Tuesday, March 29, 2011


When I heard the news I knew I needed to take action. To create something just for him.

I learned a long-time, trusted blogging friend lost some friends in a tragic car accident late last summer. That explained his "silence" and why I hadn't heard from him for several months afterwards.

He tends to shut down and close himself off from others during times of great loss. And being a fellow artist that is detrimental when creating art.

So I wanted to send him some Mail Art as a gentle reminder to be part of the world again.

Here is what I mailed out to him (it's reflecting the cloudy sky!).....

Specialty papers on backing board - 4" x 6 3/4" (NFS)

An aspen leaf was traced onto backing board (used for storing comic books) which was carefully cut out revealing the intricate shape.

I love those stamps grouped together like that!

The address side was lined with patterned origami paper and once again trimmed down to size.

Metallic silver paper was then glued to the other side.....

See me taking the picture?

Using colored permanent markers, I wrote down all the words I wanted to say to him:

Create. Paint. Hope. Dream. Believe. Fly. Survive. Live. Laugh. Feel!! Love.

The thing I LOVE about the metallic paper is that it's highly reflective....almost like a mirror! So when he reads the words he's essentially reading them to his own reflection.

And if you turn the leaf upside down it becomes an impromptu heart.

I'm happy to report that I not only hear from this blogger regularly now but that he's creating art again too. In his own words, he's back to the land of the living and has been "reawakened".

Thursday, March 24, 2011

For all those who are struggling.....

It took me almost an hour to walk there and I couldn't believe I'd come all that way for nothing.

At first I thought the church was closed. It turns out the large, venerable doors were just stuck and I needed to try them really hard (there's a metaphor for life in that, I think).

Having several hours to kill in between jobs yesterday, I decided to head up north to St. Michael's Church in Old Town.

A statue of St. Michael overlooking the entrance.

Going to the actual church helps strengthen my prayer's focus and intention. When I feel unsure and weak and lost just being there can ground me.

Once inside, I sat near the 12th Station of the Cross....when Jesus dies.

I knelt and prayed and gently cried.

Near the back of the church was a prayer basket. If you fill out a card asking others to pray for your request, you're supposed to take someone else's and include theirs in your own prayers.

The prayer card I picked from the basket read:. "For my dad that he may rest in peace. For my mom that she may regain her faith and happiness."

I prayed for that and many other things.....

To let me love myself because I hate so much about me.

For direction, drive, and determination. For answers. For purpose.

For better opportunities to come my way and that I not lose sight of my dreams. To be courageous, open, and loving. To be GREAT!

And when I ran out of kleenex I knew it was time to go.

But before I left I filled out a prayer card of my own. On it I wrote, "For all those who are struggling."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Doing it wrong.

While shelving merchandise at work this afternoon in the Martha Stewart section (naturally), I met a woman who was examining the many glitters available.

When I commented on the glitters' excellent quality a conversation ensued.

Right there in the middle of the arts-and-crafts store, we gushed over microbead, tinsel, and powered glitters!

Her name was Monica and she told me she creates her own line of niche greeting cards. There was excitement and pride in her voice when she talked about her product.

One of Monica's cards!
Copyright © 2009 epergamino.com. All rights reserved.

And as she was telling me of the fine papers she uses and the upscale stores she sells to, I became a bit envious. It must be nice, no, it must be AMAZING to make a living off of your creativity.

I told her I'm an artist and of my background in commercial art. When I explained I'm working here and at my city job, I received that all-too familiar pregnant pause as if to ask, "What are you doing here then?"

But I clumsily replied something about selling a painting every now and then.

She nodded and said to follow your passion.

As our chat wrapped up I told Monica it was nice meeting her and wished her continued success on her thriving business.

While walking home from work afterwards, I couldn't help but wonder if I'll ever earn a living off of my art or will I always be stuck at these dead-end jobs.

It was wonderful meeting someone who was living the dream, showing it could be done yet it wasn't ME doing it. Clearly she was doing something right and I was doing it wrong.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Label Whore!

I thought I'd save just a couple sheets worth but it's gotten out of hand.

Several months ago I mentioned how wasteful the arts-and-crafts-store I work at is, throwing away TONS of recyclable material and company product, including unused labels to price merchandise.

Not wanting to be wasteful myself, unimportant/outdated paperwork was brought home and used as scrap paper. And each day, any partially used label sheets (which were to be thrown out) were taken home as well.

