my little Matryoshka

Concerned with fashionably balanced items on bookshelves–
I thoughtlessly placed her long ago
To this day, she squats, eyes forward, harboring no ill will
Most of my shelved tomes have sat so long, their spines have rusted–
But, eight horse-sized literature anthologies have seen action
Their bulked-up spines are careworn and wrinkled
As part of the publishing team who created them, I’ve perused them plenty
Two houses ago, I held an authentic job–
accompanied by a generous paycheck and a me, me, me business card
When child number one entered into my, my, my world, I exited Prentice Hall
Since then, Springsteen’s Glory Days, endlessly loops in my ears
This might explain my current cruelty to Matryoshkas
Depending on the day, the time and the spider muses in my studio–
my temperament shifts

This morning, I’ve not yet descended into my she-shack, where all creative things happen or nothing at all–
I’m still sipping coffee in my kitchen, facing the ‘family room,’ and the mantel with its bookended bookshelves
Colored spines form up-ended brick paths to limitless rabbit holes
The antique nesting doll guards a Time Life series covered in 70’s drab
The decorative mirror resting behind her bulbous form, lends a reflective quality to the warm palette
You can’t see the dust. I can. The shelves have remained undisturbed for awhile
I never considered little Matryoshka’s thoughts when I exiled her to shelf Siberia
Not a single heart-string of mine tugged for her redundant life–a nonstop amalgam of herself
As I write this, I’m thinking about Matryoshka–
her delicate flower patterns and the firm twist one must apply to reveal her abundance
Perhaps, I am jealous of my little Matryoshka
She knows who she is, inside and out
bookshelvesshot of my family room taken this morning, portrait hanging over mantel was painted 2 years ago, if you look closely at the upper right, top bookshelf you can see little Matryoshka

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oatmeal domination

somewhere in the universe
beastly animatronic appendages
dragging empty buckets the size of blue whales
scoop up wild oats more numerous than grains of sand
they dump these omnipotent hauls 
into two monumental receptacles
the first –
is a sweet, crunchy place decorated in swirly G’s
where smells of cinnamon and dehydrated fruits abound

the second – mind you,
casts a far more intimidating shadow
it is a dark, mysterious warehouse
where rancid pigment and gooey binder can be sniffed for miles
it is deep within the bowels of this cloaked place
that all institutional paint is manufactured
and the nefarious beings behind this demon depository 
have but one scheme in mind
oatmeal domination

these ill-natured possessors will not rest
until the interior of every hospital, recovery outpost and learning facility
has been impossibly plastered in their colorless aberration
depressing, hideous, stomach-churning
oatmeal paint
Karole in St Luketen-minute sketch while my mother-in-law slept in hospital bed yesterday
she survived cancer number 4 – a tumor was removed from her bladder, all seems well
she is home now happy, drinking lots of water and enjoying her colorful walls filled with beautiful things
those oatmeal-colored hospital walls are a thing of the past
but her care – doctors, nurses and all involved – was fantastic – wonderful people

chandeliers and picnic tables

there was this Chinese retaurant
it appeared one day
the previous tenant was a dollar store merchant
the kitchen went up faster than a flip tent
the cuisine, I can’t remember
what I do recall
is the decor
chandeliers hanging over picnic tables
it wasn’t right at all
but you know, those swanky lights
casting fractal beams
across distressed picnic tables
that belonged beneath iron lamp posts
are what brought me back
not the food
the smiles
the giggles
we ate there a few times
then as quickly as the restaurant had appeared
it vanished
like a traveling circus
I remember thinking
and hoping
those crystal lights and wooden tables
were off on another journey
to make merry the hearts of adults
who believed chandeliers
and picnic tables
were not ever meant
to be together
Travelin' Man

art previously published

the right moment for a lefty

can you glide atop marble
with big feet tripping you
can you dance across scuffed inlay
while soaking in the swing band
if you know me at all
you’ll know why music and maroon socks are perfect
will you sneer if an errant hair strand sticks to my shiny mouth
my lips are glossed ’cause I’m trying to look pretty
as you swing me left
I can’t swing right – that’s the side I always drop things on
will you know I never lived above an Italian deli but wanted to
or worked as a librarian
or sketched on a zeppelin
or like my bedsheets striped otherwise I put them on the wrong way
will you know I dream all the time
something I was supposed to be held back a grade for
will you know how I escaped
and that I don’t ever want to be caught
I just want to dance to swing band music
with someone who doesn’t mind laughing with me
dancerquickie sketch today

A House’s Heartbeat

I promised myself when I started this blog, advertisers wouldn’t appear on it (except for that little sneaky ad WP sometimes places on your post’s bottom and you have to pay them to make it go away). I’ve stuck to my word and passed on several opportunities.

