Friday, June 29, 2007

shi-chi's all grown up and ready for families

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shi-chi's 8 weeks old

I put the ad in the Ann Arbor News classified just a few minutes ago with a link to this blog. It will start running on the 1st of July, this Sunday The time has gone by so quickly. Our good friend took one of the puppies already, the person who owned the grandparents of Lucy, shown here with one of the pups for sale. If you're at this site specifically to see the puppies, click on the link below, that says shi-chi's

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Letting it Happen

Can I really be 52 years old? It doesn't seem possible to me to be at an age that I considered as a child, even as a young adult, to be so old. I wince at the thought of how I projected my idea of someone as being old on others as recently as last year....I don't feel any different than I did at 32 , or 28. Now I know that even my mother and her sisters in their 70's and 80's feel that way too. Our bodies age but our spirits continue to renew and transform.

Has the counter-culture generation decided to age differently, to redefine aging? Probably so, it has redefined everything else. I am encouraged and excited to see alternatively minded communities forming for aging hippies, baby-boomers, particularly artists who haven't got much of a retirement plan in place....who, "if it felt good, did it"

The mother of invention is leading people to form back to the land, communal type, living arrangements. Shared land, studios, gardens, meals, yoga, exercise, swimming pools, pool halls. We are all so much better off as a community. We can do so much more when we put money, ideas, entertainment, information together. Stripped of convention, the baby boomers are going to figure it out.

I am trying out letting my hair go grey. It's a big step and I reconsider it often, but so far I'm liking it. My hair grows so quickly that I was having to recover the grey every 4 weeks. I can't afford the time or the money that it takes to go to the salon and have it done professionally and I hated how it turned out when I tried to do it myself. Unfortunately, you can't go get your hair died grey to make growing out the color easier and the other the other option to cut it all off and start over isn't much better. I'm just winging it, letting it grow out, multi-colored as it is. My inspiration are the beautiful women who I encounter everywhere I go with beautiful grey hair.

I'm inspired by Kiki Smith, top photo. Gorgeous, isn't she?......And also one of the most influential women artists in the world today. Her sculptures and prints present life, women, nature with all of it's grittiness, beauty, mess. She doesn't idealize it, she shows the truth.....the woman in her painting, sitting prettily in the garden has grass stains on her knees, mud on her elbows.

Another subject for her is art about the holy spirit, magic, spirituality, the big mystery that's so hard to pin down, yet so lovely to consider. She is known to be a big collaborator, loving to share studio/work space, working with people who know techniques that she utilizes to create her work
....and then there is this glowing, ethereal, lovely woman. This is a photograph of Betty Silverstein from the book, Wise Women: A Celebration of Their Insights, Courage, and Beauty, by the renowned photographer Joyce Tennyson. Betty is quoted in the book as saying, "People often stop me now and tell me I'm beautiful. I never had this happen when I was younger. So for me aging has, at least on the surface, made others more interested in me and who I am".
.....then there is this wild woman, an artist/designer who dies her hair yellow-orange. I can't promise that I won't go there too. I'll do whatever I feel like doing at the time. No rules of the hair color kind bind me. I have other rules: to be kind, do my best to do the right thing, keep growing, expanding, learning, creating and thinking outside of the box....big rules, no matter what color my hair is.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007


This is still a blog about art, though my recent postings haven't exactly reflected that. Has anyone else noticed that blogging goes a little slower in the summer, the writing of them as well as the reading of them? We are still working hard, making pieces for our orders, spending the better part of our days working, but when we aren't working there are barbeques, a glorious front porch to sit and dream on, walks to Ann Arbor's bustling downtown, puppies, children, families and friends to play with, gardens to grow. I write the blog in my mind, though enjoying the long summer days seems to be what is capturing me. Happy Summer.
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Shichi's:4.5 weeks old

I'm a little behind in the 4 week old pics of these little guys. They become more fun by the minute. They are really starting to play now, rolling and biting each others tails and barking these little miniature barks that are adorable.

I have introduced puppy food this week, moistened with lots of water, which they have been very interested in. They sniff it and then back up and jump a little, then come back and sniff again, tossing themselves sideways comically. They seem delighted with this new event, a little confused, but figuring it out. As usual the last born, Angel, the trail blazer was the first to actually spend a significant amount of time eating.

