Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Don't Want to Get Any Older - I Want to Stay Just the Way I Am

Such words of wisdom in the kitchen between Larry and Alanna yesterday.

"I don't want to get any older Yiyi, I don't want to be a mommy, I want to be just the way I am."

Funny that a four year old should be thinking of such heavy matter during the Christmas Season.

I sat for a few moments, going back decades, digging deep in the vault of my childhood memories, remembering what it was like to be four.

I am watching our black and white TV, and I flash between visions of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz and the bogeymen from the March of the Wooden Soldiers.

I am looking out the window into the dark inky sky of Christmas eve, believing that if I concentrated hard enough, I could make Santa and his reindeer appear flying between the twinkling stars. (ps I used that concentration when I fished all those years ago with #1 - to get the fish to come to MY lure....)

I am lying in bed trying to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. I feel like I am on speed, but what does a child know of that...but you can't sleep and your head runs movies over and over in anticipation of what is going to happen. Then the morning...the smell of the fake tree (which was heavenly), the magic of the lights and the tinsel, and the gifts in all their beautiful paper.

I remembered the joy of opening my Etch-A-Sketch, the new box of crayons whose waxy aroma were intoxicating (I still sniff my art supplies to this day, especially crayons and colored pencils) the joy of the new coloring books. I remember the envy of my brother who was a year younger getting Tinkertoys.

I remember the horror of being discovered by my parents after crawling out of my crib and torturing my little brother in the crib next to me.

As I got older, the magic faded. I was expected to do more than play. There were chores. As I became more independent and grew into my predestined stubborness and became as fiery as my hair, the punishments came harder and more painful.

Then there was discovering that things and people you love get sick and die. And not all people are not nice, and life isn't fair or all games and play.

Yes, Alanna, you are right about not wanting to get any older. In your ancient spirit wisdom you know what is down the pike, and you don't want to leave your world of imagination, play, discovery, and joy behind you for what is to come.

The trick is my dear little one, to keep magic in your heart forever, and nurture creativity. For if you look at everything as a little miracle, and embrace the pain as a path to growth, and live your life with the joy and discovery that you sport, you will survive.

Photo of Alanna by Larry over the vacation......

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Visit to the Doctor

I almost didn't go.

I am pretty tough, and I did not think I had bronchitis or pneumonia. By now I know my lungs fairly well, and though I have a cough which could compete with the bark of the dog next door, I do not have the telltale rattle in my chest. I also know my lungs well enough to suspect that at some point in my life they will be the death of me - hopefully at 83, no earlier.

However, I have had no appetite, feel as lethargic as a slug, (in German the word is "stinkfaul", a term I LOVE) and feel like I have inferno pokers in my head. Rare for this type A Speedy Gonzales.

So..I went.

Surprise to me...I have a fever, and probably a sinus infection. No wonder I feel horrid all the time. So it is Z pack time. Thrills. Now I wonder what the fallout from that will be. Hives? Intestinal disorders? Yeast disorders? Stomach pain?

Tomorrow is the journey to Newark to bring Megan and the kids to the airport for their trip back home. I have mixed feelings about it, but I know I will be back to Kentucky in a few months, and they will be back east in the summer. Megan told Alanna she was leaving and going back home, and she got very distressed and said "but mommy, THIS is my home. I have a bedroom here!" Randy just drools and smiles his toothless grin.

I have five more days off, and during this time I am going to be very low key. I will work in the studio, read, watch movies, maybe shop a bit, sell some things on Etsy, visit some friends, and try to get some rest and regroup after two months of what feels like tornado city. Then back to the grind, only at a slower pace.

So off to bed to cough myself to sleep, and rub tiger balm all over my head.

This too shall pass.

Patti O Disease

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Interesting Gifts

Dutch Master Pen

Monkey Scented Nail File (scented with mint, not with monkey!)


Larry, as always, was extremely generous in his gifting.

Christmas has a history of being frustrating for me, as I am always very busy with shows the last few months of the year. This year was so hectic that I am forced to reconfigure next year and every year thereafter because I can't take it mentally or physically. My body is telling me by being sick.

I always buy Larry nice things; music, books (if I can find the ones he wants in time--which did NOT happen this year) clothes, a sheepskin seat cover, and few other small stocking stuffers. He on the other hand, thinks he comes from Rockefeller money and goes NUTS.

One of my most special gifts from him was an antique mantle clock made around the same time as this house--in the 20's. It has a deep throaty bong on the hour and half hour, and once the company is all gone, it shall act as my mindfulness clock - when it is ringing, I stop what I am doing and stand in silence, bringing me to the here and now. Presently the clock is on top of the bookcase which houses my art books....it may be moved to the mantle when all the holiday things go back into their boxes for yet another year.

