Monday, June 28, 2010

Jazz in June

Let's not forget free music. I can't believe I let Jazz in June slip through the blog circuit. Don't worry, I was there for blues night, I just forgot to post. As usual, it was a scorcher out on that black top. I must say, Guy Forsyth made it worth the burn. I've become quite the blues hound and this band really struck my fancy. They play such a variety of music all worth of some booty shakin'. This was JD Thompson and the Big Bad Wolves. They were decent but I was a little distracted by the heat. Hopefully they'll roll back through in a cooler venue.Picnic in the park(ing lot). My brother and his friends came to hear the tunes. They also distracted me by enticing me to hit up one of the local restaurants within the festival for refreshments. Finally, sundown! Time for tubas! Along with their interesting sounds they also inventive with their instruments-Here Guy plays a saw blade as he belts a note. It was like nothing I've seen on stage. It was a beautiful evening despite heat resonating from the asphalt. It cooled off enough and the juke was jammin' hard enough that a large group of dancers appeared by the stage. As the night progressed it grew and grew. I even convinced Mr. Hill to accompany me for a couple. We had a blast! I can't believe he obliged but I'm glad he did. It was the cherry of the virgin! Jazz in June 2010- the most memorable yet!

ps. All photos credit, Doug Hill.

Cheers!

Well, that concludes the Fiesta coverage. It was a blast. Fat tummies and smiles all around. My roomie, tMo, was even able to make it! We toasted her presence. For the passed month or so, she's been working nights. Sadly, we're on completely different schedules so I value her company when I can get it. Yesterday, she brought me a present! I had just got in from an afternoon of cycling (note the sunburn and windblown do) and was ecstatic and surprised. Booze Cakes! Best roommate, EVER! I can't wait to bite into one of these luscious, pastries! I promise I'll share. Bottom's up! Thanks, T!

Self Sustained

A little more on Saturday's Fiesta. I would have included this in my previous post but I felt it could hold it's own. Meet Linda and Ted. They were our host for the evening and what an evening it was! The company was amazing, the food was incredible and goblets were overflowing with libations of all sorts. They sure know how to throw a party! They are terrific people, full of substance and information, and they have made a beautiful home. I keep telling them I may move in! Check out their garden. Linda and I have talked shop a few times and traded some veggies but I was unaware of the scale. Linda is a professional! Her greens varied from tomatoes, kohlrabi, eggplant, asparagus, and every color pepper under the sun! Add herbs to that and I've no more need for the box store. Give me a bike track and I would make the move! When dinner hit the table I had high expectations and she manage to surpass them by miles. The pico was solely from Wellston dirt in Linda's backyard. The meal also included blackberries/cobbler from her vines, potatoes and kohlrabi, asparagus, and venison all Okie made!

Upon my move to Tulsa I plan on spending more time over at the Wellston settlement. Exchanging recipes, and cooking up a storm! Someday I'll carry on the wisdom that these two hold and take it a step further, hopefully one of these days, I'll be fully self sufficient-living off the grid. Long live mother earth!

Easy Livin'

I hold true to my Oklahoma roots. I adore the country. Green grass, blue skies, stars, and wild blackberries. It's taken me nearly 23 years to grow comfortable with living in a red state but regardless of the backwards politics that tarnish our state, it's got a lot to offer. Saturday evening, my aunt, Linda, was throwing a wedding shower/kitchen reveal party at her home in Wellston, Oklahoma. Wellston is off the beaten path but their homestead is gorgeous. Their cozy hacienda out on 100+ acres. Porch swings and pooches! A pool and a pond! The Grand kitchen remodel. It's lavish. The doors and drawers retract without a sound. They have deep cabinets and lazy susans for organization. Just look at the backsplash! Beautiful, shimmering, glass tile. Everyone was impressed and wanted to hang out as the cook tried to finish up the details of the spread. Finally, the dinner bell rang and everyone gathered to stuff their faces. It all felt like a time warp. After they tolled the bell, I caught the guinea attempting to grab a bite. As you may know, I'm a sucker for heavy machinery. This green giant was the first thing in site when we arrived at the fiesta.

It was a great evening I wish I could have the best of both worlds. I love being out in the open, solitary and simple but I also love being able to hop on my bike and pick up groceries or ride over to the summer breeze concert series in a matter of minutes. The grass is always greener out there, and that means more mowing! As of now, I'm a city gal with an occasional rendezvous with the countryside-keeps me sane.

