Saturday, August 28, 2010


It has been a most tiring 48 hours.
On Wednesday, Brett & I went to see two bands play at Castaways- Free Energy & Titus Andronicus. We saw Free Energy a couple months ago and they were incredible. This time there more than 12 people there and we were clearly the oldest folks present. Brett wasn't crazy about T.A.- too loud/screamy/punk for him. I find that stuff to be kind of a tonic, honestly.
Castaways is one of the few places you can hang out on the water, odd for a town on a lake. Relatively cheap beers, deck on the inlet, tiki bar on weekends in the summer, and apparently the best wings in town, although I don't know because I don't like chicken wings.
I took Thursday off because I knew I would be out late the night before and most likely, partially deaf. It's a good thing I did because my assistance was needed in an emergency.

My friend Dan is starting his own private chef business, We threw a dinner party to kick-off his business, inviting a few people we know who have connections to people with money in town to get him started. Of course, that morning, one of the biggest days of his life, his dog got attacked by another dog. His wife, Polly, had her out on a walk at the time. Apparently it was their neighbor's dog, and one that their dog, Rhea, was friendly with. Dan needed the car to get stuff to prepare for the dinner, so I met Polly & Rhea at the vet hospital. Their regular vet didn't have hours that day and the other vet in their town was in surgery and couldn't see her. So they took her the pet hospital in Petsmart, which took her right away and treated her very well. The poor thing needed to be sedated (fortunately, not completely & intubated) to check for a puncture in her thoracic cavity and when dogs get into fights like this, sometimes the muscle can get separated from the bone and leave a space that fills up with fluid or infection.
The Kieyls & Rhea
Anyway, we checked Rhea in, got ourselves some lunch, and went to my house and set up for the party. Polly was also going to be the server. But when she returned from picking Rhea up at the vets', she was shaken up enough to have to go straight home. Rhea had been in shock before, so she was acting as if nothing was really wrong. Now, after time had gone by and her injuries had been prodded, she was really hurting, doped up full of pain meds & antibiotics, and had to wear The Cone of Shame. All of which upset Polly to no end, and she took her dog home to take care of her and missed out on the dinner. Which was lovely and exceptionally well-received.
And Rhea is doing well today, royally pissed off that she must wear The Cone of Shame, but healing.
But man, I am exhausted now, and aiming for a good solid nap the minute I get home from work today.
Cool picture of fire in the chiminea & the party lights

Friday, August 20, 2010

Curiouser and curiouser

Today I had to get blood drawn for some tests (nothing serious, just possibly an overactive thyroid, don't worry) and it occurred to me that I may be missing some of the crucial squeamishness my fellow humans seem to have.  I don't have a fear of needles or anything, but just the same, I looked away while she was drawing out of my arm. Then when she finished, I watched her cap off the tube and I found myself staring at it thinking, "Wow, that came out of me!" I was about to vocalize that, then I caught myself and kept my mouth shut.

Now, granted, I grew up in the company of nurses who had very little squeam about most anything the body can do, produce or remove. (Except for some reason that I find hysterical, my aunt MM finds it difficult to talk about lesbians. She can describe disgusting procedures to you in excruciating detail, but when it comes to a woman who prefers female companionship, she whispers and says that "she dances with women." It's like Mare Winningham's mother in St. Elmo's Fire who whispers bad things like "cancer" and "prison.")

I was also fascinated by getting my fingerprints for my teacher's license. I had to get them done at the state prison back home because I was applying for an out-of-state license and they had to get screened through the FBI (bad-azz, no?). I went into the room for the sheriff or whoever to do my prints and I couldn't stop staring at the dudes in orange jumpsuits- especially the little booties they wore. I wanted to ask each of them what they were in for. I think the fingerprint-man sensed my curiosity and scooted me out of there pretty rapidly.

I was at Convenient Care for a sinus infection once and there was a prisoner in the room across the hall from me getting a check-up or something. I waved to him when both doors to our rooms opened. He couldn't wave back because he was in handcuffs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

If Historical Events had Facebook Statuses

Too funny. Sorry it's so small- try the link below.


I want to kick azzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The other night I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I loved it. It was just damn fun.

