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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bumble Bee on RedBull

(or www.blaylockpottery.com) <--coming soon

[written saturday morning 6/25] I went to bed a mere three hours ago.  It’s not that I don’t burn the candle at both ends most of the time, but preparing for a show is different. I hold shows at my home one day each summer and fall. The “show” has evolved over the years and now there are several artists who participate with me.

The show prep is exhausting. I am a world-class procrastinator, so I love to put off until next week what I could do tomorrow. It’s just the way I work. But I've decided this may not be the best approach to my “aging gracefully” plan.

Because I’ve put off what I could have been doing a few months ago, the last two weeks have been like the third level of hell. I work full time during the day, then for myself from three to six hours most nights after I get home. This is in addition to the normal stuff like... let’s say... personal hygiene, laundry and sleep. All of these things are important to say the least.

My dog Hairy thinks I’ve completely lost the plot. I mean for a dog, life should be a zen-like experience. Be one with your kibble... not to mention, smelling the air must be like touching god. My life, however, has gotten the farthest from zen as it can possible get. Somewhere between an impulse control challenged tween and a bumble bee hopped up on Red Bull without the actual help of Red Bull because that would probably send me right over the edge of sanity. (Red Bull reference dedicated to James Clark)

I’m not sure how this happened, but honestly, it happens every pre-show. Some ethereal master of sanity kidnaps mine and won’t give me proof of life until I’m on the brink of a coma with over-work.

I used to really enjoy it, but now I’m old... remember I hit 40 this summer. It’s starting to seem a little counter-productive.

So I'm faced with a dilemma. Or at least I think I am... “Can I make this better, or do I have to cut back in order to stay upright?”, "How do I balance a full time job which for now I have to keep, and work toward what I believe to be my ideal life: making art?"

Now normally, my blogs make brilliantly astute observations (that was sarcasm) and sometimes even give sage advice (again with the sarcasm). You become very wise and worth listening to when you turn 40. But in today’s blog, I’m actually asking for comments. How do I transition into full time artist without going insane or bankrupt. Send your ideas to: 100 Desperation Way, Anything-but-Margeritaville, Montana... Turns out Blogs have comment spaces below! Leave your ideas or comments as you please. I would so appreciate the help!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oh the Angst & the Poking

Dedicated to Paul Milligan, a man not afraid to hug even a virtual girl. Thank you, Paul. You know why. 

So, I have to admit that when I first started using Facebook, I couldn’t understand the appeal. I mean someone writes “just finished doing dishes” (a gem from my latest facebook day) and I’m inclined to say “Who the hell cares?”

But not too long ago, I became one of the countless facebooking zombies who posts the uninteresting details of their life on the site. And I like it. Of course I also thought the internet was a passing fad and now I can’t live without... Seems I’m a slow-adopter. But that’s okay. It almost guarantees that most of the bugs are gone by the time I get there and I’m fine with that.

In this world of speed dating (that’s one I didn’t adopt at all), hallway conversations, stand up lunches, and texting instead of actually talking, posting our minutia is not that bad of an idea. PS- I love to text. I hate talking on the phone. I always feel like a moron on the phone. Anyway, it’s one way for us to connect with humanity and just say “Hey, I’m here, don’t forget about me.”

I’m always fascinated at what people post and what motivates them to do it. There are the cerebral, the funny and the everyday. Some people talk about God, some politics, some art, literature and business... and some just bitch. Hey that’s alright too. There’s nothing wrong with venting as long as you have another point of view. If you don’t you may want to ease up on the grande espresso.

It seems I’ve turned into a bit of a facebook whore. The kids say this describes people who post a lot. And right now, that would be me. I accept that.

Now, let’s talk about un-friending. I don’t do this very often, but I do occasionally. Someone won’t actually know they’ve been un-friended. I mean they don’t get a message that says, “Hey, Lori hates your guts, you’ve been deleted.”, but eventually they might notice they’re not seeing posts from you anymore. And if they're ambitious enough (this is doubtful considering they’re facebookers) they can double check their friend list to see if you’re gone. Here’s a hint to the un-friended... If you find yourself in this situation... meaning someone’s mysteriously disappeared from your friend list... move on. Save your dignity. Don’t re-friend. Please. It’s awkward and for the most part, it wasn’t any kind of glitch.

You can choose to "like" someone's post or comments and I like that feature. But I think there need to be a few additions to the like: unlike, don't like, you suck. And the other day, on facebook no less, someone suggested a 'bitchslap' option. I support that.

