Friday, May 25, 2012

candy is in the house!

The package arrived this afternoon, solo, without all the distraction of accompanying junkmail and assorted circulars. The characters inside are so funny!  I love that opera singer.  Her expression kills me.  It reminds me of a face N sometimes makes when he's trying to imitate someone being snotty.  And the woman with the purple ear hat.  Haven't we seen her somewhere before, like at a warehouse party from the 80s?  The older gentleman is there to balance things out, not just genderally, but also in terms of gravity.  He seems to be a more serious kind of guy, what with the full beard and all.  Too funny!

And then, turn them over and they're representatives of objects from the cupboard, everyday items we can't live without...take that tea for instance.  That is my absolute favorite.  The one with the lion: celestial seasonings madagascar vanilla.  That stuff is so hard to find anymore.  I had to order an entire case from the co-op to get my last fix.

Well, I am now on notice!  I have some ideas but the one I really want to work on involves a small piece of astroturf and that is hard to come by these days.  So, I'll have to dream up something else in the meantime...stay tuned!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tales From My Mail Lady

I've mostly been putting my mail to you in our mailbox, knowing that our nice mail lady (her name slips my mind right now—I'm really bad with names) will most likely take anything I put in there as long as the postage looks adequate. I haven't had a chance to talk to her since we started doing this project, but today I was home with Jackson (migraine and his cough came back—poor guy) and caught her on her rounds. She didn't have any mail for us so I asked her if she'd take my uh, thing, for you. She said, "Is this as strange as the one I brought yesterday? (dinosaur diorama). Then she said she loved our mail lately and it was making her day.

I asked her if she happened to have delivered the glove and she started laughing and said, "I did, and you know what's funny? We wear those gloves when we deliver the mail. I have some in my truck right now. And someone back at the post saw it and thought someone had dropped their glove in the mail to be delivered."  Ha ha ha!

Then she said everyone was talking about our mail and how fun it was. She wanted to know what we were sending to each other inside the packages, so I told her paintings and cartoon things--art. She smiled and said, "Well, it just makes my day. You don't know what we go through..." (she gestured toward the neighborhood and her truck). I said, I know. And she said, "We don't get much" (she gestured toward the garbage truck that showed up on our street right then), "You know...garbage trucks...that sort of thing..." Then I told her my kid loved garbage trucks. In fact, he was on the sidewalk right then, making a video of that very garbage truck. She laughed.

When life gives you garbage trucks, make videos. I guess.

Anyway, the P.O. is very impressed with you and so am I. Maybe I'll make a portrait for her. She a true mail-art enthusiast!


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! You know what I like.

I try not to use current slang so much because I'm a snob who wants to remain timeless, but this is amaze-balls. Thank you.

More coming atcha' (I hope, by grace of the postal service of America).


You know, I didn't see that you and J showed up in that first image as little tiny figures.  Not until I compared the two did I see you waving from the terrace, just very small.  I love how the table looks so much like water, too.  That table is very versatile for photographing.  The lighting is amazing and there are many illusions, moods it captures. 

I ran (if you could call it running) and walked last night for about 15 minutes.  It's not the best arrangement but the air was cool and no one was out except us and it was just very relaxing and I felt like I got all that extra nervous energy out after an intense day at work.  I do try to stretch every day and do some "core" work, too, but I'm not consistent.  You're so right about life after 40.  Something clicked over, you could almost feel it happening, and suddenly everything started to settle in ways that just feel somewhat permanent and uncomfortable.  Like places that you never even noticed are now announcing their utmost importance and with urgency.  Where were they when I had the energy to pay attention to them?! 

I am officially procrastinating.  I prepared surfaces and built little supports and now must get up and start working.  Must get up.  Must work.  :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

There's that bridge again

I'm going to write more to you. At this time I'm heading out the door to visit my brother, who's surprise-visiting us from Texas. He's like a special-guest star of our households. And special guest star, STEVE McELROY.

Yesterday he explained to us in five sentences how a plane gets off the ground and stays in the air. Then he demonstrated by blowing on a folded piece of paper, causing the folded section to rise up in the air. All I can say is I'm glad I stuck to art. Thank God for the analytical-thinking types of the world. Otherwise we'd still be traveling in covered wagons.

Here's the postcard, without mailing devices in glorious digital-pixel color.

