Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas music…nope!


Silver Bells. Not this time.

Little Drummer Boy? Sorry, kid.

All I want for Christmas is you. Nope, not even you, Mariah.

There's something noticeably absent from the arts-and-crafts store I work at…the Christmas music!

The tech people sent us a new music player a couple months back and that's when I noticed the Christmas songs didn't start playing in November--or at all this month like they're supposed to. Unheard of!

Whenever I'd point out the glitch to my coworkers they'd all say the same thing, "Good!"

When you work in retail you kinda want to forget the holidays and the stress and madness it brings, so having the musical reminders gone is a welcome reprieve of sorts.

Here's an obscure but catchy tune currently playing at the store instead:


Oooh, I love it!

Sorry, Rudolph…maybe next year.

:)

Friday, December 12, 2014

I hope you have enough.


The smell of fried eggs and pancakes permeated the restaurant. We sat across from each other. I thought his work-tie was knotted too tightly and a bit askew.

Even though our time together never led to a relationship, it was nice seeing him again and catching up...

I had breakfast earlier in the week with someone I went on several dates with over the summer.

He cut into his biscuits and gravy without remorse and talked about his new boyfriend.

I smiled and pushed forkfuls of crispy hashbrowns into the ketchup edging my plate.

He seemed to be doing well and said he was satisfied, wishing the same for me:

"I hope you get to travel wherever you want to go. Get to do all the things you've dreamed of. And are loved enough so you're never yearning for more. One day, I hope you have enough."

Cut paper and ink in Moleskine journal - (NFS)

He told me he'd always be around if I needed him and we agreed to keep in touch and remain in each other's lives.

I'd like that.

And like him, maybe one day I can say I have enough.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dots!


I look at my blog and think blah.

Exploding Doughnut is over five years old and its layout has become dated and underwhelming.

It needs a makeover!

A screen-shot of my original layout.

I'd like to keep the dot pattern for the background but freshen it up a bit.

I've been playing around with my own designs and started painting dot patterns to replace the system-generated one.

Here's a watercolor sample I did:


It's a touch "loud" but I like the variety of colors.

It reminds me of my Abstract Squares series.

I'll continue playing around with ideas and tweak the painted dots some more.

My goal is to have a new, custom layout at the start of the new year.

Dot. Dot. Dot!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Three Widows.


She seemed a bit down and quieter than usual. Understandably so during the holidays.

My Aunt Nancy joined us for Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

The last time I saw her was during my uncle's funeral over two months ago.

Normally they'd celebrate together with his side of the family but now that he's gone, my mom invited her over along with my other aunt.

Strange to think my mom and both aunts now have being a widow in common.

And how different the dynamic changes when certain people are gone from the setting and when new ones are added.

"Three Widows" 
Pen and ink and marker in Moleskine journal - (NFS)

I'm glad they could join us. My mom and her sisters have always been very close and it's nice seeing them together.

I hope this becomes a regular thing during the holidays.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Holding on for something better.


Holding on phrasal v. 1. Maintaining one's grip; clinging. 2. Continuing to do something; persisting. 3. Waiting for something wanted or requested.

All this build-up but in the end I never did make a go of it.

And I feel like I've let them down--the kind people I've met there and have stayed in touch with.

Parts of my time there, I've forgotten but I remember feeling a strong connection to that city. That's what tells me to keep holding on for something better. 


Even if I never get there, it's what the goal represents that's most important.

My exclusive access to staff-only positions was renewed yet again this month and will now last until November 2015.

One more year to apply to job openings out there. Another chance to make Seattle my home.

So on this day of all days, I'm very grateful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

T'is the season…for bows!


Bow Boy is back in action!

The district manager of the arts-and-crafts store I work at is visiting all of the stores in our district this week to make sure we're ready for Black Friday (and Saturday and Sunday).

The store manager asked that I make more Christmas bows for sale, as part of the holiday decor but also as an example to customers what could be made out of the ribbon we sell.

I'm all caught up so I said yes. Here's some of what I created this week:


It's been fun and challenging taking something as varied in texture and as flat as ribbon and shaping it into something 3-dimensional and artistic.

I went for different color combinations and patterns and textures…and of course, glitter ribbon! (It got all over my face, dress slacks and crotch area--awkward!)

In the end, my fingers were nicked and sore from twisting and handling so much wired ribbon but I enjoyed it.

Bows RULE!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Buy My Love.


The arts-and-crafts store I work at recently updated the playlist heard on the overhead speakers.

Some of it good, some of it not.

