Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend...bad start.

                                                                Baby Bunny

The funeral for my friend's mum was at 1pm Saturday.
It was horrid.
Well, not horrid.  It all went well, the hymns were lovely and the pastor did a beautiful service.
But it was a lot different to the funerals I have attended back home.
The worst thing, in my opinion, was that they have the casket open all through the service and you are supposed to go up and gaze at the poor deceased lying there.
In fact, you could see her from right at the back of the room.........which is where we stayed.
I really, really don't like that idea.
People do not look their best when they are dead and it just seemed awful to watch the procession of people going up to stare at her.
I would much rather remember someone when they were alive, fun and smiling.  Remember them from a happy time, not a cold shadow of the person lying in a casket, which tends to be an image you can never shake.
Maybe I am wrong.  It has been known.
Also, like most things over here, the dress code was so casual.
Philip and I had dressed formerly, not in black, but in some of our best, subdued clothing as we would at an English funeral.  Unless of course something else has been requested.
I went to the funeral of a colleague of mine in England and he had  requested that bright colours should be worn.  I thought that was excellent and really matched his personality.
But, at this funeral people were there in shorts, t. shirts ....any old thing.
They could have been popping out to the supermarket.   I found that odd, but it must be the way they do it over here. 
It all went ok and we slipped out as soon as we decently could without going near the casket.
I did like my friend's mum a lot and shall miss her.   She was always such a 'lady'.

Then the bridal shower at 5.30pm.
Philip dropped me off and I went in.  I didn't know a soul accept my friend.
Most of the people were her family and I hadn't ever met them before.  She sat me down with one young lady who was sitting on her own, saying that we could keep each other company.
Yeah right.  This girl just continued playing on her phone - as is the way of many people nowadays.
My friend had called out to a group of relatives to introduce me as her friend from England.
So, trying to be friendly and break the ice I went to speak to them.   Fumbling for something to spark a conversation I asked if they had watched the opening ceremony of the olympic games.  A couple of the ladies said they had but one of the guys started making fun of the way I speak.  He was trying to mimic an English accent with cries of "Cheerio" etc.
I don't know why people do this.  There is nothing endearing about it.  It is just offensive.  He thought he was so clever, looking at the people in his little group and laughing.  All the time I am standing there looking like an idiot.
One of the ladies said how much she enjoyed the ceremony and I ,ignoring the imbecile beside her, said I thought it could have done without Paul McCartney as he seemed a little tired.
She was trying to agree with me and we attempted polite conversation, all the while the idiot was mimicking what I said.
He then said loudly "Well, it wasn't as good as the Bejing games."
I, politely replied, "No, probably not, but it is a different culture really."
Then, said the moron, looking around at his entourage and grinning, "Yeah Brits are just boring.".
I couldn't believe it . Why would you be so rude to someone you had just met, who was there on her own and had tried to be friendly.
"Oh, thank you," I replied, " I like you too."
I then returned to my lonely spot on the other table without looking back at them.
I hadn't wanted to go to this "do" in the first place.  Now I wanted to go home and it hadn't even started.
There were so many things I would have liked to say to him but I would not be rude to any one if I could avoid it.  I certainly did not let my friend know although I think he is probably the idiot in the family that will always do stuff like this.
My ex had a brother who was exactly like it.  He was (and from what I hear still is) obnoxious.
It is a form of bullying.  The people around him would all be laughing with him because they were only to relieved he was picking on someone else and not them.
He is also a terrible coward.
The rest of the evening was horrible.
I shall never say anything about it to my friend, unless one of her relatives tells her what he was like.  If she asks me, then I shall tell her.
I will never, ever go to a family "do" of hers again.
I do hasten to add that this is the first time anyone has been so rude to me since we moved over here.  The Americans we have met have always been friendly and charming.  

The picture at the top is of a baby bunny that is living in our garden.
We have big rabbits that spend a lot of time there but this is obviously the result of them doing what bunnys do best.  He is so sweet.  I hope the poxy hawk keeps away because I would be very upset if he got him.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Is it the weekend yet?


