Tag Archives: art

Bad tree! You made me cry!

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I have fallen off the blog boat, but I am going to try to make a brief attempt to raise my head above the waters of grad school to say “hello world.”  I started school in August.  It’s intense, and yet in class on Wednesday we “had” to go outside and color for 30 minutes.  I know.  It’s not brain surgery, but it is Art Therapy, so sometimes I feel about as drained as if it were brain surgery.

Brain surgery that I am performing on my own brain, without drugs!

Not that I’m complaining, I certainly have some goobers in my gray matter that could use removal, or hugs, or copious amounts of caffeine.  I’m trying all three to see what works best.  So far the caffeine is my favorite, although I equated my habit to that of a meth addict the other day.  I’m hoping it’s not going to make me look like those billboards of tweakers.  Good lord.  It’s just coffee.  But, man, I have had so much in the last month that I expect my teeth to start falling out at any moment.  I may wake up with a couple stuck in my hair, and I would not be surprised.  My dentist will.  But I’m sure he’ll be happy when I pay his bill with my student loan check.

So, why would I put my teeth and gray matter through such trauma, voluntarily? Perhaps because I am clinically insane. But, from what I’ve learned, insane ain’t so bad.  It’s depression that I’d like to avoid.  At least the insane make some fabulous art.  And you don’t need any friends to have a party, because there they are, all in your head, whenever the party mood strikes!  Wheeee!  Anyway, I’m not really insane (or my art would probably be much better) and so far I’m not depressed. That being said, you may disagree because I have enrolled as a full time grad student at a school where not only do I have 15 textbooks for one semester, but I am required to meditate (and read a hell of a lot about how to do so, if I only had the time, but since I have to read about it so much, I run out of time to practice it!), but I also have to make art (this is my version of heaven), and people around me actually, literally hug trees, sometimes while crying great big animalistic sobs.  This I have learned is another therapy program, Gestalt.  I’m quite happy that I don’t have to hug the trees in the art program.  At least not in front of people.  You all know I secretly hug them when no one’s looking.  But they only make me cry when they have wasp nests in them.  But yes, I am going to a unique school, and I love it.  After almost 6 weeks, I do not yet own patchouli oil, my leg hair is as randomly shaved as ever, and nothing new has been pierced.  I still have my given name (although I think Hot Wind has a nice ring to it).  I am still married (I think.  There’s a guy on the couch who kinda resembles some dude I used to know.  Hope it’s not the plumber.).  And I hope to still be funny  (I think that’s my sense of humor poking out from under my massive blue binder).

Oh silly blog.  How I have missed writing.  I promise to build up many stories to share over the winter break.  So, stay tuned.  I am still me!  I know this because today I had the opportunity to help someone who had been hit by a car.  I held her head while we waited for the ambulance.  I kept talking to her as she went in and out of consciousness.  As the fire engine appeared in front of us she said, “Why are the firemen here?”  I told her the reason, that they are typically the first responders to any scene, and then added a side note of, “Don’t worry.  There’s not a fire.”  She laughed, which gives me reason to believe that she will be okay.

A word of wisdom to those whose brains are worth something – the ones not overrun with boogers and meth: wear a helmet!  I don’t care if you are walking your dog.  Ok.  I’m kidding, although we’d probably all be safer.  I mean, when you ride your bike, wear your stinking helmet.  If you are more concerned about your hair than your brains, then you’re right.  You’re one of the lucky ones who does not need a helmet.  But I’m guessing that there may be a modicum of good inside that brain, so maybe protect it anyway.  If you’re doing meth AND concerned with your remaining hair, the helmet is just a joke at this point.  One political slam here, because it is connected to helmets, and hair.  One of our local politicians, Tom Tancredo, was pulled over last year while driving his motorcycle.  He was not wearing a helmet.  When asked about this, his reply was (and I should not quote because I don’t have the direct source, but my somewhat gooey over-caffienated-gray-matter remembers it as…)”I’m coming from a haircut.”  Yep.  Wouldn’t want to mess up the hair by protecting your brain.  That would be just silly.

