In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Two Old Atheists Walked Into A Mosque...

... and nothing awful happened. 

When I got up last Saturday morning, visiting a Muslim mosque was the farthest thing from my mind. Later that morning when I was reading my Twitter timeline I noticed a tweet from a Bradenton Herald reporter (Jessica De Leon) about the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton (ISSB) hosting a food and art festival at their mosque. I love food and art, plus I'm curious about Muslim culture. it seemed like the perfect distraction from my self pity party I've been wallowing in lately. So I got dressed, grabbed my camera and ROM, and off we went to the local mosque. 

I've read old online articles that claim there was a connection between past members of this mosque and the terrorists responsible for 9/11. I don't know if it's true, though I do know there was a connection between SW Florida and the 9/11 murderers. They had received flight training in Venice, FL.  Whether they had ties to this local mosque, I don't know. But I do know that I don't hold any Christian churches that Dylan Root or Robert Dear Jr. attended responsible for their horrible acts of violence against innocent people. 

I had no idea what to expect from from either the local Muslims or the general public. Since the slaughter in San Bernardino by two Muslim terrorists, there's been a backlash of fear and hatred toward Muslims... all Muslims. Trump has a large support base in this area and I wondered if they would be there protesting. 

As we approached the entrance to the mosque, I noticed a police car with the lights flashing and immediately assumed the worse. 

I was relieved and surprised to discover that the police were there only to direct traffic to the overflow parking area across the street from the mosque. I was amazed at the size of the crowd, but still curious as to what the mood would be inside the mosque.  As we made our way to the mosque I noticed many of those attending were just like ROM and me- old and white. 

Just outside the mosque was a large tent where the food vendors were set up and large tables where people could sit and eat. We unwisely decided to tour the mosque before eating. By the time we made our way back there most of the food was gone, obviously the turnout had been much larger than the vendors expected. 

The outside of mosque was beautiful with the copper (or is it gold?) dome in the rear. 

Inside the mosque there was an open courtyard with vendors set up selling their wares and an information booth giving out brochures and free Qur'ans. I passed on the Qur'an but stuck some of the brochures in my bag to read later. The woman running the information booth pointed out the Imam and urged us to talk to him if we had any questions. I'm more of an observer than a questioner so I didn't talk to him. I was surprised with how young he was. He looked to be in his twenties, and appeared to be very relaxed and approachable as he talked and laughed with people. 

I didn't take many pictures because I didn't know what the policy was for photographing inside a mosque and I seemed to be the only one with a camera. I've been taken to task by a few artists when I've tried to take photos in galleries and shows. You just never know what is going to piss someone off. So I just sneaked in some quick shots here and there. 

There were several clothing and hijabs (head coverings) sellers, a henna artist, women selling sweet desserts, a fine art artist selling prints of her paintings and other booths that I can't remember.  

I noticed there were two different entrances to the main prayer rooms- one for women and one for men, so I assume the sexes pray separately. But that's merely an assumption on my part. On this day the entrance to the men's room was open and all were invited to step inside after removing one's shoes- even women. 

It was very quiet and serene. The shadows of palm trees outside the windows danced on the walls creating accidental art. 

So what did I learn from my afternoon at the mosque? I noticed that most of the Muslims at the festival were young families. I saw very few older Muslims. One thing that surprised was how involved the men seemed to be with their children. I assumed that would be considered women's work. But I saw several men with small kids in tow with no mother in sight as they mingled and socialized. There was one man carrying a baby around in his arms the entire time we were there. 

And the women? I will never understand why any woman would choose to wear all those clothes in the Florida heat and humidity. Most of the women were dressed in several layers of clothes- long sleeves and either long dresses or long loose fitting long culotte style pants. And the head coverings- has to be stifling and sweaty. I don't know how they tolerate all those clothes in our tropical type weather. Although I'll never understand not dressing appropriately for the weather, it doesn't bother me that they choose to dress that way. It did bother me when I saw a couple women who covered their entire faces. I'm always uncomfortable when peoples' faces are covered by masks, hoods or whatever. I get a creepy sinister feeling when someone is completely covered and I can't read their facial cues. 

I was more interested in the Muslim culture than the religion, but their culture seems so entwined with their religion that it's impossible to separate the two. According to the pamphlet Concept of Islam "Muslims believe that He created humankind with a simple purpose- to worship Him". Sounds like a self serving, needy and egotistic deity to me. As fallible and imperfect as humans are, most good parents strive to raise their children to be independent and self reliant so that their kids can live successful and happy lives. What kind of parent would raise their child with the sole purpose of being worshiped? I just don't understand following a belief in anything so controlling and stifling. But then, I don't understand the blind faith in any religion. I digress, this wasn't to be a blog entry to debate the existence of a god of any religion, just my impressions from our visit to the mosque.

My overall impressions of the local Muslim people were that they're friendly, enjoy good food and love their children. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

I Hate You, December...