I could Photoshop stuff all day. The model is 2 1/2 feet long and ingeniously fits together with folded tabs—no glue. I just like pretending I'm somewhere else for a while.

I'm glad you found a helpful postal employee. I'll look for the new entry. I'm very happy to do this project with you. I agree—lots of ideas coming all the time. More incentive to make something every day. Now I need to apply that work ethic to drumming so I can rise in the ranks of garage drummers. By actually practicing in my garage once in a while. I mean, every day.

I'll write more about exercise. I've found past age 40 that if I don't do some form of exercise EVERY DAY I feel pretty much like garbage. It sucks. But I try to discover new fun ways to do it so it's not a "job." There are ways you can shoehorn it into your day but I know what you mean about finding time. When you're working and you have a family—the day suddenly ends and you're left wondering: now where did that go?

Just listened to WTF with Paula Poundstone. She was a regular at The Other Cafe and she talked quite a bit about what a nice scene 80s San Francisco comedy was. She mentioned many people who ate at the Ironwood and then walked across the street to perform. It was a good interview. She's really bright and has 16 cats. She usually wears a tie and a vest. An unusual comedy icon who doesn't get a lot of credit.

I'm not proofing this letter so apologies if my grammar is poorly. I have something to mail to you, which I'll do this week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

speaking of surreal

Your last post ended up being very surreal.  I watched it in bed, half asleep and then I woke up thinking I had dreamed fact couldn't remember where I had seen that performance or if I had made the whole thing up.

Speaking of sleep,  I don't know about you but the last few nights for me have not included much of it.  I've tried the combinations you listed below.  It would be helpful if I could take melatonin, but it has the reverse effect on me of what it is supposed to do.  I've also tried that Calms Forte, which also does the opposite of what it's supposed to do.  This is all very frustrating.  I should probably exercise more, but don't have nearly enough time for doing anything, let alone joining and actually physically getting myself to a gym, and then utilizing the facilities.  Which always brings me to the question of: when does anyone have time to do anything, especially the fun stuff like reading or watching tv?  This is one of the great mysteries of life, or at least my life.

And travel, oh, don't get me started.  I would love to travel more.  I would love to see England and all those places associated with it.  So, it was fun to see your replica of the bridge:

Speaking of surreal, you and J are very convincingly impersonating tourists on that structure.  How big is it really and does it fit in your back yard?  Is it really on water?  It's funny to see the statue of Liberty juxtaposed in the corner, kind of lending her air of authority as if to say, head on over across the pond to my place, land of the free, home of the brave.  Or maybe she's masquerading as the sun.  In all, surreality reigns supreme.

I'm sitting here in our back room, typing away and a thud just hit the window.  A minute or so later, I looked up and saw a little bird fly right into the same spot...what a couple of bird brains.  I put one of N's old toy stuffed owls on the bookshelf facing out.  I hope that does it...anyways,  I wanted to say thanks again for doing this project.  It's been a great creative outlet for me.  Just when I think I'm out of ideas, a new one pops into my head, much like those crazy birds against the window.  The good thing about these thuds means I just sent you another installment yesterday.  I hope it makes you laugh and I hope it makes it through the mail.  I dropped it off at different PO and the nice guy there assured me you should get it intact by, look out for a little tangible thud without wings.  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

We need to laugh

LOL Glove

This cracked me up. It looked funny in the mailbox, funny in my living room, and funny when Jackson tried it on after I opened it. Brah-vo! I bow to you, Mail Art Goddess.

I'm thinking of ways to display my lovely mail arts. Shelves, banners, sleeves—depends on the wall space I suppose. Hanging from the ceiling may be the way to go around here—cool mobile idea.

I'm teaching exquisite corpse making to 34 fourth-graders this morning. Eep. I'm going to try and shovel in a colored-pencil technique lesson in there as well. WILL THEY LISTEN? Only time will tell.

I'm sending you something today. A little something.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Thank you for all the lovely paper samples. I will be painting on them shortly. Emoticon says: :)

I put on my super-powerful magnifying glasses and read your enclosed note. I listen to This American Life too on occasion. Sometimes it's funny and informative and sometimes it makes me very sad and almost hopeless. It tends to be a really good show overall. I can't listen to Ira Glass' voice without thinking of a Lynda Barry comic about an awful boyfriend she had in college (supposedly him—she won't say publicly). I hope he's become nicer since when that comic was published.

