Monday, April 16, 2018

Lizard tails and cat boogers...

Everyone thinks being an artist is somewhat glamorous, but I promise you it is not.

Nothing is really very organized behind the scenes - we are just able to create the illusion that everything is beautiful and creative and dramatic, but mediocrity, the mundane, and a handful of annoyingly lazy habits are lurking just under the surface.

Like this morning.  A day that, as of yesterday, I had deemed "The Annual, National Bookkeeping Day for Artists Cynthia and Steve Adams".  I went so far as to gather up what I could find of 2017 business related items, packed up the computer, and declared that I would park myself at the dining room table first thing Monday morning and zero in on all things business related that should have been addressed well over one year ago.

It is now high noon and I'm pretty sure none of that has happened yet.  How do I know, you ask?  Because I am the only one at the house, and I still see everything I brought from our studio in its bin on the dining room table.  There is a cat lying on my notebook, a plate leftover from one of my earlier snacks, and several urns sitting off to the side holding the cremains of all our fabulous kitties that have come and gone.  Normally we do not use those as a centerpiece for our table, but a shelf came down yesterday in the piano room and they got shifted over here for the time being.  All of our kitties have loved being on whichever table we find ourselves eating or working at, so this is oddly comforting although I could probably cry at any moment if I think too much about it.

I really, really had good intentions of tackling the book work first thing, but before I even had a chance to start Marley came running inside from the lanai with a "larger than what I like" sized lizard and dropped it in the corner of the dining room.  And then she started batting it around like the play toy she thinks it is.  And Steve is at the gym so I have to trap this dude using my time-honed technique of placing a Tupperware container on top of him (or her, to be fair...but she was ugly so it was probably a him).  Then I take something flat, in this case one of my business folders, and slide it under the Tupperware to keep him (let's just agree it was a him) contained until I can get outside and set him free.

Easy enough.  Until ten minutes later Marley has yet another lizard in the dining room.  Bigger and uglier (it's a cute kind of ugly - I actually like these little guys quite a lot, when they are outside though).  This lizard is trying to get away from her and has apparently dropped his tail somewhere along the way.  I capture him with my special lizard trap, and out he goes.  As I came back into the dining room I see a small thing wriggling around on the floor.  The tail.  Dang it.  And Marley sees it at that same moment, but she is closer so she makes a run for it, gives it a bat or two, and decides to eat it before I can take it away.  I'm glad today is Steve's day for the litter box.  He may not realize that yet, but it is true.

So far my annual bookkeeping day is looking a lot like all of the previous years.  Which let's me know there is still hope because I have always gotten it done, I just never know when that magic day is going to be.

Oddly, catching lizards has made me feel a bit peckish so I decide I better make a little healthy snack of turkey and string cheese before I get to the point where only chocolate and peanut butter will curb my hunger.

Back at the dining room table with my snack I check Facebook and email for a few minutes.  Fiona, who has been sleeping soundly in the bedroom, has gotten a whiff of the turkey and decided she will now join Marley on the dining room table in hopes of getting a bite.

It seemed so cute and innocent at the time, but as she reached out her paw to try and grab some turkey out of my hand she also decided to let loose with a series of wet sneezes that sprayed all over me and left actual little kitty boogers on my shirt and arm.  I've never read anywhere if that is one of those gross animal excretions that is good for wrinkles so, like the good girl my mother taught me to be, I decided against gathering first hand information by experimenting with it and got up and washed my arm and wiped off my shirt.

So, in summary, our accounting office will not be getting updates anytime soon (they have no expectations of us anymore so not to worry!) and you get a long overdue blog!  Seize the moment as they say.  Sometimes "they" are very right!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cooking and Love Bugs...

The other day I was chatting with my mom, asking her about what she had put in her spaghetti sauce.  “Well, honey, I think I sautéed some onions and peppers along with some garlic, and then of course the usual, like tomato sauce.  Plus it seems like there were some leftovers in the fridge that wouldn’t really fight with the sauce, so I added those too, although for the life of me I don’t have a clue now what they were.  Oh well, you know me…“she said as she brushed off my inquiry.  Yes, I do know her well, and the sauce was great.  But, I knew I would never be able to recreate that culinary improvisation, nor would she, so I had to let another thing go and just move on.  However, just for the record, it irks me that she can still clearly remember that time in high school thirty five odd years ago when I wore a halter top to school and the administration called her to complain, but I digress….

Anyway, we sort of have a motto at our house…the good news is if you don’t like something you will probably never have it again since none of us pay attention to what we throw into the pot.  On the flip side, if you really like it, unfortunately you will never get to have it again either.  So far it seems to have worked for us as a family, but has caused undue stress when it comes time to cooking for company.  We only have a few brave friends left... 