 My once favorite month has become my most dreaded month of the year. It's become 31 days of gut wrenching memories, regrets and unresolved issues. Last week was the second anniversary of my son's death and this week is his birthday. It hasn't gotten easier with the passing of time. If anything, it's gotten harder. December brings so much anxiety that often I can barely breath, other days I'm paralyzed with inertia and numb. Hours can go by as I sit at my desk looking out the window, unaware of the time passing until ROM pulls in the driveway.  Late at night I turn on NetFlix and watch hours of episodes of the old series House. For a while I'm able to get caught up in the dysfunctional world of Dr. Greg House and the bizarre medical cases. 

I try not to watch real time TV because of the Christmas commercials. In my memory banks, my son's birthday is forever entwined with Christmas. Memories of him being born and coming home from the hospital for his first Christmas. How Santa always made an appearance at his birthday parties until he stopped believing. Hearing people talk about Christmas and their kids coming home is a reminder that my son is dead, and all the things I wish I had done differently. 

And then there's my birthday. He was born 12 minutes before my birthday, so of course that memory will forever be part of that day. December is a month of one frigging trigger after another. A month of white knuckling it from one moment to the next. My emotions and memories even take over my sleep with vivid dreams of my son. There is no escape... except with art. 

I spent several days totally immersed in creating my holiday card. I painted it four times before I got it the way I wanted it. (I still struggle with watercolor, but love it too much to give up.) Then the hassle of setting it up to print out on watercolor cards, getting the margins right and everything centered gave me a welcome distraction. 

They've now been printed and mailed, and I'm back to my brooding. But the month is almost half over, I can do this. There are 5 more seasons of House to fill my nights. Maybe I'll even motivate myself enough to make some fudge and cookies. Lord knows, ROM loves his holiday sweets. 

I apologize for this totally self centered, self absorbed and self indulged blog entry. For some reason I can write out the thoughts and feelings that I can't say out loud without dissolving in a puddle of ugly crying. I know it's a total downer but that's the price you have to pay for my funny stories. 

I hate you, December, but I'll survive you. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Where Is That Christian Faith?

As a liberal and an atheist, I'm used to being in the minority- even within my own family. I've always lived in predominately conservative Christian areas, first in the Midwest and now in Florida. And over the years, many of my friends have been conservatives and Christians. Though we disagreed about political issues and religion, we shared many of the same values. I don't believe Jesus Christ was the son of God, but I love the values he was said to promote- love of others (altruism), turn the other cheek (forgiveness), cast not the first stone (be judgmental and pick fights on Twitter), and help those in need. And don't kill anyone. These are common values and beliefs that many people across the world share, people of all races and religions. 

As read Twitter today I couldn't help but notice the irony that I hold more of the Christian values that Jesus supposedly  taught than many of the self proclaimed Christians tweeting about the terrorism in France, Muslims and the Syrian refugee crisis. I truly believe that if the Jesus Christ I was told about in childhood Sunday School lived today he would welcome the Syrian refugees. Yes, it's possible some terrorists could sneak in as refugees. But is that our ultimate goal in life- to be safe? According to the stories about Jesus I've heard, he was quite a risk taker. Do we want to be remembered as the people who played it safe or the people who took chances in the face of danger in hopes of making the world a better place?

I have a hard time believing the Christian savoir I was taught about as a little girl would turn away the thousands of desperate innocent men, women and children fleeing the very terrorism we fear. Have we really become so fearful? I remember being told when debating Christians about the existence of God and Christ, that I had to have faith to believe. I now ask those Christians who say we must turn away all the Syrian and Muslim refugees for fear of terrorists entering our country- where is that faith you speak of? Is it possible that I believe and have more faith in the innate goodness of most people than you have in your God and Savior? 

Monday, October 5, 2015

To Follow Or Not To Follow On Twitter... Or How To Survive Social Media...

Do you follow everyone who follows you? I know many people do and I was more apt to do automatic follow backs when I first got on Twitter. But now, not so much. There are several reasons for that, one of which is I got involved in a two year Twitter war. I was a willing and active participant and have no excuses for my contribution  to the insanity of it all. But I learned from it and moved on. 

I still speak my mind but I refuse to argue with people anymore- about anything. I don't single out and @ anyone for the purpose of disagreeing with something they tweeted. Nor do I get sucked into an argument when someone @s me for the sole purpose of arguing about something.  I just block them or unfollow and move on. Sure, it makes some angry or hurts their feelings, but come on, people! No one on Twitter should be that important to you. But back to who do you follow on Twitter...

What prompted this post was a new follow I got today. 
Before clicking that follow back button I did some investigating. I visited this person's profile and immediately saw that they had several hundred thousand followers but only followed a few hundred. This is the kind of account who follows for a few days then after you follow back they unfollow you. Their goal in following people is merely to boost their follower count, not to socialize with anyone. I also scrolled through this persons timeline and noticed they never interacted with anyone. All they tweeted were links to sites. I knew this was not someone I wanted to follow.

