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Sunny Summer day at the BBG 2015Summer day at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden – 10 1/2″ x 15″ on 140# Arches coldpress

NO, The Husband and I are not expecting a baby.  “We’re pregnant” is a phrase that just irks me to no end.  WE cannot be pregnant. I can be pregnant.  (Well, not me, personally, I can’t be pregnant, that ship has sailed.) But I, as a female, could be pregnant.  We, as a couple, cannot be pregnant.  Last time I checked only a female can carry a baby.  (Or a petri dish, but that’s a different blog.)   I just heard a person on a talk show say she and her husband were pregnant.  After I finished yelling at the TV (something I have started to do frequently since I stopped working) I looked up the word “pregnant”.

The Oxford dictionary defines pregnant as:

(Of a woman or female animal) having a child or young developing in the uterus.

Whew,  Glad I got that off my chest.

My work here is done.

The painting above is from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  A beautiful sunny summer day in the garden. The paths were bright and dappled with sunlight and the flowers were in full bloom.

Kevin's card 8-2015

And the above hand-made watercolor card was done for my nephew who is off to college to study automotive repair.  Good luck Kevin!

Subway ridersAnd it was just another day on the NYC subway when I spotted these two.  I was more fixated on the fact that it was SO HOT in NY and even hotter down in the subway station and here are these two in what seemed like really hot latex body suits.  Whatever.  Luckily the came train shortly after I took this picture of them and we all went to where ever it is we go.

Bonus Fun Fact:   This symbol: # is also known as an “octothorpe”.

Tomatoes Nov.2013

And let’s face it, I say tomato too.   If I said ToMAHto, I’d deserve a beat down cause really, no one says TOMAHTO unless you’re a pretentious jerk.   Or a Brit and if you’re a Brit of course you get a pass.

Tomahtoes Nov.2013

Speaking of tomatoes I had some that were about to go into the Husband’s salad and a few clementines that should have already been consumed 3 days ago. I had some scrap paper, one was a piece of Arches 140# hot press and one was a piece of 300# cold press.  And I had the urge to try painting without drawing.  Add those together and you get a couple of watercolor “salads” shown above. I wasn’t crazy about using either the hot press or the 300 lb paper.  It was the first time for me using these papers and I suppose I just have to get used to them.

I’m happy to report that the tomatoes finally went into an avocado and tomato salad.  The clementines, on the other hand are still just sitting there looking sad.

Now, can we talk about this new trend using “because” as a preposition? Because stupid.

Galapagos Sea Lion  WIP  3-10-2013Galapagos Sea Lion – Work in progress on 1/4 sheet of Arches 140# coldpress

The husband and I finally got rid of our 20 year old, 200 pound Sony Trinitron. We got a Samsung LED, LCD, HD, IRT something-or-other flat screen.  When Time Warner Rat Bastard Cable (TWRBC) came to hook everything up they told us the best way to use the new remote was to press the “system” button which would easily turn on the cable and TV at the same time.


Remember when you would press the button on your the TV and it would just come on? I press the system button and nothing happens.  Samsung’s TV has a red light that goes ON when the TV is OFF!   This is completely counter-intuitive.   (Note to self, write a scathing letter to Samsung telling them about their epic failure.)  I press the system button again. The TV goes on and the cable box goes off.  I press system button again and the TV goes off and the cable box goes on.  Finally I turn them on individually and think about how much I hate TWRBC.

Now to my cell phone.  I recently got an iPhone 5 with 4G.   Unfortunately, I discovered that my apartment does not have 4G.  It has NO G.   Zero G. Nothing, nada, zip G.

The reason I’m telling you this is because in the Galapagos there was no TV, no phones, no cell service, no internet, no wifi, no nothing!   Just sea lions and sting rays and orcas and blue-footed boobies dive bombing the water.   Penguins and frigate birds and sharks and brightly colored fish and fur seals and lots and lots and lots of iguanas.  Land iguanas.  Marine iguanas.  And more sea-lions.   Ahhhhhhh.

