(no subject)

Last night Joshua and I were on our back patio. We were having some wine, cooking some veggies and roasting chicken in the oven (he requested a night off the grill). It's a beautiful Texas night. Not very hot at all. Nice and mild, though a little rainy. It's getting late, we're getting hungry so we're about to finish up our glasses and go inside and eat. We're also a little tipsy, okay...we're kinda drunk but home and safe.

I hear a shout. At our 9 o'clock is a young couple who I know have a newborn. I see the blinds close REALLY fast and I see a glimpse of what looks like her man standing over her and I see her fall. I could hear them arguing earlier outside.

"Baby," I say to Joshua, "I'm pretty sure I just saw him hit her."

We go back and forth about it for maybe two minutes. Josh wants to go over there himself but then there's a chance of the cops getting called besides which I'm not too sure about what I saw yet. And we're drunk. We thought about talking to a neighbor who lives closer to them and helps the couple out a bit. He's also one of the maintenance guys. Then she screams again. She falls into the sliding door. He's hovering over her again.

"That's it! Give me the phone!"

I grab our cordless that is just inside and Josh dials 911 and is put through immediately to an Arlington PD dispatcher. We don't know the apartment number, but we know we can point them there once they arrive.

Three squad cars pull in discreetly. No lights or sirens, as per Joshua's request. Josh points them and a younger cop hops the gate and the others walk around our building, through the courtyard, to their apartment.

The guy is cuffed. One of the officers gets a statement from both of us. He lets us know the woman is going to be fine, but had we not called she probably would not have been. He told us that he wishes more people would do what we did. After they leave, she's out on her porch smoking a cigarette. Minutes later, we see her walking towards us with her young daughter.

I warn Josh that she could be pissed, despite him brutally attacking her. Having been through an abusive relationship prior, I unfortunately know the Stockholm Syndrome too well. She is thankful. Her neck is bruised and Joshua later told me he recognized it as a "blood choke", the same one he learned in the Marine Corps. She told us that had we not called, she may not have made it and that she had actually blacked out. Josh knelt down to say hi to her daughter who was about 4. She wanted nothing to do with a 6 foot 6 man with a deep voice. Even though I know he's a teddy bear, he doesn't look that way to some people, let alone a little girl who just saw her mama get beat up by a man.

I can't describe the feeling of relief knowing we put that son of a bitch behind bars. Actually, he got himself there, but we were in the right place at the right time. Just thinking that we were about to be inside and never would have heard anything just floors me. I'm thankful she's alive, I'm thankful that I got myself out of a bad situation myself and what's more, I'm thankful to have a man like Joshua. There aren't many like him anymore and I know for sure this time that I'm very blessed.

And this is the man I'm blessed with. Mr. Joshua Lynn.

Art Rant

Obviously, some people cannot differentiate between jewelry that is functional art, as in hand-made, one-of-a-kind and the mass-produced shit you can buy at Target. As much as I enjoy indulging in a certain snark community, I was annoyed by some of the comments I read in a particular post this morning. I decided to keep my comments to myself and just go off here. The comments were regarding a woman who made some found-object jewelry out of Barbie parts into hand-made metal settings. Her work is expensive, as I would expect any work of art, functional or just-for-show, to be.

I often don't toot my own BFA in Fine Arts horn, but I didn't go to a university and walk the stage just to keep quiet about some things. At the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), I chose a major in Fine Art with a concentration of painting and was required to explore other electives such as graphic design intro, clay and metals. We were taught how to price our work, how to improve it and my professors all touched on why art is and should be marked up.

In my semester with metals, I learned how to cast, how to polish, how to link wire to make a chain. There were some days I was in class for 5 hours! It was easy to spend a total of 5-6 hours on something as simple as a hollow heart with a stamped pattern with conceptual patterned wire soldered to it and a hand-built, mounted pin. I realize that most people, particularly catty-ass women, are jaded by ready-made, machine-casted, mass-produced jewelry that you can find at the impulse-buy counter of a department store or clothing boutique chain. It's becoming easier for those companies to imitate the look of hand-crafted art, too, I've noticed. Still, to the more trained eye, the difference is still clear.

This country is going down the tubes with it's Bubba-like mentality. We're becoming a country of drones. I understand being broke and looking nice for less, I do. I understand that your money could be better spent on paying bills, insurance, things you really need. However, unless you are the one toiling over sawing, sanding, filing, annealing then shaping and soldering, shut up about the price of the work. Artists not only put effort into their work, we also have a tendency to become attached to it. Of course there's always the piece we hate and can't wait to give away, but we often come to love a piece we've busted our humps on. We not only charge for the materials, the hours of labor, but the fact that we're giving away a part of who we are.