Other things that influence my decision whether or not to follow someone back are:

1) Their profile and name. If the word "bitch" is part of their name or profile, I'm leery. Not all, but some of the women who go out of their way to tell the world they're bitches are argumentative and aggressive with their tweets. A clever, witty name and profile is much more appealing to me. 

2) Their politics and religion. I follow many people who don't share my political and religious beliefs (or lack of), but we share common values and other interests. But if someone tweets political rants every single day, day after day, month after month and we have nothing else in common I'm probably not going to follow them. 

3) Common interests and what they share in their tweets. I love tweets with photos of the interesting things going on in their life...  a flower that's blooming in their garden, an art project they're working on, their pets... anything other than their naughty parts. I don't want to see any one's naughty parts. Trust me, in my 65+ plus years I've seen all the naughty parts I want to see. 

4) Those who hijack threads for the sake of disagreeing and arguing. Do they repeatedly inject themselves into others' conversations for the sole purpose of disagreeing with whatever is being discussed? Do they scroll time lines just to find something to fight about? Do they fight over Real Housewives celebs? (I so regret choosing Real Old Housewife as my Twitter name- I joined Twitter during my Bravo Real Housewives infatuation which is long over, thank gawd)

5) Active involvement in long standing Twitter feuds. Been there, done that. Seeing some one's ongoing feud all over your timeline every day gets so old. We all know that no one wins and the only way it ends is if one side completely disengages. Of course even after you disengage, the other side may occasionally take another swipe at you trying to draw you back in. Don't fall for it.

6) Who they follow. If they follow someone I've had a major problem with in the past and especially if they include me in tweets with that person, I'm going to unfollow and block. See number 6- don't fall for it. If someone new suddenly pops up on Twitter and immediately starts following me and a person I had problems with I strongly suspect they are up to no good. I don't believe in coincidences like that. 

7) Racists and haters. Of course no one admits to being racist, but if they are constantly retweeting links to articles and negative comments about one race, gays or an ethnic group committing crimes or behaving badly, chances are they're racist.  That goes for all races- yes, black people can be racist. And people of all religions can be haters.  

8) Boring people. If all they tweet about is their arthritis, their kids, pictures of their cleavage or other women's cleavage, ass pics or Real Housewives I'm probably not going to follow them back. A steady stream of mundane tweets about one topic gets old fast. 

9) I just don't like them. If I don't like their tweets, values, beliefs or basic personality I'm not going to follow them. Do you hang out daily with people you don't like in real life? Of course not. So why do it on Twitter? 

10) They use the c word. I know it's just a word but I hate it. Blame it on my age, being unhip or being overly sensitive. Doesn't matter the reason, the word really bothers me. I may like you as a person but if you use the c word and I see it on my timeline, I'll unfollow. 

Bottom line is everyone should only follow people they enjoy. Get rid of the rest. And that includes me- if my tweets and personality irritate or bore you, unfollow me. It's your right, your Twitter, and your life. Life is short, only allow in those you enjoy. You don't owe anyone on Twitter anything. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

History According ROM And Me (Or shit old people say)-

"Remember when Khrushchev said he was going to dig our graves with his shoe because he couldn't get into Disneyland? No, I think Khrushchev beat Mickey Mouse with his shoe when they wouldn't let him in Disneyland. And he said he was going to bury Minnie's grand kids which led to the Cuban missile crisis". 

This, boys and girls, is the kind of conversation you might hear between ROM and I as we watch Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  It all started with a question about Shirley Temple, something about sitting in someone's lap. One of the possible answers was Nikita Khrushchev. We both agreed no one would want to sit on Khrushchev's lap... and from there it all went down hill...

Me: Didn't Khrushchev give a ranting speech about burying our grand kids?

ROM: No, he said he'd bury "us", not our grand kids.

Me: Hmmmm... I thought he said our grand kids. But whatever, I wonder what he was so irate about? I can't remember. 

ROM: I think it was because they wouldn't let him into Disneyland. 

Me: (doubled over laughing) OMG! You're freaking crazy! Khrushchev didn't go to Disney World!

ROM: He wanted to but they wouldn't let him in, which is what pissed him off and then he beat on something with his shoe. And it was Disneyland, Disney World didn't even exist then (which he said in a sneering I-know-it-all kinda way).

Me: (in my own sneering know-it-all way) And I suppose beating up Mickey with his shoe and telling Minnie he was going to bury her grand kids led up to the Cuban Missile Crisis? 

ROM: He did not say he was going to bury anyone's grand kids! He said he would bury us. And I don't think he was trying to break into Disneyland during the Cuban Missile Crisis... (again that sneering tone). The Disney event and the Cuban Missile Crisis had nothing to do with each other- that's crazy! 

