Cocktails and six-toed cats

I got back Sunday ngiht about 7:30pm. After 15 hours in the car. We had an amazing time. We didn’t overdo it, we didn’t stay out all hours every night. In fact most nights we were done by about 6pm, had a drink out by the pool then were in bed watching tv and asleep by 11pm. Then slept in every single morning. And it was amazing. It was relaxing. It was fun. I road on the back of a scooter and thought that was the coolest thing since sliced bread. We got rained on. We walked in the crazy humid 95 degree weather down Duval Street. We saw six toed cats and lots and lots of roosters. We met haunted dolls and took a spooky ghost tour. We heard weird and crazy stories. We fell more in love just meandering around a city. Key West is a pretty awesome place to go visit. But it does take a bit to get there. ‘Specially if you are driving. Luckily Best Boyfriend Ever and I are a good team. I like to drive and he likes to not drive. He drove when I got tired. We make a really good team. People asked me when I got back if the drive drove us crazy. Not even kind of. I love to drive, actually. I love to drive without any music or noise most of the time. I love the silence. I love to think. I thought of new book ideas, new paintings to do, new ways to advertise my pet portraits. So I got a good 30 hour of thinking in this week. We’ll see what comes of it.

Currently it is 3:30am and I can’t sleep. I have a lot of freelance work to do, but I don’t want to do it right now. I just can’t sleep. This week while on vacation I got the final pdfs of my book layout. And the cover. And it was WEIRD. So bizarre to see my art like that. All polished and finished and in a real life book with barcodes and everything. And suddenly i panicked. What if no one likes it? What if no one buys it? What if, what if, WHAT IF? I had ideas for three more books on the drive. I am meeting with my book partner this week to discuss them. He wants to present them soon. He thinks the publisher will be very likely to want another book soon. How crazy is that? How amazing is that? I don’t even know what to think of that. What do you do when people finally start paying attention to your ideas, actually ASK you for your ideas, actually WANT to HELP you with your ideas? It is a bit surreal. For five years I feel like I have been knocking on lots of doors and being ignored or politely rejected. ALOT of people have said how much they love my art, but not right now, not a good time, good luck – you have talent. And now here I am. Being listened to. Part of me is loving it, amazed by it, humbled by it. Part of me is waiting for someone to change their mind, tell me sorry, we made a mistake. But i see the book, see it is almost ready to go to the publisher, almost about to go to press, be out on shelves in the fall and I have to admit that maybe this isn’t a mistake or a dream or just a high hope, it is really happening. I know, I know it is not like I have found the cure to AIDS or anything, don’t get me wrong, but in my little world it is huge. It proves what my rose colored mind has been whispering all along. That if you work hard enough, believe in yourself, do what you love, the world will finally recognize you. Like the universe finally looked over at me and said, “My god! Look at her! Is She STILL painting those dogs?! Still?? Fine, I guess we might as well give in, the 9-5 thing is just not going to happen no matter how many times we try to get her to do it. Go ahead, let her make a living off of painting dogs. If that makes her happy…” And the universe walks off shaking its head and smiling at the silly little girl who stubbornly stands by her easel holding her paint brush refusing to budge. I have been like that since I was in preschool and refused to do anything at playtime except finger paints. I guess it finally paid off. Who said you can’t be an idealist?

Key West or bust baybeeeeee!!!!

And awaaaaaay we go! Off for a week of fun in the sun – even tho the forecast is for rain the whole week i could care less if a monsoon is coming. I just need to get the heck outta dodge! Saw the first proof of the book and all I can say is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone let ME write and make a book!!!!

Will try to update on the trip! Loves ya all!!!

sneaky peeky


Here is a sneak peek at a few things we decided I should make for the book. In one section I say how you could use this book to make a super cute nursery, toddler or playroom that is dog/puppy themed. Well two days ago, my partner on the book emailed to say, “IDEALLY it would be nice to decorate a nursery.” at which point I stopped reading and felt IDEALLY dead. I. AM. SO. TIRED. But then I saw his point and we compromised on a few items for me to decorate. So after work I drove around, at first avoiding Target thinking I could find items cheaper at other places. And of course after three other places I ended up at Target, which had everything I needed in one place. Isn’t that always the way? So last night I painted all these. Cute, huh??? And I know you are going to ask about the pie paintings. Well, you will have to read the book to understand. But it is cute when you read it.*

*See, they would not let me say “Congratulations on finishing the background! Now go have yourself a nice glass of wine!” nearly as much as I wanted, so we compromised on pie. So if by “PIE” you mean “WINE,” then yes, I would LOVE a giant full-bodied piece…..

I am still here, no not there, HERE. bah.

Hello dearies. What am I doing here you ask? Cause I know you all keep track of exactly where I am supposed to be in life. You all know that I WAS supposed to be in Key West today. TODAY. But alas. I am not. And I know all two of you reading this are sobbing giant crocodile tears for me. I know you are. I KNOW. Anyhoo, best boyfriend has this big, giant project. And well, do I need to write the tragic result? No because I am currently writing a blog at a computer that is currently NOT on a sunny beach while I sip on a particularly strong Pina Colada. But before you go off and be all so very sad for me, and I know you are, don’t be. Our trip is just postponed a week. Next Tuesday the joy and happiness will commence. And I have instructed said boyfriend that if for any reason WHATSOEVER he must postpone or cancel, it is in his general best interest to not come home on that day and instead to send a limo with a fully stocked bar and preferably a very muscley and very pretty man who will drive me straight to Key West. And he should be extra pretty to look at – more in the George Clooney kind of way, but if the Brad Pitt kind of way is only available I suppose I could suffer with that. Cause that is the only thing that will save our relationship if he must cancel our vacation. A vacation that I am very much in need of. VERY MUCH. So until next Tuesday, I have a few extra paintings to do for the book that we thought would make some nice additions, I have a TON of freelance work to catch up on, the pt job is always here, a few commissions, blah blah blah. Do you have any idea how hard it is to be doing anything at all when i am SUPPOSED to be on an island right now? Yes, I know. never before have you had more sympathy for someone quite as sad and tragic as me. Ahem. Yes, I know there are bad things going on in the world. Right now I am feeling sorry for myself. And yes, I’ll get over it. Next Tuesday when I have my icy cold pina colada served by a muscley topless man that is extra pretty to look at – in that George Clooney kinda way.

