Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Talk

I haven't discussed this in a long while, probably over a year, so it'll be news to my newer readers as well as a Public Service Announcement for others.

I guess I'm practicing. The reason I am broaching the subject now is because I need to have The Talk with my Indian friend tomorrow night. She's invited me to go away. She stated herself that she realizes the intentions that implies. It's forcing my hand, though, to tell her that I have herpes. I can't accept her kind offer (which she even later said it'd be her treat) without me being honest.

I've had it for 25 years, since my Senior year of college, and it is something I am always honest about, but there is always a timing consideration. If dating isn't going to lead to sex or anything else, I have no need to tell, although some people tell on or before the first date. If it looks like it's going that direction, I have to tell and I must do it in advance. It is not a good horizontal confession made during the heat of battle.

There are several factors at play. Approximately 25% of the population has herpes. The thing is that 90% of them don't know it or they pretend to not know that ingrown hair which keeps coming up must be something else. People are lucky with me in that I know it and will talk about it.

With so many people having herpes, there's always the chance that I'll get a, "Me, too!" in response. With the people who don't know they have it, it gets trickier. It is important for anyone with herpes who is going to engage in sex with a person of unknown status to have that person get tested; about 23% of the time the result will be positive. Remember, a routine STD panel does not test for herpes, so you have to specifically ask for it and that's a contributing factor to people not knowing. With these safe guards in place, though, the person cannot blame the new sexual partner for something that was pre-existing if an outbreak occurs. Further, fears about transmission are unfounded if positive.

With condoms and Valtrex, there is only a 1% transmission rate and it's seen as practically a cure. I, myself, prefer dating in the herpes community so I don't have to worry either about The Talk or potential transmission. Several men I've dated treated me different as sexual partners and that is insulting; one man even told me after we'd dated, "Cricket, I would have married you, if not for the herpes." Funny, I wouldn't have married any of them. I am much more a person than a silly rash.

Herpes is a skin virus. It has this strange stigma that is undeserved. It doesn't mean I'm dirty or promiscuous. It means I caught a virus, like a cold, that chose to live in a ganglion instead of going away. If you're interested in reading more, Good Virus Bad Virus is a good place to start. Just playing percentages, a hand full of my regular readers have it, whether they know it or not.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good surprise

No scavengering. No show and telling. Well, maybe some telling.

I feel bad I don't have posts in me and I'm sure you're all heartbroken at the lack. bah

Been busy in a good way.

I learned that CDs are picky things to make and you can send them off empty to be juried into a gallery. However, they seem very cooperative, because everything you wanted there looked like it was there. Didn't know stuff didn't stick until you burned it. Windows is so confusing.

I did a pastel yesterday in my quest to do one each week. I really don't know how all those Painting A Day For A Year people do it; I could even eek out a little blog entry daily for a year, although I did come close.

Like I showed the other day, clouds are fascinating me. I like the clouds between the hurricanes, I guess. Was supposed to volunteer and paint at a festival, but prior to the time I'd had have to leave, it was cloudy and the ground was still wet from the night rains. Of course, it turned out to be a decent day, but I couldn't take the risk, especially with J in tow and a couple hours of driving. So instead, I went to a nearby park and we spent several hours poking around. He brought the laptop and watched movies, which bore such irony for me.

My version of this scene lacks the picnic tables, trash can, fence, kid, computer, and middle tree. Other than that, it looks just.like.this. (You're supposed to be laughing.) I'm working a little more on it before I do a reveal.

On another front, I have had two dates with a lady from India (she's been here 30 years) and will see her next Wednesday, too. She is living here as a companion to her father after her mother died. He wants her here and she's biding time, itching to go back to LA. With neither one of us really wanting a big relationship, it suits. She has two brothers in the area as well. None know of her sexual orientation, but she figures they suspect.

We both appreciate Chinese Astrology. She is absolutely an Earth Dog and I am absolutely a Water Tiger. We're destined to get along beautifully and be best friends. I don't believe in all that astrology crap, but sometimes it's sounds right. She is very quiet, unassuming, and genteel.

She went to art school and took up graphic design. She's been the Director of Art for a couple big name magazines you've definitely heard of. In LA, she was friends with some big names, to include people working with the movies. Friday at lunch, she told me she's going to a premier in NYC in a month. I made a big fuss over it, how much fun and fancy a premier would be, but she said she has a closet full of Indian dresses and they're pretty versatile for stuff like this. She said she'd been to a bunch in LA, but this is special because it's her friend.