Me: STFU! I was being sarcastic!  Well, I'm Googling this shit because I think you've gone senile on me! I'm hiding the plungers (a whole 'nother story)

So I Googled all this nonsense and discovered we were both a tad off. I found that there was a man named Nikita Khrushchev. He did not say he would bury our grand children because he couldn't get into Disneyland. While addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow he said "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will dig you in"- this according to Wikipedia.

Khrushchev didn't beat Mickey with his shoe. According to Wikipedia what happened was "Some sources claim Khrushchev pounded his shoe on his delegate-desk in protest of a speech by Philippine delegate Lorenzo Sumulong. Others argue Khrushchev was responding to the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan". 

As for Disneyland? According to Snopes, it's true Khrushchev was told he could not go to Disneyland due to security concerns. Oh- and Shirley Temple never sat on his lap. 

I think it's safe to assume that neither ROM or I will ever be appearing on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday - Part 3

If you're following this tutorial, I'm sorry I didn't get part three posted last Tuesday. When we ended part two, we were applying the Apoxie Sculpt. After letting it harden over night, it's now time to bulk out the head.

This isn't a full sculpt, so we won't be sculpting arms, a body and legs, which is why this is an easy simple sculpture for a beginner. The only area on this heron that needs bulked up is the head and we will do that with aluminum foil. The reason for this is so we can use less clay and it will dry faster and more thoroughly. 

On this particular sculpt I don't need a lot of bulk for the head, so I used 4" strips of foil, folded the strips in half so that they were 2" wide and wound each strip of foil tightly over the area I wanted bulked up, adding more strips where the head of a heron is the widest. As you add the foil strips, do it tightly and go back over the area with your hands firmly pressing it into the armature. 

Once you're done adding the foil, cover the foil area and neck with one layer of masking tape. Be sure to wrap the tape tightly then go back over it with your fingers while smoothing and pressing the tape firmly to the armature. 

Next week we will apply a layer of plaster wrap. You can get it in the clay section at Michael's and it looks like this-

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday- Part 2

Okay, when we left off last Tuesday, we had completely covered the neck and head wire with masking tape. The reason for the tape is to give the Aves Apoxie Sculpt (which is what we are going to do next) something to grip. It's much easier to apply the Apoxie to the tape covering than to a smooth wire surface. And the purpose for the Apoxie is to give the neck strength to avoid cracks in the clay that we will apply later. 

The two parts of the Apoxie must be mixed together in order for it to harden. You have about 2-3 hours of working time after mixing before it hardens. First make sure your wire is in the exact position you want before applying the the Apoxie because once it hardens you won't be able to re-position it. Once you have it the way you want it, mix your Apoxie. You will need to make equal size balls of both part 1 and part 2. How much to mix depends on the size of the area you need to cover. It's better to mix too little than too much because you can always mix more if needed. 

Mix the two parts by kneading with your hands. It's sticky but if you keep your hands moist it will keep the Apoxie from sticking to your hands. Have a bowl of water near by to dip your fingers in- the Apoxie won't stick to your fingers if your hands are moist. Mix the two parts thoroughly, by kneading the two parts together for several minutes. It must be mixed well! Have a piece of aluminum foil to set the mixed ball on as you work- it won't adhere to the foil. 

Starting at the point where I connected the wire to the obelisk, I applied a very thin layer of the Apoxie all the way up the neck armature to the very end of what will eventually be the heron's beak. I applied it by adding small amounts at a time, firmly pressing it onto the armature and blending into the next small amount, working my way up the neck. Before the Apoxie starts to harden, check your armature and make sure it's in the position you want. With moist fingers go back over the Apoxie, smoothing and making sure the Apoxie is firmly pressed into the armature.  

Now the hard part- waiting for the Apoxie to harden. I hate the waiting part. When I'm on a roll, stopping and waiting is agony. But the wait is necessary before the next step. Give the Apoxie 24 hours to completely cure and harden. 

If you have trouble understanding any of my instructions, feel free to ask questions in the comments. 

And that's it for this week's Tutorial Tuesday... 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

You Want A Birthday Whore, I'll Buy You A Birthday Whore!

ROM's birthday was a few weeks ago so we went out to dinner at a local seafood restaurant. I was on my good behavior that night and didn't tell the waitress it was his b'day, like I have in the past. He hates when I do that and the staff all come to the table singing. Unlike me, he's an introvert and doesn't like attention focused on him. I can only imagine the embarrassment this poor man has suffered being married to me. 

Anyway, we had a nice quiet dinner. Since he had a few drinks, I drove home. As we chatted on the ride home I remarked that I should have gotten him a gift even though he had insisted he didn't want anything. We were sitting at a stop light when I noticed a couple ladies of the night on their evening prowl. And the conversation went like this...

Me- You want a birthday whore? Come on, I'll buy you two birthday whores!

