Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Crushing of Janet

I am on a quest. A quest for positive thought. It seems I spend a good portion of each day
worrying about calamities that are utterly and most completely out of my control. I've decided enough is enough I can't deal with all the crazy thoughts anymore. It is exhausting. I have no interest in in taking pills, so I am constantly looking for alternatives.

To give an idea of what I'm dealing with, here's an sampling of random thoughts for you.

Let's see.....Well, I'm fairly certain that as I sit here typing this entry, somewhere in my house an electrical wire is sputtering sparks behind a wall that is made of 120 year old brittle wood and insulated with old newspapers. I'm waiting for it to burst into flames at any moment.

And I am even more certain, that every single morning when I walk out the door to go to work (clutching my purse tightly so no one can snatch it from me) I have left the door unlocked and the gas stove flaming with a bottle of paint thinner sitting next to it.

See what I mean?
Crazy isn't it?

All of my friends and co-workers know this about me and instead of trying to change me, they play along because it's easier that way. For example, when it's time to leave for dinner reservations, they say, "What lamps do you want me to unplug tonight?" or "I'll count with you when you quadruple-check the dead bolt so we'll be sure it's locked when we get to the restaurant." Instead of saying, "Come on whack-job, we're going to be late."

I have no idea why I am like this. My parents did not instill this fear into me. They rarely lock the doors of their house. My Mom will leave her purse unattended in the grocery store and walk 20 feet away from it, without even a hint of worry that someone may snatch it. And would you believe that this Christmas, my folks actually had a glass pickle jar, full of dried leaves and potpourri with a string of electric christmas lights twinkling away inside it?! Plugged into the wall....Tempting the fire gods.... For two solid days...... Oh my. Mom explained that the lights warm the potpourri and make it smell extra wonderful. Whose logic is crazy on that one? Basically, that was a formal invitation for the fire trucks, as far as I am concerned.

Anywho, I digress. The point is that I have decided that I am very sick of all this worry and I want to change my way of thinking.

Now, enter Janet Brank. Janet is a customer of mine at the Museum where I work. I don't know her that well, but I know she is a massage therapist and reiki master. She also is a firm believer in pyramid power and the teachings of Dr. Fred Bell.

This week when she came into the gallery, we started talking about a necklace she was wearing. It was an amulet of sorts, with a purple stone and a series of pyramids in a spiral pattern. It was beautiful but served a specific purpose. It attracts and amplifies positive energy . The very thing I am on a quest for. Even better than that, she explained to me that thinking good things will happen to you will actually make them happen. What a simply brilliant new philosophy for me to practice.

So as we continued on, talking of pyramids, I shared the fact that my grandfather also had done some reading and even experimentation on the subject. We discussed the unlimited potential of practicing this philosophy for quite a while. I was feeling enlightened. She was excited by my overwhelming enthusaism. I felt almost as if I had been transformed by the conversation itself. Positive thinking wasn't that hard after all. Wow. And to think, after all this time, it was that simple.

It was at this point, she told me that she even sleeps under a large pyramid to gain the full effects of her practice.

Apparently my capacity for positive thought had quickly reached it's limit as the conversation quickly took an abrupt turn in the opposite direction.

"So, you have a pyramid hanging from the ceiling over your bed?"
"Yes, it's a wonderful tool."
"What is it made of?"
"It's solid copper sheeting, with a metal frame. About the width of the bed."
"Hanging above your bed?"
"Yes, it is quite lovely. We suspended it with large chains. It is very sculptural."
"Copper and metal hanging with chains above your head as you sleep?"
"Oh wow. Are you ever afraid it might fall on you as you sleep?"
A long pause followed.
"" She stammered. She was stunned. Her mouth was slightly agape.
Suddenly I realized what I had just done. Slightly amused at myself I looked away and pretended to make eye contact with another customer.

"No, it has never crossed my mind that it might fall on me. But thanks for the transference of negativity."
Embarrassed, I replied, "You're welcome."

Strange and awkward attempts of humor took place for only a moment.

"Well, good to see you , Janet. Thanks for coming in."
"Yes." She replied. " Always a pleasure."

And that was that. She was visibly disappointed that the past 30 minutes of her one-on-one, direct teacher-pupil, crash-course in positive thinking didn't seem to have even the slightest effect on me. I felt bad for her. As I had a little giggle to myself and watched her walk away, I think I heard her muttering something about "whack job" and then she was gone.

Oh well. The quest continues. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Very Short Screen Play

We are in the happy couple's kitchen as they are waiting for their micro-waved meal to cook.