And I have a special place in my heart (and my pocket) for Michael Cera. I love him in just about everything he's ever been in, although he'll always be George Michael to me. ("What a fun sexy time for you!")

But what really got me was how KICK-ASS these girls are!! WHERE WAS RAMONA FLOWERS WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL???? I needed a role model like her, not whiny, mousy Molly Ringwald or bitchy, coked-up Demi Moore.

Even the character of Knives- who had the potential to and was on a screechy high-speed route to be a first-class whiny wet-towel turned out to be a bad-ass! And the chick drummer who stared down the other (little) chick drummer!

My little feminist heart just about exploded.

I haven't seen Kick-Ass yet, but I'm already in love with the foul-mouthed awesome Hit Girl. 

And it all leads me to two conclusions:

1.  Girls today have it much better in movies than in my day,


2.  I need me some Easter-egg colored hair.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Everybody Wants Some

Day two of Facebook fast & I've cheated twice. I felt guilty because two friends had birthdays and what kind of person would I be if I didn't wish them happy birthday? Dammit.

I had a wonderful time with my wonderful, goofy family this past weekend.

It was my Aunt Joanne & Uncle Peter's 50th wedding anniversary Friday and to celebrate, they renewed their vows in the church they were married in and had a big party for family and friends after. Sadly, there are only 3 wedding guests who are still with us today- my aunt MaryMargaret, cousin Maggie I, and my mom, who was the flower girl! It was really sweet, especially since my aunt has been battling stage III breast cancer the past year & a half and has come out on the winning side.
Cousin Maggie I, Cousin Tom, Uncle Terry, Aunt Joanne, Any Mary Margaret, my mom

They booked the top floor of a little Irish pub for a party after the wedding service. Brett & I knew it was going to be a good time when we walked in and the sound system was playing Van Halen's "Everybody Wants Some.' Nothing says 50 years of marriage like Van Halen! And all we could think about was the claymation video from Better Off Dead:

Of course Walter & Clarence joined us out on terrace for drinks after we'd returned to the hotel.
Uncle Paul had been drinking Drambouie with my mom and dad.  He was giddy when he joined us, so I asked him to put Walter's hat on. He did and in a very loud voice asked me if he looked like "a Hasidic." When I said, no, it's a cowboy hat, Uncle Paul, he responded by pointing to the Hasidic gentleman in his black yamulke sitting at a table a few feet away. "I look just like that one!"
Uncle Paul

Cool Cousin Dan in Walter's hat
"Can you believe these peoples??"
Kevin & Walter
Now while the terrace bar was quite lovely, it was really beyond any of our price ranges and our parents weren't buying anymore, so we moved across the street to this pit of a bar called Danny's Pub that we frequent whenever we're in town at this hotel.  The bartender is unpleasant man. He does not like customers. My cousin Jennifer, after observing his surly behavior, asked him, 'Have you thought about pooping?' He didn't treat us any kinder after that one.

Cousin Kevin, MK, Jennifer
Katie, Kevin I, MK, Jennifer, Kevin II, Dan

Forrest Gump dancing
 Now, we were the only folks in this bar, on a Friday night in mid-August.  We were paying, drinking steadily, behaving ourselves, not too noisy.  Of course, there was some Forrest Gump dancing when Sweet Home Alabama came on the jukebox, but nothing obnoxious.

 Jennifer was a bit, shall we say, in her cups, and started flashing people.

Flashing begins, Exhibit A
 You can see it beginning here.
This little dude was particularly entertained.

This 'little person' who seemed to be the bartender's only friend, was quite caught up in our antics, particularly when Jennifer flashed him (not intentionally).  The next morning, everyone was picking on Jennifer about the incriminating photos I'd snapped of her. She didn't remember doing anything noteworthy. I'd just reminded her when her mother, Aunt Mary Margaret, walked up. "What are you two laughing about?" "Just what I did last night," Jennifer said. "What did you do last night?" MM asked, eyebrows meeting in a cloud of scowl. "Flashed a midget." MM walked away because she started laughing & couldn't maintain her cross look.

