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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rocketbuster Boots. Or: Yay! I Figure Out Blogging with iPhoto!


Oh, good grief. I can't believe it. I had a post here, with a bunch of photos and links and all manner of cool goodness, and then I tried to delete an extra space, and it deleted the whole top of the post. Everything except the last photo. This is so discouraging, after all the other crap I'm dealing with technologically, that I almost gave up. But I'm determined to learn to blog with blogger--the website, rather than with Blogo or some other interface--and by golly, I'm going to do this TODAY. Never mind that there are about a bazillion other things I should be doing.

So:  when we go to El Paso for the book signing, on the way to Las Vegas, we stop in at Rocketbuster, where I've always wanted to visit. Never mind that you're supposed to make an appointment and I didn't do that, since I didn't know if we'd actually have time to go before the signing--we just showed up. And man, is that building (circa "before 1900") cool:





The "Boss Lady," Nevena Christi,
looked me over and said she had a pair of boots that was absolutely MADE for me. This is a total lie:  these boots are being made for someone who has way smaller feet than I do and a way, way bigger disposable income than I will ever have in life, ever. They say Rocketbuster boots start at $650, but the least expensive ones I've ever seen were $1800. I'm guessing the ones she showed us--boots that will live forever in my dreams--were over $5000. And if I had that kind of money and didn't need it for, oh, say, food and stuff? I would so totally order a pair of these:

They draw the design:

and then cut it into the leather and then paint that. The paints on Nevena's work table:





Ok, let me leave you with a couple more shots--the one of the Wall o' Boots is blurry, but it's all I got in the rush to try to see EVERYTHING. (The EGE, aka My Photographer, didn't take his camera in with him. Huh.)

Since I think I'm too cheap to ever have a pair made, I'll just put them on my wish list. Or, more accurately, my Drool List. Man, they make some cool boots~~

Technology, Dresses, and the Odor of Wet Dog

It's just one irritation after another, this whole technology thing, let me tell you. I think I've gotten it figured out, and then it turns out there's a whole nother thang I have to deal with. Which just sucks, really.

But! I have manuals!

And so I pulled out the still-brand-new iPhoto manual and will take that along to Houston with me and will read it and learn it and then will know how to upload photos from iPhoto to this blog. And isn't that just the silliest thing not to know how to do? Yes, it is. Used to, back in the Age of the PC, I had a lovely photo-to-blog arrangement whereby Live Writer would let me go to any photo anywhere on my computer, select it, and then it would let me crop and rotate, add a watermark, resize it--just ANYTHING. And it would do all that RIGHT THERE IN THE POST.

And now? Now I can't even GET to the damn photos. I can go to iPhoto, but then it tries to upload the fucking APPLICATION to the blog. And I sigh and get up and walk away. Because, frankly, I've got a whole bunch of plates spinning right now and just don't have time to keep dicking around with the whole photo situation. I have photos of Rocket Buster boots that I wanted to show you. Got them uploaded to iPhoto, just like I'm supposed to, and then went to post them here.

Yeah, right.

But you're tired of my whining about stuff, I know. You'd like to find something amusing, some great photos, stories of people we've met, a podcast or two. And why don't you find all those things? Fucking technology, is why. I haven't been blogging because I didn't have internet access for almost a week. And I can't upload photos to the blog because I'm a goober, apparently. And I can't podcast until I find a call recorder that doesn't, as the last demo did, save them as MOVIES. (I had to download and install a converter, which worked, but GEEZ: saving audio as movies just seems the tiniest bit overkill to me, you know?)

So as soon as I have time to find one (probably Audio Hijack Pro) and install it and try it out, I can set up podcasts. That will probably be a while, though. We're leaving tomorrow for Houston and will be gone a week, and then we'll be home two weeks before we leave for Artfest. In those two weeks, I have to meet a big deadline, prepare taxes for our appointment to have those done, and go to the dermatologist for the semi-yearly scan. Plus make the reservations for interim lodging (Dallas, Seattle, Dallas) and rental car, etc.

But never mind that. Excuse my whinging, please. If only the whole technology thang had transpired earlier, early enough for me to have worked out all the bugs by now, I wouldn't be whining quite as much. Or, yeah, I would have been. But I would have been whining about something more interesting.

So. What have y'all been up to? You're busy, I know. And probably have way more interesting things going on in your lives than I do. So thanks for coming by and bearing with the kvetching. Yesterday was supposed to be the day I got caught up on everything. But then The EGE decided it was a good day to scalp the lawn, our annual spring-ish day-long chore of taking off all the dead thatch. This sounded like a good idea, and we put on our work clothes and he went out and moved the vehicles out of the way. And while I was putting on my old shoes, my friend Ashley texted me:  "Huge sale at Dillards!" Now, I know that we have similar ideas of "huge sale," and it doesn't mean that things are 30% off. Nope: when Ashley says "huge sale," it's a Huge Sale. Everything had been marked down a lot, and yesterday they took an additional 40% off that. What this meant was that things that had been $99.99 were now less than $20. Shoes, a black sweater, dresses.

So I asked The EGE if he wanted to "run over to Dillards." We could look for a belt, I told him--because I bought him a cool buckle from an artist (and hell, no, I cannot remember who it was) at Art Unraveled, at Vendors' Night, and it will work only on one of his belts, as you have to have the kind of belt that will let you switch out buckles. And he has only one. So I said, "We can look at belts!" And we hopped in the car in our Yard Working Clothes, which are not pretty, and set out for Dillards.

Four hours later. . . .

Ashley met us there, and she kept The EGE company while I tried on cocktail dresses.

Yeah, that baffles the hell out of me, too. Me? And cocktail dresses? What's up with that?

Well, you remember that wedding we had a while back? The evening wedding? With dancing? And I realized I had only one dress I could wear. I've had it for, I think, about 20 years. I've worn it half a dozen times when an occasion arose that required something dressy. And, frankly, I'm tired of it. It's not particularly my style, anyway--teal and black--and geez, you know:  I like clothes. I like dressing up. It would be fun to have more than one dress in which to do that. Because I mean, really:  you get a chance to dress up, and you think, "Oooooh! That will be fun!" But it's not, because the fun of dressing up, at least for me, is putting together something cool, where everything mixes nicely and is something I haven't worn before, at least in that particular combination.

Hard to do with just one dress, especially if it's a dress that doesn't lend itself to going with anything else. The kind of dress that Does Not Play Well with Others.

So this is my excuse for why we spent 4 hours at Dillards yesterday, dressed in raggedly yardwork clothes, with me trying on cocktail dresses with my athletic socks. No, I do not take off my socks in the dressing room. Ick! And no, we did not find a belt.

It went like this:  I'd go through the El Cheapo Sales Racks and pick out anything that looked remotely possible, here meaning "anything that didn't make me weep in sadness and that was between a size 4 and a size 10," which is, as you know, a Total Joke. All my life, I've worn what used to be a size 10, sometimes an 8, every now and then, when I was skinny. The dresses I ended up with: a 10, a 10 petite, a 6, and a 4. And they try to tell us sizes haven't changed. Yeah, right.

Anyway. So I'm in the dressing room, which is a skanky horse-stall of a room, with a door that doesn't want to shut and walls that look like mayhem has been committed there. Most of the dresses I try on don't even make it to the zipping-up stage:  I pull them over my head and turn around and look in the mirror and am horrified. Sometimes it's that they're either way too young or way too old, making me look like those horribly pathetic Women of A Certain Age who, because they've "kept their figure," think they can wear the clothes they wore when they were 20 (anybody else see Katy Couric in this month's Bazaar and want to call her up and ask, "What the hell were you thinking?" Not because of this photo:

which is great (except for the look on her face, which is, "My god, and I didn't think they could put more make-up on my face than they do for tv!") but because of the other one, which I cannot find online but which was cringe-inducing. She looks fabulous and doesn't need the tons of make-up and the short skirt.

