Welcome to my blog! I am so excited to share my art and adventures as an administrator with others. Thank you for making the time to view my blog and giving me your input.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good morning! I am getting ready for work. This is another shot of Carol's yard. Carol has this amazing place that oozes art out of every nook and cranny. It is such an inviting place and I so enjoy it every time I am there. Reality has sunk in... at the end of my day today, I will be headed towards our new place. There are a 1000 things to still do before I can say, "It's done!" Last night, after dinner, we went over to the new place and spent a couple of hours putting things away. I did 2 loads of laundry. We laid down the rugs in the living room. Then, we headed out to Crate and Barrel to pick up another rug. Most of the rugs I have are Indian durries and kilms. I have half a dozen spread out throughout the house. I have this huge thing for wool rugs, especially ones that have a Middle Eastern look to them. They are SO beautiful! I have been looking for a jute or sisal rug, something sturdy that can hold up to a lot of foot traffic. I finally found something I liked in the Crate and Barrel catalog. Well, at 8:45 p.m., my husband said, "Let's go now! We can pick something up right now!" It didn't matter that the store closes at 9! We got there in 5 minutes and by 8:55, I had picked out the rug and someone was bringing it down from the 2nd floor to the 1st. By 9:05, the damn rug was in the bed of Mike's truck! We drove back to the new place, laid out the rug in the dining room, and called it a day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A very short post, right before heading out to move more stuff to the new place! I just want to say "hi" to Kelly and Maroun, who are on the other side of the country reading my blog! You both are wonderful and I am so fortunate to have your friendship. Kel, have a safe trip back to gorgeous, sunny, Southern California. Maroun, have a good week and safe travels; thank you for putting up with me all these years! You have the patience of a saint. Lastly, this a shot of a place that is always inviting to me, as well as others, my dear friend, Carol's, patio. Making art, drinking a cold, iced drink, and hanging out with friends. What more could anyone want?!
We are in the midst of moving. The last 2 days have been pretty insane! We have been taking some of our things over to the new place, which is right down the street from our old place. We have the bathrooms already set up! So, I KNOW on Wednesday morning when I wake up in the new house, I will at least be able to take a shower and everything will be easy to locate! Today, the movers were at our current home to pack up everything! There are boxes and furniture all over the house! Not 1 room looks orderly, which is not how I am used to living. Life doesn't always happen like you want it to. Breathing deeply helps... Tomorrow morning, while I am at work, the movers will be back to move everything to the new place. My husband will be supervising them. I absolutely hate moving! We have moved 13 times in the last 28 years! Ridiculous! But, I guess if we keep moving, to keep our sanity, we will have to continue to use the same moving company. Thank goodness for their professionalism; they have made our last 2 moves as painless as possible.

All weekend was spent on getting both places ready for the move. On Friday night, I collapsed my studio. I took all of my visual journals off the shelves and put them in a box; they are now on their way to our new place. It is rare I go back to look at my old work. When I do, I usually cringe and say, "I made that? What was I thinking?!" I start re-working the piece in my head, then I go back and re-work the piece if I think it needs it. Well, as I flipped through my journals, I came across some pages I really, really liked! And I photographed pages from all of my visual journals and will post photos of my pages in the coming weeks. Here are a few pages from 1 of my journals that I made last year. Much of this book was completed while I was attending the Art Center.

