Just imagine…It is Christmas morning…. Great Aunt Gertrude is about to open your present. And you never know what to get her. She has everything. And she is kind of grumpy these days what with Florida dipping all the way down to the 70’s this year and all and she didn’t move to Florida to be cold dammit, what is going on? She spends an hour telling you about how much her knees hurt, her elbows hurt and dammit, why don’t you visit more? Every year she opens everyone’s present and declares that that is a very nice scarf, or blanket, or socks, but she is 80 years old and has eleventy billion scarfs, hats, and socks thankyouverymuch, and just what the hell is she going to do with another one!? So she mumbles something about just letting Fifi (the monster Chihuhua that loves Great Aunt Gerty, but will eat any other human’s fingers right down to the bone) sleep on it. You spend $60 on a designer cashmere scarf and the damn dog is going to get it for a dog bed. “Just great”, you think. She loves that dog more than life itself and well, if you aren’t Fifi, and you aren’t talking about Fifi she isn’t too interested in what you have to say.
Now, fast forward to December 2007. She opens up your present and there, much to her delight is an adorable image of her beloved Fifi painted with Great Aunt Gertie’s signature tangerine color in the background. (You know it is her signature color because you have heard the story about the tangerine colored dress she wore to the dance hall that fateful Saturday night so many years ago that caught the sailor’s eye and how that sailor became her husband thankyouverymuch, and from then on she was “The looker in the tangerine dress and back then a girl didn’t have to go around showing her vajayjay to the whole damn world and girls today just need to find their signature color thankyouverymuch.” And you have heard THIS story eleventy million and one times.) She looks over at you and breaks into a big, giant smile. She LOVES it! YOU are the HERO!! Your siblings glare at you and quietly push their skid proof socks back under the tree. Great Aunt Gertie is so happy she declares she is rewriting her Will TONITE and leaving you everything. EVERYTHING!!! You sit back, cross your arms and relish in this perfect moment. Your life is changed forever…All because you had the wisdom to buy that pet portrait. YOU.ARE.A.GENIUS.
For the holidays this year I am selling a brand new pet portrait size. They are super cute and a great holiday gift without breaking the bank. My mini pet portraits are the perfect gift for that hard to shop for pet lover in your life. Or just the right price to treat yourself! These little pet portraits are on 4″x4″ gallery wrapped canvases and have little wooden easels for display. They are varnished with a gloss coating for protection and will look super cute next to your desk! C’mon! You know you want one! And think of the money it will bring you!
You can order by going to my home page and you can specify, breed, color and background. You can order and pay right there. Or you can always email me your order. And if your dog doesn’t fit a standard breed description? Just email me little snookums picture and I will be more than happy to use your pic! Shipping is $5 for the first one and free for any others you order.
Ok, selling time is over. But I do hope you buy some cause I kid you not, the cuteness factor on these is overwhelming. Sophie got home yesterday and walked into the dining room and wanted them all. And maybe, just maybe, it will get you everything in the Will. It could happen.
I’m tired y’all. And I have a pinched nerve in my neck that has caused a knot the size of a golf ball in my neck. For the past week I have been going to bed well past midnight to finish commissions. Last night i got to bed at 3:33am. I just remembered cause it’s a cool time. I am hardly coherent today. It is my day off and this morning I got some prints ready for a client that I was delivering a commission to. It was a 36×36 painting. I finished an 18×25 going to Myrtle Beach and before that was a 16×20 going to Pennsylvania. And it is not procrastination that is the problem, it is my damn JOB that gets in the way of my daylight hour painting! Hey, God! I have been asking really nicely for that bag of money. What gives? When is it coming? I have dogs to paint darnit and all these brochures are getting in my damn way!
I am delivering another painting at 2:30pm and I have to finish up my new, um, what do I call them? My brain is asleep. Product i am selling for Christmas. I have to have the ad done to go on Pampered Puppy by Sunday. But really it has to be today because ya know what I am doing today? Getting the hell out of dodge! This week was just the beginning of the mad holiday painting craziness. So me and Best Boyfriend Ever are hightailing it out of town to Pensacola to see his family and hang with the coolest couple ever. I cant wait to get out of here, but still have a bazillion things to do before then. Like write this blog. Cause me? I gots me priorities!! And I have so little time, but keeping my reader informed of my whereabouts is important. Cause I know you care. heh.