On Sewing

Last Friday I closed up shop early and headed home to work in my studio. Even though I have several pieces on deck, I was in the mood to sew. I had another shirt that I had tie-dyed and I was itching to transform it. I decided I wanted to make a sun dress. This is what became of the t-shirt. I'm not completely happy with the outcome, in fact, I debate whether it was 'blog worthy.' I pride myself on disclosing as much as possible. Big, small, successful and lame, I'm real-an imperfect perfectionist. Low and behold-you can't win 'em all. My first mistake was cutting the skirt to short. It's beyond my comfort level. Since I spent a few hours working on the construction I can't just toss it. I'm calling it 'Okie beach wear.' Even if I hadn't butchered the length, I'm not to keen on the patter/colors, it reminds me of a bathing suit cover up. And, so it shall be. Whose up for camping? I'm ready to pack!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

German Grub

Last night I flew out of work, motivated and feeling domestic. I started by mowing my yard. It was the peak of heat but I didn't have a choice. If not yesterday then next week-not an option. After completing that task, I hopped in the shower, and proceeded to cut the rug in the kitchen.

My aim? Enlightened Basil Spaetzel. Her product was much prettier. I chopped the spinach and basil by hand but looking back, I should have just used the food processor. I also used a 60/40 mix of all purpose and whole wheat (respectively). This is by far the most difficult recipe I have ever conquered. In the recipe, she notes you push the dough through the grater 'with ease.' Ease? I don't consider it ease unless you pair it with dis (dis-ease). I will NEVER attempt this recipe again. Not for lack of flavor, or texture- it's all perfectly delicious. We're restaurant quality! But, boiling water, a spatula and persnickety dough through 1/4" holes in the middle of Oklahoma summer-What was I thinking?

Some seat, a huge mess and two hours later, I enjoyed a heaping helping. I was impressed by my feat. Pat on the back, because this is the last time you'll enjoy a bowl of Bill's spaetzel again.

When I was in SF earlier this year, I was lovestruck by the spaetzel at Suppenkuche. It was my first encounter and I was sold. Perfectly shaped with just the right balance between soft/firm. The flavor was mild but the consistency unforgettable. Mine came close to standing up but not quite there, I'm betting it was also the atmosphere. It doesn't get much better than Hayes Valley, perhaps that's the extra kick it needed? HA!

I plan on eating that spaetzel for the rest of the week, savoring every bite. While I'm grateful that Norman has such an array of great restaurants, it's void of a German restaurant. Maybe I should reconsider my career goals? My first run with spaetzel wasn't to bad, was it? The look upon those happy costumers maybe well worth the effort? I ramble. I look forward to my move to Tulsa at which time I'll hit up Siegi's. I've read favorable things about it, I have high expectations but on the bright side, it's better than nothing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red

I recently concluded Terry Tempest Willimas' book, "Red." It's an incredible collection of essays and poetry about the beauty of the desert. I try to keep a book around at all times, if not for pleasure, for inspiration. Upon completing the book, I painted this scene: Taking from the vivid descriptions of color and heat described in the book, I fused it with a piece of my life. Veggies, and my romantic dream of selling them on the side of the highway. And the heat? Well, it's summer in OK!

This weekend my aunt is hosting a party for several reasons but one occasion is her new kitchen remodel! They've done most of the work themselves and I can't wait to see the fruits of their labor. In honor of their new kitchen, I'm gifting her this piece. Hopefully the palette is broad enough to compliment.

Where do draw inspiration?

