Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Bluesday

We lost a great blues musician last week so it's only fitting that Johnny Winter is the choice this week. I was surprised to find out he was only 70 mostly because, to me, he always looked 70 years old. Nevermind the way he looks, just listen to the way he sounds.

Cabin in the woods.
I've received a few messages asking if I was ok and if there would be more Tuesday Bluesday. The messages are greatly appreciated and yes I'm ok. Just busy and working through my second ear infection. I've never had an ear infection in my life up until three weeks ago. Outer ear infection (swimmer's ear) and once I got over the pain I had to deal with that annoying part where you can't really hear very well. If this is what it's like to get old kill me now. I keep joking that I'm ready for the glue factory. Seriously, you don't know how much you take your senses for granted until they're taken away from you, even if it is just temporary. I'm 100% convinced that I got my ear infections from using those stupid earbuds while working out. I call them stupid because they're just one of those things that you don't think about needing to clean all the time. Toilets yes, earbuds no. I spoke the the nurse practitioners who prescribed my antibiotics and asked if it were possible and they both agreed that it's very likely. So if you're one of those who enjoy listening to music while working out be careful, keep the earbuds clean and keep your ears dry.
I've been busy with several other things besides ear problems. Did you know if you hold a professional license you have to do this great thing called continuing education? Yea, it sucks for the person who has to do them, but it's a great way to keep up with everything. What's worse than completing 20 hours of continuing education is filling out the paperwork and waiting for the all clear that your courses have been accepted. If you're like I was when I had to do my first 20 hours of continuing education you have no idea that you can do your 20 hours for free. Yep, none of my a-hole colleagues bothered to tell me. Don't worry, I don't work with any of them anymore, but surely they're torturing current employees. Anywho, if you're a medical professional and you're looking for continuing education courses check out http://www.powerpak.com/ Also, don't be an a-hole to your co-workers, whatever profession you're in. As tempting as it may be it's pretty counter productive so just don't.
Here's the book I read for this week. I know Steinbeck is supposed to this great must read author but it's all just meh to me. I remember reading "Of Mice and Men" and got nothing from it. I had low expectations for this book but was pleasantly surprised. Steinbeck describes a part of town that's a bit unsavory but from what I've been told about the Great Depression nothing was exceptionally great, except the depression. One of the main characters, Lee Chong, owned the grocery store and several other buildings on Cannery Row. The way he's described I picture a cross between Mr. Miyagi, being quiet and wise, and Egg Shen and his fearless attitude. Chong, even though it was the depression, made sure his customers never went hungry. He was a businessman but he wasn't heartless. Up until the introduction of Dora Flood this book seemed like it was going to be a snooze fest. Dora ran the brothel and was hated by almost everybody in town. The thing was, her business was still booming, even though it was the depression and she paid the highest taxes and gave the biggest donations. It's a book about people, how people interact with each other, how they should be more tolerant, how people should take the time to learn about each other. There's not really much else to it, it's only 196 pages and was actually worth reading. Little bit of trivia, they actually renamed the area that Steinbeck wrote about to Cannery Row. At the time that he wrote this it wasn't called Cannery Row, but it now in tribute to the book and you can go see many of the buildings he wrote about.
Here's one of my latest paintings. It's oil on an 8x10 canvas panel. This was painted on a really nice day and I'm wishing I had taken advantage of the nice weather. Now it's getting grody out again. Sorry, muggy is the word, not grody. Grody is what my hair looks like when it's muggy.

Finally, we've reached the daily doodle. 

Not too exciting, but it's what I scribbled out while on the phone with customer support. My phone hasn't worked right since last week. I can't make phone calls from it.  I didn't really need it last weekend so I waited until today to call about it. Turns out my phone is so old they said that it doesn't get signals from any towers. Even my phone is ready for the glue factory! Well, this is the crap I scribbled while I powered down my phone, removed the battery, updated PRL, stood on my head, said 10 Hail Mary's and hopped on one foot. Seriously, what a pain. I'm back in business now though. If you're wondering about the pens, I got suckered into buying a pack of those Inkjoy pens. I saw a commercial for them and I happened to be at the office supply store so I got a pack of them. There's nothing all that joyous about Inkjoy pens, except the brown pen. BROWN! I can't wait to write really crappy notes with that pen. Enjoy your week, keep your ears dry and no matter how bad you want to be an a-hole to your co-workers don't.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday Bluesday

Muddy Waters' Mississippi Delta Blues is appropriate for this Tuesday Bluesday.  Another year, another flood. I have no flood pictures to share from this year because I'm starting to get the attitude that after you've seen one flood you've seen them all. Speaking of seeing them all....