He got me more, but they are for other blogs.

Yesterday 12 of us threw a holiday party at the nursing home for my mom. We don't know how many holidays she has left on this earth, and since she can't leave the home, we brought some celebration into her life by going there.

For the past several years my mom has lived at Ferncliff, a nursing home set upon the banks of the Hudson River run the Carmelite Sisters. I am sure it has not seen or heard so much action in a while. We had three of her great grandchildren there, ranging from from 18 months to 4 years, running in circles. Larry dressed again as Santa for the party, marching down the corridors handing out candy, lots of snacks, not only to our family, but to some of the residents hanging out in the hall. I even stashed a bottle of Coquito for us to sip on for dessert.

It is family tradition now to give one another a gift or two that depicts a monkey, since Gibbons is our family name, which is a small ape. NICE. I was scarred as a child when a classmate said he was going to look my name up in the dictionary and found it, much to the laughter of all the bratty Catholic School kids. That was the beginning of my bad relationships with my peers and with the school.

So this year I got monkey key toppers, a monkey nail file, a monkey key chain that blinds you with his blue LED eyes and makes noise when you push a button (will use that in school). I also got a tube that said "Dutch Masters" which turned out to be a pen. My little grandson got a bottle cozy that was a monkey, Megan got a monkey air freshener, and I am sure that other monkey gifts got passed out in the ruckus.

I am still coughing, but joyful. There is still a lot of action in the house with the kids, never mind messes, but soon they will be gone and I will be sad in its silence and it will feel empty.

Off to shower and meet my brother for dinner at the Canard.

Patti O Chimp

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm Glad I'm Not a Turkey

This is a turkey. This is a turkey having a procedure done by Larry and Mr."X".

Mr. X made it very clear that he did not want his name mentioned or his photo included in tonight's blog as he is afraid that the internet turkey police might come and seek him out for questioning about what happened the night of the 25th. I told him if Sarah Palin can be interviewed on national TV while horrid things are being done to the turkeys behind her, (click HERE to watch video - what the hell was that guy DOING to the turkeys?!) then I thought he was safe. But he does not trust me on that, so I have kept his name out of print.

The thing by the way, is a digital temperature probe. Instead of carving the turkey, they had turned it into a science experiment. They found out that the neck was the coldest part in comparison to any other. And here is a turkey survey question. What part of the turkey are the guys probing?!!!

The turkey was delicious, as was the wild mushroom and cranberry stuffing, the green beans sauteed in butter, garlic, and almonds, the homemade cranberry sauce, and the red skinned garlic mashed potatos. Desert-my infamous chocolate cream pie.

I don't know how I pulled off this dinner for 10, as I was SOOOOO sick, but with the help of friends and relatives, we had a mighty feast.

This morning I could hardly get out of bed to go for my mammo at 8:30 in the morning. What was I THINKING when I scheduled this. As a treat to myself after having my breasts made flat as pancakes by a huge robotic machine, I headed to the gym for a 30 minute stint in the sauna listening to my new Eckhart Tolle CD of "Music to Quiet the Mind" . D E L I G H T F U L and hopefully it will speed the healing process.

Off to set up a digital frame for my mother, whom we are having a party with in the nursing home tomorrow afternoon. After the 5 kids have terrorized the place, they will then come to my house for an party to finish off the Christmas Season, or maybe finish me off!

Patti O Party!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Madonna and Child

I have made it through the day, although pretty sick during most of it.

But there were things that made me smile.

My little naked grandson, happy in all of his innocence.

A Christmas card from my cyber friend Judy in Alaska.

The memory of my getting engaged on this evening 13 years ago to Larry.

The tradition of a Swedish dinner with Larry's family, complete with Glugg, Aquaveet, dark beer, wine and all kinds of fish and meatballs and cookies.

A visit by Santa himself...to the delight of Alanna!

and all my friends who think of us and send their love.

To all who read this, I send you my heartfelt thanks for taking the time to connect with me through this blog. May you have a beautiful and loving Holiday....

Patti O Peace

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prometrium Blues?

Is it being sick? Is it stress? Is it the fact that I have been taking prometrium (some natural form of progesterone) for 10 days? Is is my hormones? Is it a combo thereof that makes me feel totally antisocial and detached from those around me?

I am missing a nice party put on by The Center where Larry works. Richie Havens daughter is catering Thai food. There will be plenty to drink there I am sure, and great conversation with a totally cool group of people, but I have sent Larry and Megan and the kids without me. It feels like the night I worked for all the other senior girls and missed my prom. I find myself wondering what they are all doing and feel left out....

