Sunday, September 20, 2009

Photos from my iPhone.

Yes, I am one of those iPhone walking commercials. I try to contain my enthusiasm for my newest app, but I have to get the photo app love out of my system.

My recent favorite apps: TiltShiftGen (mushroom and cat shoe fetish), CameraBag (Rag-rolled elf pic, Ella May in a bag) ToyCamera (Freakish Eyeball close-up, Piper - Chubby models rule and Ella May modeling Twiggy Style)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Insurance Rock?

Most of you know that I have a day job working as a Leadership Development Advisor and Coach for an Insurance Company. I work in a large, four story building with a beautiful, sky-lit atrium with escalators and a player piano.

It is a job the requires me to be creatively contained. However, I have a secret desire to burst out into song or obscenities while drifting down the escalator.

I would like to proclaim a musical day where everyone breaks out into song.

I'm not sure why this TV series didn't stay on a bit longer. What an inspiration.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I have been without a car going on 5 months. It has been a life-changing experience for the better. I consume less, I exercise more and I have been making deeper connections with people in my neighborhood. I have become chummy with Danny and Sandy at the fruit stand. Today I found out Sandy is a Virgo and Danny is a Libra. In case you are wondering, I am a Gemini sun sign and a Taurus moon sign. I know, fascinating!

I have been through the ups and downs with Amy and Hector who own the movie/comic book store (Digital Extreme) as they had to up-root and move across the street. They have been broken into four times and the landlord refuses to put lights in the parking lot. So, they had enough and moved out. The movie business is hard, but their comic business is picking up.

I had my first chat with the Dominos pizza Manager when I picked up my cinna-stix. He told me about his move from Oakland to Bakersfield and the difference in crimes at his store. He attended one year at Berkely and then moved back home to take care of his Mother. Once he had an 8 year old girl try to run off without paying for her pizza order. He shouted after her, "I have your number and address!" She immediately turned around and payed for her order.

I stopped to ask Teresa a question when she was out watering her lawn on Verde St. I was looking at a house on the corner of her street that had been empty for a while. I said, "Can you tell me about the house on the corner? Is it haunted?" Without missing a step, she said "No, it isn't haunted. I've been in there." She told me she was a former occult member that is now a Christian. I guess you can tell if a house is haunted by bad spirits if you look in the corners of each room. If you see darkness in the corners, it isn't a good sign. She is also a massage therapist out of her home. I left a message for her last night to schedule an appointment.

Here is an article that just came out today about me organizing a Bike-to-work challenge with my co-workers. Click here.

I'm going to try and go for a year without a car. Shoot, if I can do a year...why not permanently? Hmmm. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No Stage Required.

Do you remember when you use to play pretend? I grew up in the country of central Illinois and my favorite game was creating a world with many characters and complex adventures with little or no props. I don't want to stop playing.

Viola Spolin, the Mother of Improvisation, used improve to "Shut off the mind. When the rational mind is shut off, we have the possibility of intuition." She wrote in her book Improvisation for Theater, "Intuition is often thought to be an endowment or a mystical force enjoyed by the gifted alone. Yet all of us have known moments when the right answer 'just came'...Sometimes at such moments the "average" person has been known to transcend the limitation of the familiar, courageously enter the area of the unknown, and release momentary genius within."

Give yourself permission to fully engage in the ten suggested improv tasks. Allow your intuitive genius to play and have fun!

Improv task 1
- Playing the other you: Buy a magazine you wouldn't buy and then excitedly talk about the topic as if you live/breathe it w/ the cashier.

Improv Task 2 - Pushing your comfort zone: Have a conversation with an intimidating stranger.

Improv Task 3 - Playing with family: Ask your child for an animal & create a bedtime story. Be specific: name the animal, describe location

Improv task 4 - Listening/presence: Use the last letter of a partner's sentence as the 1st letter of the word starting your sentence. Enjoy!

Improv 5 - Creating Character: Pick a person you know. Without words, walk around as that person for 1 hr. What is their mannerism? What are they wearing?

Improv task 6 - Playing with Who/What/Where: Open any book and randomly select a word. Use that word to create a monologue.

Improv task 7: Space work - Practice your morning routine exactly. Think amazing mime work. Use specific movements and placement of objects.

Improv Task 8: Space Work

Improv Task 9: Product Placement

Improv Task 10: Two Characters and One Actor - Practicing your Who/What/Where.

What did you discover during your improv tasks? What task did you struggle completing? What task was the most fun?

I would love to hear what you and your intuitive genius explored.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Me sending Me Sweet Somethings on Me Day.

