Sunday, February 21, 2010

Metal Mama

Last night I stood in the middle of a dance floor amongst faddish 20 somethings. They bobbed their fashionable heads to the growlings of the music. The guys in the heavy metal band screamed, pounded their instruments and threw their heads back and forth. I watched in horrified fascination. Then it happened.....they dedicated a song to me. Right in the center of the dangerous sounding cadence of their angst, the notes changed and a heart-rending, tear jerking poem-song was emitted from my son's guitar. I have never felt so honored.

His whole life with me seemed to have led to that moment-- the years in which we were too poor to afford to get him guitar lessons, and his determination to learn to play despit this. He was asked not to listen to heavy rock because of the stance of my church, but he somehow learned and absorbed it anyway-as if he was born to play overly-emotional music the way I was born to teach and draw. Even though his sound is usually one that does not appeal to me, last night I grew to understand his passion better and his inability to escape his talent any more than I can, or would want to.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Old is the new black

I just found the cutest shop in Salt Lake City! It is call Solo on Eleventh and has all kinds of eclectic, fun merchandise. Laurie, one of the owners, is upbeat, creative, and friendly, and made it so easy for me to take in some of my stuff to ask her to sell for me. She made me feel wonderful as she took EVERY sample I brought. If you want to buy any of my pendants, necklaces, bags or refurbished wood items....drop by 1597 S. 1100E.
I love that they accept old items that are perfectly good but would otherwise sit in a corner gathering dust or eventually be throw out. Too many things go to the dumps that have great life in them still.
I am trying to reuse, keep in use, or refurbish items rather than buy new. I have never been one for expensive items or brand names, but have loved the feeling of buying new items. No more! Have you ever seen how many perfectly fine purses, coats, books, etc. wind up in thrift stores? Why should I ever HAVE to buy new when I can buy nice items that have had hardly any use for CHEAP. Also, many items in the thrift stores can be upgraded to look even better than before. I love to clean up a purse and then paint designs on it. An old mirror can be spiced up by modpodging favorite pictures around the glass. Almost any old surface has become a canvas for me; the Virgin Mary, Freida Kahlo, Mexican art and vintage girls are some of my favorite subjects. I have also taken some vintage jewelry I found at an estate sale and have added them to the dicarded parts of the silverware I love to recycle. Keep following this blog and my etsy store at to see some of these items.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

School Marm Reality Show

Wow, have I had a busy week! I have gotten a small job teaching Spanish speaking restaurant workers how to speak English. I have begun volunteering one night a week for an after-school homework program, and I have begun selling my wares in a local gift shop. The owners took everything that I brought to them-and I took a lot of things thinking they would pick and choose what they liked. I also spoke at a local high school for a career class.

I've been having fun and it's a nice change from watching Judge Judy almost daily. Imagine if a teacher spoke to her students the was Judge Judy talks to both the plaintiffs and defendants who come before her. Instead of soothing Johnny when he gives a wrong answer, the teacher could yell, "You're an idiot! I don't care how you came to that conclusion. My little finger has more smarts than you have in your whole body. I'll bet your mom is ashamed of you, and you had better not bring any children into this world, Mister!" I kinda' wanted to talk to my junior high school students that way last year...maybe I could get my own tv show, too--"Teacher Jo Tells It Like It Is."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dad's Birthday

My dad's birthday was yesterday. I can't believe he's been gone for six years. Here are 2 poems I wrote about this extraordinary man.

Leather and Old Spice

Leather and Old Spice

Saved my life

Wrapping wiry arms

Around a drowning girl

With not enough sense

To put her own feet down

From cold blue water

To his warm crucifix chest

Tall dark and handsome

Italian charmer smoking

Pall Mall Cigarettes.

Safe, safe in my daddy's

Love mended with Snoopy painted

In scarlet

Merthiolate, Bazooka

Bubble gum'n

Three Little Kitten songs

Made up in the car.

White lies, stolen pennies

Bloody knees and shattered

Hearts caught and kept

In leather and Old Spice hands

Faith in faithfulness

Changing cankered worst to golden best.

Geese Girls

A gaggle of girls

Turned into geese

Gossip and laugh

Behind stained glass

Changing each bright color

To gray as they pass.

The rainbow

Reflection upon the dead

Takes the shape of a slate

Birds as his soul

Joins theirs rising fast.

To skeleton and skin

Raging cancer said, "Pass."

Thin bones left hollow

Took flight. The olive mast

Caught air becoming

Sweet meadowlark song.

God's voice and avian

Sirens cry. "Welcome.

Farewell to sienna earth;

Ride our draft past the last

Ashy-ness of life

Into a royal prism vast

Full of jewelled windows that can't

Be overshadowed with black.

By Jo Lucero

Talk with your mouth closed!

I haven't had time to craft, blog, do housework, exercise lately because I've been babysitting my poor, very swollen daughter who had oral surgery. Her mouth swelled almost shut and the family got really talented at understanding her muffled pleas for food, water, know, the essentials of life.

Early on I realized she had a real talent for ventriloquism. It"s easy to say things like "I like to ski" with your teeth clenched and a smile on your face, but try saying "I'm in the mood for a bean burrito." It becomes "I'n in da nude tor a dean dorrito." "I want to watch a movie" becomes "I nant to nach a nudie." What??????

This becomes a fun parlor game. Try it! Just replace m with n, b with d, f with t, p with t, w with v, etc.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Medicated people are funny!

Today I babysat my grown daughter who had to have extensive oral surgery as the result of 4 impacted wisdom teeth, 2 of which were sitting on nerves. The procedure was quick, but the daughter I saw after the surgery didn't resemble the one that went into surgery. She looked like she had been through the war and then was given happy pills to forget it all. I got a glimpse of my daughter as a "special person." Her hair was a mess, eyes glassy, and she was smiling crazily with just her upper teeth. She also kept dropping the "F" bomb. The words were almost unitelligible, and the little nurse kept leaning forward to hear her. She scampered away when my daughter asked for a pen and wrote the bad word down for her!

Revenge is sweet, they say. My kids have always made fun of me for the crazy things I have said and done after the couple of surgeries I've had. Now I have ammo against at least one of them! Next time this one tells about the time I thought my heart monitor's beeps were signals that "The baked potatoes are ready!", I'll spill the beans about how she thought everyone was looking at her on the way home from the surgeon's office because she thought she looked like our toothless dog, Lola.

I wish I was mean enough to post one of the cell phone photos she kept taking of herself and sending off to her friends, but I'll keep them for myself. I couldn't bear to have her pictured on the web with a cartoon style bandage from under her chin to the top of her head...and a special smile using just her upper teeth. Poor little baby!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It is interesting to me that before you begin a new endeavor you never hear about (or pay attention to) all the elements that are involved. I am mostly learning about blogging from navigating to interesting blogs that I have been referred to by friends or through crafting/journaling/blogging magazines (notice how many "ings" I used in the last 2 sentences!). A great magazine to help on the way to great blogging is Artful Blogging. The magazine features successful bloggers, tips, and great photos and artwork. The magazine itself is a work of art.
Bloggers are so willing to share their craft ideas as well as details about their lives. They are open books, kinda' like I am. I have nothing to hide although my thought process is a little darker than most. THANK YOU, EDGAR ALLAN POE!
On a former student and friend's blog I found "The Cutest Blog on the". What fun! The free backgrounds are very easy to download in place of the slightly boring ones provided by Blogspot. One thing that wasn't in the instructions that made the process much easier was to first change your existing template to the Minima template. After that the instructions were easy and the results were nice and more colorful. Like I like it!