Here's a song that leaves me dancing awkwardly in the side aisles whenever it comes on.


Catchy!

I'm enjoying it while it lasts because the Christmas songs will be here SOON--a sign the holiday shopping madness is upon us!

*sigh*

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Leaf stamps!


Mysterious and ghost-like, they seem to appear out of nowhere.

I've been noticing a lot of these leaf images while walking to and from work…..


Usually after an autumn rain or when the ground is especially cool and saturated.

But they're not just watermarks from fallen leaves because they linger on the sidewalk for several days or longer--well after everything is dry again.


The best way to describe them is the residue of each leaf mixes with the wetness underneath it, creating a sort of stamped impression on the pavement. Cool!

They remind me of primitive, prehistoric markings.

Now I find myself scanning sidewalks and searching for more.


How many of these "leaf stamps" have you seen lately?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Auntie Nancy's Rosary.


Memories turned tangible. Love into prayer. Prayer into memories.

When I heard of the process, I thought it'd make the perfect gift.

My mom had taken three red roses from my uncle's funeral service back in September (which I dried). When I read that roses could be turned into rosaries, I commissioned a jewelry-maker on Etsy to do just that!

Here's what we got from those roses in return…


It's so simple yet very powerful.

Obviously, great care and detail were taken to create each prayer bead and then string them together into a rosary.

It's a work of art that has real meaning and purpose--something I'm growing more and more passionate about in my own work.

Now my aunt will have a reminder of my Uncle Harry that she can pray on and help keep him close to her heart.

Thank you, SP, my aunt loves it!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Let it go.


Ideas, photographs, notes. The past. 

All thrown out.

I've been getting rid of a lot of my stuff these past few weeks. Things I've been holding onto for 15 years--or longer.

Much of it was from my early 20's when I created the most art (wasn't working at that time). Who knew purging would be such a process.

Sifting through the memories and discarding items without mercy.

Childhood action figures and comic book things. Art supplies collecting dust. Creative projects waiting to be born.

It's been hard to let it go.

But I can't hold onto it forever. It weighs me down and I need to be light if I'm to be free and living on my own one day.

The past is in the past, right Elsa?

I'm saying goodbye to what once was in hopes I'll one day say hello to something more AMAZING than I could ever imagine.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Return to me.



"You rise like a wave in the ocean
And you fall gently back to the sea
Now I want to know how to hold you
Return to me
Return to me.

You shine like the moon over water 
And you darken the sky when you leave
Now I want to know how to keep you
Return to me
Return to me
Turn to me
Return to me.

Everything I tell you has been spoken
And everything I say was said before
But everything I feel is for the first time
And everything I feel, I feel for you.

I am here calling the wind
I am here calling your name
I am here calling you back
Return to me
Return to me.

I know what it means to be lonely
And I know what it means to be free
Now I want to know how to love you
Return to me
Return to me.

I am here calling the wind
I am here calling your name
I am here calling you back 
Return to me
Return to me.

I am here
Return to me."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Until next year, assholes.


Degenerates. Drunks. Losers.

More commonly known as Cubs fans.

Yesterday was the last hometown game of the season and I couldn't be HAPPIER or more relieved. (I wanted to buy a cake and some balloons and c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e!)

For the past six months I've had to tolerate them on my train to and from the city.

Imagine twenty and thirty-somethings, clad in red and blue, being loud and obnoxious--and laughing at nothingness.

I could spot them (and hear them) from a mile away (the cans of beer in their hands are the first giveaway).

The video speaks for itself.

But I'm free of them now. I'm free!

Now during my commute, I'll no longer overhear discussions of whores and getting wasted, or homophobic remarks, and how badly they lost yet another game.

I won't have to deal with any of that until April of next year when baseball starts again.

Go back to your bars and trailer parks and wherever else lowlifes dwell. I won't miss you one bit!

Until next year, assholes.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Going on three.


It doesn't seem that long ago at all.

Today marks the three-year anniversary of working at my university job. And I couldn't be happier about that.

Everyone there has been so nice and professional--even the students we help on a daily basis.

And of course, the student workers make the job FUN and the night-shift fly by.

The environment is very safe, inviting, studious, and peaceful.

A perfect way to end a long work-day.

I still do hope for something full-time within the university but as far as part-time jobs go, I'm blessed to have it.

I'm proud to say I work there.

Behind the front desk.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Time.


I'm so glad this week is over with.

Last friday was the wake for my Uncle Harry and yesterday was his funeral.

A rose from my uncle's funeral service.

The message during the priest's homily dealt with the preciousness of time.