But I will say this. There are some things you learn at 3am watching emergency surgery shows on Discovery Health while you paint. When an appendix burst, you don’t want to be in a teaching hospital. I am telling you those two doctors looked like they were playing operation and actually slipped with the metal thingy that holds your gut open. You don’t want to get stuck by a needle just used on an illegal alien in a Texas hospital. you don’t want to BE an illegal alien running from the border patrol cause when you get hit by a car, your spine can bend at a 45 degree angle and it looks REALLY painful! (but I bet he spent less (read: NOTHING) than I did for my broken finger And luckily I am tired cause what a rant THAT could turn into!) And finally, seatbelts are INDEED a good thing. Cause when you don’t wear them? You get into the ER and you can have the top part of your head all flippy flappy and open so that every one sees your brain. The moral of the story? Get started on your painting earlier in the day if you can, create less brochures for more painting time and wear your seatbelts people.
Here is one of my paintings I did this week that I just delivered, it is 36×36 and will hang over baby Amelia’s crib (awwwww):
Working from home today. I will get my design work done and paint at lunch. The second I am off work at 2pm I need to finish up a painting of two cats, two super cute wheaton terriers and sketch out a big 4’x4′ for a nursery of two adorable pooches. Plus I need to get all the cards and prints I make online because the lovely Christine, owner of Bubbles and Biscuits wants to carry my cards and prints. I figure it is a great test market and an opportunity not to let go by. Working from home makes me miss it so much. I went that past two years doing it and altho i love my pt job at the college, I can’t wait for they day i can be doing my art again full time. But bills must be paid and at least i love the job and the people I work with. That is a plus. The time will come again and I am more patient than I have ever been, not sure why, but I am just content to live life lately. It’s a good feeling.
Will post pics soon of things I am working on. Time to go design a program and do some brochure edits.
Oh, and I GAINED 1.5 lbs! BAh! Serves me right for eating all that salad and doing all that running this weekend! My body is obviously very upset with me at the lack of WINE. But I will be a good girl, there is a pretty red dress and great jeans hanging in my closet that I want to wear more than I want that wine or donut. Well, not really, but I can always run another mile, right? Heh.
Ok, so there’s many adjectives people can use, and have used to describe me. Tall, curvy, rubenesque, voluptuous, large and “big girl.” As in the following story which was my incentive for me finally losing the last 15 lbs of baby weight when my daughter was two: I was rushing through a grocery store in a hurry to get some baby tylenol for one of the two children and was in quite a rush. As I was scanning the aisle looking for the cheapest, yet most effective medicine, I heard an older man chuckling behind me. “Heh. Heh. Heh.” I ignored him. As I kept looking, he kept laughing. “Heh, Heh, Heh.” It was a slow, amused laugh, obviously directed at me. Finally I turned to him and smiled. And this is the gem he bestowed upon me: “Ya know, I was watching you speed into the store and walk up and down these aisles all quick like, and I just kept watching you, up and down, and up and down and I can’t help but think,’You sho does move fast for a big girl!’ Heh. Heh. Heh.” And off he puttered away just amused as all get out at the BIG GIRL that could move so fast. Yeah, I started running the next day.
I have never been described as svlete, thin, willowy or skinny. Oh no. I was robust since the day I was born. I was always the tallest girl in the photo, the biggest girl in the group. I wore Sears Girls HUSKY jeans. Getting the picture? But I was a tough kid, while clutzy, I was strong. I could hit a homer out of the park, throw a ball farther than anyone. I was the one the coaches wanted to be the catcher, I was the one the track coach came to look for to beg me to try shot put. Yeah, the shot putter. That will turn the guys on. It took me a while to become comfortable with this body. It is not just large, it is extra large. And it did not help matters in middle school that my best friend was a size 2 and she liked for us to dress up in the same clothes. Yeah, pin striped overalls is not a good look for me. And when we both fell for the same first crush? Guess who he walked up to at the 7th grade dance and asked? Yes, Brendan Schubel, I will never, ever hear Madonna’s ‘Crazy for You’ and not weep a little inside.