The pages above and the 1 below, go together. Much of my work deals with freedom and justice, 2 things that are very important to me. I worked with monoprinting, incorporating a leaf I found in my yard, and packing tape.
I think this is going to be my last post for the next few days. We should have internet service come Friday night. And tomorrow afternoon when I leave work, I will be heading over to our new place. If anyone is interested in the Michael de Meng book, email @ millan0206@yahoo.com. I have been able to send 3 of my books to new homes. Stephanie, if you're reading my blog, your book went out in today's mail.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Last post of the night. Stephanie Wright is this week's winner. Stephanie, please email me your address. My email address is millan0206@yahoo.com. Because Stephanie's words were so powerful, I didn't want to wait 2 more days for others to submit their experiences. So, I am posting what this next week's giveaway will be: Michael de Meng's "Secrets of Rusty Things". Since I am collapsing my studio, I won't have access to most of my art supplies. I will only have a small Ziploc bag of paints and collage ephemera to work with until those boxes get opened next week! So, tell me if you were moving, what items would you definitely not pack and why. Email me or post on my blog your thoughts and I'll pick a winner at the end of the week.
We are getting ready to make the move to our new home. God willing, we will be in our new place this coming Tuesday. Tomorrow will be spent collapsing my studio, so I am going to take advantage of being able to post until Monday. The movers will be here on Monday and they will be spending the entire day packing everything, then they will be back on Tuesday to actually do the move. We are only going a very short distance from our current place. We are staying in Pasadena and will be living on the arroyo. I am really excited about the new location because I absolutely LOVE the arroyo. The arroyo will be literally our front yard! You can actually see the arroyo from 1 of the bedrooms! Umm... I think that is going to be my new studio! But enough of that for now. This post is really about the images above. Kelly, I KNOW you are reading my blog from the other side of the country! And of course, I am reading all about your classes back east. I LOVE the stories and pictures about your outings. I feel as though I am traveling with you and Tristan! So, Kel, I am trying to locate the source/s for these scraps of paper. I bought these papers over a year ago and in hindsight, I should have bought several sheets of each pattern. Can anyone tell me where I might be able to buy these Indian firecracker papers? I have exhausted all of my usual places on this side of the country! Thanks.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Last post for tonight. This week's give away is for "The Art of Resin Jewelry" by Sherri Haab. Tell me about a letter or card that really lifted your spirits like the 2 examples I talked about in my last post. You can either post or email your story to me at the following email address: millan0206@yahoo.com. On Saturday, I'll pick a winner. Dawn, please email your address so I can mail out to you "Organizing Your Craft Space".
I should be doing some other type of work other than blogging! Tomorrow, I have my 1st interview for a principal's position! I am really excited and can't concentrate on too much of anything else. Today was a very tiring day. I think I am still recuperating from the party on Saturday. Anyway, the last few days, I have been getting "surprises" in the mail. Today, I received a lovely stash of paper from Annie, who lives in the Netherlands. I photographed some of the paper, and I must say, the paper is too beautiful to cut up! Take a look at these lovely prints in the photo above. Thank you, Annie!

These next 2 shots are from a very special item I received on Thursday afternoon. My dear little nephew, Isaac, sent me this mail art and artwork. Isaac is only 6-years-old! His artwork and lettering is precious and it is something I will frame and put up in our next home.

Speaking of our next home, we are now moving quickly on finding it! Whenever we have had a free moment, we have looked at various homes. I think we have it narrowed down to 3 choices. Now, we just need to make a decision. I guess it is time to get ready for that interview! Shucks!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This has been a very exhausting weekend! Yesterday, we had a party for my mother. My brother, Mike, did an absolutely outstanding job of organizing it. In a word, the party was "perfect". My mother's health has been quickly deteriorating for the last few months and my brother decided to have the party as a way for her to see old friends and family 1 more time before she gets worse. The party was a private party and was held at Pio Pico Park, in Whittier. My brother rented out the place and there were 2 park rangers who kept an eye out to make sure it was an enjoyable affair. There were about 200 guests. My brother has ALWAYS known how to throw a party! There was lots of food, a delicious cake, margaritas, beer, kettle corn, to-die-for lemonade, pony rides, mariachis, music, karoake, an artist who drew caricatures, a huge movie screen and movies for the kids to watch, and several tables and dealers for the more "adventurous" folks who wanted to play craps. The party was tons of fun, but more importantly, it gave all of us an opportunity to catch-up with our loved ones and dear friends. I only invited less than a handful of my friends to the party: Art, Blanca, George, and Sergio; 3 of these friends have been my friends for 24 years or more. The highlights of the evening were having the artist draw Sergio and me and my husband dealing at 1 of the crap tables and teaching Fred, George, and Sergio how to play the game! My brother told me this morning that every time the guys shuttled people back to their cars, they heard lots of compliments about the party. The guys told my brother no one said they did not have fun! Wow! My brother is a very special person and every opportunity I have, I tell him how much I love him! Just like when we were kids, hearing that still embarrasses him! Good job, Mike!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I got some great news late this afternoon! I am going to interview on Tuesday morning for my 1st ever principal position! So, I couldn't help myself with this video by 1 of my favorite singers and someone who I think epitomizes the word "artist": Peter Gabriel. I LOVE "Big Time" because is is a fun song and video, but more importantly, it makes fun of all those people who let success get to their heads! So, if I do make it to the "big time", I will not act like the asses being portrayed in this song! I promise!