She emailed me this evening and asked me to go to the premier with her! She'd just need to get another ticket; the hotel is paid for. Oh my!

She didn't say the date, so I don't know if it's a weekend I'm not parenting. I haven't emailed back yet. I have no money to be lavish or to buy premier-worthy clothes; I'm balking over a few hundred on a workshop in three weeks. She said NYC premiers are less a big deal than LA, but goodness! This film friend has movies I'd actually heard of and seen.

So I must think about it, but I must do so quickly to get a ticket. I need to get over feeling like a bumpkin.

What a curve. What a sparkly, flowing, silky curve.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm a ding bat sometimes

I began on meds for ADD yesterday.

I felt absolutely nothing different physically or mentally, except to say I spent the entire day devoted to one task and I have an incredible new art blog to show for it! I put together about two dozen entries, researched and backdated them, wrote little stories about them, plus created a sidebar with links, bio, etc.


I still have more paintings to feature, but they'll require some photography.

Perhaps one day, I'll feel confident enough to let my blogging worlds overlap. My blog used to be so much racier and full of drama, to where it mattered if people I knew/loved read it. As it is, I guess I'd rather not reveal lifestyle changes to those who don't need to know.

In the mean time, I will be ditzy, you know, one of those ADD symptoms, and be signed in over on that account and comment on your blog, because you know how I love you.

Do me a few favors:
  1. Delete my errant comment from your blog completely.
  2. Feel free to visit and stroll through the art and stories.
  3. Comment, as long as you do it without the clicky stuff leading to your blog, where I've probably commented and am on your blogroll. Go anon and then sign your name. Or something.
  4. Feed my paranoia and compartmentalized life.
  5. Don't stalk me.
Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Decadence - what a fun word AND concept.

I'm all for simple pleasures and last week I engaged in one. I bought Bon Maman's Four Fruit Preserves.

Not only is it delicious, I am allergic to the strawberries in it and I don't care! Quelle decadence! Strawberries are my greatest forbidden fruit (hehe) and I partake of them quite infrequently, but I was in the mood to live on the edge. (I knew wouldn't have a reaction to strawberries unless I ate a tub or two.)

Next, I want to get some Marionberry from Oregon Berries. Isn't that hilarious? Marionberry!

And I want to buy some pear preserves. My grandmother who is in the nursing home due to Alzheimer's made the best pear preserves with tender but firm chunks of pears. Over the summer, I purchased a pear-lemon rind preserves in Williamsburg, but the lemon was overwhelming. In the mountains, I got a pear-cinnamon variety, but again the pureness of the pears did not shine. Amazon and Hillshire Farms carry some with pears alone, so I might begin a journey for some pear-only preserves. Years ago, I used my grandmother's recipe for making some, but mine were nothing like hers. I don't expect to find hers ever again, but it sure would be nice to get close.

The quest for pear preserves - my journey in decadence. What's yours?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Scavenger Hunt: Red

Tara chose red as the word of the day.

Ha! I look good in red, just like I look good in blue! What a wonky smile! hehe

When I get this face, I see red. Oh yeah, he has red hair. Is there a relationship?

The festival last weekend was so colorful and beautiful. In this shot, the red flag matches the origin of the dancers. The fan dance they did was about a fairy.

Enjoy your red-inspired day - nice, warm fuzzies, not blinding anger, that is.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Atmospheric display

Today the clouds were putting on a show. I was driving home from the store and was motivated to hurry and paint before J got home from school. I had to do pastels, because oils take so long to set up and paint, and I don't usually do skies in pastel. This was fun, though. I want to try it again with big, muddled up clouds. Wish you could see it from across the room, because it glows and has such depth. Squint your eyes at it to get a similar effect.

I can see where I was motivated by the painting I liked at the museum this summer - same swatch of ground glowing under a busy sky.

After I paint, I often think to myself that this piece would not be here if I didn't create it today. I like that feeling of catching something transient.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008


I came home on Friday to find this guy on my door. Luckily, I had my camera with me. I especially liked his fall coloring, but mostly I liked that he had the ability to turn his head and look directly back at me. It was eerie.

Okay, I would have freaked if he decided to fly or jump or whatever.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Being rearended last week earned me $575. Who da thunk?

There were some tiny scratches on the bumper and I told her that I had no clue if there were there already or not. That was worth $325.

For my injuries, which didn't really pan out, I got $250.

I should get hit more often.

Made me giggle

Of course I have a political slant, but I don't usually blog about it.

This is a good one, though, because I absolutely love naming new kids cats.

What would Sarah Palen name you? She named her own Trig, Track, Willow, Bristol, and Piper.

