Thursday, April 2, 2020

Day Something Something Something: Bad Sci Fi

At least I'm hard at work in my studio. Above, "Medal of Freedom" (Feminazi)  honoring a brutal portmanteau from none other than recent Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh. I proudly clutch onto that title and make it my own. It's in process but it looks good so far. And that's not the only piece I have fermenting in my studio...
Other than us working in our studios, Bob and I seem to be holding up just fine. We've been working out doors, still cleaning up from that crazy tornado from two years ago. We're hauling off piles of brush and opening up new areas- it'll look great once we're done. But it's been chilly so I haven't really begun to garden; I need to transplant some things and move a few other things and clear yet more leaves (a refined detail clean-up. I already did the rough clean!) We have plenty of time so it'll all get done. Today is sunny so far but very windy so forgot those leaves!
But this is all seeming a tad like one of those cheesy sci-fi movies; surreal images of people shopping in masks and gloves and tractor trailers being turned into morgues. The quiet continues on our road and in the sky over our house, except for our returning ducks quacking up a storm. Our neighbors are not to be seen; not sure why they're not all outside enjoying the sunny weather. I start picturing them all turning into zombies or vampires inside their houses. Probably not a good mental image to have!
So here's the other piece I have going on in my studio. That's actually an earlier state as I've begun sewing little beaded COVIDs onto it:
 (Note the bacterial/petri dish delight back round material! I've been saving that for ages, waiting for just the right piece to use it in. The  back round also alludes nicely to modern painting with the sort of smeary, painterly fields running together- maybe a hint of Jasper Johns? See below*).
Here's a funny coincidence: A friend Facebook messaged me a funny song about "Staying the Fuck Home" (thanks Bill!!) and I kiddingly said, "Sounds like a new piece for me!". He responded with a thumbs up and then I got to thinking, why (the fuck) not? I also went to work on this as I was solicited to be in an on-line art show of work created while quarantined and what could be more appropriate? (I'm hoping to finish this piece this morning if I could only get off the computer and get some real work done!!) And then we turn on the Jimmy Kimmel show and he's talking to Samuel L. Jackson who reads from the new book, "Stay the Fuck Home"! Talk about synchronicity!!!
So take that advice- Stay the Fuck Home!!!
 258 Best Johns images | Jasper johns, Pop art, Neo dada
*See? Same sort of painterly impulse. Thank you Mr. Johns!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Day Something Plus 2: Stay the Fuck Home Edition

We're doing our part! I haven't been to work in a week, self-deeming it a "non-essential business". We hadn't gone out in a few days but ventured out this morning to the local Stop & Shop for "senior hours". Don't ask me how it was; I was truly half asleep and it was snowing. But at least we scored 2 rolls of toilet paper (rationed!) and a lovely pork roast. Bob's got that in the crock pot and it smells great! Something to look forward to for a few days at meal time!*
So it's been strangely quiet here. Very little traffic and no one outside. That I don't understand: it's not like radiation where you can't see it and it will kill you. As long as we social distance, being outside is really healthy. The sun kills the virus and fresh air is good for almost everything, including respiratory ailments. (Re-read The Magic Mountain) And as a friend pointed out, the air is probably much cleaner as so many people aren't driving and therefore not going anywhere.
But the quiet has been filled with animal sounds and movements. The hawks are especially screechy and most likely mating. Last night- when I couldn't sleep in a panicky sort of Corona-induced anxiety attack- I heard coyotes singing. I thought the  radio downstairs had been accidentally left on but then realized the chorus was outside. It was lovely!
Animals don't need to worry about COVID 19. They can't catch it or are immune as we can hope one day we will be, too. Robin the Good (seen floating though space) is so happy that we're at home ALL THE TIME! Hooray! she says... as it should be! The frogs and peepers are singing and Maggie is thrilled to be fed her green slops (soaked alfalfa/timothy pellets) at regular intervals. They notice no difference in the world. All is right. Take a tip from Jane Godall:

*But one weird observation is that people were not making eye contact. I guess there was a Fox news report that making eye contact could turn you to stone... much like the gaze of Medusa.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Day Something in the Mass Quarantine