I'm listening to the American Life Scene of the Crime podcast right now. It's great. Funny monologue about a car crash and Josh Whedon sings his DVD commentary to "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and Dan Savage speaks on being a lapsed Catholic and agnostic and the passing of his mother. Everything great about podcasting is in this episode, I'd say. Plus it's a live broadcast.

I'm going to work on a photo project but first I must get up and move to the kitchen to clean our dinner mess from last night. It's a pot & pan and dish explosion in there. For a family that doesn't pig out too often, we sure make a lot of dirty dishes. Imagine if we cooked meat all the time like my Grandma did. She always had a cast-iron skillet on the stove full of meat and/or refried beans. That stuff is hard to clean, although she had her method: boiling water in the pan afterward, wipe clean. I'm always afraid I'll rust up everything, but she swore by this method and it seemed to work well. Plus I guess the boiling water would kill some germs and such. She was a water saver too. Wouldn't rinse with running water from the tap. Had to use a dish pan full of clean water for a dunk and rinse. She had lived many years in a house with no plumbing or indoor bathroom, so she knew her stuff.

I'm sorry about the ongoing insomnia. This is really funny but I often check in with Dlisted at the end of the night too. Especially after reading some harrowing news article. I just can't go to bed with some real-life horror story stuck in my head. So Dlisted it is. It has just the right amount of sardonic writing combined with the absurdity of our celebrity-based culture to put me in a mellow yet bemused state. Then I go to bed and read for a few minutes before lapsing (hopefully) into unconsciousness. I also take Benedryl (a generic variety, bought by the bottle-full), and/or Advil, and/or melatonin. In different combinations and degrees per night. I just can't function anymore with broken sleep. Until Jackson starts going to a school that starts later in the morning, this will be my routine. I have a year to go. Luckily there's summer to help me catch up on sleep. Here are the things that used to help me sleep but no more (as a lament):

1.) No liquid intake after 8 PM.
2.) Exercising hard during the day, or a long walk.
3.) One Advil.
4.) Hope.

The name of the "you can do art" book I'm reading is The Creative License by Danny Gregory. I don't usually like these kinds of books because they're full of platitudes and unrealistic affirmative thinking. But this one has a lot of practical advice for shoving art into your daily life and why that's really good for you and humankind. Plus all the little illustrations throughout. You might check it out for library purchase if you don't already have it. Could be helpful for a lot of people struggling to deal with their inner creative urges.

Thoughts of Marc Maron: perhaps he's doing too much right now. TV show in the works, touring, live podcasting, etc. How can he concentrate? His schedule sounds bonkers. Do you think some of his neurosis stems from all the nicotine lozenges he ingests every day? That can't be very calming. Something not-so-good does happen to comedians who "make it." They lose their edge, frustration, or something. The thing that makes them "every man" or woman. You need that in comedy. I think Steve Martin has managed to hang on to his humorous self throughout his early success, but I think that may be because he's exceptionally intelligent and has many interests: play-writing, art collecting and appreciation, directing, music. He's pretty well rounded. He just published a twitter book with his tweets and funny anonymous replies. He finds the creativity in everything. He's promoting and touring with bluegrass legends right now. People who have one thing—that makes it tough when it's all riding on that one thing. But who knows? It's a mysterious process,

Oh, Donna Summer has left us. Sad. 70s-era critics were always saying she had a limited voice (most critics hated disco). I always thought she had a very distinct, emotive voice. She really felt her songs, no matter how dance-y and repetitive. I can't imagine anyone else singing this song. She's soulful and joyful and sad at the same time.

And this is timeless. The birth of electronic trance.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stuff and Nonsense

Hi Deet -

Thank you for the photos of the mail art I forgot to photograph before sending it off your way.

Junk-mail collage postcard

Flower stationery made of watercolor, gesso, pencils, tea stains

flower envelope

bookmarks, comics

bakc of bookmarks

Marc Maron's morning illustrated tweets—received a "Ha! Nice job." tweet from him

And once again, because it's an election year—the teeny tiny Republicans

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mail Art Round-up

I thought I'd post some photos from your last few DeeSee mailings. Sometimes I send off stuff to people before photographing it and it's an "oh well" moment. Remember before digital photography and we never took photos of all this stuff all the time? I like that we can archive our lives, but it's still kind of weird to do so, for me anyway.