It's not just the fact that this person made jewelry out of doll parts, it's that it was her idea. I love the Frankennstein-effect that her work has on me (I glimpsed at her website), but maybe that's just my own influence in seeing the work, as the novel had an impression on me. When I saw the work that one person was claiming was "too expensive", I saw hard work and a fun idea come to fruition. I saw the hammering, the soldering, the cutting and the setting with epoxy. It's been a while since I've set foot in a metal's shop but I remember enough about it to know it was not easy work and though a finished piece of art in any medium looks near effortless, anyone who has been there, done that, knows it isn't. The ignorant arrogance of the outside viewer who really doesn't know anything never ceases to astound me and piss me off.

People will dismiss this. They will see it as arrogant. I will come across as a whiny artist to some and that's fine. I could write a book about my thoughts on this subject, maybe a series of books. I'm not sure who would read the ramblings of a bitchy, misanthropic artist who drinks too much coffee and I can't say I blame them. The rantings of others often annoy the shit out of me, too, yet we all still feel the need to rant and get the shit off our chest that is bothering us. That's pretty much what I'm doing here, and hell, it's my fucking journal. I think my education counts for something. If this were coming from some arrogant, 21-year-old pseudo-intellectual who had a semeseter of art appreciation and now thinks he knows fuck-all about art then, be annoyed. My hope, though it's not my expectation, is that this entry will hold a little bit more weight considering it's coming from an insider even though it took a good portion of a webpage for me to say, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!".

You can view Margaux Lange's work at her own site: www.margauxlange.com.

(no subject)

I'm tired of people being dismissed. Is it easy to be an ass to a person because they don't always feel the need to be verbal? Just because I don't have a severe case of logorrhea like 99.99995% of the population complete with an inability to listen to anyone else other than my own gum-flapping, doesn't mean I'm a fucking moron.

I think is why "it's the quiet ones". Quiet people are often more observant. Many of us are very intuitive and VERY much in tune with what's going on. Yet we're harrassed, written off, dismissed. People talk down to us because they assume we probably don't know what we're doing.

But sometimes we DO come out of our shell to speak up. We actually have something worth saying. It might be something we've kept stored up. Oh, but then someone, usually the most verbose person in the room, has a counter reply, or a better idea and naturally the rest of the group tends to gravitate toward the person who speaks the most, I guess because they have no choice since this person is usually the one who does the most talking. I guess if you talk loud enough and talk long enough, people may assume you know what you're talking about.

You know what they used to call a mute person in the old days? DUMB! Now think of the current context of the word. Synonymous with stupid, moronic, idiotic, I could go on, but you catch my drift. I can tell you that thinking that someone who doesn't often speak up is not the most intelligent person can be a wrong assumption. The guy who never puts down his books is usually absorbing more knowledge than Average Joe. He is often listening to more than what is on his pages, too. He's a fly on the wall, paying attention to everything. Hearing it all. He also pays very close attention to how words are used, being an avid reader, how words are conveyed and how one change in a phrase can change an entire meaning. The one who hasn't said a word during the meeting has not only been paying close attention, but has been investigating the room the entire time and knows more than you think about everyone in it. The shy girl in the back of the class is not always sleeping off her hangover. Believe me, you can see a LOT from the back of a room.

Here's what I observe a lot in my everyday life: Person A is very outspoken. Loud, gregarious, social. Person B is very introverted, pretty much the opposite. Person B often reads instructions, tinkers with the equipment to troubleshoot and finds out exactly how things work. When said equipment has an error, Person B usually knows how to fix it. Person A being more outspoken, will take over the situation, they are a take-charge person, anyway and are sure they can find what the problem is. Person B tells Person A that they already know the solutuion. Person A, figuring that because Person B has never said anything before, they don't know. Person A undermines Person B and goes about things the hard way rather than just listening.

It's not that I don't say enough, it's that I often find that nobody is really listening anyway. After this becomes repetitive and tired, you tend to just say "fuck it". Why bother? Some people get very frustrated as a result and go on a rampage. Some may just become bitter and annoyed with everyone and everything, becoming those grumpy old folks that we all just brush off as old fogies. Some probably put their pent-up philosophy to better use via other means of communication; visual art, writing. Words on a page or a picture can often speak louder than any human.

Now don't get anxious, I'm not saying I'm going to go postal. What I am saying is that I can understand the mentality all too well. Maybe I DON'T say enough. Maybe I DO need to be more forceful sometimes or just more assertive and I'm trying. I guess my social skills are limited, because I often don't know how to say something without sounding too blunt. I've offended people this way and therefore lost whatever it was I was trying to accomplish. The ideal situation would be that if those who spoke more would listen more often and that those who listen would speak more frequently. This is in a perfect world. A perfect world does not exist. I can only focus on myself, then. All I can do is try harder and if I make an ass of myself sometimes, then I have to let that not bother me as much.