Father talked about the passage of time and about not wasting it. To recount how my uncle spent his life but also how we are spending ours now

That we need to make the most of the time we are given and be a light to others, help those in need, and live a life filled with real purpose.

Those words seared into me for I feel like I'm investing time in things I don't want (an example being work). There must be more to me than just working at the crafts store and the university job.

I always dreamed of doing GREAT things as an adult yet I'm doing anything but…and fear I never will.

I don't know what do but I try reassuring myself time is still on my side.

Dean, give it time. Time will tell. And all will be known…in time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Final send-off.


It reminded me of a birth but instead of loved ones gathered around to usher in life, they ushered in death.

Yesterday my uncle's immediate family huddled at his bedside in the hospital…one last time. 

My aunt, cousins, his brother and sisters, his grandchildren--even the family dog made an appearance. All the people who were there for him this past year-and-a-half to say their goodbyes.

On my way to work, my aunt called and told me my uncle passed away in his hospital room around 5:30 this morning.


I feel bad for keeping my distance and not taking on an active role towards the end, but my youngest cousin took care of his dad beautifully.

I will miss his heavy Chicago accent, his laugh which was reminiscent of Barney Rubble's, and whenever he'd call me "sunshine".

Rest in peace, Uncle Harry. I love you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cancer…again.


My aunt said he was asking about me. That it'd mean a lot to him to see me before he passes.

My youngest and only remaining uncle (no blood relation) was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer about 1 1/2 years ago. Unlike my Uncle Bill though, the doctors were able to remove most of the tumor except for some "grit".

He seemed to be making progress with the chemo and was determined to fight, but things steadily declined over the last few months and even more drastically in the past couple weeks.

We were told this morning that he could go any day now.

It's hard to be sympathetic because he was abusive to my aunt and cousins when I was growing up. I guess I've always held it against him on their behalf. Felt like he deserved all he was getting now.

But it was important to have compassion so I visited him earlier today at the hospital. He was on too much morphine to really recognize anyone and slept most of the day.

I made him a glitter cross like the one I gave my coworker a couple years back. Should he wake when I'm not there, my cousins can show him and he'll know I was there in spirit.

For my Uncle Harry.

He's still family in spite of the past…and in a lot of pain. 

Poor thing. His body will succumb soon.

Any day now…..

Friday, August 29, 2014

One of those milestones.


I never expected to be there this long but here I am.

Today marks my four-year anniversary working at the crafts store.

I still feel like quitting everyday I have to go in but am thankful to have a job and proud to have lasted in one place for so long.

It's one of those milestones that depresses me more than anything though.

But it is what it is…for now.

Me at work this week.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

For Mr. Grey…..



"My name is Ariel
And I want to be free
It is your sorrow
That has made a slave of me
Forgive me
Forgive me
But you are all I know
Forgive me for leaving.

The day is breaking now
It's time to go away
I'm so afraid to leave
But more afraid to stay
Forgive me
For leaving 
The sadness in your eyes
Forgive me."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Flower heart!


Fellow blogger, Naomi, did a blogpost about Mail Art artists she liked…and I made her list!

So how could I not send her something.

Reading through her blog you'll see Naomi often talks about her family and art and creating things.

Images of her daughters, new baby, and nature. Ladybugs among paper clouds and watercolored animals.

I tried to capture the essence of all of that and mailed her this…..


I took a piece of backing board (used for storing comic books) and cut it into the shape of a heart.

Then I glued down as many artificial flower heads that would fit onto the 6" space.

To finish it off, the edge of the heart was lined with shimmering tinsel yarn!

The address side covered with decorative paper.

A part of me wanted to push the boundaries of what the post office would deliver.

One concept of Mail Art is that the mail itself is the artwork so this was sent as-is without any packaging. 

Would she get it in one piece? Would she get it at all?

*****

I always hoped to be married one day with a family of my own.

Hopefully this Mail Art can be a symbol of how blessed Naomi truly is to have that.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Abstract Minnie Mouse!


"I'm going to miss you, Dean," she said.

"I'm not going anywhere," I replied.

"I am," she told me.

And that's how I learned the assistant store manager at the crafts store had given her two-weeks notice.

Her husband got promoted at his job which means she'd have to be home to be with her children--at least for now.

I do think the stresses of the job were a factor too but perhaps I'm projecting my own feelings onto the situation.

In any case, I wanted to make her something to remember me by.

She LOVES all things Disney and the color pink. So this is what I made her…..