I can't help but wonder if it has something to do with the fat yellow pill. The last few times I have been put on various forms of medication I either broke out in hives or hallucinated. I am very sensitive to medication and hormones, so methinks that something may be up with that, and the fact that I am rapidly losing my voice, have a pounding headache doesn't help! (did I mention LACK OF LIGHT BUT IT HAS GONE TO THE OTHER SIDE!!!)

I feel like I bring an Essence du Eeyore to the room.

I must tell my family. Larry thinks that I am mad with him, and I don't know what Megan thinks, but it really has nothing to do with them at the moment!

Off to try and clean a bit more and get through this.

And maybe they will bring me a plate of food or some sweets to cheer me up. Or maybe I will just have to sneak into the Chocolate Chip cookies that Megan made for Santa tomorrow night....hehehe.

Patti O Maudlin

ADDENDUM: Larry forgot something here so he came back and bought Liz back with him. We had a schluck of Glugg together, and she was so excited about coming to my house and getting to see all the stuff in it that she made me smile. THANKS LIZ! (and she doesn't care that I failed Martha Stewart School!!!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

And to All a Goodnight

Photo of Megan decorating the tree, just before Alanna did a big raspberry in her face. She almost went to bed for that one.

I am again sick, and heading to bed. I was just sick 3 weeks ago, and now I have a cold or chest cold descending upon me.....as I am coughing to the point of choking. I need to rest lest my Christmas be spent in bed too. Thankfully I have two boxes of Zicam which will be coming with me wherever I go. Of course, I blame in on myself --- letting stress get the best of me, and inevitably when that happens I become a host for the illnesses of the world.

The EOS windows froze to the car this morning, and I was outside trying to free them with De-Icer so that I could open the car door and get to work. Though the roads were horrid, school was on time. TOO BAD --- I WASN'T. I am going to have to buy a car cover, or clean out the garage so that I can garage the car in bad weather.

Hope you are all warm and happy.

Patti O Dreamer

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lessons We Learned in the Snow

Well it has been a hell of a snowy three days here.

I am tired from shoveling and taking an hour to clean off my car. Underneath the piles of snow on the car was a sheet of ice that I had to chip and melt so that I could get into the car. It seems that the EOS is a "high maintenance" car, not something the dealers tell you when you are buying it.

You have to make sure ALL the snow and ice are removed from the frame less windows so that the window will go down the 1/4" or so it needs to in order to get into the car. Any ice, and you are F-----d. You are either locked out or locked in.So I went to the store to get a scraper that I can carry in my book bag in the event I need to scrape ice off the window to get into the car. It doesn't work if the scraper is inside of a car you can't get into. Oh, and I bought a can of de-icer, and a pocket can for my purse. A girl can never be prepared enough.

Then I got stuck in an unplowed parking lot. I was alone, and after trying to rock the car out of the space, I had to get out and kick all the snow out from underneath the front tires, and behind them a bit. A man in a car wanted to leave the lot, and seemed pissed that I was stuck. Rather than help me rock it out, he B A R E L Y squeaked by, giving me a look. Just you wait Henry Higgins, just you wait. So I ventured out to the Auto Supply store to find a small folding shovel (no luck) and I am also going to put together a few tubs of sand/cat litter in the event that I need it on ice.

Alanna went outside for a while to play in the snow and found out how cold snow is when you get it in your socks, your pants, down you neck etc. She was quite hysterical as we pealed off her clothes in front of the fireplace. Still, I think it was fun--most of the time for her.

Tomorrow I wonder if we will have a two hour delay. The roads are horrid here, and if the wind kicks up, there will be some blowing and drifting. Secretly I want an entire day off to finish up my shopping, but would rather save the snow days till February and March, when we will need a few breaks here and there, and at a time that I can relax.

Christmas is going to change next year. Hate to be Scrooge about it, but it is out of control, and I have vowed to simplify. And I am so stressed from all the running around that I have to do, that I barely hear the carols, or see the lights in the trees. Mindfulness and Christmas are on opposite ends of the spectrum...but I want to try and have a Mindful Christmas next time.

Patti O Polar Cap

Friday, December 19, 2008


Larry and the Snowblower

View from the 2nd Floor of my House, looking out onto the garden

In the midst of all the ranting I did in my previous blog, I forgot to post the picture for it, and about the good things going on, like decorating the mantle with Megan and Alanna listening to my Angel CD and enjoying the time together.

I did spend a few days being rather mopey and angry, but what did it do for me other than put me on constant mascara alert, and be stuck in the middle of my own pity party. So I have had a few days to sit on my thoughts, respond to the perpetrator/s of my heartache and let it go. I don't know how it will be met, it may be that part of my immediate and extended family won't be showing up for Christmas. But you know, if that means I will have peace, then so be it.