There’s another interesting feature on facebook that not many people use. It’s called “The Poke”. Facebook won’t even explain what this is supposed to be. But honestly, I’m glad they won’t. It leaves the decision up to the user. So here are my suggestions for using the poke.

In anger: as a metaphorical poke in the eye... It’s all fun and games until someone gets poked!

As a pick up line: How you doin’, interested in a poke?

In friendship: pokity poke poke... You know, like that annoying friend (me) who’s always elbowing you at the movies.

In comfort or joy: Poke = Hug. In the way that guys kind of nudge each other when they want to show support.

Being playful: Like: Poke! You're it.

It’s really a versatile tool. I'm a fan of the poke in almost any context. Well, I've gotta get back to facebook and let everyone know I've just blogged about something.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pickles & Prohibition are for the Birds

I’m blessed to have known my grandparents on my mother’s side. I’ve probably spent more time with them than with anyone else in my life. My grandpa passed away several years ago, but my grandma, who is now in her 80’s is a regular part of my life. I learned a lot about life from the two of them, but in this post, I’m going to concentrate on my grandma. My grandpa deserves a post he can call his own.

First, my grandma is a great cook. She’s made several tons of comfort food throughout her life, feeding anyone who would eat. Even feeding me when I didn’t want or need to eat. It’s her way of showing people they’re loved. It can be a little frustrating, especially if you’re round like me, but it’s also really lovely. There’s nothing like a good bowl of homemade clam chowder with real cream and butter and a freshly baked loaf of bread to make you feel like someone cares. Even though she’s good at making just about anything, my grandma is actually famous for her dill pickles. I call them “poignant pickles” because they're a mixture of so many things.

She gives a jar to random strangers when she feels like it and of course always shares with her family. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “I ate that entire quart jar of pickles in one sitting, they were excellent.” or “Can you get me some more of those pickles.” Our family attorney has even settled the bill in pickles... they have to be good right?

I’m not going to share the recipe here even though my grandma would say it wouldn’t make any difference. She says her pickles are special because of the water she uses. It’s well water from the place her and my grandpa built together in 1967. She still lives there and swears that the well water is full of the right combination of minerals which in turn affects the flavor and crispness of the pickles. She’s shared the recipe with others and they never have the same result, so she could be right about the water. However, I prefer to think my grandma’s secret ingredient is a little magic. She puts a lot of love into everything she makes and I think that's what makes the pickles so special.

My grandma is also a little quirky. Sometimes... a LOT quirky, okay? She’s scared to death that I will quit my job to be a full time artist because the job means security. But my grandma risked everything in the early 1960’s to start her own beauty salon. In fact, she had a successful business for 43 years and finally retired when she was 78 years old. She also encouraged my grandpa to take risks. Before video rental was the norm, she suggested they think about starting a video store. He declined. She also suggested he buy a truck and do water-hauling for outlying communities operating cisterns, this would have also been a very good business in our area. But, he declined. Here’s the paradox: my grandpa never took a risk but always encouraged me to do what made me happy no matter what it was, even art. My grandma always took risks and doesn’t want me to leave my steady paycheck. Now you know why I’m confused most of the time.

My grandma also uses quirky turns of phrase. Anytime we were considering adopting a new dog or cat, she would say we should check the “pond” not the pound. I’m honestly not sure where that came from, probably just pronunciation, but it makes me laugh every time I hear it. When we’d watch the news together about someone who committed a crime and was getting probation, she would refer to it as “prohibition”. “He’ll probably only get prohibition...”, she would say.  Also not sure where that came from, but hilarious. It’s the little things that people do that make you love them.

And finally, my grandma loves the birds. She’s an honest to goodness “mother nature” figure even though she still wears bright pink lip stick and dyes her hair platinum blonde.  She’s in her 80‘s now. Like me, she loves to plant things, to dig in the dirt and sit in the yard and watch the birds. This connection or similarity I have to her was something I didn’t fully appreciate until the last year or so. It’s because of her that I love these things as well. Don’t get me wrong, my grandma can be “scary hell on wheels” and stubborn as a goat, but she can also be gentle and kind and full of heart. I’ve watched her nurse kittens with eyedroppers and hold broken birds tenderly in her hands. She looks at flowers like she can actually see God in them.  And she can grow nearly anything. And even though she fought with my grandpa over almost everything, she loved him with all her heart. And he loved her back.