Lucy, their Mom, even though I have continued to cook a hearty mash consisting of chicken, brown rice, peas and corn which I feed her three times a day, climbs into the wading pool, the puppies' daytime home, and promptly polishes off all of the moistened puppy chow that I have set out for them, on top of all of the food she has been getting. Eating is her favorite thing in the whole wide world. I'm going to have to separate Mom from pups at meal times. She is still nursing them of course, but not as much as she had been.
Corky is completely sweet, very mellow and cuddly.
My husband Markel with Peanut....this really gives a good perspective on how tiny they really are. I'm guessing that they will be between 5-8 pounds full grown.
This is Angel, the trail blazer and the one that we will keep.....I think. I love them all and can't imagine saying good-bye to any of them. This week we will start on their shots.

I will list them for sale in the classified section of the Ann Arbor News with greater intention when they are 6 weeks old, but not let them go till they are 8 weeks old, which will be the 1oth of July. If anyone is interested, Corky and Peanut will be for sale (it freaks me out to even talk about them being for sale....they are still very much my babies and I am going to carefully screen potential buyers).

We are charging $600 each. For more information on designer ShiChi's, a recognized hybrid breed, click on shichi

.....Get in touch if you think you might like to have one of these babies for your own. They are going to be mellow, smart, tiny dogs who will be completely devoted to whoever decides to adopt them. for inquiries about buying a pup.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Fireworks for Miss Junie

Purplebabydaddies is not only involved in the making of art, we also are involved in producing fabulous people and puppies (4 week old shi-chi pics in a day or two)....

So yes, we've been working hard making artwork, but the big news is that, Oh my, Miss June has turned two this week!

I swear to you, one day they are newborns and the next day they are 25. It happens faster than you think, all of you young families out there. I remember how grueling being a young parent can be, the sleeplessness, the tantrums, the endless laundry, so trust me, I'm not here lecturing.

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding and yet hardest things you will ever do, but the amazing thing is that, one day, they are newborns, and then the next day, they are all grown up, with newborns of their own. I'm not kidding, life may be long, but it can also go very fast.....Advice to take or leave: listen to the grandparents in your life, when they suggest that you savor these years and realize that parenting your children will be the most important thing that you ever do (along with all of the other very important things that you do).

But I digress, what is this grand-parenting phenomenom? I mean we love our kids but then our grandchildren come along and you LOVE them, just like that, in CAPITOL LETTERS and it's not just me, this is a "thing", a "condition". My fellow grand-parent friends are infected too, so I know it's not just Markel and I. A common explanation that I hear is that grand-parents go ga-ga because they don't have the same responsibility for the kids that they once had with their own children so they enjoy them more, but I don't think that's all of it, maybe a part, but not the big important reason.

I think the love and connection is heightened also because of the gained perspective of the time factor; you realize how fleeting and precious these years of littleness are, and how important they are in building self-esteem, sense of self, all of the things that make the foundations for a healthy adult....and you don't get those years back. Speaking for myself and some of my friends we've realized some things that we would have liked to have done better with our own children, from that birds-eye-view perspective. One thing I know for certain is that you want to be sure to arm these precious babies with as much strength of character, kindness, and integrity as you can, as they go out into this complicated world we live in as independant adults.

Grandparents have seen that those teeming little bundles of emotion, willfullness, and desire that you alternately wrangle and are enchanted by on a daily basis, do grow up and become adults, who you can actually enjoy as fellow adult people, even when they are still your children ....or your own parents for that matter, the great-grand-parents. My parents are still the life of every party, cracking jokes, singing songs, talking politics. I remember watching their parties from the bannister. Now we are at the parties all together. How wonderful to appreciate them as parents, children, and as peers.

Amazing to think that, god willing and a firm knock on wood, Markel and I will have the pleasure of enjoying our grandchildren as adults some day as well. Right now though, I am delighted with their delightful and delicious, 2-year and 8 year-old-ishness.

We have two other daughters who haven't even gotten started on this whole baby thing and when they do we'll want to go and be with them....that will be a juggle because one is in New Hampshire and the other one is in Manhattan (they are both talking about having babies in the next few years)and then we have these darlings in Michigan.....