A close friend of mine unfortunately did not wear her helmet to work one day, about 15 years ago.  I must give her credit, hardly any one did on a casual ride in those days.  She was hit by a car and suffered a terrible brain injury, followed by an infection that has left her in a state that most of us can’t even let ourselves imagine.  It’s too much.  Her parents have cared for her through all these years, and I have started a fundraiser for them because their resources are depleted.  They are good good people.  They deserve any help humanity can spare.  If you are interested in reading, please check the fundraiser site at www.giveforward.com/magicformoana. 

Protect those beans.  The tree hugging ones.  The insane ones.  The depressed ones.  Beans rule.

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Stock My beer Fridge! The Grandkids Are Coming!

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I know.  It’s been a really long while for me… I love to write, but all of my efforts have been going into 10 page papers on The Psychology of Personality.  I have a lot to do in the next four weeks.  EEEK!  So, I figured I’d write another blog.  Good use of my time!

I want to tell you that graduate school is mighty expensive.  I could buy a house (granted, a small house.  in Nebraska.  with redneck neighbors.) with the loans I am getting for the honor of studying myself silly (and I can’t wait, because I’m dorky like that).  I have been researching grants and scholarships and black market organ sales, but it looks like my most reliable source of tuition payment will be the fed.  And I will pay them back because no one likes to bail out a mom.  A bank?  A car company?  Well, sure!  A mom?  Nah.  Still, all that matters is that I get to go.

My mom had a suggestion for me to drum up some tuition money.  She said, “Why don’t you sleep with your brother-in-law, he can afford it.”

Um.  What?

I think that A) my husband may not appreciate that, B) my sister may not appreciate that, and C) EW!  (no offense to my bro-in-law; he’s great, but I couldn’t do that with anyone for money.  for beer?  okay, not even for beer)

Who does that?  I mean, obviously Charlie Sheen’s goddesses would, but me?  I taught an Ethics class last year, and from what I learned in teaching that, it somehow seems wrong.

My mother-in-law (who is very concerned that my selfish desires to attend school will stress my husband out too much) said that she has a friend enrolling in the same program that I will be attending (art therapy, not goddess school).   I asked what her name was.  “Well, I really shouldn’t tell you.”

Ooooohhhhkkkkaaayyyyyy.

“Why not?” I inquired.

“Because we both feel that if the universe wants you to meet, you will.”

Blergh.  That was the sound of me I gagging on my own vomit.

“Well, how old is she (we’re thinking she must be older than I am, and I was the oldest one at the group interview)?” my husband dared to ask.

“I just don’t think I should share that with you.”

Um, what the fuck?  Is she in the witness protection program?  Is she a famous supermodel?  Is she the man who you are having an affair with, disguised as a woman?  Why is this such a big deal?

I can not answer these questions, but I want the world to see the role models I have in my family for aging as a woman.  I need some sane women.  I need some rational women.  My daughter needs a gramma who actually shows up when she says she will and when she does randomly appear, does not get in her face and ask her a billion questions.

Just play with the kid.  Put away the damn bowls and get silly.

When and if I get to be a gramma someday, I vow to do a few things:

I will love my grandchildren with the unconditional capacity of a puppy (but hopefully not pee on them when they come to the door).

I will tell them how proud they make me and remind them of their awesomeness.

I will bake them sugary, fattening treats, with flaxseed and cauliflower hidden inside.  And make them spinach smoothies.

I will watch all the teen drama movies with them, because I secretly LOVE them.

I will have sleepovers.

I will make s’mores.

I will show up.

I will gladly return them when I am exhausted, because I’ll be old and in need of a good nap.

When they’re older, I will have a beer fridge (and if they’re good, I’ll share).

It’ll be fun to be a good role model.  I just wish there were more of them in my family.  I have found them elsewhere though, and those women keep me hopeful that life does not become some wallow-ing self-absorbed pity-party that no one wants to attend.  Thank you, my funny, awesome, witty, smart, beautiful role models.  Even if you aren’t in my gene pool, I love that you are in my life.

Hello. I am a blonde turd with a sweaty bum. Nice to meet you.