This is my cousin Andrew. He's only a few months younger than me. We grew up together-- even went to nursery school together. He wanted this Corona pinata in the worst way, so I got the bartender to let him hold it for awhile. Stingy bastard wouldn't let him keep it, though.

More about Andrew- much later that night, my cousins took us to a diner to get some much-needed food inside us.  Andrew ordered a burger from our surly waitress who asked what kind of cheese he wanted. He said, "American." Which caused my cousin Darrell to respond, "He's not French, you know" for some reason. Someone else asked why anyone would possibly think Andrew was French. I mentioned that he was dressed all in white and someone might mistake that for fashion.  So the rest of the night, we called Andrew 'Frenchy', which amuses me to no end, even at this very minute. He is forever Frenchy to me now.

The next day was a party at the Community Center.  This was a more populated party, as the previous day's events had been for family only, and today's soiree was for friends as well.

Brett enjoyed the Community Center's commitment to fitness.

My very cute cousins Taylor & Kieran, with Brett in background.

I am a bad influence.  This is cousin Brendan. He had been tormenting cousin Taylor all day, so when he went in to the bathroom, she waited outside with a bucket of ice water to ambush him.  Kieran and I discussed her plan and found it wanting.  I pointed out that I had noticed there were no screens in the bathroom windows and that the rooms themselves were very tiny.  As Brendan had been in there for some time now, we concluded that he was probably, ahem, sitting down.  I suggested that a carefully tossed cup of ice cubes into the room would probably make an unpleasant landing. Kieran threw a cup of ice cubes into the bathroom through the window. It jolted Brendan into action. When he left the bathroom to find the culprit, his defenses were down, and Taylor's ice water throw was successful.  I am luckily old enough and dressed up enough at the time to avoid all punishment but an energetic warning hug from Brendan for my role in the mishap.  Which is good, because Dude is an ultimate fighter now and I wouldn't want to try to take him down.
And finally, a nice picture of my dad, mom, katie and me. Don't know who the two dudes were talking in the background or where my brother was when we were taking this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Face-less Book

I am taking a wee vacation from teh Facebook this week (although I've already cheated twice).
But this is a good thing because it means I will post more here! (Well, good for ME, anyway.)

Until I gird up my loins to blog about my fabulous family weekend, here's a little graphic about composting:,17421/

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fine Art de Wuggly

Me, Myself and I ... and Myself, and Me, and I

Dancing With Myself

Tragedy! (Or melodrama, depending on who you're asking)

Swell Season covering Neutral Milk Hotel

One of my favorite bands covering a tune by another favorite band.
Wish I could've found a way to embed the video here, but oh well.,38877/

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What's going on here?

I can't tell if they're reenacting The Lady From Shanghai...

... or a Michael Jackson video.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

They ain't freaks, they're family!

Next Friday, Brett & I will travel down to Morristown, NJ for my aunt & uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party. They are renewing their vows. It's a pretty special occasion, as my aunt has been fighting stage III aggressive breast cancer the past year & a half and seems to be winning.

My NJ cousins are CRAZY. Every year around Labor Day weekend, they throw a huge family clambake in one of their backyards. They rent cotton candy & popcorn machines, cook an unfathomable amount of food, and build a waterslide.

Now, I don't think they're doing all this for the wedding weekend, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had something similarly over-the-top planned.

Here's some pictures of the last clambake I went to.  Maybe later I'll post the photos of the fudge fight we had in one of our hotel rooms at the last family wedding. (No euphemism- it really was candy fudge.)

Under the tent, looking out at the slide.

Aunt Mary Margaret & cousin Maggie II, with the top of the waterslide in the background.

Looking down the slide into the "pool" at the end.

Yes, the big kids go down the slide too. It's a point of honor.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My name is Jime, you big ball of slime.

Ah, my brother. He is a legend in his own time.

Kevin is one of the most bizarre, direct, good-hearted, weird people I've ever known.

We were born 15 months apart and looked like twins until about age 10.

I did everything early- walked, talked (first word was "owl," was reading by 2 1/2. So my parents didn't think anything of Kevin's delays.  We have a whole series of attempts at getting a picture of the two of us under the Christmas tree because he kept falling over backward into the tree and I wasn't strong enough to hold him upright myself.

