building paper boats and childlike ranting

The Blue Angels are flying over my house. A few years ago they flew so close by I swear I saw an upside down helmet and a smiling face. To fly. Freedom in the sky. In the clouds. I often think it so very ironic that only eight minutes from my house sits a small airport with a landing strip long enough to land a space shuttle–one may have landed here years ago, can’t remember– and I haven’t traveled anywhere in such a long time. I often watch these enormous military planes descend marveling at how they stay afloat in the air when they carry the weight of the world.

It has been a struggle of late, deciphering where I dream my words flying. Used to be so much clearer. Things have grown a bit hazy and the atmosphere thick. God, how many of us are out here, everywhere trying to do the same. Yet, this does not change our itinerary, does it. I’m no different. I waste more time struggling on the ground than flying in the air. I’m growing tired and losing a bit of chrome polish. We all suffer in our own way. I’ve created a personal flight plan that includes spreading thin with just enough left to light coat a piece of paper with tired ink.

My frustration is creeping up and it will culminate one day into pulling the plug on all this social media. And the ‘whys’ as to what I’m doing continuing to write online when I should curl in my cave and go at my muse like Ali. I find the media of media more and more distracting. How much time do you continue giving when time is not bottomless. So much speaks to the musts of social media today. To get your words anywhere, to make them fly maybe even rocket you must pilot the spacecraft. I’ve been trying with all my heart to stay the course. I write myself into places that take me away. Create people I don’t know–maybe I do–I’m not ever really sure where any of these folks come from. Yes, sure we all know there are pieces of ourselves that go into our art. Art imitates life in that order and this is nothing new. It is old. Too old.

I am working on an illustrated book of verse. I’ve mentioned this before. I am not a salesperson. I’m not shy just not wonderful at touting my own work. I was an art director for a publishing company before my daughter was born. I did that job really well because I sold other artists’ designs. Today, I keep thinking, “okay, AnnMarie you’re gonna print a bunch of these books then what.” I dislike pushy tactics. Dislike when instant messages tell me to go read this or that. I won’t do it. I can’t. My innerchild is obstinate and bullish which makes my whole plan sort of ironic–self publishing. You pay a self publisher, yet you still must provide a marketing plan extolling all the wonderful ways you’ll PUSH your endeavor. Pushing art, adds a whole lot of romance into the notion of beloved muse. When this book of mine is ready, it will be placed here and other venues. Will all this matter. Time will tell. At the very least, I will have something my folks can show their friends and something my children can take with them whether or not I’m here.

In my heart, I naively believe in tossing your paper boat into the raging sea. If it you built it true, it might stay afloat. If you built it really well, hell, maybe it will magically take to the air. To the sky where you can soar into the clouds. Like the Blue Angels.
Caroline and Max spiritSpirit mural (based on DreamWorks movie) I painted long ago and since painted over

side by side

we hope our children view the world through rose-colored glasses
pray they live well, so their buckets won’t need lists
green bucket
we’ll try to respect their deep-seated thoughts
car leg
and teach them to respect those who have gone before
they must always believe they’re more magical than mermaids
lil mermaid
and understand playing dress-up is fabulous, as long as they remain young at heart
money bat
we’ll tell them it’s okay to think upside down
Caro upside down
and they’re the apples of our eyes
and when the world gets too big, they can hide under a blanket
and that same big world is full of wonderment
max laugh
we’ll let them sit in a red chair and do absolutely nothing
max red chair
and tell them they don’t have to smile all the time
painting image
as long as they keep their heads above water
max head above water
we’ll hope they love each other enough to hang out upside down
upside downand sideways
butt heads
but above all that they’ve learned–
love simply means standing side by side
carmax hugwith Caroline attending college this fall, and Max a high school junior come September, I’ve been waxing nostalgic
I published this post last year but have been thinking about it lately
damn, time wearing his ankle wings and over-priced Nikes sure does fly
xmas 2105

Spirit mural

railcar 519

It was a genuine railcar.
Specifically railcar 519, surrounded by warped golf clubs bent in frustration, abandoned carousel heads no longer smiling, discarded pea cans empty of fodder, and rusted mattress frames minus their former lovers. George salvaged 519 from the brink of crush central.

At first Henry was lost. How he missed his large corrugated friend. There was nothing quite as grand to scent mark but Henry–like other things when the world changes–made allowances for undivine intervention. A rusted pile of old bikes replaced 519’s hole. Wheels spinning in summer winds presented the dirty white-muzzled sentry with fresh morning challenges. This made him feel alive. A memory, the aging dog had misplaced last year.

Let’s see, where was I? Oh, the railcar. George anchored the 519 on Small Hill Peak–the only fake mountain in a ten-mile radius. Railcar 519 once part of the Erie Rail Line–punctually proud milk lady to NYC–was the last of her kind. There was no need of outdated railcars with high back stools and velvet sides. Over the unkind decades, her sisters and brothers went crushing into oblivion. 519’s siblings as well as extended family members, had long been spiriting toys that floated back to the USA by way of China and the industrial sea.

So George loved Mary. Mary loved the past–way past. She cherished tin spoons slapping weighty coffee mugs sitting on ceramic saucers yellowed by wear. These specific sensations, possible in a grand old diner. A long, lean railcar with a past cultivated carefully in the present. Railcar 519 was unbent, repuckered and polished until the sun seemed it would never set again on her gleaming silver sides. Her innards were spruced new in all things old starting with a great black and white tile floor and portal bubble windows.

