Thursday, November 30, 2006

That's What it Is

Today was an interesting day on a cerebral level. I am fortunate to have a very active imagination that allows me to go to many different worlds when I don't want to be in the present situation whether due to boredom, frustration, a just a need to go on a vacation in my head. Daydreaming gives us endless, colorful, and exciting possibilities that might never exist in the real world. My night times dreams are as vivid as my day dreams, only they are more surreal and unpredictable.

Today was filled with dreams on all levels. Right before i woke up I had a dream that I was going to get a massage from Marlon Brando. The YOUNG Marlon Brando. I googled him as a young man. He was hot. I was excited as someone had told me that he was quite interested in me. In my dream it didn't matter that I was married. It was he and I and everyone else was going to take a hike. I go into the room and there he is, in all his late life splendor; old, overweight, and in the dream he was missing his front teeth. I was so upset and freaked that it work me up, and I was pissed that what had the potential for some hot steamy romance got squashed. OK---WHICH ONE OF YOU NUNS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS!! WHOSE PAYBACK IS THIS?

I had a headache all day (no wonder) and a hard time shaking off the image. It was rather funny I thought, but had to shift gears in order to move the image along. The day does not allow me for much daydreaming but once in my studio I can go to another place and escape. I muse alot about relationships and romance and aging and keeping it fresh. About what I feel I am missing and what I have. And while I am doing some deep musing, one of my favorite musicians came on. And the verse that Mark Knoffler (Dire Straits) sang was "Everyone's looking for someone's arms to fall into, that's what it is."

Simple, poigant. As the Germans say PUNKT. I dug out this card as I knew it was the PERFECT image for that song. The thrill of romance, the power of lust and love. Falling into that incredible abyss of romance with beautiful men and women.

Only sometimes you fall on your face. But that's besides the point.

So I leave you with that as in my imagination I tumble and feel the warmth and the love of whatever or whoever I choose it to be.

That's what it is.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I tried sending my blog to the new beta blog site on google last night. I am not sure what happened, I am not even sure it is even on the new beta site. I am just glad my blog is back. All I know is that for a 24 hour period I could not access my blog. Things changed, names, passwords, ways to get there etc. and I lost it. I broke down and cried. I have been blogging faithfully since the summer and had put tons of time and energy into it, only to lose it in cyberspace?! A tekkie told me that once in a while they escape and go partying. Well, I don't care where my blog went as long as it is back, like a wayward child, safe and sound.

Speaking of wayward children, this is a picture of both of my children before they joined the military. Yes, I know it is blurry. My husband is a photographer and out of the whole role of film, this was his favorite shot. Sometimes he throws things out of focus on purpose. This has an eerieness and an impermanance to it. Megan, my daughter, is on the right. She looks like a baby. She was about to go into boot camp for the Army. Never would we realize she would end up in Iraq, pregnant, and now have cancer. Will is on the left. Look at his eyes. He joined the Air Force a bit later. He did not last. Perhaps he was the smarter of the two.

I cannot look back, I cannot look forward; I maintain a steady course in the present. Megan has started chemo. It is too early to tell how she will react to it. Will is employed for some 4-5 months now and has a room in a nice house. I never know when the other proverbial shoe is going to fall, but I take each day a ginger step at a time.

I was in the craft store today buying chain for these fabulous wood dolls that I have made for the show, and they were playing upbeat Christmas carols. I thought of my daughter starting her chemo and I started to cry behind the garland. I quickly composed myself and continued on as if nothing happened. Everyone has sorrow and pain. That is what life is made out of. It is also made of laughter and joy and I have to hold that close to my heart when I start to crumble.

I have lots of work to do but when I found my blog I had to dash off an entry. It felt like an old friend or lover had returned to me. Ah, the joy of simple things.

Till tomrorow, Patti

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Holiday Edition of Getting to Know You

My friend forwarded me the 2006 Holiday edition of "Getting to Know You". Normally I delete forwards, and don't do chains or such, but I always LOVE to read and answer various questions and send them back to my friends. So, in keeping with my habit, I answered this one and sent it into the world. Thought I would include it here so you too can know more about me. Feel free to fill it out and send it onto my blog too! I LOVE learning things about people!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Cocoa-homemade of course
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? WHITE ONLY
4. Do you hang mistletoe? I hang it around my waist
5. When do you put your decorations up? after Thanksgiving--usually Larry's job cause I am busy making things for shows.
6. What is your favourite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? PLEASE--I can't just pick ONE. Ok all the snacks I eat BEFORE the dinner, especially pickled herring
9.Favourite Holiday memory as a child. Driving around the neighborhoods in Long Island looking at how everyone else decorated their house,then going home and staring out my window for hours looking for Santa.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I never wanted to know the truth. I was in denial for years. Then I married Santa.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? sometimes--it depends upon where I am etc.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I have antique glass bead garland, a nice collection of ornaments including metal and glass icicles and white lights
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it unless I have to fly somewhere
12. Can you ice skate? Yes, not well, but with this ankle I doubt I will ever do it again.
13. Do you remember your favourite gift? my engagement ring from #2 (Santa)
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Friends and family and lots of partying
15. What is your favourite Holiday Dessert? Chocolate Cream Pie
16. What is your favourite holiday tradition? Recently---Larry makes Glugg and we drink it for as long as it lasts.
17. What tops your tree? Well, I have a disco ball topper from the 60's but Larry doesn't like it so there is this angel thing.
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I love them both. Sorry
19. What is your favourite Christmas Song? Walking Round in Women's Underwear.....