ROM: Nah, that's okay, I'll pass.

Me: Are you sure? You want a whore, by gawd I'll buy you a whore! It's your birthday, the sky is the limit!

ROM: I'm sure, I'll pass on the whores this year.

Me: Think it over- it's early and they look fresh. Might have even showered today. Speak up now because once we get home and I have my jammies on, I'm not going back out to find you a birthday whore if you change your mind.

ROM: Cake will be fine. 

So home we went to have cake with the dogs. Isabella's birthday is also in August so we celebrate them together. Just so Emmy doesn't feel left out, we lie and tell her it's her birthday, too. ROM gets his favorite triple chocolate bundt cake and the dogs get vanilla cupcakes. 

I'm glad we didn't pick up the birthday whores because I had enough trouble getting these three to pose for a picture. Emmy was trying to eat the cupcake with the burning candle still in it while Isabella freaked out and leaped out of the chair a second after this was snapped. No way I would have had the patience and time to get a couple of whores posed in the picture,too.   

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I Bet You Can Do This- Tutorial Tuesday

You might think you have to have a kiln, an art degree and natural talent to create a sculpture. You don't. Air dry clay and polymer clay that you can cure in your kitchen oven has made it possible for anyone to sculpt. And with the plethora of internet tutorials you can learn to sculpt without ever leaving your house. Natural talent? Let me tell you a little secret- talent is a very small part of sculpting. With the right products, a good eye for seeing details, practice, imagination and good instructions to follow, you would be amazed what you can accomplish. 

Fifteen years ago I would have laughed and said you were out of your mind if you said I could do a sculpture.  I had never taken an art class in my life.  The only clay I had ever used was Play Doh and modeling clay when I was a little kid. But the internet opened up a whole new world for me. I learned to sculpt from websites and art groups that shared tips and information on using air dry and polymer clays. Do a Google search on "sculpting with air dry clay tutorials" or "sculpting with polymer clay tutorials" to find all the info you need online. 

Of course as with anything, it takes practice- the more you sculpt the better you will get. After a lot of practice, a lot of mistakes (which I learned from) and even more practice, within a few years my sculptures were accepted into juried exhibitions and I started selling my work. 

You might not be an obsessive person like I am, or have limited time due to a busy schedule and have no desire to ever sell your work, but you can create something unique just for yourself. It's so much fun to look around your house and imagine the things you can do with every day items with a little clay.  My Old Bathing Beauty started out as an antacid bottle.  I stuck a wire in the middle of the bottle cap for her neck and a wad of aluminum foil for her head. I drilled holes through the upper part of the bottle, then ran a wire through the holes to became her arms. 

But let's start with something simpler for your first sculpt. First thing you need is an armature- the clay has to go on something to give it stability, form and strength. The idea for my current project came to me as I was working in my rock garden. I had an old rusty white wire obelisk trellis that I had always loved.  It suddenly occurred to me that it would make a wonderful Great White Heron - a variation we have here in SW Florida of the Great Blue Herons. And I spotted an old tomato plant support that would make a whimsical Pelican. I have no idea why I can't get tall photos to post upright. You'll have to tilt your head to these -

I decided to do the Great White Heron first. After washing the dirt off the obelisk, I brought it inside to work on. First thing I did was find a photo to use as a model. Working from a model makes sculpting so much easier. Even if you are going to sculpt a whimsical version of something and not going for realism, you still need a model to guide you. For this sculpt, the body of the heron is going to be the bare obelisk and I'm only sculpting the neck, head and wings. 
Supplies needed are:
An armature (my obelisk)
14 gauge wire
Wire cutters, needle nose pliers
Masking tape
Aves Apoxie Sculpt (can be ordered online)
DAS air dry clay (can be purchased at Michael's craft store)

The first thing I had to figure out was how long to make the neck and head to look in proportion to the body (obelisk). Since this not going to be a realistic sculpt but a whimsical heron, I didn't have to worry about being exact, just a general idea. I cut two pieces of wire (if your uncertain how much wire, always cut too much rather than too little. You can always cut some off as you go along). I used 14 gauge galvanized wire from Lowes. 

I twisted the two strands of wire together and wound it around the top of obelisk to attach it. I then shaped the wire into a neck and head. 

Next I wrapped the wire tightly with masking tape. 

After completely wrapping the wire with masking tape, I worked on bending and shaping the neck and head to how I envisioned it would look when finished. I kept changing my mind and changed the curve in the neck and tilt of the head several times. 
Finally I had it the way I wanted it and was ready for the next step, which I will share with you next Tuesday...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

No Fish For You! A Day On The Island...

ROM took off work yesterday and we ran away to the beach. It had been weeks since we had gone to the beach , much too long. The nice thing about summer weekdays on Anna Maria Island is the lack of people... 

It was just us and the birds. Like this little fledgling tern waiting on the beach for mama to return.

