Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Life, the Rollercoaster

This is my life right now.  A rollercoaster. 
Mind you, it is actually not even as bad as it used to be. 
Believe me, I have had some pretty wild rides before.  I thank God I am not there anymore. 
Right now I am on a different kind of rollercoaster.
It is called Growing Up.
Growing up?  As old as I am?
Well, you see, all the years of my life I took the safe road. Meaning, I did all the things that I was supposed to do.  Or, at least, the kind of things that I hoped would not make waves for me.  
Come to think of it, now that I write that, I see that even that statement is not quite right.
I partly tried to live a safe life, so as not to make waves.  
Then, again, I did have some crazy things happen in my life.  I guess what I mean by growing up is that this is the first time in my life that I am living it according to the way I want to live it, giving myself permission to be the real me.
Which is really scary.
For whatever reasons there are in life that all the self help books talk about, I have spent my life denying who it was I really wanted to be.  Whatever I knew would truly make me happy, I made sure not to allow it in my life.  Whatever I knew would make me miserable, I made sure to go after that.
I still don't know.  Millions of reasons and no reason at all.
My point is, that, even though I have been around quite a while, I have never lived my life.  
I made sure to be all the people I was "supposed" to be, but I was never the real me.
Right now, as I have left my old life behind and have begun this journey to live the real me, meaning, to do the things in my life that really matter to me, that have always mattered to me, I am telling you, it is the hardest thing to do.  Especially when you have never allowed yourself to do that.
What I am saying is that I was going to again begin this blog saying, "oh, my gosh, I blew it again!  It's been so long since I've been here!"  But I felt I would be saying the same thing with the same promises not to ever do that again, and yet afraid I was going to do it again.  
The thing is, after all the years of my life not allowing me to be me,  it is damn hard finally allowing me to be me.  My life goes up and down, forwards and backwards, inching my way up, then crashing down at breakneck speed.  
My old ways don't want me to be happy.  They tell me it is not right to be the real me.  It is selfish to be the real me.  And who are you to do that anyway?  Who gave you permission to be happy?  Who gave you permission to be "Carol B."?
Well, damn it, I gave myself permission to be Carol B.  I knew when I was four years old that I was supposed to be an artist, and damn it, I am going to be an artist.  It has taken me weeks to finally learn how to put up my Etsy shop, because of the dumb tech problems I was having in knowing how to resize and put up pictures, but I finally learned, and instead of giving up like the old me would have done, my Etsy shop will soon be up.  There is probably no one else around that has taken so long to put up an Etsy Shop, but there you go.  And I have always loved to write and instead of telling myself "who are you to write this blog?" I am going to write it.  I am hoping along the way that maybe whatever I write will touch a cord in someone else's life and help them in whatever they are going through, the way the writing of others has helped me.  But even if it doesn't, I am going to write this because I really want to and it means something to me, and that should be reason enough.
Yes, I am back again.  And I will give myself permission to put up my Etsy shop and to tell you when it is up.  I will give myself permission to work on my art today because it is how I breathe, how I was always meant to breathe.  And I will give myself permission to come back here tomorrow and write because I love to write and I love to communicate and I love reaching out to others and I hope I am reaching out to you.
I give myself permission to be
Carol B.  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Soap Box to Best Buy Stores

