton for punishment is like manna from heaven to me."

I felt an ever-so-slight twinge when Ennui said that - the kind you feel when someone hits a nerve because they're right but you're denying it.

In an attempt to prove Ennui wrong (even though it was right), I upped my Facebook game. I scrolled and scrolled through my Facebook feed and kept reading different versions of the same thing on the feeds of the myriad of people and pages that I follow. Like I was searching frantically for something redeeming. Something intelligent.

But over and over and over I saw the same things: people trying so very hard to be cool or ironic or sarcastic; recipes for pumpkin spice everything; endless articles about how to win the social media game; boring posts about the minutiae of people's days ("today I cleaned out the linen closet"); political posts of one sort or another ad nauseum; happy horseshit ("Be The Best You That You Can Be, etc"); atheist types somehow gleaning pleasure on mocking the beliefs of others; recipe videos (I know how to mix, you don't need to show me!); ad hominem attacks so rife that no one even knows what it means to be civil and/or respectful anymore; posts about stuff that I would never in a million years want to learn about; and people liking liking liking anything and everything like the automatons everyone seems to be turning into.

Ennui was leaning back smirking, and rubbing its bloated belly when it said, "thanks for feeding me with this nonsense everyday."

And right then and there is when I decided to commit to changing Ennui's diet.

It'll put a fierce fight and I know I'll falter along the way...but ultimately I'll win.


(*Bland-ize is not a real word, it's another one of my made up words. It means to make things bland.)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tried To Act Like Normal People Doing Normal Things

Yesterday was a really nice October Sunday here in southern NJ - unseasonably warm but not oppressive hot; sunny, but with that lovely autumn filter that makes sunshine less obnoxious.

I have been sick for a week with a stomach bug and I was feeling a bit better so we decided it would be good to get out for a little bit.  We did the "what do you want to do?" thing a little bit ("I don't know, what do you want to do?") and then decided to head toward a cranberry festival that was happening in a town about an hour away from us.

I used to really like street fairs and festivals.  I used to go to them often.
But then something happened.  It's like the population exploded or they suddenly became ridiculously popular and everyone and their mother started going to them.

And then - POOF! - just like that I hated them.

There is nothing remotely fun about shuffling along while stuck in the middle of 14,000 people, some of whom think it's a great idea to bring their double-wide strollers.  In fact I'm pretty sure that street fairs are the reason God gave someone the idea to invent back and front carriers to carry your kids with.
There is nothing remotely fun about standing in line to try and get some food or get near a vendor.
Plus I passionately hate people crowds.

Why I came up with "let's go to the cranberry festival!" is beyond me.  The only explanation I can come up with is that I sometimes go through a thing where I try to pretend I'm like other people.  It never works but about once a year I forget that and attempt to join the masses doing activities that I basically loathe.  JP is the same as me but he'll go along with doing something he hates if it's something that I want to do, bless his heart.

Anyway, without further ado, here is a picture of us at the cranberry festival:

No, not that lady over on the right.  What you are really looking at here is our view from inside the truck of the massive traffic jam we were stuck in consisting of people attempting to go to the cranberry festival.  This picture does not show the real deal which was that people were parking miles - miles! - away and schlepping to the festival.  It does not show the shyster man who came up to our window and said "I can get you parked in 5 minutes for 10 bucks."  It does not show the non-moving, miles-long traffic in front and in back of us.

It does not show us eventually finding a place where we could actually turn around so we could high tail it out of there.

There is a restaurant near this area that is well known for its wings and it serves alcohol which is what we were in need of after driving for more than an hour to sit in traffic for an hour and then not go to the cranberry festival.  We made a beeline for it.

When we arrived we discovered that it, too, was a mob scene.  People lined up outside waiting to get a table. We managed to get inside to see how bad it was and entered a loud and chaotic scene and no staff in sight to help manage the chaos.  The outdoor area was filled with our kind of people (bikers) so we thought that would our (fun) option but all the tables were taken, people were standing around everywhere, and they only seemed to serve alcohol out there and we wanted food.
In essence, it was (again) our biggest nightmare.
JP and I are not the types who stand in line to get into a place.  We leave and find somewhere else to go which is, of course, what we did.
About 5 miles down the road there is a place that has the best pizza so we grabbed a slice and ate it in the car.

Defeated?  Were we? Well, yes...at trying to act like we fit in with the majority who somehow don't seem to mind chaos and crowds.

Somehow, though, I think we're the ones who were not defeated at all, but instead...victorious.

I'll take our quiet, harmonious life any day.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Regaining Sanity, Vol. 1: Extricating Myself From Facebook

For quite a long time now I have danced around the knowledge that social media does bad things to me (and you)**.

