Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shopping For A Man

About 18 months ago, I got the notion that I might like to spend some time with a man. Three years of flying solo had me romanticizing the whole relationship thing, again. Husband number one drank, hit & both entered & left my life when I was barely out of my teens. Husband number two showed up one day to build some shelves & spent the day playing on the floor with my three year old. He never left. He was one of the nicest guys in the world but was rendered helpless by his penis - the fricken thing dragged him around the landscape like a divining rod. While I was not in the market for husband number three, it occurred to me that the right combination of intelligence, language skills & testosterone could be a nice distraction.

Enter There is nothing more discouraging than sorting through hundreds of over-exposed images of men sitting on the couch with a camera in one hand and a beer in the other. WTF guys. Put on a clean shirt and go to the Sears portrait studio. Have one of your buddies catch you on their camera phone. Cut your old girlfriend/ex-wife/current wife out of a vacation photo and post that. A picture of you holding a fluffy white dog with a red bow on top of its head (seriously) is just poor marketing. A man who'd post a photo like that probably doesn’t even own a penis.

Within a month, I’d either spoken to or met a number of prospects. I learned quickly to detect the ones on an earnest search for a wife - Like, Right This Minute; Let down gently the ones for whom I had no curiosity; Roll my eyes at the idiots who were clearly suffering from blood loss to the brain. Powerless to stop themselves, they'd actually use the word "thong" in the first conversation. I tell you, it was a crap shoot.

Weeks pass (insert loud cricket chirping here.) Wait. This one is tall, seems intelligent, has varied interests and has the prerequisite handle on the English language. While I do find spelling errors in his profile (the kiss of death for me - I am a snob) I dismiss it to the fact that he's Irish. From Ireland, Irish. He's got a dog, but it's a huge black and grey husky (who probably sheds all over everything which means, crap, I'll have to vacuum every stinking day - this is where my mind goes.) We email. We talk. We decide to meet.

I like him the second I see him pull up in his truck, take the LAST fricken parking spot for blocks and lope across the street on impossibly long legs. I like him the whole time I'm giving him hell for taking the last spot. I like the way he looks at me like I've lost my mind as he takes my elbow and steers me into the restaurant.

Portsmouth, NH. Our third date. Apparently the second didn't go well, because when I called him, he said he never thought he'd hear from me again. Our last encounter, he said, “was like having lunch with a dead person." Apparently I was not on my best behavior. The second I think they like me more than I like them, I switch off. I become devoid of personality. I start planning my escape. The thing was that I actually liked this one.

Since I believe that the entire world population can be sorted into two categories, those you’d sleep with and those you wouldn’t, this presented a problem. I wanted to hang out with him. He was an unusual combination of handsome, funny and intelligent. His accent was completely charming, even if I didn’t always understand what he was saying. The problem was that I was feeling a northern rather than southern hemisphere attraction. So, in the middle of downtown Portsmouth, this comes out of my mouth: “I like you. I have fun with you. It’s just that I am not romantically attracted to you.” He stared down at me. “Oh. You mean you don’t want to have sex with me.” The tone of his voice made it clear that no other interpretation could exist. I rebutted, working the romance angle in a skilled and convoluted way. He was having none of it.

A few weeks ago, I dropped the L-Bomb. It wasn’t a brave, look him in the eye, bare my soul kind of I love you. It was a timid, muffled admission, whispered from the shadowy folds of his arms. You may have to kiss a few frogs, but if you’re lucky, you might a tall, handsome man who makes you laugh, every day. It’s altogether grand.

No Hogging The Couch

This couch represents my life. That's me, in the middle. I am surrounded by people and things that I need and care deeply about. There are a lot of things missing from this couch - A social life. Relaxation. Spirituality, A creative outlet that doesn't involve work. Inspiration to get my ass off the couch & into some regular exercise.

This is not whining. Without exception, everyone has been invited. For the most part, we've worked out who sits where and when. Peace requires the complete cooperation of everyone involved. It's not always peaceful. We all need to stretch our legs.

