Monday, October 20, 2014

Hanging with Andy at The Factory...

...well, the annual Halloween party was at the host's business warehouse. But The Factory was the name of artist Andy Warhol's New York City studio.  I'll get into the explanation of our costumes in a minute (though any well-rounded educated individual won't need one...)

Our dear friends the Brights moved back up to the Queen Creek area just before we moved away from there! Bummer. But at the same time, we were able to go to the party with them and crash at their house that night and not worry about driving back home until Sunday morning. 

With the Brights and their Steampunk Duds...I want that hat and goggles!
When the four of us arrived, this is what we came upon wandering the parking lot to find the entrance to the party. It's also not a mystery why this group won the costume contest. It was hilarious. 
Such a sweet family picture...
Some other highlights at The Factory:

Kelly Kawpowski and Zack Morris
Around the Factory
Andy Warhol
In case the context of our costumes isn't completely understood at first glance, Chris was Andy Warhol (1928–1987) and I was a Campbell's Soup can, reflecting one of his well-known works. 

Andy Warhol  was one of the most influential artists in the history of 20th century American pop culture.

Andy Warhol, 'Campbell's Soup Cans,' 1962

When Warhol first exhibited these Campbell’s Soup Cans in 1962, they were displayed together on shelves, like products in a grocery aisle. At each of the canvases had a different flavor of soup. Warhol did not indicate how the canvases should be installed. At the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (otherwise known as the MoMA), they are arranged in rows that reflect the chronological order in which the soups were introduced. I guess the reason Tomato is important is because it was the  first flavor introduced by the company. If I had a choice in the flavor of soup, I'd go with New England Clam Chowder.

Andy's work Campbell’s Soup Cans reproduces an object of mass consumption in the most literal sense. The paintings were silk-screened and repeated in the same basic soup can image on dozens of canvases. He then hand-painted or stenciled the names of the individual soup flavors on his work. 

Warhol said of Campbell's Soup: "I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for 20 years.  I guess the same thing over and over again. Someone said my has has dominated me. I liked that."
Warhol's colorful soup cans. 1965

2012 Target had 50th Anniversary Warhol promotional Campbell's Soup.

And heading to Queen Creek also had its practical purposes. I was able to deliver this large pumpkin to my friend Nikki. She was supposed to be at the party, but she had some weird excuse for not being there that couldn't possibly be as fun as the party. Still, she managed to find me and obtain her pumpkin. She had me do two last year and this year she obtained this large 12-inch one (pumpkin on the left) and had me adorn it  with elements that reflected her family. The 9-inch one next to it is one that'll be on sale at a local Wickenburg ice cream shop. I already sold one of my 6-inch pumpkins there.

And then there was piece that adds to the promotional project my customer from Toronto has entrusted her faith in me to complete. It's been a lot of fun and I still have one more piece to go! This is a snapshot of the previous one when it wasn't quite finished. It was about 95% along in this shot.
On that note.. back to the fun! School is back in session and projects are waiting. I wish Chris's crazy schedule would go back to normal. Sure, he was able to go to the party but I picked him up from work on Saturday to head there. Then Sunday morning heading back, I dropped him back off at work. Boooo! 

Normalcy will return. But patience is not my strong point.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Struggles in Serenity and Dam Drives

With Chris's crazy semi-annual work schedule and then 66% of our kids on Fall Break, it's been quite a week. At least there was still allotment for "me time" in the form of some retail therapy in Scottsdale on Wednesday and then ushering at the Phoenix Temple Open House on Thursday. 
Looking Dorky and Sleep Deprived!

Chris did take the day off for the temple ushering. I just wish it wasn't such a struggle for me. Not his day off, but the temple assignment itself.

I signed up for the specific ushering in the temple ushering because I wanted to be in the serene and peaceful surroundings there. But the first issue was severe sleep deprivation. It was very much as bad as the kind I referenced in the Vegas post. However, if I did fall asleep on a couch in the temple, I doubt anyone would have assumed I was drunk. Still, if I did that, it would have created a different problem. No one is supposed to sit (or lay) on any of the temple furniture. 

