Monday, November 24, 2014

Shit Happens

Saturday was warm and overcast here in central Indiana. I decided it would be a good thing to get the dogs out to the dog park before the heavy rain started. We were there over an hour, the dogs running around and having a good time. I then had to make a quick stop at Michael's for some gesso.

Traffic in this area is growing every single day. The weekends are a zoo, and I have learned to avoid certain roads and areas that are particularly heavy. I am a confident driver, more cautious now that I am older, and always very aware when the dogs are with me. As I tried to make a left hand turn out onto a busy parkway, an opening occurred. There was an older Mercury approaching in the right turn lane with his right turn signal on. I pulled out. He hit me.

Because I was barely moving, we were not hurt. The car is a mess and in a wrecker's parking lot, waiting for the insurance adjuster. I believe, and I am not an expert on automobiles, that the damage is all cosmetic. The front bumper, hood, and both front quarter panels are going to be replaced at the very least. But I don't think the frame is bent or anything mechanical is wrong, because I was able to turn the wheels and pull off on the side of the road.

I am grateful that my babies are alright, although Gracie was shaking badly when I checked on her. Gracie doesn't like booms, or bangs. I am grateful I wasn't hurt, other than shook up, and held some stress in my back for the remainder of that day. But all is good now.

I am grateful for the kindness of my friends, and the consideration, kindness and professionalism of the police and firemen that responded to the crash. They were awesome. Beyond awesome. I stood by the car for almost 30 minutes while the male driver of the other vehicle was transported to the hospital (not hurt, but disoriented.) I presented my insurance information, drivers license, and car registration, called my friend Melissa for help with the dogs and a ride, and answered all questions. In this process, my phone fell out of my coat pocket. The tow driver found it, gave it to a fireman, who delivered it to my home right after I arrived with Melissa. How cool is that?

I cried a little, but refused any medical attention, and called everyone "sir". I thanked everyone several times. It is good to know that the responders are caring individuals. A very good thing indeed.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Second in series

This is the second canvas in the series of 10 from the Donna Downey class. Looking at the bottom photo makes me realize I should have applied a layer of gesso under the paint. Hmmmm. I didn't take photos of the work in progress, because once I started I didn't stop. Just ripped through this, having fun, enjoying the creative force.

Probably will start a the third canvas today. A rainy, overcast Sunday good for working in the studio, watching a movie, or reading a book. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This one's for ME!

Applied ephemera with gel medium

Close up of light modeling paste

Before final glazing of Raw Umber

Completed with glazing

I mentioned the other day that I treated myself to a new online class with Donna Downey. The name of the class is 10 in 10, 10 canvases in 10 days. I am not quite that fast for several reasons. I like to think about what I'm doing, and can take weeks to complete a canvas. That is not the case with this project, but the waiting for layers to dry is slowing me down a bit.

I have been on Pinterest since the beginning, and started a board for abstract art months ago. Looking at examples of other's art is inspiring and daunting. The main reason I took this class was to get out of my rut,  and try something new. Donna Downey is a very talented teacher, organized, enthusiastic, and yes, inspiring. I've completed two canvases, starting a third, and having an absolute blast. This is for me. I am not selling these, don't care if anyone else thinks they are crap because they are going on my walls. And I am learning and growing, two things that I love to do.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Misc Friday

Back in March of this year, I opened a letter from the IRS. Such a benign sentence. A more accurate statement would be "with my freaking heart in my throat, I ripped the envelope from the %%$$#IRS, hands shaking uncontrollably." This letter told me that I owed $1,830 for my 2012 federal income taxes. I immediately pulled out my tax file, followed each line on the letter with my own copy of my return, and yep, I owed money. Just not $1,830. After a bit of research with my investment broker, I called the IRS (your call is important to us, please do not hang up, or you may lose your place in the calling queue). I timed it. I was on hold waiting for a live human for 34 minutes.

The woman was extraordinarily nice, polite, and very professional. I explained I owed money, it was entirely my fault, but not that amount. She agreed. I gave her new information, she did the calculations, and told me it was reduced to $524. A great sigh escaped my body, and I said I would send a check immediately. "OH, NO!" she said. You must wait for a new letter with that amount indicated as being due. A small fine will be added. It will take 4 to 6 weeks. Oookkkkkaaaaayyyyyy.

To tell the truth, I forgot about it. I looked for the letter after a month, but when nothing arrived I completely put it out of my mind. There is a lot of stuff in my mind, and it's crowded in there. If something like a notification from the IRS is shoved in, space is limited, and the other, more important stuff will push the IRS brat out the ear. A second letter arrived in July. This time I was confident. This time I wasn't shaking. This time I was a complete and total idiot for believing my government had rectified the compounded error.

THIS letter said I owed $1,836 (note, $6 more), and that I was on my way to the tax court. There were many forms, and it boiled down to if I agreed that I was a horrible tax payer that had abused the system, I would sign the letter and return it to await my punishment. Uh, no. I didn't sign it. I did write a letter, once again making corrections on the IRS letter, enclosing all of it, and mailed it.

Time marched on. A third letter arrived in September. I now owed $529, which included my fine for not paying the correct taxes back in 2012. I about broke my arm writing a check for that amount, and getting it in the mail. Ahhhhh. Relief. It's over. Done. I can breath again.