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So, in lieu of reading or yoga or walking, I grab my moments on the computer. I fricken LOVE the Internet. I cannot imagine life without it. I find the coolest people doing the coolest things and I don't even have to get up. Most of them live lives just like mine - on a couch that's aging, sags in the middle and is the home and host of their top-shelf people.

Every once in a while I realize that I am one of those people doing cool things. I am a woman on a mission. I keep warning the gang that things may get a bit more crowded. We're going to need a bigger couch.

June. July. August. September...


Four months of silence. If anyone is actually reading this, you must be new to my work and this blog. Anyone else would have given up months ago. So, welcome to my blog. I knew when I started this that I was adding another thing to an already unsteady pile. I must have some subtle, self destruct mechanism running silently in the background. Sorry guys. This was also the first one to drop off the pile.

I've no wisdom to impart in this post. And, if I spend too much time editing the hell out of it, I'll never hit save and send it. Here's an off the cuff update:

We moved to a new location in early July. The move pretty much sucked. Our window of opportunity was narrow and construction was off schedule. It was tough on us and the landlord. But, we're in, the space is incredible and we're back in forward motion. We have three 7w x 10h windows overlooking the Merrimack River. South Western exposure. Huge trees dancing outside. Sun dappled river flowing by. Space to pull a pallet without moving everything out into the hall. Actual heat and AC.

High school started for my son. He's at a new high school and has left his middle school friends in another district. So far, so good. He actually says he kind of likes it. Says the teachers have relaxed and are not as strict. He did homework the other night without my having to force it. Very weird. Makes me think he's up to something. He got up at 5:45 the other morning and ran. And he keeps getting taller. Just over 6'right now.

I'm playing around in my head with a whole bunch of new holiday themed personalized designs. Of course, I'm a year behind schedule for upcoming holidays, so you won't see Halloween, thanksgiving or even Christmas stuff from me until next year. This is how it works: It rolls around in my head for a time, say a couple of months. Then, something starts keeping me awake or waking me up. Then I make bad sketches. Then I try it on a piece of tile. Then on a piece. Three days ago, I pulled out a piece of tile. Yesterday, I picked it up. Who knows what today will bring.

Hey, do ya think I need a new picture? Seriously, that one up there is 5 years old, and when I say I'm not as sweet as that picture suggests, I'm completely serious. Sweet just isn't one of my words. I'm more of a broad, but these days, in a more subdued way.

So right now, my hair is just above my shoulders and looks like a bush. Everyone keeps telling me it looks good, but when I look in the mirror, I see a 53 year old woman (who looks 51) with wicked fluffy hair and slightly crooked glasses. They're lying. And besides, it's time. I am a practically famous woman who really needs a new look. I used to wear it short and spike-ish and loved it, but people kept thinking I was a lesbian. I like boys, idiots that they are. Right now, I just look like someone's mom.

It's 11:15 on Sunday. I've met a friend for breakfast, answered a bunch of emails, broken up with my boyfriend, made some sketches and written this post. Now, I'm going to play with some new designs. I keep thinking about Halloween. I've never had a moment's interest in Halloween until I saw a skull on a glass somewhere.

See ya.

Waiting For My Grasshopper

“Wow. That is cool. I would so buy that if I saw it in a store.” It was a turkey platter – I’d spent hours on it, covering the entire surface with words of thanks and gratitude. It was cool. Once finished, I placed it on the drying rack and poured myself a cup of coffee. After two sips I was back at the rack, admiring my work.

It was 2005. I had spent the last three years in pursuit of my dream – owning a Paint Your Own Pottery Studio. The dream had taken flight and we ended up with three, opening a new studio every year. I was working my ass off.

Some weeks later, I was on my hands and knees, scraping chocolate cake off of the floor - remnants of a party of screeching 9 year old girls. Jillions of tiny black ants had materialized & were crawling around the mess with crazy purpose. As I sat on the cold floor with a butter knife in my hand, I thought about the turkey platter. I squashed a few ants. I made a decision.