The empty chairs obviously symbolize the lack of social interaction that we're all currently experiencing. I took this picture a few (more innocent) days ago yet thought it appropriate to our present plight. But... hi everyone! We can still blog and talk on the phone and text and send Facebook greetings!
I wasn't kidding with the title: I wasn't sure if today was Friday or Saturday. Bob set me straight. But in all honesty, Bob and I frequently aren't sure what day it is. Bob works from home and I work a shifting schedule so I'm often saying to Bob, "Is this Monday? Am I supposed to be going to work?" Go with the flow! And because I'm now out of work, hopefully temporarily, that time driftiness becomes even more vague.
Other than that, we're doing well and our spirits are relatively high. Bob admits to liking the quiet (eerie in my book!) that has settled over our neighborhood. Much less traffic, fewer airplanes; you can hear the peepers and birds. Lots of spring birds!
And speaking of "high spirits", when Bob informed me that non-essential businesses were to close as of Monday, I changed my clothes and drove to our local big box package store to buy big boxes of wine. I mean, if the fucking zombie apocalypse is coming, I may want to have a glass of Pinot Noir under my belt. Hell, I have my priorities straight! But then, ironically, package stores are deemed essential services; I guess our governor has HIS priorities straight!
So here we are living but not certain what is coming next. Don't get me started with how the present administration has mismanaged a horrific situation that could possibly been better contained. There was a report in this morning's news of two utterly disturbing facts: 1.) That there was a study done last year of how entirely unprepared for a pandemic we as a nation are (ya think?!?!) and 2.) that The Orange Menace was warned by intelligence agencies back in December that this pandemic was looming because of what was being seen in China. Fake news! It's all a hoax! Until it isn't...
So I'll keep checking in on my family and friends. It's been good to communicate with several people I haven't talked to in a while, and really nice to laugh with (and scare the shit out of) friends with whom I interact with on a regular basis. Stiff upper lip!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

And While We're On the Subject...

To avoid confusion, I point out that this post is NOT about Corona Virus (COVID 19). It is an attempt to discuss a work-related matter, in a semi-light hearted way as I know we all need to laugh. The picture above is of our compost pile. I am making the point that our compost pile is a more savory place to consider eating than the lunch room where I work. (*1)
And because I was discussing my place of employment and disease, I thought this would be a good time to discuss issues of hygiene and nutrition- both of which are in short supply at work.
How I haven't gotten food poisoning at work is truly a mystery; someone has because one of my co-workers spends inordinate amounts of time in the men's room (conveniently located right next to the lunch room). Typically, there are several mice in residence evidenced by the small poop offerings to be found in the drawer containing such essentials as plastic wrap and aluminum foil. We learned early on to go without. Traps are set, but there's always more rodents.
The silverware drawer is exempt from poop but holds utensils that need both inspection AND washing before use. A fellow employee thinks a quick cold water rinse suffices to clean forks and spoons. Ditto for dishes.
Then there is the toaster oven that has attempted to burn the building down on occasion, partially due to one (former) member of management who liked to place food items in the toaster oven- set on "broil", too close to the heating elements and then leave the room. Billows of smoke and badly blackened food signaled "lunch was ready". The microwave is a better bet (despite being coated with three years worth of micro-on sludge) but it can't be used while the toaster or coffee maker is plugged in or the fuses blow.
Many of my co-workers are tired of hearing me bemoan the danger of microwaving food in plastic but they persist in doing it anyway. (I guess the microwaves do kill the bacteria in mouse poop adorning the plastic wrap but we've all heard of the carcinogenic problems with plastic and microwaves.) I keep expecting co-workers to show up sporting elaborate tumors spontaneously generated by a Chernobyl-like convergence of microwave and plastic. Don't get me started on the imbibing of "sugar-free" sodas...
My bosses surly corgi used to hold fort beneath the table and consume whatever snacks and scraps that people dropped. Ginger used to also leave remarkably gigantic poops under the lunch table;her way of saying "thanks", but she has since gone to doggie heaven and food scraps stay on the floor.
And then there's the food itself: many of my co-workers are nutritionally challenged, consuming nothing but pizza and questionable portions of greasy take-out chicken but these people are young and still feel invincible. Ah youth!

The people I worry about are the ones I avoid eating with. One individual has horrified me with obscene "edible creations" lovingly constructed before my cringing eyeballs. How about wonder bread, slathered with peanut butter... and mayonnaise? Quick way to lose one's appetite! And deep fried everything... sometimes carted back from fairs and street festivals. I can't even describe some of the other items I've seen him place in his mouth. Another person whom I avoid at lunch time brings food from home, but it's usually some gigantic blob of undercooked meat in a plastic baggie that sits festering on the counter for hours (although the refrigerator is a few feet away). I can't even consider the bacteria multiplying mere inches from my innocent apple. Oh and I need I mention that I'm the only person at work who seriously consumes fruit? And vegetables?
We have a joke at work among my healthier eating co-workers, that no matter how awful or old something is- like Halloween candy months after the fact or stale cake from a party attended elsewhere (*2)- if you put it on the kitchen table, it will be gone (eaten!!) within minutes. Like piranha they are! This is the appropriate time to mention that for my birthday one year they purchased an ice cream cake for me, but then left it on the lunchroom table. We were really busy so it wasn't until much later- on a July afternoon- that we went to the lunchroom and were confronted with an ice cream soup mess. I guess it's the thought that counts!
Understandably, when the weather is warm I prefer to dine out doors, where we actually have a picnic table. But I am thinking I'm (sorta) lucky as due to uncertainties surrounding COVID 19, I don't have to go to work for the foreseeable future.(*3) Stay healthy! You are what you eat!

