Saturday, December 5, 2009

What's Sa Matta For YOU?

When I was growing up, my Italian grandma would sing this song if she saw that I was hanging a face. Stop me if you've heard it.

What's sa matta for you?
Why you looka so sad?
It's ah not so bad.
It's a nice-ah place.
Ah! Shut up-ah you face!!

Before I knew it, I was laughing and all was better. I wish problems with friends were that easy!

I am lucky. I have many friends.

I claim to be very careful of whom to get close to. I really have to feel that "click" before I dive into a friendship. Then logic says that my friends should be primarily of the same temperament, right? They should be relatively easy going, ready to laugh, and know that my first language is sarcasm. They all are and can usually match my sarcasm word for word.

Very rarely do I have conflict with any of my friends. What is most amazing to me however is how differently we all deal with it. Let's start with me. If I feel the tiniest bit of unease, I lay my cards on the table and immediately want to to settle the matter. I don't like misunderstanding or the thought of hurt feelings. I find out what's wrong, and if I can, fix it. Thank God I have a few friends who are like this. It makes life so much easier.

Then there are my friends that are so reserved I generally don't know anything is wrong until I haven't heard from them for a few weeks. When enough time goes by that I can assume there is a problem as opposed to their just being busy, I will pick of the phone. And as frustrating as all of this guessing is, when I ask them if there's a problem, they spill their guts and we're fine. UUUGGHHH!! So easy! I am always amazed at the time lost when all they had to do was SAY something.

Then there are my friends who act as if nothing is wrong when I see them day to day and yet the tension between us is vibrating with niceties! It's like that scene in Sense and Sensibility where Mrs. Dashwood says "If you cannot think of anything appropriate to say you will please restrict your remarks to the weather." There's only so much rain and sunshine you can talk about before you go nuts. Bottom line? I usually have to put my big girl panties on and say, "Have I done something?"

What I don't understand is why people waste energy being angry with each other. I take this sort of personally because my heart says, "Their feelings are obviously worth more than our friendship." If they won't come and talk to me then how much do I really mean to them as a friend? What my head says is, "I know most people would rather eat nails than have face-to-face conflict."

I guess we all have our roles in life. Some of my friends are superb comforters, some are the funniest people I know, some are the best commiserators. I guess I am like... the best Judge Judy. Hear the case, solve the problem. Who's next?

AHHH! Shut-up ah you FACE!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All of You!



Hello Everyone!


For the first time in years, I will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday!! We're packing up the trolls and heading north. God help me! I was seriously considering renting a limo where Tony and I could shut that swank window between the front and the back seats. Since that turned out not to financially feasible, we will brave it in the minivan and threaten to make any troublemakers ride on the roof (don't worry, they will be secured to luggage rack with rope). I will be thinking of you all and hoping that you have a safe and wonderful holiday. For those of you who might stumble over my pathetic online soapbox who do not live here in the U.S., I hope you have a great week (preferably warmer than I will have).

See ya!
Stacie

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My House

The Dream


http://www.italianfoodnet.com/images/normale_3wpgv5qhstruffoli.jpg

I had a dream last night. I dreamt I went back to the house where I grew up. The house where my Italian family lived complete with grandparents. The house where so many warm and sweet memories were formed. I know there were some bad memories in the mix but somehow I can't remember very many and most were the spawn of teenage angst.

The house is here in the town where I still live. I have the opportunity to drive by it often and do. I will go out of my way a block or so to visit it and see what the new owners have done since the last time I drove by. Even though it's been 10 years since my parents have lived there, the people who bought it from my mom and dad will always be called "the new owners".

The holidays in this house were like those you'd see in a movie. My mom was an avid holiday decorator. We had nice decorations but much of it was what we had when I was very little in the 70's. Such excitement would ensue when Mom finally decided that today would be the day that the old, brown decoration boxes would come down from the attic. (Excitement for everyone except Dad because that meant he had to go and get them. Dad was not an avid decorator.) Every year, those boxes would get a little more tattered as they were passed down the attic stairs where the large metal springs on the attic door would catch and tear at the corrugated card board and every year more tape was added to extend their purpose.

The tree ornaments were old, glass, and usually from Germany. Some were newer Shiny Brites with flocked shooting stars and moons on them. As a teenager I pleaded with my mom not to put the ornaments on the tree we kids had made in school over the years, citing tackiness as a valid reason. Every year I lost that battle and up would go the paper chains and hand prints. The tree was always gorgeous and traditional. No theme trees because there are no memories in themes. Old glass beads hung from the dining room chandelier, and the kitchen had Christmas towels and pot holders and whatever wouldn't go somewhere else.

The food. Oh good Lord, the food! Fezzywig would have had a time keeping up with my mother's ability to throw a feast! We were Roman Catholic Italians so that meant fish on Christmas Eve. "Fish" meant scampi, calamari in marinara sauce (tentacles and all. I loved it.), or fettucini alfredo. There was always tons of wonderful salad "fixed" with mom's Italian dressing and served after the meal.

Sometimes, when we were older, we would pile in the car and go to Midnight Mass. If not, we went Christmas morning. My parents were never overkill on the "reason for the season" but Mass was very important.

Christmas Day started with Bloody Marys or Mimosas, coffee and presents. Then we ate and celebrated our way through the day. Antipasto salad piled high with Italian cold cuts, cheeses, marinated olives, and artichoke hearts. For dinner there was lasagna, standing rib roast, mashed potatoes, etc. Wine, wine, and more wine! Desserts were everywhere! Christmas cookies, struffoli (little balls of cookie dough that are deep fried and then drenched in honey and sprinkles), Italian pizzelle cookies, cakes, etc. Frozen grasshoppers were last (even we kids were allowed to drink them).

