Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pin-up Girls

It took awhile to get ramped up, but I've now joined the rest of America as a fellow Pinterest addict. On the upside, it's a great way to currate the many things we browse on the Internet, to further deter me from purchasing or subscribing to magazines (sorry magazines, I feel bad about that, but really, I just don't have time to read you), and to collect ideas. The creativity cascading down my feed is astounding.

On the flip side, tho, let's face it, Pinterest becomes another version of pornography: fantasy homes, crafts, products, stunning weddings, amazing child nursery decor, fancy food. I'm wondering how many projects actually get done. A long time ago, I attended a conference panel where the publisher of Sunset presented. And, she said that they did a study and the difference between Sunset Magazine and Martha Stewart's Living was that the Sunset readers did the projects. So, all you Living subscribers--you're nothing but porn addicts.

I decided to try and do some of the projects. I am truly inspired by what I'm seeing.

First, I decided to clean my house and take some photos. I love it when my house is clean. It just seems to go from clean to wreck rather fast.

Here's the main areas all tidy and looking fun and fab:

Here's our little living room. Except for the rug and the couch, the rest of the items were found on the street, purchased at garage sales or flea markets, or, as in the Chinese Checkers and the Chagall print, gifted. I love colors. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The globe is part of my growing globe collection and I got that red chair for $20 at the Alameda Antiques Faire.

We were given this piano a few year ago. So far, no one in the house has risen up as the next Mozart, but we can still dream. Up until a few days ago, we had a bench, but it was "Goldilocksed" by a gaggle of 6-year-olds during my daughter's birthday party. More on this in a bit...

 I lucked out when I saw this idea on Apartment Therapy. I added it to Pinterest and then remembered I had an old suitcase in the garage. The AT idea was for books. I stuck some games in it.

Another Apartment Therapy idea: make stripes on a wall using masking tape. I found some orange tape for cheap on Amazon and here's what greets you after I open our red door and welcome you in. You're peeking into my dining room, too. (Old china cabinet, given to me. All the stuff on top: flea market. The print is a Mark Ryden gyclee print, "Jajo, Patron Saint of Clowns." It was my husband's gift to me on our second anniversary (it's the paper year, so that was pretty clever of him!).

Pinterest also inpsired me to declutter. This god-awful bookcase also collects a lot of crap. I woke up on Sunday and got rid of a bunch of books on Freecycle and pulled out that little drawer thing to store paper and art supplies for the kids.

Ah, a clean kitchen. I live in this room. Most of the time, I like that.

Here's our little dining room. I found the sideboard at an estate sale for $50. It's from the 60s, I think and my West Virginia Glass Company collection of Blendo fits in nicely! I have this mish-mash of wooden chairs that will get painted soon. Very soon.

Now, back to the piano. So, the little princesses broke my bench to smithereens. In their defense, it was very close to falling apart and I'm just glad no one got hurt. But, my daughter just started taking an interest in the piano so I wanted a new bench. Not easy to find a vintage piano bench. I imagine they are pretty abused and go long before the piano. I have been looking for some time. I finally found one for about $40 (more than I wanted, but oh well). When I got it, it was kind of messed up.

No before picture. I was too impatient.

I bought some foam and batting and dug out a can of yellow spray paint and a fabric remnant I've been hoping to use.

My inspiration was this:

To see how it's really done, you can find the whole post here.

And my result was this:

 I'm pretty pleased, as long as I don't use my glasses to check out the photo.

So, here's to actually doing some of those inspirational projects found on Pinterest!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nice Work If You Can Get It

After merely treading lightly in the work world for the last couple of years, given the state of the economy, I have finally started shopping around for more work. It's been weird to step back and look at my skills and assess what it is that I want to do. I'm surprised about where I'm netting out.

I think I'm ready for this commute.

I was so caught up with the idea of doing something "creative." For so long, I slammed out production and project management tasks while wishing for my big break, I couldn't see straight. I questioned myself. I never had the confidence to go for anything. And, to me, not being a "creative" meant I was nothing more than some sort of parasite.

I once won a Caples Award for some copy I did...and I was a production manager at the time.