I would have been Warthog Mustache Palin.

Makes me glad for my mother for once.

J's would have been good, though: Chalk Reflections Palin. Heck, I almost named him that myself.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sounds of the creek

My Show N Tell is about my painting from yesterday.

Yesterday was so much fun, we were at the festival from 9:30-4:30. It was my son's initiative, as I was ready to leave at many points because of the heat.

During the morning hours, I painted with the artist group. I forgot about painting with watercolor and how quickly you can crank them out. All the others were watercolorists and all but one had several to share at the end.

I started one and became quite disillusioned with it - I hate doing closed in foliage with no air to breath - so I moved where everybody else was and caught one of the creek.

I really like the geometry of this piece. I think I have a male eye sometimes, using more lines than circles.

A fellow painter, early in the process, remarked how colorful it is. I said I like using color, but I wasn't sure if it was a compliment or not. When I was near finishing, she then remarked how I should frame this one.

Paintings are funny beasts. When you catch them mid-way, you think they're a bit wonky, but then they come into themselves. They go through ugly stages. This one is a little bit larger than 5x7, so it's relatively small; I only worked on it an hour on site.

I did work on this one a bit at home, maybe 30 minutes. I ran out of time on site. I think I'm changing my rule of not touching a painting after I leave the setting. Sometimes it makes good sense.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Scavenger Hunt: Hairy

If I had realized that the chosen word could be your blog name, I'd have loved to see everyone squirm with "churp." Or even better, "crap." A big "very clever" goes out to the Mrs.

I took these pictures today; what a great time we had. The first two images seem like they should be hairy and the last has two versions of hairy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday

to my 11 year old little man!

We ate dinner at Red Lobster and needed wheelchairs getting out.
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fondling the tail

My head hurts, my feet stink, yada yada.

Yesterday afternoon, after finally getting the right sizes jeans at Old Navy for J, as I was on my way home to meet his bus, I got rear ended. It was my first accident since 1982, when a crazy woman sideswiped me.

I have this funny habit. I actually stop on a right on red. And I don't pull out if I might any way imped the oncoming traffic. I do think of right on red as my right to turn, but as my right to not be in the way of oncoming traffic. It had previously occurred to me that my by the book style of right on red would earn me a rearending.

I am very conservative in my right on reds and Mr. Kato, the driving teacher for ex and I and the whole county, would be proud. Ex and I would be forced into driving maneuvers and the skilled driver of the day would exclaim, "Mr. Kato would be proud!" I often see people and think to myself they should have had Mr. Kato. The man's been riding on my shoulder for over 30 years.

About yesterday, I am proud that the car didn't get pushed into oncoming traffic. I'd pulled up for a right on red. At this intersection, I was on a ramp, trying to get on a four lane road. Looking left, though, there's a tall chain link fence with a bunch of overgrowth; add to that, the road angles back and it's tough to see. You have to get right up to the edge of the corner to see around it all. The woman behind me didn't see me stop. Maybe she didn't know it's a tricky corner.

She was very polite. It was a relatively pleasant transaction. She let me use her phone, as I'd walked out without mine. J has a key to get in, but he didn't answer. Bugger.

My bumper does not appear damaged, but I'll find out next week for sure.

I'm mostly concerned, but not really, about my head, which hit the headrest twice. I had a headache immediately and it's migrated to the front as well. No damage to bumper, no air bags deployed, but she hit me very hard. The change holder released its contents and a mini-glove box I didn't know I had flew open. That was all around my left knee, which hurts, too.

Hopefully this will all go away in the next few days and I literally won't have to bother my pretty little head about it anymore.

Through this, I learned that I only have $2000 in medical coverage. In this case, anything could be filed with the other insurance. However, if I'd hit a tree in a single car accident, there'd only be $2000 for treatment (I don't think that'd even be per occupant?), yet the range available is only $500-25000. Just how much medical coverage is that anyway? I guess the assumption defaults to using a personal health insurance policy? I'm going to inquire about the cost to increase it. I'm thinking of it as just essentially covering copays.

Insurance is so confusing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Calling it quits

I've lost ground I don't think I want to make up. I've posted almost daily since October1, 2007. I cannot keep up the daily grind. I did fairly well until mid-summer, then a fun life got in the way.

I'm not a quitter, so I hate quitting, but I officially cannot keep it up.

I think I got a lot out of posting daily. It made me seek variety and look more deeply at the mundane. It's been a good record, although I found myself not saying all that I wanted to, because it was ongoing, but then I'd never get back to the summary.