It has been difficult to navigate my ex's family all these years. I will always be the one who divorced their son, and the blame for his addictions and failures. My children have often found themselves in the middle of it all, torn about their father, and about me. For the most part I have learned to stay out of most of the drama, but once in a while it lands in my living room, no matter how hard I try to keep it out.

But I think I have brushed it out the door again, let the winds of the storm carry the dust of negativity, victimization, martyrdom, addiction, and the past out into the whirling snow - and there's Larry in his storm gear, making sure it doesn't come back.

So on my snow day I had a breakfast date with a 4 year old, rented some movies, cooked a pot of chili, catching up on some internet work, maybe seeing if Amazon or Victoria's Secret or L.L. Bean and the like can ship by Christmas for free.

Be warm, safe and dry. It's a heck of a storm here in the wooly wild northeast.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy F-in Holidays

I wrote an entire post today which I posted to draft, but when I pulled it up to edit, it had totally deleted itself. It was probably a good thing as it got too personal, and the universe decided it was merely an exercise in sublimation.

But the holidays are a good time for all the DYSfunctionality to come out of any family, and I mean ANY family.

This year the universe has decided to duel with me again. I am having some deep family issues in spite of my investment in years of therapy, many Al Anon and ACOA meetings, all the self-enlightenment and meditation I do. I still feel the STING of the sword as it goes straight for the jugular.

It reminds of many disappointments, of my ex ruining the holidays with his drinking and inevitable violence, and then the kids....the trips in the snowstorms to and from the psych ward for Christmas Dinner, the holidays where they were home for a "trial visit" from residential, the nights of wondering why they didn't call, and if they were dead on the side of a road, my mother who refuses to leave the nursing home now....

I tried not to cry today, but I had the inevitable meltdown. I saved it for the end of the day, when co-workers asked if I was OK after observing me teach a few periods without talking (a difficult feat). I had to explain what all the black specs were floating around my eyes during my eye exam, I melted down before I went into the bank listening to a song by Ryan Adams, and Walgreens got christened for the second time, tears flowing profusely while walking down isle no. 3.

But I always look to what calms me. A call to Larry. A drive by to my girlfriends where we sampled a bottle of Beaujolais nouveau. Home to what comforts me - mashed potatos and a warm bed.

And my blog, a place where I can let some of it hang. And hope that my family will someday find peace.

Patti O Feliz Navidad

Monday, December 15, 2008

Expect the Unexpected

Thanks for the lovely comments some of you posted about yesterday's blog. Once in a while I touch upon something which is universal to all of us at any age.

And, I wanted to add...Janet wrote "EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED" which is an upbeat mantra which also involves the Law of Attraction.

Not in the "oh I want that necklace so badly that I will wish it on me" attraction in that hokey segment of The Secret, but in the sense that if you put out good, you will attract good. If you put out negativity, that is what you will get. If you focus on prosperity, that too will come, but perhaps in ways that you would not expect.


And I feel a bit two faced. (no pun intended) Here I am talking about how we have to accept the way we are no matter what form, and I used Photoshop on my photo with Jesus on the blog last night. Took out the puppet lines, and some of the lip wrinkles....just a few things as Larry got in our faces with the camera, and it was oh-so-much-nicer to remove a few of the imperfections. Too bad he has the card, cause I was going to post the REAL me tonight, not the altered one. (ok--it isn't that altered...) But its TOUGH being up against a 34 year old!!

I put the photo up in my classroom, and the kids all wanted to know if that was Larry. I giggled and said no, he was one of my first students, and he was a good friend. Of course you KNOW they asked if I "would go out with him" and of course I said "I am married" and of course they said "well what if you weren't" and of course I said "I am too old for him" and well....I did think about Demi Moore....but shook my head and said "he would always just be my friend" because that crossed too many boundaries to even think about. Thinking about J. that way in the classroom is like thinking about having sex with the priest who is saying mass. You just can't go there. Some things ARE off limits.

Off to write some of my holiday cards. I need to feel like I have accomplished something with all that is left to do.

patti o writer....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Ramble

In yoga today my teacher talked about acceptance of life and of self, something which is a challenge to both the young AND the old.

I was thinking about that yesterday when I was passed by my new full length antique mirror which leans against the wall in my hallway. I pass it from the shower to the bedroom every morning.

Sometimes I stop and look and remember when I had the body of a runner, when there was no inch of pinch, or bulges, or dimples. Now, I look and chuckle, noting the attack of cellulite, the bumps, lumps, scars, spots, and veins, though if I squint my eyes and keep the light off, I can still see the framework of that runner’s body.