(no subject)

Soon to come will be bohemianartists.com. It is pretty much an online art gallery. Me and 4 other people will be a part of the beginning. I met with the two ladies who are putting it together. Read the contract with the web admin and it's actually a very lenient contract, giving me sole rights to my work and not binding me only to her.

Also, this will be exciting to me, Bobbi, one of the ladies in charge, said that she wants all 5 of us to go to the City Council of Arlington and propose that they allow us to grow the Cultural District more. Her reasoning, and I agree, is that Fort Worth has a large arts area, Dallas has one, why doesn't Arlington, which is wedged in between the two cities (so is Grand Prairie, but that's a lost cause!). There is hope for Arlington and I know those university students at UTA (where I got my BFA) would be thrilled with the idea. I can also talk to my former professors there and see what they think.

I've been looking for a way back into the art world for about two years now and lately I've just been dying to get back. I'm so excited now. This is real, it's happening! I'm doing what I went to school for! Of course slinging coffee is going to continue to pay my bills. I can stop feeling like such a fucking loser now.

Keep Paying It Forward.

Let me preface by saying that I know not everyone who reads this follows the same religion as me. This is a personal account from my personal view.

About a week ago or more, a friend helped me out when I was at a very low point. Being low is nothing new to me right now and I'm constantly relying on God to light my way. I promised Him after this friend helped me that the next opportunity I saw to help a fellow human being, I would grab it with both hands and I would know as it was happening when that moment came. I'm not talking about donating a dollar to your local grocery store to help a charity, which is a noble gesture and I try to do that every time. When I go get toys and food for my rats, I donate to help homeless pets. Not much effort there.

This morning, I was setting up shop and as I was stacking furniture, I saw headlights in the parking lot slowly pulling in. It was a minivan. Great, I thought, another soccer mom wanting to know if we're open yet. A lady in her late 40s, early 50s got my attention with a shaky, soft voice in a New England accent. She was in tears and said she was running out of gas and her daughter was in a wreck south of us and she was trying to get to her. She asked if I had only a dollar. I had some cash, but no single bills and I told her. Then her cell rang and she answered it frantically saying she was trying to get there. Something told me she was for real. And who asks for a single dollar but someone REALLY desperate? She said her grandchild was dead. Then there was that internal voice, but it wasn't really my own, something beyond and above me saying, "Remember your promise". I went against everything I've ever been told by my peers, went back inside and locked the door, of course and went into my purse. I managed to find a single bill! I wish I could have helped more. She thanked me tearfully and profusely.

Sure enough, she pulled to the Shell across the street answering her cell phone for the 3rd or 4th time. Was her story true? I believe so and even if it wasn't, is it my business? She clearly needed it more than I did at that time and I have food in my house right now and more money will be coming shortly in small doses. I have a safety net with Mom and Dad, luckily but that's a last resort. Some people are much worse off and having a much harder day than I am and I met someone like that this morning. I had the opportunity, I realized it and I took it.

Later that day, someone I know, I'm not going to say who or where, approached me and slipped a ten in my pocket. I protested, of course, but this person is not the type to take 'no' for an answer. Their reason, they said it was for me for "always being so kind".

I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I don't ask for anything. I don't even think myself worthy. I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do, according to God and I try not to pre-judge anyone as I see so many do. I don't believe people should demand rewards for doing what they should do anyway. I remain available to help where I can, when I can. I do believe when someone does something good for another, they are rewarded in some form and it is your duty to pass that on. All I did was pass on a good deed and because I received another, I will do it again.

(no subject)

It's good to be back. Our internet connection took a nosedive the week of July 4th. It was earlier in the week and we were told that they could not get anyone out there until that Friday. The connection was fixed, but then I was unable to access some websites. This one was one of them.

There have been a few change of events during that time with my job and with the new pets. Long story short, I'm transferring to a new store with my store manager so I have a better chance of being promoted.

As far as the rats go, we kept Mila, but switched out Saya for Penny. Saya was...not a nice rat. She bit, she and Mila didn't get along. It was not a good situation. We took her back and I felt terrible, like I had failed her somehow. The pet store told us that she would just be retrained or taken back to the breeder to be socialized. Mila is fabulous. She's affectionate and LOVES shoulder rides and crawling all over B and me. She also loves grapes, yogurt and the dried fruit bits in her pet food. She will eat those first and then dig through her food bowl looking for more. I play "soccer" with her and Penny. I roll the ball toward them and they kick it around back to me and to each other. Yesterday, she sat here at the computer with me and typed "4444444444444444444444444444444444mmmmmmmm4444444". She loves my hair too. I now have to tie it up when I play with her since she got tangled in it! Now the ponytail fascinates her. And my 6-gauge plastic earrings which I'm trying to teach her not to chew.