Haven't had a chance to listen to much Marc Maron lately. I did hear the Chelsea Handler interview. That was kind of a weird one. She seems either very guarded or very shallow or perhaps a combination of both. I actually like her delivery on her show. She's one of those people who doesn't really say a lot of funny zingers, but her attitude and flat inflection—I find that very funny. Almost like a character from Absolutely Fabulous or something. She also appears not to care if anyone likes her or not. That's such a rare quality. You find that in narcissists, sociopaths, and some entertainers lately. It's like a "thing" but you don't see it in women performers all that much. So here's to women behaving like male insult comics. There's a niche for us all.

Where was I? Oh yes—mail art! Fabulous!

Front of sardine can painting with enclosed "idea bulbs." Sometimes these fall out when I pick up my pile of mail art and then I laugh.

Back of sardine can.

Lovely circles with circle notes.
Combination artwork
The carpet postcard that reminds me of my carpet.

Back of the carpet is dreamy too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Ta-dah! Completely intact. All tabs, legs and amazement at this little set are working. You are such a clever lady. This was really fun. Jackson and I popped it all out of the mailbox together. It's so cute. I want to place some tiny food on that mail art and have a charming little feast.

An especially trying week. Jackson got sick Monday night and has now missed three days of school. He was doing great for a while but his health tends to fluctuate. No Crohn's symptoms--just a bad cough and sore throat. His Crohn's medication suppresses his immune system, so I guess he's susceptible to viruses. The good news is he's so much healthier on his medication that he does fight things off. It's such a bummer when he misses school though. He needs a schedule and I get nothing done when he's home. I don't know why. I'm in some freeze-frame mode.

So I know what you mean about days without art being made. It's frustrating. I have materials for something but I haven't started yet. Thank you for the advice on watercolor paper. I have some tablets of paper and they're OK. Nothing special. Good enough for fun painting, but not like, you know, amazing artwork is going to ensue, probably. I'm going to sit down and see what these little paints can do. Jackson made a card for his teacher with the paints. He was so intrigued by the little case and all the little parts. He had to use the special brush that came with it. He loves gadgets and intricate thingies.

Your box paintings sound excellent. I love that idea of squashed down found-looking boxes. Y'know we both love the old, beaten down, but interesting looking stuff. Every time I go out to take photos of weird old buildings and signage, they tend to be torn down a month later. I have an eye for the decrepit and soon-to-be-going it seems. You should definitely show at the library and maybe a cafe or some public space. I see really great art in business lobbies sometimes. Our new library has some fun shows too. Lots of wall space in there.

You SHOULD be a professional artist. I could see you doing art every day, no problem. And you're definitely definitely professional caliber. Have you submitted stuff to agents? I think you did a few years ago, yes? There's all these how-to books out now about doing mixed media and the like. They use a lot of art work from various sources as examples of projects and drawing exercises. I've been reading Quarry Books lately. They're nicely put together and have lots of artwork within. Perhaps they have a submission process.

I would love to see your work spread far and wide. This should happen. Know this: your mail art is completely delightful and so creative and fun to receive. Thank you. Pull-tab dinette set--ingenious!

OK--I should go and make some meatballs for Jackson. He loves Trader Joe's turkey meatballs. They're frozen and microwavable. It's amazing that he eats anything at all, so hail meatballs!

I will be sending you something very soon. I will end this with a woot. WOOT!


Hi Lees,
I don't know if you got your furniture yet, but I sent N the same set and the PO here kind of ripped one of the table legs off and shoved in the chair tabs...but that's mail art, I guess.  You hope it survives the journey and when it arrives semi-intact it has its war wounds to show for the hazardous distance it had to travel to get to its ultimate destination.   Or something like that.  Actually, what it really means is that I need to stop going to that horrible PO, the one that covered the sardine tin in a layer of 1 cent stamps.  What does it say about me that I keep going back there?  Is it a sign of insanity?  I hope not.  Nevermind it's basically the only PO in town...I need to find a new drop off spot.  Well, here are the photos of what it's supposed to look like if it got to you somewhat unscathed:

My insomnia has been acting up lately and in the middle of the night I think about the profound things with which I am going to inflict this blog.  Then, I drift off, only to forget all the philosophizing of the night before.