I don't usually complain.
If I don't like something, I'm always the nice girl, saying, "that's alright," even when it's not.
This time, though, I thought, hey, I have a blog.  I can say anything I want.  Especially since I know I'm not going to abuse it, just speak my mind.
So here's my mind.
I bought a new washer and dryer from Best Buy just a year and a half ago.  Last week, my dryer went out.  Now, after a year and a half, I don't think that should happen, but the way things are nowadays, what else is new?
Last week I called to make an appointment for service.  They told me it would take a week.
What??  You expect me to wait a whole week?  I have to go a whole week without a dryer??
So I waited, like a nice little girl, dishing out tons of quarters in a stinking hot laundrymat.
Then came today.
The day for service.
I was so excited, you'd think I was going on a long awaited cruise.
Hey, after a week in the laundrymat, having my own dryer back to do laundry in my own home would be like taking a long awaited cruise.
The serviceman was prompt.  He was polite.  I was hopeful.  
"Well, ma'am, it's your thermostat."
By the hesitant look on his face I was getting a little nervous.
"Oh.  Ok.  Do you have one in your truck?"
"No, ma'am.  I have to order it."
I gulped.
"Uh, how long will that take?"
"Well, it usually only takes about two or three working days."
"Oh, good," I said.  I thought you were going to tell me it was going to take a long time."
"Well, since today's already Thursday, it won't come until next week."
"It wont' come to us, it will be delivered to you, and then you call us, and then we'll set up an appointment to come out and put it in."
Can you believe it?
What the heck kind of service is that?
I have always bought all my appliances at Sears, but after a few problems with previous merchandise, I decided to veer off the long, beaten path that has kept my family going to Sears for generations.
I thought I was cool trying something new.
But I'll tell you, not even Sears ever did something to me like this.  It might take me about four days to get a service person out to my house, but it never took as long as a week.  And whatever it was, they always had whatever they needed to fix the problem in their truck.
Why the heck would it take a service person from Best Buy a whole week to come out to my house, and yet they are not even properly prepared to fix the problem?  
My dryer spins through the cycle, but there is no heat.
Even my son, who is not mechanically inclined, said he figured it must be the thermostat.
Even my husband, who is also not mechanically inclined (lucky me), said it was probably the thermostat.  If they guessed that was what it was, don't you think the experts who saw the report might think, "Hmm.  I bet it's the thermostat," and bring a thermostat with them, just in case?
Nowadays, after a service, companies often have someone call to survey the customer about what they thought of the service.
I usually don't bother with the survey.
This time, you bet I will.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

OMG! It's the Crafty Chica!

Yesterday, one of my dreams came true as I met Kathy Cano-Murillo, aka the Crafty Chica!  
As I wrote yesterday, she is appearing at select Michael's Craft stores, promoting her new product line.  I am the happy person on the left, holding one of her great craft books, "Art de la Soul" which she signed for me.  If you don't have this book, get your copy!  Not only does it have the most fun craft ideas, but she has a running diary in which she reveals the successes as well as the mishaps of a crafter's life.
I was so nervous all day yesterday, knowing I was going to meet her.  When my husband came home from work he tip-toed around me cuz he knows how I get when I am that nervous.
We got to Michael's early where me, my husband, and my daughter, who joined us, looked around til Kathy got there.
And, oh, was she the nicest person!  
I had taken a picture of my avatar, the little angel with the wings that I use as my icon, to show her so that she might know who I am, since I often write to her.  My daughter made fun of me.
"Oh, mom!  She put up the picture of you on her blog, the one you sent her when you bought her stuff.  She'll recognize you!"
And she did!
"Of course, Carol," Kathy said.  "I recognize you."
We talked with Kathy and took pictures and she signed my book.  We mingled with all the other Crafty Chica fans.  My husband, daughter, and I spent a long time talking to her husband, Patrick Murillo, who does most of the artwork for her line.  He was the nicest, most down to earth person.  We had the greatest time!
After staying there for a long time, we finally said our good-byes and left.  I am telling you, I was on Cloud Nine!
As we walked to our car my husband gave me a hug and a kiss.
"I hope you had a good time," he said, knowing I did!
"Yes," I said.  "Thank you for joining me!"
It was a moment I will never forget.
Still floating on Cloud Nine,
Carol B.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Crafty Chica in L.A.!

