Sunday, September 30, 2007


If I were my mom I'd say, "This computer hates me!" because Blogger is giving me fits. If I didn't know that everyone has these blankity-blank Blogger problems, I guess I might be more like Mom and take it personally.

I tried to post pictures of both Betsy's and Marilyn's projects, but Blogger kept kicking me out!
Me and Blogger made up and the pix are now posted. Huzzah!

Linda must be too busy hunting down bad guys to email me photos of her pieces. *sniff* And Lynn? Well, there's only a little time left till her mom's birthday and then I'll start publicly nagging her for pictures, too.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hero Worship

I watched the first ten episodes of Heroes season one last night. It felt great to escape the grinding stress of the job and the book deadline and life in general. My brain got to go out and play and today I feel totally refreshed, even though I had half the sleep I usually get. Mental vacations: cheaper and less fattening than taking a cruise. No sunburn or stomach virus either.

Heroes is the kind of story I wish I had written. Like Firefly, the characters are as rich and vivid as the multi-layered plot and special effects. Season two of Heroes premiered last Monday. I have to finish season one fast so I can catch up with real time viewing. I need a TIVO. Or the power to bend space and time.

I have always loved science fiction. It's like fairy tales with lasers and cyborgs. (You know our twins are named after the two good guys from the Terminator dontcha? Kyle Reese and John Connor. If they had been triplets? Neo, Trinity and Morpheus.) I read I Am Legend (The Omega Man) in fifth grade. I devoured everything by Harlan Ellison I could get my jr. high school hands on - we even met him once at Iowa. Remember that, Dad?

Pending Apocalypse, precognition, time travel, and explosions/implosions as a back drop for (ooh, here comes the girly-gratification part) love, drama and relationships. What could be better than that?

Last night was not the first time I retreated into a comic-book colored world when life was pressing in on me. It's sort of a reoccurring self-defense mechanism. The first time it happened it nearly prevented me from graduating high school.

It was May 1985: the Saturday before finals week. I picked up a hard cover copy of Stephen King's The Stand at a yard sale. A bargain at $1 because the dust jacket was missing. I made the dire mistake of opening it that same day and barely slept for the next six.

I read for hours at a stretch, until the panic of flunking an exam or not finishing a paper would overwhelm me enough to eclipse the threat of total nuclear destruction. I would then reluctantly pound out a few pages of a term paper on a borrowed typewriter (it had a navy blue ribbon) before returning to my adventure in post-apocalypse America. Can you blame me? I mean how could I concentrate on trivial stuff like earning a diploma when the ENTIRE WORLD was in Peril? I aced my finals and the world was saved. It was a good week.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hair Apparent

In what appears to be a show of solidarity for the GM auto workers, my hair has gone on strike.

It is refusing to style, do anything cute or arrange itself in something resembling organization until....what? WHAT? There's no ransom note. No list of demands to be met. Just tell me what to do and I'll do it!

I made a frantic phone call (she's on speed dial) to Denise, my fabulous, Aussie, hair diva but had to leave a long, explanatory voice mail for her at the salon. She won't give me her cell number. What's with that?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Call off the search party

Ok, ok, you can stop the concerned "Everything ok?"emails and harassing phone calls (Dad). There have been confirmed Cheryl sightings in Saluda and parts there bouts. I have to disappear like that every once in a while just to see if y'all notice and are missing me and I did and you were and I'm back!

I had a great time with a whole bunch of creative and talented ladies last Saturday at Random Arts. Jane was a wonderful and gracious hostess, the food from the Saluda Grade was great, and there were plenty of Almond Macaroons on hand (now on thighs) to go around. I wasn't sure how this whole 1.5" square thing would go over, but it's contagious, everybody dove right in. You know small is the new big, right?

I wish I had pictures of every body's projects, but I was so engrossed in our end of class crit and hugging everyone goodbye that I just wasn't thinking. Below are three canvases by Betsy - they feature her mother and two of her aunts. Betsy and several other ladies used metallic paints on their canvases and it looked really wonderful. You know how I love shiny.

The lovely triple-composition below is Crystal's. I am always fascinated by the diverse results the same instruction yields once it is filtered through 18 different points of view.