I’ve ignored that fact for a long time now even though I am very well aware that my attention span has dwindled down to noth…oh look, it’s a cute puppy video that I must watch right now.

Yeah, like that.

My morning routine consists of drinking my first cup of coffee while scrolling through Facebook which never left me with a warm/fuzzy feeling afterwards.  Au contraire.  The happy mood I almost always wake up in would be replaced by feelings of annoyance or disgust or exasperation.  Those are the things I have been feeding myself for breakfast almost every day since about mid-2009 when I joined Facebook. Wrap yourself around the fact that every single day I (you, they) voluntarily do something that does not fulfill or add to the the quality of life and instead diminishes it.

I have decided once and for all to do something about it.  To fight the addiction.  And I am not using that word in jest; social media addiction is real addiction.  And if you knew my family’s history with addictions (drugs, tobacco, alcohol, gambling, drama, victimhood) you would understand why that terrifies me.

I do my best to be very careful with myself. But this one’s got me in its clutches like it does a significant portion of the entire population.  For example, 72.4% of the entire US population has interacted at some level with Facebook*. That number makes me shift uncomfortably in my seat as if someone just said “…and I have this really delicious Kool Aid that all of us are going to drink right now”.
Because I work from home + have health conditions to keep me home, I have more time to peruse the Internet and more times than not that means a whole lot of Facebook and sometimes Twitter and Instagram.  What I find over and over is a bunch of mostly silly but sometimes fun nonsense (memes, etc), and an appalling amount of snark/sarcasm/cynicism/ad hoc attacks/vitriol (that, oddly, often gets directed at the silly but sometimes fun nonsense).  An entire populace subsisting on a steady diet of snark, snide, and pseudo-hip cynicism (thanks for the term, Camille Paglia).  Don’t get me started on politics & the e n d l e s s amount of posts that do nothing for anyone except to cause even more derision. Religion and faith?  Replaced by mockery and the worship of technology. Politics has reduced everyone to one label or another and the resultant hatred has caused a genuine loss of civility that I wonder if we’ll ever get back.  I can't help but wonder if people are really laying in bed at night feeling content that they posted that meme about Trump or Hillary...is that really what you want the gift of your life to be reduced to? Worse are the people who post about kindness and caring about those around them...unless, of course, that person voted for the wrong candidate in their slacktivist estimation.  Being an uplifter has been replaced by being a cowardly disparaging bully who hides behind a computer screen reveling in the delusion that they are somehow clever and cunning.  Everyone is offended by the most trivial of things and no one is really free to express their real opinions anymore because they will almost certainly get attacked for them.
With some puppy videos and delicious recipes thrown in for good measure.

addicted likes
I have seen too many people I know personally with good and interesting minds waste their intelligence and wit (the real kind, not the sarcastic kind) on being Facebook Fabulous; posting inane and/or derisive and sometimes disturbing stuff in some kind of Orwellian or Kafkaesque or Rod Serling-ish (or Zuckerbergian?) popularity contest in which the person who can get the most people to spend a nanosecond clicking a button (Like!)…wins.  Your guess is as good as mine as to what the actual prize is.

Yet we all keep coming back again and again and again.  I see posts on Facebook by people accusing others of being sheeple and the irony of that is not lost on me. 


I can’t keep drinking the Kool Aid, folks.  I can’t keep feeding my own good and interesting mind this constant stream of tripe and drivel. 

I was reading something this morning on the topic of reducing social media usage and someone in a comment said that their goal was to not waste their summer on social media.  This hit home for me because it made me think about how much time I wasted this past summer perusing Facebook, etc.

Time I cannot get back.

Time I could have been doing a myriad of worthwhile things that fed and nurtured my mind, not starved or otherwise harmed it.

**Please don't repeat the worn statement that Facebook, et al. helps keep the connection with friends and family.  There were deep and meaningful relationships before the inception of social media.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I Didn't Come Here For This

This morning I sat down at my laptop with my first cup of coffee of the day and starting scrolling through Facebook - this is my morning routine.
I've gotten really good at weeding out the crap I don't want to see or her about which is the stuff that stresses me out and interrupts my goal of having a pleasant life.
I also have an app installed that allows me to enter words or phrases to filter out that I don't wish to appear in my news feed.

I am so thankful for whoever designs those kinds of apps and lets me use them...for free, no less.
I hope they know the service they are providing to my well-being.

Unfortunately, because there are now myriads of potential land mines in the let's-be-offended-about-every-single-thing climate that we now live in, I would have to quit my day job (if I had one) to spend each day thinking about and adding all of the words and phrases I don't want to her about. So occasionally some things I don't want to see will slip through and that happened this morning.