Some time after he passed, we were talking about her “ladies”, her friends and customers from the beauty shop. She said a lot of them were on the look out for boyfriends at the senior center. First of all, they were all ages 70 and above and I thought this was adorable. In fact, I thought “maybe there’s hope for me yet!” But I wondered if she was trying to covertly ask permission to date maybe thinking it would offend her daughters or grandchildren. I told her that if she wanted to find a companion that it was her business and that no one should hold that against her. That I wouldn’t hold it against her. It was only natural and she deserved to be happy. She said something that I will never forget. “Why would I want a boyfriend? I had my love. That’s all I need.” Yes, grandma, it turns out, that’s something else I got from you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm a Little Fringe-y

[Dedicated to Jim Thomsen]

So, I know I talk a lot about Vikings and manly men and yes, they do make me a little weak in the knees, but funny or quirky is equally attractive. I’ve never really been into the perfectly coiffed preppie, at any age. I appreciate that type of manly beauty as an artist, but don’t really see them as mate material, at least for me. In fact, when I see a man with perfect hair (you’ll see this in the upcoming “Rules to Live By” blog) or a perfect suit, I want to push them into a puddle or mess up their hair. It’s a nearly uncontrollable urge! But I also like my freedom, so I refrain from showing my crazy in public.

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I actually dated a young Republican once. He was in college, I was finishing high school. I felt very cool dating an older “man”, who were we kidding. And he was a really great guy. I did genuinely like  him. He’s married and happy now, I’m sure. And that’s good. At the time I thought I was also a young Republican, but it turns out I was just confused. I realized this when a friend, who coincidentally was voted “most likely to overthrow the government” sat me down in her basement to read me the Democratic Platform.  It’s only recently that I’ve truly embraced my fringe-y nature.

Why am I “fringe-y”. Well, I love pretty much anything alternative. It’s just more interesting. UFO nuts, Goth & Emo freaks, wiccans & pagans... Buddhists. I’m just teasing about the last one being alternative, but sometimes here in the agri-business capital, Buddhism IS alternative. Which ultimately makes me... really weird.

I actually started thinking about this because a new friend on facebook posted a picture of a pile of magazines containing a UFO enthusiast publication. (Thank you Jim) There’s a magazine for everything, right? I bet there’s a magazine for people who wear black shoes on Tuesday. Really! Anyway, he posted the image with a “Would you date this person?” comment. Behind the UFO mag was a copy of Men’s Health.

I have to say, I’d much rather spend time with an obsessed X-Files fan... even an alleged “abductee” than someone who talks about their abs all night... or their ass for that matter. Give me looney or give me death, they’re just more interesting.

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I dated a very nice stock broker once. We were sitting at a table, having a drink and he was chattering away about the Market and I had to think for a second about which market he was talking... When it finally came to me, I had lost track of the conversation and as I was trying desperately to catch up, I also realized that I had completely and utterly forgotten his name. Not really a good sign when you forget your date’s name. I don’t usually worry too much about this, because I forget names all the time. I never forget a face or conversations that I have with people... unless we’re talking about the stock market... Anyway, I had to do some creative word association in order to find it again, but managed to do so before the “good nights”.

I’m not good at “good nights”, either. They’re just awkward. You know what I mean. You’re wondering how it went, if you’re hair needs a comb, if you’ve got spinach in your teeth or if you said something stupid. I’ve resigned myself to just knowing I’ve said something stupid... probably more than one thing, actually. And of course the elephant in the room is the “to kiss or not to kiss” question.

Now, I’ve said this before, but I'm an extremely independent woman. In fact, I can be a little bullozer-y if I have a strong opinion. But I will not, under any circumstances initiate the good night kiss. I just can’t. It’s not in my DNA. I feel like a total bonehead and I am suicidally afraid of rejection. Besides, that’s a “man’s job”...  and that will be the ONLY time you hear me say “that’s a man’s job”. I  can’t believe I even said it, but it’s true. That’s how I feel about it. Like I said, I like the manly Viking/caveman approach. But I also like funny and smart, so this presents a dilemma.

I’ve decided that I will write a description for my future mate. I’m going to write it like a personal ad, but just so you know, I wouldn’t ever actually run it. Here goes:

Strong independent woman, willing to bring home the bacon for a progressive Viking who does laundry, dishes and has a clever wit. Must love dogs and a curvy woman. [Lumpy might be a better word here, but this is on the fringe of fiction, so what the hell.] Math & computer skills appreciated. Must be willing to go topless (jeep reference) and a kilt would be a bonus.

Well, there you go. It's out there in the universe now... let's see what happens ;)