On my first day back to work I get to the subway to discover the trains are delayed because of signal problems.  When a train finally arrives I get on and we are going jauntily along until we stop and sit at a station.  We sit and sit and sit.  Finally the conductor announces we are delayed due to police action at the next stop.  I think to myself  “there was no police action in the Galapagos”.

Which now brings me to my painting.  Here’s a sea lion on the beach.  He was sleepy and sandy and beautiful.  There is a young girl who has been coming to our studio.  She is 11.  Her name is Isabella and is another Matisse!  She is an inspiration and her work is wonderful and beautiful. Loose and free. I started this painting keeping young Isabella in mind.

I hope to post more paintings from my trip soon.  Thanks for your visit.

Greenwich Street Garbage after the blizzard – 1/2 sheet 140 lb Arches cold press

Two weeks ago, The Husband took the car in for an oil change at Honda.   Turns out it was the most expensive oil change we ever got.

A salesman said our car was 10 years old but in good shape with low mileage and we could get a good deal on a trade-in.  The Husband walked out CONVINCED that we needed to trade in the 10 year old Pilot for a CRV!

Last week we went back so they could show me the car.   Like George Bush, I was THE DECIDER!    The guy almost lost the sale when I, while looking at the back seat and mentally sizing it up for my almost 100 lb dog, said to me “See, there’s plenty of room for your grandkids.”

WHAT!!!   My hands FLEW to my hips and I looked him straight in the eye and said, I DO NOT HAVE GRANDCHILDREN.   MONEY IS SO COMING OFF THE CAR.  Later when I found out he was 27 I said to him “I will give you two pieces of advice.  NEVER, EVER ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless you either see the head of the baby emerging from the birth canal or she tells you she’s pregnant.   AND NEVER ASSUME a woman is a grandmother.   You may ask if she has children, but don’t ever ASSUME she had grandkids”.  MORON (I added silently!)

After I got over myself, we went back to his desk and talked about the car and the pricing some more.   I didn’t want to tell him that all cars look alike to me.  A Honda and a Lexus.  A Kia and a Subaru.  The same to me.  Seriously.

I only had one request.   Heated seats for the winter.   My sister has heated seats and one never forgets how wonderful one’s freezing cold butt feels in the winter when all of a sudden it becomes warm and toasty.

After we ran the numbers, I, as bad cop, asked him if he could do better on the price.   He moaned, as they teach them in car salesman school and then said, “let me talk to the manager.”   He walked over and he and three other guys very animatedly looked at a computer screen and down at the salesman’s paperwork and back up at the screen.   I looked at The Husband and said, what do you think they are doing over there.  The Husband, in his usual dry tone said “Playing solitaire.”

We got a little more money off.   It was for the grandchildren comment.

Friday we go pick up our new Honda CRV at Bay Ridge HONDA.   Then we are supposed to meet friends for dinner in Bay Ridge.  The Husband actually said to me that he wanted to drive home, park the car in the lot and then take the subway back to Bay Ridge.   I gave him a frosty glare.   But my butt is toasty warm.

Green-wood cemetery angel

Recently I  received some literature in the mail from the St. Somebody cemetery. I may not be a youth, but I don’t think I’m at the age yet that I should be getting correspondence from local cemeteries.  Also included in the brochure was a $200 off coupon for the mausoleum.   Spend eternity in a wall.  Save $200.  When I told the husband about this the first thing he said was “did you save the coupon?”.   No honey,  I did not save the coupon.

The following week I received a catalog for “independent living”   You know, the kind that sells easy to put on, easy to read watches; folding motorized scooters;  walker attachments that look like sneakers and a host of other helpful products for the aging baby-boomer.  Today I received a flyer for free hearing screening for adults that suggested “Invite a Friend!” and included this fast fact  “Did you know that conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are risk factors for hearing loss?”  WHAT?   I SAID “did you know that conditions like diabetes…”

You get the idea.

