I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Mail"

My great grandfather, Thomas Lafayette Lee, was a mail carrier in the days before cars, and a genealogist before libraries, almost in the days of pounding papyrus on the river bank -- well maybe not that far back.  He was born shortly after the American Civil War on June 9, 1870.  His name tells you something about him; Lafayette for the French aristocrat and military officer who aided the US in the Revolutionary War, and Lee... well, that side of the family has been getting some news in the press lately.

"Cousin" Robert E. Lee was intelligent and heroic, Lincoln's first choice to lead the US military when the Civil War started.  Lee inherited slaves from his wife's father, with instructions to free them within five years.  Lee wrote his son, " He has left me an unpleasant legacy".  Lee had runaways chased and whipped, but he did free them. He was a mixed bag of good and not.  I could say similar about my living relatives.  Maybe they should display the statues of him somewhere to explain the Civil War and how prejudice can end up killing millions of people?  That seems current.

The ultimate choice about the statues belongs to the people who still suffer from the legacy of slavery.  I understand there are Southerners who feel they're still suffering too.  My family lost status and money from being on the wrong side of history, and the South remains comparatively poor with lesser schools and health care.  I get it that there are people who hang their regional pride on the valiant fight Lee led when faced with fewer soldiers and less ammunition.  Hanging onto that isn't getting you anywhere.  Even Lee saw that and surrendered at Appomattox.

When my great grandpa was living in post-Civil War poverty, he got a job.  He wrote a family history, and included a description of his days as a mail carrier, earning $702 per year in 1905.  I'd like to share his story.  This is longer than I usually post, but I thought you might find it interesting too.  Imagine it in a heavy Tennessee accent...

I have had many experiences on my route.  Some were pleasant and some were not so good.  I had a fine bunch of patrons... although some were tough characters...  especially... in the mountain section.  However, some... were as fine a bunch of people as could be found anywhere... I liked them all...

I have been in some hard storms.  One time I had to run my horse to get out from under a falling tree.  One day the lightning struck eighteen times near my route.  I came very near being in one of the worst hail storms this country has ever known.  I just did get into a barn before it struck.  Much of the hail was as large as hen and goose eggs.  These sank into the ground as they fell.  Some went crashing through iron roofing.  There was one cyclone that passed over my route...  I was in the edge of another which did lots of damage to property, but no one was hurt.  I have been caught in rising streams of water, as the rocks were rolling under my horse's feet, and almost knocking them down.  I had to stay in one stream of water for almost half a mile in order to ford it...

One day I heard the sound of a run-away team approaching over a hill, while I was going up the grade on the other side in my buggy.  On they came in their mad rush to get away... and the only thing for me to do was to jump from my buggy without delay.  As they neared me my horse became frightened, and turned back.  Down the road he went, ahead of the run-away team, carrying all my mail, stamps, money and everything, with only myself left behind, and truly glad to be there.  My buggy was torn to pieces.  Most of the harness was torn from the horse.  My mail, money and everything was scattered, a piece here and a piece there.  With the assistance of some of my good patrons, we managed to collect all together... Another loaned me a saddle to ride back on, while others recovered the pieces of my buggy and brought it back...

My buggy was struck twice by cars... but fortunately with no serious results.  I have been thrown from my horse by his falling on me.  One time I was thrown clear over his head, landing in front of him.  Such was life on a rural route in the early days... At first our roads were bad... I rode horseback a big part of eighteen years... I have walked many miles with my mail satchel thrown over my shoulder through mud, sleet, snow and ice, over fields, and just any way to get there...

I loved my patrons and I miss the pleasant association with them.  Scarcely a day passes that my mind doesn't go back to the fond memories of meeting with them at the mail boxes, and our having a few pleasant words together.  Especially is this true of the children, all of whom I loved dearly.

I'm glad Great Grandpa got through his hard times with love in his heart.  You can't move forward when you're clutching the memory of mythological glory days and hate to your chest.

BTW, I've given up my rants about wildlife.  The deer ate all the pears.  They're gone.  That's it.  I'm done screaming like a crazy woman (this year), or at least I thought so until I saw they ate my tomato plants too.

Also, in case I wasn't clear enough about what I think about the KKK and Neo-Nazis, I'll let Trae Crowder express his point of view.  Caution, very coarse language.

Friday, August 11, 2017

"Pizza"

A crazy woman was in my back yard yesterday, sputtering incoherent obscenities while chucking wood at a majestic stag placidly chewing on a pear tree -- not just the precious fruit, he was literally eating the tree, leaves, branches, and all.  Since that crazy woman never got to play on an organized baseball team, the serene majesty of the buck was barely disturbed by flying firewood, but he eventually looked up with a puzzled expression.

The crazy woman did some frantic arm waving, her obscenities became somewhat more defined.  The buck did a deer equivalent of a shoulder shrug and moved over a couple of feet.  It took quite a few more threats and wood to get the deer to daintily hop over the fence where he clearly waited for the crazy woman to go away so he could resume his feast.  Wood got chucked into the neighbor's yard, and the aim started to get somewhat more accurate, by which I mean that the logs passed at least within 10' of the blasted animal's aura before he gave up and went away.  "Take your damned ticks with you!"

