Friday, November 15, 2013

I bet some of you faithful readers have been wondering what I've been doing for the last few months. "Because it hasn't been blogging, that's for sure," is what you're probably saying. And, you're right. I've been  making things like this, available on my Etsy shop, Heard and Seen, and gorgeously captured here by photographer and friend Shannon Treglia. Yes, an Etsy shop, really!
Scrabble tile mosaic collage from Heard and Seen photographed by Shannon Treglia.
I hadn't planned to make the jump to having an Etsy shop. Sure, it had always been a fantasy of mine, admiring the wonderful creations on show from so many talented artists. Creating these necklaces stemmed from my collages, which I've talked about before. If you're curious, you can click on the links to see how I came about creating my first synethesia inspired works of art, starting with the first collage I created from sounds that I painted, which led to the cow skull piece, then to the piece I named "Echo," as it was not only made up of painted sound paintings, but illustrated what an echo looked like to someone like me, who has synesthesia. And finally, the last full-scale collage I did before working on a much much smaller scale.

I really wish I could remember where I learned about Scrabble tile jewelry, whether it was puttering around on the internet or somewhere else, but when I saw them, an idea clicked to put the two together. I've always wanted to make jewelry, having ideas for pieces and colors, but not being a metal smith, wood carver, gem cutter or even a beader, a Scrabble tile offered a setting on which I could place my art. First, I experimented with putting the textures next to each other so they would have impact on a small scale. From my collages, I had these wonderful colors and textures that I'd painted, and it all just came together.  I just love that it melds letters and art, since I've been known to write a bit.

Scrabble Tile Pendants
My first Scrabble tile pendants.
To create these, I first created mini collage mosaics on a piece of bristol board. I then glued the mini canvas to the tile and finished it with resin. The result of that experimentation was these first pieces. I'd never worked with resin before, but careful research on the medium paid off. I was already thinking ahead, using only 100% archival materials, including the sealer which protects the art from the resin. I bought the vintage tiles off eBay and learned the art of applying resin. It was wonderful to see the finished creation, and I was really pleased with how they turned out.

Creating these tiles became something I looked forward to every night after work. I'd come home, put on music and create. I'd leave my door open, hearing my wind chimes and pieces of conversation from neighbors or filtering into the courtyard from the street, and let that portal open up from heart, brain to hands, and then to paper. I moved to creating more intricate designs and before long, I had several pieces. And that was when I decided to open my Etsy Shop, Heard and Seen. Heard and Seen, because I hear and see sounds, which are the inspiration for these pieces.

...become this...

Such a wonderful process to make this...


Pay it a visit to see the rest of my pieces. I'm truly proud, and a bit humbled by this work, as it's the result of operating with barriers completely down. It's worth it just to see Shannon's beautiful photos. And yes, I'm the model in the pictures! I'll be posting more of my pieces up on the store soon, and also on my  Pinterest page. This is all so wonderfully new to me, so I'm just enjoying the drive. Notice that I said drive, and not ride.

Friday, September 06, 2013

It's 104 degrees outside. Hopefully, this is the last week of it, as it's unbearable.

Friday, July 19, 2013

How many times have I started a new post, only to leave it lingering in the "Drafts" section. For the past few months, I've just not felt motivated, or that I really had anything to say.

I'm coming off my boss's last day and a nice, relaxing dinner with a friend, where I took the long way on the walk home, senses heightened by one glass of a nice chardonnay and pinot grigio. I'm sad to lose my boss. She's awesome, was a great motivator and leader, and extremely talented. It's a void I've been feeling since she's announced her resignation. She's dropped full-time work to freelance, concentrate on her writing and because her job was incredibly stressful. She left me a kind note, one of the things which she said, thanking me for not being afraid to voice the truth to those in power, and that she slept better knowing I had her back. I did, and still do. She had my back when she hired me and inspired me to do great work. Not only that, she was hilarious and had an incredible people sense. I'm happy for her, but sad for me.

Over the week of the 4th of July I went to Atlanta, GA to visit my sister, her husband and my 16-year-old nephew. Then, we all drove to Lake Toxaway, NC where my dad and step mom have a lake house right on the water. It was so great to see family and be in the Southeast, where there were lush trees and grass, gigantic clouds, lightning and thunderstorms. I was relaxed, happy and laughing a lot. Los Angeles has a lot of things. In fact, anything that I want is here. That is, except family. I have no family here. It pulls on me, especially after seeing them.

My sister and I caught up on the rooftop of her awesome apartment building. Somehow, the managed to score a condo to rent in this building that also houses the likes of Charles Barkley and other pro athletes. They've seen Shaq in the elevator, celebrities and other Atlanta socialites. There are Bentleys and Astin Martins in the parking garage, as well as a host of other exotic cars. They sold their house and decided to rent, and upon finding this place, joke that they're the low rent neighbors. I'd forgotten how green Atlanta is. And the sky, clouds and lighting, as evidenced in this photograph, is just stunning. I'm growing increasingly tired of the boring weather we have in Los Angeles. Today we did have partly cloudy skies with a nice breeze. That was a change.