Anyway. On the other end of the spectrum were the dresses that screamed "Mother of the Bride!" and not in an elegant, classy way. More in the way of "I had to go to The Wal-Mart to find something to wear to Tessa's wedding cause I didn't have nothing in the closet that weren't camo." Mumu dresses, ugly prints, dresses designed to hide A Multitude of Sins.

What is it with this? Why are there no dresses for women my age? And, no, I'm not talking just about the sales racks. I've looked before, and there's just nothing. Well, OK, a couple things. The only ones I can find photos of are these:

To get to the point where I handed over my credit card for these dresses? Well. That involved much grousing and bitching. I found one dress in three sizes--8, 6, and 4. The 6 fit perfectly, but apparently someone for whom it didn't fit quite so perfectly had put it on and done a couple yoga poses there on the dressing room floor (a shudder-inducing idea if there ever was one), ripping out the fabric under the arm and along the back seam in such a way that not even I, The Mistress of Mending, could figure out how to mend it. I'd put on a dress, with my cute (snort) white socks, and march out and say, "OK," and then watch. The EGE has excellent taste. I suck at buying clothes. Ergo, I depend on him to keep me from buying some hideous thing that makes me look like my own grandmother or, worse, the kind of woman who would have Botox and then wear a bow in her hair, thinking it really DID make her look decades younger. Like, oh, 12.

So when I try on something, he says one of three general things.
"It's all right." (I translate this to, "If you have to put on clothes to leave the house and this is all you have, it's passable."
"Wow." (He likes it.)
"No." (It's hideous and the fact that I put it on my body at all really worries him.)

Then there's Ashley, who is several decades younger than I am but still has trustworthy taste. This is a very good thing, because what tends to happen to me in a store with dresses and a dressing room is, after about 5 minutes, I want something that fits and isn't itchy and costs less than $20. This is why, over the decades, I've ended up with clothes I wear once and then look at in total puzzlement ever after, wondering what in the hell possessed me to buy them. And since, to me, "comfortable" almost always means "doesn't touch me anywhere," I end up with clothes that hang on me and make me look like I've recently been seriously ill.

I just don't like shopping. Yeah, yeah, I know I just spent 4 hours doing that yesterday, but a lot of it was mostly making fun of the horrible clothes and then trying on shoes I had no intention of buying, just because they were all out on the rack and you could just help yourself and try them on. Ever tried on 5-inch heels with athletic socks? You should. Lots of fun to be had all around! (Mostly by the other women trying on shoes, who would look at me in horror.) And you'd be proud of me:  I held my tongue and didn't say a word to the woman with the double stroller full of kids and bags and every other imaginable kind of crap who parked said stroller right in front of the shoe rack and then wandered off to try on shoes. Not. A. Word.

There was one point where I carried yet another armload of dresses into the dressing room and sniffed the air and cried, "My god, it smells like dog in here!" at which point things got really, really quiet. That was nice. I'll have to remember to do that again when the chatter and endless ringing of cell phones (you know, you can tell a LOT about someone by their ring tones) just gets to be too much. I imagined everyone surreptitiously sniffing their armpits and trying to see who was yelling.

But, really, what's up with the doggy odor? Can't guess? I can tell you:  there was one dress that was covered in dog hair. Apparently people still do like my BBFHS, who, in college, would buy a dress she couldn't afford, wear it to a party, and then return it. I'm guessing someone bought a cocktail dress to take their collie to Pet Smart for grooming, is what I'm guessing.

Ah, well. So that was how I spent my Saturday afternoon. Now I have dresses, three of which cost less than $20 each, which is my personal rule for clothes. The other one was quite a bit more, so I violated my own rule. But hey, it's a really nice dress, easily the most expensive I've ever bought and still scored at a really great discount. Now if I can just figure out a way to wear them that doesn't require I buy pantyhose, to which I'm opposed on many, many grounds.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Magazine Give-Away: Belle Armoire

Got an extra copy of the spring issue of Belle Armoire magazine, which isn't even on the newsstands yet. This one has my profile of Peggy Russell, who makes gorgeous silk artwear.

So tell us something about you + artwear. Amuse us. Inspire us.

Then check back--I'll try to pick someone when we get back from Adorn Me! in Houston.

A Give-Away: Artful Blogging

You've got a while on this give-away, since I won't pick a name until we get back from Adorn Me! in Houston.
Post a comment and tell us something cool about blogging. I'll pick someone the week after next--probably on Monday, the 8th.

And check back in a little while--I think I've got a brand-new magazine that came in the mail--

My Excuse--And I DO Have One! = $14.99 Per Day

You would not beLIEVE how I tried to post some notes here while we were in Las Vegas. There was one point, on the one afternoon when we left the hotel and went out and walked around to see what there was to see, when we found ourselves in an Apple store somehwere in Caesar's Palace, and The Ever-Gorgeous Earl was schmoozing (talking education and school and discipline) with DJ, one of the Apple Guys, who reminded us of one of our nephews, and I was over on the demos, trying to log into blogger so I could at least post a note to let you know I hadn't fallen prey to the slots. You know, like I'd stumbled into some gambling frenzy and gotten sucked in and had spent all my little money and was lying, stunned, broke, covered in slobber and cigarette ash, under some craps table.

And what's up with "craps," anyway? That's a name that makes ME want to fork over cash, let me tell you.

Anyway, so I was hovering furtively over the demo laptops, trying to get blogger to load so I could post. No luck. We did find out a lot about stuff, though, and I'm now lusting even more than previoulsy for a 27" iMac Quad Core. Oooh, baby.

And then Robert Dancik offered me his Verizon aircard, but I couldn't take the man's internet access. I mean, he's a continent away from home. He NEEDS his Skype!

Why was I going to all this effort to get internet access, you wonder? We were, after all, staying in a really nice room in Bally's on The Strip in Las Vegas--it wasn't as if we were, oh, say, in the wilds of Monahans, Texas, at the Starlight Inn.

Ah, but Bally's. They--like the other hotels on The Strip--have no desire to have you holed up in your room, lovely though it may be. They don't want you up there. They want you in the casino, day and night, night and day, playing the games and feeding the machines and giving them every. single. penny. of your money. So they make it hard to stay in your room:  they do not have free internet access. If you want internet access, it will cost you $14.99 a day.

This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. Well, right up there with the fact that they do NOT have coffee makers in the rooms. No! Can you believe it? I can't even remember how long it's been since I stayed in a room--any room, even a little crappy room in a La Quinta in downtown Tucson ("very 1 star," is how someone put it)--that didn't have a little cheap-ass coffee maker. But here I was. And I soon came to be very, very pissy about this:  every fucking morning at 6:30 I'd descend in the elevator and wade into the smoke-filled gaming area of the lobby, pushing my way through people who had been there all. night. long--yes:  gambling and drinking and smoking and, in some cases, singing horribly off-key drinking songs--since the night before--and trek all the way across this mess to the coffee kiosk-thing, where I had to pay $4 for a cup of coffee. Now, I'm not talking a latte, or a cappuccino or any other drink for which I might pay that amount at Starbucks. No. I'm talking a cup of regular coffee with a little tiny cup of soy milk on the side. And since they also didn't offer breakfast, which is akin to not offering hot water or toilet paper in my book, I also forked over many dollars for a bran muffin and some sort of husband-friendly pastry (husband-friendly here meaning "not a damn bran muffin").

This happened every single morning.

But the internet access. Why, you're wondering, didn't I just go ahead and pay for a day of access? Ah. Good question. The reason is that we were guests. So the room wasn't in our name, and my credit card wasn't on file. For me to get internet access, I would have had to go down and give them my card and make sure they charged it accordingly, and after the ordeal of getting it all straightened out in the first place, something that required my trekking back and forth five times and much sighing and wrangling by many people, I wasn't about to risk it.