My dog stood at the edge of the deck with a look of concern.  I mean really, who wants a crazy woman in their yard?  It's a good thing she doesn't have opposable thumbs to call 911 for the people with straightjackets.

I smashed a carpenter ant with my fist and glared at the groundhog.  At least the groundhog had the grace to scamper when I threw a rock in his general vicinity.  Unlike the insane woman chucking firewood, I can throw rocks.  Anybody who has lived by a river can throw a rock.  However, the groundhog didn't run away, it ran under my back porch where he's created a den for himself.  I'm pretty sure it has an entertainment center with surround sound leaching off my electricity.

Then, the neighbor dogs set off the skunk.  The crazy woman burst into new profanity as she ran around the house slamming windows shut.  It took a while to get the crazy woman out of the house.  She futilely slapped at miniature flies in the kitchen.

The wildlife is winning.  I need to import a pack of wolves or maybe a mountain lion.

That was yesterday.  Today was a new day, and I decided to walk to the library.  The weather was iffy, but I felt like taking the 1+ mile walk.  I left my puppy at home because she maxes out at 1 mile lately.  I wore my hat because even though it was 85% overcast, my pasty white sensitive complexion can get sunburned even at night.

Sure enough, the sun broke out on my way to the library.  It was hot and muggy, really, a terrible day for a midday walk.  I got my book, then noticed the sky was very dark.  My hat felt really stupid about then.  The rain started in fat blobs, and then it got serious.  Cascading sheets of needle-sharp drops came down in a 45° torrent, water sloshed over the tops of my shoes, my heavy jeans got sopping wet.  I felt glad for the hat since I wasn't getting pelted in the face.

I started smiling.  I did the obligatory head bob as I passed a miserable, hatless man sloshing in the opposite direction, his leather business notebook soaked with water.  I started laughing.  I smiled and laughed the rest of the way home.  It isn't just the wildlife that's against me, it's all of nature, but it felt great.  Absolutely fantastic.

I actually had to pour the water out of my shoes when I got home.  Money that had been in my pocket is hung up to dry.  Maybe I'll use it to buy a pizza?  Preferably a pizza with venison sausage and groundhog pepperoni on top.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

"Hair"

I went out for drinks with two friends.  One has fluffy hair like Rhea Perlman on Cheers, but she has regular chemical appointments to straighten it.  The other friend has bouncy curls like Shirley Temple.  She straightens her hair with electrical appliances.  My hair is straight.  I often curl it even though the curls fall out in no time.  Nobody else cares very much about our efforts despite the considerable time we've devoted to washing, drying, fluffing, curling, straightening, spritzing, gelling...

I'd pretty much neglected to get a haircut for the last few years and decided it was time for a change and cut it short.  I got into my closet of chemicals and played with colors.  I wasn't making a fashion statement.  I was just playing.  The joy is that it now my hair takes absolutely no effort whatsoever.

I met a group of people at a casual restaurant.  A woman came in, and even before seating herself, loudly asked, "Is that a menopausal haircut or just a summer cut?!"  I resisted asking in return, "WTF is wrong with you??"  I feel like I should point out that my group is mostly men, but it doesn't matter.  A slam between just us girls is still a slam.  Later, she commented we're near the same age.  We aren't.  She's much older, but she often says that even though she's been corrected many times.  I realize her actions are that of an 8th grade bully, but part of me feels like laughing because her effort to make me feel bad is a sign she thinks the haircut looks good.

I met a couple of friends for dinner, and one of them didn't even notice my haircut.  I guess she's seen it short before, but I'm choosing to think she's focused more on my interior than my exterior.  She's a keeper.

The thing is, nobody really cares that much about what you look like.  Although quite a few people have told me that they really like my hair short, I'm absolutely certain that none of them are spending a whole lot of time thinking about it.  Well, maybe people stuck in the 8th grade mentality, but I didn't even care about those opinions when I was in 8th grade.

I'm not so sure I'll keep my hair short, and I'm not so sure about the color either, but I love how easy it is.  I didn't even comb it to take a picture, just running my fingers through it.  That feels great.  I added some blue and feel like a mallard duck with a streak of teal in my feathers (even if it didn't show up very well in the photo).  I'm torn between adding more colors or just dying it all dark the way it grows naturally -- except white seems to be coming in naturally too, and I'm not ready for that yet.  Maybe it is a menopausal haircut?

The thing is, make your own style.  Express yourself in every medium, whether that's hair, work, hobbies...  Whatever floats your boat, bring it into your life and share it with others.  Don't let the criticism or peer pressure of 8th graders steal your happiness.

Fuchsia.  Yeah, I think I'm feeling fuchsia... I'll be a duck on a flower, or maybe a butterfly :)