Speaking of Peter Gabriel, here is another 1 of my favorites of his. This is a song that he composed and performed back in the mid-70's, during the time he was part of the rock band, "Genesis". The band reunited to perform some of their old songs and here is an updated version of "The Carpet Crawlers". Peter Gabriel's videos are art in themselves. What an imagination! I have been most fortunate to have seen him in concert twice. What a show this man puts on! If you listen carefully, you can hear Phil Collins singing with Peter Gabriel. His is the voice in the background.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So, here is my review of the "Frida" exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: I LOVED the show! This painting was my favorite in the exhibit. I had never seen this painting up front before this exhibit. I was very surprised at the size of this painting - it is quite large. In fact, it was her largest piece. There were about 25 paintings in the exhibit and I would say that a good chunk of this work has never been exhibited in the United States before. Those paintings belonged to the executor of Frida Kahlo's and Diego Rivera's estate: Dolores Olmedo. And for many years, Olmedo would not allow the paintings to leave Mexico. There were only 2 pieces I didn't recognize. I have never seen them in any of the books I have on Frida Kahlo. Also, there were lots of personal photographs that have never been made public before. It was almost like peeking into Frida's photo albums because the photos were so intimate in nature. The photos give you a real sense of Frida as an artist, woman, wife, and daughter. The thing I LOVED the most about the exhibit is that I got to see all these paintings up close, just inches away from my grasp. And because I was so close, I got to really examine her technique. I saw all those little details you really cannot appreciate in a book such as her use of a pencil for things like facial hair and the use of mixed media, collaged pieces of newspapers and/or magazines used as part of a painting's background. The show is worth every penny! And the museum did a great job of organizing the in's and out's of crowd control. If I had more time in my schedule, I would try to go up to the city 1 more time before the exhibit closes on September 28. But, I know that is not going to happen!
This is some of my "stash" I bought at the museum store, at SF MoMa. At the bottom of this photo, you get a little glimpse into my latest journal. I made this in Kelly's class, "The Storyteller", which I took about 2 months ago. I have been slowly working on it. The photos below are some of my most recent pages in this little book. If you get a chance to take Kelly's class, do! It is a GREAT class!

The photo above is a shot of the front and back covers of this little booklet/journal I am currently working in. All of the rest of the photos are of my journal pages in this book. This is what I have done so far...
Another 2 pages from my little booklet/journal. I have so many colors! I have worked into these pages paint, Caran 'dAche and Portfolio crayons, and markers.

2 more pages from my journal. On the right side of this page, if you look closely, you can see my handprint in the background.

These pages have metallics and an interesting paint that I worked into the background: Golden's Interference Blue (fine). It gives off a rich, metallic look, an almost silvery sheen and there is a bluish-purple tint that seems to give these pages their color.