The thing is:  these hotels are big. Really, really big. There are tons of people in them, tons of people checking in and checking out constantly. Every time I passed the front desk, there was a line. Even at 6:30 in the morning ,there was a line. So nothing involving The Hotel was simple. Glenny, the Woman of Art and Soul, told me how different this was from, say, Embassy Suites, where she knows whom to  talk to to get anything done, and they take care of things. If she needs maintenance, she calls the Maintenance Guy. Here everything was different, simply because it was so very, very big. Getting to anyone who could do anything about anything was An Ordeal.

So. There it is: my excuse. I don't think it will happen again--everywhere else we're going should have some sort of free access. In Las Vegas, I didn't even see a Starbucks cafe, not that I was going to be lugging my laptop around The Strip with me, even on that one day we actually got out.

How was Art and Soul Las Vegas? It was wonderful:  lots of energy, lots of workshops, lots of people we know and get to see way, way, too seldom. If it hadn't been for the constant, overwhelming cigarette smoke and the astounding crowds, it would be perfect:  great places to eat, fabulous shows, a nice place to stay. I fell in love with our room the minute I walked in:  one wall was a window, from corner to corner and from the ceiling to about knee level. I LOVED this and wanted to live in front of that window for a month. Someone asked me if we had a great view. Um, no:  it overlooked a parking garage. But who cares? It faced south, so the sun came in all day long, making a long arc from the left to the right. There was a blue velvet love seat, and I turned that to face the window. Periodically The EGE would remind me that I was not supposed to be in the sun, but I rationalized that it wasn't actual sun, since there was glass between us. Whatever. It was fabulous. Glenny surely wondered why I kept thanking her for the sun.

Anyway, so that's my excuse. And I really will do better, I swear. I'll try to have stories from the road PLUS photos--in fact, I'm going to go try to find some photos now. And I've got a couple of give-aways, so stay tuned.

On Monday, we're off to Adorn Me! in Houston. I love Houston~~especially when we don't have to drive all over once we get there.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hello from Scottsdale, Arizona!

Hello, my little chickadees! My, how I've missed y'all, out on the road, without access. Or, rather, sporadic access. Sometimes "grouchy access" is the only way to put it. You know, there was one point, as we approached El Paso, that AT&T completely lost its damn mind and sent me a note accusing me of having left the country:  if I tried to send or receive data from my new location inside this foreign territory, it was going to charge me $19.99 per packet.

Or something. I don't know exactly what the hell they were nattering about because I, of course, lickety split put it on airplane mode. Now, I don't actually know if "airplane mode" will even do what I was hoping it will do, which is turn off the internet connection, but I'm going to pretend that's exactly what it did. And if I get some huge-ass whopping bill for like a billion dollars, you're going to hear me yelling all the way to where you are. I'm going to say, "Dude. There's no way in hell I left the country to send and receive date because I don't even have a fucking passport!" Hell, I can't even go to Juarez to the market any more, with all the "homeland security" crap that is, let's just admit it, a joke of monumental proportions. Like it keeps terrorists out. All it does--and all I believe it was designed to do--is discourage travel and make us even more tribal and xenophobic than we already are, if that's even possible.

Oh. Wait. Did I just start to rant? No, no, no. This is not a rant; I'm having too much fun to rant!

Except wait again: I have to rant just a tiny little bit, because not only was AT&T fucking with me, but so was Citibank, which went on high alert when we bought lunch at The Garden in downtown El Paso and then slipped across the border--that would be the border with NEW Mexico (apparently, Citibank numbers among its staff some of those benighted souls who labor under the impression that New Mexico is a shinier, fresher suburb of Mexico itself, instead of what it actually is:  the Shopping for Art extension of Texas. Yeah:  its function, according to Texans, is as an additional place to shop. And ski.

But never mind that.

And, oh, yeah:  ))))))))

Anyway. So Citibank sends me an email, which I get while riding through the wilds of the desert (with the signs telling us to Beware of Rattlesnakes, only now they've changed the signs to remove the actual words (English and Spanish) so there's just the terribly frightening cartoon image of a ready-to-strike rattler. Apparently bi-lingual signage was still asking way, way too much of a possibly illiterate population that's so stupid they would see all that deserty-ness and not once, not for a second, think, "Hmmmm. That looks really snakey out there. Maybe I shouldn't go squat behind that cactus.")

They would SO not be me. I hear the MST 3K line ALL the time: "Watch out for snakes!" said like this: "Watchoutforsnakes!"

Anyway, so I got this email saying that they hadn't been able to reach me by phone and that if they didn't hear from me by today, they were going to block my card and send someone to find me and blow me up. And there was a number for me to call, you know, like "Call this number and to give us all your passwords and very important access information for we to help you in your buying endeavors!"

Like that. Now, it's like I tell The EGE all the time, "I'm an atheist not because I'm an evil, horrible person but because I'm a total skeptic." I mean, TOTAL. You tell me something, I want some proof. You tell me I'm in Arizona right now, and I want to see some damn canyon pretty quick or I'm going to think I'm in New Jersey and you're just trying to fake me out with some big styrofoam cacti stuck into the landscape.

In short: no way was I calling that number. It was obviously phishing, and I should just ignore it.

But wait! What if it wasn't? What if they really were coming after me with a truckload of fertilizer? So I dig out the actual credit card and call the number on the back, and sure enough, they get on the phone right away and start asking me details for every single purchase I've made since I left home, AFTER asking for every password and spelling of my name and location of every identifying birthmark. Which, of course, have all been removed by the dermatologist. . . .

It was unsettling even though I'd called them:  they wanted to know when I'd left home and where I was going and when I was going to be home. And I kept going, "What the fuck?" and then reminding myself, "YOU called THEM."

Again, I think it's a plot to discourage us from travel. A stationary population is ever-so-much easier to keep track of. If They (that huge, scary, monolithic They) can make travel so frustrating and annoying that we finally just give up and stay home and are content to get all our "information" about the rest of the world from the tv, well! How convenient that would be! We'd get only what they wanted us to know. Which would be, pretty much:  everyone else is scary and out to get you, so fund the military! And:  everyone else has Better Stuff than you do, so go online and buy some better crap right away!

We'll even let you use your Citibank card, as long as you do it from your "domicile." Yeah, that's actually the word they used:  it was a suspicious purchase because it was "out of your domicile." I nearly hacked up a hairball at that one.

Out of my domicile, indeed. There's a code phrase just waiting for me to coin it, don't you think?

Oh, my. I'm running out of time before we hit the road for Las Vegas and Art and Soul. Google is not loading a page so I can give you links to The Garden or Art and Soul Las Vegas or anything else.

So I'm going to cut this short. Remind me to tell you about our fabulous quickie tour of Rocketbuster Boots in El Paso, where the owner saw me and said, "I'm making a pair of boots that are perfect for you!" and took us into her office and showed us the most fabulous boots ever made anywhere EVER, in every color in the world. Now, if you know Rocketbuster boots, you'll know that these were probably well over $5000. I'm guessing more in the $7000 range, as they were being custom-made for a client in California. I lust in my heart, I really do.

So remind me, and I'll try to post some photos for you later and tell you about getting to meet Danita, of DanitaArt, and then the wonderful time last night at Frenzy Stamper here in Scottsdale and then our dinner with My Lovely Editor Tonia.

But since I have to pack up the three tons of shit that we haul into the room every night (cos, you know, I might NEED the MacBook Manual or my new boots or a roll of paper towels or the electric fan. You just never know), I'm going to send you over to Toni's post about last night. She got some great photos of two fabulously gorgeous guys--I think you'll have fun here. (Not one, but THREE links--so you won't miss it!)