Yowie, zowie!  She's here!
Kathy Cano-Murillo, aka the Crafty Chica is in Los Angeles for her Spread the Sparkle Tour!
She is promoting her new craft products line which I told you about earlier this month.  She will be stopping by at various Michael's Craft Stores throughout California.  
Last night she was in San Diego.  Tonight she will be at the Michael's in Glendale, located at 219 N. Glendale Ave. near the Glendale Galleria.  She will be there from 6:00-8:00 pm. to sign books and I think she is going to do a craft project.    You can go to her website or her blogspot for more info.
Kathy is one of my all-time heroes, My Lady of Inspiration, so you bet I am going to be there.  I suggest if you want to meet someone truly inspirational, who has courageously given her all to live The Art Life, then come on down tonight (Tuesday night) and show Kathy your support.  Come say hi, and check out her stuff.  She has so many great things you'll have a hard time deciding what to buy!  I know I did!  
She's only going to be in the L.A. area tonight, and then she moves on up towards northern California, so don't miss this great event!
Hope to see you there!!
Carol B.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm Still Here!

Just wanted to stop and say that yes, I am still here.  I had been trying to put up my Etsy Store on Friday and right when I thought I had it all together, I ran into trouble with how to put up the pictures of my work.  And I spent ALL DAY trying to put everything together!  I lost all that writing I had spent forever trying to put up.  Then the weekend came and I was not home much and I had to go to the laundry mat because my dryer broke down and yada, yada, yada.  I will be trying with the store again soon.  
Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Carol B.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lessons Learned

I was distracted.
At least, I was on the surface.
Underneath it all, things are going on inside.
I was going to say that boy, it's been a long time since I have posted but I started this novel I had been wanting to get to and the weekend came and then my daughter came to visit and I had to go to the printer and I got my hair done and maybe I needed to take a little break from everything..
On and on.
I now see what was happening.
It is that thing where every time I am going to make a big leap forward, I stall.
The great thing is, I can see that I am making progress.  
The last time this happened I started to doubt myself and this whole process of living this art life that I have wanted to live me my whole life.  Thanks to so many wonderful, thoughtful artists, I am beginning to believe in myself more.  This time I stalled by just taking a break, but with every intention of coming back.  
So here I am and it is great to be back.  I have a lot of catching up to do with networking and I haven't even been painting! (although I have been making sketches, so that's good).  
I've been thinking about it this morning and I now know what all this is.  It is the process of growing up, learning something new, and this new thing for me that I am in the process of learning is how to believe in myself.
I am telling you, it is about time!  I am not even going to get into how late in life I am learning this, but trust me, it is, although, as I have learned, better late than never, which is how I have been doing my life.  Late, but better than never.
Learning to believe in yourself is something that would have been great if I had learned it so much earlier.  As a kid would be great, in my teens, or even in my twenties.  That way it all wouldn't seem so confusing.  Although maybe it would anyway.
All I know is that I feel like a little baby who is learning how to walk.  You drag yourself up and you toddle and stumble and fall and then you have to get up again.  But at least a baby does it more confidently.  I guess because they are doing this new thing without as much knowledge as to what is going to happen when they fall.  So they can just get up and keep plowing right through.  The problem with doing something like that the older you get is that now you can think of what is going to happen or what might happen if you fall, which makes you more hesitant to try.  That is the wonderful part of learning something at a more traditional age.  Not as much fear so not as much hesitation.
Yes, it would have been nicer to have learned this when I was much younger.  But the wonderful thing that has happened for me is that, although things can get scary, I have found the most wonderful network of caring people in this group that I call the Online Artists.  I have never been more supported in my life.  If you are out there and you don't know this group, I am telling you, don't be afraid to put yourself out there.  There are so many people out there that will actually help you get up when you fall.
Which makes falling down not as bad.
And getting up even better.
And continuing on a stronger person than ever before the most wonderful God send.
Many thanks, and God Bless you all.
Carol B.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cupcake Love!