Uh, no. A fourth letter arrived in October. This letter was very chatty. Hi there, taxpayer. We noted that you didn't pay the full amount of all of our previous correspondence, and that is just not right. Because you didn't reply to us within 90 days (WHAT????), we have no recourse but to bill you for the full balance. (WHAT?????) No amount was indicated. I called. On hold for 41 minutes. And again, the woman who answered the call was polite, professional, and as far as I'm concerned, a saint. She explained that that letter had been sent to tell me I had returned a previous form unsigned, and it involves the tax court, and so they had to let me know if anything was amiss, I was responsible. Ooookkkkkaaayyyyy. What do I owe? Nothing, Mrs. Crowe. Not a penny. I see your payment in full, you are so done with the 2012 taxes, and all is good. I am making a notation on your file that you called today, and that we spoke. You are free.

My birthday was this past Tuesday, November 18th. I received my fifth letter from the IRS. On my birthday. Happy Birthday to meeeee. This letter stated that I overpaid. A refund of $1.17 would arrive within 2 to 3 weeks. Yesterday the refund came in the mail. The check is for $1.18. One penny more. I am now waiting for the letter that tells me I owe them a penny.

Life is good. Screwed up, convoluted, but good just the same.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mojo is working!

Creativity is a funny thing. Either it is with you or it isn't. For whatever reasons I lost mine last spring, and it was pretty much gone all summer and early fall. I had zero desire to even enter the studio, let alone work in an art journal or on a canvas. No sewing, nothing was going on. The blog was ignored, because I had stopped taking photographs, and didn't feel like I had anything to say.

Any artist, particularly the female artists I follow online, will tell you that when you hit a dry spell you work through it. Force yourself to do something. Nah, didn't want to do that so I let everything slide. Then last month that little itch started up again. Very small at first, I'd dabble for maybe 10 minutes at a time, then walk away. Still unsure, still waiting for lightning to strike. I did a few online classes with Christy Tomlinson, because I had signed on for the year with her Art Society. You receive links to a new project once a month. The fire was still not quite burning bright.

If you like mixed media, if you like abstract art, if you just want to play there is a new class I can't recommend enough: Donna Downey's 10 - 10 in 10 canvas workshop. Check it here. I watched the intro video and first day video yesterday, and started my first canvas. I will share the steps after I finish, had to give it overnight to dry the first layer. Donna makes this so easy, and just encourages you to have fun and play and hey! be happy. This is exactly what I needed. The supplies she uses are all Golden, which are a bit pricey but I had almost everything on hand. But she uses minimal supplies, making the self imposed limit work for us. Love this concept, love her instruction.

More to come. Have a good day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Freaking WInter

It is way too early for weather this cold. Snow on the ground for the past 3 days. But wait! Thunderstorms coming in this weekend? 60 degrees? Is the world ending? Is this the bitch slap the Republicans need to wake up about global climate change? Do bears shit in the woods?

I'm in a mood. Can you tell? Have been back in the studio and not really happy with the results. Some yes, mostly no. So I signed up for another online class this morning. This time with Donna Downey. 10 canvases in a series in 10 days. This means, but of course, I must, just must go shopping today to buy, buy, buy.

I have come to the conclusion that my addiction is to buying, and the process of creating. Not the end result. Is that weird? I don't know. Reading as many artist blogs as I do, I honestly don't feel I'm alone. There is always another product to try, something new on the market, or perhaps a new technique using older supplies.That is the hook that draws me in, again and again.

Yesterday it occurred to me that, should I drop dead of a heart attack, the kids would be left with stacks of these canvases and wonder what the hell I was doing, thinking, trying to accomplish. They would scratch their heads and come to the conclusion that I had way too much time on my hands and money to waste. My money, my time, my life. I have reached a point in my life that it truly does not matter to me what other people think. I am living my life for me. If creating crappy canvases makes me content and happy, brings a smile to my face, so be it. It's just me and the dogs, and they aren't talking.

Wise dogs.

Don't look at her. She has the phone out. 
Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On Getting Older

Gracie in the warm sunshine
Today I am 67. Do I feel that old? Yes and no. My arthritis and scoliosis make me feel 200 at times, but mentally no, I don't feel 67. Mentally I am still that curious woman who found the internet, loves to read, and always wants to see something new.

I had lunch with three friends on Sunday. One is a full year younger than me, the other two are a couple,who are approaching their 71st birthdays. The gentleman, a voracious reader, will not use a computer nor a smart phone. His wife tends to all emails, shows him the text messages they receive with photos of grandchildren on her phone, and explains what an "app" is. That is after I tell her how to find the apps and install them, then use them.  The woman who is a year younger has a son who is an IT expert, so she turns to him when her IPad, IPhone, and laptop won't do what she wants them to. She also has a problem with a television/cable box remote control. All three of these dear people were school teachers for 30 years.

What does this say about aging? Just this. You get old if you allow it. You think old if you shut out the world zipping by, and stop being curious. And the more you don't make inquiries, the more you don't ask questions on subjects that are confusing or new, the more your brain shuts down. THAT ages you.

I love listening to new music on the college radio station. I am willing to try entertainment that is out of my safe zone because you never know what you may like. I will try new foods. If you stay within the confines of what you have always done, there is no growth. No adventure. And no life, just existence. All of this is my opinion, because, hey, this is my blog. It is how I feel, how I live.

To know the real highs, you have to experience some lows. Take life one day at a time, but look around the corner. You just might like what you see.