But I grew into my full height of 5’9 the summer before 9th grade. My body’s curves came out and let’s just say that was when I realized that there are men that prefer their women to have curves. I never had a hard time attracting the boys after 9th grade, I actually had my stipulations. They had to be at least my height and at least sort of look like I would not crush them. But still, I longed to be a size 8 and I had a goal of weighing 135. Which makes me almost snort coffee out my nose just typing that. But I won’t forget the summer before college. I was 17 and determined to weigh 135 by the time I began college in the fall. I was running 5 miles a day and eating roughly the equivalent of an apple and a piece of bread. The morning that I got on the scale and it read 139 lbs, I smiled weakly at the numbers and promptly blacked out. I realized in that moment I like food far too much. As well as ya know, being ALIVE. So I think I went and ate a hamburger and 10 lbs came on all at once. I suppose one day I can be a size 8, but most likely it will be roughly six months after I am dead.
So I embraced being a ‘big girl.’ I am the girl that can carry the couch, the chair, the anything right there with any man. I am strong and I have endurance. I may not be the fastest, but I bet I can hold out longer than most on lots of things. And let’s face it, if there is a food shortage, all you lil’ petite girls are going down first. I can live off the fat of the land a while.
And I will say this, my body likes to be bigger. I need to watch myself all the time. If I don’t pay attention, I can put on 10 lbs in a week. I am not kidding. I think I was meant to be on a farm popping out kid after kid and working the land. I have what you call, good birthing hips. So I eat carefully, exercise more when I splurge and check the scale a lot. And when I met Best Boyfriend Ever, we were both runners and into eating well. But. Then. We did that thing. You know the one. Where snuggling on the couch at night with a pizza and a bottle of vino sounds way better than sweating and eating a nice salad with lemon water. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. So for the past 6 months, my jeans have gotten tighter. And I don’t like it at all. I have gained 10 – 15 lbs and well, that is not fun for me. So when they decided at my pt job that we were doing the Biggest Loser Challenge, well, I knew it was time. See besides being, large, rubenesque, curvy and big, I am also COMPETITIVE. The challenge ends Dec 17th and there is $275 in the pot. But quite honestly, if I lose 20 lbs, I will GIVE someone $200. Also, I turn 35 on Dec 13th, so being back to my goal weight and fitting into my smaller dresses for Christmas parties in my closet is added incentive.
In the last three weeks we have been doing it, I have lost 6 lbs so far. Weigh in is today at 12pm. I will update you later if I lost any more. I don’t want to be itty bitty, i just want to fit into what is already in my closet.
Here, guess which woman in this picture from the other night is ME. I bet it only takes you one guess. (and I am slouching! Could I BE between two tinier women!!)
Ok, y’all. I love me some dogs. Maybe even more than cheese (read below) which means I love them a whole lot. I mean look around, I made a career out of my love of dogs. And that is cool. Awesome. Gives hopes to the masses that crazy ideas given enough time, energy and patience with the gas and electric company that you really will pay them SOON, you too can live your dream.
Ok, so dogs. I have my Lucy, a 90 lb yellow lab/shepherd mix. She is awesome, elegant, LISTENS to me and would rather go days without eating than to be rude and ya know, steal, or god forbid look like she is begging for food. She is just the sweetest most gentle dog. I have had her since she was 11 months old. She is 9 this month. And she will never get old and she will never die. She just won’t, so shut up.
Then there is Rufus. What can I say about him? He is a giant, stocky, drooly black lab/newfie mix that is as dumb as a box of rocks. We are almost certain that his brain, while it MUST exist, is certainly smaller than normal. Cause we can hear hollowness when you knock on his head. He behaves for the most part, but will ignore you just as easily. Let’s just say Rufus rides the short bus and I often imagine him saying, “Tell me about the rabbits again, Lucy.” But god love him, he is the lovey-doviest, drooliest, most happy dog ya ever did meet. He just wants love and will smoosh in next to you and just look at you with those big ol’ eyes and you just can’t help yourself but to love the big oaf back. I have had him since 11 months old too. He is now 5. He once ate an entire couch. Stripped it to the wood. But he was a puppy then. Sure, a 100 lb puppy, but still, a puppy.