On the way to Lake Toxaway, we stopped in Walhalla, South Carolina to stock up on groceries, and while in the fruit section, I heard a man repeatedly announcing over the PA system to stay clear of aisle twenty-two. At least that's what I thought he said. When I asked a store employee who was standing at the end of aisle one what had happened, he told me that someone had sprayed mace in aisle one and two. We were standing at aisle one, and almost as soon as he said it I felt the burn in my throat and my eyes start to water. Because the person on the loudspeaker had a pronounced southern accent, I'd not understood him and walked right where I wasn't supposed to. I made my way to the checkout, coughing and picked up a bottled water, then guzzled it down to flush out my throat.  When we all reconvened in the car, I learned that my sister and nephew had gotten it too. This counts the second time I've been maced. However, the first time was full force and on my birthday.

Later, we saved a turtle who was precariously crossing the road on the way there. We turned around, Joan's husband jumped out of the car and picked him up. We relocated him to the lake house yard. He took to it immediately, as it is a vast, moist green yard surrounded by woods, plants and right by a lake. We put him in the ivy and an hour later, I checked on him and he was gone. Happy life, little one.

It rained practically the entire time we were there, but I welcomed it. It was glorious to fall asleep to, along with flashes of lightning lighting up the room followed by booms of thunder. Even though that meant the fireworks were rained out on July 4th, we were treated to nature's spectacle in its place. The lake house has a huge 2nd story patio that is screened in, so we cooked hotdogs, burgers and ate outside as the weather raged. I played lots of games with family, ate, drank, laughed and let my mind relax into another plane. One where I just let things be, was constantly surrounded by people and let go of my autonomous ways. It was a wonderful, welcome change. On July 5th, we had drinks at the Greystone Inn, then walked over to the Lake Toxaway Country Club where we had a spectacular buffet with a fabulous desert table. We all ate to our heart's content and it was fun seeing my dad and stepmom talk to all their Toxaway friends.

There were reprieves from the rain, and we took those breaks to visit the falls, which were roaring
because of all the rains. Here, I'm standing in front of them up on a hill. They go way down and feed the lake, which was at really high tide. So much, that motor boats weren't allowed for fear that their wakes would damage the shore and docks. There were a lot of people in canoes, kayaks, paddle boats and stand-up paddle boats. One woman had her huge dog along for the ride. He was sitting there on the paddle boat, happy as a clam while she stood and paddled them around the lake. It was adorable and hilarious.

We visited a real life country mart where we picked up some groceries, and of course, RC cola and moon pies. It was the first moon pie I ever had, and was a treat.

Sadly, my stepmother's mother died the day after we left. She was 95 and had been failing for quite some time. When we got back to Atlanta, my dad called us and told us the news. She'd lived a long, good life and went in comfort. Her daughter really took care of her and her sister, first buying them a home to live together in Florida, then when it was time, moving them both to Asheville, NC where they lived out the rest of their days in a very nice assisted living facility near her and my dad. The sisters lived together for 50 years. Amazing. Two tough, yet so sweet Italian women. They died within weeks of each other. Two more of the Greatest Generation, and their living history, gone.

I'll post more pictures of my trip. Finally, I'm hitting send.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I learned a couple of days ago that my accountant for over 15 years passed away after complications from a fall. This is not someone who was elderly and fragile, so it must have been a bad one. His firm had been updating us (his clients) on his condition and for a bit it seemed like he had stabilized.

There are people in this world who are true originals, and he was one. He lived life the way he wanted to, and through doing that, inspired and helped thousands. He was an avid biker (I believe that he and his son rode their motorcycles through Europe) and a rebel with a good heart, super sharp brain and most certainly a cause. Not only that, he "got" life and wasn't afraid to lay it on the line and say exactly what was on his mind. He helped me out immensely through the years. A former IRS employee who specialized in entertainment professionals and freelancers, he hated corporate and government bullies and used his insider knowledge to put the money back into the pockets of those who earned it and could use it the most. I feel incredibly lucky to have known him, and to witness well...him just being him and thriving because of it.

RIP Mick Schneider. You mattered and made a difference. Your reach is far, and you touched thousands. You lived by example, so now that your work is done here, ride that wide open highway in the sky...helmet off.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ground Control to Captain Dave...

A lot of you have emailed me about the disappearance of Capt. Dave's blog, Flight Level 390. Capt. Dave was one of my first readers, and through that I was lucky enough to discover his blog. I contacted him and while I won't say what the conversation entailed, I will assure you that it was a personal decision and it appears he just needed a break. There were no company directives, he didn't get in trouble for blogging, there are no health issues, and to the conspiracy theorists who think that Capt. Dave wasn't even real or a pilot, I can assure you that he is. And, while I miss reading his wonderful posts, I respect that he's just a man who needed to take some time off from blogging.