On Friday night when we stopped for a dinner break before continuing on to San Francisco, I worked on these 2 pages above. While we were waiting for our food to be served, my husband had his head in a book, a familiar scene I have witnessed for almost 30 years! And I whipped out my journal and started writing. Sitting across from us was a table full of nuns! Since I have naked bodies in my journal, I was very mindful of not flashing the nuns these pages. Having them in such close proximity to me brought back memories of me being in Catholic school! And I kept imagining my soul resting in Hell for an eternity!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Some more shots from our trip to San Francisco over this past weekend. On the way back, we took the 101 instead of the 5, which we usually do. These pictures are from "Steinbeck country", Salinas. John Steinbeck is 1 of my favorite, favorite authors. I LOVE "Of Mice and Men", "The Red Pony", "Cannery Row", and "East of Eden", just to name a few. My favorite is "Of Mice and Men". As you look at these photos, you can almost see Lennie and George making their way through these beautiful fields!

Lennie said craftily - "Tell me like you done before." "Tell you what?" " 'Bout the other guys an' about us." George said, "Guys like us got no fambly. They make a little stake an' then they blow it in. They ain't got nobody in the worl' that gives a hoot in hell about 'em-" "But not us, " Lennie cried happily. "Tell about us now."

Here is a shot of the Gabilans (the mountains in the background) that Steinbeck so vividly describes in many of his books. Also, "Gabilan" is the name of the horse in "The Red Pony". I LOVE the colors seen in the fields.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Last post of the night. The winner of "Organizing Your Craft Space" is Dawn. Please email me @ millan0206@yahoo.com with your contact information. This week's book is "Quilted Memories" by Leslie Riley. Tell me what is your favorite childhood memory. I will pick the best 1 at the end of the week.
We just got back from San Francisco tonight! It was a whirlwind weekend that seemed to pack 3 days into 1. Last night, we had dinner in San Mateo, at "Pancho Villa's ", our favorite Mexican restaurant on the planet. Then, we headed back to the city for some night shots. The top photo is of the Bay Bridge, a bridge I have driven several times. I got this shot in just as the sun was setting.

A shot from the marina, near Fisherman's Wharf. I like the pink and yellow blending into the sky from the sunset.

Another shot in the marina, with Coit Tower looming in the background. A trolley can be seen in the picture, along with the night's traffic.

A shot of a Victorian with Coit Tower in the background. I shot this in a Nob Hill neighborhood by walking up a steep hill.

Coit Tower in all its glory! This is the first time I have ever photographed Coit Tower at night. There are several places in the parking lot where you can take panorama shots. Everyone was turning their cameras on other subjects, so I got to photograph the tower without anyone in my way. We are FINALLY home! We came home pretty exhausted, but the trip was great! Instead of taking the 5 like we usually do, Mike decided to take the 101, which adds another 2 hours to the trip, but it is really scenic and worth the extra time. We shared the driving load both ways. I will post tomorrow about the Frida exhibit. All I will say for now is, "It fucking rocked!"

Saturday, August 9, 2008

We are in San Francisco! We are headed to breakfast, then the Frida Kahlo exhibit! Yes! I will post some pictures tonight of our day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I LOVE this song and video! This is my favorite U2 song. This is such a beautiful, sad, and haunting song. Every time I hear this song, it really stirs my emotions. This song was featured in Bill Carter's award winning documentary called "Miss Sarajevo". The film chronicles 1 of the more "bizarre" events of the war in former Yugoslavia: a beauty contest. Several artists mounted an elaborate beauty contest under mortar fire. But if you really listen carefully to the song's lyrics, it is much more than a song about a beauty queen. It is about people trying to live a semblance of "normalcy" in the face of war. And as you watch the video, the most poignant image is of the beauty pageant contestants walking on the stage in their bathing suits and high heels, holding a banner that reads, "Don't let them kill us." A reminder that we should never turn our backs on our fellow man because they might be different than us.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I am getting ready to call it a day soon! Actually, I am really wide awake and am worried that I am not going to sleep very well. This week should be an interesting one. I am going to be the principal all week long. I will be the only administrator working summer school, instead of the 2 who normally do. I expect the week to really challenge me in new ways, which is a good thing. I am a little anxious and that worries me. Afterall, I was the acting principal my last 2 years @ Garfield and you would think with all the experiences I have had in the last 3 years, they should have prepared me for just about anything such as last week's earthquake! Can hardly wait to head up north! And if there was more time, this is another place I absolutely love, Monterey, that I would like to spend some time visiting. Here are a couple of pictures I took of Monterey and Spanish Bay, during some of my past trips up there.

