Life is so cool this way….

Ok, the promised email is here. These are actual experpts emails between me, Kate

at Penguin Art, and Tammy at Polka Dot Mittens: (LONG blog, but worth the read!!)

************************

NOTE: EMAIL

Ok Kate,

I don’t see an email for Tammy, so I am writing this to you, please

forward this email to the MOST talented artist, Tammy!

The story:

So I am picking up art from Donna Van Goghs in Candler Park the day before

my studio opening. I am waiting on the owner, Terri, to finish up with a

customer. i begin checking out the new art as I haven’t been there in a

while. I am completely and utterly drawn to a series of cards. They are

just completely adorable!! Doxies with halos, doxies with horns, kitties

on couches, oh my!! I LOVE them! “Terri!” I exclaim, (yes literally) “WHO

is this artist??!!” Some woman in Athens, isn’t her stuff terrific? “YES!

YES!”

Then I of course buy the holo doxie card. Now, the big, huge thing here is

that I am not just a starving artist, but a cheapskate. Yes, I NEVER buy

art except for the type that just absolutely tugs at my heart. (now in the

future when I am rich and famous I will of course buy art by the

truckload, but now I must be ever so furgal, yes, I know you understand.)

So I buy the adorable card and it goes right up on my inspiration board

for all to see at my grand opening. (many wonderful comments Tammy!) And I

am including a picture so you know I ain’t lyin’!

And of course here is the serendipidous part. The universe just a

screamin’ out part. I read Kate’s (oh so amazing, wonderful, talented

Kate) blog today. And oh, my heart just stops once I of course, go to

Tammy’s site. Could it be??? The same artist??? how freaking increadible

is that?! Kate, MY Philly Kate knows her?? How crazy is this? Now Kate can

vouch that I am not a complete utter psycho (she even invited me to her

house) so with that being my voucher, I would love to meet you sometime

Tammy. Do you have a studio anywhere? I would love to come up to Athens

anytime you are available. I know they have plenty of great coffee houses

up there. So if you are so inclined to meet a crazy dog artist from

Atlanta, please let me know. I serioulsy feel we must meet. I need to meet

the artist behind the art that made me buy it. (I mean, this is a big deal

for me to shell out money!)

Seriously how crazy is this?!?

Ok, Kate, please commence forwarding…

You so rock Kate, I just know you are about to have something huge happen

and I am so excited for you!

xo,

Michelle

NOTE: SHE SENT THIS TO TAMMY:

Tammy baby,

Someone was asking about you yesterday… and well, she asked me to

forward this to you, so read on, rock star!

I hope you didn’t mind me introducing you in my blog. I figured it was

safe since you’ve had plenty o’ Illustration Friday visitors already, and

you’ve been making comment appearances.

Oh, and I can vouch for Michelle that she is not a loon, she’s safe to

meet for coffee. Or wine. Wine is always good. 😉

Ok, I’m off to my last doggie plate…

xox

Kate

NOTE: TAMMY”S EMAIL TO ME AND KATE:

> Hey babes!

>

> There is absolutely NOTHING I like more than an odd coincidence! And

> in the grand style of an old-fashioned eighties infomercial – BUT WAIT!

> THERE’S MORE!!!

>

> So, Michelle, I was reading your blog, too (like I have been Kate’s)

> and I’ve seen your dog paintings at DVG’s (and they are utterly

> fabulous!), and I kept meaning to drop you a line saying hi and I kept

> not getting around to it for one reason or another that you could

> attribute to shyness or procrastination or generally

> being-too-busy-to-breathe-ness. So when I read about your gallery

> opening, at first I was going to stop by, but then that ended up

> coinciding with my last day of work before I quit my job and I just had

> a feeling I wouldn’t be able squeeze it in. So I sent you one of my

> weiner dog cards for your inspiration board with a note saying “Hi, I’m

> Tammy, and I love your stuff and good luck” and I mailed it about a

> week before your opening.

>

> When I saw the pictures from it, I saw the weiner dog card on your

> board and I was really happy that you’d gotten it, and then it occurred

> to me that I hadn’t put my email address in it and I probably should

> have done that (oops) in case you wanted to write me back.

>

> And THEN, like, two days later my card came back in the mail with a

> “return to sender – address unknown” sticker on it. And I was

> completely and thoroughly confused. I went and looked at the photos on

> your site again just to make sure, and I was going “but… but… it’s

> there… so how come it’s here and HEY SOMEBODY’S MESSING WITH MY

> HEAD!!” I even opened it up to look inside, thinking “well, maybe she

> opened it and then took out the card and put something else in and

> returned the envelope to me with something else in it and just did it

> this way to save postage?” Which is a really weird thing to consider,

> but I was starting to think I was in the Twilight Weiner Dog Card Zone

> or something.