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I have been a student forever.  I went straight through school, spending more time than one should in college (5 1/2 years just for a BA), and then went straight into massage school.  My plan was to immediately continue from there, but I hit a wall and had to rest my brain for a few years.  After five years I started taking some “enrichment” classes to see if my brain cells still worked. Then I had a baby and realized that a) my brain cells had not only shrunk, but some of them had turned into slow reacting goo, and b) I needed to start towards a new career because I was making less than my kid’s babysitters.  I decided on Anthropology first, but after taking a credit class in that (for $440) I changed my mind to Occupational Therapy.  I went over the requirement list time and again, knocking off Intro to Psych ($550).  I went to visit the school and realized it was all wrong.  I liked the idea of Occupational Therapy, but I have been living in a tree-hugging bubble where vegetarians are hiccocrites because they eat cheese, with touchy feely people surrounding me for 18 years.  It felt so clinical.  I changed my mind to Art Therapy and found I had two more prerequisites to take, Developmental Psychology ($675) and The Psychology of Personality ($750).  All of these courses have been over the last six years.  They all started at $440 six years ago.  Even a math nob can see that is such a huge increase in price.  We’re all going to have to become hookers or reality t.v. stars to send our kids to college.  In the meantime, I was ready to interview for the Art Therapy program.

First I spent four months tuning up my portfolio of art.  I had to add some sculpture, and my idea of sculpture is a pinch pot.  I’m really not skilled at sculpture (though my pinch pots have been praised by many a grade school art teacher).  I asked for help.  I learned how to make cement leaves (huge leaves, super cool).  I worked on my essay.  I asked for more help.  My friends proofread it.  I retyped it.  Maybe five times.  It was good.  Made my husband cry.

I was ready.

I was called in to interview (made the first cut).  To be honest I had never been scared of being accepted because it’s a private school and it costs as much as a Lamborghini to go there.  I figured that if the GRE wasn’t required, and I was willing to take out massive student loans, then they be thrilled to have me.  What I didn’t know is that this year, for some reason, everyone had the same idea.  They had their biggest pool of applicants EVER.  uh oh.

I went in for my one-on-one interview.  The head of the department sat down with me.  We went through my portfolio and talked about certain pieces.  Then she asked if I was going to be able to handle the rigorous schedule for three years.

“It’ll change you.  It changed me.  I would go home at night and have no idea who I was anymore, and my husband and kids would expect me to make dinner while I tried to figure out who I was.”

Well, my husband and kid don’t expect a lot of meals from me, so I’m safe there.  I’m also not 20.  I have an idea of who I am.  I’ve seen some things.  Okay, most of them were in movies, but I’ve seen some things.

“What is going to happen if you can’t come to terms with what’s happening and your family needs  you?”

“Well, I’m sure this program will ‘change me.’  That’s inevitable with whatever you do in life.  If things don’t change  you, you aren’t human.  But I feel that I am a happy person.  I tend not to mope.  I have figured this out about myself and I am okay with being happy.  I kind of have a bubble and I like my bubble.”

The interviewer responds, “Well, we’re going to do our best to pop that bubble, if you get into this program.”  I swear, she smiled at me with an evil twinkle in her eye.  Diabolical!

Huh?  Why would someone want to pop my bubble?  You can join it, if you’d like, but I’d rather you not pop it.  It’s like an amoeba, so it’ll envelope you with pink shiny stickiness.

“Well, it may get popped.  I understand that, but I’ll just duct tape it back together.”

I’m thinking, argh.  Why did I bring up bubbles in an interview?  Gad.  There’s something wrong with me.

“Well, we’ll let you know soon if we accept  you into this program.  We have a huge pool of applicants this year, so it’s hard to say.”

Fortunately, I just barely stopped myself from saying, “Oh yeah? Cos I’ve been working hard for this and I want it and I am getting loans and selling my first born, and it’s gonna happen whether you pop my bubble or not!  I think I’ll get my bat and knee cap some prospective students in the parking lot.”

Instead, I thanked her for the interview and didn’t even comment on her desire to pop my bubble.