What I remember most though is, even as a teenager, not wanting to "get away" from the family. I wanted to be there and enjoy my family and whatever family was there from out of town. (One year, we had 18 relatives from out of town staying with us.) Italians are very emotional people and that usually means that someone has disowned someone else in the family. But during the holidays, it was all hugs and kisses. Grandma would pinch our cheeks and say,"Quanto sei bella!" I could go on and on. I was so lucky to have this as a
child...

...but, back to my dream... I am driving by my old house and decide to stop. My 10 year old daughter is with me. Before I get to the front door, I notice that they are in the process of walling up a few windows. How odd, I think. I knock and a woman in her late fifties answers the door. She seems discontent, grouchy. When she finds out who I am she immediately gives me a tour of the house, to show me what she's done since they moved in. As I walked through the house, I recognize nothing... nothing. I see cracks in the walls and although there are furniture and curtains, the house feels vacant. I feel sad and lost. As she leads me back to the front door, she says that her kids are grown and gone and now it's just she and her mother (she rolls her eyes). She says that she's putting the house on the market and I should buy it back. Just before I leave the lady grabs my arm gently, just above the elbow, and says, "I almost forgot!" We turn to the left and she opens a pair of double doors. Memories flood as I realize that this was my grandparents' room. It was exactly the same as I remember it, even the smell. Yes, that old-people smell, but for me at that moment in a house that wasn't mine anymore, it was the sweetest smell.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have You Noticed?

So I am in the evil Wally World (I think most know this means Walmart) today, and I am standing in the curtain aisle checking out this and that and out of the blue one of those people you see there that wears one of those blue vests comes over and says, "Is there something in particular your looking for?" BAM!... You know what that was? No, it wasn't Emeril... It was me falling over from shock! I actually went into a Walmart and was not only approached by an employee, but was also offered help unsolicited!! After gaining composure I put myself bodily between this person (who clearly had lost his mind) and my two-year-old and backed away slowly.

Later, I went to McDonalds to get said two-year-old some chicken nuggets for lunch. I ordered myself an unsweet tea which they now put into large styrofoam cups. While Two-year-old handles her drink with diligence and care, Mommy goes to pick up her tea and the styrofoam cup slips right out of her not-paying-attention-to-what-she's-doing hands. Tea went everywhere and I couldn't even blame the toddler who was still sucking away on her drink (but stopped sucking long enough to announce to the restaurant that, "Mommy made a mess!").

So I slink over to the counter sheepishly and ask for a mop (it was my mess after all, according to Two-year-old). The young girl behind the counter did what? Looked at me crossways, you say? Nay! Huffed and got the mop? No way! She handed me paper towels so that I could dry my pants and said, "Those new styrofoam cups are so slick! Don't you worry about nothing, Ma'am! I'll get it!" BAM! Hello Floor, I've missed you!

So, now I had just enough time to get to the grocery store and then pick up 10-year-old from school. Well, I had had enough time before my illness for thrift stores deterred me from my plan. After leaving my favorite second-hand-store, I realized that I would not have enough time to go across town to my beloved Publix supermarket. So, I sucked it up and drove to the Kroger which is five minutes from 10-year-old's school. I hate this Kroger. I hate most Krogers because the employees act like they are doing court ordered community service rather than making a paycheck. So I gather Two-year-old and my purse and go in to grab a few necessities (like Oreos). The sliding doors open and there, in a red vest this time, is an older gentleman who says, "Welcome to Kroger! You've got your arms full... Let me get a cart for you." BAM! BAM! BAM!!!!! Does someone have smelling salts?

Events such as these... these, unexplained occurrences of humanity are becoming more and more frequent. Husband and I have been discussing this for several weeks now. Invariably, one of us comes home with an incredulous story of customer service...

Now, I know that you've probably forgotten what those words mean so I took the liberty of going to Wikipedia for a definition:

Customer service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.


We have decided that due to the poor economy, these huge corporations are pushing customer service in order to compete with other stores. Even Walmart is feeling the burn. People are tired, depressed and broke. They only have so much money to spend and they don't want to spend it where they are treated badly. They even might be able to scrape a few more dollars together for something extra if the shopping experience is pleasant.

We do have a second explanation: Aliens have taken over the bodies of retail employees nationwide.

But really, what fun is it if some employee in some big store offers to help you? You lose that oh so cheap feeling of having to interrupt their pressing text message to that chick in the produce department. Better to leave the money on the dresser check-out counter and leave.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Am SOOOO Happy!

I went to The Blog Doctor and I figured out how to get just about everything back!! I am so very happy to see everything as it was. I didn't realize how attached I was to coming to this blog everyday and "sittin' a spell" as they say here in the South. It's like that sofa in the den that feels as if it cuddles you right back. I was really just sick when I had lost so much. It definitely wasn't worth a flashy new blog template, lemme tell ya! So I will stick with what's here and what I know for now, and hopefully let my writing be my creative outlet. Thanks for the group therapy!

I Did Something Any Blogger Knows NOT TO DO!

I changed my template without saving my current one. Now, I am trying to revert and somethings are screwed up. Needless to say, I am an idiot and cannot seem to get somethings to work like they used to. I wish I knew how to fix it myself. My blog roll title is missing, I can't seem to get the date to go back to the way it was, and my title is so small. Who knows what other "treasures" are to be found lurking as I try to post new things. I am somewhat depressed about this.

So lesson learned?

THEY MEAN IT WHEN THEY TELL YOU TO SAVE YOUR CURRENT TEMPLATE!