Sunflowers on the mantle

Here is a painting of sunflowers on my mantle.  I did it here too.    What a difference, huh.  Did I ever tell you that sunflowers frighten me?  Not cut sunflowers.  But the tall ones.  Taller than me.  Six feet tall ones.  With those giant heads that seem like they turn and watch me as I walk down the block.  Scary.  I like them better cut down and in a vase.

Names are funny.  Some of them are common, some strange, some just odd.  I am always fascinated by people’s names and what my impression of the person is based on their name, even if I never met them.

If your name is Susan, Patricia, Carol, or Barbara you are probably from my generation.  If your name is Apple, Rain, Brittney or Taylor I’m going to guess you are much younger than I.  And what about families who all have the same name.  Shout “John” at a family party in my house and about 10 guys will turn around.  This leads to defining cousins and uncles as  “big John” and “little John” and always becomes amusing when Little John grows bigger than Big John.

Recently, a co-worker’s baby shower  had us all guessing the not yet born baby girl’s name. After the usual guesses I suggested &i, pronounced Andi.   I figure that’s the next step in names. Like the artist formerly known as Prince.   And the New York Times reporter whose middle name is 8.   And my newest favorite real name:  Anthony Bologna, a/k/a Tony Baloney!

Years ago Charlie found a website which consisted of  folks sending in silly names like Bertha Venation or Ana Conda.   Charlie went to work coming up with names, but of course he had to take it one step further and came up with what he called “telephone book names”.  Names that sounded OK, until they were put in a phone book, last name first.  Dwayne Downda becomes Downda Dwayne. Lou Water, Nick L. Pumper and Ted Farr are also fun.   Needless to say we were amused by this for days.   The Husband just rolled his eyes at us.

Here’s the link if you want to get a laugh.   You will have to scroll all the way down to the bottom for the “telephone names”.

I started on these coasters, but only had 3 images of the cats.  Who uses only 3 coasters?   So I decided to do 3 more coasters using the cat butts.  Now there are 6 coasters.  Much more civilized.

It’s August.  There is no one in NYC.  It’s hot and I have no new artwork to post.  So here’s some commentary on The Glee Project; a TV show on the Oxygen Network that I got sucked into watching.  

My friend “X” (he wants to retain his internet anonymity) got me to watch THE GLEE PROJECT which was essentially a “boot camp” for young (read 18, 19, maybe 20-year-old) singers/actors. The winner of the show would get a 7 episode role in the next season of Glee.  Turns out they were so good they picked TWO winners: Samuel, an indie-rock kid with dreads and Damian, an 18 yr. old from Northern Ireland. (I admit, I had a crush on Damian.) The two runners-up Lindsay (miss goody two shoes I can do no wrong but beautiful and a good actress/singer) and Alex (flamboyantly gay with an AMAZING voice like Whitney Houston, a holier than thou bad attitude and performed a few times in drag).  Hannah was the “fat girl” who everyone liked but didn’t end up in the final four and Matheus was a 4’9″ almost “little person” who had a lot of talent as well, but didn’t make it to the final four.  Cameron was doing really well, but couldn’t deal with the fact that he may have to kiss a girl on the show (he had a girlfriend and was super-religious) and ended up dropping out, thereby saving Damian who went on to win.

