Man. This time change thing is taking time for me to get used to. More so than ever before. I thought it was just me but everyone around here is dragging their feet even the belly-up sleepy pup. I've been so tired and foggy - rocking and bobbing 6 feet from the peer like a driftboat not completely unmoored. I don't mind. It just is what it is but my body isn't sure what to think. Daffodils in one blink. Snow in the next. Biting winds, than sundrenched hillsides. All in one day. It all fits together somehow.
With the bobbing and rocking come random thoughts.
Pony 1 got her hair all fancied up today with real dye and everything. The perks of having a Paul Mitchell graduate as an older sister. There comes a time when a mom has to surrender and I figure 15 years with not a speck of dye on that kid's head ain't half bad. The concession came when the rule was laid out that she had to keep 75% of her natural color showing or dye it a crazy wild, totally unnatural color like magenta or raspberry blue so, you know, people would know she's just creative and not trying to be someone else with blonde or black or red hair. She looked at me like I am crazy. Like there is no sense to a mother's logic. Like I just pull these rules out of some 1960's alien parenting manual. Like she has to keep an eye on me to make sure I don't start collecting cats and moo moo's. Like I've never been 15 and have no idea what it's like on that side of life.
I tell you what. I have a keeper in that one. In both of my ponies. They're circus performers balancing hormones, boys, schoolwork, sports, and family life with a prowess I couldn't have only dreamed of at their age. I'm not always sure if I'm part of the act or the audience but either way, I'm lucky to be a part of it.
It's not like I don't have my own circus going on. I'm the juggler with two too many balls in the air all the time. I drop them, pick them up, drop them, pick them up. Sometimes I'm even okay with not picking them up and just tossing around the ones that are still in the air. Sometimes I throw one out of the ring because it's not the right wieght or color or size. You don't always know these things until you are in the middle of your performance. Thank goodness for dim lighting.
I'm getting ready to teach two stuffed-full classes at Artfest. I can't tell you how grateful I am to be a part of this last hoorah. 13 years, I think it is. There will not be a 14th. You've heard it before from others and it's true for me too. Artfest changed my life. Whole new horizons opened up for me the first year I went way back when. I took a class from Micheal deMeng who has since become a dear and treasured friend and mentor. His creepy-dead-doll-mythology art is all just a decoy so's you can't tell how kind and compassionate and eternally buoyant he really is.) I owe him more than I can ever say because he talked openly to me about the perils of artistic greed and thinking that you can always stay above the gossip. Sometimes it takes a guy to tell a girl that drama is no bueno in a way she can hear it and were it not for his candor, I might have fallen in a tar pit or two without even knowing it until I was stuck. There were a couple of grimy hands that were still reaching for me but deMeng would do this song and dance show in front of my face "look at the shiny mirrors look at the shiny mirrors" and I'd manage to step out of the way without knowing it until later. Sometimes you don't see the messes people saved you from until later.
There were others who, by way of their kindness, encouragement, and flat-out genuine-ness, were beacons of light to me. Katie Kendrick and I met before that first Artfest at a class on Whidbey Island. She was so radiant and kind and guileless. I was a moth to a flame...and still am because she still is who she is. We met again at that first Artfest and sat on a couch musing about A Course in Miracles while everyone around us was drinking a little too much and dancing and laughing loudly (thanks, in part, to Sir Mixalot deMeng).
It was the very next Artfest where I found myself teaching plaster. Neverinamillionyears would I have thought I'd be doing that when I was a wee student. I didn't even have aspirations to. But the universe had other plans and so I've just tried to keep hold of the guide rope without tripping. It was around that time that I met my friend Sue Hadden who happens to live just 8 miles from me. Every thing about her is slightlytwistedfunnyawesome magic. Her home, her beautiful garden. Her. I thank my lucky stars that I can call her my friend.
It has been nothing short of a miracle that I have been blessed with so many dear friends what with all my shortcomings and whining. The list is too long. Each one a layered treasure with depths beyond explanation. Each one a beacon of light. Each one a mentor because I learn so very much from their examples of generosity, bravery in navigating the rocky waters of an external creative life, laughing at the lunacy of all our egotistical mistakes, humility beyond description. There are so, so many. (I see images of paper wings and peanut soup and flying lessons and ebooks and...oh my...I can't name them all!)
Judy is one of them. Right up there sharing the top spot. If I didn't know better I'd think she has come into this world just for me because I swear to you, were it not for the one liners she can deliver that cut to the very core of truth in me, I might have gone and cut that mooring line a long time ago and let myself drift off to sea in hopelessness. (She's reading this right now. Maybe a little huff like "oh please, girl". Then she'll laugh and blow me a kiss. Later she'll stand in her kitchen with her beloved companero and tell him how weird I am. Or maybe not. You never know with her. She's a surprise all the time.
Well, not ALL the time. I wasn't surprised that she was so willing to help me when I sent out a distress call saying my class is big at Artfest and I need an anchor! She will be there assisting me in giving you, the students, the best possible plaster experience a single day can hold. We work very well together. We both love being a teacher. Not just teaching, but being the bearer of information that opens doors for people. We both want every student to leave the class with enthusiasm for experimentation, for discovering yourself in the layers of your medium. So, yeah. To have her there is no small thing. Thank you, Judy, for being so willing.
I hope to keep you updated with my progress, to show you pieces in the works. Until we meet again, I feel it is important to inform you all that it's a lie when people say having a puppy is like having a baby. It's not like that at all because babies don't pull trash all over the house and babies don't run from you when you call them and babies don't turn in to lunatics at the fence with the lunatic neighbor dogs. Puppies are more like teenagers on sugar highs and hormone lows. Oh, and if you are thinking of getting a puppy, you should also know that they are poop factories. Made in the good ol' U S of A.