Uggggghhhh!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Moment in the Life of a Comic Book Artist's Wife

Part 3: Conventions, Part 2

(Didn't know it would be this complicated, huh?)

http://projects.accessatlanta.com/gallery/view/entertainment/comicon-2009-sandiego/12.html
Fans waiting to get into the San Diego Comicon

Okay, we discussed Klingons in our last lesson. That was VERY important for both your safety and your sanity! Now we are going to discuss "fanboys". Let's define "fanboy", shall we?

Mirriam-Webster Dictionary Online defines "fanboy" as follows:

Main Entry: fan·boy
Pronunciation: \ˈfan-ˌbȯi\
Function: noun
Date: 1919

: a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies)


So a Klingon is a particular type of fanboy... a particularly frustrating type of fanboy...


That being said, I think fanboys are some of the most wonderful (and intriguing) people on Earth. I once whispered the word "fanboy" to my husband during a convention and was told that even fanboys call themselves "fanboys" and that there was no reason to whisper the term. And here I thought it was derogatory! Who knew someone would want to be called "fanboy"? (I can't even tell you what some would call my enthusiasm for yarn or fabric...)


So, at conventions (let's call them "cons" for brevity's sake) there are lots of fanboys. I mean LOTS of fanboys! Before a con opens, it is not unusual for the line of fanboys waiting to get in to snake through the lobby of the convention center, out of the front doors, and around the block (This is where having a "guest" badge is most useful. There is a bit of satisfaction when one walks past such a line and waltzes right through the entrance. And, God I hate to admit this, it makes one feel sort of... important... Kinda like a body guard for Captain America. Kinda like Macy's, on the day after Thanksgiving, waiting to open the doors until YOU get there. Sorry fanboy friends, I can't help it!).


They wear costumes, t-shirts and shorts, those goth jeans with all the chains, baseball caps, earrings and nose rings, and suits. They carry back packs, boxes (sometimes stacked several high), art portfolios, messenger bags, and small children. Sometimes they look like this:



photo from http://www.heroesonline.com/heroescon/


And sometimes they look like this:



OH! No! Sorry! I'm HIS fanboy....girl...whatever!


I have even seen a dad fanboy who displaced his baby to fill a stroller with comic book ephemera. His wife did not look pleased to lug said infant through the rest of the convention. Later when I saw fanboy dad's exhausted wife still holding the now dead-weight sleeping infant, I knew that this would be her last con and that fanboy dad would certainly regret his earlier decision.


At cons there are booths and booths of vendors. Vendors of comic books, toys, gaming paraphernalia, t-shirts, and all things manga. As I walk around the convention floor, I stop occasionally at these vendors just to see what's new, what's cool, and to buy the kids a little something. Inevitably my toes get stomped on. Sometimes I get gently shoved, head first, into the Transformers G1 Reissue Powermaster Optimus Prime. These boys, I mean fanboys, are serious shoppers! They know what they want and will go to each and every vendor to comparison shop. Nothing stands in their way (including the throng of Klingons who take up the entire aisle. Yes, I still have issues). They can manage the convention floor like Angelina Jolie manages her leading men. They are going for the throat and propriety be damned! This is something I can completely understand as I am just as much a bully in thrift, yarn, and fabric stores (in that order exactly).


But something miraculous takes place when a fanboy approaches the table of the comic book professional. They are no longer a shark in the sequential art sea. It's almost as if they've swigged a Red Bull and popped a Xanax at the same time. On the surface they are calm, polite, and sweet. But just below the surface, you can see the churning intense excitement of meeting one of the creators of the stories that make them happy. They are nervous when they speak and they say things like, "Excuse me, Mr. Harris. Would you sign a few of my comic books?" (I always chuckle when someone at least as old as my husband calls him "Mr.Harris". My husband is really not a "Mr. Harris". Plus, it's hard to understand the fanaticism when you wash "Mr. Harris'" underwear. Yes, I went there.)


My husband is one of the lucky people that makes a lot of fanboys happy. He's the second guy from the left.



http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/WarHeroesMeettheFanboys013.jpg



It is very important to Tony to make his fan base happy. He spends most of the time signing books sketching, and talking to fans at cons. After all, these are the people who make our lives possible... they pay our bills and feed our kids. Sometimes I wonder, however, just how far Tony will go to keep even the smallest of fans content!


Photo Source: Side Eyes photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/10749272@N06/2770425245


So that, my dear Pupils, is the second part of your schooling in the comic book convention survival guide. I am sure you all will put it to good use. Remember: when in doubt, go back to the hotel and ask for the sommelier!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thoughts on the Eve of Veterans Day

Just a post to say that no matter what our political position is on the war overseas, let's remember what it must be like for our soldiers.

This song was written by Alice in Chains in 1992. The title comes from guitarist/songwriter Jerry Cantrell's father. "Rooster" was his nickname in Vietnam, where he fought in the war. The song is about some of his feelings and experiences, told from his perspective(www.songfacts.com). If you've never heard it, be warned that it is of the Grunge genre so the music is a bit harsh but you can hear it here. There is a very pretty acoustical version also but I couldn't find a good link.


