Not Ready to Make Nice…

My Warholesque Tribute to the Guerilla Girls

If ever there was a time to make protest art wouldn’t it be now?  In 10 short months we’ve gone from ‘normal crazy’ to outright mayhem, chaos and anarchy with little street art questioning any of it.  Have you seen anything in your town? Anything that suddenly appears on a street, wall or empty storefront which makes you pause to look and maybe say WTF or better yet think and question?  

While most street artists work anonymously there are a few, like BanksyPussy RiotThe Faction and Lushsux who have achieved notoriety, fame and fortune.  That said, with the exception of The Faction, none seem to hail from or regularly create art in the US.  Can that be right?  Is no one making challenging art in America today? Continue reading “Not Ready to Make Nice…”

I’m a Traveler…

Silk Road Quilt by Melissa Sobotka
‘Silk Road Sampler’ by Melissa Sobotka

When I first began blogging the goal was to challenge my creative skills while sharing my fascination with the world around me with anyone who visited this site. Fast forward a few years and a few hundred posts later to now, where inspiration and content creation are challenges I’ve struggled to overcome since covid changed our lives. After reading Austin Kleon’s ‘15 years of blogging (and 3 reasons I keep going) I am, once again, enthusiastic about posting on a more regular basis, beginning with a topic which always gets me excited – travel.

The road dog in me was thrilled by having to drive cross-country TWICE this summer. Even more exciting was the prospect of traveling with two of the people I care most about: my sister and my son. Big Sis joined me for Road Trip #1 to retrieve a cherished family dog from Denver.  Our trip started in Tennessee, then led us north and west through Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado, after which we headed back east to New Jersey before I made the rest of the drive solo through Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, finally  ending up back in the Volunteer State.  It took 8 days to make the drive but we only made it 140 miles before we stopped for our first adventure… Continue reading “I’m a Traveler…”

There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues…

When the living is easy

It’s Memorial Day which means it’s the start to summer for this Jersey girl!  Plus, all 50 states are beginning to open back up after Covid-19 and I couldn’t be happier. It’s not that I minded staying at home these past 3 months so much as I hated being told I had to stay home.  I’m a road warrior so when safer-at-home orders went into effect the thing I missed the most was the simple freedom* to get in my car, crank up the tunes, and go.

I am about to make up for my lost travels with 5 upcoming roads trips which will take me through 17 states by August.  While Denver, Philly, Mobile and San Diego (x2) are my final destinations I am also looking forward to the pit stops along the way. Regardless of where I stop, or go, I always try to travel light: a few good books, a lot of rock and blues tunes, and a few interchangeable outfits and I am ready for anything the road offers.

Normally I’d pack for my travels with the things I already own but after three months of wearing the same comfy sweats and worn-in t-shirts I’m going help the economy get back on its feet by buying some new clothes that will take me from hiking around Red Rocks to eating a cheesesteak at Pat’s to dancing under the Avenue of the Oaks to swimming in the Pacific.

Pretty Garden Boho Maxi Dress | Aurelia Ankle Strap Pointed Toe Pump |  EV1 ‘Love’ T-shirt | A New Day Aviator Sunglasses | Halogen Tube Hoop Earrings | Cheetah Swimsuit | Sephora Lipgloss |  John Lee Hooker T-shirt |  Fresh Sugar Lemon Perfume | Scoop Vegan Biker Jacket | ChainJoy Ruffled Boho Skirt | Dr. Scholl’s Classic Sandal | Downton Abbey Pearl & Crystal Earring | Bo Diddley Scooter T-shirt | Boden Claire Espadrille| Time and True Tote | Levi’s Signature Boot Cut Jeans

How about you? Do you have any exciting travel plans? Or will you stay closer to home? Drop me a line…I’d love to know where you are headed this summer.

*I am deeply grateful for all of the men and women young and old who have given their time and their lives so I can enjoy the freedom of the road – and all of the other freedoms I have taken for granted too.  Thank you.

**Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran

Number 9, Number 9…

I am going on Day 55 of self-isolation, am very much Covid free, and anxiously looking to the heavens for any sign I can get back to my ‘old normal’ soon.  That’s why it was quite serendipitous I was offered a chance to review Dawne Kovan’s newly published Secrets of Numerology.  I’ve always been fascinated with astrology, tarot, astral charts and the like but it’s been a long time since I’ve done anything more than check my weekly horoscope. Having a chance to take my time exploring Secrets of Numerology gave me insights into myself and a few of my loved ones and provided me with hours of escapism at a time when I really wish I could see into the future (or at least see ahead to the next few weeks).