A couple of years earlier, my business partner and I took a trip to New York to visit the studio of Lorrie Veasey; owner of Our Name is Mud. Lorrie was actively involved with CCSA – a professional organization that supports and educates owners & planners of PYOP studios. She also owned a large and growing finishware company and was selling her hand painted pottery to thousands of accounts all over the country. I told her of my dream to someday create my own line of finishware. “When you’re ready,” she said, “call me. I’ll walk you through it.”

Museware Pottery is in its third year. During its infancy, Lorrie & I exchanged many dozens of emails. I'm sure I was a complete pain. She reviewed my business plan & pricing structure; guided me through months of packing and shipping issues; warned me away from some costly big ideas; praised and encouraged my best efforts. She called it building good pottery Karma.

With her guidance, I've gone from painting at my kitchen table to a 1500 square foot studio. We need to double our space. Last year, business increased almost 300%. I'm working my ass off. I’m also waiting for my Grasshopper so that I can pass it on. If it weren’t for Lorrie’s generosity, I’d still be scraping chocolate cake off of the floors. Fricken ants.

Thanks, Mud Chick.

On Quiet And Empty Things


These are things that remind me of my dad: His chair, its back cushion curved like his, its seat shaped by the length of his legs; every morning at 5:30 when I came downstairs, I’d find him in it – TV on, cat in his lap, coffee mug in hand. His truck, quiet and dusty in the dark garage; I drove it a couple of weeks ago. When I turned the key, Willie Nelson played on the CD. The yard, winter leaves still gathered in its corners like the snowdrifts that covered them not long ago.

I’ve grown accustomed to the empty chair, dark and alone in the half light of the morning – the locked garage door – the wild tangles of the yard. So this morning, as I stood in front of his closet and drew my hand across the sleeves of his shirts, I was not prepared. I was not prepared to stare into his empty shoes and feel the huge space he left behind. I miss him.

Please Marry My Brother

This is my brother, Russell. He's 6' 4" and around 210 lbs. He turned 50 on August 13, which makes him a Leo - fire sign - strong willed, opinionated, bossy, charming. He's handsome, wicked funny, a gifted musician and chronically single. While there is nothing actually wrong with him, he does work weird hours & often has to travel to make a living. The last time I counted, he had something like four (five?) cars and seven motorcycles. This alone may explain why he has never married. Who wants to park a block away?

This is a man who can fix just about anything - ok, your car or motorcycle but maybe not your broken furniture. He will make you laugh every day. He might cook you hot dogs or spaghetti but you'll have get the dishes out of the sink first. You'll need to seriously clean his bathroom. He'll write you a song and sing it to you and it will be poetic and romantic. You won't want to mess with his garage. I call it Man Land. And even though he tortured me as a child and I hated his guts, I'm very fond of him now so you'll have to share him. Our family is crazy. You'll need to be, too.

Another Way To Avoid Relaxing


In an effort to fill up every second of my life with high maintenance people and things, I've decided that the few minutes each night that I spend relaxing and reading Scottish historical novels (The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon - incredible sex scenes) could be better spent. I also thought this could take the place of my long lost practice of daily journaling. Most of my life - every unedited detail - is recorded in dozens of cloth bound books hidden away in an old suitcase. I've instructed my mother not to read them until I've been dead for five years. Seriously dead for five years.

Next month, Nicole (my awesome painter/production manager/kiln room manager/shipper/receiver and occasional therapist) and I will take my line to The National Stationery Show in NYC. We'll pack up the truck and take the trip from Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire (pop. 110,000) to the Really Big City. Verra exciting (using my Scottish accent.) I plan on being the hit of the show and becoming Wicked Famous.

In an effort to look incredibly talented and earn the questionable title "artist" I've been on a three month long design binge. I've added a bunch of new stuff to my Baby Collection and am very pleased with the results. The above image is a preview of what we'll be showing. Using a combination of stamps designed by Christine Adolph & my own hand-carved stamps, the colors and shapes in this new collection just make me smile. I'm in love with the scroll stamp that's part of her Garden Melange Collection. Her work is featured prominently in my own. Watch for more of her great designs in my growing Valentine's Day collection.