The Rooster
Alice in Chains



Ain't found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
Wife and kids household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere

Here they come to snuff the rooster, aww yeah, hey yeah
Yeah here come the rooster, yeah
You know he ain't gonna die
No, no, no, ya know he ain't gonna die

Walkin' tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my home land
Gloria sent me pictures of my boy
Got my pills 'gainst mosquito death
My Buddy's breathin' his dyin' breath
Oh God please won't you help me make it through
Here they come to snuff the rooster, aww yeah
Yeah here come the rooster, yeah
You know he ain't gonna die No, no, no ya know he ain't gonna die

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Streak-O-Lean

Steak-O-Lean Part 7: A Pint of Fighting Cock

Small town grocery stores could provide both psychiatrists and anthropologists a life time of clients and case studies. The Piggly Wiggly in Carrington, Georgia was no different. Curtis couldn't keep his business in his pants even though he loved his wife with almost all of his heart. Dotti, after years of being an indulging parent, had realized that she should of have whipped her son's ass far more than she had when he was a child. Brandi's bright mind and sulky attitude made her the recipient of the worst of Curtis' pick-up lines. Twila? Well, Twila was just trailer trash. And May, poor pregnant May continued to pile her hair atop that tiny head and march into work each day to face the man she still loved... or hated... or loved... Well, it depended on the hour.

These folks had their faults, as all humans do. But they were good people too. Take, for instance, Curtis. Few people knew that everyday Curtis would go to the deli and buy a meal from the hot bar to take to the homeless veteran who hung out by the blue dumpster at the side of the store. He would also buy the guy a pint if the horrible evidence of alcohol withdrawal stared back at him in the form of fearful eyes and shaking limbs. Something in Curtis made it impossible for him to deny the things that this man needed. Perhaps it was the fact that Curtis' father had disappeared mysteriously on a seemingly routine TDY. Whatever the reason, Curtis felt responsible for this man's well being. He tried to give him a job as a bagger once but after two days on the job Curtis found the man back at the dumpster, bottle in hand, whimpering softly. That was the end of trying to change the situation and the beginning of enabling it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Romantic Mid Century

I have always said I should have lived in a time different from my own. I have always said that I should have lived in the 1940's or 50's. To me, life seemed simpler and far more swank.




Take for instance vintage tablecloths. If I could, I wish I could have been woven into their screen printed threads to hear the decades of stories; to hear the conversations over coffee between two neighbors, to feel jelly smooshed into my fibers by tiny fingers enjoying a peanut butter sandwich, to feel the loneliness of a housewife waiting up for her husband to get home from work. How it must have felt to hang free and clean from a clothes line flapping in the wind, all the while listening to the conversations of children hiding between me and my bedspread counterpart.




I also have several vintage hats. With no real purpose except to accentuate the perfectly powdered nose and painted bright red lips, these hats are true works of art. Sculptures made from felt, velvet, satin, and fur; set precisely on beautifully coifed heads and pierced with ornate hat pins. And all of this to go to the grocery store. Hats were a matter of pride, pride in one's appearance and stature. Pride in being a woman. Perhaps they were also a shield for what lay beneath the surface, an intricately stitched facade with matching coat and gloves.


So was life really easier? I found the following info at http://www.legacy98.org/timeline.html. It's a glance at the major policy changes for a women during the mid century era. Let's not forget that only 18 years earlier we were finally allowed to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. I think women had a few things to think about:


1938 The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes minimum wage without regard to sex.


1947 The U.S. Supreme Court says women are equally qualified with men to serve on juries but are granted an exemption and may serve or not as women choose.


1961 The U.S. Supreme Court upholds rules adopted by the state of Florida that made it far less likely for women than men to be called for jury service on the grounds that a “woman is still regarded as the center of home and family life.”


1963 The Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress, promising equitable wages for the same work, regardless of the race, color, religion, national origin or sex of the worker.


1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act passes including a prohibition against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.


Basically, if you wanted to work and and wanted to be treated fairly, you were screwed. So you are a stay at home mom and there's a 21.53 % chance that there is no vehicle in your household. There is a 56.94% chance (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ctpp/jtw/jtw1.htm) that there is only one car in your household and more than likely your husband has it at work. Lonely? Perhaps...


I know my car is my escape.



It's my escape from the never ending laundry, the bills, the vacuuming, the "to do's" that never seem to get done. Would I be a better housekeeper if I had no car? I don't know. And let's not forget the technology that wouldn't be available: no computers, no cell phones, no cable/satellite tv (possibly no tv at all). You had to have a few bucks to afford the new electric vacuums, clothes dryers, dishwashers, and washing machines. If not, well, get out your brooms Ladies 'cause your man's gonna be home soon and he wants a clean house!


But, they were women, and women are ingenuitive. One of my favorite movie lines is from Dangerous Liasons. The Marquise (played by Glenn Close) is commenting on the social situation of women in 18th Century France.


Marquise de Merteuil: Well I had no choice, did I? I'm a woman. Women are obliged to be far more skillful than men. You can ruin our reputation and our life with a few well-chosen words. So of course I had to invent not only myself but ways of escape no one has every thought of before. And I've succeeded because I've always known I was born to dominate your sex and avenge my own.

Well, I'm not so sure that mid century women had it much better (wigs were optional so that counts for something). So many women were in the same boat of cultural predjudice that women's clubs abounded. Opportunities to get together and feel better about the situation in which they found themselves. Coffee over that vintage table cloth was therapy, the chance to release some of that loneliness and frustration.



Or perhaps, they were just too damn tired to be frustrated or lonely. You've probably seen this article. If not read it. I think you can click on it to make it bigger.

So with hats, gloves, laundry, sexism, and bright red lipstick, what's not to love about the American Mid Century? Can't say I want to go back and relive it. But I wouldn't say "no" to a visit or two!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Moment in the Life of a Comic Book Artist's Wife


Comic Book Conventions: Part 2 (or should I say "Issue 2")


I know that you all have paid good money for these lectures, so let's get down to brass tacks! There are a few items that you should be aware of at all times. Print them out, write them down, commit them to memory or you will be truly sorry. Today we will be discussing No. 1 as follows:

1. Never EVER speak to one of those people dressed up like Klingons (klingons being characters from Star Trek).

This is Warf. He's what a Klingon is supposed to look like.