>

> But no.. there was the card, right where I’d put it. I had actually

> sent you a different weiner dog card than the one that you bought, but

> I had sort of hoped you might be a weiner dog sort of person and I am

> glad to see that I was right about that. 😀

>

> I am really really really glad that there is a very good explanation

> for all of this other than that I am going crazy-nutsola. And I’m

> happy and flattered that you bought my card! And I would LOVE to meet

> for coffee and/or wine! And you are most welcome to come out here and

> visit sometime (I do have an at-home studio here), but since it’s a

> heck of a drive and I’ll be in Atlanta next week dropping off some

> Christmas stuff for Teri, why don’t we try to hook up then? I really

> want to come see the studio in person!

>

> Kate, if you’d like to come down, too, you’re invited. But I drove to

> Pittsburgh and back last weekend, and it is quite a haul from

> Pennsylvania to Georgia for a cup of coffee. So I understand if you

> would rather stay at home. ;o) And no, I TOTALLY don’t mind the

> intro… I think it’s awesome! Thank you!

>

> Anyway, I gotta scoot and work on this freelance thang, but let me know

> about coffee (or the beverage of your choice) and hopefully we can hang

> out next week! Cause, like, I have a card for ya!

>

> :o)

>

> tammy

NOTE: KATE’S VERY APPROPRIATE RESPONE:

Warm fuzzies all around!

**********************

How COOl is this story??? Tammy, did come by and of course I was not at the studio, but she left me this very cool good luck pen and left me the sweetest note in my guestbook. Cannot wait to FINALLY meet up with this super cool lady! Now i ask you, when the universe conspires, it REALLY conspires!! We are obviously meant to meet!

The Big 3-2….Am I a grown up YET???

I know I owe you another entry, but I have been so busy and well, today is my birthday. Yep 32. One year before the age my mom was when, as a little girl I thought, “Wow! is THAT old!” I can remember her wearing this very 70’s red shirt too. But I digress.

Here I am. 32 and what a year I have had. I went from moments of utter happiness to utter sadness. (Don’t we all?) I had moments were I gave up this whole crazy dog thing, to opening up a studio and gallery devoted completely to it. Who knew? Certainly not I. I have been going back through old journals and found lists of things I wanted to accomplish. These were from when my kids were so small and I remember constanly feeling like a failure because I couldn’t manage to make any of them happen. “I AM an artist, I NEED to create, please God just give the opportunity!!”, I would desperately scrawl. Then in the very next entry I would describe Sophie smiling in her sleep, her big chubby baby hand curled up around her ear. Or watching Noah drift off to sleep, fighting it every moment of the way.(he still does.) I am so glad I wrote about these moments. I am glad I did experience them as they happened. Because when I think back I tend to remember the desperate moments more. The ones where my life was flashing by me. But they weren’t. I was busy. So busy having and raising two babies. The moms out there know that if you do a pretty good crayon scrawl while your kids are young you are practically Picasso!! The point is, yes I think there is one, is that I have now, just a mere 5 or 6 years later, accomplished almost all the things on my list. I wasn’t ticking them off or anything, they just naturally happened anyway. It is who I am meant to be, what I am supposed to do. Right now anyway. I am an artist making a living from my art. What a dream, what a gift. Lots of hard work and a belief. I have a few thngs left from those old lists, I mean, Oprah hasn’t called yet, but there is still time. 😉

I am still making new lists all the time but now the desperation is not here as much. I know how much power there is in perseverence and hard work. Life knows what we want just as much as we do. The hardest part is patience. I think anyway. I am learning. Sowly. So slowly. This year sure didn’t end the way I expected. In so many different ways. But I am another year older and hopefully, (such humble hope) a wee more wise. I look forward to my next year and all it holds.

Oh, yeah, and if you really want to bring in a birthday right, book an hour long massage, grab two of your best girlfriends afterwards, have a couple of drinks and belt out as many Air Supply and Ann Murray songs at a gay karioke bar (where you are the only 3 women in the joint) as you can manage. I PROMISE you will feel like you celebrated in style!!

I love French Toast Girl!