But every day that followed required me to print out more labels, inevitably leaving me with more unused portions of label sheets, so I took those home too....week after week, month after month.

Well let me tell you those labels add up QUICK!

I now have close to 100 full and half-sheets of blank labels! To be more precise, that's exactly 2,068 individual labels!!

Fuckity-fuck and super shit!

Labels, labels, labels!

Clearly I don't need this many but the OCD in me feels compelled to save them from the trash bin. Because if I got rid of the excess wouldn't I be no better than Corporate who ordered these to be thrown out in the first place?


What am I going to do with all of these?!

Visions of 1,000 labels "mysteriously" stuck to the store manager's car come to mind but something a bit more art-related would be nicer I think.

Any suggestions?

Oh, and if you need some labels just let me know and I'll send you a sheet or two....or a dozen!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Even if for a day.

I know the weeks ahead will get harder for me.

I'll be damned if I do, damned if I don't.

If I get the new, consolidated position at the arts-and-crafts store, it'll mean working more hours/days at a place I already loathe. Yet if I'm not picked and out of a job, my income will be decreased by almost half.

Any hopes of living on my own and not being dependent on family will be dashed.

For that reason, I wanted to get away from EVERYTHING for a little while. While the weather was still nice out (cloudy and cold) I decided to go see a movie. This year's Oscar-nominated (animated) short films to be exact!

I was thoroughly entertained by each film. Wow!

Once the movies were over, I found out the live action, Oscar-nominated short films would be playing a half hour later. So I said what the hell, bought another ticket, and saw those too!

Today's ticket stubs!

My early afternoon outing now extended into the evening!

I laughed a lot and even cried a few times. I'm so glad I finally got to see those short films!

Even though I didn't have anyone to accompany me, it was nice to get out and do something FUN for a change.

I could've easily pulled the covers over my head this morning and stayed home on my day off but was determined not to do so--that's the main thing.

And while walking through the neighborhood where the movie theater was located, I thought how nice it'd be to move here one day. To be closer to the city.

I even looked at fliers posted around town announcing new apartments. I gasped when I saw "glitter floors" but quickly realized with my poor vision that the leaflet read "great hardwood floors".

*disappointed sigh*

Although I'm working both jobs tomorrow and will be working this weekend too, I'm glad I got to enjoy life....even if for a day.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Cutthroat adj. 1. Relentless, merciless, and ruthless in competition.

Shame on them.

They've essentially pitted us against each other.

I wish the arts-and-crafts store handled the transition in a different way.

In my previous blogpost, I mentioned that the well-known crafts store I work at is "restructuring" the entire staff.

Certain key positions will no longer exist while new consolidated ones will take their place.

The way Corporate set it up is that all of us will lose our positions, making us have to apply and vie for the openings we want. We can even go after someone else's old job too. How that fosters a healthy work environment I'll never know.

My position was originally split between two people. That's no longer so and now I must compete against the fellow coworker who shared my job. The same person that would help me on days I'd fall behind.

I apologized in advance for applying for the same position as her. She has kids and needs the job so I feel guilty for potentially taking it from her.

The store manager is going to interview each of us in the coming weeks and decide who goes where. I'll have to prove why I'm the best one for the job. I didn't list any alternatives so if I don't get picked for the new, one-person position I'm assuming I'd be let go.

By mid-April I'll learn my fate!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


The news left me in a stupor. Unsure. Frustrated. Disappointed.

During a mandatory staff meeting this past weekend, we learned there will be significant "changes" at the arts-and-crafts-store I work at.

We were given the spiel about driving sales and increasing store profits but at our expense. Apparently higher paid positions will be eliminated or consolidated....including mine!

And while the store manager phrased it as "restructuring" and there being "new opportunities", a number of us will end up becoming bottom-paying cashiers or out of a job.

Something seems terribly wrong to me when this well-known chain touts expansion and growth yet doesn't look after the employees working for them.

I guess I'll find out in the weeks ahead if I'm still employed there or not and part of the store's new changes.


Two weeks ago Lake Michigan was unmoving and frozen. Its slick surface splintered and creaked, the water underneath demanding to be free from its icy prison.

The lake this afternoon in Chicago.

I went to the lakefront earlier today to clear my head and the water was alive and frothing.

What was thick sheets of ice now was fluid and churning.

My, in such short amount of time how everything changes.....