By the time our sister, Katie, came along, they knew something wasn't right with Kev.  We spent every weekend going up to Rochester to have specialists look him over.  They tested Katie and me, too, as comparison. It was easily an hour & a half drive, on a bumpy two-lane road (390 hadn't been built yet, for those of you familiar with upstate NY). I got both easily bored and easily carsick, so I couldn't bring a book or do anything to occupy myself except look out the window. We had a used van that could have a slight whiff to it at times, and my parents were on a sugar-free kick, so they gave me Carefree gum. The saccharine in the gum made me almost as sick as the motion did. To distract me from upchucking (and to ward off the following clean-up and potential peristaltic chain reaction), my dad would try to distract me by quizzing me about the music on the radio.  I rock at music trivia, specifically classic rock, thanks to my dad.

They finally determined that the left side of Kevin's brain had been deprived of oxygen during birth and he had suffered damage, resulting in a lowered IQ and loss or reduction in some of the areas the left hemisphere controls. 

We later learned that Kevin also has a screamin' case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, although that has nothing to do with his brain injury.  He has less control over it because of his brain damage, but the OCD was clearly an inherited family gift.

My folks had no idea how to deal with this, and talking with parents of other challenged kids didn't really help, because Kevin is so unique and his situation really different from other kids'.  His disability is slight-- he's in the gray area at the low end of normal on the IQ spectrum. If you watch Forrest Gump when Forrest is first diagnosed, Kevin's score is right about where Forrest's is.  My parents' coping strategy in most situations was to laugh.  When my dad came home from a long day of work and my mom silently led him into our formal dining room to show him the 3-foot-tall hamburger-head people Kevin had drawn all about the room (there were at least a dozen of them) in bright blue permanent Sharpie, he just shook his head and then broke down laughing. They referred to it as Kevin's "Blue Period."

Kev's an interesting case because normally long-term memory resides in the left hemisphere and that should've been knocked out by his damage. But the dude has the creepiest, most accurate long-term memory of anyone I know. He puts elephants to shame. He remembers where you were, what you were wearing, what was going on, what we were eating, who said what. His memories are always verified, so we don't even doubt him anymore.  Short-term memory is another monster. He'll need to have a simple direction repeated several times before it sticks:

"Kev, could you go get my red shirt? It's on the blue chair in my room."
He leaves. He returns.
"The blue shirt?"
"No, the RED shirt. On the blue chair. In my room."
He leaves. He returns.
"In the office?"
"No. In my room. On the blue chair."
He leaves. He returns.
"On the bed?"
"No. On the blue chair."
He leaves. He returns with the red shirt. Success.

One of my favorite Kevin stories involves his name. He's officially Paul Kevin Barnes, Jr. "Little Paul" did not work. "Junior?" Not a chance. My parents settled on "Kevin" but he didn't like it because we have a cousin Kevin and it could get confusing.  So Kev decided to change his name to Jimmy. But he spelled it phonetically so it became Jim-E. He went through a brief phase where he would only answer to JimE, but it proved hard to keep up. He did, however, sign birthday cards for several years as "JIME." (Kevin frequently writes in all caps.) One friend of the family saw this and pronounced it "Jime" rhyming with "mime" which cracked us up and resulted in much chanting of "What's the time, Jime, you big ball of slime." In recent years, just to get a rise out of people, Kevin's become fond of telling people that he's just met that our father wanted to name him "Shit Head" when he was born.

Another time, many years later, we were out at a bar in our hometown and this smarmy guy my sister used to date came up to say hi. He chummily put his arm around Kevin who threw it off immediately and yelled, "Get your damn hands off me! I don't know where they've been!"

And I've written about Wilson and Stacy here before.