I follow a very famous artist who makes really happy artwork.
I follow her because I like to be happy and I like artwork.
I do not follow her because I want to know about her political beliefs.
I do not follow her because I want to know what offends her.
I do not follow her because I want to know anything other than her pretty artwork.

Sadly, she doesn't care what I follow her for.

and, by God, is she ever going to let you know about it because she has a gazillion followers and - wow! - isn't it so great that she can use all of them to foist her opinion(s) on them even though that is not why they follow her at all.

Talk about being an opportunist.

Talk about bait and switch.

Talk about getting hoodwinked.

One more thing to add to the list and unfollow.
I'm pretty sure that pretty soon there won't be much left to follow.

I wish this kind of thing would stop but in a world of I MUST BE INDIGNANT ABOUT EVERY SINGLE THING...it doesn't seem likely.

I just wish they knew
Please feel free to save this image and share it accordingly.



"You see, I decided five years ago that I was done with fitting in, and that I'd rather be lonely and alone, than to continue immersing myself in a world I found caustic.

Everywhere I looked people seemed to be shouting, trying to make their voices heard.
The most recent clever story on facebook.
The most wittily stated opinion.
I didn't see kindness, I saw intolerance and rudeness.
I saw people ripping each other down through the medium of social media because they didn't have to look that person in the face, and see how their comments hurt them.
Then I watched as that attitude seemed to make people less tolerant in the real world as well.
I wanted no part of it anymore.
From that point on I was standing alone, and that was that." -Gingerbread


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Art Show Fiasco

I was supposed to an ART show yesterday.
All week we prepared for it.
Weeks ago we purchased our first pop-up tent.
JP built me a podium; not so that I could pontificate from but for writing out invoices, running charge payments, etc.

We loaded up the truck very early yesterday morning and set out for the site. And then I proceeded to have a massive literal anxiety attack.
The whole way there.
Full on, doesn't-get-much-worse-than-this panic.
It didn't make sense. I've been doing this art thing for years now. I do solo shows and artist receptions where the spotlight is 100% on me and I have to be "on" and sociable. I might get the jitters a little bit at these kinds of events but honest to goodness panic? No way.

I could not figure out what the heck was going on with me.
But leading up to yesterday I kept getting that awful foreboding feeling. You know, that dread kind of feeling that pops up. Really, really weird.
And then we got there.

Here's what happened next:

  • We arrived at the entrance gate of the park the event was being held in. Park also has a marina. We arrived just in time to witness the organizers telling a man that he could not enter the park to get to his boat at the marina because there was an event happening. Understandably the man was less than happy and was expressing that while using various words that looked like this: &*$#*&!@#. The man proceeded to blast his horn at cars that were blocking his access while shouting out of his car window at the organizers who were shouting back at him. Man then drove maniacally past the organizers who were trying to stop him from entering and getting to his boat. Similar to a Seinfeld episode. Ooooookay. 
  • At the entrance gate, I gave my name to the woman in charge who had a checklist in her hand with vendor names and their assigned space numbers. She scanned the list then THRUST it at me and said "here, you read it. See if you find your name. I can't see today." Ooooookay. 
  • I found my name and got my spot number. I asked her where #25 was and she said she "had no idea"...and with a jerk of a her head said that we should "go ask the lady at the white tent". Ooooookay. 
  • The lady in the only white tent there at that time had nothing whatsoever to do with the event; she was a vendor. We found spot # 25 on our own. It was approximately 4x6. This is a problem. Woman on organizer team told us there was plenty of room for a table. We have a 10x10 tent, no tables. Framed artwork that hangs on panels. Big problem.
  • Some other woman was running around trying to solve the problems that were popping up all around us. We told her that our site wouldn't work for us. She told us to set up our tent OVER the sidewalk that was next to the tiny site we were assigned. 
  •  Then she told us that we couldn't park where we were parked. 
  • Then she told us that we couldn't set up our tent until everyone around us set up theirs because our tent would block them from getting out. 
  • Some other woman came along who told us to take another spot across from the tiny one. No matter that that spot was assigned to another vendor. The other spot had a giant divot in the ground. So if we set up our tent over it we ran the risk of having potential customers who entered our tent break/sprain/twist their ankles or fall. 
  • Vendor behind us arrived only to find out that her assigned spot had a tree directly in the middle of it. 
  • I sat back in the truck to calm down and quell the panic. JP stayed outside having even more ludicrous conversations and encounters. I was praying he didn't explode on anyone. 
  • Vendors around us were setting up to sell their flea market-type items. This was billed as an Art & Music Festival. 
Finally we looked at each other and said let's just go home.