She was so happy to see mama return with a fish hanging from her beak...

But mama said no way kid, time to get out there and catch your own fish. 

And away mama flew, taking her fish with her...
This played out several times as I watched. Mama never did give the kid a fish and the kid never did fly out over the water to find her own fish...

Maybe tomorrow...

I love watching the skimmers fish. Their bottom beaks are longer than the top to help them scoop up a fish as they fly low over the water.

I wondered what this lone dunlin dreamed of as she gazed out on the Gulf of Mexico? Maybe she was just glad breeding season was over and her nest was empty...  just enjoying some quiet time. 

Monday, August 10, 2015


Do you ever think about how much energy and time we put into trying to control things, situations, people and ourselves? Just think about all the things we try to control...

We try to control our natural body odors daily by showering, lathering,shampooing,applying antiperspirants and spraying ourselves with scents. When we have our personal stench under control we then attack our homes with cleansers and polishes. The endless Febreeze commercials remind us we must control the smell of our cars and homes, too. 

Most of us can relate to the battle of trying to control our weight and health... counting calories, cutting fats and carbs, and getting our daily intake of fruits and vegetables. And of course getting daily exercise. We do and eat all these things we don't want to do and don't want eat in attempt to control the way we look and to extend our lives. 

It's not enough that we try to control our own moods and emotions, we try even harder to control the moods and emotions of our loved ones. In fact we'll suppress our own emotions to make our family and friends feel good. We want everyone we love to be happy and safe, and at times try to move mountains to get someone we love out of a bad situation. 

I was just outside watching a storm move in. Thunder was rumbling as intense lightning was flashing across the dark sky. The wind picked up and I could see the storm moving closer and closer. As I thought about the power of nature, I felt a sense of relief that this was something I didn't have to try to control. The weather will do what it will do and can't be controlled. I suddenly felt like the tree frogs in the back yard who were singing their little hearts out- just enjoying the cool breeze and not wasting a second worrying about or trying to control the approaching storm. If only we humans were as aware that there really is very little we can control other than ourselves.  And the way we smell...      

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So My Titties Aren't Good Enough For You?

Is there anything more boring than shopping for groceries? Well, there actually might be things that are more boring, but it has to be in the top 10. I hate it. As we wait in line I always read the tabloid headlines to ROM to catch him up on all the celebrity gossip. Not that he really cares- he is so not into pop culture and celebrity dirt. But it amuses me and kills time while we wait. So whether he cares about the latest Real Housewives scandal or why the world hates Kanye this week, I'm going to inform him. 

Last weekend as we waited in line to spend a small fortune on two bags of groceries, I scanned the tabloid headlines to find something interesting to share with him. (You know, they say communication is the key to a healthy and happy relationship. Perhaps David wouldn't have cheated if Shannon had read tabloid headlines to him.) The headline that caught my attention was about Kriss Kardashian being jealous of Caitlyn's popularity and money. I explained to ROM that Caitlyn reached one million followers on Twitter quicker than anyone ever! And she was making bucket loads of money for photos, interviews and TV shows. And then it occurred to me....

Me: You should consider transgendering. Evidently there's big money to be made. We could get that cottage on the beach.

ROM: I don't think Medicare covers that kind of surgery.

Me: To save money I could give you my old titties.

ROM: But then you wouldn't have any titties. 

Me: Well, I could get new ones with the money you'd make from your story.

ROM: So I'm stuck with your old titties and you get new ones? 

Me: Oh, so my titties aren't good enough for you? I'll remember that next time you want to touch them! 

And I didn't speak to him all the way home. Or let him touch my titties. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I Was Born A Poor Black Child...

I was born a poor black child... I was born in a teepee in Montana ... On a dark stormy Montana night, I was born a poor black child in a van down by the river... It was never easy for me. In the middle of a dark starless night, as the worst blizzard in Montana history raged outside, I was born a poor black child in a teepee. In the middle of a dark starless night, as the worst blizzard in Montana history raged outside our teepee, I was born a poor black child to an abusive white mother and father step father . The abuse started even before I took my first breath. With each contraction, my mother's cruel uterus muscles forced me from her womb. I remember the pain I suffered as the walls of her vagina pushed me out into the heartless world. Weak, cold and crying I sought the comfort of my mother's breast but she denied me even that small act of kindness. Instead of putting me at her breast to suckle, she wrapped me in a old dirty rag and shoved me to the side of the teepee. When I continued to cry, my father my step father placed me outside the teepee where the blizzard continued to rage. 

I was sure I would die alone in the frigid cold and be buried by the heavy snow. Soon I was so weak all I could do was faintly whimper. I was barely conscious when I felt warm breath on my face as something grabbed my swaddled rag in its teeth and carried me away. I drifted off into a an exhausted sleep. The next thing I remember was awakening in a cave in an underground den as I was gently licked by a warm tongue and nudged toward a milk filled teat. And that is how I began my life as the youngest member of a pack of wolves. 