Here is what they usually look like at San Diego Comicon. (Credit for this photo goes to www.popsci.com.)


or this..I love this picture mostly because of the guy on the left, but I have no idea where it came from. A friend sent it to me via email... that's all I know. If YOU know who took it (HAHAHAHHAAAAHAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAA!!!!!) **snort** let me know.

Okay, back to the lecture... as I was saying...

1. Never EVER speak to one of those people dressed up like Klingons (klingons being characters from Star Trek).

I mean don't say "Hello!", "How are you?", "Kiss my butt!" or anything else that will attract their attention! Allow me to illustrate with a short anecdote.

There I was... stupid, naive, newly wed, comic book artist's wife. I had just entered the enormous hall at the San Diego COMICON (say that with a booming Monster Truck Rally announcer's voice). I cannot express to you how huge this convention is. Let's just say that if you have to pee once you are inside the convention hall and you immediately start walking toward a bathroom, you'd better be able to hold it for at least 20 more minutes... Here are some pictures to put it in perspective:






Okay, so there I was with two freshly brewed cappuccinos in hand (the only dose of reality I had had for 24 hours) and I was returning to the booth where dear Tony was set up ready to greet fans. Just then, out of the blue, the convention doors are opened to the general public and swarms of people come gushing into the hall.

Let me put this picture in your mind.... The Hoover Dam cracking in two. Got it? Yes.

So I am holding my coffee just standing there like a deer in headlights staring at the crowd that will soon overtake me. Oh, and I was overtaken, lemme tell ya! Two gargantuan Klingons in full garb literally run over me, knocking my $6 cappuccinos to the ground. If it weren't for the nasty, grimy, gummy trash can they knocked me into, I am sure that I would have been flattened like Wiley Coyote. I was able to hold on for dear life until the immediate rush was over. I was mad, of course. But they were polite enough to apologize... in KLINGON! "QUA SHO NAK... BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!" (As I have no idea what they were actually saying, I am sticking with the whole apology translation.) The more I tried to speak to them in ENGLISH, the more they spoke to me in that SCI FI, DUMBASS, LOOKS-LIKE-YOU-HAVE-A-HORSESHOE-CRAB-ON-YOUR-FOREHEAD language. As you can imagine, I was reeaaaaally mad then. I flung what was left of my cappuccinos into that nasty trash can while cursing the very soul of Gene Roddenberry, Spock, and the Priceline Negotiator all at the same time.

Here is where I immediately returned to. The Hyatt. And that, my dear friends, is where I stayed.

So, in conclusion, just stay away from the Klingon crowds. Try not to make eye contact. Just act like you are on a New York subway train and look in the other direction toward say... the Superman crowd. At least for aliens, the do speak some form of earthling.


Monday, October 26, 2009

HEY! LOOK AT ME!!! (I have not shame...)

Hi Guys! You can find me and my piece "The Fair" running buck wild on the porch over at The Women's Colony today!!!!

XOXOXOXO

Stacie

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Kind of People You WANT to Meet on the Internet


Hello All! Today is a short post but an important one as well. Let me tell you about some new friends of mine on the internet...

One day I decided to add yet another adventure my already overflowing life- an Etsy shop. As most of you know, I LOVE vintage anything and am especially in love with mid century items. So, in addition to the antique booth that I already have here in town, I thought an Etsy shop would allow me to move the large quantities of stuff I have bought because I have a sick attraction for this stuff and can't help myself acquired.

ENTER: The fabulous Carmen and Ginger!

You can find her blog here and her Etsy shop here.

Within 24 hours of posting new items for sale, Carmen and Ginger had done a search for a specific Christmas tablecloth that I was carrying. She already has one but posted mine on her blog so that those of her readers that liked hers could find one for sale if they wanted one for themselves. She let me know through a conversation on Etsy that she had mentioned me in her blog. SUPER nice right? Well, it doesn't end there. I went to her Etsy shop and then to her blog (did I mention you could find her blog here?). Here is also where I had to wipe drool off of my laptop keys after looking at all of her vintage linens on her blog.

So I replied to her post thanking her for mentioning me and geeking out over her tablecloths and whatnot. Well, Carmen and Ginger then visited my blog and it was a really nice visit. She also gave me the good idea to put a Followers widget on my blog (didn't even know that I had those. Thanks for being my follower Coffee Yogurt!).


So all is good in Blog and Etsy Land. Yesterday, I receive another conversation on Etsy from Carmen and Ginger who read my new blog post and noticed that I only had the URL for my Etsy shop on my blog. She then told me how to put my shop on my blog with pictures of items for sale! (This html stuff makes me want to take a web page building class.) I am really happy I met her! She has helped me so much in the few short days that we have been in contact. So I thought I'd return the love. These are just the sort of people you DO want to meet on the internet!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Moment in the Life of a Comic Book Artist's Wife


Comic Book Conventions: Part One

I know that you all anticipate tidbits about my life with much dread enthusiasm so I thought I'd fill you in on some of the things that make being married to a comic book artist fun interesting.

One such item is the COMIC BOOK CONVENTION!!

We spend a few whirlwind weekends a year attending comic book conventions and yes, Folks, they are everything you think they are and probably worse more interesting. I have grown accustomed to them so just about nothing shocks me anymore. Having been to so many now (16 years worth), I have the knowledge to protect my sensibilities by carefully choosing which shows I attend. But let's just say that the first few years of conventions were a bit much for my Catholic School upbringing.