I returned that evening for a meet and greet.  I brushed my hair (this is a big deal for me).  I put on mascara (woe.  stop the planet!  This is as common as Charlie Sheen making sense).  I dressed in a brown sweater, trying to look professional and smart.  I walk into the room.  The first person I meet has a nose ring.  That’s the norm around here, although I don’t have one.  The next person I meet has a nose ring and a lip ring.  The next one I meet has those two piercings and an eyebrow ring.  They are all about 23 – 27 years old.  I am the oldest person in the room by ten years.

I am an old brown, dumpy looking turd.

But I keep smiling.  Because my bubble is strong.

We chat for a good two hours, and I’m trying to stay upbeat about getting into this program, but I honestly feel like I am not cool enough, or hip enough, or artsy enough.  We eventually come to sit in a circle.  We bow in.  The incense starts. We pass around a peace pipe and start noshing on some wonderful brownies.  Okay, I’m making that part up, but we did bow in.  Like a bunch of white bread, female Tibetan monks.  I like that.  Irony is my friend.

I was starting to feel better.

We asked an alumni panel questions about the program and their careers after they finished.  It was awesome.  I forgot my lack of piercings.  But it was hot.  It was so so hot in that room.  My brown sweater started to seem like not only a frumpy choice but a dumb choice.  I was sweating, and my butt is my tell.  If I am nervous my butt sweats.  It doesn’t seem right to apply deodorant to my ass crack, so I just let it sweat.

As we finished up and said our farewell, I stood up, hoping and praying to the Tibetan god of bums, that my arse hadn’t sweated right through my pants.  Had it?  I’ll never know, but I couldn’t walk our backwards, so I retreated as quickly as I could, a blur of a frumpy brown turd with nicely brushed hair racing down the hall.

Man it was nice outside.  It must have been twenty degrees.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Cool that butt sweat down.  My bubble was still intact.  I had survived the night.  And guess what?  I got into the program.  I may be old and frumpy, but I’m going to be an old frumpy bubble-reinforced grad student.  yea.

Maybe I’ll make my back-to-school clothes out of duct tape.

life in the gutter series

The Floater

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It was time.  We had dated six months.  What else would we be doing?  There we were in a well-lit studio, my future husband bent over, naked.   Me?  I was busy shaving his butt hair.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the two of us.  There was my professor and another printmaking student in the studio with us.

I was an art major in college.  This does not mean I was a wild child.  I’ve never been too wild.  People would much sooner mistake me for a hayseed than a tattoo artist.  Still.  Even a hayseed can love art.

My problem was that I had run out of money to buy art supplies.  I was a part-time nanny, but that only paid $6 an hour.  I needed my litho plates to finish my final project in order to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  Lucky for me, my professor needed a couple of “models” for his latest project.  He offered to pay me in art supplies.  yay! What could possibly be wrong with that?

My future husband agreed to model, as well. He was offered $100, wisely calculating how much beer he could buy with that.  We hopped in the car, one weekend, and drove and drove to my art profs house.  My boyfriend/future husband drank mini bottles of whisky in the passenger seat as we neared the suspiciously innocent seeming suburban neighborhood.  It was 8:30 in the morning.

We arrived at the site of our impending nudity.  We sat in the car, looking at each other.  We started laughing.  Who does this?  The prof, who was a heavy smoker and looked like he’d survived the 60’s, but just barely, led us out back to his studio.  It was beautiful.  He had remodeled his garage into an art space. A very well heated art space.  Aw crap.  Well, I could still run, I suppose.  My future husband was first.

“You might want to do something with your hair,” the prof said.  My husband was bald, so we both knew what hair he was talking about.  The prof was going to be making plaster casts of our entire bodies.

OUR.  ENTIRE.  NAKED. BODIES.  NAKED.

“The plaster I’ll use around the genitals is very fine, and can pull out the hair.”  yummie.  That sounds fun.

So, we greased up my future husbands “man hair” with Vaseline (an ointment only used for gross anatomical needs) and then he turned around.  The prof suggested just shaving his bum.  “It’s a lot easier that way.”  He handed me the trimmers.

