Friday, September 26, 2008

Backing up

"One day at a time unless they all attack at once."

One of the things I've learned the hard way is to back up your files. Two years ago when my computer went down during a power surging, butt kicking winter snow storm, I realized I had nothing, I mean nothing backed up. I thought for sure I was toast and I had earned the burn. Bob, computer genius, once again managed to save not only mr computer but all my files on it. And somehow managed to get Apple to pay for the replacement power thingy that had fried.
You know the saying that behind every good man is a good woman, backing him up? Ok I added the backing up part because it seems to fit with todays blog about backing up, but not just in a lip service kind of way. Jan is the ying to Bobs yang, and when you call Valley Software, trying to contain your panic, her voice is like honey on toast, shes calm, never loses her patience, and most of the time can get you out of the jam before, as a last resort, she turns you over to Bob or tells you to bring the computer in.
Backing up... I swore I would not get myself in the wiggly place i was in last time, and two years ago I bought an external drive on ebay and backed up my files. Since Bob had to rebuild my computer from the ground up this time, it hasn't been the smoothest restart, small things are not happening, like despite his best efforts, Firefox was running when the mothership went down and I lost all my bookmarks.
The one thing that did set me into panic mode last night was the font factor, two fonts I had been working with on my website overhaul, one I had downloaded from Emigre and another missing font I use all the time, nowhere to be found in the rebuilt font folder which I guess goes into the default format when the computers' OS is reinstalled. This morning I plugged in my external hard drive with little hope I had actually backed up my fonts, but there they were.
My miracle d'jour.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mothership crashes

From one pain in the neck to another, my computer crashed right in the middle of updating my website files. I went from making some serious progress to staring at a teeny tiny folder on my desktop with a flashing question mark.
Its been days of feeling lost in more ways than one and hours hanging out at Valley Software hoping for a quick fix. Like my neck problem, this one took days to resolve as well. Thanks to the friendly folks there at VS, I somehow pulled through with an intact sense of humor, and what feels like a new computer.
Thanks Bob and Jan, once again you guys are the best.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Whats New

This week I have finally gotten around to working on redoing my website, something that has been on the 'to do' list for about a year. Relearning Dreamweaver, painful but rewarding... I'm almost there, have to add some pages and refine a few things, but it will be much more professional and less personal.
On the homefront, this week Lori moved up from New Mexico and into my studio rental. She is a breath of fresh air, a fun and creative spirit. Today we took her to the downtown Grants Pass Growers market, got some tamales and we hit a few garage sales on the way home.
Big fun in Oregon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


In September of 2007 Ruth Ann Barrett of Red Direct approached me about working with her on a video based website. was launched in 2008.
I'm posting the series of "category stamps" I created for illustrated around the theme of sustainability. My blog head incorporates a slice of one of these illustrations. She has been using them for various applications, presentations, and they have been adapted to merchandise available through

Monday, September 15, 2008


My 5 for 5 line was so successful I won the raffle ticket seller prize for the third year. The second place winner sold 719 tickets I sold 3,260 (in ten concerts). I won a pair of tickets to a concert of my choice next summer, and fifteen minutes of fame at the picnic, which was a blast. Afterwards we trolled the streets of J-ville picking up all kinds of free stuff people had put out, leftover from the citywide sale.
Still my neck is totally messed up but I found some leftover painkillers from 06' when I broke my wrist, and along with the Advil I've been mainlining I'm almost back to normal.
We're having a mini heatwave, the temps are approaching triple digits in the daytime, and right now the crickets are singing up a storm to an almost full moon while I'm typing this post.
Dave and I headed out to Kerby today to get more fresh corn, tomatoes and assorted produce, a great day for a drive. We stopped by Joans' on the way back to pick up some eggs and take some pictures of her guinea pigs so I could post another ad on Craigslist for her.
A great day for pictures and painkillers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weakend warriors

This weekend has thrashed me. There was a 2 day city wide garage sale in Jacksonville we covered a fraction of on Saturday, as well as picking up the french doors. Blocks and blocks of treasures, we left exhausted with a car full of booty. We head back there in another two hours for the volunteer picnic at The Britt.
Posting a picture of the new downstairs area Dave created on Friday with some cedar fence boards while I was working at the hospital. Used to be an eyesore, the trash is hidden now, and a string of lights makes it a sweet environment and perfect place for the table and chairs I bought a few months ago.
Better bust a move, there will still be a few sales going on I will be tempted to hit in spite of my neck feeling wounded and out of whack, no doubt from trying to keep Maggie on a leash as we walked around yesterday.