I chuckle now because I am comfortable about my body. It took 50 years…many wasted with negative thoughts about my self which were so crazy. Part of my acceptance might also be the unconditional love that I have in a man who loves me for who I am and never says a thing that isn’t kind. (sometimes I hate that Larry..because it makes me look cruel, and horrendously evil, especially when I am PMSing , which at this stage in life seems to be more than less!)

And, in that vein, she also talked about accepting other’s faults, because you know you have to choose what is important, and what to let go of. Touché Donna.

So here are my thoughts for the week:

Life isn’t fair.
Pain is part of life.
Things change and end.
People aren’t always loyal and/or loving
Things don’t always turn out the way you plan.

If you can accept this, it sure makes things easier to deal with, doesn’t it?

Tonight’s photo is me and Jesus. He was one of my first students 17 years ago—and he had a mad crush on me back then as a young teen. Today we are good friends, who have another mutual friend in common. I will forever be his mentor and female role model I think, and I totally adore him. I like having young friends. And thanks Larry to obliging me by taking a photo of us together during the photo shoot at Ruben’s. You rock.

Patti O Learner

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's Next?

I decided to stop writing my art blog last night.

I thought I had to run two blogs. One that was personal, and one that was art, as I read that some people don't want to read about the artist's life, they only want to see the art, or read about technique or marketing strategies.

At first I thought...ok, I can do this. But then over time I realized that I don't have TIME to keep up 2 blogs, and that I cannot separate my art from my life and visa versa. So readers, Catskillpaper will become defunct as a blog. I figure, if I write a blog that does not talk enough about art, or does not interest you, you can pass it by. And, I think many of my patrons like to know what goes on inside of this zany head of mine!

I have to do that with my websites too. I have three websites, none of which are maintained the way they need to be. I like having the domains, it is cheap enough, but shoot, I have to figure out how to make them work for me!

I spent much of the later part of the day listing on eBay (catskillpaper)and Etsy, in both my Catskillpaper and Pagibbons shops. Paper, ephemera, cards, journals, ornaments. I have a lot to offer.......and I am still trying to make up for the money I usually make in a better economy.

So here are a few samples of things I have to offer.

I have to create a miracle in a week. I invited my work buddies over to the house for a party after work next Friday...and I need to do a lot of cleaning and organizing for it. If I didn't do that, I would never be motivated to do the job!

Off to watch Kinky Boots if I can stay awake for it!

Patti O Worker!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bet You're Wondering....

So ya all been wondering.....what happened to Patti, and what happened in NY?

First of all, I got really hit hard by the ice storm...power outage from dinner time yesterday till some time today. No electric, no phone, no computer. Had to make dinner for the 5 of us by candlelight and keep it simple - spinach salad with cold chicken. Alanna was crying because she was scared, which made Randy cry....and I was running around lighting candles and waiting for Larry to get home with the Vodka. We had plans for a Bloody Mary celebration party as I have ended the long stretch of working 2 jobs, plus Megan LOVES my Bloody Marys.

(The mixer in case you want it!)
Tomato Juice
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce
Fresh Ground Pepper
Lots of Horseradish
some garlic and herb salt
Dill seeds if I have some fresh from my plants
And of course...a goodly shot of decent Vodka - doesn't have to be top shelf, but something Like Pinnacle, Stolis is OK. I save the Ciroc/Chopin/Grey Goose for sipping.....

Went to make cowboy coffee this morning--till I realized I had only whole beans. I debated chewing them, but decided they might make my stomach scream. So off to work, no coffee, no shower, bangs sticking up from an unsettled nights sleep....(and here I sit and type)

NYC----Scenario: warm but steady rain...as well as fog and the heavy mist that flies off the trucks when driving in a rainstorm to make the trip a tad bit stressful. Our timing turned a 2 hour trip into a 3 hour trip. Jammed up traffic on the GW and on the FDR....unloading went OK except for getting stuck in the elevator trying to unload my stuff. I would barely get one of four large items out the door of the elevator, when it would slam shut on me, leaving my stuff in a lobby, taking me down to the first floor again. After a few times of only getting one thing out a time before I got trapped and sent to the nether lands, I begged someone to hold the button so the door would stay open. People watched it happen, time after time...so you think anyone offered to help? Apparently not unless asked. Sigh. (Which reminds me to tell you a story of something that happened the other day -- which is really disturbing me)

I was 1/2 hour late due to traffic and had to set up like a maniac.

The upside was that Digitas was very cool and I was given an EXCELLENT space for my work, especially my paintings, with a view of an entertaining video of the work they have done for their clients displayed on a flat screen TV, created in cutting edge technology by vibrant, young, creative employees.