I do hope that he decides to blog again, as his blog helped me greatly in my fears about flying. I developed a fear of flying around my late teens, and while I still flew, the fear would be a factor in my travels, like a looming menace that would step out from the shadows the moment that I forgot about it. It seemed to say, "You still have the return flight, where I can still get you."

When I started reading his blog, it put a human in the cockpit who was making educated, practiced and safe decisions, and knew that aircraft inside and out. And, that just like us, he wants to get home alive. Because of his first-hand personal perspective of being the captain who shoulders the job and his extremely well-written, and damn interesting chronicling of the decisions he and his co-pilot make to get all the "souls on board" there safely, the feeling of  being at the mercy of only a huge, impersonal, loud and scary machine pretty much ceased for me. I know of others who his blog helped greatly, so Capt. Dave, once you feel like it, you are most welcome here.

Speaking of those who fly for a living, my sister had a layover last weekend, so we spent some time downtown, as she stays at the Westin Bonaventure. Now that downtown, especially near that area, has some restaurants to go to and a movie theater, we have choices when she has short layovers like this one. We ate at The Yard House, which is in LA.

So far, the new job is going really well. My coworkers are funny and smart, and my boss is awesome as is the VP, who is an approachable, smart as hell, funny and will fight for what is the best for her team. I've even found a nice respite that I take during lunch. I park my car in a place that gives me front row center to the landing planes at the Van Nuys Airport, and sit in the passenger seat of my car to write for a bit. I don't like going out for lunch, as there aren't really any places to eat that aren't fast food chains, tons of calories, gross or where I have to look at the blight of Van Nuys. The only thing that Van Nuys has going for it as far as I'm concerned, is that I drive against traffic to get to and from work, which makes for an easy, fast commute.

But still, I have to look at Van Nuys both ways. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Don't go to the bathroom there."

Those were my first words spoken to another human being in 2013. Hopefully, that's not an indicator of how this year is going to go.

That conversation started on New Years Day, around 11:30 AM when I was walking to my car in the alley behind my apartment building. I noticed a tall, large man ambling toward me, and something was just off about him. He wasn't dirty, just off, looking around surreptitiously, walking with a dopey swagger and very aware that I had seen him and noticed. I got into my car, locked the doors and sat for a few seconds. As I was putting on my seat belt, he passed by my spot, looking right at me. I met his eyes, and he gave me a quick smile as if to try to communicate that all was fine and convince me that he fit in this neighborhood. However, I saw through it. Vacant, glassy eyes, trying too hard to look lackadaisical and nonchalant, like he took this walk every day. I'd never seen him before, and I'd have remembered him if he'd been around. He was at least 6'3, large-boned and overweight with blonde spiky hair. A big, dumpy dump truck of a guy.

I decided to wait a few more seconds, then started my car and eased out, watching him walk down the alley, looking at every carport and trash bin. Walking into some, then out. He stopped by a smaller bin and looked left and right. And that's when he started to drop his pants and squat, exposing his big fat white ass to yours truly. Happy fucking New Year.

When I realized what he was about to do, I thought, "Oh hell to the mother fucking no you don't."

I pulled out further and revved my engine, startling him. He jerked his head toward me, stood up and yanked up his pants. He ambled down the alley as if nothing had happened, and I watched him, my car blocking the alley. Another car turned down toward me, so I drove out, turned onto my street, then onto the street that runs parallel to the alley and gunned it to the next cross street. I squealed around the corner, then slowed down to take the turn into the alley. About 20 feet in, guess who wandered out from a carport, looking sheepish. I stopped, pushed the button to lower my window, and that's when those first words of 2013 were spoken.

"Don't go to the bathroom there."

Him: (speaking like a surfer dude) Oh, I'd never do that.
Me: You're walking around here, in and out of carports and I saw you pull your pants down and squat by that trash bin.
Him: Oh, no, that's because my pants have a rip in them and I can't keep them up.
Me: (Knew it was bullshit, didn't care to argue it.) Why are you walking in and out of carports?
Him: Oh, that's because of the rip in my pants, I don't want to walk on the main road.
Me: (Knew it was bullshit, didn't care to argue it.) A year ago, someone took a crap by my car. It was disgusting.
Him: Oh that's not cool at all.
Me: (Firm) No, it wasn't. So don't do it.
Him: (Hands up, palms forward in a defensive posture) I'm not I promise. (As I drove off) You have a Happy New Year.

I drove down the alley, made the same turns and saw him standing on the corner of the main road  and a side street, looking like a giant child who had just been scolded. I pulled over into a dry cleaner's parking lot, and dialed the Burbank Police's non-emergency number. I gave the dispatcher a perfect description of him, where he was heading, and what I'd caught him trying to do. I said that perhaps the cops would just like to have a chat with him to scare him off.

I haven't seen him since.