Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Dad the Artist

I also name this blogpost 'Art Bramble'. I think it sounds better than 'Art Ramble' because bramble sounds so much more fun! LOL. This blog is dedicated to my father for his upcoming birthday on September 23rd. Brief backstory friends:

My father, Robert E. Haynes is one of my greatest influences ... in mind, body, soul, ideas, ethics, morals, values, and art. His picture with me is the one at the top of this blog. He taught at Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, for 3 decades. Before that, an artist and illustrator. Presently, he is retired, loving retirement in the artistically incredible Humbolt County, California, as an artist once again and an arts educator on several boards in the communities of Arcata and Eureka, California. Dad, forgive me if some details are amiss. LOL. But my friends, you get the idea. Artist, traveler of the world, educator, and back to being an artist and arts administrator with a heavy influence in the community arts! In the arts community, Dad has done it all!

When other fathers were taking their kids to baseball games and football games, I was traveling the USA, visiting museums. Or I was back home going to art openings, museums, studios, and galleries. We visited the zoo, the beach, nature preserves, went camping, and visited historical sites.

We grew up in a house in Wenonah, NJ, which could be considered a gallery/art museum of its own. Mom and Dad decorated with photography, water colors, oils, prints, etchings, sculptures, antiques, gouaches, pastels, and charcoal drawings. It was incredible. Our family library included art books by Monet, Dali, Gothic artists, Persian artists, Oceanic artists, architecture, sculpture, Indian art, Eskimo art, African art, and so much more. It was just incredible and gave so many hours of enjoyment, learning, and instruction.

Dad would encourage us to create art from paintings, to photography, to pencil drawings, to clay sculptures, to papier-mache', to our favorite balloon plaster sculptures. These favorites were made with plaster in a container around a balloon. Let it dry, pop the balloon, and make a free-form sculpture. Google it kids! It was a great artistic experience! Dad even helped me construct an architecturally correct solar house in 6th grade. He was and is still the artistic god that I love.

Dad was more than art though. He IS the most incredible father. I feel like I can talk to him about anything in my life without judgement, even at the exciting frazzled age of 42! He is one of those individuals that you feel will always truly love you for what you are. I am the luckiest kid on Earth. My Dad is my mentor and as I stated before, one of my greatest single influences in my life. :)

My brother and sister went to Glassboro State where Dad taught. I sat in on a few of his classes but went to Rutgers University. My minor was art history. My major, psychology. Those who can't create art ... like myself, end up studying it! I should have brought it up to a major. I regret that. But studying art solidified in to a permanent place in my life.

When I lived in Philly, I used to attend First Fridays ALL THE TIME! :) For those not in the know, they were and still are, open gallery nights where each gallery showcased their works on the first Friday each month, having appetizers and some bevies (hopefully alcoholic!). What fun events they were! I was a young twenty something trying to meet artists and find out about their works while sipping on boxed wine and eating crackers and cheese. Fun times my friends. It was different from the crazy club scene I was used to and in the process, I was getting my art fix.

I miss it though. I am still incredibly into art but haven't attended many gallery openings since moving out to the 'burbs. I have moved further and further out into the country. Owning a home has taken priority and most of my time is encompassed by working, my part time job, taking care of the house, and writing.

I need that to change. I am longing for my roots. I need them, they are apart of me and who I am. I need to feel artistically fulfilled. No, I am not going to create art, crazy fools! I completely suck at it! I need to immerse myself in the art gallery worlds of the local community. So Reading, PA with your Goggleworks and Allentown, PA with your Allentown Art Museum, get ready, because I am coming back on the scene to critique, explore, and enjoy your art! Anyone who wants to go to an art opening in my area, let me know. I would love the company!

As I said, it's my Dad's birthday on September 23rd, HAPPY BIRTHDAY POP! I love you more than you will ever know. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Charlotte has a Cold

I had just arrived home last night and was walking up my deck steps laden down with a bag of groceries, my briefcase, lunch bag, and several empty coffee mugs left in my car. As I came up to the front door, I remembered that we have a rather large spider, about two inches across, which has made an impressive nest in the back corner of the house. I decided to take a peek at it before I went inside. I dumped all of my belongings on a deck bistro table by the front door and headed to the back of the house.

I was observing the garden spider when from behind me I heard a shout, “WHO’S BACK THERE?”

I turned to see my 70 something neighbor Charlotte standing on her back deck peering over at me, her hand shielding the evening sun from her eyes. Charlotte was a good neighbor, always keeping an eye on who was in the neighborhood and if something didn’t seem right, she spoke up about it.

“It’s just me Charlotte!” I yelled back. “I was just looking at this huge spider spinning its web on the corner of the house.”

“I have a head cold! It’s real bad! I said I HAVE A HEAD COLD!”

“Oh, I heard you! I’m sorry,” I began turning to her. “An end of the summer cold, huh?”

“Yeah, it’s going around. All the kids in the schools have it. Everyone in church has it.”

Don’t ya just love it when people make such blanket statements. It is the truth as they see it completely stretched beyond the point of argument for the sake of conversation. They drive me crazy.

“Well, take care of yourself Charlotte. Can I bring you over something or pick something up at the store for you?” I asked.

“No, I have soup but I may be over later for a shot of whiskey!” she cackled.

“O-kaaaay.” I laughed.

“No, I’m serious; expect me in an hour for a shot of whiskey!” With that, she suddenly went inside and closed her door. I stared at the closed door and shook my head chuckling. I turned to the spider and said “Remind me to toss that piece of cake she brought over yesterday because everyone has a cold.”