My very favorite story has to be his prozac overdose. Don't get all up at arms, he only took one or two more than he was supposed to (and he was on a lot so it was really a drip in the bucket) but it got him worried when he realized he'd taken the wrong dose. I was at Brett's apartment at the time, and my mom called to tell me, then kept calling to give me the play-by-play. I eventually came over to see for myself. He was giddy, guffawing and giggling and writing notes on his Dallas Cowboys stationery. He wrote me two notes to take over to Brett: 1. "Do you have any pickles?" and 2. "Doin' the bacon."  No explanation. I took them back to Brett, after shaking Kevin's hand and telling him to take care of himself, which made him explode in laughter.  When I called my mom to check back in a few hours later, she said he'd crashed off his happy-high and spent the rest of the night sitting "indian-style" on his bed crying. The "indian-style" part was very important, she said. Disclaimer: he was perfectly fine the next day, just a little sheepish, so a lot of it could have been acting.

There are many more Kevin stories and Kevin-isms that I will post here later, as well as embarrassing photos.

Monday, August 2, 2010

BAMF Art Blog Bunch Summer Show

Some of the members of the BAMF Art Blog Bunch have gotten together and entered this online show. Please have a look at our work!

Kasey Baker

My thoughts: I have so many thoughts. This is the Summer show and this is my Summer entry. As I said last show I plan on doing a painting for each of the seasons. This is just the Summertime feel for me. Vacations, getting away and being in your own little world. 
I don't have etsy or anywhere else I sell things.  If you want to buy things from me you'll have to contact me by email or facebook.  
I have a blog which is the most important thing that exists on the internet today. You might be reading this on it. Kudos, you. You make good decisions. 
Here's some other things I've done in a facebook photo album

Gary Rith

(vase by Gary Rith)
When you have a show, you want to showcase something amazing, and this is actually a humble little vase, BUT I had been fiddling with my glazes and wound up with this wild and bright TURQUOISE last week, which I used here with the frogs. Frogs and bright turquoise are quite summery! I will be tempted to use turquoise on everything. In additon, this vase, as humble as it is, has an unusual origin. 4 years ago in October I had my first ever open studio on Columbus Day weekend. My first EVER web customer CM came down from Toronto and Allison and Trevor came from across the street, along with dozens of other people. Allison was HUGELY pregnant and gave birth a day or 2 later. Allison's mom came to visit my studio with her grandaughter last week and this is the vase I made, and I was able to joke that the last time (nearly 4 years ago) Roxy was in my studio, she was just a big bump in her mama's belly....
You can email me directly about purchases or purchase this vase or something like it at my online etsy gallery and look at what I am up to every day on my daily blog.

Steve Gallow
Summer Time is a time of relaxation and adventure.  My family likes to travel to different parts of the world to see new things.  As a photographer, this is a great time to find new subjects to photograph.  I enjoy photographing the typical tourist shots in new ways that haven't been seen before.  I hope that you will enjoy the few photos that I selected as part of the BAMF Art Blog Bunch's Summer Art Show.  See them here on my Smugmug Site.  Stevo

George and Maureen Johnson
Here is George's entry in the Art Blog Show. He loves to make unusual bottles with sculpted stoppers. He works with glazes called saturated, in this case saturated black. It has a sort of soft metallic look to it. The bottle is wheel thrown, the base is hand built (but attached), the stopper is hand sculpted to resemble wrapped wire. The bottom of the stopper is glazed with a textured glaze. It is made out of stoneware. The size of the bottle is 8 1/4" tall including stopper. If you are interested in purchasing this bottle the price is $40.00 plus shipping. You can email me at
Here is my entry for the Art Show. This is what is called a "Gourd Pitcher". As you know I have a great love for ancient styles, but love to put a modern twist to them in regards to the glaze choices. It is wheel thrown, stoneware. The pitcher has a pulled handle with a sort of gourd vine curl at the end. I fired this piece to cone 5 with a 15 minute soak. The reason I fired it that way is because I like the results on the reactive glaze in juxtaposition to the solid green color. I didn't want them to run together. The pitcher is 9 3/4" Tall, the cups are 3" in diameter and appx. 2 1/2" tall.
The price is $50.00 plus shipping for the complete set. I do not sell online, so you can email me at if you are interested in purchasing it.

Kerry Barnes
This is always how it starts out, isn't it?  A perfect, tranquil day and then... chaos! Danger! Adventure!

Available as a framed, matted print up to 11"x14".
Please email me for details and prices.