Penny is a beautiful champagne-colored rat who is a little bit bigger than Mila. She's nice, but still really shy. She and Mila are the best of buds. They sleep together, they box each other playfully, wrestle each other and today, they both plotted how to pull down their water bottle! They succeeded, but we got it back up. Penny isn't so sure about her Mom and Dad though. The other day, she DID crawl onto my knee on her own. I petted her and she went back into her home that I named the "Rat Flat".

They have little pet treats inspired by the movie Ratatoullie that are little croissants. Mila likes to spin it around before eating them. Penny just eats right away. They HAD a little pet bed that they tore to shreds and managed to turn inside out. They did sleep in it, but they also thought it was a toy.

Damn, it's good to have pets again!

(no subject)

Saturday night, B and I were bored. It was a toss up between browsing the local pet store or going to yet another movie. We saw Wanted the previous night so I wasn't too interested in having to sit in one spot for at least 1.5 hours, being ADHD. I did enjoy Wanted, but I would be more willing to watch most movies at home where I can pause it to visit the facilities or draw while I watch it.

We go to the pet store and begin browsing the fish. He wasn't interested in fish because they aren't interactive. We longingly look at the cats, knowing we can't afford the pet deposit that comes with cats or dogs. I casually start wandering towards the birds and rodents. Love birds, but not sure about those and at this point I'm not planning on getting a pet anyway since B doesn't want fish.

He and I start looking at the rodents and talking about how cute they are. I don't want a gerbil, though. They're too small and I got bit when I was 9. He tells me that if I want a hamster or rat, he'll pay for it plus the cage. We start talking to the saleslady and she highly recommends the rats, she has them and loves them. My friend, David, has had rats since he was little and has always talked about how great they are. The saleslady says the same thing. They're trainable, loving and like a dog but on a smaller and simpler scale. She offers to let me hold one. I hold a little black and white Hooded Fancy Rat who just wants to get back in and play. No biting. An older alpha female nips my finger. I won't be getting HER.

We find a suitable dwelling with a starter kit including bedding, toys, vitamins. I ask what I can feed them and various other questions I have. We pick out food and I'm told I can give them fruit too. I picked the one I played with earlier and B picks the quiet gray one in the corner. She's a Hooded Rat too, meaning they both have solid colored heads with a long, thin mark down their backs. The rest of the body is white.

I've never owned a rat before, so luckily I have friends I can call on if I need help with them. We've been having fun playing with them and named them Mila and Saya. Mila LOVES her ball and knows how to turn corners in it. She just knocked down her mobile toy to chew on it and seems to have a look of victory on her face right now as she chews the wood. I just built them a climbing toy out of part of a cardboard soda box. Yesterday Saya was licking B's hand. She nipped mine because I still had apple residue on it. Neither of them are too into being held, but Mila likes to sit on our shoulders for a little while and sniff our hair. She really likes being in our laps, though. Still trying to get Saya to come out of her shell, but her and Mila are playin together more now.

I'm enjoying learning about my new pets, even though I'm still a little worried about being bit. They don't seem to bare down at all when they nip, though, same as a puppy. Mila seems to love both of us and Saya has moments where she's fine and others where she just wants to be in her blue tube. They do cuddle when they sleep, though.

Here are some pics of my new pets. I love those little pink noses!


Sleep time!

Mila wants to play!

Dog Pics!

My mom emailed these pics. I don't even want to tell y'all how long it took me to upload them and crop them because mom didn't realize how big the files were OR the photos themselves. These are my sister's dogs because I don't have $500 for a pet deposit to have my own right now. Yes, I'm living vicariously through her. I'm trying to come up with a caption for the first one. I want to submit it to ihasahotdog.com.

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Awww...sleeping pug.

(no subject)

Copy/Pasted from an email from Dad:

It was entertainment night at the Senior Center.
Claude the hypnotist exclaimed: 'I'm here to put you all into a trance -
I intend to hypnotize each and every member of the audience.'
The excitement was almost electric as Claude withdrew a beautiful
antique pocket watch from his coat. The polished metal gleamed in the
Claude the hypnotist said: 'I want you each to keep your eyes on this
antique watch. It's a very special watch. It's been in my family for
six generations.'
He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly
'Watch the watch, watch the watch, watch the watch' The crowd became
mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, light shimmering off its
polished surface. Hundreds of pairs of eyes followed the swaying watch,
until, suddenly, it slipped from the hypnotist's fingers and fell to the
floor , shattering into a hundred pieces.
'SHIT!' said the Hypnotist

It took 3 days to clean up the Senior Center.

(no subject)

You Belong in the Silent Generation

You fit in best with people born between 1925 and 1942.

You are a person of high values and character.

Family, your country, loyalty, and hard work are all important to you.

You are willing to do what's right, even when it's difficult.