No, I did not sack out on any of the sofas at the temple. 

However, a couple of ladies and I did get in trouble (so to speak) for sitting on the bride and groom's sofa in one of the sealing rooms. I guess we figured we'd likely never sit there, so we wanted to sit there while we had the chance. We forgot about the "furniture rule" until we were politely rebuked.
Queen's Guards at Buckingham Palace

Two, when the open house tours did begin on Thursday, I was surprised just how hard it is to stand quietly for three hours (which is the length of the shift).

I now have a lot of added respect for the guards at Buckingham Palace in London who have to stand at attention for who knows how long. I now believe their job is just as difficult as performing meticulous brain surgery.

Even after our ushering shift ended, all I could think about was obtaining a nap even though Chris and I were having a rare weekday lunch date (especially with his schedule being so crazy). At one point during lunch, Chris asked, "are you okay? You're just sitting there staring while I'll yammer on and on..."

Yeah, that's how tired I was. I assured him I was listening. I was just too exhausted to add much to the conversation. I did laugh, however, at how much he verbalized how good the food was that he was eating. I almost wondered if there was some, um, medicinal ingredients added to his Italian dish, because he really did enjoy his food. He enjoyed it a lot.

Moving on, I feel bad adding these irreverent anecdotes in the same entry about the temple (and alluding to cannabis in Italian entrees), but it's part of this week. We were stuck behind a huge slow Oversize Load truck (similar to the one in the picture). It looked like it was hauling some crazy cement slab - it was huge. 

Mikelle says, "Yo' Mama so fat, this is what her funeral procession looked like!" 


And that's all I have to say about that. 

And then there was Christian and his "Dam Jokes" today. 

One of our common routes is the highway that passes Lake Pleasant. As we were passing Waddell Dam, Mikelle asked if that was a dam. I said, "Yes, Lake Pleasant it formed by the Aqua Fria river being dammed up." 

Christian interjected, "See that river? Dam it!"

Mikelle and I laughed and I asked Christian where he heard that joke. He replied, "Nowhere! I just made it up."

Photo I found where you can see the Dam they asked about...
And then as we got closer to home, he asked if I was going to tell their Dad his "Dam joke". Well, of course I was. I was surprised Chris didn't laugh as much as Mikelle and I did, but then again, he wasn't there in the car to hear the timing and how Christian said it. That's why it's always hard to reiterate stories like this in writing. It just doesn't have the same punch as actually being there.

At least that was the experience in the car today. On Tuesday, as we were on the same highway just a few miles down from the dam, I had to pull over and completely do a behavioral and attitude overhaul with the kids and fantasize about leaving them there on the side of the road. 

I'll take dam jokes over that any day.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sometimes Life Socks

I know Alexander tends to dominate the blog posts. Well, this one is no exception. At least not the first part of this post.
I will attempt to do this story justice. It really was hilarious, but you kind of had to be there and see the expression on his face, his body language and then the subsequent tone of voice Mikelle had. Still, I'll try to reiterate it here.

Friday night, Chris and I were chilling on our bed just watching TV. Alexander kept coming in with random requests and comments. We appeased him and he was gone for a few minutes until he was back again.

He comes in again and says with his goofy mischievous grin, "Can I have orange juice?.........In my sock?" 

But when he says, 'in my sock' as he holds up a sock with that same grin he is famous for. 

"No," we say in so many words, "you're not going to have orange juice in your sock...."

And he's gone again.

I had a feeling we weren't done with the sock. But we were too tired and apathetic to really do much about it. I don't even remember what we were watching on TV. But we were happy with our bodies glued to the bed.

Next thing we know, we hear Mikelle from the kitchen scold: "Xander! No! No!...We're done. Go show Mom and Dad....Go show Mom and Dad..... Go show them your sock.... Go!"

I rolled over and started cracking up into a pillow. I knew exactly what had gone down.

Apparently, she poured him some Orange Juice in a cup (because he asked for orange juice. What can possibly go wrong?)

 ....and then he poured it in the sock.
The extent of our Halloween decor this year...well, until the big one is shipped out! lol
Moving on....