Stepping outside the box

Besides the Britt, I work as a volunteer at Three Rivers Hospital. Friday morning was my shift and my brain needs, desires and requires the mental gymnastics. Its been a blur of a month (and summer) of company and work assignments, so I've only put in one other day in August.
I thought when I signed on there to volunteer that I would be sitting at a desk passing out pamphlets or something similarly unchallenging. As it turned out they wanted me to work at the surgery intake desk because of my people skills. Twenty years of working for myself, I thought my people skills were in need of people so I signed on. What I have realized over the past 8 months of working there is how my brain and its imminent functioning has always singularly revolved around problem solving the creative process. Rewiring my brain at 55 to work this position has been a very challenging and rewarding road on many levels.
There is a massive flow chart to keep current as patients check in, their arrival time, family members cell phone numbers, what they are wearing to identify them and in what section they are sitting in, it all needs to be recorded because of HIPPA, you can no longer holler their names across the waiting room.
The core needs to be called that they are here, OR after their procedure, a call downstairs for discharge and a wheelchair. In a morning we check in about twenty to thirty patients for surgery or colonoscophys. Along with the information that must be recorded and the phones, the biggest and most important part of the position is to be simultaneously social and comforting to the patients and family members.
Frankly, my brain has never had multi-task on this level in my lifetime...until now.
One of the reasons I have hung in there and not transferred over to one of the numerous other available volunteer spots, like in the library where I could stare at the computer for hours, (something I am very experienced with) are the women I work with.
I am so impressed with the level of professionalism and social grace these individuals possess. Their brains are in the moment, firing on all cylinders, and they make me want to step outside the creative box and get my feet wet in a different way and world that in no way resembles Greys Anatomy, or any other hospital show I've watched or rolled my eyes over and clicked on or off on the boob tube.
This gratitude moment is about stepping outside the box, one that challenges me and fulfills, in a way unlike any other.
The photo above was taken as I was leaving home Friday morning, a country block from my driveway at 7:15 am

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In the MOOD

I must confess, doing Christmas art in September is putting me in the holiday spirit. Its been years since I've managed to get even a few Christmas cards out the darn door, I'm thinking maybe its all about starting in the Fall. Fast forward thru carving pumpkins, raking leaves and lets mooove on to the real deal. Thankfully the election and all the insane hoopla will be over, and we can get down to baking and decorating.
Today I was back to working on "Faith Clip", and today it was a Madonna, an Angel Word art piece and three Shepard's in a field.
I'm ready, bring it on.... I'm breaking out those Christmas cards!
Today is also the anniversary of 9/11, a life changing day 7 years ago that like the day JFK died will be forever etched in my mind. Julie still lived here, and it was the year she introduced me to Dave.
Thanks Julie, another awesome life changing day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Art and what not

The past two days were spent working on my last clip art assignment - Holiday art...
...a turkey, cornucopia and 4 related borders. These along with the change in the weather and light, a sure sign that summer is almost over and in the blink of an eye I will be wrapping Christmas presents and wondering where the last three months have gone.
I have totally enjoyed working on these and last weeks "breakfast boxes" project.
Today we drove the backroad to Jacksonville to check out the miracle doors I had posted an ad on Craigslist for to finish the shed that started out as a carport. Turns out Bonnie had sold the doors, but had some other possible replacements. Her place was worth the drive, I took a bunch of pictures I will post of her creative displays. She has a little place called Wheelbarrow Lane and is prepping for a citywide sale that takes place this Saturday and Sunday. Bonnie is from the Bay Area, what a surprise, so are half the folks who live in the area, and just talking on the phone I knew she was someone I wanted to meet. She was so sorry she sold the doors, but immediately called some friends she knew that were renovating and selling their french doors. We drove over to her friend Julies' fantastic Bed and Breakfast a few blocks away and bought a set that also included the frame.
Even better!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Signs of Life