Ostensibly, I went to Random Arts to teach, but I ended up learning about new materials, getting a fresh perspective on composition, and meeting really interesting people. Would you believe there was a Homicide Detective in the class?! She used a paint technique that mimicked a blood spatter pattern. ; p She had some wonderful Katie Kendrick inspired drawings that she reduced and collaged onto her tiles. Katie, how cool is that? Your drawing inspiration and my 1.5" squares - we're combined in Linda's artwork!
Linda, you were supposed to email me pictures, you bad girl, but I won't insist since you are almost certainly armed and know exactly how to dispose of my body without getting caught.

A few of the ladies had to go before we took the group photo you see here, but you can admire one of the very talented and very absent Marilyn's three pieces below.

The day went so quickly, but my favorite part (besides the Macaroons) was the last 30 minutes when everyone got to see and comment on each other's work and talk about their own pieces and the process.

I hope Jane will have me back soon. Next time I'd like to do a double header two-day class and a double billing - whatcha think Debbi? Maybe by spring we'll be able to leak an idea or two from our upcoming book.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mixed Media & Macaroons

Whatcha doing next weekend? If you feel like a road trip, plan to be in the area (those of you I have filed restraining orders against excluded) or are just generally masochistic, why not flex your creative muscles with me and Jane at Random Arts? You know, Jane -- you read about her and her delightful goods for creative mindfulness in the current issue of CPS, remember?

She's had all sorts of MM celebs out to teach: Katie Kendrick, Kristi Steiner, Michael deMeng. Apparently, no really good artists were available next weekend, so I slipped Jane $5 to let me teach. I also threatened her with bodily harm.

As a result of this blackmail, on September 22nd, I will be leading a group of intrepid, like-minded media mixers in Micro-Media Mayhem, much like at MIU. (Ooooh! Triple Letter Score for me and all that alliteration!) We're going to make something fabulous! Actually three fabulous somethings - a triptych of sorts. There are only a couple of slots left! Hurry. HURRY!

Sure, these MIU Students had a great time, but only 1/3 as much fun as we're gonna have!

Here's a sample of one of the said objects de fabulosity.

Saluda, NC is a darling little hamlet somewhere near or around where my mother-in-law lives. Don't ask me for even general directions, I get lost every time. There are no landmarks. Just trees. Nondescript, tall trees. And hills.

I think I have taken a different circuitous and serpentine route all one million times I've been to Jane's shop. Here is what I have learned:
  1. It's ok to take a little longer to get there because I always stop at McFarlan's Bakery first and have between 3 and 4 dozen Almond Macaroons riding shotgun.
  2. In the mountains of North Carolina, all two lanes [eventually] lead to Saluda.
  3. Sadly, by the time I eventually arrive, at least one dozen Almond Macaroons have not survived the trip.
  4. Jane is always happy to see you, despite the binge eating of baked goods and numerous wrong turns.

So come out and play, why dontcha? See Jane's site for details. I might even save you a macaroon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Martha, Martha, Martha

Claudine's got top billing for today's show. Click here for a preview. You can find out when it's airing locally on the same page - look in the left margin below the preview pane.

Fire up the Tivos, kids. Today will be remembered as the day collage went primetime. Well daytime, at least.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Hat & Name Game

Calamity Kim's playing the Name Game - thought I'd play along, even if she TOTALLY blew off my tag. Know why? Cuz I'm a better person than she is. Humph.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet,current car) Puffy Yukon

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Pistachio Biscotti (obviously a gangSTER not a gangSTA.)

3. YOUR FLY GIRL NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) C-Pra

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Red Dachshund

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born), Lynn Melrose Park (Should I hyphenate?)

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) Pra-Ch

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) The Robin's Egg Blue Chardonnay

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Arthur Sam (More ethnically, "Athanassios Salvatore" but that's more of a formula racing name.)

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume, favorite candy) Eternity Raisinette

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Jean Arthur

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) Stitzel Stokholm

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Autumn Gardenia

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”) Raspberry Shortsie

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Paleo-Bar Willow

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) The Mixed-Media Windgust Tour (Dang, just gave away the title of our book, Deb.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Doxie Dreams

The Book deadline is approaching faster than a super-fueled funny car.