I've changed my tune lately. For one, I'm more practical than I use to be. I love writing, but doing it for my day job is less important to me now. They cynic in me says that working for the man is working for the man no matter what you do. Ad copy, business writing, and the lot of it is a soul-sucking endeavor--hardly the type of writing I want to do. But, the more composed, older, mature and seasoned me has come to realize that it's fun to work with a team and get projects done. Schedules, planning, getting different types of people to agree, pleasing a client, and putting out fires is creative also, and for so long I did a pretty good job at those things.

Surprisingly, parenthood has given me some new skills that easily apply toward project management. I have to be more organized in my entire life these days. I know how to compartmentalize my tasks. I am not as surprised as I used to be by life's little glitches. And, well, no matter what, it will never be brain surgery.

Parenting, herding cats, project management. It's all the same.

So, the job hunting season is upon me. My resume is circulating. I'm talking to people. I have my list of things I want out of a job and despite the continual dismal reports of the job market, I'm feeling hopeful. The tech industry is HOPPING right now and I live right in the middle of it. I'd be stupid to pass up opportunities.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Move along, Nothing to See Here

My goal as I write this blog is to give the universe bad writing, incomplete thoughts, stupid ideas and my take on my mundane life. I've spent so much time and energy wanting some perfect genius to spring from my computer, onto a canvas, or as I get sworn into a political office where I will lead us to a better world.

I think the only thing I've accomplished is to just drive around with a proverbial load of horseshit.

I realize that these are mules and not horses. But, hopefully you get the idea.

Now that I know I will not be the voice of my generation, hang my art in some great gallery, sing with a band, or do any of the other things I thought my enormous brain, my writing, my art, and my unique (hahaha) political philosophy, I need to just retire. I'm done with all that.

It's time to create for me. My own well-being depends on it and it's high time I get into shape.

Therapy through the years has allowed me to clear away some really crappy psychological clutter and I'm trying to upgrade a bit. One thing that I have a problem with is fighting my inner judge. This judge puts Judge Judy to shame with it's wit and it's forceful truths and leaves me stranded and drowning in unfinished business. So, it's time to shift my way of looking at my desires to do something creative and have fun.

At one time, I held so much promise.

There are three things that alleviate stress in my daily life: writing, creating art, and exercise. How weird to realize this. The problem all along is when I did these things with specific goals in mind, I hated them and these were the things I always put on the back burner thinking that if they weren't tied to big goals, then surely they were a waste of time.

I decided to take a more spiritual approach and do those things simply to do them. No strings attached.

So, here is where I practice my writing. It is mostly bad, definitely unedited, and stripped of any pretension. I merely want to write, to blog, to screw around on blogger. That is all.

I will also be putting some art into practice as well as exercise. All at a base level. I just know now that I need to do these things just for me. It's an experiment. We'll see what happens.

I think I was more creative when I made fun of death.

Some of my best ideas involved dressing up for theme parties.

Attitude and a good haircut was all I needed at one time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


My mom was here last week for a bunch of family events, but we had time to check out the 1968 exhibit at the Oakland Museum. I knew I'd love the history of it, but it was better than I expected. Loved what was curated and they did such a good job of conveying the them of how things changed radically and how this change was brought into the living rooms of America. Such a fascinating time and it turns out, many of my favorite films came out that year in including the original "The Producers."

When you walk in, you enter a 1960s living room with TV and a giant Huey sitting there.

The details were just amazing. Loved the crafted lampshade with the floral print and rick-rack.

I so wanted a Mrs. Beasley doll. I remember watching "A Family Affair" in prime time (gah, I'm old). I also wanted to live in a high rise apartment and have my own Mr. French.

The artifacts were TO DIE for. Seriously. Those pins. The sunglasses. The groovy wallpaper. Want!

Man on man on man.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My blogs are scattered like ashes...

I'm nothing special, but I am still kinda fun.

There is one constant about me that I have figured out. I love ideas and starting things, but sticking to them. Well, that's another story. At this point, the only thing that I seemed to have stuck with for a long period of time is my marriage.

I have been trying too hard to blog and after going back and reading this one, I'm thinking I need to get off my high horse and kill my stupid dreams of somehow becoming famous by blogging on some specific thing. I'm not hip. I'm not an expert on anything and I've never just had any sort of hyper focus on anything to really follow the prescribed idea of what blogs should be.