Many loved my paintings and mixed media large work, but did not have the money to spend. Probably a bit too young and having to watch their money living in the NY of C.during a financial crisis. My biggest admirer/patron was a vendor who is fashion writer and designer (published by Rizzoli) from New Orleans. He fell in love with my work.

After paying the parking, gas, tolls, and the stress of driving, (uh..front seat driver that is...) I am not sure that I would do it again. I have been invited back for the spring show, and IF I do it, I will have to rethink the trip. Take the train and a cab/subway/or bus and carry only one case on wheels. If I can pull it off that way, I will consider it.

What I did get from the show was a sense of direction in my art. If NYers are really digging my fine art, I should pay attention to that. The voice is whispering...stop the small stuff and go for the stars.......

Funny how life presents itself to us, isn't it?

Patti O Journey


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New York Flash Back

I was young, maybe 17. I was naive - a geek.

My aunt arranged for me, Ms. Teenage Geekess, to meet with a head honcho at one of the huge advertising agencies in the Big Apple where she worked- J. Walter Thompson.

Me, who spent my spare time drawing fantasy creatures in my journals, illustrating dramatic poetry about unrequited love and the underlying sexual frustration of a good Catholic girl.

I put on my heels, a dress which was probably too big for me, and took the bus into the city, carrying a portfolio larger than life. I remember walking, my heart pounding in my chest, navigating my way through New York City. I saw more people in one day than I had seen in the country for the six or so years I was living there.

Mr. Corporate Art Man was nice enough, encouraging me to keep up my work, but gently telling me that I needed basic training.

I left there feeling any fantasy of being a hot shot artist in New York quickly fade away. Besides, I hated the trip.

It was humiliating actually, when I realized this big important man took time out of his busy day to look at mediocre horsie art, as a favor to my aunt. Nice guy but they both could have spared me some pain.

I went home and never looked back - stayed out of the big lights, working only for small companies and doing small shows. Safe. Near. Not too risky.

So here I find myself on the eve of the NY show, having fantasies about people falling all over my clever cards, my political humor. "Will you work for us? a top executive asks". "We will top your teaching salary," he quips. A chorus of creative directors chant "we want you here.... we want you here..."

Of course, I refuse, telling them that my talent can't be bought so easily.

Back to reality---I have no expectations. It IS a very large international interactive advertising/marketing agency. The place WILL be crawling with exectutives and highly creative types.

So full steam ahead matey.....

Patti O Gambler!

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm Just a Bush Whacker

I am not well, I am tired, I am cranky.

One thing I am NOT is creatively constipated.

Tonight I had a good time blaming it all on Bush.

I wonder how these will go in NY. I stand strong in my views and the way my art intertwines around my life. Funny but still holding the knife to your throat.

As the parent of a disabled Iraqi Vet, and mother-in-law of a soldier in Afghanistan, I feel I have the right to be open about my views.

So for tonight, scans of my moments of revenge and voodoo. They will be for sale in NY on Wednesday...at ta da....

Craft Fair
December 10th from 11am-2pm
355 Park Ave South, 4th Fl (between 25th and 26th st)NYC

Bring ID as you have to sign in...but if any of you are in that area of Manhattan, come say HI!

Pattio Bush Whacker

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Skip the Wine - WHERE'S THE VODKA!

I am sooo tired that I can't go out to dinner. Then again, I am not even hungry. The kids at the show kept coming around asking if I wanted food, and I managed to gorge myself on scones, chili, cookies, champagne (in secret hahaha) to the point of disgust. My stomach is still sending out SOS signals.

It was a bit of a slow day for me, had to work very hard to sell very little. But in general I can afford the heat for the studio part way into the winter, and after NY maybe I can keep it open ALL winter, and even buy supplies!

And yes my cheerleaders, I am going to do NY. You can't win if you don't play the game. And I am so wanting to play in the big(ger)leagues. I will spend the next two afternoons trying to fill up a bit on inventory, and give it a whirl!

What is great about this New Paltz show is the quality of the crafts, the camaraderie of the sellers and Unison staff, and the customers who patronize the show and my booth year for 15 years.

This year I bought a lot of my fine art, and it was very well received. I sold some of my quirky and bizarre work - ranging from borderline S & M, double entendre pieces, and my political satire. (all W collages GONE) Sure I sold cards, ornaments and magnets, but a good percentage of my sales came from art. WOW. I am inspired. Excited. Motivated.

So I sit here typing, my feet mashing into my heated Homedics foot massager, working out the kinks and pains of being on my feet all day. Larry has bought me a nip of vodka, and I am ready to watch a Discovery special on the universe. More information to stuff into my brain and bother me.


Patti O Success

Show Report Part 1

All shows went fabulously well.