A troublesome week.
On Tuesday my friend's mum, who had been ill for a while, passed away.
It was awful.
I knew her very well and I was very sad about the whole thing.
She had a horrid disease and had suffered far more than she should.
My friend was phoning me much of the day before it happened in the evening.
I work for her and was due to go in on Wednesday.
The weatherman informed us that the temperature was going to be over 100F  with heat indices (whatever they are) of 110F (around 44C I think).
So, my friend needed me to work but I can't do the walk to and from the bus stop or the wait for the bus in these conditions.  It makes me poorly.
So, she very kindly arranged for her brother to pick me up.
Which he did.
I arrived only to find that she wasn't that well either.  She is a type one diabetic (she needs to inject insulin and eat at regular times).
She looked like she was ready to pass out and I had to force her to drink some juice to get some sugar into her.   I have learned to recognize the signs after all these years.
The funeral is on Saturday.
If I am honest, I really do not want to go.   Simply because I have been to a lot of them and most were for people very close to me.  They hold horrible memories which come creeping back and keep me awake at night.
But, I can tell that Pat expects Philip and I to go we will.
That is at 1pm.
At 5.30pm I have to be at a bridal shower.  We don't have these in England.
Over here, you accept your invitation to the wedding and buy a gift.....fairly straightforward.
A couple of weeks before the wedding though, they have a bridal shower where you go for a meal and buy another gift.  What is that all about?
The person who is getting married is someone I have only met twice.
I only agreed to go to help a friend out.  Now it is turning into something of an ordeal.  Philip was invited to the shower too but he has refused point blank to go.
So, I will have to go on my own.   I will only know my friend...nobody else.
Sigh..........I wish I could say 'no' to things but I find it so difficult.

Thank goodness for my paintings.
I finished the picture above this week.  It was a special request as a tribute to the dog in the picture and the man that rescued him and looked after him for years.
He had a very sad story with a very happy ending. Apparently he was found badly injured in a river by a very kind man who decided to give him a home. He had probably been used as a 'bait dog' for dog fighting. Poor River had to have his leg amputated but never let it slow him down. He lived a wonderful life with the guy who rescued him, but recently died. I was asked to do this portrait by the Rescue Centre, as a tribute to River. I was more than happy to.
Thank you River.  You stopped me from going completely loopy this week.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just call me

                                                          Onyx By Moonlight.

I have finished the painting for the lady that wanted her black cat Onyx in a fantasy picture.
I am pleased to announce she loves it.
Always a worry that at the end of many hours of work the person who asked for it won't like it.
She is just miffed that she has to wait for it to dry and be glazed before she can have it.

I also sold another Frost Wolf print.  This one was matted etc.  I sent that off in the week.
Then this morning I had another person ask about one of my paintings on my Posh Pet Portraits page.
I told her how much it is with post and packing etc. and she bought it.
I have to ship that one to California.
Coo....South Carolina, now California..... where next I wonder?

I have also had a couple of orders for pet portraits.  Dogs.
I love doing dogs so I shall start those this week.   Then there was the persian cat.....when I get round to it.

I am now looking for strong cardboard boxes to send paintings in.   They are not cheap.
You also have to buy them in bundles of 25 minimum.
Up until now I have scratched around and found suitable boxes but it isn't easy finding the size.
Big and shallow basically.
Tomorrow I need to buy some more canvases so I will ask in the art shop.  They might know where I can get some.

After I finished the cat painting I had a shower as I always seem to get paint all over me.  I try not to be messy and I start off carefully putting my brushes down on paper towels etc but after a few minutes the enthusiasm sets in and I get carried away.
Paint and brushes, paint smeared towels and palette knives fly about all over the place......mostly over me.
I came out of the shower and found I still had black oil paint on my elbow and my arm.
I scrubbed it off my elbow but the blooming stuff would not come off my arm and it hurt.
After several minutes of vigorous scrubbing, I discovered that the reason I couldn't get it off,  was because that paint was a bruise.
I think I got it when the desk I use at work collapsed on me on Wednesday..........but that is another story.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Glory be.....RAIN !!