I'll try really hard to post regularly for the next several days. See? I'm saying that so I'll feel compelled to make time. When we travel, though, it's like this:  I get up, read and drink coffee, do The Shower Thang, eat some Cheerios, and then leave--either on the road or out on the streets or whatever--and then we don't come back until it's time to eat/go to bed, usually after 10 pm. And by then, with all the input from the day, my poor brain is kind of fried and incapable of putting together a coherent sentence, much less a whole note here.

Thank goodness Toni wasn't. Go. Read. Enjoy.

See you in Vegas!

XO

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anal-Retentive Woman Prepares for A Road Trip

. . .and it's not pretty. I was going to give you a blow by blow, but why? It's just scary. Plus I'm kind of right in the middle of it, so it's going to have to wait.

Anyway, we're off. The cat sitter will be here with the cats, and I'm thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice to have an Us Sitter, to come along and take care of us?" You know, with the maps and the re-fueling and the foraging for edible food.

I'll post as often as I can. You can always stop by and check the Twitter feed over there on the right--it's the one thing I can do from the phone (which will no longer allow me to blog from it, for some unknown reason).

Maybe we'll see you along the way!

XO

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Arthritis

Thanks for your comments and email messages--y'all are so sweet. And full of good advice, too!
I do take glucosamine/chondroitin, and I take fish oil--twice a day for those. I've tried the hot wax machines--I bought one and used it several times a day for a while, and while it felt good while I was using it, it didn't change anything. Plus it was messy and time-consuming. I can get the same comfort with our microwaveable mittens, and with them I don't have to clean up after.
Yeah, I'm lazy that way.
I changed my diet, eliminating everything from the nightshade family. I don't even eat tomato sauce any more. I've cut out everything that seemed to make things worse--certain kinds of wine, animal products, etc.
All of that helped. It got rid of the pain. I sleep better (my hip and shoulder don't wake me up as much) and can go for long periods of time without pain.
Until one of the finger joints begins to change. That's what's going on now--the top joint in my little finger is changing, and it takes a while--months--for this to happen. Here's what it looks like while it's doing its Thang:

Now, I don't have puffy fingers. I have bony fingers. They look like this:

That's what this one will look like after it finishes doing what it's doing. For now, though, it looks like this:

and it hurts just as much as it looks like it would. When I'm not typing or stitching (snort), I can tape it to the finger next to it, which protects it--since it's larger and less flexible than it used to be, I keep whacking it against things and smushing it with things, which, as you might imagine, is not fun at all.

So that's what I'm whinging about. In the larger scheme of things, it's nothing. My father had arthritis that was serious--he couldn't walk well, couldn't use his twisted fingers for much, was in a lot of pain. He wasn't a complainer and mostly just soldiered on.
Lots of other people have big pain all over their bodies. I can't even imagine how that must be.
So. Enough with the whining. I'll buck up and quit whining. And won't we all be happy about that?
Thanks for listening, though~~
XO

Hey, Inner Toddler!

Congratulations! You win the copy of Creative Time and Space! Send me your address lickety-split, and one of us will take your book to the post office this afternoon~~

Hey, Susan in Seattle!

OK, I give up on Lifeations for the Theo Ellsworth card. Grrrrr. I try to be fair and give new people a chance to win, too, but you know what? Sometimes I think I should pick only people I know are going to be around. People who actually come back to visit and weren't just swinging through on some other journey.

So, Susan, send me your address (because you're not in my book as "Susan in Seattle," I'm betting), and I'll get this fabulous card out to you when I (or The EGE, if I whine enough) make(s) the trip to the post office this afternoon.

Congratulations!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hello, Hello!

It's Slacker Blogger here, begging your forgiveness. I have An Excuse, of course. Or several, actually--just like all the best politicians. I have the excuse of the MacBook giving me fits in the way of Learning Shit, first of all. And then I have the excuse of My Finger, which hurts when I type. Arthritis--you don't even want to hear about it. We are SOOO miserable here, what with our refusal to take drugs for something that's just a fraction of our body weight. Drugs, for like a square inch of us? Um, no. Not yet. Although--I've gotta tell you--if it gets any worse, I'm just gonna have someone shoot me up, you know? So that's my excuse.

I have some others, I'm sure, but I don't even know what they are, seeing as how I've been watching West Wing and drinking wine and eating chocolate, which is like snorting crack for me. Or whatever it is you do with crack--I always get confused about that, and The EGE, having spent some time teaching the criminals at the juvenile justice facility and so knowing The Terminology, reminds me that I've gotten it all wrong.

Never mind. "Like some big drug," is what I meant. And y'all knew that. So who cares if I get mixed up about what gets snorted and what gets smoked and what you have to shoot into your veins with a needle the size of a horse's dick?

Who cares?

The point IS that I think about writing all the time, and I even occasionally have stuff that I think would be amusing. But then I think, "Oh, that will be fun! So I should put it at the end of the list." And so I do, and I end up never GETTING to the end of the list.

OK. Wait. I'm distracted here. There's music on Pandora that drives me insane. It's this song on Spa radio, and months ago, when I first heard it, I had this movie in my head. It was the eeriest thing: I saw my car, driving on Loop 289, in Lubbock, Texas, where my mother lived, passing under the lights into the darkness as I drove around the Loop. It was night, and I was driving, but I was watching the back of the SUV as it passed from under the lights into the darkness, going around the Loop to my mother's house. It was endless, this vision, because of course when I got to my mother's house, she wouldn't be there. I saw this movie over and over, every time I heard the song, during meditation. Finally I just put it on repeat and went with it until it made me cry.

But it's still very weird when I hear it. So that's why I'm distracted and not making a lot of sense here, in an orderly fashion.

Anyway. So we're getting ready to head out on the first leg of our Great Road Trip. I tried to type, "Our Great Toad Trip," which would have been fabulous, if you'd thought about it. Reminding you of The Undertoad, from The World According to Garp.

Well, fuck it. I'm sorry, but my finger just does NOT like to type. It's the little finger, and it's going through The Change--those of you who have arthritis will perhaps know what I'm talking about: when the joint goes from being a regular joint to being some misshapen thing that doesn't really function all that well. In the interim, it hurts like hell. I don't stitch much, and I type as little as possible. This usually takes about 4-6 months. This has been getting progressively worse for about a month or so, so maybe I can expect some improvement here before too long. Or maybe not. Maybe I'm going to hope someone comes along and amputates it in my sleep, kind of like a cross between Hannibal Lector and Dairy Queen's "Finger Basket."

Anyway, I'm going to bed. I'll read, which requires no input from my little finger. And you'll sigh and imagine how I'll endeavor to entertain you later, as we hit the road on Thursday, heading for book signings and art retreats and all manner of fun that doesn't involve either drugs or pain~~


Monday, February 15, 2010

Hey, Lifeations!

Impatient Cat
I need your address, please! If I don't hear from you by Wednesday morning, I'm going to have to pick someone who will send me the address lickety-split so I can get this in the mail~~

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thanks, Y'all!

Impatient Cat
Thanks for all your help! This isn't quite the one I had, as the one I had didn't have the little pop-up down at the bottom with "lolcat.net." But at least I can get it--MBurt 4004 provided the link I needed. I tried all the others, but it didn't work the way it did on the PC.

Y'all are the best, indeed~~

XO

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Creative Time & Space Give-Away: Happy, Happy Everything to You!

OK, so tomorrow is Valentine's Day and Lunar New Year, and Monday is Presidents' Day. Tuesday is Mardi Gras. Right? I think that's right. Plus February is Black History Month.

So let's have a Celebratory Give-Away, shall we? Between now and Wednesday morning, when I'll pick a name, you can enter your name for a copy of Creative Time and Space.

I can do this because I just got my order of books to take to the signings in El Paso and Phoenix , so I have one I can spare. And if you win and happen to be anywhere near El Paso or Phoenix or any of the other places we're going to be (see the list of art retreats over there in the sidebar), you can bring it by and I'll sign it, if that's something that would be cool.