She never did come over for the whiskey, but I will check on her this evening.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Parent's Night Out

I am going out to eat at a nice restaurant this evening and thought about getting a little more dressed up than usual. It’s a fun thing to do. Make yourself a martini or pour a glass of scotch or wine while getting ready. Turn on some mood music depending on the occasion.

It got me thinking to when I was younger, say before age 9, when my siblings and I would watch my parents get ready for a night out on the town. The smell of Mom’s perfume and Dad’s cologne still permeates these memories. We would watch them get gussied up in suit and dress. Mom would finish picking out her jewelry with Sheryl’s help. Dad would put on the little light in his closet and enlist Adam’s and my help in picking out that perfect tie. We would giggle and laugh at them while sitting with our legs crossed on their oh-so big bed, the small black and white TV on in the background.

Dad and Mom looked like the king and queen of the castle. They would sometimes have a cocktail first. Mom, a glass of Gallo or Mateus rose’ wine. Dad, a Dewars Scotch on the rocks or a bottle of Piels beer. Dad would let us have a sip of his Scotch or beer.

Pretty soon, before Sheryl was old enough to watch us, the baby sitter would come by. Usually it would be Betty Jane or her sister Susan Miller from next door. The evening would be spent watching TV or playing games with my siblings. There would be a dessert or snack worthy of keeping me happy and quiet. Although if it had a lot of sugar, you could guarantee it would keep this hyperactive child up quite late! Bed time would be at 9 or 10 pm. It was a special night since Mom and Dad were out, so we would probably coax the babysitter into letting us stay up a little later.

I don’t remember any of the baby sitters reading me stories. They just put us to bed. Sheryl would stay up later with them. Dad was the story reader in the family. I have fond memories of him reading from Aesop’s Fables using different funny voices for each character in the stories.

On babysitting nights, Adam and I would secretly stay up after we were put to bed. We would play until the dropping of a toy or getting too rough with one another would cause my sister or the babysitter to yell upstairs for us to get back to bed.

Eventually, I would be stirred from a restless sleep by Mom and Dad when they arrived home and came upstairs to check on us. We were lucky children. My parents were very affectionate and hugs were plentiful. I don’t think I ever slept very well until I got that kiss and hug from them, thus assuring myself of their safe return.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Smashing My Fingers

One of the things you find out when you get older is that when you hurt yourself, there is no one there to kiss it and make it better. You scream and move on. Correction, you scream DRAMATICALLY and LOUDLY, fall to the pavement with hand still attached to the garage door, and move on after you have pried your hand from the door.

It all started innocently enough (isn't that how it always starts?) when I realized it had begun to rain and I had left plastic tubs full of flea market items outside in the driveway. Obviously not wanting them to get rained on, I ran outside to bring the tubs into the house. Rain drops pelted my back but luckily not enough to warrant a "torrent." With much cursing under my breath, the three heavy tubs were safely inside the house. It was then I realized that that I had left a 1930's chrome Art Deco ashtray stand out by the garage.

I thought for a minute that I would leave it, considering it was under the deck and may only get a little wet. I quickly thought the better of it remembering how damaged and pitted chrome can get from just incidental moisture. OK, I justified, I will be saving this antique from impending disaster! I wouldn't bring it into the house, but just open the garage and quickly stick it in.

One more time, I ran out the front door, down the deck, with rain drops pelting my back. Almost tumbling down the stairs, I caught myself the last minute from an ungraceful swan dive into a trellis/planter. That was a close one, I thought. Almost home free. OK, quickly open the garage door, and shove the friggin' ashtray stand in and get back inside!

Oh it just couldn't be that easy, could it? I opened the garage door, quickly put the ashtray stand inside and grabbed the outside handle to pull the garage door down. For some reason ... I also pulled the door down on the joint with my left hand ... and forgot to let go. I am going stop here for a minute so you can all digest this. I grabbed one of the many joints of the garage door and FORGOT TO LET GO!

My hand was caught and smashed between two garage door panels while it dragged me down into on the pavement. It all happened in seemingly slow motion but of course went by so quickly. I screamed as I heard popping and cracking sounds as my index, middle, and ring fingers on my left hand were smashed down to the size of a pita bread ... or a duck's webbed foot ... which ever may give you the clearer impression.

I literally couldn't not see the ends of my fingers in garage door and I think I stopped breathing for a minute or two. As I slumped down to the pavement, I realized that I could not pull my hand out. The second thing I realized was "Oh f*ck, I have to open the garage door to get my hand out!!!"

I reached up, saying "Oh sh*t, oh sh*t, my fingers are broken!" and pulled the garage door up and open. My hand heavily fell out with fingers now POUNDING as blood rushed back in. I looked over to see if my faithful neighbor Charlotte could possibly be asleep on the front porch from evening cocktails, but of course tonight, she was out visiting friends! How selfish of her!!!

Cradling my throbbing hand, I ran into the house thinking my next call would be for John to take me to the hospital for X-rays.

Worried as I now know my readers must be, I will put you at ease. My fingers have gone numb ... no doubt from a combination of pinched nerves and 151 rum. But anyway, 151 rum aside, they are swollen, turning purple, and I fear a loss of fingernails may only be a week away. But I have survived.

After John came home, he brought me down to the garage and showed me the dents between two of the garage panels where he got two fingers caught in the joint when we first moved in. Ironically, my three fingers were caught two feet to the right in the same joint. I have three dents down from his two. Can't we do anything different? At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that I have one more dent in the garage door than him. :)