If I left anything hanging, let me know.

Otherwise...Case closed.

PS - I am posting because I feel compelled to post, of course. I got a good start to September. Go figure. It's in my blood, but it'll work its way out.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Taking a stand

After idling away the day Saturday, a spitefully stormy weekend installment if I ever experienced one, I went out painting yesterday and came back with this...
Of course, it looks almost nothing like this, but it is the best I can manage in the photography department. When it gets less tacky, I go outside and get a better one in the sun, I hope. The masses of yellow flowers are more brilliant and the left/right balance in the sky color is more even.

With this painting, I finally realized that I have a thing about a stand of trees. Perhaps you've noticed. I painted some in pastel, but in the last two months, I have painted at least five more in oil.

I think I like them as a lonely front against the long tree line.

It's kinda hard to paint, to differentiate the front ones from the mass in the rear. Usually, you really can't see a big difference in color or value between the two sets. For this, I painted in the rest of the canvas, but used the palette knife on the front trees. It gives them a lovely, streaky gloppy feel with serious weight.

I used to be really good at leaving a plein air piece straight plein air. A purist. What happens outside, stays outside. In the last month, though, I've become a tweaker, a meth head artist who can't leave well enough alone. I don't know if I'm doing more harm than good, but I really hate it. Thing is, to go back and sign an oil, I have to get all the supplies out and one thing leads to another.

Today, I will be handcuffing myself not to fiddle with this one. I hope.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Day at the Museum

Today's Show N Tell is for the propagating of culture.

It was a fun day at the museum. At the medieval helmet display, I wanted it to look like there was a helmet on my head. Kinda missed the mark, but funny anyway. And classy.

I saw two paintings that I loved, the first and the last. I believe the pictures weren't flash, so don't get upset about the images.

These folds are to die for. It's basically only two colors. Up close, they look like blobs, but within a few feet, voila!

The bread was absolutely unreal. I wonder why they didn't call artists witches, because they sure can weave some magic.

This guy was one of the first plein air artists and this dates back to around 1840. The Impressionists were a generation after that.

This was my very favorite. The drama in the sky is so ballsy and the light patch on the ground is, well, magical.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturday Scavenger Hunt: One

Today's word is one, but I decided not to be a smart ass and just post one picture.The one tree in my front yard had to go. This one is a cool memorial.

My one offspring is a BobbleHead!

She was my one and only for so many years. Not one day goes by where I don't miss her.

I searched for just the right picture for one and no one stood out. This one actually has me stumped. Off to see others' take on it...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

On the road

Probably because I had a false start at the framer's, when the door was still locked and the phone was busy repeatedly, I had a lot of success yesterday.

Initially deciding to investigate other framers in this tiny, scenic town, I got referred to an artist's coop, but the woman manning the shop yesterday did stained glass, so could not help with framing. She referred me to another co-op and I am so glad she did. I found a watercolorist there manning the desk and she specializes in plein air work. She is president of a local artist's society and they go out each month to paint together.

And I learned that the co-op has an opening in October. She called the leader/owner of the co-op and raved about my work. I'm kinda stunned.

With a co-op, the artist must take two days a month to man the desk and try to sell art. They do not take a commission (usually 40% at a regular gallery), but they do charge $120/month. The artist is also required to attend a monthly meeting in which everyone's work is rotated.

To be juried in, it costs $75 and I have to submit pictures of six works completed in the last three years. Because it isn't specific, I guess that doesn't mean that the works have to be available. With me framing three pastels, I want to use them at the place I mentioned yesterday where I'll be an affiliated artist. If I'm rejected by that place, then I'll have them available for the co-op place.

To be juried in the other place (which is primary in my intentions), it's also $75. There is only a monthly fee of $25 for bin space, however they want four pieces for the walls initially, so I'll assume there is some routine wall space deal. When something sells, they take 40%.

I told the watercolorist that $120 a month wouldn't be easy to put out for me (not that I couldn't do it), saying that it would definitely be made up with the sale of a single painting, and I asked how it worked for her. She said she definitely does NOT make it up, that photography has been what's moving lately, and she figures it is equal to selling about three paintings a year. With the contract being for a year, she looks at the broad picture.

So I'd rather be juried into the more prestigious one and pay 40% than pay a big monthly fee, but I am considering the co-op fee just so that I am represented someplace.

I know how my brain and sensibilities work. The second this feels like a business, I will shut down.