Theres nothing like making art in the woods, using natures toolbox and found objects.
Just back from a two night three day campout at The Chetco River off the coast of Brookings Harbor, Oregon. We've camped here before, right on the rivers edge, but this time we tucked in a spot under some great big trees, providing a canopy under twinking stars you can see as the wind blows warmly off the river.
My friend Ruthie is up for a business (and pleasure) meeting all in one. She is such a sport and we three head to the Chetco River and Southern Oregon coast and camp for the night before she heads home to San Francisco down Hywy 101. On our way through the Illinois Valley, we stop at my friend Sandys' Bed and Breakfast Retreet in Takilma. We also brake for all produce stands and get tons of fantastic corn on the cob we'll roast later over a cozy fire. Swimming and cooking salmon and corn and hanging with Ruthie what a total blast. Dave and I stay an extra night.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monday musings

My client and friend Ruth Ann Barrett drove up from San Francisco on Monday evening, we're working on a new business plan and I'm excited. Plus we're working on revising and updating Mokiethecat, a website we did 5 or 6 years ago. I've created products for an online store and adding a podcast download page as well as a history of the site.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor of Love

My Labor Day Weekend started on Thursday night, with an unforgettable concert at The Britt in Jacksonville, Oregon where I have worked as a volunteer for the past four years. The majority of the volunteers prefer to usher, or work the various concessions, but I love running around the hill selling raffle tickets. The seasonal raffle prize is a for a chance to win two reserved seats to every concert next season, plus parking on the hill. I enjoy telling people, "Its a five thousand dollar prize - parking on the hill...priceless".
If you've hiked the hill to get up to The Britt venue, and most of the patrons have, they crack up. Hopefully Mastercard won't get wind of the fact I have been hustling their ad line over and over and over. This year I have a new line I'm wearing out. Despite the fact that I'm sporting a bright red smock that says in huge white type, RAFFLE TICKETS $1.00 , people always ask me how much? So I respond "only a dollar apiece or five for five". They shake their heads and laugh, but mostly they buy five. I'm not sure if its the power of suggestion or what, but my ticket sales are up this year. Go figure...
Normally I get there early, sell to the folks waiting in line, work intermissions, and then I get to join Dave on the lawn if he's not working the concert too, and enjoy the show.
Thursday night it was a triple header starting out with one of my very favorite groups, The Waifs. From Australia, they have a fantastic new CD -Sun Dirt Water and they were the highlight of the evening. It was too short of a set and they should have been the headliner. The Avett Brothers followed after a short intermission, and they were so uniquely strange and talented, I was glad to be up close to see them perform. Another intermission of running around the hill pushing tickets as it was getting dark, and the headliner, Lucinda Williams came on, lightly toasted. She was more rocking and rauncy than previous shows I've seen her do and the family oriented crowd started to head for the gates, which seemed to upset her but not slow her down a bit.
Saturday night I worked the Willie Nelson concert at Lithia. Dave and I helped an eldery woman to her seat, she was using a walker and we wanted to make sure she didn't get mowed down by the thundering crowd as the gates opened in ten minutes. As she slowly moved across the paved walkway, she told us how she met Willie many years ago at a Farm Workers rally in Salinas, California where they marched for twelve hours until her feet were so blistered, the next day she had to go to the Doctor, who she shook her head laughing, called her tenderfoot. Later that night as I was waiting for some folks in a row behind her to fill out their raffle tickets I pointed her out, and told them how she had marched with Willie. Their respectful awe, and the pride her face then registered was one of those moments I will never forget.
As for Willie, he was a class act, however, I was stunned by the number of woman throwing their bras on stage. I saw seven or eight sail through the air, and one by one he smiled and picked them up stacking them on the amp behind him, remarking it was a bumper crop that night.

Sunday we labored on my vintage retro trailer (see photo above) getting it ready to post for sale on ebay when Joan called to invite us over for a BBQ. We packed up some salsa made a few days earlier and headed over to the lodge and a delightful evening of food and fantastic wine with Joan and Bill, Helen a young 93, Pete and Janice and their kids and three dogs visiting from California, and it was an absolutely wonderful time. On the way over there we stopped to take this picture of a beautiful horse in a field that reminded me of my friend Leahs' horse Jaz.
I'm looking forward to working tonight at The Britt, Bonnie Raitt is headlining. I haven't seen her since 1977 at The Montreux Jazz Festival where she was on stage with Muddy Waters, another simply unforgettable concert experience.
Three concerts in six days, wish I had a pedometer strapped to my leg, bet I will have run a marathon by the end of this holiday weekend.