Tonite's card is a remake of an 1800s card. In photoshop I remade the background and put the santa back in, decorated the snow with glitter and mounted it on cardstock and some of them have a very delicate MERRY CHRISTMAS sticker on it. I love this card. Of course, it can be found on Ebay or Etsy, links to the right.

Off to make some tuna. It is LATE and I have not eaten a thing and I am HUNGRY!

hohoho Mrs. Claus

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Day in the STuDio

I had a bit more energy today-good thing as I have so much work to do in preparation for the show. I made a trip to Michaels to get some supplies for both my work and for school. We are studying Roman art, so I decided to do a mosaic frame with the kids. For 1.00 each, I got a wood frame that they can mosaic onto with pieces of glass that I have. I have tons of "cullet" which is pieces of glass that are too small to use in stained glass projects, but PERFECT for making frames. They usually enjoy the project, and it will provide them with something that they can give as a gift too.

I finished a few encaustic ornments (on Etsy and some on Ebay) and made a dozen cards, and worked on some other ornaments. Things are a mess in my studio and it is hard to believe that somehow by the end of the week I will have everything together for a show! YIKES. I don't have much time, and tomorrow I have a wake to go to, and Megan needs help with the baby. Great grandma has been babysitting for her, but I think it is too much for her so I feel obliged to pick Alanna up after I get home to give her a break. We try and help out as much as we can as it is appalling that Megan has to pay 40.00 to a baby sitter when she works a 6 hour shift, and all she makes after paying her is 26.00! OY. Maybe I can hire her for a few hours this week to help her out.

Todays card is one that is a print of a mixed media collage that I did, combining painting with an 1800's diecut. I use real German glass glitter to embellish it, and the card is quite sweet.

Off to dash off some lesson plans. I have gotten way behind on my school work!


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Self Portrait

This monkey sort of looks how I feel-or if you ask Larry, he might even say that it really looks like me. Lookin' hangdog from lack of sleep, carrying my Breathe Deep tea around. Hey, you know, forget the BREATHE DEEP, how about BREATHE? I would settle for breathing never mind deep. Deep makes me cough up a storm. LOL. BUT the codeine worked and I slept for the first time in a week!

I stopped by the art supply store as I needed more blank cards for my show, and found these great wood panels that have sides and if you prime and paint the entire thing you just need 2 hooks and a wire and TA DA! (as Alanna says) I am excited as I can collage on them, paint, do encaustics, etc. Even relief work. As long as you paint/finish the 1" or so edge, you can hang it on a wall! I have to figure out how to make at least 4 of them by next weekend for my show. I have lost so much time in the studio due to being sick. But I always surprise myself as I have art all over the place and I will just take along a bunch of small pieces, and somehow place them around my tables along with my cards. I will have some ornaments too and it will work. I need to find some small easels so that I can display my small works on the table as I don't have a set up for fine artwork yet. So it looks like I will have to go to Michaels tomorrow, but will try and get there early before it gets crazy with shoppers. And then hopefully work as much of the day as possible!

A reminder, links to ebay and etsy are to the right of my blog. I have been listing all kinds of fun things...from vintage Christmas seals, to ornaments and cards. And a few other interesting things that show up from time to time.

Ok off to try and sleep so that I can go full steam ahead tomorrow! :) patti

Friday, November 24, 2006


Black friday-people lining up at the doors of the malls waiting for the stores to open as the sun began to grace the sky with its presence. I have never been part of the ritual; I don't have the patience. Instead, I opened up a few catalogs, marked what I was interested in and will shop online instead. I hate crowds, I hate circling the parking lot looking for a spot like a hawk zeroing in on its prey.

I had to go back to the doctor to get some REAL cough that will work- with codeine. I was so nauseaus today as I was filled with the tinctures and potions of both ancient and modern medicine. I have decided that I cannot stomach Cod Liver Oil by the spoon; I need to find an alternative way to ingest it. The homeopathic cough syrup tastes HORRID and the zithromax is wrecking havoc with my digestive system. Is not being sick enough without being tortured by medicines?

I dragged myself over the Hudson to Rhinebeck which was bustling with shoppers on the main drag. Fortunately I know of a few places where parking is usually available, so I slid into a spot and headed to Lois's. She owns an Aveda salon called Allure, and I spent the afternoon having my hair highlighted, my hands dipped in paraffin, and checking out the newest in gifts for the body and senses. Lois is a magician with hair, and is worth her weight in gold. She is a good friend too, so we caught up on our family and relationship gossip. She is my travel buddy, and we were comforted by the thought of our next vacation. We thought about checking out a few days in Las Vegas where we can swim, shop, and check out the night life. We had the best time in New Orleans, and our Mexican vacation had me mellow for a month.

Today's art was done for a book on blackbirds. Political in nature, the verse that went with it was "The Cabinet Crows started the attack, and the Gander finished him off" (from Tales for the Next Four Years). Yeah, I know, a bit esoteric, but some of you will get it. Another combo of traditional and digital collage.