Anessa: Hey Honey, did you see this? (she hands him an opened magazine)

Mark: What is it? (he takes magazine but doesn't really look at it)

Anessa: It's an issue of Louisville Today's Woman. There's a ballot where you can nominate someone for a "Her Award." (she points to page with ballot form)

Mark: Oh....That's nice. Who were you thinking of nominating? (somewhat interested)

Anessa: Well, I was hoping you might nominate me... (sweetly)

Mark: What? Nominate you? For what? (surprised / perplexed)

Anessa: Well, I just thought it might be good advertising for my portrait business. Free publicity. A lot of local influential women read it, you know. (cleverly)

Mark: You're crazy! I'm not going to do that..... it's wrong AND sneaky! (!) momentary pause .... Can I please have a sip of your diet coke? (calmly)

Anessa: Hell, no. (bitterly / takes a long sip of her diet coke in front of him)

Mark: Well, that kind of attitude isn't going to get you a "Her Award". (smart-assly)

Anessa: Totally busted and amused she covers her mouth and diet coke shoots straight out of her nostrils. (painfully)

Both: Laughter.

(microwave goes ding)

The End.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Blind Forest of Blue Ridge Manor

I woke up this morning on the right side of the bed. Cheerful. Feelin' good.
I turned on the radio and Tom Petty was singing "The Waa-aay--ting is the Hardest Part".
A great song to sing along with and doll up to. I took a sponge bath and did my hair. It looked really nice. I weighed myself. Lost a pound! Right on! Great way to start a new day.
Put on a new pair of creme pants, a nice black velvet jacket and my trusty black high heel boots. Perfect. Picked up the phone and left a message for the hostess of the wedding shower I was heading off to: " Tyra, hi this is Anessa. I'm running a few minutes late but I will be there in 15 minutes or so. It's 5 minutes until noon. Can't wait to see all of you and have some cake!" Hopped in the jeep with my map quest directions and off I went. I got there in 12 minutes flat. Well, not exactly there. I should have said, I made it to the gates of the subdivision. And those gates might as well have been the gates to a modern day Labyrinth of Crete as far as I am concerned. Slightly daunting, but this isn't Crete, it's Louisville. Surely I can navigate this neighborhood.

Or maybe not. I get a little nervous after speeding past my first turn. Oops. Now just slow down, girlie. No rush. You're not that late. Just turn around and instead of going left go right on the next street. Simple enough. You'll be there in no time. All seemed to be going fine until the street I was traveling on came to a dead end and the turnoff I was looking for did not seem to exist. Let's check that map again. Yes, that's where it should be. Maybe I missed it. Maybe it's invisible like platform 9 and 3/4s on the Harry Potter movie. I should turn down the radio and quit singing. I need to be paying attention. I'm not reading it wrong, am I? Another call to the hostess and another message left. I wonder why she's not answering. "Hi Tyra, this is Anessa again. I am in the neighborhood, but I'm kinda lost. Call me back if you get this message. I'll just keep driving around in the meantime in case I get lucky and stumble across your house. Oh , it's 12:20. Bye. See you in a few."

I drive around a while. Where are all the townfolk, anyway? Doesn't anyone get outside anymore? Funny, all these streets look a lot alike. The homes too. Let's see... Blue Hill Court. Blue Ridge Drive. Ridge Hill Lane. Hill Drive Court. What was I looking for? This is bizarre. Oh wait, I'm in luck. A beautiful Stepford creature jogging down the street towards me. A vision in pink velour. "Excuse me. Can you kindly point me in the direction of Hill Cross Ridge? " She knowingly pointed a long manicured finger and replied, "Sure honey, take this road behind you and follow it until you can make a left. It should be right there." Fantastic! I need to get to the party soon.
I am l-a-t-e! It is 12:35 and these stop signs every 100 feet are getting quite annoying. Okay, turnaround, left, follow the circle and here...... we........are.
You have got to be f-ing kidding me. I'm back where I started. Ten more minutes of this and and I'm going to show up unexcusably late. I feel like a mouse in a maze just trying to get to the cheese. Or to the cake in this particular instance. I should have left a trail of twine when I embarked on this journey.

Ten minutes pass. CrossHill-Blue Ridge Manor Drive-Court. Lane. Blah, blah, blah. If that dog over there taking a shit could talk I'd ask him for directions. Why is Tyra not answering the phone? What a lame hostess. I mean really. My thoughts grow dark and sarcasm sets in. Um, hi everyone, I would have been sooner but I had to exchange some magic beans with the Order of the Minotaurs to gain entry to the blind forest in which you reside. All this, is of course AFTER the changeling pink witch tricked me into taking the never-ending circle of madness.