So how shall we do this? OK: look at the list of book's contributing artists over there in the sidebar and tell me which one you want to read more about. Or which two. Or three. However you want to do it: make it a participatory comment, OK? I like it when the comments are fun to read, or when I can send someone there to read them (go read what Teesha posted in the comments about her notebooks).

I'll pick someone on Wednesday.

And oh, yeah: anyone know where I can find that irritated cat gif., the one I used for a while? It's gone with the PC, and while I've managed to find a ton of animated cats, I canNOT find that one. And I loved him so much. . . .

Good luck!


Daniel Essig at Valley Ridge

I've long been captivated by Daniel Essig's work, but I've never gotten a chance to talk to him. (In case you're not familiar with Daniel's fabulous work, go here.)

So when I got a chance to attend one of his workshops at Valley Ridge, I jumped. Oh, my, yes!

Turns out there may still be space in his Exquisite Corpse Book Workshop.


Pretty fabulous, huh?
If you've got a couple days in June to take a workshop, gohere to find out more.

I'm so excited about this--I've heard marvelous things about Valley Ridge and can't wait to go--and I'd love to see you there!


Friday, February 12, 2010

I Get to Meet Danita!

Maybe y'all are familiar with Danita, of DanitaArt, someone I got to write about for Somerset Studio. When I set up the book signing in El Paso, I sent her a note and said, oh, oh, I hope you can come! And she said sure, she'll be there. So if you needed a little reason to come to my book signing next Thursday evening, this is it: Danita!


Tweeting to the Blog

Because I'm having the WORST time getting the iPhone blogging apps to work (I install one, it works great, it gets wonky. I install another, it works great, it gets wonky), and because I tweet a lot because the tweets go to Facebook, where we keep in touch, and because I know that not everyone has any interest WHATSOEVER in either Twitter and Facebook but might still, at odds times of the day, be bored and surf over here and wonder, "Gee, I wonder what Ricë's bitching about right now?" and then be irritated not to find a recent blog post because I CAN'T DO MOBILE BLOGGING anymore. 


Well. I added a widget over there on the right that's supposed to show My Recent Tweets. And isn't that just so, so, so _______? So shallow? So self-involved? So pop-culture-addicted? I don't even know what you might be saying.


I just think it's cool that you can do that with just like three clicks--the code's already there, you click and it dumps it into blogger. And I feel like I've thwarted the Evil Blogging Apps that won't let me post things when I'm not actually in front of a computer. Ha. Take that, you Evil Blogging Apps!


So now my tweets can roam far and wide, all on their own. Like I'm actually saying something vital instead of just more bitching about the weather. But you know what? I've kind of gotten really fond of being able to bitch and whinge and rant about things and know that somewhere out there someone is reading it going, "Yeah, me, too. I hate that, too." Because usually when I'm ranting about something, The EGE just looks at me. He's tolerant of my rants, and he's used to them. But they don't much impress him. Maybe because he's heard most of them, like, a gazillion times.


Perhaps you'll indulge me. Perhaps you'll occasionally be amused. Or perhaps you're rolling your eyes in an irritated fashion and going, "JeSUS, get over yourself. Tweeting on the blog, my ass. What's next?"


Hee. I amuse myself even when I'm bitching at myself by proxy. So, so sad. Oooh, look! A tweet!

Roz's Creative Time and Space Give-Away Winner: Raena

Congratulations, Raena! I love what you're doing in your sketchbook and am pretty sure Roz thinks it rocks, too--so you need her fabulous bracelet to remind you to do it even MORE.

Send me your address, and I'll get this safely wrapped up and in the mail to you~~

XO


Teesha Moore Creative Time & Space Give-Away Winner (whew!): Annette L.

How could I resist that fabulous story? So you win the little booklets! Send me your address, and I'll get them out to you~~

XO


Theo Ellsworth Giveaway Winner: Lifeations

Congratulations! I do hope you know to check back today so you can send me your address and I can send Theo to you. Well, his art, anyway--I'm guessing he's kind of attached to the grey and damp of the Pacific Northwest. Not to mention his girlfriend. But you get this card, plus the idea of him drawing the fantastic landscapes in his head. And what could be better, really?

XO


Rubberstampmadness Winner: Shelley in Portland

Congrats! You win the issue of Rubberstampmadness! Send me your address, and I'll get it in the mail on the next PO Trip Adventure.

XO


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well, THAT Sucked.

It didn't save my font. It didn't upload the photo of Moe. And it didn't tell me I wrote "Life" instead of "Live." How sucky is that?

So here's Moe, courtesy of Blogo, which seems to be pulling into the lead: Ecto, MacJournal, Blogo. Plus Blogo has that cute rabbit. . . .


MacJournal

Still looking for that perfect journal app. Got a free trial of MacJournal, which sounds suspiciously like something you’d buy at the drive-thru. I’m going to add here an old photo of Moe being himself, just to see if I can. If this looks wonky and totally sucks, please take pity on me in my misery over loosing Life Writer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Creative Time & Space Give-Away: Teesha Moore

Teesha sent me these groovy little booklets-in-bags years ago--the date on the back is 1994. I loved them and saved them and then just recently found them tucked away so carefully and thought, OK, you know how I'm always saying that if you're not going to USE something, you should find someone who WILL?So I'm going to find someone who will: someone who'll provide a new home for these lovelies.


You remember how it works: tell me something you adore about Teesha, either from Creative Time and Space, from her website, or from her blog.


Good luck!


Creative Time and Space Give-Away: Roz Stendahl

Don't you WISH you could win Roz? Omigod! The things I could do if she lived in my house. She'd organize everything, teach me how to do everything from photoshop to painting to bookbinding to. . . beading!

Oh, my, Roz's beading. . . .

She recently went through things she'd made and found some pieces that weren't in her color palette and thought, "Gee. Orange. Wonder who might like these?" She sent me two necklaces and two bracelets. One of the bracelets I've been wearing constantly ever since, but this one, this other one:


well, there's no way I'm going to wear it in the shower or while I'm sleeping. Those larger beads are ones she made: beaded beads. And when I wear something, I never remember to take it off. Either I wear it all the time, or I wear it once every couple of years. This bracelet deserves better.

Plus Roz told me I could offer it in a give-away.

Now, this is a tiny bracelet, made to fit Roz's tiny wrist. I can wear it, and so I'm guessing it's about six inches. So you're going to need to have little wrists for this. And it's definitely not for a child--these are glass beads and a lot of really nice work.

So: tell me something about Roz and/or her work. From Creative Time and Space, sure, or from her website or her blog. Check back on Friday.

Or sooner, if you don't want to miss anything. . . .


Creative Time & Space Artist Give-Away: Theo Ellsworth

Well, no, silly: I'm not giving away Theo Ellsworth. I wouldn't, even if I could. If he were here, I'd just sort of hover annoying over his shoulder, watching him draw all day long. So you don't have a chance to win Theo. What you DO have a chance to win, though, is this card:

Cool beans, huh? I got it at Art Fiber Fest last summer, and it's still in its little plastic sleeve. It has an envelope with it, but I'm guessing you're going to want to frame it as a print, right? It's about 5.5" x 8.5"

So what you're going to do: tell me something about Theo and/or his work. You can quote something he said in Creative Time & Space (which would be groovy, indeed, and make my heart happy), or you can go to his website or blog (and let me see if Blogo will allow me to insert that without making me gnash my teeth--YAY! Me + Blogo = not quite love (and I don't even know how to make a heart anymore, which is so very, very sad), but we're groovin' on each other just a little bit today). Anyway.

So you'll tell why you adore Theo's work, and I'll pick someone on Friday.

P.S. You might want to keep an eye out here for the next little while. Just a hint. . . .