We chatted a bit more about the non-recipe for her spaghetti sauce, but soon the conversation segued into a discussion of our trip the next day to the Everglades and whose car we would take since neither of us really wanted to come back with our vehicle smeared with love bug bodies all over the hood and windows and on into the radiator.  Casually thinking out loud I said “I wonder if this is love bug season right now?”  My mom immediately and in a very authoritative voice stated that love bugs have three seasons in Florida, one in the spring, one in late summer and again in December.  My first thought as she uttered that last word was not one of support, such as “wow, how cool that you know that!”  It was more like, “where on earth did you come up with that unrelated tidbit of info?”  When she makes sweeping declarations about things I’m pretty sure she knows nothing about I am immediately suspicious of their veracity.
My second reaction was to contradict her as I thought, "how is it that my mom even has a clue about the love bug hatching and breeding seasons when she has never paid attention to that kind of thing in her life?  How can she not remember her spaghetti sauce recipe she is in the process of making as we speak, and yet seem so confident about this entomological information she is spouting off as if she had a degree in bug science?I am so confused.
I never know what to believe anymore since half the time these theories are plucked out of mid-air and totally off course.  Other times they are so spot on in categories I didn’t even know she knew anything about.  She leaves me in a constant state of wonder!

A quick trip to Google and damn if she wasn’t correct about the love bugs!  April/May, late summer, and December.

Who knew?  …besides my mother of course.  There you have it, in writing.  She was right and I was wrong to doubt her.  When will I ever learn!

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Copy and Paste New Year's Greeting...

 Happy New Year to all!

Just for fun I have copied and pasted below all kinds of crazy things that happen on the art show circuit.  As a member of a few online art forums, a lot of information gets shared.  Sometimes it's helpful, and sometimes it's pretty cringe-worthy.

For any of you who think being an artist means living the glamorous life, here are a few excerpts of crazy things that have happened in one fashion or another to all of us who exhibit our art around the country at outdoor festivals.  You may decide to keep your day job after all!

These are answers to the following question from our forum:   "What is the weirdest thing that has happened in your booth while exhibiting at a festival?"...

Someone cut off a finger.
OMG, was it the whole finger, or just a tip?
It was about 1 inch, at St James Festival.  I also had a dude at Jazz Fest run one of my paring knives up his arm.
I still use the pedestal top with the blood stain on it.

I had a woman walk up to my booth pushing a stroller as I got closer to see what was in it, I have to tell you it wasn't a baby.  It was a huge Iguana on a leash. 

I had a lady confide to me that she was walking around the event spreading her parents ashes, because they always enjoyed the event so much. I checked my booth after she left and found no ashes, but saw the bag with the ashes, and the hole cut to allow a small amount at a time out as she walked around. She tipped it up in my booth so no ashes spilled there. 

A woman walked into my booth and immediately walked over and smelled my paintings. I guess she wanted to make sure they were real oil paintings.

I had a lady pick up each of my pendants and hold it first to her forehead, and then put it between her breasts to "check the energy". She eventually decided that one had the right energy & purchased it. 

A girl threw up all over my display curtains, & then walked off. 

Found a pair of panties and a dollar bill in my booth when I opened it up in the morning. 

After a short visit about my work a lady handed me a small bag with a peace sign printed on the outside. Inside was a baggy of pot because she thought I was cool. 

Someone threw up on the outside of my booth at Rittenhouse Square festival. And the police caught a couple having sex in the booth next to me at the Gainesville Downtown fall show. It was during the night and it was a leather artists booth. 

A pretty young girl came in and wanted a ring band for her toe. She asked my husband if he thought it fit ok....she had her leg up On the a Skirt..n no underwear!
Full Frontal!! 

At one show another female artist came over distraught. A family had come into her booth, under her tent, laid out a blanket and were going to eat lunch there!! 

An honest to god flasher at the Philly museum show about 6 years ago. hung a sweatshirt over his forearm and went around booth to booth, flashing women who were sitting down. 

A pediatrician came in my booth. Picked out a few things and right before she handed me her credit card she got a phone call. Turns out she was on call that day. And I and other customers got to hear her ask what color the baby's poop was, how many bowel movements the baby had that day and was the baby throwing up also? 

At Ft Worth I had someone start to change their baby's diaper on my desk. I asked them not to. 