12:45. New game plan. I will call the bride-to-be's father. Maybe he can help me. I'll call directory assistance. "Hi Steve, this is Anessa. I need your help. I'm a little lost. I've been driving around looking for the party for quite a while now. Left a few messages with Tyra. I'd love to see everyone. The gift is sitting here in the passenger seat. I'm parked in the First Church of the Love of God Parking lot. I'm staying put for a few minutes. Call me if you get this message."

No callback.
No plan C.

Okay. This is really it. One more trip through. It is now 1:03.

My final attempt is futile. My head is exploding and I am now defeated, deflated and in a hell of a mood. I would be a terrible guest. I vow to myself never to live in such a place as long as I live and somehow, by the grace of angels, I find my way back to the Manor Gates and the real world. Pedal to the metal with the labyrinth shrinking in the rear view mirror, I decide to go for some sushi and conclude that cake is highly over-rated anyway.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Goldfish and Brittney

The past two nights I have had the most bizarre dreams.
I'm sure that you want to hear about them so let's begin:

Dream One:
I am in a hot tub, that is filling up with rainwater, with my husband and about 100 goldfish. We think the goldfish are freaky because they are beautiful but tickling us as they swim around. Then, suddenly, all the goldfish start floating up to the surface and dying. So now we are sitting in a tub of dead fish. I wig out, step out of the tub and get out in the rain to wash off dead fish slime. Somehow, while washing off, I am instantly dressed in jeans and a blue tee shirt and handed a huge umbrella that is sewn to to a bunch of other folks umbrellas and we are walking along in the rain silently looking at each other. That is, until I spot a second hand store that is in an old church. I say "Oh wow! Have you guys been to this shop? It is killer!" I leave the group, go in and start shopping. Immediately, I find the prettiest pink satin sash from a little girl's dress (or that's where I assume it is from) and I wrap it around my neck like a scarf. I love it and plan on buying it. It is $2.00. However, when I remember I am late for a hair appointment at the blowing alley I rush out the door and forget to pay for it. A short walk later I enter the tiny, brightly lit, 3 lane blowing alley. People are chatting and some lady says "Chelsea will be here in a minute to do your hair." I spend the next bit of time watching a red antique cigarette machine dispensing cigarettes through a series of pulleys and ramps. When Chelsea walks in I am shocked that she is only 12 years old. I decide to leave and skip the appointment. As I'm walking out I pass the couple that own the bowling alley and say, "I never knew you guys were here--never heard about this bowling alley before. It's nice". One of them says back to me "We'll if you're good to people the word eventually gets around".
Dream Two:
I am at my supervisor's house having a sort of dinner party when there is a knock at the door. She goes to answer it and I for some reason know I need to hide. From my poorly chosen hiding place behind the roll top desk I can hear a big man with a deep voice saying that he is here to serve me papers appear in court. He says he knows I am in there and "Mrs. Miller, you need to let me in to see her immediately". The I climb into a more secure hiding spot in a closet under the stairs that is strangely similar to the portal in the movie Being John Malchovich. From there, I continue to listen to the big man with an angry voice and learn that I am needed in court because at a recent event I forgot to wash my hands and I gave Brittany Spears a cold that caused her to cancel her scheduled tour. I was being sued for not washing my hands.
Next thing I know, I find a soft purple fleece blanket in my hiding place and fall asleep.

Crazy, but not as crazy as Mary Roach.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Crazy Sad

Did you catch the last 10 minutes of American Idol auditions Tuesday night?
If not; here's what went dow, in a basic sense.
There was this particular blonde girl, in a red shirt, that sang at the very end of the show. Her name is Mary Roach. I found her performance, and the commentary that followed, a wee bit upsetting because she was clearly... well......quite crazy.
Now, I'm not talking zany-crazy, or outrageously-funny-crazy. I'm talking about voices-crazy, detached-from-reality-crazy.
Sad-crazy. And please don't get me wrong. It is my belief that it is fine to have a crazy girl at any audition. Really, it is. However, when she wrapped up her very bizarre performance, Simon asked her, "Why on earth do you think you are a good singer?" She replied "Because my friends have told me I have an awesome voice."
Oh no.
For some reason that's what really got me. Not the fact that the judges were making fun of her and she didn't know it. Not the fact that she was publicly humiliated by the producers of the show when they played the Psycho screech-screech-screech sound effect as she was walking away from the stage.
But that her friends told her she was great.
Her friends told her she was great.
Her friends told her she was great.
Good grief.
I have worried about what happened to her when she left that building for the past two days. Poor, sad, blonde, tone-deaf, crazy Mary in a red shirt... I wished tonight, on a star and a eyelash, for a new bunch of folks for you to call friends.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Biz, Biz, Biz (3)