I was raised by wolves for the first four years of my life. By the age of one I was running and hunting with the pack. At the age of two I invented the bow and arrow and the ability to make fire. By the age of four I had learned everything my beloved wolf pack could teach me. It was then that they first suggested I go to Africa and connect with my roots. The only problem was how would I get there? One of my wolf aunts suggested we set up a Go Fund Me account and soon there was enough money to buy a plane ticket to South Africa. 

I arrived in Africa alone and unsure where to start in search for my roots.  As I wandered alone in the jungle I was adopted by a troop of baboons the streets alone I was taken in by an African family. I learned how to braid black hair and to create sculptures from elephant dung. But like I said, it was never easy for me. Though my darker skinned siblings were treated the worst, we were all beaten with baboon whips for the smallest transgressions. Many a night I cried myself to sleep, longing to be back with my beloved wolf pack. 

In my teen years, my amazing elephant dung sculptures won many prestigious awards. I was making quite an impression in the art world and this exposure brought me to the attention of Howard University. When they offered me a full scholarship for my graduate degree I was on the first flight out of Africa. I was as surprised as the the dean of Howard U when after I showered and washed all the elephant dung off that I was a fair skinned freckled blonde.  In spite of my fair skin and blond hair I was allowed to stay, though some of my black professors were unduly harsh with me. But I persevered, completed my master's degree and married a black man. 

Married life wasn't easy, because just like my mother and father step father, my husband was mean. After just a couple of years, I divorced my abusive spouse. The judge awarded me my husband's race in our divorce settlement and my transformation into a black woman began. My skin started to magically darken and my blond locks took on the texture and appearance of a true black woman. When my metamorphosis from a pale washed out white girl into a beautiful black woman was complete I decided to devote my life to fighting for my ex-husband's people my people's rights. 

I'm not sure exactly where or when, but I found my black father. I knew that mean white man who threw me out of the teepee into a horrific blizzard wasn't my real father! I had journeyed to Africa and back looking for my roots only to discover that Dad was right here in America.

I've been the target of eight documented unfounded hate crimes as I've fought for racial equality. Have I mentioned it's never been easy for me? But no threatening letters or nooses can deter me, for I am a proud black woman. By god, this is my story and I'm sticking to it no matter what my cruel white mother and step father say. Or what my adopted brother says. Or what my black father says. Or what my birth certificate says... 

I am proud black woman Rachel Dolezal- hear me roar! award-winning Mixed Media Artist with over 20 exhibitions in 13 states, internationally, and at the United Nations Headquarters. Dolezal completed her Master of Fine Arts at Howard University, where she majored in experimental studio and minored in sculpture. She has over 10 years experience in community development, human rights education, and intercultural negotiations. She is currently an Art Instructor at North Idaho College, Adjunct Professor of African American Culture at Eastern Washington University, Advisor for the NIC Black Student Association, speaker, education consultant, and exhibiting artist.

(This is a tongue in cheek spoof based on the recent news stories about Rachel Dolezal. Material for this spoof was found at Easterner OnlineCoeur d' Alene Press, Ms. Dolezal's blog and the movie "The Jerk".)

Update 6/15/15: Over the weekend I found another interview with Rachel where she weaves more of her bizarre tale. 

Update- Now even the authenticity of one of Rachel's art works is being challenged. A Huffington Post article compares her painting "The Shape of Our Kind" to J.M.W. Turner's "1840 The Slave Ship".

Saturday, June 6, 2015

You Copulate and Then You Die...

It was a rainy gloomy Saturday for those of us living on the Suncoast of the Sunshine State -oh, the irony. After it stopped raining I walked around the yard taking pictures, then parked my ass at my desk looking out on the front yard. I don't know if it was because of the earlier rain or what, but there was a lot of nature drama going on outside my window. 

After the rain... 

I was strolling through my Twitter timeline and happened to glance up to see several catbirds swarming and bombarding a hawk.  I'm guessing the catbirds must have a nest close by and were protecting their territory. Have to say I enjoyed watching the smaller birds hold their own with a predator, kind of like watching a Twitter troll get handed their ass when they pick on the wrong person. 

The next thing I noticed when I looked out the window were two flirting geckos on my yard light pole. The females have a white strip down their backs so it's easy to tell which gender they are.  The female was acting quite brazen- stretching out her full length with her ass in his face. He seemed to be in no hurry, occasionally inflating his bright orange double chin (I dunno what that orange sac thingie they inflate is called or if it has any correlation to the size of their penis, but he sure seemed proud of it ) as she waited patiently for him to get his freak on.  After a couple false starts he finally engaged and just as he finished...  a crow swooped down and flew away with the poor little gecko dude hanging limply in it's beak. Damn, talk about the circle of life.  It was a bit disturbing watching the gecko dude go from experiencing one of the greatest pleasures of life to experiencing life's final and most dreaded event. 

