Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Ann Arbor, a great city for families and people in general, has a fabulous string of community pools and parks that all opened this last weekend. My daughter and two grandchildren and I walked the 10 minute walk from their new house, to their neighborhood pool at Buhr Park, where other family members joined us. Our extended family spent most of Monday afternoon up to our necks in cool, beautiful water and then we topped off the day with a barbecue in the evening.
We discovered that my almost 2-year old grand-daughter Juniper most likely has mermaid roots. Being a Michigan baby she hasn't been exposed to much swimming time, but she took to the water with enthusiasm. Michael, her older brother is already a fish. He was a Key West boy for the first 5 years of his life, where swimming in crystal clear, white sandy-bottom, carribean waters is a daily event so it was hard for him not to grow fins.
The day was ideal....there was literally nothing wrong with it from start to finish. Winter is officially over.
Back to work on Tuesday, which is always really, really nice after a fun-filled, work-free, few days. I'm always ready to get back into it. We have a full schedule of orders on the bulletin board, including an order from Somerset Jewelers Gallery, who we have sold to for the past 4-5 years, in Ocean City, Maryland. I'd love to include a link to their store but they don't keep a website. We're pulling everything together, working simultaneously on cats, flamingoes, suns, fish, flowers.
The photos above show a cat before it's features have been added and a fish in the early stages.
Flamingoes with their base coat, waiting for glass, eyes, wings.
Large Flower tops primed and ready for action.
Flowers in progress with cat eyes on the table too.
I haven't been getting to my paintings as much I would like. The arrival of summer is directing any extra time that I have, outside to dig in the garden, fill my front porch flower boxes with new soil and flowers, spray paint the wicker furniture I picked up on craigslist, have cook-outs with the whole family at our friend (and my daughter's mother-in-law) Yvonne's house (we share grandchildren).......plus the less exciting tasks of renewing licenses (YAY- Michigan driver's licenses mean we can start using the library), going to doctor's appointments, shopping for art materials, and all of that other necessary and very time consuming stuff that we have to do to keep everything working. Don't even ask me how the inside of my house looks today. Total disaster zone.
Life has gotten speedy all of a sudden, but I keep telling myself it's all a matter of balance. I'm with you Catherine....my new friend who carries our work at The Red Shoes in Ann Arbor was just talking about the busy-ness of her life the other day, and how easy it is to feel hectic. Indeed, and in spite of how crazy it can make you feel trying to figure out the way to get it all done, it's much better than feeling bored. No boredom here. Too, too busy making life happen.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Michael is already going through a lot with the move to the new house, a disruption in his life. He is losing his neighborhood friends, which is very hard. It's a very good move for the family, but it can be a very big adjustment for kids, especially at first. Now, losing his dog too, will be very difficult. We picked him up right after school today, but it is appropriate that his mother and father tell him the news themselves so we haven't said anything. Watching him with the puppies this afternoon has been touching.
It has been a very sad and tragic day for all of us. My daughter Liz's family and all of our extended family, who live nearby, and knew Jack well, are in mourning for him. We all loved Jack. He was a superb very sweet dog.
Jack, the charming shih-tzu, and handsome father of the shi-chi's.
After laboring for longer than his mother Lucy should have had to, it was clear I was going to have to go in after him. The only part of Corky that was out were a pair of teeny, darling feet still encased in his placental sac.
My puppy delivery (whelping....if you want to be technical) references told me that after the length of time that Lucy had been straining to deliver the puppy, if I didn't go in and try to pull him out manually, his mother Lucy might die. I've whelped three litters of pups but this is the first time of having to face this dilemma....... and chihuahua's are so little. It also said that the puppy might die in the process. Naturally, our dog Lucy was giving birth at 3:00 a.m. so we were on our own. My poor husband Markel, sat by me the whole time, helplessly, but helpfully supportive.
Trembling with panic and fear I put my gloves on and managed to slip my hand around his little body and pull him out. Lucy was not happy. In shih-tzu/chihuahua terms he seemed huge and as I slid him out he kept on coming and coming and coming out of his mother. There is no way he would have come out by himself. He was tightly wedged in there. I really had to pull and Lucy was so exhausted by her efforts. I am so grateful that it was a success.