My opinionated opinion is that this country is just too big and in our culture we all go apart way too easily. I like the idea of families doing the best that they can to stay in the same vicinity, though I know it isn't always possible, and breaks a lot of hearts. As artists we are lucky; we can make our art work anywhere.....and voila, here we are back at art.
this is our darling Michael, who will always be our first grandchild......and who likes to be assured that we remember that.
diligently waiting for birthday dinner (which was well worth the wait)....
my darling birthday girl with her new Dora the explorer doll, and moi.

oh and psssssst: If you came here looking for art, not my musings on being a grand-parent, click on design line on the list of labels or click on this- leslie and markel's original art.....that will at least get you started.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Pulling it Together

We have had one of those weeks where many outside tasks have demanded our attention and so today, at last, we have had one of those lovely days where we could devote our entire day to work...... which was going swimmingly until I broke a glass while I was washing dishes and badly cut my finger. It might need a stitch, but since we don't have health insurance we bandaged it up and on I went, not willing to spend another day away from working. Sitting in an emergency room is not my idea of how I want to spend a day, especially after spending half a day yesterday, waiting to renew our driver's licenses and then an afternoon of physicals at our doctor's office.
We have flowers, fish, cats, suns all in the works and so it was with a great deal of accomplishment that we were able to finish the two cats and sun today....completely.
This guy is going to Garden Argosy, the gallery in Sarasota that carries our work.
A green version, from the same litter, also heading to the same gallery in Sarasota.
....And a sun for my younger sister Mary, who was a mermaid in another life.

We are determined to completely finish more tomorrow. Nothing is planned. We are sequestering ourselves because suddenly we have a very full bulletin board of work and so it's time to get busy.
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making friends with the barn

We found our house and studio on craigslist from Key West and made all of the arrangements through e-mail. We knew when we arrived that the barn was going to be getting a new roof and that the old roof was going to be taken down, right to the top of the stone on the second floor, and that we wouldn't be able to use it till it was all done. Today was a momentous day! Everything is finished and all of the detritus shown in this photo in front of the barn has been cleaned up and cleared away. It is completely our space. With all of the debris gone I even found a lovely bricked in flower bed right in front of the barn, begging for flowers
This is a truly gorgeous building, the oldest stone building of it's kind in Ann Arbor, built in 1898.
Markel setting up for mosaic base making.
The barn has an immense wood-burning furnace with blowers that works just fine. It needs to be cleaned some time before the fall and some of the stovepipe needs to be replaced. We've hardly even set up the work-space. We're getting the feel of the place first.
This is my favorite part, the second floor, notice the new roof beams. It's a big open area and both Markel and I will use it to make our bigger works. Markel is talking about some big sculpture and maybe some large paintings too. He's been writing every morning for over a month now, a long time desire, that I am so happy to see him fulfilling. Maybe some of his condensed ideas will end up in his painting.
Our front porch, my flower box newly planted, and our beautiful neighborhood. Our neighbors, who are also artists, have the most beautiful garden on our block, lush and intricate. I love this neighborhood.
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Shi-Chi's: Three Weeks Old

Mr. Corky, the first born- He is the most laid back little guy. He just melts into your hands when he is picked up and is very quiet and cuddly. He remains the largest of the three pups. The other two puppies have actually emitted their first little barks.

They are all the fattest little guys. The special diet that we are feeding their mother Lucy seems to be working just fine. I'm sure keeping up with nursing these three is hard...After the weird dog food scare my vet suggested that I make a big pot of chicken, rice and vegies (broccoli, cauliflower, onions cause upset stomachs; I used corn and peas). I refrigerate it and then reconstitute it with warm water and feed it to her three times a day. Cottage cheese is good for her too, since it provides much needed calcium. She also has a full bowl of puppy kibble at all times as advised by the vet. Actually, he had me put her on puppy food while whe was pregnant, for the extra nutrients.
Peanut was posing! I got so many good shots of him. he actually came toward the camera and laid just so....He's becoming fluffy and I'm waiting to see how fluffy they become.
This is Angel, the tiniest and the third born, also the trail-blazer. He opened his eyes first, and stood and then walked, on all four legs first.

They kind of drag themselves around for the first three weeks. They just began to walk on all four legs yesterday, very shakily at first, which was adorable and not easy since they have really short little legs and big fat bodies. They also are starting to show the first signs of play, rolling toward one another, throwing themselves in a very comical fashion, chewing each other's faces. Markel and I just sit and watch them.

They are indeed waking up, leaving the newborn stage and becoming roly-poly puppies. It is really gratifying seeing how fast they progress.

We just started to move them into the common living area during the day and then back into their cozy bedroom nest with us at night because Lucy, the mom, likes to be near us at all times. I bought a small plastic kiddie pool, making one portion of it a bed and lining the other part with paper, which gets them started on the idea of peeing on paper.

That's the latest on the pups world- more next week.
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