Recently, a lovely gal named Kellyn who’s involved with a realty company came across my mural post and asked me if I’d be interested in writing a post about my home. I don’t receive anything for this other than the challenge of taking halfway decent pictures and possibly being ‘twittered’ at some point. I don’t even tweet. My mom was a realtor back in the 1980’s and her hard-earned success helped put six kids through college.

Kellyn of Compass was so very gracious and took the time to answer my emails and concerns, I thought hey, a house post might be fun. So without further ado here’s looking inside my interior…

A House with a Heartbeat

Way back when I was shorter than a kitchen drawer – fun color, fuzzy slippers, comfy furniture and book-lined shelves held the magical ability to let me believe I was special. Flash forward to 2015, my belief in a home’s magical abilities hasn’t changed.

My current home was new when we moved in twelve years ago. When our colonial was rising from the dirt, there were things that bothered me like a visible outdoor meter and a small main entrance with Amazonian ceilings. With a little creative inspiration and a paintbrush, these disappointments soon became dust bunnies under the desk of life.

The Amazonian entrance was cut down at the knees with sweet orange and warm yellow. Our children’s rooms became personal art pads they filled. Eventually furniture that could hold real people moved in to occupy other rooms. Above all else, shelves of books and islands of treasure were added where empty just wouldn’t do. Our house began filling with personality while my family fashioned its warm heartbeat.

Brave visitors are welcomed with warm color!

hallAh, the kitchen – home to 30-plus guests during our annual Thanksgiving Palooza.

kitchenAnd what would a home be without sentiment – this horse is the lone survivor of a pair. It was my Nana’s. He stands sentry on the windowsill over the kitchen sink.
horse bookendOff the kitchen, is my favorite place in all the world – my studio.
studio I adore books and the giant husband built these industrial studio shelves. Art books are heavier than Michelangelo’s David.
studio bookshelvesMusic fills a home with song. Owning a baby grand, albeit an old one, was always a dream of mine. The ‘music’ room adjoins my studio – I can sing or draw. My family prefers that I draw.
pianoThe giant husband and I enjoy flea marketing. We bought this chandelier long ago at an old-fashioned market where you could buy worn baseball cards, old shoes, chipped dolls and assorted light fixtures…
dr lightThe family room mantle has had more facelifts than Joan Collins. I slammed this last iteration with a loaded sponge – ecru and gold paint over turquoise for a faux ‘marblish’ look.
mantle When the kiddies were small, I painted special little touches in their rooms. My son liked camouflage.
camo closetThere are the murals I’ve painted in my children’s rooms. This one was done when they were very young. My son, now 14, won’t let me paint over it. He’s mushy like his dad.
(Horse characters from DreamWorks 2002 animated film–Spirit; Stallion of the Cimarron)
Spirit MuralThe giant husband built a frame from molding and I burnished it gold for my daughter’s dressing table.
caroline's roomI always wanted a fireplace in the master bedroom. The giant husband surprised me with this one. We gave it a book mantle topper. The fake fire crackles!
fireplaceAll rooms, even the bathroom, must be a happy place to sit!
turquoiseIt’s the special little things lurking around bright corners that make a house fun.
ornamentOr tigers ready to pounce from on high –
tiger topStair squatting is the only way Mojo can see who’s approaching.
mojoOur German Shepherd, Rocky likes waiting by a door.
rocky tip headAnd finally, before one enters a home they must feel welcome. I can’t think of a bigger hello than a bright Adirondack chair.
yellow chairHope you enjoyed the tour…
waitingThank you.
May you dream of living in a comfortable space…

House Painting

My Friends,
The giant husband’s father was a house painter by trade. Pops was old-school. Everything had to be perfect and not a drop of Behr’s ever spilled. When it comes to painting the walls in our home, the giant husband expects no less. He’s a perfectionist. I’m not allowed to paint interior walls solid colors. I can’t paint neatly. Though, the giant husband doesn’t mind when I use more than one color. 🙂
Lion muralspirit:raintoucan muralsun muralVmural detail2Vmural detail3The carousel (with Spirit the Horse) I painted in the delicate daughter’s room and the Jungle Babies mural I painted in our nursery. I painted the remaining murals in other homes. Sorry about the image quality.
pops brushPops’ paintbrush hangs in a special place in my studio. It reminds me of how painting can bring happiness into ones life and home.

Thank you. May you dream of being surrounded by beautiful color…