And two 100 lb dogs is a whole lotta dog. And sure, I sometimes look wistfully at the people with the yorkies and pugs and imagine my smaller dog food bill or kennel bill, but then, I can sleep with all my doors and windows open at night, cause I just DARE you to break in to THIS house. heh.
So when I met Best Boyfriend Ever, he had to be a dog person. And he is. As a matter of fact, he has his own Big Dog just like me. She is Skyler And she is sweet and pretty, and just a bit sneaky. And she has been living separate since February because my itty bitty apartment simply could not contain all the dogs and kids and adults necessary. We tried. And a bloody nose made us wait. And then came the house. I LOVES ME MY NEW HOUSE!!! (see below) So I was very excited that the new BIG house meant we could finally bring Sklyer around and hopefully all the dogs would like each other. We hired a trainer and everything. And people? It worked! And we did the whole dog whisperer thing where me and Best Boyfriend Ever are leaders of our very own dog pack y’all!
And the dogs love each other now. And play. A lot. Loudly. VERY LOUDLY. And I find myself constantly saying, “Rufus! Lucy! Sklyer! Relax!” They love to play and run and rough house and you would think they were all damn puppies. And I can’t leave them alone for 5 minutes, it is like having toddlers again. Sneaky Pete, I mean, Sklyer steals stuff. She is like a ninja. She quietly sneaks up next to you and the next thing you know a sock is gone or a shoe. Or she has her nose in the trash or your food or you, well anything. She is an inquisitive dog. And I am hoping that my dogs CALM will eventually spillover to her. We are getting a fence put inthe backyard soon so that we can send them outside to play when they need to get their energy out, but right now we have to exercise them. So to keep things peaceful at night and not all Dog Fight Club ‘let me see if I can hump you now, howz ya like that?’ we have to walk these three a minimum of 2 miles a day, up and down hills so that they will RELAX at night.
So right now it is all calm and I am working (painting and blogging is too work!) and lookee here at all the DOG I done have me.
But moments earlier it was all, “Oh yeah? Howz about some of this beeeeatch!”
So ya know, it keeps ya on your toes, but there is no shortage of dog love here. And I have to say, I like that quite a lot.
Which makes no sense at all, cause I am pretty sure that no matter how much free food there is, if you have a stick… well. But I suppose if you were in a room and they filled up the free food all the way the corner you were standing in and you had no room to move your arms any more, you certainly would not be able to shake said stick. Ah, there you go, making the world make sense again. You can thank me by sending money.
Ok, back to FREE. FOOD. Let me start with my delectable lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill yesterday. Back in August I decided to celebrate finally getting my advance check by taking the kids and Best Boyfriend Ever out to Ted’s. We all love cow, particularly when it is red and juicy. Yummy! So the kids were allowed to order the filets and we all were happy and full at the end of the night. And my advance was now 4 steak dinners less. But Ted, i heart you and your acres and acres you own in the Midwest and your sensible recycling theories, cause damn man, you make some good cow! And the squash casserole ain’t nothing to forget about! Ok, so how was this free? Well, it was not. BUT. I put my business card into a fishbowl that day. And ya know what? 2 months later some man from Ameriprise Financial done picked that card out of a fishbowl and called me! And said, hey lovely and talented lady (Ok, he didn’t but I am taking creative license)”How would you like free lunch for you and 10 of your coworkers?” To which I immediately replied “Hells yeah!” (and I take this opportunity to tell you that I am not a fine print reading kinda gal, assume the best out of everyone and often find my self open mouthed AFTER I realize the “catch” and that the devil now owns my soul. Also read: Naive”) So after imagine how popular and cool I will be after I take my whole office out to lunch and I am daydreaming about how they will cheer and carry me about on their shoulders, he does tell me that he will give a five minute talk on financial serves before we eat, then pay the bill, then leave. Which is not really a catch at all. Cause ya know what? you wanna give me free lunch at Ted’s? You can follow me home and tell me all about my financial future for the rest of the day if you want. Ted’s is THAT good. So free lunch was good yesterday and coworkers rejoiced. However there was no lifting me about and parading me around. that made me sad. But, ya know, I am no petite thing, I understand.