So I am sitting up at my studio working on a kitty painting and a pug painting and the mailman comes and hands me a card. Mail! I love getting mail! Who doesn’t love getting mail!? I see the return address and get even more excited! It is from Elena, French Toast Girl. Inside is the most amazing Christmas card. (really the quality is fantastic and the colors pop like crazy – where did you get them printed?) Plus there is a note about our friendship- made me grin from ear to ear – then there is a family update – life is settling a bit, I am so happy for you -and then there is a pic of the cutest three babies you ever did see!! Then there was a copy of her illustration for Fiesta for Illustration Friday. Oh my, it is just so wonderful to see in person! I, of course put it right up on my inspiration board for all to see. And I wanted you all to see too. This gal is so special to me and I love her to death.

On a quick side note: Three years ago I somehow came across her site – before blogging. I just read all her past written entries. I remember sitting at this terrible job I hated. I felt like it was killing me. But everyday I would pour through Elena’s site and it gave me such hope, such joy. I knew that how she saw life is how I saw life but I was too scared to do anything about it. Slowly though, little by little I gained confidence until that fateful day 2 years ago when I had a festival tent. And life changed. I now have a life I only dreamed about three years ago. With every painting bought I still think, “Wow! Someone is paying me actually money for my art!” I definitely credit Elena with helping me move closer to my dreams. And last August getting to meet her and Jill – Mortal Mom (another amazing inspiration in my life) was just, well, the bees knees. And now I call French Toast Girl a friend. Isn’t life cool like that? Thank you Elena, for everything. You make a difference. And I am sure I am far from the only one.

And check in tomorrow on another super cool story about a penguin girl, a mitten fanatic, and me. It is an incredible story and it comes with pics!

This time of year….

Today is a wonderful, gorgeous day and I am grateful to be alive for it. It is a sun/moon day. That is what my kids and I call it when on our way to school we can still see the moon in the sky while seeing the sun at the same time. I told them years ago it is a sign of a very special day where amazing things could happen. That is one of my favorite phrases to hear from my kids. “Mommy! Look! It’s a sun/moon day! I wonder what wonderful thing will happen today!”

Things are so good with work. I am very, very busy. A commission comes in every few days. I have more design work than I can shake a stick at, and for the first time in a loooong time I have some extra moola in the bank. How nice is that??? I am not up at the studio nearly as much as I’d like, but people are taking cards and calling me. Thank goodness! I imagine most people wander back there and think that I don’t actually exist. But with all the things going on in my life right now it is just the best I can do. Personal issues have taken the front seat and that is just the way it is. I stop everything I am doing everyday to pick up my kids at 2:30pm. It is go, go, go until 8pm when it is bedtime. I occassionaly try to squeeze in work while sitting on my balcony with my laptop (oh thank you thank you for the inventors of the most amazing wireless concept!!). It is crazy days, but when are they not, right? You either choose to see life as the journey it is or always be frustrated that you never seem to get to your destination. Don’t we all realize by now that there is no ultimate goal to get met here? While frustrating sometimes, it is also amazing, and wonderful, and exciting to not know where tomorrow will bring me.

I do love life. I couldn’t be more grateful for getting to live it, hard times and all.

Disappointments

Sometimes life brings disappointment. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but accept that you will get let down. That no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you work, you can’t change certain things. It hurts when you can’t change these things. It hurts when you try again and you get disappointed all over again. You feel foolish at having put yourself out there just to be made a fool of again. Lately I realize that while this reaction seems to be very natural it is looking at it very one-sided. I suppose that is what we do though. For the most part we live in our own heads. I don’t know what is going on in other’s heads, just mine, so it is natural to come from my own point of view. Lately I have been trying to figure out why I get so hurt when people don’t act the way they say they will or do the things I would have done, or have done for them. Of course it hurts, but ultimately I cannot control other people. I can, however, control my own reaction. Instead of reacting with hurt or anger I am going to try to understand that ultimately it is not about me. It is not about someone intentionally trying to hurt me. It helps to think about times I have failed or disapppointed others. I have not ever before intentionaly said, ” I am going to let this person down and hurt them.” So if that is the case with me, I need to assume that is the case with others. But I still think it is important to say, “You hurt me. I know you didn’t mean it, but you hurt me.” And after that you can deal with what’s left. Hopefully forgiveness and the possibility of rebuilding. Sometimes what is left is the acknowledgement that the hurt was too much. There is a broken part that might not be able to be repaired. And that is what must be remembered when we live in our own head too much instead of thinking of how our actions affect others. We can always say we are sorry afterwards, but that does not guarantee we can fix what we broke. Because we can forgive does not always mean things can go back to the way things were or that we can offer another chance. Sometimes you can’t control the fact that your heart won’t allow it to be put out there to be hurt again.