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

These Are the Issues in My Life.

I don't have a lot of drama in my life. I don't have people with whom I don't get along. I don't have huge crises. I don't periodically pitch fits and throw myself onto the floor where I whine and kick my feet in an infantile manner.

At least not where anyone else can see me.

But I do have Issues. These would be Issues with Technology, and I have to say, in my defense: These are Not My Fault.

OK. Sure. I'm over 50. I was not born into The Technological Age. Indeed, I was born into the Age of Typewriters, when an Underwood or a good all-metal Royal was the height of productivity. When learning to type was all you had to do in order to communicate effectively throughout your entire career.

In fact, I had to be dragged into the Age of Technology kicking and screaming, to use a cliche. When my first editor suggested that I needed to get A Real Computer, as opposed to the hand-me-down POS that I'd been given by my boss at the SPCA (see a previous post--whichever one that was), I said, "Fiddle-dee-dee!" in a cavalier manner and argued that I didn't need no stinkin' internet, that I could find out everything I needed to know via the library and the yellow pages and good ol' AT&T.

OK, maybe I didn't actually say, "Fiddle-dee-dee," but I did diss the internet in a very spirited way.

And then I came around. I embraced the World Wide Internet Web, as Monk would say, and I began to collect various items of technology.

See, this is how I look at it: apparently there is someday going to be a real value in collecting obsolete gadgets and tools. Walkmans, eight-track players, tape recorders. Windows Vista installation CD's. All of these are going to be very, very valuable, and that's why we have to keep saving them, not using them up--so we buy new stuff so we can hoard these priceless items. We don't want to have to wear out our car phones, so we invent something new that will take their place so we can put them back in the box and claim they've never been used, not really.

Kind of like the electric razor someone donated to the UU auction one year. Those of y'all who are UU's know that the garage sale every spring is for donating crap you don't want any more, and the Auction is for recycling gifts you got that you don't really want. So, theoretically, everything at the Auction is shiny sparkly brand new.

Except this electric razor, which was in its velvet-y little box but which, upon closer inspection, had a fine coating of tiny hairs along the blade.

Please do not ask why I was inspecting the blade of the electric razor. I do not remember. It might have had something to do with chocolate cake and wine. Or maybe not.

Anyway, that razor, which was obviously tested and found wanting, was in the same shape as the Sony Walkman used right there at the end of the curve, right before the iPod appeared on the horizon. Taken out of the box, tried out, and then put back, ever so gently, to take its place in history.

I think that's what I'm doing with software. I seem to be collecting it, in some virtual, software-collecting way. I have all these programs which are no longer of any use to me, but I seem to be loathe to actually get rid of them. So I have MacJournal and Blogo, Call Recorder and Powergramo, BlogWriter and BlogPress.

And I am not happy with any of them. They all have faults. They don't have fonts, or they record audio as movies that have to be converted into other kinds of files, or they're, well, just ugly.

I tell you, I love that little Blogo rabbit sitting down there on the dock, with his buck teeth and glasses, and I love clicking him and watching his little blue head bounce up and down. But the actual blogging interface, the one right here, where I spend rather a lot of time as I ramble to and fro? It is butt ugly. Grey, off-white, and black. I can't change the colors, and I can't change the font. I can't even change the damn font sizes, for pete's sake.

But here's the deal: I don't know if another blogging program would be any better. I tried one, and the photos uploaded in a huge and annoying manner, forcing me to go in and resize them. Now, dicking around with photographs is not my favorite thing to do. I am not a photographer. I am a writer. I'd be perfectly happy just writing on my blog, but I know that other people like photographs. They like things to look at while they're trying to wade through deep rambling, and they deserve to be rewarded for their persistence and fortitude.

So I have to be able to upload the occasional random photo. But that doesn't mean I want to spend half a day doing it. Or even 15 minutes. Or, frankly, any minutes at all. I want it to be instantaneous and lovely and happy.

Just like it was with Live Writer, which I will never, ever, ever forgive for abandoning me. Never mind that I abandoned it. Never mind that! It should have found a way to come with me, like some lovesick jilted husband who tags after you, saying, "It's OK. You can keep the boyfriend! I dno't mind! Just let me sleep on that rug at the foot of the bed, and I'll be OK."

Now, you may vaguely remember a post similar to this, not too long ago (or perhaps I wrote it only in my head) in which I bemoaned my then-current state of trying to learn to podcast and whinging about all the things I had to find and download and install to make that possible.

Remember? And I finally got it all done and all was well and happy in the land.

And now I'm having to do it all over again, finding Mac-compatible software that operates as similarly as possible to the software for Windows with which I'd just begun to get comfortable.

Well. It's a long, long slog. Every day I spend a couple hours trying to figure things out, sort them out, resolve compatibility issues. Find my fonts (didn't happen), re-sort the songs on iTunes (the sorting got left behind, although all the music was transferred--and no, I haven't even begun to tackle that: it's way, way down on the list).

So this is not my fault, see? I figured it out and got it right and had it working--y'all heard the podcasts! Everything worked! It wasn't as if I were too dense to get it going. And now? Now I'm having to do it all over again.

So these are My Issues. Or, rather, this is My One Issue. Technology, no matter how lovely and helpful and occasionally fun it is, is a colossal pain in the butt. My goal in life is to get things set up and working and then have them remain that way forever. I hate updates. I hate patches. I hate reloading and reinstalling and all those "re" things because, dammit, I want to do it once and do it right and then never, ever have to think about it again.

I am so screwed on this one.





This Week's Give-Away: Rubberstampmadness

Once again, thanks to the generosity of editor Roberta Sperling, I'm offering a copy of the brand-new spring issue of Rubberstampmadness, the granddaddy of all the stamping publications.

This is where I started my writing career, and seeing it in the mailbox--or on the rack at the local Barnes and Noble--always makes me happy.

OK. So what shall it be? Tell me something about you + stamping. Then check back Friday, when I'll pick a winner.

Well, actually, you might want to check back before then. There might be an additional give-away, if I get brave enough to see if the scanner's going to work with the Macbook. Bear with me: I'm still working through all the issues here. I have things I want to post, but the time I have when I'm not working on a deadline is time I spend trying to figure out how to do things I've been doing for YEARS on the pc. Like copying a URL. I right-click, and it highlights sometimes and sometimes it doesn't, and for the life of me, I have no idea what the deal is. So that's my life.

Tell me about yours. Yours + rubber stamps.


Do Good. Buy Shoes.

Think buying shoes can't be A Good Thing? Check out Toms Shoes.


A Little Sunshine--& Fun!--For A Gray Day

Just in case you're suffering from The Greys--you know, the ugly, cold, wet, where-in-the-HELL-is-the-sun? days that have somehow leapt upon us here in the West Texas Desert--here's a little treat for you: Aimee Dolich's Rubber Band Books.


Go check these out. They're easy to make, fun to decorate, great for gifts (think hearts and flowers, my little chickadees: you DO remember that Sunday is V-Day, right? Time to send a little love to your friends--and, really, anyone else who needs a virtual hug: these would make great notebooks for kids, your assistant, your partner. Think of this: You could size and print out calendar pages for the whole year. Then, at the end of the year, they could remove the pages and insert next year's!)

Go. Play. Have fun!
XO


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Backing Up, Backing Up, Oh, The Wonders of Backing Up

OK, people, I'm moving into Nagging Mode here, so prepare yourselves to be nagged, please.

I read, in one of the many Technology-Related Books lying around cluttering up the house here, that only 4% of computer users back up regularly. Holy crap, right?

Now, sure, "computer users" include everyone who has a computer, I'm guessing, even those people who, like I used to do, are "using" some old discard someone gave them as a tax write-off. Or, rather, gave their employer as a tax write-off. And the employer, not wanting to be the warehouse for a lot of potentially rusty old computers, passes them on to people who are somehow foolish enough to believe that technology that someone else has discarded is still, somehow, "good."