I announced a lovely surprise on Facebook the other day. My friends kept it to themselves and, well...Wow. I surprised myself with a little something special delivered to my work. Oh the look on my face when these beauties arrived:

The reaction from my friends:
Matt Ray
Somebody new???
July 9 at 11:54am

Matt Harmston
Wasn't me...wish I'd have thought of it, though :-)
July 9 at 11:55am

Julia Heatherwick
Julia, Just letting you know how much you mean to me! Have a beautiful day! xoxo, Julia
July 9 at 11:56am

Matt Harmston
Russell Stover chocolates...nice touch. You're such a romantic...
July 9 at 11:57am

Julia Heatherwick
Oh my gosh, you are so sweet Julia! The feeling is mutual! No Matt...not someone new,but someone pretty darn thoughtful. I am so lucky!
July 9 at 11:58am

John Passadino
You are lucky to have you! :)
July 9 at 12:00pm

Missy Wiggins
That is awesome!
July 9 at 12:00pm

Heidi Browne
I love this!
July 9 at 12:05pm

John Passadino <--------Creator of ME Day!<-----Credit for Blog title!
one more.. think of the marketing angle .. "ME" day.. why not? Mothers day, Fathers day.. what about a me day? for FTD and others.. "send yourself flowers today!" copyright that quick!
July 9 at 12:08pm

Alicia Seibert Pollnow
Me day is brilliant!! I bet your surprise is just what you asked for!!!
July 9 at 12:33pm

Bob Kempf
How did you know what to get you?
July 9 at 12:54pm

Kathy Kerwin Riddle
Oh, so clever. Howard is surely proud of you!
July 9 at 1:05pm

Laura Barbera goodness I miss you!
July 9 at 1:09pm

Bill Kelly
Isn't it amazing how someone so close to you can surprise you in such an unexpected yet thoughtful way.
July 9 at 1:57pm

Corena Bahr
Love it.
July 9 at 1:57pm

Julia Heatherwick
How right you are Bill! And Bob...I just listen to me and really, only I know what I need and do I deliver! Thank you all for sharing in our day.
July 9 at 6:51pm · Delete

Julia Carlisle Arnold
That's great.
July 9 at 7:22pm

Ted Diamond
She's a keeper, Julia. Don't let her get away.
July 9 at 7:47pm

"I admire your beauty, brains and badinage. Thinking of you. You know Who."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I felt embarrassed as I walked up with my three new art pieces for the juried art exhibition. My excitement of making something new and out of my comfort zone quickly vanished into a strange self-consciousness I haven't felt with my art recently.

It is a great local show with great cash prizes. The theme of the show was "Roots." The prospectus wanted the artist to stretch the meaning of roots to family origin, history, root cause...I chose the simple and direct earth-focused approach. I was excited about the theme and felt inspired.

I had been dreaming of going 3-D with encaustic, but struggling with the right material for the wax to adhere to and then it came to me three days before the event. I was playing again. I wasn't going back to a familiar formula.

I made the mistake of showing people the first piece unfinished and by cell phone photograph. What was I thinking? I was excited but too fragile to take their pregnant pause following such statements as "Does this dress highlight my pot-belly?" *Pause, nice smile...searching for the right words* Ugh, it does! I hate this dress. I hate my hair. I'm ugly. I will never get married.

Prior to entering any show I always research the juror. If they are an artist, I check out their work. If they are a curator I check out the shows they have curated and the show themes of their museum or art center. It is usually an easy way for me to decide if my $35 entry fee is an investment or donation. I wasn't sure about this juror. His artwork was not in the family of mine, but I stretched on these pieces and it would be a shame to shelf them.

All three pieces were accepted. Whew.

Earth's Armature - Encaustic, 8" x 8"

The opening came and a good friend said he would be my date. So, we went, mingled and then it happened. I received puzzled looks and awkward, "This work seems like a drastic departure from your usual work." I was mortified and embarrassed. Apologetically I said I was trying something new. I kept thinking I should have kept to the formula. The formula sells and that is what people like.

An old friend came up to me and said something in the same vein, but was excited. He said, "This must have been so freeing for you. You were able to take artistic risks because you have won this show and don't have to prove anything." That was definitely one way to look at it and I'm thankful he made me look in that direction.

The awards ceremony came and my name wasn't called. I am happy to report that my ego survived, did not throw an internal tantrum and stood aside to appreciate the artistic talent recognized for the evening.

What I learned:
Take artistic risks. If you find yourself looking at your old work or work that sells as inspiration for your next piece you are heading toward formula art. I'm a fan of recognizing the hand of an artist and not a fan of recognizing the same visual tricks of an artist.

I still struggle with the difference (is there one?) of decorative art and fine art. Am I painting to match wallpaper or painting for the intellect. I'm pretty sure I have done both.

Chances are that if you make a leap in your artwork you are making a leap somewhere else in your life. I have made some drastic changes in my personal life. It only makes sense that it shows up in my work too.

What do you do to stretch artistically? How do you know that you have actually stretched? What do you see, hear or feel that lets you know you have pushed yourself?