X said: I admired Alex’s talent but can’t stand his personality.  I also think that my “Gay-Bashed Pre-Op Trans Dies” (sounds like a NY Post headline) would provide a little of cautionary contrast to the exuberance of Blaine and Kurt to let the kids know that “it will get better but don’t let your guard down”.
Here are X‘s story arcs for some of the Glee Project alumni:
SAMUEL:  Conflicted Christian rebel from the wrong side of the town (is there a “right” side in Lima, Ohio?) who was home-schooled (thus the rebellious nature) until his parents drowned during a church revival festival when the plexiglas broke under their feet as they were performing the “walk on water” skit.  End of the 7-episode arc: overzealous performance when New Directions performed at Niagara Falls while singing the mash-up of “You Raise me Up” and “I Believe I Can Fly” .
DAMIAN:  Foreign exchange student from Ireland who initially fell under the spell of the bad girl, Santana (a gender-reversal episode of “GREASE”) but ended up with Mercedes due to their mutual love of tater tots.  End of the 7-episode arc: Deportation after being accused of killing Mercedes’ pre-op trans brother, Alex’us, in a wedding night drunken stupor upon realizing that Alex’us is fully equipped with a stick-shift and fuzzy dice rearview mirror ornaments, but not before Alex’us sings another amazing rendition of “AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING”.
ALEX:  Mercedes’ reclusive pre-op trans brother who stole Damian away from his sister because Damian’s Catholic upbringing insisted on him marrying a virgin.  End of the 2-episode arc: see above.
LINDSAY:  Transfer student from NYC after her mother (played by Brooke Shields) won a gigantic divorce settlement and moved back home to be the big fish in a small pond.  Lindsay has a HUGE fight with ALL the girls (not just Rachel) when she ambushed EVERY boy in the school with kisses.  End of the 2-episode arc: transferred to $t. Clare of A$$i$i where all the central-Ohio rich bratty girls go and where the school Alma Mater is “Gimme Gimme”.  May return at the season finale during the regional championship if negotiations with Lea Michelle to star in a spin-off in NYC falls through.

 HANNAH & MATHEUS:  The circus came to town… (solo numbers: Hannah – “Don’t Cry Out Loud”; Matheus – “Sexy Back (Stripper Remix)”).  End of the 1-episode arc: The circus left town ….
CAMERON:   Shy guitar nerd who was secretly in love with Damian (cue in “Saving All My Love For You”).  End of the 1-episode arc: stuck his wet finger in the outlet while singing a “I Kissed A Girl (and I hated it)”.

Art Glass plate

I was able to leave work early today, ran down the subway and amazingly got a seat.  We had gone one stop when the conductor announced that there were extreme delays due to “police action” at Atlantic Ave. Oy. I get a bit claustrophobic sitting in a subway that’s not going anywhere so I left the subway and had a LOVELY walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

As usual, the City is filled with tourists.   And after I noticed that, I further noticed that tourists are tourists no matter where they are.  They stop, they stare, they speak in funny languages and you know what,  they got me to appreciate the City that I live in.  Perhaps I would never have stopped to look at skyline of lower Manhattan or the sun glistening on the East River. But I did.  And it was good.  Perhaps somewhere there is a Croatian stopping to look at Diocletian’s Palace in Split with a new eye.

The “new age” portion of the blog has now ended.

Here’s 3 Broadway musicals I have seen recently.  I reviewed three here.  Now here’s 3 more.  Take note if you’re coming to NY and want to catch a show.

1.  Sister Act – a fun feel-good musical that will have you singing along and tapping your toes.  The story is essentially the same as the movie, but the music is different.  Wimples, stained glass, a giant statue of Mary and lots and lots of sparkle and glitter make this show fun for the whole family.   I probably would NOT pay full price for this, but if you can get 1/2 price or discount tickets, I would recommend it.

2.  Spiderman –  This show, to put it bluntly, SUCKED.   Do not waste your time or your money.  That’s 3 hours I will never get back.  My show-going pal Kung (who sees everything on Broadway and off-Broadway) and I actually discussed whether or not we should leave at intermission.  We decided to stay in case “something happened” and indeed it did. Spidey missed a connection whilst flying over the audience and was left hanging there.  A disembodied voice told us there were technical difficulties, the  actors singing on stage just walked off and the stagehands had to come, unclip Spidey and reset the whole gizmo flying thing.  I’m sorry, but when people are paying over $100 per ticket (not me, but that’s what they go for) I expect a professional performance.  The whole rest of it sucked too.  SKIP SPIDERMAN!

3.  The Book of Mormon –  The hottest ticket on Broadway.  I laughed, I cried and I ran out and bought secret underwear.  It was completely rude, crude, vulgar and absolutely fabulous.  Ben Brantley said it way better than I:    DO NOT BRING THE KIDS!   And if you are sensitive to foul language & obscene gestures this may not be the show for you.  But it most certainly was the show for me.  LOVED IT!