So to hell with that.

At one time, long ago in the early days of the internet and email, I got a job in San Francisco and started writing weekly emails to my friends and family. I'm truly astounded at how unselfconsciously I wrote. Even to the point where I'm kind of freaked out at how open and honest I was in those emails. But, I look back and think it was some of my best, kick ass writing ever.

Now that I'm slumping through middle age, I need to just say shit. And that's what I'm going to do. So, goodbye food blog, and the one that is sort of a cool mom's night out blog. So long to my dreams of blogging about being a moderate liberal who thinks it's all bs.

I need to just observe and write and stop trying to be the voice of my generation. All I have are my words. I'll scatter them across the virtual world and let them float away into binary code infinity.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Texas Style

We had a great Thanksgiving in Texas with my brother's family. The kids loved being with the cousins and we ate great food, watched a lot of football, and came home well-rested and ready for the next leg of the holiday season.
Houston holds a really cute Thanksgiving Day parade complete with floats, marching bands, low riders, and balloons.

Don't the kids look so cozy posing next to the big tree in their summer clothes?

This red swing hung beautifully in the museum district near the Mark Rothko Chapel.

The Houston Children's Museum is wonderful. The kids did NOT want to leave. Not even to eat or go to the bathroom!

On Tuesday, prior to Thanksgiving, we joined the Landrys' for gingerbread makin'.

We grabbed a little inner peace at the Mark Rothko Chapel. Such a great little spot in Houston.

Our little astronauts got to play at NASA Space Center, too!

This boy Elroy is a bit wary of his helmet!

No Thanksgiving is complete without a visit from the ice cream truck to beat the November heat!

My dad made this cool game based on what is apparently a traditional Texas pastime: the game "Washers." The rules seem to have a lot of flexibility. It should be called "Diplomacy" given the amount of debate and negotiation that takes place in the constant revising of the rules.

My brother's tailgate buddies brought all their gear and we sat in the driveway with outdoor TVs and ate. A lot. Armadillo Eggs, cranberry salsa, nachos, shrimp wrapped in bacon, chicken in white sauce. Yum. Who needs veggies?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Playing Tourist (origins)

I grew up in a small, small, small town in rural south Louisiana. It was probably better than your average small town because we were Cajun and felt somewhat special, somewhat insecure, somewhat isolated. We ate different food. We talked funny.

One summer, my daddy said that if we can spend all that money and time exploring other states, we should do it in our own state. We spent our family vacation driving around Louisiana. I will never forget that trip. I was around 9 or 10 and we set off on a week long journey through the Sportsman's Paradise.

It was fun to be familiar and unfamiliar with the place simultaneously. We drove West to Lake Charles, the Acadian Parishes, up toward Toledo Bend, to Shreveport and Bossier City, Monroe, down through Central Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Hammond. We left out New Orleans and our swampy homeland because we covered those areas on Sunday drives and weekends.

I loved the antebellum homes. I remember seeing the beautiful False River. We visited the Monroe Zoo and an Acadian Village. At Shadows on the Teche, I was reprimanded by a stern docent for touching a piece of furniture. I leaned on a chair, rapt in the docent's story and she called me out. My mother, not one for sticking up for me when I got in trouble, was really mad.

We stayed at a tiny dive motel in the town of Many and I saw my first ever vibrating bed.

Our state was just as interesting as other places in the country, we learned. We saw gardens, met people, learned about our history and the physical act of riding those roads helped me in later years because if you told me you were from even the dinkiest town in Louisiana, even when I was in college, I could almost always say I had been through there once.

My parents loved doing this sort of thing out of shear curiosity. No hipster ideals. No desire to check things off a list. They simply felt it was important to know your own place. Dining at mom and pop restaurants was a way of life and it shaped me in the years to come. I don't seek out the out of the way spots to "be cool." I honestly enjoy it and am interested in it.

I think we need to keep that spirit of the open road, of getting there, rather then being there. Stop thinking of rural areas or the middle of the country as places you drive through, gas up, or worse, fly over. If we're going to burn fossil fuels in this country, at least let's use it for good reason...to connect, to learn, to explore.