Acrylic on canvas - 12" x 12" (NFS)

I flooded the canvas with as many shades of pink as I could:  coral, fuchsia, blush colors.

An image I found online of Minnie Mouse was then transferred over the abstract painting. Copyright infringement and tracing. Double whammy! But I wanted it to be 100% accurate and time was of the essence.

Here's the abstract painting with just the pencil overlay…..


Working at the crafts store is NOT easy. I still hate that job every day I go to work. But it's my coworkers that make it worthwhile. We bicker and squabble and laugh together--just like a family. And it's always sad to see one of our own go.

Today was the assistant store manager's last day. As we hugged our goodbyes, I told her we WILL keep in touch. That I know for certain.

It was a pleasure working with you, Kari! You rock!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Exceeds Expectations!


I called the store manager a jerk but he had it coming.

During my yearly review at the crafts store last year, let's just say I got carried away in the heat-of-the-moment.

Last year my rating dropped one level down from the previous year…..and I didn't like that at all, especially after all I do for that store.

The store manager said I was a bit too vocal about my frustrations with the job and the company. (I may have said--in passing--that I hoped the store burned down and the company got destroyed…on more than one occasion).

But I digress.

How did this year's review go?

It went well!

This time around the store manager mentioned I haven't complained or bad-mouthed the company.

I jokingly replied now I just keep all the stress and anger bottled up inside.

I was also given the highest ranking possible:  "Exceeds Expectations" (what I had two years ago).


Here's the kicker. The store manager told me I was the ONLY associate at my store this year to get that ranking!

The pay increase is nominal and the job itself still gets to me but it's nice--great even--to get recognition especially when you think it's due.

Go me!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

No sense of Pride.


I always have mixed feelings about today.

Today is the last Sunday of June, which means the Gay Pride Parade was this afternoon…but I decided not to go.

I don't like crowds, hot weather, or being burned alive by the intense summer sun and all three were out in full force.

And part of me feels like I don't fit in there…and that's a very lonely feeling.

When you don't belong to your own community, where do you belong?

I've heard several people say "Happy Pride!" throughout the day but I'm not feeling much happiness at the moment.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Betty's magical pony!


One of the cashiers at my retail job was emptying out the dump-all bin at the registers and found this cutie…..

Love those blue wings!

The name "Betty" was written on the pony's tag. A child must've left it behind but never claimed it.

It even has ribbons for a tail!


One of my coworker's friends has a little girl, so I passed it along and found the plush pony a good home (otherwise I'd have kept it).

Sorry Betty but finders, keepers/losers, weepers!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pressed flowers…by mail!


Look what waited in my P.O. Box from fellow blogger, Randy.

Normally he sends out poetry cards from his favorite poets.

But last week I got this…..

Pressed pansies from his garden!

This made me smile upon opening it.

It was so simple, unexpected, and lovely.

Thank you, sir. Your small gesture brightened my day!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Art unexpected.


I have no art of my own to share. Much too busy for that.

But here's a flourish of color from the crafts store I work at.


Someone had swept up miscellaneous flower heads that lost their way in the floral department and pushed the fake blooms in the receiving area to be tossed out.

I thought they looked pretty against the pile of dust, glitter, and debris.

A good reminder that art takes on many forms and is all around you…if you look for it.

Just what I needed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Shitty, shitty, shitty!!



My God, it's been such a shitty past few days--past few weeks even.

I feel like there's this heaviness about me. I'm dragging along each day and it's getting harder and harder to force a smile and "look happy" at work.

I'm even too worn out to cry.

And on those really bad, disappointing days when all I need is to escape in strong arms and be held tight, I'm alone and have to deal with it on my own…as I always do.

I have nothing to look forward to anymore.

Who knew life could be so consistently terrible for this long.

Why would people want to live it at all?

Shitty, shitty, shitty!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

"Husband-quality."


It really is a waste of my time.

These men and the games they play.

I went on a few dates with someone new during these past couple weeks. He had potential but I guess he didn't think the same of me.

During one of our discussions, he mentioned two of his exes. He referred to them as "husband-quality" (and implied I was too). But he said neither of them was willing to wait for him to let his walls down and they eventually moved on.

This was the first time I've heard a gay man use that term. Husband-quality.

How ironic that I never really heard from him since.

Will I ever find someone who is "husband-quality"?

I've met very few, if any, gay men interested in getting married let alone wanting children.

It saddens me that I may never get married and have a family of my own one day.

I have not given up hope just yet but don't expect much from the gay community anymore either.

In the meantime, I'll continue searching for "husband-quality".