This is Spanish Bay. It is part of the "17-Mile Drive" that goes through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach. This drive is amazing, with breath-taking scenery every which way you turn. This is where I would like to be this week. But instead, reality has kicked in! And instead of Monterey, Spanish Bay, Pacific Grove, and Pebble Beach, this is where I will be all week long: in my office, somewhat looking like an administrator, like I do below. San Francisco, here we come...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Annie, from the Netherlands, is the winner of this week's book give-away, "The Art of Fabric Journals". Annie, please email me regarding your contact information. My email address is millan0206@yahoo.com.

The next give-away will be for "Organizing Your Craft Space" by Jo Packham. My last post dealt with what place I feel connected to. Tell me about your place and why you feel that way. Post your comments from Sunday until Saturday of this next week, and I will pick a winner Saturday night.
Saturday afternoon was spent running all over town and running errands, as well as going to the mall to replenish my hair gel and skin cream. When I got a little breather, I went to Nordstrom's and had a very light lunch that consisted of a bowl of tomato soup and a small, dinner salad. While the soup was cooling, I went through my mail and opened up Anthropologie's new catalog. On the 2nd page, I read the following words: "Alone? Never, not here - the city and I are endless, constant companions." I don't know the city this quote was referring to. But, this got me thinking. There has only been 1 place I have ever felt that way about. It is San Francisco, where my husband and I will be heading in a few days. So, here is my valentine to the city. Here are some of my favorite neighborhoods and places to visit that I have photographed over the years. The photo above is from my 40th birthday trip. Since my birthday is in February, it was pretty damn cold those 4 days we were in the city. Notice my hands; I am even wearing gloves! But, I didn't care!

This shot is from 1 of the murals in Coit Tower. There are several murals inside the building that depict life during the Great Depression of the 30's. Coit Tower is in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. It was built in the early 30's.

This is another mural, on the other side of town, in the Mission District. This is the Women's Center, and the building is covered in murals.

This is 1 of the murals that are on the front area of the Women's Center. Notice Dolores Huerta, activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers. She has the UFW flag wrapped around her shoulders.
A view of the garden and cemetery at Mission Dolores. This is a statue of Father Junipero Serra.

Here is a shot of the Mission Dolores Church. I have NEVER considered myself to be very religious even though I attended a Catholic school for 8 years. But when I do go to church, it is here I attend mass.
Now, we're hitting home! This is a shot of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. This is actually a store on Haight Street and the legs out the window have become a landmark of sorts that welcomes visitors to the neighborhood! The Haight is where we lived 16 years ago; we lived here for almost a year. And I still consider it my 2nd home.

That guy who keeps popping up on my blog, Mr. Bob Marley! The man I share my birthday with and who I admired SO very much! This is a mural in the Haight, on the corner of Haight and Central. About 3 months ago when we were last up in San Francisco, we spent most of the day in the Haight. This mural has been updated. It looks very different from this, so hopefully, when we're up there over the weekend, I am going to take a shot of the new version. I love the message above Bob's head: "Respect is all we have." How true.
This is the Castro District, another of my favorite places to hang out. I LOVE the homes in the neighborhood and this 1 has always stood out! I LOVE the boldness of the colors!

I took this picture when I was up in the city during the fall, about 10 years ago. Notice the Halloween decorations! This was 1 of my favorite places in the Castro. It is the Skin Zone. The Skin Zone had the most amazing soaps, creams, and shampoos you could imagine. I am a soap and cream whore and proud of it! At the Skin Zone, they custom-blended your body products, so that you would be able to create your own scents. In May, we were driving in the neighborhood and I noticed the Skin Zone was no longer there. Tonight, I went on-line and there is a website, so maybe the owners decided to operate online only. I will have to call their number to satisfy my curiosity because if they are still in business, I will be back to getting most of my beauty products from them!