Railcar 519 started cooking. Eggs and bacon dished out with flavors impossible to capture anywhere but in this magical slice of metal manna. Once completely refurbished and 519 was just so–sitting presciently atop Small Hill Peak–the piping hot aromatic coffee poured into its weighted mug. Th perfectly fluted tin spoon held in Mary’s delicate nude hand, tapped above a yellowed ceramic saucer on the mahogany breakfast bar. It was at this very spot, in this very moment that George proposed to the love of his life. And Mary slurped first then said, “Yes.”

So I guess railcar 519 is a multiple love story–George and Mary, Henry and perfectly placed peeing, heavy mugs and light spoons, and this writer’s fondness for old diner cars.
Cmural detail2
this particular art was part of a mural I painted in my daughter’s room long ago. the mural–a carousel went all the way around her room. it has since been painted over in a color called cracker bits. my daughter occupies a different room. this room–now the guest room. sorry for the poor image quality

In the Light of Newness

This new year, I approach in the light of newness
In this newness lives my pledge of faith, spirit and fellowship written in the persistent hand of love
Every day will forever be a new opportunity to move forward

There will be no:
there will never be another
from where I start
in whatever I do
there will only be newness
giving the best that is possible within me
working not at “re”solutions
but solutions
within the brightness of a new day
arrived at with the clarity of forgiveness, the hope of promise and the fortitude of human spirit
Caroline and Max spiritThe only “re” I plan on allowing is recycling:)
This mural in the big son’s room will be painted over this winter-it is time
Caroline and Max years ago:)
I wish you all a beautiful NEW YEAR
See you all on the other side of 2016!

the spirit of a cloud

sometimes it would be nice to
slice off a mountain top
throw it on the back of your bicycle
pedal to a hot air balloon
load it up in the basket
float with the trade winds
set down on an island
let the mountain top find purchase
out comes the duffle bag
stuffed with books, pens, pencils, paper
you sit in the cradle of a crevice
while cumulus clouds
wrap smokey wreaths
around a newly discovered peak

think about those clouds
and what elevates their being
a veil of interest
a touch of form
lay the pens, the pencils
and the books to rest
take the paper
fold birds and planes
let them catch the thermals
some will disappear into the light blue white
a few will sail onto the water’s surface
those will sink
but not the spirit
in which they were made
nor the clouds floating onward to
other fantastical islands
Spirit Mural16′ x 9′ mural painted 13 years ago in big son’s room, horse characters from the DreamWorks movie, Spirit; Stallion of the Cimarron

lessons earned

you’ve gone about halfway
so close
righteous peppers your tongue
your decades of experience
shower unadulterated minds
your determined suggestions
penetrate virginal ears
then the moon flips
your waxing tongue is stifled
nature in her amusing way
has pushed you out
and laughs at your wrinkled brow
she flawlessly accepts
what you won’t admit
children are whirlybirds in the wind
and the only thing you control
is where to sow the little seeds
in your vegetable garden
Caroline and Max spirit


Photo – delicate daughter (now 17) and big son (now 14) standing in front of mural their mom painted in 2004.
Zebras prisma penciled in 2008

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…


My Spirit

My Friends,
In 2002 the animated film, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron was released. I fell in love with a cartoon horse the day I experienced this beautiful movie. Oh, the kiddies saw it with me. 😉

“…Then from on high –  somewhere in the distance
There’s a voice that calls – remember who you are
If you loose yourself –  your courage soon will follow
So be strong tonight – remember who you are…”

Sound the Bugle (Gavin Greenway, Trevor Horn), sung by Brian Adams
Spirit MuralCaroline and Max spiritThank you. May you dream of flying across a canyon chasm on the wings of a magnificent steed.

Spirit Mural painted in 2002 in the big son’s room. Big son and delicate daughter standing on bed  –  photo taken 2002 after mural’s completion.
Original Spirit created by DreamWorks

Turning To Do’s into Ta Da’s

Dear Friends,
Summer break is so close I can taste it like a yummy cone from the Good Humor truck, June 1970. As is my habit, I’ve created an ambitious To-Do List with an equally obnoxious goal of early September. Ten weeks to accomplish twelve things.

list I wish I still believed in a 365 day summer break. When I was much younger and a little dumber than today, I thought we went to school for a year then enjoyed a year-long summer break. In my youth, the hot summer days seemed endless, each one melting into the next. The neighborhood kids were outside practically at sunup. A good kickball or baseball game could always be had. We youngsters weren’t permitted back into our homes until the streetlights came on. In my head these wondrous, slow summer days added up to a year – an easy mistake to make. Imagine my horror upon discovering school break was but ten weeks long.

I’m grownup now. I attempt tackling summer To-Do Lists like I do mural painting – one wall at a time. If I have to paint an ocean scene, I’ll run back and forth really fast before the latex paint dries…
First wall and first rule, always begin at the beginning-

paratroopersSame wall opposite end, start high-

heli big 2Coming down below the chopper, end low-

below chopper 2Adjoining wall, leap to next-
Vmural detail2Work down, here they come over Hummer Hill-
Vmural detail4And zero in on details. One last closeup of a bedroom whose little boy collected G.I. Joe action figures.

hummer close Personally, I like horses on walls-

spiritToday I’d vote for the One Year On, One Year Off – School Plan. If I had a year off, I’m practically certain I’d turn my To Do’s into Ta Da’s. Wouldn’t you guys vote the same?

Thank you and goodnight. Here’s to dreaming of accomplishments, both real and imagined…

(I painted all murals with good old latex paint and some enamels. Sorry image quality not great, these are photos of photos. The delicate daughter and big son – years ago, standing in front of  “Spirit” (from the movie) inspired mural. Today Spirit’s mural remains in the big son’s room, as he is very sentimental.)