 Yesterday I was at the post office, waiting in line for my turn to mail crap. As I was waiting a short, hairy, highly energetic man came bursting through the doors. He took an annoyed glance to the old hag who was at the head of the line. I understood his annoyance, she was first in line but she was standing in the middle of the queue. I think he took this mutual annoyance as some sort of new comradeship so he decided to lay his issues on me. I didn't care, I had to wait anyways, plus I have an outer ear infection in my right ear so I can't really hear anything, so what was the harm in letting him vent. He was having issues with obtaining an identification card. This man looked like an authentic American so I gave no side glance at any illegal activity. He told me he's originally from New York and that his birth certificate had burnt up. Whoops! So the driver's license station told him he can't get an ID without any prior ID, birth certificate, social security card and all that. He chuckled at the ridiculousness that he basically needs an ID to get a copy of his burnt birth certificate but can't get an ID without a copy of his birth certificate. As a person who was told, by the IRS, that I don't exist, I can empathize with the man. I nod my head and smile as he gets more dynamic. He then tells me that the people at the driver's license station told him that he needed to go to the post office and ask for a "Q Form", fill it out and it should take care of his issues.  I thought that sounded easy enough. Then it was my turn to step forward and mail my packages. As I was being waited on another employee opened the window next to me. The spirited man from New York stepped up and said zero of what he had just told me. He looked the employee straight in the eye and said, I need some form to fill out so I can get my birth certificate. Then he becomes irate when the employee's jaw drops to the floor and gives a blank stare. She had no idea what he was talking about. Needless to say the man stomped out of the post office, no form, no birth certificate and no ID. Why am I sharing this man's embittered tale? Just to remind us that when we need help we need to ask for it in a way that's going to result in success. I believe if that man had taken a deep breath, asked for the "Q Form" and gave a brief summary of what he was after he would have left with something. If he hadn't left with a solution to his problem he may have left with more information to help him get what he needs. Instead he blew up, at people who had nothing to do with his initial problem, and walked out with less than what he walked in with. Sometimes we just need to stop, meditate for a moment and then continue.
I know I was going to share the next recipe on that list of summer cocktails that I found but I have to share the "Wine Slushy" instead. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to participate in a garden tour. I painted in some gorgeous gardens and then ended up at the last stop which happened to be a winery. They have really great wine and were offering up the wine slushies. I took this picture of a woman taking a picture of her wine slushy. If you think wine slushies sound a little white trash your ears probably aren't deceiving you, but on a hot day they're kind of fun. The winery had a machine that was keeping the wine slushy but a quick search on the internet and you can find hundreds of recipes to make some at home.
This recipe I found at Cooks.com sounds like it might be worth trying.
1 (6 oz.) frozen lemonade
1 1/3 c. Sauterne wine
16 ice cubes
1 pt. fresh or frozen strawberries

Put all in blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately or pour in freezer- proof pitcher. Cover and freeze. Makes 5 cups.
Here's the painting I did of the vineyard. It's a small, 9x12, oil on canvas panel. Oil paints are not my strongest medium and the painting of green on top of green is a struggle most artists have. I'm slowly getting the hang of it and I had some good friends to keep me company and a bottle of wine in my bag for when I finished. It was a good time to say the least. Good painting, maybe not, but good time indeed.
This is a pastel that I did earlier that day. Another small, 9x12, on Art Spectrum. I set up camp in an amazing garden. The nice couple who owned the garden were generous and let me paint several scenes on their property. They had tried this new thing called bag gardening. You simply buy a bag of dirt with fertilizer, cut a hole in it and plant your vegetable.  GENIUS! She said it seemed to be working really well and that the best part about it is that there's no weeding, just watering. It's not the most glamorous looking garden but who cares?
Here's the book I read this week. It's horribly smutty and oh, way so trashier than I expected, but it was fun.  This is one I got at the dollar store. I've got a box of books I'm getting ready to take to Goodwill and this one is destined for said box. I wanted to read it before I got rid of it so that's the reason for reading this "romance novel". I don't read romance novels so I'm guessing at what they are and this is as close to what I've heard they're like. It's about a 35 year old woman who's newly divorced and living in LA. She's trying to get her social life back on track and makes friends with some odd ducks, one who's affectionately referred to as "Psycho Girl". In order to sound smart the author throws in phrases like, "masochistic sycophant" and a Harry Dean Stanton siting. In all honesty the way it's written it's pretty entertaining. Definitely worth a dollar, I just hope Goodwill doesn't charge more than that.

Daily doodle time. This is a quick sketch for something I'm working on to, hopefully, submit for a juried show.
One last bit of info for any artists reading this.

I had some brushes that needed a miracle and I found it. When I went to the store to find a good brush cleaner my brain nearly overheated. There are about 2,147 brush cleaners to choose from. I took a chance on this Winsor & Newton and am over the moon with the results. It cleaned 15 year old brushes and made them practically like new and in a very short time. I thought they were going to have to soak for days, but most of the brushes were good to go after 4 minutes. OK, no more free advertising from me this week. Go out and get your paint brushes dirty!