(*1) But I am happy to report that the co-worker in question was told to stay at home until next week so I feel vindicated. Also, I hope she realizes how lucky she is as they are apparently considering stopping flights to Washington State and elsewhere...
(*2) Or how about a months old gingerbread house? Brought in by a "thoughtful" co-worker? Left over from Xmas but delivered to us in February? I think that one was so beyond the pale that it wound up in the garbage can!
(*3) Because I actually enjoy certain aspects of work! Really! It can be amusing... just not the eating part.
(*4) The amaryllis is blooming on our kitchen table. It is here to remind us of beauty and things other than COVID 19. Amen.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Corona Not Flu!

The title is a play on a Ramones song, "Carbona Not Glue" that I hope you remember. If not,
here it is: The Ramones: Carbona Not Glue
Anyway, it's been a crazy roller coaster week, not only because of much personal busy-ness but the ever changing line up of democratic presidential hopefuls and that pesky "novel" virus. The stock market gone hay wire, people are dying (not good!) and our government is dropping the ball, as usual.
One week truly feels like a year. Here's an instructive and complicated anecdote: Last week, it was mentioned that a young woman who works in the office of the auction house (where I have worked for 14 years (!!!)) was off on another trip. Not paying too much heed, I casually inquired as to where she had gone. The answer was, "Washington State and Seattle." I was struck later that night, as we listened to the nightly news, that Washington State was being implicated in a couple of unexpected Corona virus cases. A day later, one person had died and a few more cases were diagnosed. I began to wonder if her trip had been a good idea and what was going to transpire when she returned. I asked our general manager- who just happens to be the young woman's mother- what her daughter was up to in Washington.*
Her mother (our equivalent of a HR person along with other hats) gave a perplexed laugh and shrugged and said, "Maybe I shouldn't have let her go. Maybe I'm not a good mother! Hahahaha."
 I became concerned.
Yes, perhaps the media likes to inflate the next enormous or tragic story but this particular issue has some teeth. F'rinstance, "they" (health care providers, epidemiologists and the like) aren't even sure exactly how where virus this came from or how it has spread so quickly . And we know there is no cure, and that it seems to be popping up all over the place... and worst of all is that we don't seem to be doing anything to effectively contain it here! The Orange Menace has proclaimed it "shut down" and "under control" and has incorrectly stated that "a vaccine is just around the corner" (in reality, a year to 18 months away!) He also "had a hunch" that few people would fall ill and that "many
people will have a mild case and even go to work". NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!                                                                                                    
I became increasingly alarmed when I was greeted with the morning news that 11 people in Washington state had died as a result. I expressed my concern to Bob and he agreed that I had a right to feel uncomfortable about working next to a person who had traveled to the very region that's Ground Zero. I shared concern with two of my co-workers and approached my boss. I guess I made it clear that I wasn't being alarmist and that many of us are older than 60 and are in a high risk age group, even if we tend to be pretty healthy. (My boss is well into his 70's and has had a nasty respiratory infection for several weeks: I don't think he'd be smart of mix in a possible cross-pollination with Covid 19!)

 This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.
Fortunately, he was responsive and went to talk to our general manager about having her daughter "self-quarantine" for a week or ten days. It still remains to be seen whether she will have the self restraint to stay home and check herself for symptoms. I am already preparing for my response if I go to work on Tuesday and she's there. But hell, her father as well as her mother work with us and won't they bring germs to work, even if she resists coming in? Stay tuned!

* And I'm not being judgemental, but this young woman is in her 20's, not considering her own- or anyone else's mortality! and probably being age-appropriately irresponsible. She comes back from her trips with tales of binge drinking and the like. I think I'm trying to get across the thought that her life is probably a seething petri dish!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Where Have I Been?!??!??