A ceramic neighbor behind me found a note the next morning thanking him for the space which they had sex in the night before! Things were moved around and there was a condom on the ground 

I had a juggler once. Not paid entertainment, just a random dude. Came in juggling sticks n bowling pins, but kept dropping them, knocking my paintings around. I filmed it. It was over a hundred degrees out and I was nursing some heat exhaustion so the best I could muster was, "Could you just not do that in here". And he yells "Hey everyone!! Don't come in this booth!!!" He was offended. 

A couple probably in their 70s came into my booth/ she was wearing a see-thru blouse , and he asked everyone how they liked her new boobs 

I also had a lady in my booth that held her dog up to look at everything and bought what the dog showed interest in. If only I had known, I would have put a little dab of food up on the displays 

A woman who was braless had one boob escape and stayed in my crowded booth forever! 

Boca Raton: 3 ladies enter. One asks if she can sit in my director chair. I said sure. They all left in 20 mins. The woman in my chair had Pee'd in it!....... I threw it away right then! 

I had a MOM whisper to her daughter about one of my bracelets, 'Just slip it in your purse.'   I was soooooo shocked and sure enough, her purse was unzipped. I locked eyes with the daughter and it was obvious that I had heard her mom. She hustled her out of there and disappeared into the crowd. I couldn't find them! 

Hope you enjoyed a few laughs, and a break from reading about cats and Steve.  I know Steve in particular was happy not to be the main subject for a change.  That brief respite is over now, as I have accumulated a lot of new material since I last wrote about him :-)



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Things You Thought You'd Never Hear...

Steve says lately I haven't been catching on to his highbrow humour and it ends up not being funny when he has to explain it to me several times. I tell him "you're going to have to use larger, more sophisticated bait to keep me on that hook.  If it's not funny to begin with you know how quickly my mind moves on to other things".

He rolls his eyes and quickly goes back to his "Puns are Fun" reference book, hoping for a second chance at getting a laugh out of me.  That, I'm sorry to say, is the crux of the problem. Puns are not funny.  Sarcasm is funny.  In fact it is hilarious, and if you were raised in our family, in the North, you were rewarded for your efforts and quickly elevated to the next level.  After all, we had three cousins in Detroit that were our main competition and we had to remain on high alert, ready to out-sarcasm them at any given moment. The rivalry continues today, fifty-odd years later.  And if you ever got your feelings hurt you were out of the game.  Instantly. Damn wuss.  

Exhibit A:  Sarcasm

Now Steve was raised in the South where punnery is an acceptable form of humour.  Don't ask me why as I am still perplexed and trying to understand it (well, not really making that much of an effort these days, truth be known).  But they do have fried okra and candied sweet potatoes which definitely counts for something. 

Exhibit B:  Pun
Anywho, where was I?

Oh yeah, I was actually getting around to sharing more of my "Things You Thought You'd Never Hear" observations.  In fact, at the rate they are accumulating I may assign it a day of the week, like Tuesday.  Every Tuesday I will share with you our half-baked sentences, phrases and mutterings that make absolutely no sense, even if you were there to hear them in person.  Except today is Sunday and already I'm going to break that rule.  But then it will be back to Tuesday.

Those odd statements heard in our household that,  in the moment of being spoken, seem perfectly normal to us.  But when you take those comments out of their environment and put them in a blog, for example, you'll soon join the rest of the people we know in saying "They used to be so nice, so together, so...with it. Really, such a shame..."

Like these, for example...

Me: Steve, do you want your socks on the stove?  Oh, and did you see the power lifters doing their ballet routine?

Steve:  I have this little zit on my nose that's driving me crazy.  Is it very noticeable?
Me:  Not too bad.  I usually have some face powder with me that you could use to minimize it, but I loaned it to my mom on our trip, so it's either in her purse or quite possibly in her refrigerator.  Remind me to check the vegetable drawer next time we're there.

Steve:  By the way, the rugs with all of the vomit on them are out in the garage.

Me: Did you notice that the chia seeds have sprouted in the drain of my sink?

Me:  Do you know if the iPad made it inside from the car last night?
Steve: Yes, it's in my barf bag in the kitchen.

I could go on, but you get the gist of it.  Besides, I've got another story brewing about a brussel sprout that needs some attention before I hit the publish button on that one.  See you soon!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Aquarium Tails...

I know I promised to write about our trip to Panama, but that will be for another day.  Why?  Because I procrastinated too long and now, under the gun, I must select something that is already in a draft stage, waiting to be published and flung out onto the internet.

But I am going to give you a break from cat stories, and Steve's gastrointestinal episodes, and bring you up to date on what it's like to be a fish, living in our aquarium. 