I was relieved the female got away until I noticed she was back on the light pole and had attracted yet another mate. Good lord, what a heartless slut! I'd be damned if I'd watch another gecko forfeit his life fertilizing the eggs of this insatiable floozy. So I went outside and yelled at the birds hanging around and chased the geckos deep into the bouganvillia. As soon as I got back to my desk, the geckos reappeared on the light post. So back out I went, only for them to reappear on the light pole as soon as I returned to my desk. This went on several times and the last time Emmy followed me out. When we came back in she jumped up on the ottoman and spit out a mangled little tree frog. Jezzuz, I was living in my own up close and personal horror show! Sex, violence and death all around me! 

After ROM cleaned up the frog corpse, he suggested we go shopping as a distraction from the copulating geckos, killer crows and Emmy the Barbarian. I'll tell you the shopping story in a couple days... but when we got home the gecko prostitution whore was on the light pole with yet another little dude. We're going to need Maury Povish to run some DNA tests to determine who fertilized this slut's eggs. 

Taken thru my window- note the slutty gecko circled
in yellow.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It All Started With A Jeep, Okay?

Why is it that some people can not pick up on body language? I was at a neighbor's the other day when an old guy pulled up in a gorgeous bright yellow Jeep. I made the mistake of telling him I loved his Jeep...

He launched into a monologue about every Jeep he ever owned, what kind of suspensions they had and where he drove them. He was also one of those annoying people who ends every single frigging sentence with "okay".  After the first few minutes I lost all interest in what he was saying. I tried to change the subject but he was on roll and wasn't about to be distracted from his recitation of his vehicle history. His monologue about jeeps continued to flow like diarrhea from a cruise ship tourist with norovirus. I wanted to scream "Shut the hell up, okay!" But I didn't because I'm a nice person, ain't I, Joe? (Yous non-watchers of Real Housewives of New Jersey won't understand that last sentence.)

I tried to be patient while he regurgitated all his knowledge of Jeeps- "okay"? My eyes glazed over, I fidgeted, kept glancing at my neighbor in hopes she'd save me, but she'd checked out of the conversation and was busy pulling weeds. Finally I couldn't take it anymore, "okay"?

I spoke up and told him I knew nothing about Jeep models, suspensions, or engines, but that I did know a thing about colors and I loved his Jeep's shade of yellow. Then I proceeded to start a lecture on the color yellow and explained there are cool yellows and warm yellows. When he started to speak again I talked louder and over him as I rattled off examples of cool yellows and warm yellows. Then I gave him a big smile, told him it was nice chatting but I had to get back home, "okay"? 

And now I hate Jeeps. Okay? 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We Need To Talk...

You know it's serious when someone says: "We need to talk." I hate it when someone tells me that because I know it's probably going to be something I don't want to talk about. 

We went to the beach yesterday and when we got home I asked ROM to make a pot of coffee while I showered. Just as I was stepping into the shower I heard him yell: "What the hell! Jezzuz Christ!" I assumed the dogs had done something while we were gone, Emmy is known to get on tables and knock things off. 

When I came out of the bathroom and ready for a cup of coffee, I found a serious looking ROM and no coffee waiting for me. That's when he said the dreaded words... we need to talk. And it went like this-

Me: Why didn't you make coffee? If we need to talk, I need coffee.

ROM: There is no coffee. All that was in the freezer was a coffee bag filled with frozen dog shit! FROZEN DOG SHIT! 

I just stared at him because I had no idea what he was talking about. 

ROM: And don't try telling me you're growing a dog like you did with the banana peels story

Me: You've never forgiven me for that so you're going to try to make me believe there was a coffee bag of frozen dog crap in the freezer? Ha! I'm not nearly as gullible as you. I'll make the damn coffee myself. 

I looked in the freezer and there was no coffee. 

Me: Okay, where is the damn coffee? I'm serious, I want coffee and I want it now. 

ROM then walked over to the wastebasket and pulled out the bag of coffee. Just as I was getting ready to yank it out of his hands, he opened it and I saw that it was indeed filled with baggies of frozen dog crap. Sweet jezzuz, I must have gotten distracted, thrown the new bag of coffee in the trash and stuck the old one I had filled with poop baggies in the freezer. 

Me: I wonder how in the hell that happened? 

ROM: You know my aunt started doing things like this just before she was diagnosed with dementia. Well, she didn't freeze dog shit because they didn't have a dog but she started putting dirty dishes back in the cabinets. 

Me: Oh come on, who hasn't at sometime accidentally put dog poop in their freezer? Everybody has done it! 

And then we laughed until we were both gasping for air. We'd quit laughing, look at each other and then start all over again. Finally ROM took off for the store to buy coffee while I cleaned everything out of the freezer and disinfected it with bleach.