Fiberworks

Last Saturday was the opening for Fiberworks 2010. A juried show, full of innovative and inspiring textile pieces. The show was held in OKC at the IAO Gallery. This show was by far, my favorite of 2010. It's just my cup of tea-art and craft spun and woven to create pure gold. The show was diverse and with a steady balance between traditional and contemporary. There were classic textile techniques, such as weaving and needlework, infused with modern elements. One minute you may be looking a beautifully wove shawl, using the most luxurious of threads and the tightest weave and when you turn the next corner, a felted zombie puppet! It was a beautiful dynamic. The curator did a great job of threading the show together. While I was overwhelmed and impressed with the show I do have some favorites to share. "Cupcake Renaissance" by Bob Curtis of OKC. I'm sure it's obvious what my triggered my initial attraction? This piece was beautiful. The contrast of colors, texture and materials was brilliantly combined. While most of the work was dominated by women there were a few pieces created by men. This one was tip top. "Betty Told Me It Would All Be OK" by Marilyn Artus. Marilyn is the founder of the OKC division of Dr. Sketchy's. Marilyn's pieces involve pop imagery paired with handmade/craft elements such as embroidery. Her work is laden with layers and often centers around gender roles and religion. I have to say, Marilyn is currently my favorite artist and her work often serves a source of inspiration. "The Waltz of Spring" by Huiju Park of Stillwater. This piece was placed adjacent to Marilyn's and I thought the works quite similar. I was drawn to both for obvious reasons. Bold graphics, bright colors and mixed media. Hard edge imagery and art techniques integrated with trims, beads and thread, I can't get enough. The show was full of extraordinary work exhibiting the ingenuity required to successfully meld art and craft. I felt warm inside. I can't wait for my next venture! I'm jumping back into the creative world, one way or another...here I come!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mi Padre

I'm a day late but that's only because I was hangin' with THE man yesterday. Country living, a wading pool, and some sun, made for a relaxing father's day. Meet my dad: ca. 1980

He's a workin' man.
A husband of 27 years.
Father of two.
Classic car fanatic.
Czar of the equipment rental business.

. . .and much more. He's an onion-many concealed layers. My dad isn't the type to say 'I love you.' He's a man of few words. He speaks through actions. He's stubborn and high strung but I know he believes that people are generally good. He often goes out of his way to help people. He's a real guy. Okie work ethic, and dirty fingernails. He gets the job done and has a mighty strong backbone. Aside from that spill. He's just damn cool! He still sports those suave aviators. We've got a lot in common, and even though we don't speak the words to one another, I LOVE YOU! Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wild

Because 'they' say, "happiness lies in the journey, not the destination." Sometimes you just have to ride with no rhyme or reason. It's one of those days. Lazy weekend, welcomed hope yours is swell as well!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tie Dye and Tans

My cousin and I broke out a tie dye kit a few days back. I dyed a couple of shirts with plans to transform them into signature pieces. I managed to sew this little number in time for the show last night. I began with a mens large T-shirt and cut with no pattern or aim. I knew I wanted to make a skirt and create as little waste as possible. Turn. I decided to cut a little fringe for added detail and movement. Turn Turn. . .Most of the seams were from the original garment but I did add a few for structure and support. This is one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing I own. It is not easy to ride a bike in this getup. If you were caught cruisin' Iowa yesterday you either enjoyed a bit of a show or called me a slut. Either way, I won't be riding in a skirt again. HA!

Given the minimalistic approach to this pieces I feel like it was a success. I used most of the material and finished it up in a few hours. Sometimes you just have to jump in!

Dump the Pump

Last night, CART (Norman's bus system) celebrated their 30th birthday. To celebrate they had a party at Andrew Park. Hosty Duo, Cake and free sno cones. It was quite bash. Makes me a little uneasy to pull out of Norman. On the bright side, she'll always be here, maybe a bit changed but, but Norman to the core, always welcoming with a smile. I wasn't the best sport-I didn't ride the bus to the party but I did 'Dump the pump' and pedal over. I wasn't alone. The bikes multiplied as the evening progressed. Our very own mayor, Cindy Rosenthal, was spotted serving up some birthday cake. The Hosty Duo sung Happy Birthday to CART and proceeded to play a full set. This was my second time to catch the Duo. It's nice to see Hosty with a drummer, his guitar skills really shine. When he plays solo he just doesn't have enough appendages to play everything perfectly. Throw in an extra man and you can definitely hear those careful guitar solos. I'm not sure if the solos are worth sacrificing for the Deli atmosphere.

I'll have my cake and eat it and then ask for coffee, that's just how I roll. Happy Birthday to CART, keep up the good work. Ride the bus!