I'm afraid it is not good news.  Our aquarium is really the equivalent of an assisted living home for fish; a brief holding tank for those who are about to depart on their next spiritual journey.  Just like Jonathon Livingston Seagull, who if he were still around, would probably speed things up by eating the fish and putting them out of their misery.

For instance, when our new 'residents' move into "Fish Manor Senior Care Living Center" they appear to have it pretty much altogether, happy to be in their new apartment.  Alas, within a few months, if not weeks, the "failure to thrive" syndrome starts setting in.  Cloudy eyes, speckles on their cataracts and age spots.  Soon they start swimming erratically, slowly sinking towards the bottom, spurred on occasionally by a second wind that launches them to the top of the tank.  And then slowly, they start sinking again, drifting aimlessly around as if they can't remember which hallway to go down to find their room.  Some days they eat voraciously and we can tell they're ready for their meal hours before the 'dining room' opens.  Other times they act indifferently towards their food, and if they had opposable thumbs and could use silverware I'm guessing they would just push it around on their plate to make it look as if they had eaten something, or hide the green peas under the banana skin.  Oh wait, that was me.  Sorry, forgot whose story I was telling.

Having our aquarium is like watching a death spiral in action.  Not too long ago, our shrimp named Scampi committed suicide by jumping out of the water and onto the floor.  He obviously preferred a quick death by cat paw as opposed to the gradual decline like we've become accustomed to with the others.  And the black, red-tailed shark has Ich.  Come to find out we're supposed to personally treat him by giving him a saltwater bath. Using those tiny little loofah sponges is a bitch I tell you!  I guess we are supposed to apply a special product to their fin and then bathe them, or something like that.  And by 'we', I mean 'Steve'.  Actually I wasn't really listening to how we (Steve) were supposed to treat him as it had fallen into the category of topics like discussing a new vehicle, or what kind of transformer we're getting for the outdoor lights.  You know, the kind of conversation like a tree falling in the forest - if no one is listening is anything actually being said?

Some days we leave in the morning and all is well, only to return at night to find skeletal remains drifting around which is always so startling.  What was the difference between one day with all of the little fish being happy and zippy, to the sudden turning of the tables where it was decided that one of them looked so delicious he had to be devoured right then and there?  

Just this morning as Steve was walking past the aquarium on his way to make coffee I heard "awww, dammit.  I cannot believe it" with a certain, sad tone to it.  The cabinet opened and a few things clanged and banged around.  Then the top of the fish tank creaked open, followed by trot, trot, trot to the bathroom and the ceremonial flush down the toilet.   Our largest fish, Arabrab (my mom Barbara's name, spelled backwards) had met her demise during the night and would now be joining Puff Daddy (our now dead green puffer), Micky, Spot, Sunny, Barb, Green Barb, Ra, and Plato.  And those are just the names I remember.

Sometimes it strikes me that part of the problem is that the aquarium is located in the dining room and we are often eating grilled fish while watching them swim around.   I think somehow they sense that and decide to take control of their own lives, or death as it appears. 

Might be best if I go back to writing about Steve and the cats.  Feline vomit and husband stories are much more uplifting, don't you think?!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

"Shit Happens..."

Poor Steve.

Currently under the effects of twilight anesthesia, having his first colonoscopy, little does he know I am busy writing yet another blog about his intestinal activities.  If he had been like the rest of us and only lost three temporary pounds during the fasting part I would have left this alone.  But no, he got to lose ten pounds and I say that is not fair!  Something needs to be done to right the balance.

"It must be public humiliation!" I declare to myself.

The story begins...

Sitting in the waiting room a thought creeps through my mind; one of those big life thoughts.  More important than wondering about where I'll "be" after I die is, "what on earth is it that happens in someone's young life to lead them to eventually declare 'I want to be a proctologist'?" I could ask the doctor when I go back to see Steve after the procedure, but perhaps I don't really want to know.

My thoughts thankfully redirect themselves quickly and I snap back to my present environment.  The waiting room at this joint is not very jovial.  Half of the group is famished and cranky, and the other half, their drivers (aka significant others), are busy staring off into space, thinking about what else they could be doing.  HGTV is on and they're showing a bathroom remodel which most of us could probably use after the past 24 hours of destruction in our own homes.  An elderly lady came tottering out from the back and they called her husband's name.  In her post-anesthesia delirium she started weaving her way back to the procedure room.  Her husband yelled out "Martha! Not that way!  Isn't one time enough for you?"  That got everyone snickering in the waiting room, and suddenly we felt a certain camaraderie as we nodded imperceptibly to each other with a conspiratorial wink.  We all knew why we were there and what we had been dealing with since yesterday.