Off to TRY and sleep. Sleep deprivation is starting to do some pretty weird things to me. I felt totally spacey driving, and I took the house portable phone in the car with me instead of my cell. I feel like I am I am going to TRY and get some shut eye. Bis morgan! Patti

Thursday, November 23, 2006


It is late and we got home from dinner and I had to spend some time trying to outfit my daughter for work tomorrow as she and Alanna are staying here so I can watch Alanna while she gets up at 5 and goes to work at her job in the local mall. She is a waif (a beautiful waif) and I am a bit heavier than she is, so it is always difficult to find clothes that both fit her and that she likes enough to wear in public. (22 vs 49) After 1/2 hour of tearing thru closets and drawers we managed to find both clothes and shoes. (she had her own pants. No way would mine ever fit her) It saved her a trip home and an hour. It was fun and she looked lovely. And, quality mother/daughter time, so important at this stage in our life.

I opened my email to find more spam. Sad to think that someone, on Thanksgiving, is still hitting the SEND button to spam millions. Everything from drugs, requests for money, mortgage deals, sex toys, blah blah blah was in my mailbox. Delete, delete, delete. The saving grace was that there were a few heartfelt emails from both internet and local friends sending me well-wishes and love.

I spent an afternoon with Larry's sister's family which is always wonderful. His brother in law is a GREAT cook, they live in a huge comfy and homey Victorian mansion, (a mansion compared to my small and simple house) and they and their kids are just wonderful loving human beings. I am blessed to have them in our lives. Oh, and the 2 aussies, we can't forget them! I am thankful for the love that I have in my life. It is a beautiful thing.

I got an email about my artwork asking if I sell on ebay. Somewhere to the right of my daily blog are links to both etsy and ebay. If you see something you like, just post a note on my blog with a way to contact me, or I will write back on the blog. Most everything I have is available in one form or another!

Tonites collage is a collage which I altered in Photoshop. One of my early pieces when all I knew how to do was use filters! I thought it sort of went with tonites theme.

I hope you all had a peaceful and glorious day. If you didn't, may tomorrow be better.

In peace and love, Patti

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kindness and Salted Plums

I was pretty sick today. I dragged myself to Ken, my chiropractor who re-adjusted my neck which was a MESS from sleeping on stacked pillows and coughing non-stop for days. He recommended lots of ginger which I have been sipping and ingesting all along, and COD LIVER OIL. Now I remember Cod Liver Oil from all the old books I had read. It was stuff that kids were forced to take by their mothers and it was gross and noone liked it. Turns out that in the Victorian era, kids were forced to take an emulsion of it which probably stunk to high heaven and tasted similar to its smell. Back in the day they did not have the lemon flavored variety I guess.

On the way home I stopped by my neighborhood sushi restaurant- KYOTO. I craved some clear soup and some kind of spicy roll-Mexican roll being my favorites; crunchy salmon with rice and spicy sauce. While waiting, the hostess, Connie, set me up with a hot cup of tea, then proceeded to bring me something that they take in their country when sick. Salted plums mashed in hot water. The taste was salty sweet, and after drinking it I thought I was going to have the biggest hot flash ever. But it felt good on my sore throat, and it was sweetened by the kindness and caring of a friend. I drank all of it, they sent me home with another.

I spent time in the studio though I am not sure of what I got done. I think most of my day was in slow motion, punctuated by fits of coughing and wheezing. I laid down, STILL could not sleep, and I wondered how long I can go with out rest.

I just finished a pot of chicken soup, cleaned the cat litter which was crying out for a change, and washed the floor. I am heading up to rest as Larry is still wandering around picking up things here and there....cough syrup from the health food store (along with the Cod Liver Oil...) and wine for tomorrows dinner. I hope the antibiotics kick in soon. I am tired of this and want to have energy for tomorrows feast and enjoy my family.

Art today is the first encaustic piece that I made a few years back. It was a process piece, and is more abstract than the art I usually make, but I like it, and the process was indeed fun.

Safe driving, and may you all enjoy your dinners tomorrow. Patti

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pretty in Pink

Tonites art is a card that I made from an antique print which is decorated with 100 year old plus glitter. I helped it along with some vintage pink trim and a piece of German gold metal decoration Non-denominational, perfect for saying Happy Holidays. (In my ebay store).

I am really tired and sick and heading to bed. Went to the doc today and the doctor said BRONCHITIS, which did not surprise me as I already knew that. After years of having bronchitis and pneumonia, I can tell when the junk goes to my chest.

Since I was a child I have always had bad lungs. I remember having to do these exercises that were supposed to make my "underdeveloped lungs" grow. I had to touch my toes, and as I came up take a deep breath, then let it go. As I think of it, I was doing yoga at 6! I missed tons of time in 2nd and 3rd grade due to bronchitis which I would get every 3 weeks. I think it was my bodies reaction to stress as a child, and it still happens now. I have ONE fond memory of the head nun saying "Patti , heard you had "Brown Kittens" again. Bad joke, but when a nun says that, you HAVE to laugh. Even then at 6 or 7 I knew when I had bronchitis. I have had it so bad that I have broken ribs. I think that it will be the death of me they are my weak organs and when I get stressed, my lungs get sick. Then it take WEEKS for the cough to go away.

In the old days I would get codeine cough medicine so I could sleep. Now I am thankful for the anti-biotics that they give me. I haven't slept in days, despite the nip or two of vodka I take. That seems to do nothing except keep me still enough in bed. I have been drinking tons of homemade ginger tea, and someone at work told me to make tea with parsely and lemon to bring up the gunk. I will have to google that.