This concludes the public service portion of this post.

The piece above was another plate in a series I did.   I am currently working on more coasters like the ones I did here.  I really do enjoy making these although they are extremely time-consuming.

I’ll end with a few pictures from Croatia.  (The Husband took close to 900 photos and I took over 1,000.  We are still sorting through them!)

Garlic and Peppers in the Market

The walled “Old Town” of Dubrovnik

Plitvice Lakes

The crystal clear blue water of the Adriatic!

Brownstone Brooklyn

I do not know what happened.  I had perfectly sized feet for my height and suddenly my feets started to grow!  Plus, I can’t get that Fats Waller song  “Your feet’s too big.”  out of my head. Sometimes things just get stuck in my head and then I can’t get them out.  I hate when that happens, particularly when there is something I am trying to get INTO my head and it won’t go.  And then there are all those voices. 

As a youth I was a size 6 1/2.  Then I was a 7.  Then 7 1/2.  Recently I was a size 8.  And now I’m a gigantic 8 1/2.  What’s going on?   If only my smarts could grow as rapidly as my feet.  They (the mysterious “they”) say that your nose and your ears never stop growing throughout one’s lifetime.  They never said anything about one’s feet.   Now if I could only get smarter, taller and thinner I would be happy with the bigger feets. 

Of course none of that has anything to do with this “in-progress” painting I’m working on for the 2nd time.  I painted it here and then gave it to my friend Jim.   The new version is bizarre and I feel like I’m going backward instead of forward.  Of course this isn’t finished so perhaps it has potential.  Or perhaps it will go in the trash like a recently started other piece that I never showed you.   Hopefully my new giant feet will point me in the right direction.

30 minute pencil sketch of 3 drinking vessels on 9 x 12 paper

There are many times when I wish I had the authority to arrest someone or hand out summonses.  Just because people annoy me.  Not YOU, gentle reader, but the people on the subways, in traffic or on the streets.

Many years ago, before The Husband actually became a NYC police officer, he and I took a NY State court officer test. This was a written test and if one passed the test it would be followed by a physical and psychological test. We  laughed because we KNEW no one in their right mind would give me a gun.

I got a really high score and was called immediately.   I didn’t go because, well, let’s face it

A. I probably wouldn’t have passed the psychological;

B. No one would (or should) give me a gun and;

C. I really don’t look good in dark blue polyester.

The Husband finally took the NYPD test and the rest is history. Which brings me to last night’s dog walking conversation.

As Charlie and I crossed the street while walking the dogs, some idiot in a big, fancy BMW SUV made an illegal u-turn and almost ran us down. We both said if we could hand out summonses….!   This reminded Charlie of the time he was speeding down the West Side Highway (which is not a highway it’s just a street with a lot of lights frivolously named a highway) when he was pulled over.  The following conversation took place:

COP: Did you realize you were doing a zillion miles an hour in a 30 mph zone?

CHARLIE: (pulling his response from a place where the sun doesn’t shine)  Didn’t you see that car that was chasing me?

COP: Yeah, right, whatever.  Here’s your ticket.  You can dispute it if you like.

(The light bulb when off in Charlie’s head.  (And because he had nothing better to do.)  I’m going to dispute this ticket!)

Several months later:

JUDGE: Were you speeding on the West Side Highway?

CHARLIE: There was a car chasing me!

JUDGE (to Cop): Did he say there was a car chasing him when you pulled him over?

COP: Yes

JUDGE: Case dismissed!

We laughed and laughed.

Well,  that was a long story to talk about the above drawing.  It was part of the drawing class I took with The Sister and The Nephew.  The assignment was to do a 30 minute drawing of 3 drinking vessels.  I was so focused on getting the glasses correct that I didn’t pay attention to the table.  Once I looked at it from afar I realized those 3 drinking vessels were going to slide right off the table.  What was I thinking?  Where was a cop when I needed one?  He could have said “Stop right there ma’am, you’re going to fast.”  My response?  Didn’t you see that clock that was chasing me?

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