Break Down

1-I need to write.
2-I need a hug
3. The word 'need' is reserved for dire situations in my vocab.
Here's the scoop:
I woke up to another day, followed routine and was ready to go, on time. I turned the key in the ignition and this song was playing:

I started crying. The weight of the world, my constant motion came crashing down. As I said, it was a normal day-wake up to lists, weighing decisions, and I couldn't handle it. The sound of Jack's voice, that soft melody-Oh! sweet sympathy. I'm not alone. I'm lucky. Lucky to be alive, have food on my table, and have decisions. I'm just worried. Worried to leave this place. In one instance I'm a hop, skip, jump away and in the other scenario, well, it's a jet set.

I'm overwhelmed, but the end is near. I have a few months, the earth willing, I'll be settled in another locale (hopefully with a roof over my head). I'm always focused on the details but the end is drawing near that I'm also trying to chew the bigger picture-swallow the consequences and in the words of NIKE, 'just do it.' It became evident this morning that sometimes I just need a breakdown- a mild brush of reality. Shed that weathered skin. I'm fine now. Except for the fact that I can't stop using the word, 'I.' Well, that's about it, I needed a little binge. Emotions are out in the open and the best is yet to come. Here's to a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Looking Back

Before I start running, I have to boast a little more about my garden. Today I plucked a ripe, juicy tomato from a vine I have nourished. I know everyone always claims that home grown tomatoes are worlds above store bought but I sloughed it off until today. WOW! I bit into it and devoured it as eve massacred human kind. After a long and sweaty bike ride, it was a breath of fresh air. Many more to come, the plant is wild!

Today I checked out early and had some errands to run. I biked over and around town and picked up a new book. I parked myself on the back yard and relaxed a little with Zola. It's been a slow evening. While I was on my bike I was thinking about my adoration of the wind on my face and the blue skies above. I love the tingle in my legs and the occasional car speeding around me. It's invigorating. It wasn't until this afternoon, when I felt the force of a overbearing car pushing it's boundaries as I pedaled, that I realized I have no rear view. I couldn't look back. I'm blind. I immediately indexed that ol' Eric Clapton ditty, "Running on Faith."I ride on faith-Faith that I won't be smacked by that bad driver. Faith that I won't end up in a sudden t-storm and faith that I will admire all that's ahead because once I've ridden passed, I can't look back. I find myself swooning over what has passed. I suppose that's part of my bikes appeal. Not only am I right there, part of the asphalt, the weeds, the wind, I am focused only on what lies ahead. In a way, it's worlds away from 'my element.' Today has been a strange day. A day of contemplation and reflection. I needed a little purge of the heart. Thanks for reading. My ride was a meditative experience of sorts.

Office Queen

Summer at the office can be quiet. During the fall and spring semesters we usually have 3 or 4 student employees but in the summer they head off to tan. As a result, we're left with long days and little entertainment. Last May, all but one of our student employees departed the office, diploma in hand, to face the real world. At least the one that's left is a real keeper. And, lucky for the guys here (since I'm currently a 'short timer') Alex has another 2 or 3 years of school left.

Alex gets 'best all around' in my book. She's friendly, intelligent, genuine and glamorous. In fact, she won 4th runner up in Miss Oklahoma pageant this year! She returned to work today and in lieu of success I baked. The guys decided they were going to celebrate with a gourmet chocolate cake from La Baguette so I went the savory route. I followed this recipe (loosely) and made some additions. I rolled them out a bit to thick and cut them smaller. I was void of Semolina flour so I used unbleached, all purpose flour and whole wheat flour instead. Since I cut them on the small side, I had to bake three batches. This allowed me to toy around with the seasoning. I brushed several with egg and used a combination of Himalayan salt, poppy seeds and white pepper. On others, I nixed the egg and just salt and peppered them. I found that the thinner you roll the dough the better. Bake until the edges brown and you get just the right amount of crunch with a bite of spice and saltiness. They've been a hit this morning. Paired with some of Martha's white bean dip and some red and black pepper cheese.

All for our beauty queen. Whether it be in the spotlight, or behind a desk, she's always royalty! We're proud of you. Congratulations and best of luck in all your endeavors!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Coffee

Cole's birthday was a hit. I whipped up this sketch of his hot rod. It was a real fiesta. Four different types of tortillas, two meats, and piles of summer veggies. Mom even made homemade black bean salsa. The family enjoyed it so much they suggested she can it and sell it! And, she claims she can't cook, Pfft. (ps. Sorry for the blur-not everyone knows the way of no-flash photography.)