Just so you know, there are levels of convention decency. I have attended many conventions with an entire section of boobs, I mean "booths" just for porn stars. Yes, you heard me, porn stars. Yeah, yeah, most of the readers are male (for now), and convention promoters make money on both booth and ticket sales, and nothing draws a single guy to a con like porn. I am being judgmental you say? NAY! I have seen the lines of guys (and some gals) waiting to take pictures with some chick in a scant halter and hot pants with a name like Boobalicious. A very insightful explanation can be found here at comicworldnews.com. I have seen parents who take their kids to these conventions and, taken completely by surprise at the level of XXX-edness, have to bodily redirect their children away from the porn star booths. These conventions give comics a bad name and perpetuate the negative stereotype that already surrounds the sequential art medium. I have no problem with porn stars signing suggestive photos of their fake boobs at conventions... at PORN conventions! At minimum, pornography should be sequestered at comic book conventions to carefully marked and monitored areas so young readers can come and enjoy the activities. A petition is circulating just for this.

Now for all you folks screaming 1st Amendment rights, I want to say that I don't have a problem with the porn industry. I understand it's a legit business and blah blah blah. I just can't understand why it doesn't infiltrate say, the coffee industry, or the feminine protection industry (giggle)...Ooo! Ooo! No! The family planning industry!

Unfortunately, one of the biggest multi-convention conglomerates, Wizard World, doesn't seem to care about separating the two industries, therefore limiting parents' choices about which conventions to attend without burning the eyes out of their young children's skulls. These comic/porn cons are the conventions I won't let my kids attend. These are conventions I won't let your kids attend. If Tony goes, he goes alone... and it's rare that he goes to these.

We now have my favorite type of conventions. These are the family oriented cons where the show promoters are very careful about who they lease booths to. There is nary a nipple nor G-String in sight (if you don't count the goth chicks who wear black low riders and insist on bending over at every turn). My favorite of these conventions is Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is almost always held on Father's Day weekend. It is always a great place for a family to spend some great time together. It is always a pleasure to attend and an exciting place to take your kid if he/she tells you that he/she loves comics. Not to worry. You will be pleasantly surprised. There is a wonderful family who has been going to this convention since their boys were in diapers. As the boys got older their dad started sketch books for them. Every year Tony does a sketch of some great new Cartoon Network or comic book character for them. Tony and I are always surprised when we flip through those sketch books each year (when politely handed across the table with wanton eyes for a new sketch), to see just how much time has passed since those first sketches. Tony meets hundreds and hundreds of fans each year but none are more memorable than those at Charlotte. There is a consistency at this convention that is lacking in most of the others that I have attended. It is a consistency that provides a safe atmosphere for kids and grown ups alike. I don't read comics... but Heroes Con makes me wish that I did.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Feeling Better Friday

Today is the first day in a long time that I have felt like "myself." I am thrilled to see my Halloween decorations twinkling from the mantle, well actually, ALL of the mantles. I like Halloween, just a little. Every bush in my yard is covered in lights and I have a 6' silhouette of a witch (a craft from Martha Stewart Living, God help me!) which stands menacingly in front of a yellow spot light and fog machine. I was thrilled this year to find lime green lights for the yard and another bag o' bones for the "graveyard" ( I chose not to use the real bones this year as we have a new neighbor who works for homicide. Don't need THAT headache!). I don't know why I love Halloween so. I think it might have to do with my mom.

You see, I spent those younger magical years in West Palm Beach, Florida where there is no change of seasons. I had to envision fall leaves, crisp air, the smell of fires burning. My mother, who was born up north, would hang paper fall leaves from the chandelier, carve pumpkins, and put orange on anything that would stand still. I can still remember the smell of the decoration box- a mix of moth balls, candles from the year before, and laundry detergent (it was stored in the linen closet). She made our costumes often out of crepe paper, (HA! Martha Stewart didn't figure this out for years!) and we would trick-or-treat for blocks and blocks and blocks.

Everyone gave out candy except that one house. This house was the only two-story wooden house in the entire neighborhood and decidedly older than any of it's cinder block siblings. I remember that asian people lived there and would either not answer the door (if one was brave enough to ring the doorbell) or open the door and shoo us away in a foreign language. All of my friends were frightened of the house. It was THAT house, like the one in all of the scary movies. I wasn't afraid of the house or the people inside of it. It was difficult to understand why anyone would ignore such a fabulous holiday. I felt sorry for them. They were missing out.

After filling our plastic jack-o-lanterns to the top (I remember stuffing candy into my pockets due to overflow), we would trot home for the candy inspection and homemade pizza. They were glorious nights. We would open the front door and smell homemade pizza sauce and bubbling cheese (Thank God I was born Italian!). If we had been lucky, the humidity would have allowed mom to make sticky candy apples. After a few south Florida Octobers though, I think she gave up on the candy making.

Slopping down a couple of slices of pizza, we kids would plunk down on the floor in front of the TV and trade candy better than Wall Street could trade stock. It was often just as brutal. My favorite candy was put out by Brach's. It was tiny cellophane packages of orange and black red hots. Does anyone remember these? I found this vintage Brach's advertisement for Halloween candy. Those little suckers are right down there in the middle of the ad just next to the candy pumpkins. Can you see them? I LOVED them. I gladly traded chocolate for them... I miss them...