I was worried that I had hurt her or introduced infection until the next day when we took the whole litter and mama into the the vet who pronounced mother Lucy and her babies healthy and having come through the birthing process with flying colors, in spite of the initially tenuous situation.
I have decided to name the little guys for the time that we have them, until they go with their new families at age 8-10 weeks.....puppy one, puppy two, puppy three just wasn't cutting it anymore.
We call this little guy, (puppy number one), Corky, because after the cork (him) was out of the bottle, the rest of the puppies were born with ease. He is very calm and cuddly. I'm thinking that he will actually lighten up and be blond or taffy colored like his mother Lucy, or he might be a little like Lucy's father, who was a beautiful dark brown with gold tips, a long-haired chihuahua named Winslow, who we knew in Key West and who fathered Lucy and her brother Pippin.
So sweet. He has a very laid back personality so far, and was the first of the three to open his eyes. I must admit that he is the one I have been leaning toward if we decide to keep one, but who knows, I am in love with all of them.
Below is a photo taken immediately after birth, and here we are today, at exactly 2 weeks old. Now it's going to get fun. They grow rapidly in the next three weeks. Lucy remains an attentive and devoted mother. Their coats reminded me of little seals when they were born.
Friday, May 18, 2007
This is a close-up shot of the fairy door. If you look to the bottom right of the front door of the shop, you'll spot it. It often has tiny gifts left by people for the fairies. Inside the shop, you can leave a note to the tiny inhabitants.
this is the fairy door from the inside, looking out.
Red Shoes.....check it out.
Beautiful, green Ann Arbor in May. This is their new street from their new front yard.....
....and the backyard, complete with a sturdy play structure. During our exploration of the yard we found among other things, peonies, lilac bushes of every color, and a generous patch of lily of the valley.....
Inside there are sweet rooms, lots of windows and gorgeous wood floors. Oh boy, now the work of moving (with a 2 year old and 7 year old) begins.
Jack has his summer hair-cut here; normally his hair would be extremely long. He's a great dog, sweet-tempered, great with kids, tempering the chihuahua personality which can be high strung......to put it mildly.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
original work here
I have been drawn to fruit bowls as a subject for a long time now. When I paint them, they symbolize to me, abundance, beauty, health, the whole idea that the most important things are simple, that we can be fulfilled without needing/having a lot of stuff....good friends, good food, books, a good garage sale, dance, art, learning, music, conversation, family-this is what we need more of, what we can't have enough of.
Have you noticed how hard it is for human beings to share fairly? We have so much on this earth, in this country, and yet so many people are starving, don't have what they need, even in my own town, right here in Ann Arbor. Then other individuals are so rich, with so much more than they need, and they crave more, can't have enough. The people who are really puzzling are those who, even though they have so much, don't want anyone else to have as much as them, or anything at all. Some human beings can be a little over-rated I think.
Still, I think I see more of an awareness growing and I hope that I am seeing an expanding consciousness. Certainly, we can't all truly be happy till everyone is taken care of. Giving up hope that human beings will evolve into a kinder species isn't worth the pain.
If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work. -Jacques Cousteau
"Wait'll next year" is the favorite cry of baseball fans, football fans, hockey fans, and gardeners.
Lucy, their Mom is great. She had a few tough days at the beginning when she needed to go out every hour to go to the bathroom, even through the night. Changing her diet helped that. We made a big pot of chicken soup with brown rice and vegetables and separated a large portion of it, before spicing it for human consumption. She has loved the soup. We add a lot of water to it at the suggestion of the vet, because she wasn't drinking enough. Lucy seems calm and happy. She spends most of her time with the pups either nursing or just all curled up together.
We're going to be getting to the fun part. They really start to develop quickly between the 2nd and 5th weeks. I'll keep on posting about them each week.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Red Shoes ,a most creative and jam-packed with goodness store. We are back in Michigan after 7 years in the Florida Keys and we think we are better than ever, wiser and more seasoned.
Red Shoes, Catherine Thursby's delicious store, is off the beaten track at 332 South Ashley (located just one block off of Ann Arbor's fabulous Main street) If you haven't discovered her store, you are missing something special, and when you do go, you're in for a big treat. Catherine, the lovely owner, features her own artwork which is funky and great, vintage finds, art by other's (like us), and other yummy things for the home, you and the kiddles in your life. I want one of everything when I go in there. Her hours are
10-6, Monday through Saturday.