So, it was off to River Rhythms last night.
After another two days of over 100F heat, it seemed cooler at around 90F.
I had to stop off on the way to mail a Frost Wolf picture off as I had received a cheque (coo...I managed to spell that right. I have got too used to using 'check' as the colonials over here do), from a customer and I wanted to send it straight away.
Philip didn't mind being a little late to River Rhythms as the band this week was a country band.
He hates country music.  I can't say I am that fond of it.
The songs are generally about....'his wife's left him, his dog has died, the kids are all sick, the crops have all failed and his truck is broke"....type of thing.
But, this band were not like that.
They were bloody good.  They were more rock & country  (which Philip said meant they were 'crock').
They were excellent musicians and singers.
One thing though.
Is there somewhere they buy their special 'bow legged' jeans?
It seemed that they all had them - the jeans and the bow legs.
Just wondered if there was a specialist shop for such things.
Anyway, I was really enjoying them, especially when they did an excellent rendition of The Devil Went Down To Georgia, the crowd were all starting to warm up and the dancing was energetic, when the announcer got up on the make an announcement.
He told us that we had some "weather" coming and that the band would do another couple of songs but then they had to pack up all their equipment and go.  This was some serious "weather".
Oh we don't do things by halves here in Wisconsin.
Everybody was grumbling as they packed up their picnics, tables and chairs and started moving off.
It was just about 8pm.
Just after we got back to the car and started heading homewards, the skies darkened.
Oh actually, they didn't just darken....they blacked as inkedened.
My mum had a saying...can't remember where it started but whenever the sky started to look dark and there was rain coming she would say...."Coo, it ain't 'alf black over Bill's mother's."
I don't know who Bill was or his mother come to that.
But, last night it was really black over Bill's mother's.
It was so black with light under it, it looked like a tornado.
There was amazing lightening and the rain started as we got home.  It was so heavy that we were soaked just getting from the garage to the back door.
That storm went on all night, and we loved it.  At last.
It has been sunny again today and the temperature is creeping up.  There doesn't look to be any more rain in the forecast until Monday or Tuesday, but last night's was a blessed relief.
I must be getting better at that rain dance.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Art Fest

The week started off rather dull but livened up somewhat.
Firstly, on one of my friend's facebook page she mentioned that people had been falling over and hurting themselves that day.
She said we must all look after ourselves until the "Cat Moon" had passed.
Wooo....that was spooky.
I had been painting the above picture all morning and it seemed so odd that she should say such a thing.
Plus, I had never heard of a "Cat Moon".
So, I put the picture on there with a comment about how weird it was she should mention this just as I was doing this painting.
Was was even more amazing ( well to me anyway) was that people were popping up all over the place to say how much they liked the painting.
First, one asked how much it was.   I wrote back that it wasn't even finished yet and as it is in mixed media (acrylics & oils) the oils take some weeks to dry.
I also quoted her $65.
Before she could answer me one of the others said she would buy it.
Wow, I don't think I have ever sold a work before I have even finished it.
I felt bad for the first lady but she still hadn't answered so I thought maybe the price was too high for her.
I thought wrong.
Later in the day she sent me a private message saying how much she really, really wanted it and I felt so bad when I had to tell her it was sold.
All finished well though as I offered to do her another.  She then sent me a photo of her cat, a black short hair and asked if I could feature him in it.
Of course.
I don't feel bad at all now as she is getting something way more personal.   She wants a fantasy picture featuring her cat.  I have already started the sketches.
Then another lady contacted me about doing a Frost Wolf for her granddaughter's birthday.
She had seen my work on my Posh Pet Portraits facebook page.

The Frost Wolf is oil pastels.
Now I could do another would not be exactly the same as art isn't uniform, or, as someone suggested I could do her a quality print which would be cheaper.
So today I did some experimenting.
I went to the print shop and, after signing forms etc to prove I was the original artist and ensure copyright, I got some excellent prints made.  One I shall give the glass, glitter coating to and see how that turns out.
The others I shall mat and sell.
While I was sorting all this out there were two ladies in there from South Carolina.
Well, to cut a long story short, one fell in love with the Frost Wolf and bought a print from me right then and there...not even matted !!!
Philip couldn't believe it. 
I am quite chuffed that a piece of my art is going all the way to South Carolina on Monday.

River Rhythms on Wednesday produced its quota of 'special' people.
One 'special' person proceeded to the front of the stage carrying a large holdall, from which he produced various blankets and put them on the ground.
I thought he was making a bed up.
After taking a few swigs from, what presumably was a beverage of some description, hidden inside a brown paper bag, he produced what can only be described as a Matador's cape.
All this time people were continuing to dance all around him.
He then began waving his cape at the dancers in an attempt to induce them to take part in his bull fight.
None of them seemed terribly impressed with this. 
Gary and I thought it was wonderful.
Who didn't think it was wonderful were the two policemen who appeared, made him pick up his bedding and sadly took his bottle of pop away.
As they led him sadly away I asked Gary if they might charge him.   I didn't want them to.  He hadn't done any harm.
Gary said the only thing they could charge him with would be public intoxication. would never have known :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Milwaukee desert.