Megan went to the oncologist today and they gave her pills to start to get her blood count up. She has to go for blood tests 2x a week till she is strong enough to start the chemo. She still goes to work and works incredibly long hours, a kudo to her strength and fortitude.

Off to bed and more tomorrow, Patti O

Monday, November 20, 2006

Creeping Thru the Day

I hardly slept all night again as I was choking on the "crud" and in spite of the cold meds, I could not sleep. I am afraid to take my ambian in the event that I don't wake up if I am choking. Probably my neurosis, but I want to know if I am unable to breathe. I hardly take them, and it has been months since I needed them. So I was up at 4, pacing around, trying not to wake up the household, perseverating whether or not I should call in sick.

The problem with being an art teacher and taking a sick day is the lesson plans. I teach 5-6 different classes, and it can literally take at least an hour to do lesson plans so that the sub survives, the kids don't wreck their art or rob me blind. I HATE doing sub plans. Let me repeat I HATE DOING SUB PLANS. And, almost every time I am out, there is some huge disaster. I work with at-risk teens who behave when I am there because they know my limits and do respect me, but when there is a sub, WATCH OUT!

So I went to work, and schlumped through the day. I lost my voice, but did get a doc appointment in the morning. I am going in after that......due to some important meetings and events, but if I am not well I am NOT going to the Superintendents Conference Day on wednesday. I am supposed to sit in on a class on Gang Awareness, which I am sure is interesting, but my health comes first. I cannot take care of others if I myself am sick!

Megan is going to her first oncologist appointment tomorrow so it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

This is one of my glass slide ornaments that I made. Isn't it amazing what one can do with microscope slides? Who would have ever though when in bio class 35 years ago that people would make ornaments and jewelry out of the glass slides that held amoebas, slices of plants,bug wings and cells! I remember the amazement of seeing these things under a microscope! And it was one of those old fashioned low powered ones!

I listed a few on etsy. I have a few more but am too tired ot list them, but they will appear.

Off to go to the zone, and perhaps watch a German Film "The Warrior and the Princess", by the same director as "Run Lola Run". Or not. Maybe I should just go to sleep.

Sweet dreams my readers, Patti

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Slow Movin' Day

The crud is still in my throat and now has moved to my lungs. I actually had to lie down for a few hours as I was tired and my chest hurt. I have no idea what the hell this is....allergies, or some strange illness, but I think I am going to HAVE to call the doc.

I did not get much art done today. Redid my etsy banner, put in a few new things to that shop, a few new cards in the Ebay shop, tried to fix my website but that did not work out (just checked, links still not working etc.) and did some work in the studio, but not too much.

Megan dropped Alanna off so that she could spend some time with her friend. Dinner and movie. I figured why not, the poor kid doesn't get out much and she may not be getting out much other than work once chemo starts. She has an oncologist appointment tuesday and a surgeon appointment on friday. I can only hope it goes as well as it can. That is probably why I am sick. The stress and sadness of it all.

Thank God there are only 2 days of school this week. Wednesday is Superintendent's Conference Day. (did I say BORING?)I have 4 days off which will be good, though much of it will be spent frantically in the studio trying to make things for my show the following weekend. I really don't know how much I will be able to get done with all that is going on. I might have to take a day off, but now I have been reluctant to do that since I might need my sick time for Megan. It seems frivolous to take time off to make art. I can always back out, or just show up with what I have. I enjoy the show and it is one that I make decent money at. But how can one make money of there are no goods, LOL.

Here is another one of my encaustic ornaments. I have a few glass slide ornaments on Etsy and will be listing a few more in the next few days. I have a lot of irons in the fire, hopefully it will work out.

Mantra: it all is what it is.

till tomorrow xxx patti

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Encaustic Workshop

Today's workshop at R and F Encaustics was a good distraction from my life. I spent a few hours making ornaments (or trying to figure out how) for my upcoming holiday show. I made a set of 5 ornaments which combined hand painted lithographs from 1835 with encaustic on a small wooden rectangle. I still have to drill and add the chain, but this is one of the pieces. They all look pretty cool, and I was pleased with the outcome considering I only had a few hours to figure something out.

If you live in the area, they offer mini-workshops for 40.00 for a class that is 4 hours long, AND you get to use their set up and materials! It is one of the areas best kept secrets. The process is quite complex and hard to control. An over simplification of the process is that you paint with liquid wax onto an absorbant ground, and fuse with heat. You can collage with papers, and do transfers etc., but it is hard to control it and get something good. I have done this workshop several times and do enjoy it. It is a medium that I won't do much of at home as I do not have the venting system that you need to keep the area fume free, and it is a really expensive medium to work in. But it is FUN and the process is amazing, and worth every bit of the 40.00 to do. I usually end up selling a piece or two that I make each time I do the workshop, so it pays for itself.

I have either bad allergies or am getting sick. I feel like crud is choking me and now my chest hurts. I took some cold meds which always make me tired, and I think I am heading to bed early. Sleep never hurts. I am getting out the ole trusty heating pad and putting on the TV and going to the zone. See you all tomrorow! Patti

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Difficult Evening

Today was Larry's birthday. I tried to make it joyful and light, but I think I failed. How could it be successful after today?

I have been remiss in disclosing my source of angst the past week. I could not deal with it, and it give me insight on how my daughter has not been able to deal with it. Thank God I had therapy tonight. Though it hit me in the head and heart with such force, the facts and the plan were necessary.