I wrapped up a major project today after several weekends of work. Week days are reserved for the pesky day job, helping with homework, and stressing about The Book stuff when I'm doing other things. You know, frivilous stuff like paying bills, going to the dentist and getting the boys haircuts.

As of today, four big projects are completed with three to go. More than halfway home -- I'm seeing daylight. Then the huge task of writing starts and the art for the step outs, tips and exercises.

See how I am? One big accomplishment and I can't even enjoy it, I think: "Did that. What's next? What else do I have to do?" I have been like this my whole life. My dad always tells me, "Celebrate. Take a moment and enjoy this victory." Good advice, Daddy. You've given it more times than I've taken it so here...........I took a moment, now what? (Georgie Porgie is in Greece until the 16th. I miss his comments and phone calls.)

I wish I could post all the cool stuff I've made, but for some reason publishers frown on spilling the jelly beans on your blog. Some nonsense about a contract and getting the milk for free and intellectual property, blah blah blah. Whatever.

Here's a doodle I did tonight. It was fun to just play for a few minutes after working on that big top-secret piece. This is probably what Doxie's dream about: chewing on shoes and yummy people food. Trumpet ate a hair clippy yesterday, but those are too hard to draw so I settled on a strawberry.

And now for something completely different: I'll post some pix of my daily tiles. Remember those? Been a while. Here's a slew of em. Most were scanned while in their little plastic page pockets. The colors aren't as bright and it looks sort of institutional, but I'm too lazy to take them all out for a proper scan session. I did them and that's the important thing. Right? Right?

Aww, everybody's a critic. Cut a girl a break, will ya?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I want to learn how to knit

for this reason if no other:

Here's another reason: cool bloggers who knit. Check em out, y'all.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dang. I'm it.

There I was, minding my own dadburn bidness, not making eye contact with anyone in the blogosphere and out of the clear blue (THWAP!) I get tagged. Chrysti is the assailant of this drive-by: List six quirks about yourself. *sigh* What the hay, I really like Chrysti so I'll give it a shot.
Ok, here's the problem -- after staring at the blinking cursor for a full three minutes, I can't think of a single quirk. I am so totally marinated in my own freakishness that it all just seems normal to me. Ok, I'm going to get serious, here goes.
Let's define quirk, shall we? "An abrupt twist or curve; a peculiar trait." (Not sure I like the sound of that, so let's define a synonym of quirk.) "Idiosyncrasy: to mingle, mix (sounds Ok so far, nice and social, good); a peculiarity of constitution or temperament (hmmm, my constitution is normal, it's the preamble that should worry you); an individualizing characteristic or quality (Um, yeah, so is fingerprint a synonym of quirk? I'm just not feelin it.); characteristic peculiarity as of temperament;"(Well that last bit clears it all up, doesn't it? Clear as mud.)

Maybe we should explore words or names that sound like quirk, i.e. Quark.

This is deteriorating quickly.

I think my main obstacle to creating these lists is that they require introspection and serious self-reflection and that would mean I'd have to stop talking so, you see, I'm already at a real disadvantage. For the more astute blog readers, I'm sure you can make your own list based on this post. I will now tag some REALLY quirky people who should have NO trouble making a list, in fact I know I could make Calamity Kim's and Debbi's up for them, but I may have a problem whittling it down to just six. heh heh. Dawn's six? Easy list for her, she has six kids.

Calamity Kim

Debbi Crane

Dawn Meehan

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Link-O-Rama Newbie

Meet Betsy Karounos. She's an extremely gifted oil painter, portrait artist, print maker and all around sweetheart. She's also my aunt.

Whoa now. Gear down, big shifter. Before you get any ideas about artistic talent running the in the family (it actually does, but has blessed the Karoubas side more so than the Karounoses) let me be clear: she's my aunt through marriage. Married to my Uncle Michael, who is 16 years Dad's junior, Betsy's really a contemporary and more like a sister-in-law to me.

In addition to her artistic talents, Betsy sings like an angel, plays the flute, sews, and makes a great spanokopita. If you're really nice to her she may give you her recipe for Dark Chocolate Truffles. Talk about mixed media! Ok, I'm spitting (Toosoo!)

Congrats on the new website, Bets. xx