Friday, August 29, 2008

Critical Mess

Tonight we went out to a movie at Uptown and ran into (pardon the pun) Critical Mass, which is held in major cities at rush hour in major cities all over the world on the last Friday of the Month. I guess you could describe it as anarchic in that it has no leader, and it is not really supposed to be organized. It's just a bunch of bicyclicsts taking over the streets from cars to make the point that...oh, wait, it doesn't exactly have a point. Or each participant has their own reason for doing it. Oh, whatever. Being in my forties now, I see this as a silly thing that people in their 20's do. But we stopped our car in the middle of traffic and let the bikes swarm around us. I even rolled down my window and waved at the bikers coming at us in the side view mirror.

The funny thing is, the authorities have gotten bad press in the last few years for having altercations with participants in these events. So, this year, the Minneapolis police gave the bicyclers escorts(!) through intersections and stopped cars in their tracks (they were bike patrol, naturally, so stopping our car consisted of pointing and yelling at us "Stop your vehicle!" ) Now, I don't know about you, but this just seemed a bit silly to me. If you need a police escort to make your anarchic, unorganzed event a success, isn't that sort of defeating the whole spirit of the event? To make cars notice bicycles more? That's been an oft-touted reason for the event. Well, of course drivers are going to notice POLICE on bikes, duh. But are we going to notice bikes more when the police escorts are gone? I just don't think so. So be careful, bicyclers who think you've achieved sudden and lasting visibility. Don't get a false sense of confidence and get squished because that SUV should have noticed you.

I worry about you people! My husband rides his bike to work more than half the year, so don't think I'm just being cheeky. He was hit by a school bus a few years back and don't even get me started on careless, dangerous idiots driving school busses today. Back in the day, our school bus driver was a retired air force pilot. We feared her. And it was good.

Sunday, August 24, 2008 is harassing me

Does anyone join this? Is it worth it? It's kinda spendy. But I keep getting these annoying emails that "4 people searched for your name this week" or something similar. Well, of course I'm curious. Are they really looking for ME or is it someone with the same name? They are looking for my married name, so it's probably not me they want. But I can't find out unless I pay the fee. Is it my psycho ex? Is it Jimmy? Is it just the popular girls who are setting up a 25-year high school reunion? Would I go to one? I don't know. I went to a junior high school reunion several years ago and it was horrible. The only people I knew were a brother and sister who used to live across the street from us. And some people I hated back then and felt the same way when I saw them being all clique-y 20 years later. Ugh.

John, continued

Oops, I forgot another John in my life. This one is so early, I can't stand it. John Hartman in 2nd grade. 2nd grade? Is that even possible? What was I, like, 7? Well, I decided one day that I had to have him. Of course he didn't cooperate, boys that age never do. And what a name, huh, Hartman? Heart man. He was a tall, red-haired freckle-faced kid who bounced like Tigger when he walked. I think he was trying to emphasize how tall he was. I remember my Mom telling me much later about a conversation she had with the teacher, and how she didn't understand it either, but all the girls seemed to swoon over him. Including moi. That might have been when the John saga started, but I don't think so, I think it was still Jon my cousin first. So I was probably 5 when I glommed onto Jon. Why? Was I already programmed from the culture at that early age that I needed a man? I'd like to believe it was something more special than that. Destiny, like I said in my Jon, John, John post. It's a mystery.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Define Fine, as in Fine Art

We went to the Minnesota State Fair today, and I'll be posting pics later on that, as I took over 100 photos. God, I love digital cameras. Anyway, we saw the Fine Art show and I was very disappointed with the sparse showing of art quilts. There were several creative mixed media pieces, but no altered books. There were too many "clever" pieces, like the wire grid with rolled up dollars stuck in the grid to form the word "honesty." haha, I get it. Some of the dollars looked partially pulled out, like someone was thinking about stealing them, although I'm guessing they were probably glued in place that way. Yeah, funny, for about a second. And there was this ginormous photo on the back wall of a guy in the bathroom, a toilet paper roll behind him, and he's naked to the waist, or what you would call a waist if he had one. It was just putrid. I don't get the appeal of these big photos of ugly people in ugly settings. He wasn't even ugly enough to be interesting, he was just blah and I didn't want to see his gut or his bad hair, or the look on his face that said blah. Putrid, just putrid. Did any of you see this? I refused to take a picture of it.

Book Lists on my Sidebar

I just updated my two book lists on the sidebar, Books I'm Reading, and the other one about new art books. I was calling it New Books on Altered Art, but I changed it to Mixed Media Art, as I think that encompasses more of what I'm interested in. Of course I put all these book on my wish list on Paperback Swap...or if anyone wants to send me a giftie, pick from that list. My birthday is coming up in a month on September 29th.

I also added dates on these lists, so you'd know at least what month I updated them last. The new art books are not necessarily published this month, but they are all published in 2008.

I hope this will improve your experience reading my blog. I removed my "Amazon bookstore" because it's too much work to keep that thing updated and it's easier to just put up links to a few choice new books. And I do get a tiny credit if you click on my link to that book and end up buying it. No big whoop. I'm more interested in spreading the word about altered/mixed media art than I am in making a few bucks off links.

Jon, John, John

Okay, this has nothing to do with art, unless you think dreams are arty, and there's such a thing as love destiny. This post is more like one of my original posts, sort of romantic in an old style way.