And people were so generous back then. None of this "Just take one piece!" As a matter of fact, I don't remember being allowed to take candy. Most would people would drop three or four pieces of candy into our pumpkins. The best was when a house would make up those little gift bags of candy.
And no one put a basket outside their door and expected kids to help themselves in a honest fashion. Those lonely bowls of candy make me sad for my kids. They are an indication of how adults lose the magic of childhood.

I dreaded the passing of Halloween almost as much as I anticipated it's coming. I remember thinking, while watching what was left of a scary movie on TV, make up melted from running around in the floridian heat, that soon Halloween would be over... Feeling the weight of having to wait another 365 days for it to come again... Hoping that next year wasn't a leap year.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Fair

Yesterday afternoon the kids and I went to the fair. This was the last picture I took as we crossed the field to our car, and it somehow was very indicative of my mood.

I love the fair. I love the food. I love the colors. I love the creepy carnival. I would have fit in fine with carnies. It's a life that seems so consistent, as if carnival life itself is in some sort of wonderful sinister limbo. Year after year, the mustached man at the ferris wheel always returns urging the crowd for a ticket to ride. I am sure it's probably not the same mustached man, but it is in my romantic mind's eye.

As much as I swoon at the sight of striped tents and caramel apples, I have come to see the other side of the fair. The side that shows the inconsistency of this magical world. You see, I am the parent now. I see that $5 dollars buys three darts to pop those dastardly balloons and that little stuffed animal you will win (because "everyone's a winner!") will probably come apart in the car. Through a child's eye though, none of that matters. Those little balloons are there to be popped and those vintage milk jugs are meant to fall. I so wish that, for a brief moment, I could see the fair through a child's eye again. No. I wish I could see it through my children's eyes. To feel the excitement of the hustle, the anticipation of the rides, the enticement of the food... all without knowing about the mustached man behind the curtain.

Perhaps I did see it through their eyes. I let them ride those bumper cars twice and while it did cost enough to make me gasp, it was worth the photos I took of them. Will they remember how much fun they had? Will they remember how much they laughed together? Probably not, but I will and I have photographs to remind me of their pure FUN.

We were all a little off because Dad wasn't there. He's a dad that still sees the fair like a child does. I am there to watch them have fun and remind my husband that our bank account has a bottom. So this time, I had to remind the kids directly which is harder than I imagined it would be. I, in so many ways, appreciate what my parents had to go through the very few times we went to the fair when I was a child... having to say "it's too expensive" in a place that pulls a child in every fantastical direction; forcing them to think logically in a place where logic is suspended (if you don't count the "trade up" policy on winning prizes).

So, for a short time (and while I could afford it), I let magic take over.


I had my camera so that I could capture their fantasy. The fantasy of sitting on a carousel horse for the first time, of winning a stuffed animal, of chomping into a caramel apple, of allowing regular life to take a back seat in that shiny red bumper car. And while I could still feel regular life sitting on my shoulder, I escaped into my own wonderful fantasy... of watching my children.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Streak-O-Lean


Part 6: Scattered and Smothered

Curtis had women trouble. He didn't expect to cheat on May but he did. And now he'd really screwed up. May wasn't some girlfriend that he could shrug off. This time he cheated on his wife. He wasn't going to be able to walk away from this one unscathed. He was going to have to either patch it up with May or get a divorce and all that entails. Unable to approach May due to cowardice, he found himself in a new relationship with Twila. Twila just assumed that since they shared a half a pound of spit in his office that one afternoon that they were now boyfriend and girlfriend. Curtis' MO for life had always been to take the path of least resistance and that meant letting Twila think they were in a relationship (with all the perks that involved), and avoiding May at all costs (with all the perks that involved as well). But for some reason, he couldn't get May out of his head. There was only one thing he could do. He headed to the storeroom to hit on Brandi.

Curtis pushed through the swinging doors that led to the back of the store where pallets of Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms sat waiting to be the catalyst for the next mother-toddler standoff. Sooner or later, mother would convince herself that 4 dollars for a box of cereal would be a small price for finishing her shopping without incident. Toddler: 1, Mother: zip!

"Brandi?" Curtis said in a slightly raised voice. "Brandi? Where are you Sweetie?"
"I'm here Curtis and don't call me Sweetie!" Brandi replied in a most disgruntled fashion.
"Where?" Curtis said impatiently.
"I'm here near the splendid new shipment of Idaho potatoes. It would seem that 13 bags of these beauties have better things to do than show up here at the Piggly Wiggly in Carrington. Shall we send out the lynch mob for the rascals or wait and see if they come home on their own?"
"Ahh Damn! Did they shy us some bags again?" Curtis asked while silently hoping that Brandi wore those low rider jeans with the sequenced hearts on the back pockets. The hearts were a bonus. Like little bull's eyes, those hearts were beacons that lassoed his eyes and brought them to lay quite obviously on Brandi's behind.
"I would answer your question if I knew what 'shy us' meant. If you are referring to the fact that we are short again on the shipment then yes, they 'shy-ed us' Curtis." Brandi retorted in her most I-am-far-more-educated-at-the-10th-grade-level-than-you-will-be-in-your-whole-life voice.
"Well, I'll be damned." Curtis said scratching his head and ignoring her insult. "Guess I should make a call." He walked gingerly toward the teenager sitting on a pallet opposite the potatoes. He sat next to her, opened his legs into a comfortable position and leaned forward resting his elbows on his knees. "What do you think I oughta do about this, Miss Smartie Pants?"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Heart Says No... Not Yet.
















She's two now.
She's not content to play by herself.
She wants to know everything and none of it is on PBS.
She can construct full sentences.
She needs two cookies instead of one.
She can release the belt on her car seat and open the van door.
She knows it's blue and not green.
She knows on Thursday morning that we will "go to Hennin's house."
She watches Coraline everyday.
She can do it herself.
She tells me to sshh!