I have done the Unison show for 15 years, and have gotten to know the people that belong to the arts organization, as well as the many local people who come and shop at the show. It is like going to an all weekend party. The 7 hours FLEW by yesterday!

It is a show where you won't find the typical wood crafts, dried flowers and crochet toilet paper covers. You will find hand made bowls, pens, beautiful wreaths and holiday arrangements, and crocheted one of a kind hats from a little old lady who never makes the same hat twice...because she never follows a pattern! There is homemade body products, hand spun wools, local jams from my favorite-- Kathy of Grey Mouse Farms- a single woman run business. There are Kitty Babendreier's shadow boxes filled with found objects d'art which can be purchased online at Earth Angel Toys. Beaded jewelry by two sisters who will knock your socks off with their work and fabulous prices. Stehpanie Stillwell's fabulous primitive folk art dolls and altered art. Steve Fabrico's pottery.

Besides my regular card and ornament buyers, I actually sold art, which blew my mind! A 5 x 7" piece which I did not scan, titled "Millennium Dalai", all my "W" political satire cards, as well as some of my altered photographs. Many people chuckled at my art, some walked away, either not getting it, or perhaps a bit offended, but for the most part the responses were great!

At the Donskoj opening, which was PACKED for hours wall to wall, I watched people look at my art and crack up. Just the fact that it got many lookers and chuckles made me smirk. There were a few red dots around the gallery, not on mine, but I will be thrilled to give them a prominent place in my house...if I can find some wall space!

Photos...me in my booth, and one of me and friend Dick Crenson, one of the artists in the show. Larry and I have known him for years, and his wife Margaret also had a piece in the Donskoj show titled: "The Waning of George Bush" which sold! Sadly Dick told us that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and was home. Margaret is a fabulous painter and well known in the Hudson Valley. Light a candle, say a prayer, or a meditation for her.

Off to the showers. It has snowed a bit here and I have to leave myself plenty of time to get there! Sundays are always about 1/2 the sales of Saturday as it is always less crowded, but if I do that, all will be fine, and the heat will stay on all winter in the little studio behind the Red House.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I set up the show last night. It's the first time I have set up the night before so that I can go into the show this morning and not be running like a maniac hauling stuff in, setting it up, JUST BARELY in time before they let the crowd in the door. Then we headed to Lemongrass for Thai food...which was very mediocre, though at least they were still serving at 9:45 at night. Never going back there...man, am I spoiled by good food...It wasn't that it was bad, it was just that it wasn't that good either. (like no taste and iceberg lettuce with peanut dressing?!

Heading out to the show soon.

This weekend I am at the UNISON ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW at the New Paltz Middle School.Fabulous cards, art, collaged journals, arty practical magnets...some of the nicest ones around ---- they make refrigerator art a new genre! Today and tomorrow, from 10-5.

Then tonight if you are local stop by Donskoj Gallery for the opening of We're Only In it for the Money (an artists response to the financial crisis), and for the Small Works show at ASK, where I have art in both shows. Openings from 5-8 downtown Kingston.

I am going to keep positive. My booth looks lovely, and even though I am not sure that people are reaching deep into their pockets to buy art, I have displayed some of my collages and paintings. I am sure there is a deal to be made if someone is interested!

Maybe see you out and about tonight....

Patti O Sales

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Kipling Quotes

Today was a day of facing some things about my life. I cannot tell all here, but take my word, I am being challenged on many levels. Fortunately with hard hard work, my vantage point is a bit clearer now than it has been in the past, but it still a difficult journey.

In regards to the NY show, someone asked me if I was afraid of success. I know I am not afraid of failure, as I am secure in my feelings about my work, and low sales can be from a variety of factors (like the economy, the venue, the crowd) But success...that is another story. I really had to think about that.

If I was hugely successful, how would that change my life? I no longer can hold onto old misconceptions and messages drilled into my brain that I am not good enough? Old ghosts will have to be banished? I might have to let go of what is comfortable, even if not productive in my life's journey?

Thank you to those who commented, and to Ross who has made me an offer I can't refuse if I decide to accept it. It's like having my own cheerleaders.

I'll end with a few quotes that are relevant to me by Rudyard Kipling:

"If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you, the world will be yours and everything in it...."

"It's clever, but is it Art?"

"Never look backwards or you'll fall down the stairs."

and "Often and often afterwards, the beloved Aunt would ask me why I had never told anyone how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them they accept as eternally established. "

Patti O Adventurer

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In the Workshop

I am too tired to post much tonight, but I will leave you with a few of my cards that I just posted on Etsy.

I have sold all of the vintage Santas that I listed, so I put up a few more.
I know they will sell at the craft fair, but I am also trying to build an Etsy clientèle. It is a slow process in such an economy. It is a slow process in a GOOD economy.

