Sep 2, 2014

Sick Pirate

I have the cold Jack just got over.  It's not serious just icky and achy.  I'd like to sleep through it but there's a long list of things happening today, including treasure hunting.  My Dad is working on a salvage job at an old truck terminal. On the racks and racks of steel shelving he's taking apart and scrapping and inside the many semi-trailers sticking out from each side like appendages are the left overs of a hoarder extraordinaire who passed away.  I'm told the man bought out the remains of businesses gone under and resold what he could, what he couldn't was laid to rest there in the truck terminal.  I went last week to help dig through the mounds of dusty items in the offices and warehouse.  I found some old illustrations, lithograph gels and original paintings from the late 70s that I fell in love with and intend to get framed and install in our bedrooms; Sports illustrations for Jack's rooms, a Pegasus and Unicorn for Ella and Whales for me.  I'll post pictures when they are done.  I also managed to procure an old steel machinist's cart that I plan to clean up and put in the living room. It's pretty beat up and rusted and so I need to wash, sand and oil, maybe even paint it a tad before it comes to live here next to the computer, but it's pretty cool. (again picks to follow.)  I want to go back for a few picture frames and some reams of office paper today, so I need to borrow a truck.  All this in between a dentist appointment, a lunch date and preschool drop off and pick up and another construction call with my Dad. OR I could just call it all in sick and miss out on the lunch and the reams and the frames and pearly teeth and go back to bed.


I think the militarization of our domestic police force is dangerous for our citizens.  I'm against Rockford having a tank.  We have neither the funds nor the training to utilize nor maintain such a thing.  Sell it and turn the street lights back on.


Fall Art Scene deadline for artwork is just two weeks away and I want to do three new paintings before then. They're going to be wonderful.  I'm really stuck on the dusty palate of WPA art.  I feel like it matches not only my mood but my surroundings.  This is utilitarian, serious art.  Art made for working people.  It's not art for the sake of flinging haphazard party colors into your brain, it's art because it has to be.  I have to make it.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be a window or a sign painter and have everything hand made, hand drawn.  Remember the old number painter clips on Sesame Street? I think I really just wanted to grow up and do this.  Wildly finding a place to put an eight on my off hours. When I wasn't putting "Exit" or "Slow school" somewhere in the city.   I think making a lovely "Pork Chops .19 ¢/lb. " in red on a grocers window would be terrible zen for me; just as rewarding as painting "Little Red's Little Black Heart" and possibly easier to get paid for.  But, sign painters are gone.  Illustrators too, there are many artists in the collective I belong to who used to be illustrators.  They fondly talk about inking something perfectly one time and how fast they were and who they trained under and how many they could get done in a week and how meagerly they were paid.  These pieces I found in the truck terminal are the last remnants of hand painting original layout and velum overlays.  I want to keep it and frame it all.

I want to go back to when an artist was needed in daily life to paint murals and signs and numbers on random sunbather's heads.

Sep 1, 2014


I had to stop reading Dooce when Heather got pregnant with her second child and so did I but then I miss-carried.  I always thought of Leta and Ella as internet sisters and Heather's monthly letters to her were all the things I wish I'd written.  On a whim, I decided to hit her website again and was met with the beautiful smiling faces of her children.  Leta is starting 5th grade like my Ella and Marlo is a few years older than Jack but the dynamic between she and her older sister is adorable.  I scrolled down and down and saw Chuck the dog and the not so new dog Coco, but I didn't see John.  I paged through a few pages looking for his smile.  Looking for the transcribed banter between the two, I used to love to read and found none. I got worried. Is John ok? So I googled and found that they split last winter.  I clicked a few fan blogs and news sights to briefly read about what happened.  I have a sense of how it went down and I have concluded, I still can't read Dooce, but I may go ahead and follow John.

Aug 25, 2014

The End of a Good Summer

This first week of school is the hottest of all the summer.  We were waiting for this week so that we could go swimming up at the springs.  It was one of the last few things to cross off the list of 50 things to do this summer. So, no swimming in the icy blue water of Pearl Lake and for the 3rd straight year we were not able to hear any live yodeling.  Apparently it's just harder than you think to find a good yodeler in the summer.  We also did not roller skate outside due to the rampant growing of children's feet around here and we also never made it to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison.  Not too shabby for finishing a list.  Some of the highlights of what we DID do:

#25 Pee in the ocean. (Not pictured)

#8 Eat Something New


#5 Use the wagon #12 See a parade #6 Get up early

#17 Family painting


There were regular things like find a penny and roll down a hill, and there were regular things that will stick out to me forever now.  I put walk the dog on the list.  We hadn't been doing this very often any more because our dog was very old, 119 to be exact. She didn't really feel like walking much any more, she mostly just slept.  I had to lay her to rest over the weekend.  I'm glad we spent time with her. I'm glad she was on the list. There are so many things to say about a beloved dog of 17 years, but I'm not together really enough to say them yet.

This is Wednesday and Ella and Jack in the backyard.

It was a good summer.

Aug 13, 2014

Red's Little Black Heart

Temporary Public Art outside of Bennie's Cleaners in Rockford, IL.  This is part of Rockford's ART ATTACK series going on all summer.  This is one of three I've done down-town. The unofficial title is "Red's Little Black Heart", it's acrylic paint on glass.  

Jul 15, 2014

Freshwater Mermaids of North America

"Freshwater Mermaids of North America"  It's what I'm spending my summer working on and the show is Friday, August 1st, 2014.  These are sneak peak sketches of something I'm so obsessed with and it's so huge and awesome I'm dreaming about it.  The show is at 317 Market St. Rockford, IL and some of the prints will be available online later in the month.  

Immigrant Children in the Heartland

In direct contradiction to Davenport IA, Mayor Gluba's efforts to coalesce local agencies to welcome the fleeing immigrant children to the Quad Cities, Catholic Governer Terry Branstad (R) says "I do not want to house immigrant children in my state."  Seems Pope Francis who called for tens of thousands of unaccompanied child migrants to be "welcomed and protected," is yet again in opposition to the GOP platform.

Despite Senator Mark Kirk's (R) of IL implication that the refugees are gang members and other tiny unaccompanied criminals, Illinois has welcomed 429 unaccompanied children under her wings.  Senator Durbin (D) of IL says we "would want to adopt these children if you spent five minutes in the room with them,....They are lovely, beautiful little kids." Heartland Alliance in Chicago is in charge of placing and overseeing the care of the kids placed in IL.  I'm checking to see if there is anything even more local for people right here to do, I'll update when I know more.

Can you imagine sending your kid out into the dessert by themselves in hopes they find something better? How bad does something have to be before you'd do that?  We can't send these kids back to whatever it was.  This isn't what America is about.

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"