She needs to play with other kids and grow.
I need time to put myself back together and heal.

But I just can't do it.
I can't drop her off.
I can't start that part of her life yet.
I can't let her run and color and play with strangers.
I'm not ready to make cupcakes for her class parties.
I can't kiss that little face and say good-bye not even for two days a week.
I want to stop time and watch her sleep.
I want all of her kisses and "hucks".
I guess I'm not the grown up after all.
She's only two.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life is a Journey, not a Destination. Are we there yet?

I am 39 years old. When does the whole grown up thing kick in?

I am at a loss for pinpointing exactly what it is I want to write here. I guess I could say that my post has a certain je ne sais quoi, but my writing doesn't hold the chic mystique that that phrase implies. What is certain is that there is something inside of me that needs to escape and I haven't found the right venue for it yet. Will it be in writing, or art? Or perhaps housework? Maybe I just need to sit down with a friend and blab until whatever it is comes tumbling out.

It's 6:30 am and the house is quiet. But I still feel the crushing force of everyday life all around me.

I grew up with strong adults who kept chaos, both material and emotional, at bay. At least that was my perception as a child. In retrospect, I know that life was far from always being a bed of roses for my parents. But they did a great job of dealing with what was handed to them, good or bad. I am not very good at keeping chaos at bay. In fact, I am quite certain that a good portion of this chaos is my own creation.

It's probably not a good sign that I still think in terms of when I grow up... At 39, I am still wondering what I'm going to do with my life. My wiser, older friends would say, Honey you've got time. My younger friends would say, Aren't you supposed to have it together already? I guess I've just hit that middle-aged stride (somewhere between a childish, happy jaunt and a worn out hobble). I don't want to play on the swings anymore but I don't want to talk diapers with the moms on the park benches either. I thought that not fitting in was a pubescent phenomenon. I guess not because I still have the acne to show for it.

The day is coming. What will I do with it? Maybe I'll take a nap.

I think avoidance might be an issue. I might also be overbooked. It's like I've been bumped, but there isn't a later flight. Hmmm... What to do....



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

AHH the Good Life!

(Love to give props for the photo but don't know who to give it to.  The image ref was confusing.)

I love my porch.  It has peeling paint, dirty furniture, and all the charm to keep the neighbors around for hours.  It has been beautiful lately.  Spring is coming (and in Macon, GA one could probably say it's already here).  Tony and I have been playing Scrabble every evening for the last couple of nights and we end up laughing our proverbial asses off as we usually end up making up words that are entirely inappropriate, profane, or just plain ol' silly.  Combine this with our dear friend who lives across the street and you've got more fun than a buncha' dumb rednecks on a coon shoot wearing Davey Crocket hats.  

So let's talk about my dearest friend, (we were separated-at-birth) SHUG.  Shug (as in "Sugar", and no, that's not her real name) is the zaniest person I think I've ever met aside from my husband.  She is from small town Georgia and (with all of the love in the world intended) is a shit-kicker from hell!  Now for all you out there who are not from the Deep South, that might seem somewhat offensive; but I can tell you that if and when she reads this, she will be most proud to have such a fabulous title.  She's about 5 and a half feet and has a million stories to tell about her life.  Everything from growing up in rural Georgia, to UGA in the 70's, and being married to a roadie for the Allman Brothers Band; there are stories to hear that will crack your ass up (if you need more crack than you already have). Needless to say, SHUG and I are usually laughing when we are together and GOOOD LAWD!  Please don't invite my husband 'cause then one of us usually ends up saying "NO! WAIT! I'm gonna pee in my pants!" And then, as we're running out of the room to pee, we add, "Don't say another damn thing until I get back or I'll KICK YOUR ASS!"  

It's a friend like this that makes the phrase, "You're not a guest!  You're family! Get it yourself!" so very appropriate.  I love it that she's my friend and I really love it that she's right across the street (no designated  driver required).  

So, I am ready for spring.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Need My Own Personal Stonehenge




Perhaps it's the weather, the change in seasons, or the phase of the moon, but everyone in my life seems to be a bit, well, depressed.  We're all somewhat overwhelmed yet surprisingly nonplussed about it.  I thought maybe it was just me, or perhaps the planets were aligned in a bizarre pattern (something I don't ever think about until I can't find a reason for a puzzling situation).  I guess I need a couple of Druids and some really big rocks (and let's go ahead and throw in the Salisbury Plain 'cause I sure as hell would rather be there than here right now). Perhaps then, I will be able to find the cause of this rift in emotions.




Think about this for a second... Imagine being there right next to one of those enormous rocks (yes, I know it is no longer allowed.  That's why I said "imagine.")  Put your hand on the chilly, bumpy surface of the stone next to you.  The sun is about to come up and you are going to witness it rise above the Heel Stone in the distance and remarkably align itself with the center of the structure where you are now standing.



Can't be depressed watching that, can you?  It's a spiritual moment... a personal moment.  Yet, you are sharing it with others.  A bit like our modern day going to church except, at least for me, church is not as spiritual, nor as breathtaking, nor as communal.  I think spiritually, modern day man (for the most part) has forgotten how to be "moved."  Oh, sure, we're moved occasionally... but on a daily, weekly, even monthly basis? We are over stimulated by the digital world, underfed emotionally in our relationships, and all without a Stonehenge to gather and get back to the basics of life. How do we get there without giving up all that we as humans have acquired through the ages?  Or, is it a trade off?