One extra perk of meeting this watercolorist: she invited me to paint outside in a rather famous festival next weekend. J is going there on Friday (his birthday) with school and the artist's organization was invited to do plein air demos the next morning. I asked J if he would mind going two days in a row, then emailed the watercolorist that I'd like to participate. (I guess if you live around here, you know where to find me.)

Then I went to the framer and he was open this time. Like the watercolorist, he highly suggested having the stuff matted, as I'd considered doing it with just spacers and frame. Pastels flake and can muss up a mat, but matting gives much better presentation. He said that if I am trying to be juried I need to have mats. Made sense. Cost: $300; he gave me a 25% discount. Be ready next week.

He's very experienced with pastels and I feel confident in his work. I forgot to take pictures with my signature on the pieces, so today (sigh) I'm going back to take some pictures, although I have plenty of shots with no signature. I need to have them signed in my portfolio. I also figure that if I have bin space, I need something to put in it, so I need to have some prints and postcards made and things like that should be signed in the image.

I plan to start with this one:
The framer kind of caught his breath and called it pretty (like the guys looking at my painting a few weeks ago), when he didn't really have comments about the other two. Looking at it yesterday, I realized it's even prettier than its picture. I get so accustomed to seeing the digital image instead of the real one. (Maybe enlarging it would help?) But the digital will become a print and a card for some bins.

I might need your help. This all gets so complicated, but I am keeping the energy up. I am surprising myself by having both creative and business energy simultaneously. Much better that last year this time (September 3, to be specific, and I am hyper aware of it, worried it'd happen again) when I got the severe palsy in my legs, just zapping in from out of the blue, which wrecked my confidence completely and limited my social exposure. This year being a do over has taken many forms.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I want this

Yesterday was a momentous day, which lapped over into today.

I actually signed paintings.

I joke that I paint to a pile. I don't do stuff with my pastels b/c everything has to be professionally framed. So, if I don't have real plans for it, why sign?

Also, I've never been sure what to sign. I'd rather use my maiden name, but people know me by my married. Should I use all three names? Should I abbreviate? These are questions I've had for years.

When I was in college, I signed all those watercolors with the equivalent of Crick. When I was doing watercolors as a new mother, selling probably 75 of them, I signed with all three names.

Yesterday, I went with was was short: my first two initials and my last name.

I want to say that a trend should be carved in stone, but I'm hanging loose about it. If I change it, fine. As it is, it's not that many letters. I kind of feel like I'm rationalizing, because I still really don't know.

So, I was signing pastels and oils, the latter not being quite ripe enough yet for varnish and selling. I took three pastels to a framer recommend to me by my old pastel teacher. Of course, it was closed down. I decided to investigate an additional address I'd seen online, thinking they'd expanded, but they'd actually moved. But they were closed. So I'll go back today for more momentousness.

My push for this is my desire to be an affiliated artist for an arts center locally. I have to supply them four paintings ready for hanging, so that if I am juried in with my 18 other works done in the last two years which they see via CD, then they'll immediately put my stuff up for sale...and take 40% if it does sell.

It's a step in the right direction for me. I've always had the desire, just not the application. Now that this door has opened, I desperately want to be juried in, something I've never tried with a pastel or oil.

I want this.

This is Natural Bridge, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The painting is cut off because I, um, signed it, but I am happy with the painting. I am less happy with the photograph of the painting, as it came out a little harsh, harder than it is in real life. In the painting, the rocks glow and are central.

Natural Bridge is 500 million years old. It is actually the end of a two mile tunnel that all fell except for this section. It was eroded out by the very creek that goes by the base of the current formation.

So now you know. And I am on my way out to try to become a professional.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Crystal kit

When we were at the gift shop of some caverns a few weeks ago, J wanted to take on a science project.

This was our result after about a week. The larger rock stuck out of the solution a bit and the crystals proliferated after the water level fell from evaporation. It was strange that so much grew out of where there was so solution. Magic, I swear.
We let them grow undisturbed in the bathroom cabinet. I am just now realizing this space has gone unused!

Meanwhile, the water finally fell low enough for the smaller rock to grow; we turned the plastic box around for better viewing. It didn't do quite as well as the first rock, which filled in considerably, but I am surprised how well the smaller one did considering the time lapsed. Yesterday was after almost three weeks.

I'm not exactly sure what to do with this stuff now...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Skink stink

For mothers, toileting is not sacred. Even almost 11 years into this gig, it seems that the bathroom is the place to meet.

(Feed readers, click for video.)

After the maniacal laugh, the next words out of his mouth were, "Hey! Get up and we'll see if it can swim!"

So we did and it wiggled even faster in the cold water as it sunk to the bottom like a, um, never mind.