Today I was very bad.  I went to the dog park with a friend this morning.  Then when I'd normally go home and do something creative-ish, I found myself saying yes to breakfast out...then a pit stop at a resale shop that recently moved and my friend and I convinced ourselves that we just wanted to see the new space.  We parked the car in the shade for the dogs (Yes, we now have a little dog.  Leonard.  Don't ask.  He's a recovering menace is all I'll say.)  and went to examine the edifice.  It doesn't take a genius to infer that money was spent, resale stores being dangerous to the wallet and all.  I have to admit it was fun and there is no doubt in my mind I will probably do this again.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I didn't work on the next installment when I had full intention of going home and starting.  I would like to send you a variety pack of watercolor papers so you can see what a difference there is between them.  I'm telling you, it's all in the paper.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!  I especially like a 140 pound hot press.  Sometimes even a heavier weight depending.  It's a very smooth paper and if you get the right brand, the bleeding is minimal, even non-existent.  Get the wrong brand and it's very difficult to control your paint.  You also need a good-ish brush, which is worth the investment.  You can probably get a pretty good one for under $10.

I'm also working on a series of small box paintings that involve various types of human interaction.  I hope to get them done for a show...nothing big...I'm thinking about booking one of the display cases at the library and see how that goes.  The older I get the less interested I am in trying to do gallery stuff.  These boxes won't be polished.  They're more organic, kind of tired looking, kind of scraggly.  I'm interested in having them look stumbled upon...not literally stepped on, rather discovered by accident, like an artifact.  And, further, once found and held, played with to the point that whoever takes the time to touch and explore them will find out things about them that are unexpected.  Hard to explain, but I love the element of surprise.  Pleasant surprise, of course.

I wish I could do art for a living.  Even though I had a great time today, I feel vaguely guilty and a little regretful that I didn't get to work...there's always tomorrow...D

Monday, May 7, 2012

Me Wow

The cats have arrived.  I especially like Michael, who is bearing gifts!  Flooby is all about pure love and self-expression while Delilah is so much more coy, demure.  There's something about Miss Muffy (her quietly amused expression?) that reminds me of John Hughes.  Tuffy is  a bit more mysterious.  Could it be the collar, or his suggestive side-eye?

These remind me of my Wacky Package days.  I miss that bubble gum smell and the aromatic white powdery stuff that wafted off when you unwrapped your latest procurement.  I had no idea Art Spiegelman was behind those things.  Crust Toothpaste!

I just finished listening to the latest WTFs.  I think I heard way too many "awesome"s.  What is happening?  Is success really that bad for you?  The worst part is the way he distinguishes between celebrities/performers/comics and "normal" people, i.e., his audience fan base and the public in general.  I can't decide if success covers one with layers of protective ice, like freezer burn, or if it eats away at someone's authenticity, leaving behind an attractive yet hollow husk?  Maybe he's just getting too nice. Remember when he screamed at those people for getting up to walk to the bathroom when we saw him?  I loved that.  I can't help but notice that type of random flourish is going quickly by the wayside as he gets more and more removed from his audience and closer and closer to bigger celebrities, like Chelsea Handler.  I've never seen her but she totally seems of a type: gross but honest about it.  Oh, well.  It was fun while it lasted.  Good thing he recorded all those early shows so trajectories can be tracked.  You just know many a post-post modern dissertation will be written on this stuff.

Keep an eye out for pieces of furniture headed your way, specifically a dinette set.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Melvin the Mini Machine

Stick with it. It stamps postcards for ready mailing.

Melvin the Mini Machine from HEYHEYHEY on Vimeo.

Incoming mail

I sent you something today and hopefully it won't get rained on because I got to try out the new watercolors. You know how watercolors can get. The colors were really bright, vibrant even. What a dark, cloudy day. I love it. So do the plants.

I'm not surprised you miss Austin. Everyone I know who's lived there/gone to school there always says what a great city it is. Kind of like a town that's a city, I guess. With music and creativity intact. I've been watching the first season of "Friday Night Lights." I never watched because it's about small-town Texas high school football. Does anything in that description sound good to you? Me neither.

Yet it's a very good show. Large ensemble cast. Lots of drama but not over the top. Great actors. Great themes. I hear the second season kind of lost it, so I'm enjoying this one. It's to the credit of the writers/producers that they make you understand almost immediately what football means to the people of this town. It means everything. Yet it's potentially corrupting and grotesque. It's one of those shows that aptly uses high school as a kind of view into an American petri dish.

Well, there I go—talking about TV again. This is sort of a golden age for TV, but not so much for movies.

Today's James Brown's birthday and I'm going to celebrate with a little "Hot Pants."