I broke down a few times today. I tried not to do it in front of my students. But how was I to cope?

Last week my daughter informed me that she has a cancerous tumor. She is quite ill, the tumor is in a place they can't operate. They can't do radiation as she won't be able to eat and she weighs not much more that 100 lbs as it is now. She is 22, has a 2 year old and has been sick ever since she came back from Iraq. Enough said about that. No sense on blaming anyone at this point. The story is complex and I don't have the energy to tell it right now. I do know that my world is rocked, and I know her world is too. At my age my father was dead from cancer. My aunt has bone cancer and is eeking out a life. Why a 22 year old? If cancer were her only disorder......but it is complicated by blood disorders, mental disorders, and a few other things.

So I have wept, I have mourned, I have prayed to a God that I don't even know if I believe in, I have comforted. I know I can only take it a day at a time. I also know what my gut is telling me. I know I freak every time the phone rings and my daughter is on the other end.

This morning she called to tell me she is vomitting again. I asked her what is she going to do about it? Has she made her oncologist appointment yet? She tells me not to worry and she says there is no blood. I am supposed to be comforted.

So I drag my feet. I try and have a nice dinner. I find myself wanting to argue every point, every message. I try and find meaning and justice in the world. And I tire and I fret and I sit and stare at a lit screen while drinking wine and ginger tea. I try and kiss my husband, but there is no soul in it. He has already gone somewhere else. I don't have the energy to seek where that is.

And I hope for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I did not want to go to German tonight. I was tired, it was POURING out, the wind was whipping around the house, and I would have rather locked myself in the studio.

Yet once I got there, I unwound a bit, and we started watching a new movie WITHOUT the English subtitles, Run Lola Run. A surreal movie which we have not finished, but it is a movie about the different possibilites that could happen in life, and about questions which lead to answers which lead to more questions und so weider. I am hoping the movie ends on a happy note; thus far the two scenarios are rather grim.

Imagine if we could re-run certain events in our lives and and change any number of factors, and view those outcomes, then pick the one that worked best and go from there? I sat and thought about which major things would I want to go back to and change one decision, one move, one word. I could not help think back to when I met my first husband. What if I never went to that bar that night? What if I left him the first time he hit me? The answers and possible outcomes are too painful to think about. Some things are better left in the past. My mantra for a while has been IT ALL IS WHAT IT IS. And leave it at that.

All we can do is do is make the best decisions possible and accept that whatever follows is beyond our control; the only thing we have control over is how we react to the events in our lives.

And that was my moment of zen. Watch out Jon Stewart! g'nite. patti
PS that is Alanna wearing MY halloween mask- upside down of course!

Another Rainy Morning

I did not post last night. It was an evening where I wanted to take a bath, I wanted to post, I wanted to list a few things on ebay, but I did nothing. I did take the phone upstairs, along with a glass of wine, and called a few close people to talk.

I needed to talk to work out some angst I am having. I have therapy tomorrow, (good thing)and am trying to deal with life's injustices as best as possible. I did some work in the studio, got some glass slide ornaments foiled and ready for soldering, and try every day to get SOMETHING done for my upcoming fair. I have tons of work to do in the next few weeks and feel a bit overwhelmed, but my work is something that is difficult to hire someone to help me with.

I have to go shower and get ready for my day. Another day of rain, more flood watches, and another day that I have to pray that the water does not flood my studio! I picked all perishables off the floor last night, but even with everything in plastic, something always gets ruined AND it is such a mess to clean up after.

Positive thoughts for the day, this little cat card is one of a set of 6 in my ebay store.

Later! patti

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tree Farm

This is the last of the sketches I made in the car this weekend. Done with oil pastels on watercolor stock, then lightly brushed with Turpenoid and scratched into, the latter part done on my studio. I don't travel with it turpenoid in a cup as I would confuse it for my car drink, so I leave using that to a controlled setting. (once I swigged a bottle of beer while I was fishing, only to realize too late that it was filled with creekwater and fish scales. PLEWGH.)

It was a cute stand of trees -- it was a Christmas Tree farm, many of them lined up like little soldiers on the hill sides. They were so sweet and small and the world looked like a miniature surreal landscape; something you would put in your model railroad set up. (Lord, I LOVED my father's old train set and pieces that were set up every Christmas)

Art has been going well for me. I am making enough to pay my business bills, and even got an inquiry into a larger piece that one of my customers saw in my studio. Even if I don't sell it, the inquiry in and of itself makes me smile.

I had a few bits and pieces of sunshine in my otherwise dark day. Smiles and caring from friends, a wrong number asking for "Sunshine", and giving the finger BACK to the person who flipped me the bird because he was sitting dead still at the green light and I beeped. ( I usually don't do that sort of thing but it was a "Fried Green Tomatoes moment")

Up to snuggle in my bed. I am tired and not feeling great, let's see what Comedy Central has to offerr me.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Retired Cornfields

I made it through the day. A few tears wept on route to work, a few more in school, but cleverly hidden behind my reading glasses and glances away. I had little to say today, and I am sure the kids were glad that I was less than my usual chatty self as it was monday, and they were all draggin butt. They welcome the break though some of them enjoy or perhaps even respect my energy and drive. Today was a day of reflection and work. They seem to take it in stride when I need space; I have to remember to give them theirs when THEIR worlds crash down upon them.