Well.  My future husband looked at me, with eyebrows that said ‘Will You Love Me Forever?  Butt Hair And All?’  Aw.  How could I resist.  He bent over and I shaved.  Good fun.  The other student in the studio began chatting with us while she did her art work.  I’m not sure what possessed her.  Had it been me, I would have plugged in my headphones and pretended nothing out of the ordinary was happening.  I would not have acknowledged the fact that there was a girl from my art class in the same studio, shaving her nekkid boyfriend’s butt hair.  While I’m facing the cheeks, she was facing my future husband’s face and while they talked,  they realized they knew some of the same people from high school.  Bet there’s some good stories about him floating around at the reunions.  What the hell is going on here?  Who chats at times like these?  So, I continued my pruning.  I asked myself if other girlfriends did this sort of thing.

He was ready.

The prof started with his legs and feet.  No problem at all.  My future husband laid there, semi intoxicated, with plaster on his lower body, and a slight grin on his face.  Then the prof moved on to his upper body.  Still no problem.  THEN it was time for the middle.  This was a special technique.  He used a circular structure, like a bowl with the bottom cut out of it, and set it around the “area.”  Then he poured the extra fine plaster into the bowl.

My future husband complained that it was very cold.  His slight grin had disappeared.  We turned the heat up more.  I think what he was really saying was “SHRINKAGE!” He was worried that his junk would be immortalized at a smaller size than it was at a warm beach.

And then something bobbed in the plaster.

The prof was still holding the bowl structure on to my boyfriend’s body (fortunately, so his hand were full).  He shouted at me,

“Hold it down!  It’s floating!”

Yes.  I had dated this boy for six months and here I was, pushing his penis down further into cold plaster, because that particular part of his anatomy had the nerve to float!  I was too absorbed in my task to notice the other student working on her art at this point, but let me just say how thankful I am that cell phone cameras were not yet in existence!

So, my future husband’s plaster eventually dried.  There was his junk.  Immortalized in a rather floaty and supposedly smaller plaster cast.  Mission accomplished.

And now it was my turn.  I was offered alcohol.  I accepted.  I was offered some more.  I accepted again.  I stripped down.  I was prepped, as well, but since it’s me I’m talking about, I’ll skip that part.  We poured the plaster.  I laid back in the heat and imagined I was at a spa.  I was covered from my collar bones to my hips.  The prof was chatting with my future husband. The student was chatting with both of them.  Everyone was chatting.  I was silently realizing that I’d had too much to drink.  My bladder was about to explode.

“If I pee on the plaster, will it ruin it?”

The prof looked annoyed.  My future husband laughed.  Probably because he knew I would do it.

“Can you just hold it 20 more minutes?”

TWENTY??!?!? “Sure,”  I said.  Oh jeeze.  Think about hot deserts.  Think about sunshine.  Think about paper towels.  Think about paper towels mopping up a spill.  Of pee.

“No.  I can’t hold it.”

So, the prof begrudgingly removed the top of the somewhat solidified plaster cast and I escaped my spa treatment.  I walked, because if I had run I would have bounced my bladder that was fuller than a water balloon.  It  was at least eight times its normal size.  I gently waddled to the toilet and took the world’s longest pee.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Peeing sure feels good sometimes.

I returned, a bit chilly, to the studio, ready to have the plaster put back on me.  It was semi-dry, so the prof just laid it back over me me.  As I relaxed, I realized I had just streaked nude, slowly – with a definite waddle – past three people (two men) just to get to a toilet.

I should have peed on the plaster.

Yes, my parts would be up for public viewing somewhere, at sometime, but I was getting all of my art supplies for free.  That made me happy. What didn’t make me happy was the fact that the plaster over my bladder was about two inches higher than my actual body, now that I had peed.  Man.  I was going to look like a bloated nudie.  Bummer.

Two years later, I received a call from the University.  They were investigating my old prof on suspicion of sexual harassment with a student.  Weird.  He seemed to have such good boundaries with his students.  Can’t imagine someone misinterpreting his intentions.

In my bubble we had a business transaction.  It never felt sordid or inappropriate.  I guess it depends on the bubble.  And how much shaved butt hair is floating around, protecting you, yet impeding your vision.