Ok, next free food. Hoo Boy! Are you people ready for this? Cause I still don’t quite believe I have a freezer full of awesome and amazing meals that will last the rest of the month as each meal is six HUGE servings!! FOR FREE. how , you wonder internet did I do that? What magical powers have I wielded to get this? Well, as it turns out, writing this here blog for the past 5 years has paid off in cheese and chicken cutlets! See the National Dairy Council is promoting their 3 A Day program. In which they encourage you to each cheese, and milk and yogurt and well ALL YUMMY DAIRY PRODUCTS. Cause ain’t nothing better than DAIRY in my book! But most importantly to me is CHEESE. Cause let me tell you, girlfriend can say no to cookies and chocolate all day long, but you put a block of smoked mozarella in front of me, and well, let’s just say take it away at your own risk. I loves me some cheese. I love me dairy. i love milk, yogurt, sour cream, and did I mention CHEESE? So when they said, come out to Super Suppers and sample dairy based meals and drink wine and meet and talk with other Blogging Moms I was all “Sure!” But when they said and you will make a weeks worth of six portion meals to take home for free? I was all, “Please. You had me at cheese.”
So yes, I am a mom who BlOGS. So when Danielle at Foodmomiac emailed and invited me I was all, “Who, me? Oh, I am, um I am not really anybody..(and then my inner bully came out to beat um my humble self and said, “SHUT THE HELL UP- FREE FOOD STUPID!”) And I said, “Um, YES!!!” And so, they wanted ME!! Little old me! So last night I left Best Boyfriend Ever with the kids and homework and said, “Family, Mom is going off to cook tonite! And I will bring back meals the likes of which you have never seen, nor likely heard of before, nor likely will ever see again. So enjoy this frozen pizza tonite, because for the next week you will dine like you have a mother who COOKS!” And off I went to forage into the jungle and bring back my family the food they so richly deserve. And can enjoy for a week at which time we are back to macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. But there will be leftovers.
ok, so Super Suppers in Decatur is one of these places that you make a week or 2 weeks worth of food in about two hours and take it all home. They provide all the ingredients, easy to follow menus and everything to bring it home with and freeze. Along with the instructions how to cook it. Now, i don’t know if they do that all the time, but they also gave us WINE while be made the meals. BONUS! So there I am in this wonderful little shop meeting mom bloggers from all over and talking and laughing and connecting. I particularly was fond of Sherri whom runs The Rebel Housewife and we swore we would get together again as we only love about 10 minutes apart. She even took a stack of my cards to hand out at the dog park! So after 2 and half hours we were done. With Sherri and I closing out the place because um, well, we apparently talk. A lot. So there I am with 6 huge meals for my family, plus a bag of goodies from the American Dairy Council and have met many other women, some of whom I hope to become friends with.
So I got home and the kids smelled the food and looked up at me with such pride and a glow of love that only two adoring children that want to know what real food tastes like can give and they and Best Boyfriend Ever all put me up on their shoulders and paraded me around the living room and chanted lovely things about me. No? Don’t believe me? Well, ok. Sophie asked if she could have all the free stuff. Noah wanted to know if it was gross did he have to eat it and the dogs paraded behind me sniffing my jeans and licking tomato sauce off my jeans. Best Boyfriend Ever did clear space in the freezer and looked pretty excited for our Pan Fried Ravioli tonite though. And then he kissed me. Eh, who needs to be on someone’s shoulders? I’d probably hit my head and fall off anyhow.
Oh, and pics will be coming later! (They had a reporter there and a photographer and I took some, but I forgot the little cord to download, but soon! So come back and look later!)
Still on a high from the festival. Yesterday morning I mailed off 4 prints that people have bought off of etsy.com. That felt really good too. I am not sure what has happened, but with that little switch of how I have been thinking, just slightly turning things in my brain, I have somehow gotten so much of me back. I feel like the girl from 5 years ago again, so excited by her art. So deliriously thrilled when someone smiles at my paintings again. It has also had the magical effect of decluttering my brain. I am not so consumed with getting the next proposal out or the next idea on paper. I am concentrating on the art that makes me happy and my family. This week I am getting back to the house. finishing up putting away boxes, unpacking the last of the knick-knacks and best of all hanging the artwork up. The walls feel naked without them.