Later this evening I joined up with Leah my co-worker for sushi. She was meeting me and was a bit late but that was fine. I had a book in hand and promptly ordered a glass of wine and settled in for some quiet time --- the first of the day. WHen she arrived, an entire table do food was served as she had called ahead and ordered - instant sushi gratification! That was a first for me and she made me smile. We shared some intimacies that I regret I can't share here and it felt great to have let them go. (you know as a public school teacher I can't go there for fear losing my job!)

After that I took myself to Barnes and Noble to buy myself a few gifts, a Duchs and Dar Williams CD. Two very excellent choices. A trip to Barnes and Noble - or any book or music store can be quite therapeutic. A trip there saved me from the psyche ward once, but that is for another story perhaps. One of my mini melt-down adventures.

Tonights picture was literally a 2 minute sketch and watercolor as we swept by the farmland up north. It is a tiny sketch and a bit enhanced by Photoshop. (wish we could enhance our faces in real life with photoshop. Imagine!) Harvested cornfields, gold with the late afternoon light. It was rich, it was passionate, it was Van Gogh.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stockbridge Church

It is sunday night and I am wiped. I am disturbed over some bad news. Sometimes I feel like a spectator observing a Fellini or Tarkovsky film. I wish that were all that I was; an outside observer, not a participant in the drama that unfolds like a prism; a constant reflection of my life past and present with its endless facets and possibilities. Life forces us to go places that palpate and grope at the tender and hidden areas of the heart and psyche. And it sqeezes.

I always go back to a place where art exists. It calms the nerves and fills the mind with color and form and life and stories. Art can be such a voyeuristic journey into the very essence of an artist. The show at the Norman Rockwell Museum titled "More Than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art"was an afternoon where I immersed myself into the hearts,minds and passions of artists such as Frida Kahlo (complete with her red luscious lipstick kisses on the letter and art), Frederick Church, Rockwell Kent, Andy Warhol, and so many more. There were letters of love and letters of thanks, of travel to exotic foreign lands. Letters with cartoons, collage, drawings and they were all just divine.

What was even more gratifying was that some of the letters were in special boxes that you could open up and see the letter in its natural state; no glass, no barrier, just the bare essense of pen and paper.

Larry bought me the book of the Smithsonnian's Collection. It is titled More than Words; Illustrated Letter from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. Great book, fun to read and learn about many artists. The other book I have is titled "Illustrated Letters, Artists and Writers Correspond", an equally fascinating book. Perhaps it is because of my obsession with paper and the written word that makes these letters so intriquing. As a visual learner, and the correspondances with their illustrations make it all very clear. A vehicle of transportation to another time with the voice of the artist clearly narrating his or her thoughts in my head.

Tonites drawing is of a chuch in the middle of Stockbridge, right across from the Red Lion. Larry had to run in and get something (I think I know what it was, LOL, but you don't ask "Santa" questions) I sat outside and became fascinated with the form and texture of the church. After a few moments of observation and contemplation, I quickly sketched painted it. The light kept changing on me making it difficult to work with, but it was a totally satisfying interaction between me and the church. One of the few I have had in a long time I might add.

Off to get ready for bed. I need a good night's sleep. Patti

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sketch 1 - on the Taconic

It is very late so I will keep this relatively short tonite, short for me hahaha. The mini vacation was wonderful, we managed to get to Williams College Museum yesterday and to the Norman Rockwell Museum today. The weather was splendid, the temperatures warm, and we kept our escape as free from stress as possible. For me, that is work at times.

Both art shows were inspiring. I hungrily devoured the art I saw; the ancient artifacts of the Civilizations I cover in part one of my Studio Art 1 class, the textures and color of oil paintings, and the wonderful illustrations on letters done by various artists from the Smithsonian Collection.

I made a few sketches as passenger in the car. I find that if forces me to be more spontaneous and loose as I have to work fast. The essense of the impression is caught rather than the detail. I hope to work these into larger pieces eventually, but I love to sketch and paint in the car.

This piece was done on the Taconic Parkway. I made it before going to the museum, but it has a quality of movement that reminded me of the Grant Wood painting "Death on the Ridge Road" which I had just seen at the College. The perspective or atmosphere is not quite as exaggerated (or well executed!) but it is something I would like to explore more of. That painting is amazing by the way. The color, texture, and mood that Wood creates is stunning and INTENSE.

I have more art which I will post tomorrow, and more art to talk about!
Till then! patti

Friday, November 10, 2006

Birthday in the Berkshires

Off to have breakfast with Megan and Alanna, then I am heading to the Berkshires for a few days to celebrate my 49th and Larry's 56th. I will be reporting back with information on the art shows at Williams College and at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Both promise to be intereting, as well as any other adventures we might encounter. See you all tomorrow night! patti

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Loss of a Friend

On the way home I stopped by the local arts society to pick up some artwork and visit my friend who works there. Much to my surprise my friend Rob was there, whom I had not seen in a month or two. We go back 30 years as students in art school. We have been through some difficult times in each others lives; death of a parent when we were 19, some very painful heartaches, and now dubious health issues. There have been periods of time where we have not seen each other in years, but in spite of his traveling around the world, we have reconnected at various points in time, and have a comforting and caring friendship.