I am not going to do the NYC show. It could be my big "break" but the reality is, it is an awfully long day, and a lot of stress to get there. A two hour plus drive into lower Manhattan, having to unload, set up, then find parking, sell for three hours, and then leave to come back home. And, it is a gamble.

In some ways I am unsettled with this decision as I have been waiting for an opportunity like this to come along, but at what expense? I am working 2 jobs 7 days a week....

Groan....help me out here folks...augh! Me, who is so clear and focused doesn't know what to do!

It is on Park Avenue, in the 30's...a large corporation called Digitas who holds a craft fair for their employees......no booth fee, and they said 7-800 employees have "access" to the show.

Patti O Indecision

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Why We're Starving Artists

Yesterday and today I dropped off the art for the two fine art shows I am in.

One show has two pieces of mine. Because the gallery owners want the art to sell in this economy, we had to price them "reasonably". Each piece was priced at 150.00. Which means I will get 100.00 for each one after commission, IF I sell it. Now the average price for each piece with frame and glass and spacers was about 25.00. It took me at least an hour to frame each one, so figure 15.00 for my time (and I refuse to work for less than that!) which brings the profit to 60.00 for a piece. Entry fee for each piece was 5.00. We are now down to 55.00. Then there is the cost of the materials for the art (who knows how much that is..) and the time it took me to make it. I am guessing after all said, I am making 15.00 an hour, with a bonus of 15.00 per piece. Or, that adds up to 22.50 an hour. Not that much for a professional. And I am not counting in the heat for the studio, the electric, blah blah blah.

Barely a living wage.

Then there was the piece for the other gallery. A wonderful encaustic work, which over time took many hours. It is small but complicated, so I priced it at 165.00, with a 10.00 entry fee, and their commission should it sell, puts me back at the same formula as above. Oh, and that organization has a yearly membership fee.

THEN THERE WAS THE PARKING TICKET that set my morning java off really nicely. I went out to warm up the car as it was covered in a thick layer of frost, and was running R-E-A-L-L-Y late. I spot an orange envelope on my window and think ah, the school kids are out making out tickets in the criminal justice class and I got one as I have not transferred my parking permit from the EOS to the Audi that I am borrowing from Lois. I opened it up and to my horror see that it was given to me by the Kingston Police while I was dropping off the artwork for 5 minutes downtown. Now mind you, there were NO cars parked on the street, no one wanting anything downtown, but I had forgotten to feed the meters as I usually do, putting a measly nickel into the meter so I could deliver my work.

20.00 f-in bucks for 5 minutes of parking. Tell me, who is making the money here?

I am sending the money in ASAP as it was written on Lois's car, not mine, but you KNOW they are going to get a little sarcastic letter enclosed with two gallery invitations for them to come see the shows.

Patti O Protester

Monday, December 01, 2008

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

My friend Bonnie D (hey BONNIE!!!) gave me a shopping bag of cool vintage trims, threads, and as I discovered, fabric.

There were a few piles of nearly perfectly cut discs cut from 40's vintage fabrics, probably cut in preparation for a quilt.

"What do to with them?" I pondered. I remembered the big tub of lavender that I had stashed away under my paints, and figured I could make some sachets out of them.

Problem is, when you have to close the openings once you put the lavender in, it is very hard to maintain that perfect circle which you have so carefully tried to maintain while sewing.

So I played around with some trim and buttons, and VOILA, a wonderful little hang able "purse" sachet.

The scan does not do these little gems justice. They have buttons on each side, some have trim on both sides. Many have sections which are hand stitched. Most of the materials used are very old, except for the lavender.

I asked my daughter what she would pay for them...and she replied, "on my budget, not more than 3.00!" "AUGH" I replied, thinking of the time it took me to make them, realizing that this is another design that would have to be shipped to China to be manufactured in order for me to make a profit.

Still, I will make another batch of them, put them in a basket at the show, put 7.00 on them, and see what happens. At the very least, I had fun designing them, and if they don't sell, then someone will get very sweet gifties to keep near their bed for relaxation, or in their undie draw.

As an aside....Alanna was very funny tonight. She has an amazing vocabulary at barely four, and has no problem telling people they are ridiculous, or preposterous, and usually uses the terms correctly.

Tonight, as I fed her fresh made turkey salad, turkey loaf (Hey Annie, wasn't that you who posted the Mexican Turkey loaf on yer blog---couldn't find it, so I made it from a different recipe) organic raisins, mushrooms and celery, she stops, looks at me, and says "Mimi---you are soooo helpless!". She meant to say helpful, but that made Megan almost spit out her wine and samples of the wares.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Patti O Designer