There was more. Oh so much more.
The stuff above were just the highlights. Or lowlights.

We're still reeling.

I want to write a post about red flags to look for with these types of shows but right now I don't know where to begin.
Two days before this show I realized that I never actually received any type of communication from them after I sent in my application and payment. This was a big fail on my part...but an even bigger one on their part.
So right away I emailed. No response.
I left messages on their Facebook pages. No response.
I called and finally got a response. The organizer told me verbatim - and I wish so hard that I was kidding - "I don't have time to contact everyone and let them know I received their payment and give them their site assignment."
Then, lady, you have no business attempting to run this kind of event because you're really, really bad at it.
But all of this explains perfectly my anxiety attack.
And cements my commitment to pay attention to and trust implicitly my gut feelings. I knew some thing was off. What an understatement that turned out to be.

The only words of advice I have right now are:
  1. Make sure the organizers are communicating often and in detail. 
  2. Make sure your spot is the right size! This seems like a given but maybe not. 
 I just hope I can get past the very strong trepidation I'm feeling right now about doing these kinds of shows in the future.


Monday, August 28, 2017

A Migraine & A Farm

I just made a McDonald's migraine run.  What that means is that I woke up with a pretty good migraine today (6/10) and part of my arsenal for treating a migraine involves eating a salty/greasy breakfast with a fountain coke - even if I have to sometimes force myself to eat.  The drive-thru people were looking at me all weird so I can image that I have that lovely migraine-induced look of derangement.
"One Egg McMuffin meal with a coke, please."

And I'm sure they were judging me for ordering a Coke at 8am. 😩

Today will be a salty food, caffeine-fueled kind of day.
Which sounds sort of fun minus the stabbing pain in my head.

JP and I have been kicking around some life-changing ideas lately...

like potentially selling our house to move to a place that's an easier commute for him - he crosses the Delaware Memorial Bridge each day so enough said there - and has a whole lot of country for my artwork.

Which is how we wound up walking around a farm on Saturday.

Yes, that's right...a farm.  I happened upon it for sale on Realtor.com on Saturday morning and by lunchtime we were traipsing through its acreage while awaiting the real estate agent to arrive to show it.

There were multiple outbuildings that were seemingly made of the stuff I dream about (and create artwork about)...like the most weathered, breathtaking barn wood everywhere.  Like big open sky and big old trees to rest under.

I was in love and probably would have signed on the dotted line right then and there...until we went into the house.

Very unfortunately, the owners had rented it out and let's just say that the renters did not treat the house very well.  I wouldn't say it was trashed but it was significantly gross.  I am easygoing when it comes to houses; I can deal with a lot and can always see potential even when others can't, but I could not get past this house's ick factor.  This was a tragic shame because exteriorly the house was terrific.

Afterward, we went out to lunch and mulled things over.  What if we had a professional company do a clean out?  What if we did this or that?  The answers kept coming up with a lot of no's and so my heart broke a little bit because I was really liking the idea of owning a farm.

But, for real?  Do we really want to buy something that's going to commandeer 95% of our free time at this stage of the game?  Because, let's be honest, if JP and I owned a farm, we would then just have to own a cow...a horse...a couple of goats, etc.  JP would have to indulge his love of tractors so there'd be a bunch of farm equipment to maintain..

The short answer is No, it would be foolish to buy a farm now.  No one in their right mind would advise us otherwise.

Which means nothing to us, of course.

This farm was not the right one for us but if I stumble upon another with a better house in the right area?  Well, who knows what might happen?


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Andrew Wyeth Exhibition

We spent part of JP's birthday on Friday 8/25 at the Andrew Wyeth Exhibition, Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA.

I have no words to express my awe.
To be in the presence of these works was tremendous...so much so that I got a little bit overwhelmed at first upon entering the exhibit.

To say that I adore Andrew Wyeth would be a silly understatement.

Seeing his actual work 3 inches from my face was nothing short of a privilege - like being let into his house and world.

The exhibit included works from all the Wyeths - Jamie, N.C., Carolyn, Henriette + several of N.C.'s proteges.  Amazing.


I bought a print of this one - it's one of my most favorites

The infamous Christina of Christina's World

The exhibition runs until September 17th and so if there is any way you can get there by then I implore you to do so.
I spend a lot of time in the Chadds Ford area and any time spent there - if you can arrange it - is time well spent, I promise you.

Scenes from the breathtaking museum itself:

If you go, be sure to walk around the premises and do visit the gift shop where you can purchase prints at very reasonable prices.  I don't think there are very many places at all where Wyeth prints can be gotten.  I bought this one, of course - because of my obsession with everything moon. 18x19, $35.00:

For more information about the exhibit, click ---> Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect
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