He told me today of the death yesterday morning of one of our mutual friends, a man whom I have spent many afternoons swimming, playing croquet, having drinks, dining, and conversing about the state of our lives, of mankind, and our kids. He died of a heart attack, a man not that much older than myself. He was a man who loved to live life to its fullest, sometimes too much. He was a man who loved books, conversation, women, and a good barbeque or party.

I am in mourning; for his girlfriend of many years, for his boys who are still young, for his friends who loved him dearly, for his students, for his life being cut short.

I hope you did not have much pain John, and that you were not scared. I hope you are in a beautiful place, where you have an eternity to read and enjoy a game of croquet or two in the late afternoon, and a smoke, a place where it doesn't matter what you eat and what time you go to bed and get up.

For you I opened up a bottle of desert wine I have been keeping in the closet for years. I dusted it off, opened it, sniffed the cork, and poured out the necktar of the gods into a much loved glass picked up for a song at a flea market. I sit here and sip it and smile a sad smile. Here's to you.....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


There was a booth at the postcard show that had the most exquisite and expensive ephemera and books. Books about the photographers who took the photographs of the Adirondacks in the early 1900's for "REAL PHOTO" postcards. The history of these photographs which started around 1907 can be found in one of my favorite online free encyclopedias Wikipedia I have linked it so that it goes to the history of real photo postcards if you are interested.

I was talking to this most lovely woman and told her I was a collage artist. She then proceeded to take out her collection of cards that were like the one I posted. She had them in postcard and calling card size. Due to my budget (damn budgets) I bought one that I am going to use as a business card. The collage is made of old US stamps from the first quarter of the 20th century and was probably made in Japan. Each card was meticulously well done and they were in great condition.

I regret not asking for her card. I did leave her with my card however so that she could look at my art as she seemed to be very interested. Her collection is the sort that paper addicts yearn for. I hope to see her again.

I will post my card when I design it. I don't have much time as I have another card order to fill, have been in production for the Unison Fair, as well as everything else I have to be responsible for. (damn responsibility)

writing from Paperville, NY, patti

The Election Dinner

I did not write last night as I got home late and had too much wine to have the energy to blog. A long day at school, and a busy one after too. Post Office, vote, chiropractor, masseuse, a hystercial phone call from my daughter because she lost her job (what is she going to do now- sick and a baby and no job or medical benefits?).

But the evening was saved by the dinner my good friend Kip made while watching the votes come in. Great company, great ambiance, great food. And lots of wine. Too much wine, LOL. Squash soup, smoked salmon bits and cheese, Perch from Lake Victoria in Africa, potatoes, kale, and hot apple crisp WITH VANILLA HAAGEN DAAS!!!!

It was all good. The Democrats won the House, and lets hope they can affect some change in America. Let's all keep our thoughts positive. I have to go shower and get ready for work, and look forward to picking up the paper to see who won regionally.

I will be back later for another post later. The bonus for last night's debauchery!
Patti who is a little bit tired but a happy Democrat!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Meet Jennie

I walked into the paper show and was faced with some 20 booths filled with thousands upon thousands of postcards and pieces of paper. "Where do I start?" I thought. There were lots of people lining the sides, so I decided to go down the middle where there was less traffic. Postcard buyers are a very interesting and diverse crowd, and I was not honing in on someone's territory. There are some serious buyers out there who are not to be reckoned with!

I spotted Wanda, whom I had bought from before. She always has interesting ephemera and is very nice, so I dallied a bit in her booth. In my digging, I found this piece of hand painted celluloid which was used to put onto cards, books, etc. It was simply done, but sang of the early 1900's. Wanda showed me a real photo card that was a picture of Jennie and said "here is a picture of the woman who made that. She was my cousin. She was a comely sort of gal." I looked at the photo and figured all she needed was a good orthodontist. I put her back, rummaged some more, and then thought I really needed to buy the photo as it should be kept with her artwork. It was important that they two be linked. The painting now had a face and told of a woman who loved to paint and I am sure made many things with the celluloid she painted. (there were several pieces). You might think me strange, but there are some photos I keep as I feel I knew or know the person in some way, perhaps in a past life, or in a life to come. I rescue these people from dusty boxes, tucked away in basements and attics, and periodically look at them and give them honor on a shelf, in a frame, in an art work.

This one, Jennie, has become my muse for this season.

Happy Birthday to all you scorpios out there! Patti

Sunday, November 05, 2006


It's that time of the year again when I go to my local postcard show and indulge myself in a few hours of ephemera hunting. I am always on the prowl looking for things that grab me, and I am sure to always find a few cool items to use SOMEWHERE, SOMEHOW. It just gets harder and harder to organize after 15 years of collecting antique paper. It was also a day where I closed myself into my studio with my recent hoarde, and mulled over the endless possibilities and then just grab one and start. I also always find a few things that I end up selling on ebay to help fray the costs of my paper addiction, oh, I mean supplies!!

I have wonderful Thanksgiving Cards in my ebay store, and it is the perfect time to send a card to someone you are thinking of, but can't go and see. It is a time to give thanks for such friends and family, and you still can't beat a lovely card sent via the US Postal Service! Each is made with an antique postcard and embellished with glitter on quality cardstock. The link to my shops are to the right of this blog!

I did not get enough time in my studio as I had wished for, but I made good use of what I had, designed a few wedding cards and started to think "Winter Holiday Show". Boy have I got to get my butt in gear and start producing!! It sure has been hard with a 2 year old running around. I manage to get some time in, but it is very fragmented.