Remember the idiotic looking cat? Well, I think I fixed it and this is the pumpkin that is headed to Mississippi and where the cat will make its home.

I wanted to continue this post with a heart-warning story from church yesterday, but it's the first day of Fall Break and I'm trying to figure out how to deal with a tiny house full of three crazies with my husband's insane work schedule that seems to only hit during Fall and Spring breaks (October and March).

That is soooo NOT right.

 Dear Powers That Be: Can you have these bi-annual schedules in say, September or February? That would work out so much better.  I'm sure I'm not the only spouse that thinks so. Love, Jill

I found a list of 22 Humorous Prompts for a blog post. Usually I don't need something like that, as kids who want to pour orange juice into socks just seems to prompt them just fine. But I found myself reading through the prompts and wondering if I should attempt one as I'm in more of an ADD and light-hearted frame of mind as we tackle this week.

One says:

"Analysis of your worst school photo(s): Your readers would love to see your braced up little face, Ogilvie home perm, and double chin.  Extra points for head gear...."

Yearbook Senior Pic. Taken July 1992. Seriously, Pearls?
You know, as fun as that would be, how do I decide which picture to use? All my school pictures from sixth grade through eleventh are pretty scary. Some are downright terrifying. Even my senior picture (which was taken the summer before 12th grade, so it was still practically 11th grade) that is in the yearbook has scary hair. The only reason it works for the photo is because of the angle it's taken at. If it was straight-on, I doubt I would fit into the frame! (:face palm:)

It wasn't until towards the end of my senior year when I had a different set of pictures taken that it was clear that (despite the perm era I was still in) the awkward stage was finally coming to an end.  
No smile - I get it...but finally ideal 1993 hair! lol
Different Senior Pics...March 1993. Almost 18  No pearls!

The Yearbook photo (with the pearls) is also a frustrating memory from me, because I know when I went to have that picture taken, I was in the middle of being grounded because I mouthed off to my abusive narcissistic bully of a father. 

I hate that I can remember such things. My brain has this "timeline" chip and it's a curse sometimes.

I don't remember what prompted it, but it might have been the time I was putting tampons away in the linen closet and he came around the corner and startled me. He demanded to see what I was putting in the closet and of course he was offended that I was startled by him. I was embarrassed about the tampons and I didn't want to show him. That was the first domino that fell into a huge blow-out. I don't know if this particular grounding incident was the one from the tampons in the closet, but it was around the same time period.  (no pun intended)

Therefore, I wasn't allowed to do anything. I certainly wasn't allowed to see my boyfriend (at the time). I was lucky I was able to hang with a good friend of mine. At least she was able to come over. My dad wasn't about "tough love" and making hard decisions as a parent out of good intentions. It was about showing his power and making sure to take away whatever was important to me. 
Some people should never be allowed to be parents. It would be one thing if I really felt there were consequences for my actions and I knew I did something wrong. But by that time in my life (as I was 17), it was clear it was a "power-thing" with him and I was speaking out about it. 

Yes, I realize that shutting up would have been the best thing. But I was sick to death of the crap. 

I felt like Andy DuFresne on Shawshank Redemption being subjected to the power-hungry, hypocritical and corrupt Warden (and his right hand man, Captain Hadley, who I still can't believe is the voice of Mr. Krabs in Spongebob! lol).  My mouthing off and refusing to play into his crap was the equivalent of Andy locking himself in the Warden's office and playing opera and broadcasting it all over the prison sound system. Sure, he ended up paying dearly for it (a month in solitary confinement if I remember correctly?), but it was worth it. 

Okay, Shawshank Redemption didn't even come out for another two years, but the comparison still applies.

Wow! That school photo prompt was supposed to lead to something light-hearted and humorous. I blame Phillip for the memory association and tangent it led me on. But as we saw in Shawshank, Andy came out clean on the other side, despite the crap he literally had to crawl through to get there.

Hopefully less tangents in the next post!

Remember: Get Busy Living...Or Get Busy Dying...
Sunday Doodle for October 12, 2014