I’d summarize Secrets of Numerology as a very well-written, easy to understand beginners guide to exploring the role numbers play in our lives.  The history and theory of numbers is explained in a very methodical manner, moving from an overview to the specifics of universal, personality, destiny, karmic, soul, secret self, and maturity numbers. The author delves into numbers as they relate to relationships and explores in some depth how numbers can predict important times in our lives (including pinnacle periods, challenging periods, and the personal year). Finally, the book explores the relationship between numbers, the Tarot and astrology. All in all, Secrets of Numerology is a very thorough, very easy to follow exploration of numerology perfectly suited for any beginning enthusiast.

So what did I learn about my own numbers?  As a designer who has always been influenced by multiples of 3 I was somewhat surprised to learn my universal number is 9, my soul number is 6, my destiny is 9, my pinnacles are 6, challenges are 3, and my personal year yet another  6.  Pretty weird, right?  Universal 9’s embrace experiences and like to learn about life. They are practical and realistic. They like to tear down the old to make the new but don’t hang around afterward as they are on to the next thing. 9’s are uniquely prepared for what life throws their way.  I won’t go into all the details of the 9 that is me, but suffice it to say after I researched all of those 3’s, 6’s, and 9’s I really am, without any doubt, a true Number 9.

Curious about what your universal number might be? Take your birth month + birth date + birth year (4 digits) and add them all together, then break down the 4 digit total by adding the 1st numeral to the 2nd, that sum to the 3rd, that sum to the 4th, and oof that gives you a double digit sum add the two numbers again, until you finally reduce the number to a single digit (although straggly enough, 11 or 12 are the exceptions to this rule).  Easy, right?  Of course, now you need to know what your number translates to, which means you’ll need to get your own copy of Secrets of Numerology and figure it out for yourself.  I can’t think of a better way to while away the hours until we are free again.  Until then, stay safe and be kind…

*Number 9 – The Beatles

 

Rock around the clock….

One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock rock…

12 o’clock – Keith Richards Gibson Flying V Prototype Guitar
1 o clock – Elvis Presley  Harmony H165 Mahogany Acoustic Guitar
2 o clock – Jimi Hendrix  1967 Electric Guild Starfire V Cherry Guitar
3 o clock – David Gilmour 1984 Fender solid-body 57v Stratocaster
4 o clock – David Gilmour 1955 Gibson Les Paul Solid Body
5 o clock – Jerry Garcia Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar
6 o clock – David Gilmour 1954 White Fender Stratocaster #001
7 o clock – Jerry Garcia D’Angelico Style A Archtop Acoustic Guitar
8 o clock – Duane Allman Fender Coronado II Guitar
9 o clock – David Gilmour 1957 Ex-Homer Haynes Solid Body Stratocaster
10 o clock – Eric Clapton 2006 Custom Taylor T5 Thinline Honey Sunburst Acoustic-Electric Guitar
11 o clock – Lindsay Buckingham Rick Turner Custom made Renaissance Electric Guitar


I have always been enamored by guitars (and guitar players).  No one appreciates the irony of this more than me, since I am someone who can barely keep rhythm with a tambourine. And while I have been blessed with many artistic talents the ability to dream of music and turn that vision into a reality is definitively not one of them.

My favorite musicians all belong to the blues and rock worlds. Their bands still provide me with endless listening pleasure decades later but it’s the pickers themselves I really love. Robert Johnson. T-Bone Walker. Buddy Holly. Dick Dale. Duane Eddy. Scotty Moore. Les Paul. Johnny Winter. Peter Green. Eric Clapton. Muddy Waters. Jimmy Page. John Lennon. Hubert Sumlin. Robert Fripp. Duane Allman. Jimmy Hendrix. Steve Cropper. Mick Taylor. Frank Zappa. Buddy Guy. Billy Gibbons. Jerry Garcia. David Gilmour. Keith Richards.  These cats are responsible for some of the greatest formative rock ever recorded and they couldn’t have done it without a Lucille, Blackie, or Flying V at their fingertips.

As a woodworker’s daughter I appreciate the workmanship that goes into creating a guitar and view custom guitars as true works of art. Maybe that’s why when I stumble upon an instrument auction I always get pulled in.  Clapton’s 2011 auction to benefit his Crossroads Centre in Antigua, Guernsey’s 2017 treasure trove of rock instruments, and David Gilmour’s 2019 epic sale benefitting the Climate Earth initiative have all left me wondering if I should place a bid to own a piece of rock history.  Taking a look at the prices most of these beauties sold for probably means the answer is probably ‘no’, but hey, a guitar girl can dream…AND listen.