My improvisational theatre teacher says, "Go in the direction you are facing." On the stage, a scene isn't interesting when it becomes transactional or the characters don't change. Artwork needs to make shifts, change and move to keep your audience watching and most importantly keep you interested.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The wheels go round and round.

I'm going on 6 weeks without a car. I've been biking my butt off. It should be coming off soon. I blew out my back tire when I piled on two sacks of groceries and my ass. I'm just guessing that is what happened, but secretly hoping it was a nail.

Yesterday, I road home from work in the rain. I put on this giant blue tarp of a poncho and belted it with a bungee cord. I felt like a wind sail pedaling hard against the wind and any minute I would be airborne. I passed a long line of cars with drivers looking grumpy and grim. Grinning like a goof, I was hoping I would get at least a thumbs up or a encouraging honk. It IS bike month! Nope, nothing. I only passed two people on the usually very busy bike path. I rang my bike bell and waved enthusiastically. I received the "What the hell are we doing on our bikes?" grin. I told everyone I road in the rain and received little to no sympathy. Yes, I do believe I deserve a medal.

Biking to work tips:
1. Roll your work clothes to keep them from being a wadded, wrinkled mess when you get to work.
2. Take sunscreen and apply liberally 30 minutes prior or you will end up with a crooked V-shaped sunburn on your chest.
3. Go to the bathroom before you leave because it is usually a long way home.
4. Learn to change a bike tire.
5. Take rain gear, but don't count on it keeping you dry.
6. Know the bus schedules just in case you are just plain tired of pedaling.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just some harmless butt wagging.

Last Saturday I was driving down I-5 to Los Angeles for my Improvisation class at the Second City training center. I was happily bopping along in my car rental (due to a recent car crash) and thoroughly enjoying the Sirius radio station by singing along to Erasure, Depeche Mode and the Indigo Girls. I was breaking the chains of love and getting closer to fine in my very hip mini-van.

Oblivious only for a moment, I catch a glimpse of flesh in the corner of my eye. A group of boys were driving beside me with their butts hanging out of each window and enthusiastically spanking them for my benefit. I chuckled but instantly turned my face to stone and did a very motherly, "I'm so disappointed in you" head shake. That was my response? Didn't I have a cooler response readily available? Should I have rated the butts with a thumbs up or thumbs down? Should I have acted like I was phoning 911 to report nude butt wagging on I-5? Nope, all I had was a stinkin' head shake.

But actually, I don't just have a head shake in me...I have much, much more...yes, I have an art sale going on too!

So, pull those pants up and get on over to my online store!

I am selling the Ohio Grouping work as single pieces. If you are insterested in the whole group let me know.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Bean Pimp

At the early age of twelve I was a working girl. Instead of working the streets, I worked the soybean fields. With a pair of tweezers, a Dixie cup and two carpet squares I went to work for just over $3.00 per hour.

For seven summers I clocked in early each day at Funk’s Seed Hybrid Company. In the morning we walked soybeans and in the afternoon we pollinated soybeans. For those city folk, walking beans meant we weeded acres of soybean fields with a sharpened hoe.

In the afternoon we pollinated soybeans. The purpose of hand pollination was to control the soybean plant crosses and create a soybean hybrid with strength and resistance to disease.

The romancing of the soybeans started with a quick session of speed dating. The crew boss created a list of male soybean rows and a list female soybean rows that required a relationship and romance coach. With tweezers in hand, I trotted off to the male row, also known as the pollen parent, and picked a Dixie cup full of small purple or white soybean flowers. This was a quick and aggressive process and a gentle hand was not required.

The true finesse began with the female row, also known as the seed parent or the mother plant. I placed my carpet squares down in the dirt and lowered into a sitting position, straddling the chosen female soybean plant. I examined the plant nodes for a ripe and bulbous bud. My voice lowered and my touch became gentle because the ladies were just that, ladies. With my tweezers I peeled back the sepals, the outer layer of the bud, to reveal the inner folds of the flower. My tweezers grasped the soft base and wiggled it free to expose the fragile sweetness of the awaiting pistil. From my Dixie cup, I selected a flower and stripped away the petals presenting a stamen heavy with pollen. With a steady hand, I gently, so very gently dabbed the tip of the stamen on the tip of the female’s stigma. With a quiver, the pollen would release and cover the female’s womanhood with its sticky residue. I cooed, “take it baby, take it!” hoping my words would encourage fertilization. A week later, I checked all my pollinations to see if my manual mating was a success. My goal was to create the highest number of successful unions each summer. During harvest time, we hand collected the soybean offspring and planted them the following year for scientific testing.

I’m not embarrassed of my seedy past. For seven summers I sat in the dirt straddling soybeans. I blossomed from a child to a young woman. I learned about life. I created life. Some folks called us bean pimps. Maybe we were, but I felt more like a matchmaker and a cultivator of connections. I was a soybean artist.