The house we moved into, well, it has some unusual characteristics. Which I did not notice at all when I saw it, except that I absolutely fell in love with it the second I walked in. I sent out pictures to friends and family. Everyone’s first response to the pictures was the same. “How did you already get to paint it???” I was all, “Huh?” “The COLORS!! All the colors! How did you get to paint it already?” they kept saying. “Oh, it was like that when we saw it.” The bright red dining room, apricot upstairs landing, deep green bedroom, rose bedroom, cobolt blue bedroom, gold bathroom, sunshine yellow bathroom and lavender foyer. “Um, it was ALREADY like that?” “Yes, isn’t it great?!” I wrote back. And then, “That house is so YOU.” Which I guess is why I fell in love with it. And I am glad Best Boyfriend Ever did too. Or at least came around to my puppy dog eyes.
When you look at my art you can tell I am in love with color. I am no fan of tan, bisque or latte, I am no pastel pink, pale blue or butter yellow girl. Nope. Give me bold, bright, yell in your face colors that wake you up and make you smile. I love to pair them up and throw a dog on them with big smiling flowers too. And this house was already like that. Which I guess is why it feels so much like home even after just 3 weeks. It is hard to believe it has hardly been a month. It feels like home. And I love that. I will post pics soon.
Wow! What a weekend! I have to say that I was blown away by the response. I put up all the art from my book and color me surprised if it didn’t just fly off the walls! See, I hardly ever make money the day of the festival, because usually it is all about people seeing my work, and wanting me to paint THIER dog. But I think I have managed to finally find the secret formula. I found my price point for my paintings, had little things to seel and big things for everyone. I made a very tidy sum and none of that was even including the commissions that will come in. But ya know what? I won’t lie, the money is nice, but that was not my favorite part of it.
My favorite parts were when the lady from five years ago came in and asked if I remembered her. Her dogs name I asked. Teddy. Yes, the little tan poodle with the blue background and lavendar flowers. Or when the couple came in with 4 month old twins and asked if I remembered them. “Yes, 3 years ago, two black dogs one was much smaller but they had identical markings and were not related, light green background. You asked me in for water when I delivered your painting.” Then there were the two boys that came back five times on their own gushing over my art and finally got their mom to come back and commission a portrait of their Otis, a black lab and they bought a little ‘Rufus the Pirate’ painting on an easel. Then they rushed back an hour later to get my autograph on the back of my business card cause, “You might be famous in like 50 years and it will be worth something!” hee. Then there was the little girl who stood transfixed at the colors and finally came up and asked so timidly, “if it’s ok with you, can i take your card, please? I love your art! You are my second favorite artist!” “Who is your first,” I asked. “My grandpa.” I think I am in good company! So many people that smiled, so many people that laughed. It was pure joy. And it was that way right up until the last moment when I was packing up the car and a man stopped by and said, “Hi, I doubt you remember me, but you painted our lab mix, Sam about five years ago.” “Purple background with gardenias.” I said. He smiled at me remembering. (I happen to remember every dog I have painted.) “We get more compliments on that painting than any other piece of art we have ever bought.”You can’t beat that, can you?
It was a VERY good weekend. The money was the bonus.
This is what I spent last night doing. Making puppy pillows to sell at my festival! See, kids come in and want a painting, but the parents are all um, “Yeah, mommy doesn’t have any money right now, maybe we will order one.” But the kids are always looking all sad and puppy dog eyed when that happens so I say, “Here! Take my business card! See the puppies on it?!” And kid and parent are all happy. Except that I might as well throw my card in the trash cause that kid most likely isn’t calling for a pet portrait later and will probably lose the card within the next 5 minutes. So this is my solution! Little stuffed puppies that are $3 each or 2 for $5. Now I am happy, mom and dad are happy and kid is happy. And last night my boyfriend watched me make Lucy and Rufus and Skyler (his German Shepard) all play and talk to each other. Cause have I told you? I am a total dork. But I have fun with my puppies!