Above, giant amaryllis  in full spectacular 3 foot tall bloom! The bulb was big last year, but after summering outdoors and living inside, it's totally out performing itself! Amazing!! (Thanks Bob Santin for an remarkable specimen!!)
I apologize to my dedicated followers: I have been a bad blogger. But... I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
I had hit one of those occasional junctures in one's life, when you realize that you have probably over-committed and everything is due at once and even the things out of your direct control are clamoring for your immediate attention.
Work (like actual salt mines hi ho hi ho kind of work- as opposed to WORK as in life's-calling-studio work) has been appallingly busy what with auctions coming helter skelter one after the other. Typically, I can easily rearrange my schedule but the last two weeks has been raucous and
un-rearrangable. (And how I haven't succumbed to a bad cold, the flu, hell, CoVid 19!! is beyond me. Every person I work with has been snuffling and hacking and in general sounding like death. Our general manager actually left early.)
And then I got it into my head to apply for a really large grant- that I will not get (and that's just reality, not me being "negative!) but I suppose I feel like WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! I'm on  a roll because I did get the State of Connecticut grant (in case you forgot) and strike while the iron is hot and all that. But it was another deadline, complete with me having to set up budgets and images and about thirty assorted not-very-art-oriented question and references. More corporate than sensitive artist! But they dangle that big, big money...
AND we had to celebrate Mardi Gras, which sort of snuck up on us, but thank god they had King Cakes at our local Shop Rite!! (Pictured here, slathered in multi-colored festive icing and sugar!) and watch primaries.
And that's not even mentioning having to pick up work for one show, while dropping off work for another show AND finishing a piece that I have to drop off today before going to an opening this afternoon. No wonder I'm tired! (And wearing two different socks; I was too harried and impatient to search for a match.)
Oh right; we're also off to NYC tomorrow because I'm on a panel discussion at Artist's Talk on Art series. We'll be discussing how artist activists (like me!) fight against The Orange Menace. It should be enlightening and fun but I also feel honored to be part of this panel. We are all doing what we can... but most important is to motivate people to vote! VOTE! VOTE!!!
Finally on an altogether sillier note, the cold weather provokes a static electrical occurrence on the top of Robin the Good's head. A small cluster of hairs (seen here enhanced) persists in standing up. It looks totally adorable, but very silly! I'm not sure if she sees the humor in this, or whether she's even aware that her hair is doing this, but I had to share it anyway! (Don't tell Robin, but she looks like on of those kids in the Young Rascals. No! I mean Spanky and Our Gang; why did I think "Young Rascals"?!?!?)

Sunday, February 16, 2020

In Which I Get a Grant and Then Can't Sleep

The title of this posting pretty much says it all. Yaaaay!! Hooray for me! I got a grant from the state, which makes me a National Treasure (all friends/family members/coworkers/sycophants take note!) and worthy of the utmost respect. Hey! This is my third (3 time's the charm!!) grant from the state so I must be doing something right...
After all that excitement and the general craziness at work, I was so tired and strung out that I couldn't sleep on Monday night. That meant I was doubly tired and mixed up on Tuesday, so of course I couldn't sleep again and had another of my crazy post-Apocalyptic dreams. That made me such a mess on Wednesday that I actually cancelled my riding lesson. Boy, I KNOW I was tired if I bagged on that as I look forward to my ride all week long. I tried napping but Robin the Good keep poking me with her nose and paws to make sure I wasn't dead and I never really did sleep until later that night. I think I've caught up now, but it still hasn't entirely sunk in that I got a grant.
So what does one do after all the dust settles and reality hits? I start a new piece! *(1) Seen above is another of that awful Rush Limbaugh's portmanteaus... "Feminist" and "Nazi" make "Feminazi", of course: a title I will proudly claim if it makes me deplorable in Rush Limbaugh's lard encrusted eyeballs. I began this piece when I heard that The Orange Menace had awarded Limbaugh The Fucking Medal of Freedom for (apparently) being a racist, sexist, homophobic right-wing moron. I swear, what won't they dream up next? I read that The Orange Menace was dictating what kind of architecture is to be used in governmental buildings- shades of Mussolini!! Could things get any weirder??!? Dangerous question, that! *(2)

*(1) Well, yes, I started a new piece but it was so cold my studio wouldn't warm up so I actually began a through house cleaning. I vacuumed upstairs, downstairs and the actual stairs and am going to clean the bathrooms once I post this. Maybe I should hire a cleaning person with that grant money! Hahahahahah!

*(2) And now reports have The Orange Menace wanting to do a victory lap in the presidential limousine (nicknamed "The Beast") at the Daytona 500 or some other NASCAR event. Banana Republic here we come!!