Our heads all swung simultaneously back to the bathroom remodel on HGTV.  Personally I think the plumbers and designers in town might be in cahoots with the proctologists.  I suspect they've supplied the doctors with a continuous loop of remodeling feed, seeing as they have a pretty captive audience.  Speaking for myself, my takeaway from this show was that I definitely need a marble counter top and two basin sinks now in our master bath.  Plus, of course, cabinets, new tile for the shower and updated hardware for the drawers.  And obviously, a new toilet. Apparently it's not the medical procedures that are so expensive. It's what you end up doing to your home after watching a show like this while in the waiting room; or perusing a high-end decorating magazine while waiting on your significant other to have their colon scoped.  Sounds fair to me.

Before I knew it they were calling me back to the recovery room to see Steve.  The entire procedure went so quickly, from check-in to prep to procedure, I had not even finished my coffee. Initially I was a bit miffed that my time to gather more blog content for this story was being cut short.  I had really been looking forward to at least an hour of alone time in the waiting room, gathering information, observing, eavesdropping on other conversations.  It was not to be had this morning.

As I kissed Steve on the forehead and asked him how he was feeling he smiled at me and, still under the lingering influence of the anesthesia said, "jebba shimsnig finbieng thruby".  Which loosely translated means "I love you Cynthia and I want you to have all of my money".

The PA buzzed around Steve's bed, checking his vitals, making sure he was comfortable and helped him sit-up so we could start getting ready to leave.  Apparently our insurance plan only covers 7.5 minutes in the recovery room and she was on a mission.  She chattered away about how well he had done, everything looked just fine, the doctor would be by in a minute or two to review the results and answer any questions, and then opened a folder and said "would you like to see pictures of your colon?" 

I don't think anyone really knows what the correct answer is to that question, but in trying to be responsible middle-aged adults we felt pressured to say yes.  Steve, still in a bit of a stupor, looked at the images and then said "OMG! It's beautiful! It looks like a sunset!" Obviously switching to coloured images instead of black and white like the old days has a certain value-added entertainment factor.

I, for one, was thrilled at his response.  "That is pure gold, being handed to me on a silver platter" I thought to myself.  "What a perfect ending for my story!"

Poor Steve...and he thought I was going to write about the cats this morning.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I'd Like To Buy A Noun, Please...

If I scroll back a few years ago in my blog archives I can find stories from our travels in Morocco.  Pretty much since then it has been about cleaning up cat vomit, lying awake listening to Steve snore, or wondering aloud about the gradual decline of my body, mind and bank account.  And sometimes it's about nothing much at all, which seems to have given me an endless supply of material.

Case in point...

As most of you know, Steve is a pretty awesome guy. He is my best friend, a great husband, loves my family and our friends, a talented artist, and he's a cat whisperer.  However (isn't there always a however?) he was born with one genetic defect (maybe more, but this one really stands out). His DNA lacks the ability to form nouns and use them in a sentence. Most of our married life I have had no idea what we are even talking about which I'm sure has contributed to its longevity.  Back in our younger days, when a lot of you know what was going on, nouns didn't matter as everything was really more about sound effects and the different decibel levels that were achieved.  But nowadays I often think it would be nice to know what's happening.   

Today for example, while biking, all of a sudden he yelled "watch out"!  

As I was moving along at a bit of a clip it's not like I could easily take in every potential danger around me in the amount of time that it sounded like I needed. "Watch out for what?" I yelled back.

"That!" he shouted.

I swerved off the path to avoid whatever it was I was supposed to not run over, and in the process came close to falling off of my bike.

The good news is, whenever something does happen to me I'm going to be the last to know what hit me, and with any luck will be knocked unconscious, oblivious to my crash.

Here's another example that happens on a daily basis...multiple times. 

Steve..."I think that would be a good thing to get."

"What thing?" I ask. 

"You know, the one from yesterday" he says.

Me..."and that would be...?" 

"When we were at Lowe's."

"I'd like to buy a noun please" I say.

"Planter! That big planter in the garden section!" 

"Well finally!  Why didn't you say so?"

"That's what I've been trying to tell you" he says.
Good grief.  And it for sure won't be long before I get to go through that again.

Lately, when I sense he is about to start talking, I try and speed things up by shouting out random nouns and then just yell "pick one, any one, use it in a sentence! Here ya go...Jewelry! Car! Pasta! Chocolate!  Please, we've only got so much time left on this planet and I really need to know what's going on.  I could be dead before I know what you're talking about!"

"Pizza!" he yells.  "And wine!"

Perfect.  My plan has worked again...