Tomorrow's image will be a handpainted celuloid book cover and the photo of the artist...100 years ago.


Saturday, November 04, 2006


The last several posts have been intense. Most of my life in general has been intense. I try and simplify things when I can, and today was a day of puppies, toddlers,tweens,family, and fun.

I took Alanna to visit my sister and her family for a birthday party, and all was delightful. I did not turn on my cell phone, only made one call out, and for an afternoon lived in a world of peace. I came home to soft music and am helping myself to a glass of wine before bed. The moon is shining near full in the sky, the stars were twinking on my way home back to the mountains from Westchester, and I saw many paintings awaiting a canvas.

I am struggling with my painting, but know that in order to grow I must just paint. JUST DO IT the voice tells me. Who cares if the first 50 paintings go in the garbage or are scanned as backgrounds for some other work. I have decided I need to really explore my colors and do some mixing and make some charts. It will force me to become familiar with my palette and MAYBE I won't make as much mud on my canvas.

Tomorrow I look forward to a day of art and perhaps a ride later in the day. May it be a day of peace FOR ALL. And maybe there will be some new art to post!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Poem To Megan in Iraq

This is the poem I wrote to my daughter in Iraq in response to the poem she sent to me. It is the last poem I have written. Ironically, the artwork that I chose is about infant mortality. It is a piece that I have given my husband.

Thoughts While Shaving My Legs

I miss you
My Meggie-O
19 year old daughter
raised on
Green Eggs and Ham.

I imagine you
fixing hummers
strapped in the green
Bush machine.
My sapling,
My baby,
My daughter.

I find myself
trying to get close to you
and find the razor
that you used
before you left.
While I soak
I watch how it glides
and plows the foam road
of my legs
the same way
it must have plowed yours.

I pretend my legs
are the same light pink
long, lean,
running machines
that you sport.
And I sigh.
The meaning of it all
in the tub.
The razor so close
to that edge...
the one that we share.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Poem from Iraq

This poem was written to me from Megan when she was in Iraq a few years ago. It was written while she was in battle, and was about 19, realizing that though she thought herself "street smart", she was not ready for what she was encountering.

My small hands grip
the warm plastic
of the hand guards
on my eight pounds of steel,
pure killing power.
The sounds around me
grip my heart.
I fear I will not kiss you
one last time.
I look at your picture,
polaroid, smiling,
radiant red hair,
gleaming waves of beauty.
Your serene smile,
of sadness and hopefulness
for a better day.
Your struggles show
in your bright, piercing eyes,
knowing unspoken truths
never to be unleashed
from your amazing mind.
I quickly wipe away tears
and focus on my current fiasco
hiding behind the barn.
Too steep, I'm sliding,
strong legs becoming rubber.
Fear cannot grip me now.
I must show true strength
to survive this fiery nightmare.
I don't feel him coming
but I know he's there.
Crosshairs on their gridsquare
wishing death upon us.
These brave warriors,
individual strengths showing
at this time of melancholy.
My lungs fill with dry air
which previously breathed
your intoxicating aroma
of Poison and courage.
Now breathing shallow and rapid
I imagine myself in your arms,
small again, in my carefree
childhood days.
You are my courage, strength,
and motivation.
I run, duck, and sweat;
fear melting away
as the sounds cease.
I will see my mother once again.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More War Illnesses?

I have been doing a bit of research about some of the illnesses encoutered by our soldiers since the Gulf War. Reactions to Anthrax. Lupus like symtoms. Cancers. Strange and unexplainable illnesses. The government's denial of any danger that our soldiers are in when exposed to various vaccinations and substances such as DU.You can brush it off until it hits in your own home and you remember Agent Orange and wonder what will be discovered 10 years from now.

My daughter is 22. Since her return to the US from Iraq she has had nothing but a slew of medical problems. Blood tests and symtoms that mimic lupus or other auto immune disorders. Kidney stones. Unexplainable stomach malfunction and vicious vomitting with blood. Blood counts that make doctors think one moment she has internal bleeding, then the next day are fine. Pre cancerous tumors that are there one month and gone the next. It is documented that her spine and hips are deteriorating. She is in periodic severe pain. She is disabled enough that she had to quit her job with UPS and get a desk job, and the Reserves have given her an honorable discharge (oh WOW and Yahoo) because she physically can no longer make it through PT. She has POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.

I am angry at the government, angry at this outrageous war, angry at the doctors and the hospital that just discharged her. They told her to come back if she starts vomitting again. They can't find anything wrong. She has called the VA hospital in hopes that they can figure some of this out. I would like to have high hopes, but I don't.

In the meantime she suffers. Her job did not pay her while in the hospital. She does not have enough money to make her rent on a job that pays 8.50 an hour. She has a 2 year old courtesy of the US government=====birth control shots left out in the sun in Iraq and a married NCO. Perhaps her baby saved her life and I love my granddaughter with all my heart and soul, but I wonder if her mother will live or be healthy enough to give her the life she deserves.

The artwork was made while she was 19 and in Iraq. The background is a Mosque and she was superimposed over it. It was the first Photoshop digital collage I did. It comes with a poem. I will save that for tomorrow night. I had the piece and the poem in a show. It bought people to tears.

Election time is near, but sadly I don't hold high hopes for any changes. We are a corrupt nation....but somehow I hold onto the vision of peace and have and will try and bring it to others. If only the suits in Washington could do the same.

IN PEACE patti