Yeah. I worked for the SPCA, and let me tell you, we got a LOT of out-of-date technology. People LOVE donating that shit and getting a tax write-off. I don't even want to tell you how many times I tried to get something up-and-running enough to be able to use it.

A lot.

Which made me, more or less, a "computer user." Hee.

I can guarantee you, though, that during my attempts to make the mouse work, I was not overly concerned with "backing up," nor would I have been even if I'd ever actually heard the term.

It was not one of our concerns back then. Our concerns back then were with the little brown-and-tan plaid wool cozies that someone had made for the computer and monitor and keyboard and mouse. With the little tan wool apples appliqued on them. These concerned me a lot. The idea was clever, but the execution was worrisome. Brown and tan plaid wool cozies for technology = not unlike those donut-shaped fleece covers that go over the toilet seat. Not the lid; no: the actual seat.

Anyway. This isn't about that, is it? Oh, right: you have no fucking idea what this is about, because I'm rambling. I'm rambling because my brain is fried, but it's not nearly as fried as it would be were I not one of The 4%. I did back up, and it has saved my butt. I bought the Maxtor back up and set it up, and it's been backing up the PC regularly, quietly, in the background. And so when my computer gasped and coughed and had to be taken to The Geek Guys, all I had to do was--

--oh, all I had to do was about a million things: connect the hard drive to the Macbook, open up the files, search through them and find the things I need, copy them over, find a snug little home for them.

The font I've been using for fabric art--print it out, transfer it to felt--wasn't saved, so I bought a copy for Mac and paid the $20 and installed that. I installed Skype. I set up the bookmarks for paying bills.

And then I forked over another $30 for the adapter that lets me use my nice big monitor. So now I've finally, after a long, long day, got the laptop hooked up to everything I need to feel at home: I can sit in my regular chair, with my regular Apple keyboard (the big one, all nicely wired--instead of the new tiny wireless one that makes me feel like a Yeti trying to type on it) and my mouse that I adore (has the trackball on top, so it stays in one place), and I can learn the OS without having to sit in an uncomfortable chair, hunched over a tiny screen, using a keyboard and a trackpad that aren't familiar.

All because I backed up. And you should, too. If you haven't, please do it this weekend. Buy what you need to buy and hook it up and set it to back up behind the scenes, regular, unobtrusive. I guarantee you, if you need it, you'll thank me.


Friday, February 05, 2010

No Time Like Now

So now I'm reduced to blogging with Blogo. Oh, sure, I downloaded the trial version for Mac, and I said I was going to test it out and see if I like it, and sure, I need to learn how to use my little MacBook, which is slowly growing old without my ever learning how to do more than open it up and go, "Awwww, isn't it cute?"

Only now? Now I have to use it. Now I have to use Blogo and Safari and Pages and EVERYTHING. Because: the PC crashed. Big time crashed. I don't mean one of those little hiccups, where you do a restart and all is well. Or where you do that whole hocus-pocus witchcraft thang where you unplug it, press on the on-off button for a while, replug it, and it's happy as ever.

No. I mean "crashed" as in gave me only a blank screen with my documents folder when I restarted. No desktop. No icons. No task bar or start menu. Nothing. Very scary.

Especially by about the 10th time.

I took it to Best Buy. I hated to do that--we haven't had the best of luck with the Geek Squad there. And I worry that they just blow out the dust and put in a piece of duct tape and charge me $69.99 and figure that, by about the 3rd go-round, I'll fork out the bucks for a new PC.

Only this time I won't. If this is going to cost more than $250, I'm going to hold off until i'm ready for an iMac. I want an iMac. I lust after their big and shiny monitor-selves. I just thought I was going to have a while longer to learn to use one.

Like, you know. years.

Apparently not. So here I am, wrangling with Blogo instead of working with my beloved Live Writer. Squinting at this tiny 13" screen instead of settling back from my 21" monitor.

Oh, but why whinge about it? How can I complain? Sure, my work PC died, but I have a brand-new laptop right here. And I have the iPhone. It's not like I'm going to have to go down and wait in line at the library to use the public computers that have been handled and fondled all day long, with all the porn sites bookmarked and the odd wet patches in the chairs. No. I have nothing to whine about.

I do miss my font, though. If Blogo has any, he's not sharing.


Hey, Kellea! You Win!

You win Blogging for Bliss NOT because you were blatantly sucking up but because you made us both laugh out loud (no, we don’t do some co-dependent thing where we sit down side by side at the computer and read blog comments aloud to each other. Gack. I read them, and then I’ll yell, “Hey, you! Come here and let me read this to you!” And eventually he’ll wander in (because even though I get to be really bossy and tell him what to do all the time, he just keeps on doing what he was doing anyway) and go, “What?” And I’ll go, “What what?” And he’ll say, “You. Said. You. Were. Going. To. Read. Something. To. Me. ?” You know, like he’s talking to a Special Person who has wandered away from the nursing home and is sitting in his house, impersonating his wife.) while you were doing it.

[I makes me snort to imagine y’all reading these posts with all the parenthetical crap in them and then trying to avoid whiplash as you get through the PC and whip your head back up to try to find the start of the sentence. Or am I the only one who does that? Not that I want anyone to get whiplash. So maybe you should read it on a very, very small monitor?]

Anyway, you made us laugh, and so you need a blog so we can go laugh some more. There can’t ever be too many blogs that make me laugh out loud.

So send me your address, and I’ll get this in the mail. Umm, eventually.

Oh, wait:  I have a book on reserve at the library waiting for me to pick it up. So if you sent your address right away, I could hit the PO when I go to the library. Multi-tasking at its finest~~

Congrats!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

And Now for MacJournal

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I’m pathetic. I figured as long as I’m downloading trial versions, I might as well go ahead and try this one, too. I can’t say I was at all impressed with MarsEdit--I tried to show y’all a photo, and it was so gigantinormous all it had was the cat’s EAR. I couldn’t figure out how to size the photo, so eh. I figure that if it’s hard for me to figure out something simple like sizing a photo, the rest of the process is going to be a total bitch. And I’m not into that, let me tell you. I’ve got enough to do, trying to figure out how to make Safari not hate me and wish me dead.

Trying Out MarsEdit

I figured this was a good place to start, since there's a free 30-day trial period that ought to get me to Las Vegas and back. I have no idea how I'll like it or how it works, but here's the first test post.

Adorn Me! in Houston

No, that’s not a command. It should be, though, huh? Adorn Me, vassals!

Or “Adore me! Please?” In which I’d get all Sally Fields on you.

But no. It’s the name of a brand-spanking-new art jewelry retreat in Houston, Texas (isn’t adding “Texas” to that kind of silly, like people might not ever have heard of Houston and be laboring under the illusion that it’s up in Maine somewhere?).

And I’m so excited: not only do we get to attend an art retreat without having to leave the state (although, really, that’s not as simple as it sounds, since driving from here to Houston is a good 8-hour trip, and that’s with the 80 mph speed limit that in effect for much of the way from here to San Antonio), but I get to meet a lot of artists I’ve only talked to on the phone.

Plus Richard and Jane Salley will be there—I mentioned them in that last post.

And a totally groovy thing: Thomas Mann will be teaching, and he’ll have a booth at Vendors’ Night, and we’ll be hanging out there, signing and selling copies of Creative Time and Space, because, of course, Tom is one of the fabulous contributing artists.

closeupHeadshot_06-1_half-width

I have to put his photo here because he is, of course, The Rock Star.

We haven’t gotten to see him since before the project began, when we had dinner at  Red Fish on Bourbon Street. I’ve talked to him since then—we had a great conversation when he was at his warehouse in, I think, Tennessee. That doesn’t sound right, though. Sheesh—it was somewhere inland. Far, far, inland. Somewhere he and his staff could evacuate to in the event of another big storm.