Updates

Hello all. The past week has been, well, there really aren’t any words. I am beyond tired, and production of my book is almost done. I had photoshoot last week with my Lucy Goosy and I hope we got something cute for my bio pic. This past weekend I painted the last of 15 paintings for the book. I didn’t even know I had it in my to paint like I have, nor to keep up this level of productivity for four weeks now. My back is aching and my head is foggy, but the sense of accomplishment is like no other I have ever felt. I saw the initial layouts of the design of the book and as it opened on my computer I was struck by fear. What if I didn’t like it? What if it wasn’t me? I had always been the designer on a project. It was strange to entrust that to someone else. But the spread opened and I literally teared up. it was if someone had waved a magic wand and said, here is Michelle if she was a book. It was me. It felt like me, it looked like me and it was filled with my art. MY art. What a dream. Not really words. But what an amazing experience this has been. And in a few days everything that should be from me will be done and the rest will be on the designer’s hands. Sigh….next week I go to Key West for a week and I have never, ever, ever been looking to getting away more than right now.

On another more serious note, I need to ask you all for help. To spread the word about my friend Maggie. There is not good way to say this or bring this up. I know Maggie is strong enough to get through this, but we all need help once in a while. I have been able to be there for her this past week and have promised to be there for her to help her get back on her feet.

On Sunday July 1, my good friend Maggie’s apartment caught fire. She lost just about everything she owned. She had just let her renter’s insurance lapse so that she could afford to new medications for her chronic depression. Yes, it is that bad.

Below is a link to a page with a donation button where you can donate money to help her rebuild her life. If you are local or near Atlanta, Georgia, you can contact me to arrange donating furniture, blankets, dishes, etc. She literally only owns what fits in the back of her car. Between the fire melting her living room and dining room and the smoke damage ruining her bedroom and kitchen, she needs it all. If you could donate even just a few dollars, every little bit helps. The donations will come to me for simplicity, and I will make sure Maggie gets every penny. And every penny will help.

Please click on the link below to go to my webpage and use the donation button there. I wish there was more I could do.

Big Giant Painting delivered? Check!

So I wish I had “paint a giant brady bunch themed painting of pets on canvas” as a crazy thing to do on my life list of things to do. cause I would totally get to check it off now! The client loved it! Sadly, I did not get my appropriately lit photo for my bio pic done, but I may go back and get it down. we will see if there is time.

Things are crazy, and something tragic happened yesterday to one of my best friends, so I need to just keep my head down and keep plugging away while I acknowledge and am so grateful for how very lucky and wonderufl my life is. But I will be posting later today about my friend and setting up a way that maybe we can all help her out a bit. Please check back. it is a chance to help one of my friends that her life is indeed, worth still living.

Progress

Best Boyfriend Ever volunteered to go get the rented truck for me. Loving that as I hate driving those things. I am not sure if he was being helpful or the thought of being in charge of making breakfast for the now still sleeping kids (three of them, had a sleepover) is kind of daunting to him. Either way it is sweet and I don’t have to drive. So I catching you all up on my progress while I am waiting for coffee to perk me up.

I am stiff and sore, sleep deprived and last night I was, um, maybe a bit delirious? I could hear the bed calling my name. Sophie knocked on our door at midnight (right after that moment you lay your head on the pillow and let your body melt and drain and sleep is mere seconds away) to tell us there was a big spider in her room. I had just finished varnishing the painting and was exhuasted. Drained. No energy. Half dead. So when BBE said, “Do you want me to go kill it?” (right before he offered I let out a sad, tired, sigh that probably sounded much more like a wounded animal, that indicated if I had to get out of this bed to kill a spider I might end up in the mental ward of the local hospital. Oh, and I HATE spiders) So my answer was, ” YES. PLEASE GO KILL THE SPIDER. IT IS A GUY THING. And besides that, I cannot move.”

So spider could not be found. The girls decided to sleep on the couch. Fine. I yelled that there were extra blankets in Noah’s closet. That was the last thing i remember. I woke up this morning knowing I have to get a photo of me dressed nicely in front of this painting before I deliver it. I was supposed to do the photo yesterday after I finished it, but before I varnished it. But it was 5pm when I got done. And then I looked in a mirror and realized, looking nice was going to take far, far too much energy. So instead we all went to the pool to go swimming. But right now I am showered with no paint on me. That alone people, is huge.

This week has been a blur. And next week will be the same. But progress is happening. The light at the end of the tunnel is a vacation in Key West for Hemingway Days July 17. I know rest is in my future. And perhaps a clean house can be mine once again. Like BBE said yesterday after I looked around and exclaimed what a disaster my house was right now he said, “It’s nothing that can’t be fixed. It’s no big deal.” Told you he was the Best Boyfriend Ever.

Here is what my “studio” look like. And my studio mates. Who were real champs the whole time with the no air conditioning thing. Which got fixed Fridy night. We had a cool house by about 9pm. I will never, ever take cool air for granted. EVER.