We are extremely honored that she will be carrying our work locally. We dropped off fish, a hummingbird, a butterfly, some flowers. We'll be adding more to her store over the coming weeks, including suns, mini scupture, a little of this and a little of that.
Make sure you click on the link above for Catherines entertaining and witty blog where she posts all of the wonderful new things that she has added to her store, talks about her latest projects and other people type things.
Click here, Red Shoes website for more info....oh, and make sure and check out her fairy inhabitants.
Fair Warning: The next few posts are all about puppies, kids and our new, Michigan front porch. For more purplebabydaddies art keep on scrolling.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Junie B. and the shi-chi's (shih-tzu/chihuahua mixed pups).....but not together, together, because Junie would love to squeeeeeeeeeze them.
If you're looking for purplebabydaddies art work you'll have to keep on scrolling and scrolling because we are having a little too much real person, living-a-life-kind-of-fun for a few days...birthdays, mother's day, puppies, gorgeous weather.
Last night we had a houseful of friends and family for a potluck to celebrate my b-day and mother's day. My mother and father brought a big pan of their famous lasagna and a home-made strawberry-rhubarb pie. My childhood friend Sue, who I met in 5th grade when we went to Catholic school together, came too. We bonded immediately when as 10 year olds we discovered that we had the same birthday and we have been friends ever since.....many, many, many years. She brought her daughter Jillian and was laden with food and gifts (which is so her) plus the most decadent home-made chocolate torte cake, that was more like fudge than cake. I am the happiest when my house is filled to bursting, which it was. I had the camera all set and then proceeded to forget to pick it up the whole night.
I am truly blessed. It was a great party, but as usual I missed our daughter Eva who is having a big life in New Hampshire and Vanessa with her equally big life in NYC..
Update on Lucy and the pups: The whole little family, Lucy and the puppies, took a trip to our neighborhood vet, "The Affordable Vet" (and it was), only 2 blocks away, yesterday morning. Mother and pups were pronounced healthy and safe. We loved the vet and the staff there and found out that the vet tech, who has whelped many litters of her own, used to work on Marathon Key at the Dolphin Research Center which we know and love. The vet asked Markel and I if we had named them.....nope, so far it's just One, Two, and Three.....
Lucy has come through this as a champ. She wasn't too happy last night though with the house full. She was sequestered in the bedroom tolerating tiny peeks from family and friends, but she wasn't happy, she yelled (in bark-speak) at all of us to keep it down......"I have little babies in here you know". As soon as everyone left she settled down. I think every woman who has given birth knows how protective you are when you have that new little baby. Lucy is a stellar mom.
Other good news of the art related sort. Dyan from Island Style, in Key West, called on Wednesday because someone came in to her store and bought an entire grouping of pieces, 13 in all, and wiped her out of all her flowers in various sizes. We have to send her an emergency shipment. Just for the record, the most sold at one time was 24 pieces to a woman at an art fair in Chicago, who bought 13 for herself, and then came back the next day and bought 11 more for her sister, because she knew her sister would want her to give her some of the ones she had bought for herself and she didn't want to have to.
Other, other good news.......we will be selling our work locally at the most delightfully winsome store, RED SHOES, 332 South Ashley in Ann Arbor, owned by the most adorable proprietess, Catherine Thursby, who sells her own artwork, a to-die-for collection of fantastic vintage finds, other artist's art work, and assorted charming goodies. Going into her store is an instantaneous way to lift your spirits. I will be posting pics of her store soon after we get some of our work to her. We are so honored to be added to her collection of wonderful things.....and you know she has to have something special going on there because she has been graced with fairy inhabitants....check out the link to the fairy door stories, Urban-Fairy Doors, above right, for something very, very cool.
I've added a link to Catherine's store, Red Shoes on the top right of the page. Please take a look even if you don't live in Michigan, because her website is pure eye-candy. She also writes a delightful blog, Red Shoes Blog, also linked above, that is sweet, always entertaining and fun to keep up with. More about her store soon, when we bring her our work, but right now mama Lucy is whining to go out, so more later.