So we’ll be doing that—we’ll have copies of the book for sale, and people will get a Two-For-One Signature Deal:  you can get two signatures without having to trek all over the country. And how convenient is that?

Yiii. I have to quit now—quit writing about all these trips and the artists we’ll see and the things we’re going to do, because now I don’t want to work any more. I want to pack the truck and head out on the highway.

Hope to see y’all along the way!

It’s Almost Time for Art & Soul Las Vegas!

We’ve been to Art & Soul in Portland, several years ago when Living the Creative Life first came out. It was fun, even though 1) we had to fly, which one of us loves beyond all reasoning and the other of us loathes with a mad, desperate misery. You guess.

And 2) it was cold. What IS it with The Pacific Northwest? Does it never, never, ever get warm up there? How do You People stand it? Every time we’ve gone (I think that’s 5 times, if you’re not counting Northern California but only counting Washington and Oregon), it’s been freezing cold (well, OK, maybe not freezing, since a couple times were in what the rest of the country thinks of as “summer” months; but plenty chilly to us, let me assure you), and everyone has been wearing solid black and looking suicidal.

We drive by and I’m yelling, “Get some color, people! You’ll feel better!”

Drive-By Haranguing.

To no avail, of course. The next time we go back, there they are, all morose and colorless.

Anyway. Art and Soul is in Portland, but it’s also in Virginia and in Las Vegas. [There’s also an Art & Soul Cruise, but I’m guessing that’s not ever going to be on my itinerary, fun though it sounds] don’t really know what Las Vegas is usually like in February (right now, at 11:58 am, it’s 44, but it’s only 10 am there, and it should be around 60 each day this week), but I’ve been to Las Vegas in the summertime, and so whenever I think of it, I think “desert” and “warm enough for me.” It’ll probably snow or something, but I’m going to pretend it will be hot and sunny and dry.

Art & Soul Las Vegas is February 21-24th at Bally’s and Paris Hotels. There’s a vendors’ night, when you can buy art from your favorite artists. Wanna know who’s going to be there?

Check here.

This will be like Old Home Week for us—we know lots of these people from other retreats. We had dinner in Santa Fe with Richard Salley and his lovely wife, Jane, last summer, the week after we had lunch with the fabulous Judy Wise in Portland. And we have done some extensive hanging out with Ty and Marcia Shultz, whom we adore. We go years not getting to see them, and then we pick up where we left off, sitting around laughing and drinking wine and stitching.

It’ll be fun to meet some of the other artists in person—I’ve talked to them on the phone for interviews but haven’t ever been in the same place at the same time. You know how that goes.

We’re not doing a book signing, and we’re not selling anything. We’ll be taking a class, doing some work, schmoozing and looking for new-to-me artists. I love these things—there’s so much great energy, and so much eye candy, and so many cool people who are happy and having a great time.

I think some of the workshops are still open. If you live anywhere nearby, you should definitely come to vendors’ night. If you’ve never been to one, you can’t imagine how cool they are. Artists offer their work for very reasonable prices. You can usually find anything from postcards and prints to jewelry and mixed media. Plus you get to meet people you may have only read about.

Anyway, now I’ve gotten myself totally psyched—I’m ready to hop in the car and leave right this minute. Kind of stupid, though, as I’d be sitting in Las Vegas by myself for the next two weeks until everyone else showed up.

Unless you wanted to come in early, too, and keep me company?

Hope to see you there!

 

Creative Time & Space Signing at Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale

I’ve been hearing great things about Frenzy Stamper, in Scottsdale, Arizona, for years. Kelly Kilmer teaches there all the time, and she LOVES going there. So when she suggested a signing there, I was all over it.

And indeed, they do want to come along on our Magical Mystery Book Tour 2010. We’ll be stopping by on our way to Art & Soul in Las Vegas, so if you’re anywhere near Phoenix, we’d love to see you! My Lovely Editor, Tonia, is going to be there, as well. And who knows who else might stop by?  Exciting surprises at every turn~~

Creative Time & Space Signing @

Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale, Arizona

Friday evening, February 19th

6-8 pm

Join Us!

Creative Time & Space Signing in El Paso

Creative Time & Space: Making Room for Making Art

Book signing: Thursday, February 18th

6-8 pm

Sunland Park Barnes & Noble
El Paso, Texas

 

If you live anywhere in far West Texas or southern New Mexico or anywhere in New Mexico or in Juarez or anywhere in the Southwest or anywhere on the planet EARTH, really, what could be more fun than a road trip to a bookstore? To hang out with me?

We’ll talk, we’ll laugh, we’ll try to score some cookies from the cafe. If they have a cafe—I don’t know, but it’s worth the trip to find out, right?

Come join us—it’ll be fun, and I’ll bring The Ever-Gorgeous Earl for your viewing pleasure~~(also, of course, to drive and take photos and keep me company, but still. . . .we’ll pretend he’s there just for you!)

Let Color Me Katie Color Your World

“I don’t want people to grow up. Not completely, anyways.”

That’s probably a paraphrase, since lord knows I can’t remember even my own NAME verbatim, but that’s pretty much the message from Katie. I adore this video (it refused to embed) and am pretty sure you will, too.

Katie does street art, or performance art, but hers is sweet and interactive and sets out to make people have fun. I love the part on the video where she dances in the park all day and invites people to dance with her. I think that would be SO much fun. Of course, in Midland, Texas, someone would turn me in, and I’d be taken in for questioning. We do not have Public Dancing here in The Home of Two Presidents, not unless it’s 1) country western dancing and 2) you paid money to be able to do it outdoors.

So don’t even THINK about trying this, buster! (also from Katie’s blog):

As my mother would have said, “The very idea.” Said, of course, with a snort of derision.

Go. Take your pants off and dance!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Podcast with Debra Rapoport from Advanced Style

Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style Blog is one of my favorite places to hang out, bar none. Can you imagine how excited I was the day I stopped by and came across a post about his visit to Debra Rapaport?


Oh. My. I was entranced. This is a woman who knows how to DRESS!

And I immediately began searching for a way to meet her. Finally I left a comment for Ari, and he put us in touch. And Monday we talked.

Debra has had a fabulous life, indeed. She taught art at the University of California at Davis, and her work has been shown in museums and galleries. You can see some of her pieces in Artwear: Fashion and Anti-Fashion--


Go here and here to see her wonderful videos, the ones that made me determined to track her down.


And then sit back, relax, and listen to Debra talk about Life:

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Little Cupcake Research

Doing a little research for you. This is from the iPhone, so I'll keep 
it short, and isn't that a treat? Two cupcakes from GiGi's--the only 
ones they had left after the daily post-school rush, when all the high school kids swarm them and by everything.

Notice the ratio of frosting to cake. Not bad, huh?

cakephoto

Buttercream, and, yes, it literally made my teeth ache. But in a good way.

Am I a Cupcake Convert? Nah. But then I 
haven't yet tried the tiramisu cupcake. Or the German Chocolate Cake cupcake.  
Or. . . .

[You would not BELIEVE the hoops I had to jump through for this tiny little note. I did it on the iPhone at Starbucks, where we took The Cupcakes for testing (and sharing). BlogPress wouldn’t upload, despite repeated attempts, even including walking down to another store that, reportedly, has wifi. Nope. So I copied and pasted it to Blogwriter. Again, no upload.

So when we got home, I copied and pasted it to an email that I sent to myself and got on the PC, and then copied and pasted here. I emailed the photos to myself separately, opened and saved and inserted here. Oh, sure, I could have just retyped the post. But by then, I was Determined. You betcha. Grrrr. This means I’ve got to try to figure out what’s going on with the blogging platforms. Since neither work, it must be one of the settings somewhere. Good grief.

Whew. Time to go eat dinner.]