12 o’clock – The Rolling Stones Out of Our Heads
1 o clock –  Elvis Presley Girls! Girls! Girls!
2 o clock – Jimi Hendrix Axis Bold as Love
3 o clock – Pink Floyd Smoking Blues
4 o clock – Pink Floyd Atom Heart Mother
5 o clock – Grateful Dead Workingman’s Dead
6 o clock – Pink Floyd The Wall
7 o clock – Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band Almost Acoustic
8 o clock – Allman Brothers Idlewild South
9 o clock – David Gilmour About Face
10 o clock – Cream Disreali Gears
11 o clock – Fleetwood Mac Rumours

3-29-20 Ephemera (The Covid-19 Edition)

Portrait of Constance-Gabrielle-Magdeleine Bonnier de la Mosson as Diana by Jean-Marc Nattier (1685 – 1766) from The Getty

I am 3+ weeks into this isolation thing and pretty sure at this point I am corona free.  Week 1 of social distancing saw me driving 2000 miles for a work trip where I was essentially alone except for a few food, gas, and restroom breaks.  Made record time getting to my various destinations too, since the highways weren’t crowded at all.  And while I feel very fortunate to be able to work remotely week 2 & 3 have convinced me I am less busy when I work from my office then when I work from home.

If I put aside the fears, disappointments, and uncertainty that accompany this pandemic I am actually enjoying having more time to garden, cook, read, and spend time with my family.  I have also been spending a LOT of time on the web (which I am grateful has enough bandwidth to support what seems like the entire country watching ‘Tiger King’ at the same time). Here are a few things that have kept me from going a stir-crazy over the last week.  Here’s hoping one or two will do the same for you…

…hoping you and yours are keeping healthy!

Death don’t have no mercy…

Blue skies & yellow fields

I spent the past couple of months curating and installing The Form of Reform show, which features art and writing from Tennessee’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution death row population… Continue reading “Death don’t have no mercy…”

In tradition with the family plan…

It’s better to give…

Lately I’ve been thinking about traditions, especially those relating to families.  How they get started, how they become embedded, how we create new ones while maintaining the old, even after those we’ve shared the tradition with move on.  

I dearly miss the rituals I shared with my parents, and if I listen closely enough can still hear them calling me by the nickname only they used. I cherish the silly but touching things my parents did for and with me, which I have instituted with my children, and which we now share with each other (I’m looking at you, birthday song!) And I am so thankful for the new traditions created with family and friends, which continually strengthen our bonds of friendship and love over distance and time.

I am not sure it counts as a tradition but one enduring passion my parents gave me is my love for music. I remember my sister and I used to give them our record wants for Christmas. They would head to Sam Goody and hand the clerk our ‘wish list’, who would ask which they wanted to buy. Their answer was always ‘all of them’.  Over time, my music wants have been replaced by another parent-instilled passion for reading and books. I’ve posted before about the annual ‘gift of 9’ (here and here), which my mom and dad traditionally gave me each Christmas…

…until this year. To my great sadness the tradition is in hiatus and won’t be happening again until someone else I love adopts the gift of ‘9’ going forward.  Until then I am maintaining the practice myself, albeit a little later than normal, with my next nine reads pictured above. 

How about you? What are your favorite traditions? What traditions for you miss the most? Drop me a note…I’d love to know.

*Levon – Elton John

What are you doing New Years Eve?

Happy New Year Baby!

If you know me at all you know I no longer make resolutions based on the calendar. Over the years I’ve resolved to lose weight, starts a business, pay off debt, stop smoking, travel more – you name it and I’ve probably resolved to do it. My good intentions rarely worked out however, leaving me feeling blue by February since I could never make my ‘new’ habits a reality for long.

I’ve adopted the mentality that I don’t need to wait until January 1st make changes to my life, which is quite freeing since I have the power to make changes big and small any day, hour, or minute that I am alive. So do you.

Happy New Year to you and yours and here’s hoping your own resolutions – made tonight or throughout the year – become your new reality!

What Are you Doing New Year’s Eve – Kacey Musgraves

11-30-19 Ephemera (Gift Guide Burnout Edition)

You really CAN find these [questionable] gifts online

Can you believe the holidays are upon us?  I feel like I’ve received a billion emails and insta posts over the last week identifying the ‘best’ gifts to buy NOW for that [insert the identifier for the person you need to get a gift for here] and frankly none of it looks that special to me.  While I am trying hard to get into a gift giving frame of mind I am always down for my favorite holiday of all, Thanksgiving.

For me, it’s a four-day whirlwind of cooking (this sweet potato gratin was a winner!), catching upon some TV and movie time with my favorite culture vultures (including 5-star worthy The Righteous Gemstones, The Irishman, and Knives Out), and catching up on all-things web. Here are a few stories which helped me recover from my tryptophan-induced lethargy……

…here’s hoping you are having a lovely – and long – weekend full of family, friends, and fun!