Later that afternoon, I two cycled over the coffee shop. I have been deprived of coffee for sometime (mostly due to lack of trying) which is probably the culprit from my lack of productivity. I ordered an iced coffee and had a seat outside in the sun. Since I came by bike, I didn't have a sketchbook. I did find some crumbpled notebook paper at the bottom of my pannier. When the paper is in bad shape, there's no pressure. Nothing like diving head first. Yesterday an incredible opportunity arose. As if I need yet another life altering decision to ponder? Well, it came, and we will see what becomes. After I read the news, I knew coffee was in order. What a relief. I purged my feelings and strife onto that shitty piece of paper as I sipped that cool, woodsy, cup. After a few hours of sitting still and relaxed, I hopped on my bike and ended up in my studio. I was up sewing until 1am (What happened to celebratory drinking? Well, ask my little bro-23 going on 80) it was good measure for my abnormal, busy body.

I've also been hitting repeat on this tune:
video
Can truth and advice be lurking in that dirty, ol' Hosty Trio?

Garden Goodies!

Yesterday I harvested some mean green from my garden. I was sure surprised to see a full head of broccoli ripened for picking. It's a cool veggie and I'm not entirely sure, but I think it's atypical to see such a crop in OK's June. I'm proud that my haphazard attempts at a garden have been successful. So far, I've eaten spinach, jalapenos, and chives from my garden. I'm awaiting carrots and I have a tomato a few days away from my mouth. I've never had a green thumb but when the fruits of my labor become more than just 'pretty' I'm up for the challenge. Maybe I should toss graduate school to the birds and start a farm? Dirty finger nails have always been my thing!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

1987

Year of the rabbit and year of my little brother, Cole. Today, 23 years ago, the little tot was pulled out of the womb via cesarean. This year is Cole's year. He bought his first, hot rod and he's getting married. He's on a fast track to old age so we have to celebrate it right tonight! Birthday wishes lil bro!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tidbits

Studio time! It's few and far between but it does exist on occasion. My studio is a mess. I'm in the midst of packing 'er up and I also have an extended guests that is halfway living out of it. Things are changing rapidly but my drawings always manage to carry those lively contours and heavy symbolism. Take from them what you will but watch out for vanity. He's a sneaky bastard.It's all about experiences and relationships. It's stories like this that run deep through generations.

I feel like my work has room to grow technically. I'm stuck in a rut. Watercolors are safe, easy and propose little challenge. My recent work are merely sketches, not finished pieces. Doodles to keep my mind savvy while I bite my time. It itches. Lots of anxiety and excitement at the thought of being thrown into a actual print studio! I plan on having a non garage sale-sale, I have to condense, decompress. I'll keep you posted. Save your cash!

Brave Combo

Last night I caught the Brave Combo at The Deli. I was advised to catch the show by a music expert. He assured me the unusually high cover would be well worth it. Brave Combo has won a grammy for 'Best Polka Band.' If this makes you giggle, it should. But, upon hearing that first note, the laughing ceased. They are hip cats. I had listened to their stuff on Myspace and wasn't thoroughly impressed but like many [good] bands, they are better live.

I think people usually feel the opposite. They enjoy the CD and are disappointed by the live version. I judge a musicians success by their ability to exceed their studio recording. A good example (and one of mainstream variety) is Jason Mraz. His studio work does him absolutely no justice. His live performance is out of this world. His yoddles, improvised beats and lyrics are unheard on his CD's-a cryin' shame. I guess this just exhibits the evil that is corporate marketing. The man needs to be let go, he's a caged beast! Brave Combo is the same. The atmosphere, the dancers, the lively horns and ad-libbed harmonies are only available live. They played a mixture of polka, samba, blues, jazz-practically anything that promoted shakin' a tail feather (or two). One thing I love about the Deli is there generational diversity. Old, young, dirty, yuppie, we all come together. To drink, dance, and cause a ruckus. It's a skanky little hole in the wall but the only thing I'd change is the smoking-not for me!

If the Brave Combo rolls through your area code I highly recommend making an appearance. Take a dance partner or follow my lead-go alone and change it up! I had several opportunities but I scoped the field, made the decision and had the time of my life! It was classic. Next time your in grab me, I'm always up for a little twist!