Here is my latest painting.  It is called "'Cupcake Love."
I think it is so cute!  I just love it.  
Best of all it is zero calories!
I wish you could see it in person.  The colors are great.
For right now, I am taking digital pictures, then loading them up here.  I have been told that with scanning you can get a much better picture.  I finally got someone to help me learn the basics, but when I tried to do it a while ago by myself, I couldn't do it!  Oh, brother!
I am not a natural "techy" (the word I use for "technical person") so it's hard for me to do what might come easily for others.
But I'm not giving up.
That is the new me.
I am waiting for the print shop to finish making prints of some other paintings I did.  As soon as they come back, I am believing I will finally be able to open my Etsy Shop!
You can believe I will let you know as soon as that is done.
For now, I am dreaming of Cupcake Love.
Sweet Dreams!
Carol B.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Women Rule!

A man dies and goes to heaven.
When he gets there he sees a long line, as far as the eye can see.
In the line there are nothing but men.
He goes to the front of the line where there is a sign that reads;
"Men Who's Wives Were the Boss of Their Home."
The man looked to his left.  There was another sign that read;
"Men Who's Wives Were Not the Boss of Their Home."
There is only one man standing in that line.
The man who just died goes up to the man in line.
"Hey, brother, am I glad to meet you!  Let me shake your hand!  You're the Man!  So tell me, how is it that you got to stand in this line?"
The man in line shrugged.
"I don't know.  My wife just told me to stand here."

Life is good. ;)
Carol B.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Crafty Chica is Here!

Hey, everybody! Lookie here!
The Crafty Chica is at your nearest Michael's! 
In case you haven't been in the know about one of the greatest crafter artists around, let me tell you about Kathy Cano-Murillo. She is from Tuscan, Arizona and for years she has been designing the coolest crafts.  She has also put ten lives into one, don't ask me how.  She is a mom, a wife, an artist, crafter, designer, writer, she has several craft books out and more on the way, and she even has three novels coming out soon!  On top of that, this past Friday, on August 1, she came out with a line of craft products that have premiered at Michael's Craft Stores.  They are awesome!  My hubby and I went on Saturday to one of the Michael's close by and we bought a bunch of fun stuff.  Can't wait to use them!
But I am telling you, she is one of my absolute heroes, my inspiration.  She has done all that I mentioned above and more, and she did it with a full, lifetime commitment to Art. By that I mean, when she and her husband married, they vowed to live a life totally surviving on their art (her hubby is also an artist as well as a musician).  No other full time jobs while they did their art on the side, but 100% living on their art.  Now, how many of us artists wish we could have had the courage to have done that?  You know they paid the price, but they did it anyway, and now, after what I guess is almost or around 20 years, they are taking it all to an even greater, more successful level!  I am hoping that one day she will write a detailed book on how she did it.  
To get her whole story, you will have to check out the Crafty Chica website, and her 
Crafty Chica Blog.   I know that when you do you will be in awe of this amazing woman.  
In the meantime, go to Michael's and get some of her paint, glitter, stencils, jewelry kits..the list goes on and on!  The thing is to support this dedicated artist.  It's a way of supporting our whole art community, as well as the fact that you will just have a ball playing with all her stuff!
Until later,
Carol B.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Be Brave

Be Brave.
Again, it has been almost a whole week since I have last posted.  As you might have read on my posting for July 28, I was going through a really crucial time.  It is often times when I am on the brink of a huge breakthrough that I freak out and want to back away.  
This post is dedicated to the many wonderful people with such a kind heart that helped pull me through.  What would I have done without them?  Who knows.
The first thing I will do is to give notice to these wonderful artists who were quick to come to my rescue. They are Lulu, Suzan Buckner, Amy Sullivan, Tammy, and Julie.  Go check out the sites of these wonderful women who are not only amazing artists, but who obviously have the kindest hearts, and that, my friends, are what real people are all about. 
These women told me over and over again to Be Brave, because I could do it.  The loveliest words ever.  
This post and this painting is dedicated to these wonderful artists that know what true beauty is all about.  It is also dedicated to anyone else who would read these words who might be unsure or in despair in any way.  May these artists, these words, and this painting let you know that you are not alone, and that you, too, will come shining through.
Be Brave.
With love,
Carol B.