Thursday, June 30, 2011

She's My Oprah and I'm Her Gayle

When I heard the date of the final Oprah show, I knew immediately who I wanted to watch it with. Thirty eight years ago, in the Pacific NW Bell Directory Assistance office, I met Gina. We were both 18 and we both had Pinto's! It was a friendship waiting to happen and it became sanctioned one evening when we decided to drive out to the tiny town of Estacada, to find some "real" men at the Safari Club. From that night on, our friendship would be cemented with secrets and truths. She is always up to participate in my silly shenanigans and when I do things "I shouldn't do" she still loves me.

She said to come over ~ that she would make us happy hour hor d'oeuvres. She's one of the best cooks I know. I made face signs so that Tom, Gayle, Stedman and John could join us.

I arrived and true to form, she had outdone herself yet again. Hummus and Pita Bread, Veggies and Cheeses and the best Pickled Green Beans I have ever had!

We fix our yummy plates and she pours our champagne. We are set and settled in to watch Oprah's farewell.

It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. She truly is my Oprah. She knows so much and is always the first person I call when I need to know something about anything. Her memory is impeccable. And on top of that, she has this keen sense of knowing what to ask me to get me back on my path again.

The show is over and she gives me that last part of my birthday gift. She knows that I love to receive mail and also that I love white wine. So how great is this?

The next weekend Stan and I along with Gina and Don and "Slick" Vic decide to visit Mary Olson's Airlie Winery. (She's one of the Vice President's I used to do budgets for; she is for sure one of the greatest to ever work for!).

We finish the day with a quick stop at the Dairy Queen by the winery.

It's like I spent the day with Oprah, Stedman, Tom and John. Wine, soft ice cream, french fries and great friends. Bliss!

Tiny Books From Gigantic Talent

The "Tiny Book Swap" that was hosted by Lenna Andrews has come to an end.
Today I received four magnificent tiny books from four very talented women.

One came from Donna, that was beautifully wrapped with a pearl stickpin.

Each page so colorful and the last one had the famous Fortune Telling Fish tucked inside!

Next I opened the book that Kiki created. I soon learn that she lives close by in Salem and that we both have taken classes at the same place and we both know the infamous Dayna Collins! Every page of Kiki's book has a tiny pocket with a secret tag in each!

The third tiny book came from Linda in Pennsylvania. Filled with wonderful quotes - there is one secretly tucked away which has my 2011 word...."JOY" in it! The colors and art she chose and did are fabulous!

And then I open the last one. Oh's Corinne's book. She is the person that told me about the book swap. Her art is amazing; everything she creates is so unique and awe-inspiring.

Such wonderfully talented and creative woman - they are true inspirations! How lucky I am to have received theirs!

Thank you Donna, Kiki, Linda and Corinne!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011


My Uncle Leon finished his 35 days of radiation last week. Each day from the start I would send him an envelope via snail mail with inspirational cheer leading thoughts and a lottery ticket. The idea behind the lottery tickets was that we would take our huge winnings and go to lunch at the end of the radiation treatments. Half way through I decided that I needed to beef up the # of tickets unless we wanted Burger King. His last envelope contained all of the by now "usuals" but I also included a book I had made for him about why he is the best ever.

As I sat there thinking what it is that makes him so great and special to me, the first thing that popped into my head was that he is a man of his word; if he says he'll be there-he's there, if he says he likes it-he likes it. I cherish and admire that quality in his being.

A couple of days ago I had a conversation with my "brain" professor. I was telling her how much I dislike flakes; pretty much any kind of flakes but particularly people flakes. Our conversation reminded me about my uncle who has never been a flake in my life. I have always known where he stands on issues and if he says he will be there, he's there.

He's a fantastic listener and very good-looking - we call each other "fav". He is a true inspiration and I truly do love him. It looks like lunch might just be Burger King. What's great about that is that neither one of us will care; it's the company we keep that truly matters (and even though it's Burger King, I'll know he'll still show up!).

I love you Fav!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Serendipitous Saturday of Sketchbooks

On Saturday I took the train up to Seattle to see Nikki's Sketchbook that she had submitted for the traveling Sketchbook Project.

I was suppose to meet up with a couple of people - Helen who is another participating artist from the Collage Collaborative group I am in and Jamie who was my budget work buddy twenty years ago. I had to get up at 5am (which still is not my favorite hour of the day). While on the train I read the messages that Helen was going on Sunday instead of today and Jamie had to go in to work...BLEGH! Oh well.... I would see what the day still had to offer (and what a fabulous offer it had!).

Taking off from Portland....

.... I got to Seattle and took a cab downtown to the Form/Space Atelier building. I had been told ahead of time by Helen that space was tight - that you would be sitting on a flight of stairs or outside on the sidewalk.

As serendipitous luck would have it I am standing next in line to a person named Keri. We start up an easy conversation about the books. She hands me her business card and my first glance sees "alzheimer's" in big bold letters. I tell her I am in school getting a degree in Gerontology. We are soon exchanging work ideas and art class ideas (of course I had to tell her about Dayna!).

When you first get there, you get a "library card" which allows you to check out two books at a time. They get and find the books for you (since there are over 10,000 books). They suggest I get Nikki's first and another one from her themed section "the view from up here". Keri checks out her first two and we head outside. Heaven....I get to see and touch Nikki's work (I almost felt like I was getting to spend the afternoon with her!).

Back inside for another round of check-outs, the person helping us in none other than the projects' creator Shane Zucker!

And did I tell you that Keri likes to get her picture taken as much as I do! It felt as if I was hanging out with great is that?!

Next up I check out Helen's wonderful book.

The rest of the afternoon is spent looking at other books and meeting a couple of their creators. The turtle by Latrice Smith was painted using tea bags and the black and white bicycle was made using duct tape.

The afternoon is over and I catch a taxi back to the train station (but first I stop at my all time favorite store in Seattle to get a wonderful bag of bibbles and bobbles to take back home!).

The train trip back to Portland gave me time to reflect on the day just spent. Always a believer in serendipity, had Jamie and Helen not cancelled out I wonder if I would have met Keri. Had I not met Nikki, I would not have known about this amazing project.

The sun was shining on the trip home and its warmth felt so good.

I ordered their Mac 'n Cheese (it's truly one of the best I have ever had) and a glass of wine and settle back in for a quiet time of reflection (and a much needed nap). From a day starting with a blegh ~ it comes to an end with an abundant feeling of gratitude.

I look forward to doing the Sketchbook Project this coming year and hopefully getting to see Keri when the project travels to Portland (it's one of their scheduled stops in 2012). Hopefully Nikki will submit another book so I can spend the afternoon with her again! Thank you Nikki Soppelsa for submitting your "the view from up here" sketchbook to be shared with new found friends ~ it was a great afternoon!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An Art Day With Ava

Pitter Pat...Pitter Pat, so goes my heart when I get to watch Ava. We had breakfast and lunch and played outside and.... we did ART! Best day of the year ever.....

.....and she still has my heart!