Last night I had a long, involved dream about my cousin Jon, who I haven't seen in more than twenty years. I can't believe it's been that long. Actually it was about him and his mom and dad. I've guess they've been in my thoughts a lot lately because his mom just recently died, after battling cancer for several years.

In the dream I'm so happy to see Jon, because I never get to see him (often when his parents visited when I was a kid, he didn't come with, especially as he got older), and I've had a crush on him since I was about 8? 10? years old. He was (is) 2? 4? years older than me. I can't remember which, it seemed like a huge difference at the time. I remember my hot wheels racetrack box had a crooked heart with Carrie + Jon written on it. I think my sister used to tease me about my crush on him, like "he's your cousin, you can't have a crush on him, you weirdo." I don't think she said those words but that was the gist. But I was sure he was my destiny, somehow. I have had dreams about him for years and years, and I'm always trying to get him alone and be kissing him. It sounds silly, but hey, maybe it's a 10-year-old's version of lust. Am I saying this out loud? I can't believe I'm writing this.

Cut to high school. I'm in a horrible relationship with a possessive sex fiend who is a con artist so all my friends and family adore him. I feel totally trapped but getting out of the relationship seems impossible. Junior year we end up going to different high schools and I meet John McConnell, tuba player in band. He saves my life. Bless you, John McConnell, wherever you are. He's the only one who has the guts to tell me that that my boyfriend doesn't deserve me, and shouldn't treat me like he does. The way John treats me makes me ashamed of what I'm putting up with from my boyfriend. And it gives me the confidence to break up with him, which is very difficult. I'll never forget the letters John wrote me, I hope I still have them somewhere. He said he'd treat me like a princess. Yes, he wanted to be my boyfriend. I don't know why but I just wasn't attracted to him that way. And he took it like a man. And remained my friend.

Cut to my bad marraige and separation. I'm living with Karen, a sane friend who, like John Mcconnell, told me in no uncertain terms, that my husband was insane, and that I should not put up with him. Karen introduces me to another John, who she thinks is perfect for me. I don't go for him right away (probably a good sign, since I seem to be a magnet for possessive crazy losers).

Cut to now. I married John and we have a little girl and it's all good. Next month will be our twelve-year anniversary. Now for my whack theory. I think I was always destined to marry a John, to have a family with a John, I just didn't know which John. Was it Jon? I thought so when I was 8. I didn't think it was John McConnell. I didn't know it was this John, not at first, but it came about slowly. And now my destiny is fulfilled. I feel like such a dork admitting this, it's such a superstitious, fairy tale belief. But there it is, and I still believe in it.

And yes, I kissed Jon in the dream last night. Hey, it's just a dream.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

State Fair Photo Postcard Swap

Join my swap on Swap-Bot and share the glory of your state (or county) fair!! I look forward to the Minnesota State Fair every year like it's Christmas. There are so many things to capture on film, I love it. Here are a few examples: a baby skirt? With baby doll print and baby doll fringe? Freaky! Next is the Spam truck handing out free samples on Spam day (yes, Hormel is in Minnesota...). And finally the Midway at night. I am long past being able to ride on those spinny things, but I'm drawn to their shininess. Our state fair started today. We have our tickets and we're going this weekend. Charge up the camera batteries, honey!

Monday, August 11, 2008

No Dolls for Dad

I made this pillow for Dad for Father's Day. I didn't think he'd like a doll so much, and I knew he was having knee surgery soon and so I thought a little pillow would be nice. A manly pillow. Or at least a cowboy pillow. I didn't have enough of the blue fabric for both sides but that turned out to be a good thing because then I found the white fabric with the branding iron pattern, so I used that with the blue cowboy pattern it turned out nice. The brown fringe? I found it at a thrift store and immediately knew I had to have it. I thought about sewing it between the fabrics but I wanted to do a blanket stitch around the perimeter of the pillow, so I sewed it on after I turned the pillow right side out. It didn't lay the way I thought it would, but then I still think it looks neato, with the blanket stitch prominent on one side and the silly fringe on the other. Dad likes it and uses it for his head for naps in the recliner, so I think I succeeded. I like doing pillows.

Dottee for Mommy

Here is the dottee doll I made for my Mom for Mother's Day. Uh, yeah, it was a little late going out. But she likes it. I actually got the Mary Engelbreit fabric from her. I thought she was a little too cheery with that fabric, so I had to give her some attitude, hence the tongue sticking out and the eyebrows. Then I had a great time making her hair, braiding strips of novelty yarn together and then hot gluing them on. The big green tassel trim I used on the bottom of the doll not only hides the seam but when I picked it I thought of Carol Burnett wearing the drapes in her Gone With the Wind skit on her show many years ago. My mom and I used to watch that show together when I was a kid and I remember Mom laughing so hard at that skit, it was really fun. I wish I could find it somewhere, like on YouTube, but alas, I searched and couldn't find it. Anyway, I also made this doll a knitted shawl which you can see more of on the back than in front. I love making these little dolls.

Charmed with Charming Charms

These are 4 of the 20 charms I made for a group charm swap. The theme was supposed to be Zetti, which can be interpreted in so many ways, but it usually about some black and white contrast, or stripes, in the style of artist Teesha Moore. So my take was to use dominoes as my base, then I glued some fab Japanese paper on the back of the domino and Mod Podged it so it would be shiny. Then I used some copper wire and wrapped the domino around the edges, then twisted and curlicued it on top of the paper, adding some beads along the way. The wire is looped at the top of the domino so it can be attached to a bracelet or whatever. I was very pleased with how these turned out.