The Cinderblock Gallery is a very cool little lowbrow/experimental gallery in which my portrait work is not very appropriate, or desired, in fact. I shared the studio space with 3 other folks (including the amazingly talented owner/artist Scott Scarboro) until alas, I realized that needed to save some cash and moved my set-up into my laundry room. Somewhat less inspirational, but free, nonetheless.
The Cinderblock (or The Block , if you're feeling cool ) is where I show another little thing I like to do: Beauty Folk Art paintings and mixed media.
Although I only have 2 photos to share with you, this has actually been my most well received crazy business idea, so far, with over 25 pieces finding homes.

If you find yourself anywhere near this place on a First Friday of the month you should drop in for the Gallery Hop. I picked up 3 of these awesome skateboards by Luke Rollins for a steal last month. When the show is over I will post some photos for you. I scored the one in the photo, another red and blue one of an 18-wheeler, and a bright yellow one with a waffle and steak diner stenciled on it. Needless to say, they look amazing together and I can't wait to get them home.

Business Idea Numero Two

Yet another fab business idea I have had simmering on the back burner for over three and a half years now:
A portrait business. Everyone needs one of those, right?
Feeling important? Get a portrait done!
Feeling un-important? Get a portrait done!
See how well that works?
Check it out: Here,
and, if you like, read a story of how it all came about: Here.
I should mention, I've had a little better luck getting this one off the ground than the lighter 'huggie' idea.

Mick and Keith

Last night, while watching the Golden Globe awards I was reminded of a series of dreams I had a couple of years back. I probably had about 15 or so over a 2 year period with the same awesome scenario, which is: Mick Jagger is my yacht-owning boyfriend and Keith Richards is my rock and roll hairdresser. We three, Mick, Keith and I, have lovely adventures sailing, sunning, laughing and singing. We are thick as thieves. Mick always looks ever-so-handsome in his captain's hat and half-open blue silk shirt, and my 8-button, white, Navy-issue pants are quite flattering and make me look somewhat taller than I actually am. Keith, on the other hand, is always shabbily dressed, mumbling and hung-over, but Mick and I love him terribly and dearly. Not to mention, he makes our hair look very cool, so we decide to consider him artistic, eccentric and wild (instead of a badly groomed alcoholic that makes us laugh). Yes, those were the days. What times we had! Champagne lunches. Lobster dinners. The works! However, sadly, I'm not quite sure what happened next. The dreams came to me less and less frequently and finally, they ceased altogether. Why would I quit dreaming such a perfectly good dream? Perhaps, Mick and Keith have crept into another woman's slumbering noggin and are showing her the time of her life? Perhaps, they didn't have the heart to tell me it was over and that had moved on to other charming women in nice white pants? Perhaps, my wandering imagination fell out of love with them? Well, should either, or all, be the case, so be it. Farewell, my cherished, talented, friends and thanks for the memories... And Mick, I want to tell you congratulations on winning the Golden Globe with your song last night. Old habits, they do die hard, you're absolutely right.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


me and emily
This my friend Emily. She suffers from the same affliction as I do. Entrepreneurialitis. This is a condition caused by an overloading the brain circuits with impractical, yet ingenious, business plans. 7 out of ten times, when we are hanging out at our local watering hole (being over-served) we spend most of the night swearing we will make our most recent plan work. I fear, quite possibly, that the alcohol tends to make some of the ideas a little more impressive than they actually are. My favorite, most recent plan, involves attending Dead shows and selling one-of-a-kind, hand made lighter 'huggies' in the smoker's lot. See what I mean? Good idea? Yes. Practical? Not so much. That's Entrepreneurialitis.

A tiny spark.

Every so often a tiny spark of inspiration flashes through my mind. Generally, I just smile, pat myself on the back for being so brilliant, and tuck it away. Now, however, with a little encouragement from my friends, I have come to believe that possibly, maybe, a select few of you, might get a kick out these ideas and experiences, as well. So, with slight hesitation and a huge fear of writers block, I would like to welcome you to my fishbowl. Hope you enjoy the slightly wonky point of view.
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