This guy is doing a rain dance.
I wish he would come and do it here.
We have still not had any rain and there is none in the long range forecast.
None.  Not a drop.
The crops and dying.  My plants and grass are dying.
We would need days and days of persistent rain to recover.  Doesn't look like it is going to happen.
I am hoping that someone will announce a drought or a hose pipe ban because that seems to have worked wonders in England.

Yesterday I was feeling particularly down.
It is mostly because of this 'giving Bubba fluids' mallarky.
We are pants at it.
Well so far, and getting worse.
Philip has had a couple of goes at putting the needle in and both times it fell out.
This means we have to poke the poxy needle into poor Bubba again.
Last night it took 3 goes and even then we only got half the prescribed amount of fluids into him.
I was a complete wreck at the end of this.
I feel so bad, being so crap at it and having to hurt Bubba more than necessary.
I think some of the problem is that we tried to do it in the bathroom and the bag of fluids isn't high enough to flow quickly.
So, on Thursday we will go back to sitting in the chair with the bag up high.  Hopefully, the blooming needle will stay in, the fluids will run faster and it will all be over in 5 minutes.

Philip needs to get the hang of it (better than me I hope) because I have booked my flight over to England.
I will be away 3 weeks so, with the help of our friend Gary, he will have to see to Bubba while I am away.
I am so looking forward to this trip.  I didn't go last year and really missed it.
I hope jolly old England is saving all the good weather up for when I am over.  I am having a little outing to Whitstable while I am there.
I am looking forward to meandering around Whitstable as I have only been there once and I didn't explore at all that time.

I would like to see my brother and his family in Essex too.  It is amazing how quickly that time will fly by when I am trying to cram everything in.

While I am busy doing my rain dance, perhaps people in the UK would like to do the reverse bit.  Read number 6.

 How to Do a Rain Dance
How To A Rain Dance

1. Never do a rain dance on a hill.
2. Make sure you have a lot of room so you
don't run into anything.
3. Spin around in clockwise circles.
4. Make up your own rain chant.  It should be rythmical
and easy to say fast.
5. Yell your rain chant while spinning around in circles.
6. If you are trying to get rid of rain, spin in
 counterclockwise circles and say your chant backwards.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's the woluff.......

Shadow Wolf

Finally got to finish the Shadow Wolf.
I did something new with this one.  After I had finished and sealed the picture I applied special adhesive and then some tiny pieces of glass....bit like glitter.
The whole picture then disappeared.
Oh oh.....buggered this up...thought I.
It did say that it should (note SHOULD) dry clear.  I had decided that meant, the picture would show through.
It was totally white.   Gone. Oh dear.
I put it away to dry.  A nerve wracking couple of days followed with me checking up on it every few hours.
It gradually came back and I love it.
The stuff isn't cheap and so it is quite an expensive way to finish off a picture but I think it was worth it.
I have framed it under glass too and the whole thing sparkles.
I am really enjoying the wolf theme at the moment.

The weather here is blooming ridiculous now.  We have all had enough of it.
We haven't had any rain (apart from a tiny shower) for about a month.  The temperature is over 100F (over 38C in old money) and humid which makes it feel even hotter.
Tonight we would usually be heading out to sit in the park and watch fireworks.   Stuff that.
No way can I sit outside.  I just came over all peculiar because I went out to water the plants.  
My heart was racing and I felt dodgy.  I am just finishing a bottle of "Oh...oh...the Israelites"....
There has been a lot of controversy over whether they should have the fireworks.  The ground is so very dry and the fear of fire means many people think they shouldn't.
Some counties within the state have banned them but it looks like ours are going ahead.
Well, they can go ahead without me.  I shall listen to the booms from indoors in the struggling air conditioning.

Last Saturday one of Philip's friends from work came over for dinner.  He brought his guitar and gave Philip some useful tips.  
He really did help Philip a lot.  I think things are easier to pick up when someone is showing you.
They finished with a little jamming session.  Philip's first.
Probably wasn't exactly the coolest thing to be wearing his slippers but hey ho... even Rock Stars must wear slippers sometimes.