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Friday, May 27, 2011

Suffering from Americanism

Are we frustrated with the way things are?
Would we like them to change?
What can we do about it?
Let's talk about that...

Hi, I'm Lolly (not my real name), I'm an Americanaholic...

Tongue in cheek, I say this, but after listening to Mr. Mosley, I am convinced. We have a serious problem and we are living in denial. I ordered this book from, my favorite place to order new and used books.
I don't want to waste anymore time pondering the idea of what is wrong, I want to take some kind of personal responsibility.
I think I am doing this everyday with the simple decisions I make, like, not shopping at Wal-mart, spending inordinate amounts of time recycling everything I can, trying to purchase only what I really need. I'm up-cycling, recycling, buying organic, natural products. I don't eat meat.
We keep hearing that we are the richest country in the world.
Mr. Mosley puts it into a perspective I haven't heard before, interpreting our common wealth as the value of each individual. It is not right that as wealthy in resources as our America is that so many of us are truly in the "working class". That group of people who, if out of work for more that 2 weeks, stand to loose everything.
Middle class people, apparently can last a year before they have to panic.
This has to stop. And I believe that, "yes we can" start talking about change in a real way. Change that will improve all of our lives.
The wealth of our America belongs to us.
Listen to what he has to say. Maybe read his book with me and lets keep a conversation going.
It's So Good for us all to find the answers and not look to leaders who are after their own interests, way out of our league and leaving us in their dust.

What can we do? We have to talk about it. Let's start talking...

Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation

by Walter Mosley


"In his late teens and early twenties, Walter Mosley was addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. Drawing from this intimate knowledge of addiction and recovery, Mosley explores the deviances of contemporary America and describes a society in thrall to its own consumption. Although Americans live in the richest country on earth, many citizens exist on the brink of poverty, and from that profound economic inequality stems self-destructive behavior.
In Twelve Steps to Political Revelation, Mosley outlines a guide to recovery from oppression. First we must identify the problems that surround us. Next we must actively work together to create a just, more holistic society. And finally, power must be returned to the embrace of the people.
Challenging and original, Recovery confronts both self-understanding and how we define ourselves in relation to others."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sleeve It To Me

All things round and well-rounded: Up-cycled, recycled, natural, organic, useful, necessary, uplifting, whole. Made in the USA, made locally, vegan, artistic, inspiring...some of the criterion used for deciding what can be included in the selection of articles available for sale at Lollipops & Polka Dots.  (oh, and keeping things out of landfills!)
The other day, I needed to get myself centered. It seems like sewing does that for me. 
Having left San Manuel and the Dell Dixon project totally inspired, I set out this day to see if I could reverse engineer a Japanese sleeping futon. 

Well, I didn't get very far along in the process of reverse-engineering this new product concept..I started playing with items I had on hand to find some inspiration. 
Before I knew it, I was well on my way to making a little "Haute Handbag" out of a sleeve from an old flannel shirt I had stopped wearing for some reason.

"Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect."

I got rather lost in the process. I spent the whole day making this little thing.
First I cut the sleeve out from the body of the shirt and made a pillow from the remaining front and back of the shirt. 
(Remember now, the idea was to come up with a concept for making futons from sleeves.)
Once I got the sleeves cut off, the pillow took off on its own. 
I came back later and flipped the sleeve around every which way but loose to think of how I could develop it into something.
This just came into being.
I cut the sleeve into two pieces. That was a brave act. I had no idea (I didn't think) where I was going.
I stitched the sleeve shoulder to itself to form an envelope of sorts and got bored with that section.
The cuff seemed to have so much more texture and complexity and held much more innovative potential. "In-sew-vation"
I stitched the cut end to itself and then made it a flat bottom. Then I had to think of how I could fashion a strap for carrying it.
One thing led to another and eventually I decided it needed an inner pocket (made from a recycled, hand-me-down skirt). While I was figuring out the length and width, I thought I knew exactly where I wanted to form the casing for the ties and drew a magic marker line to define the placement of where to fold and stitch.
What would I use to hide that mistake...?
Out to my box of ribbons to see which would go.  
Go? I don't really think bright purple really "goes" with gray plaid, but it was what I wanted to use. Bright purple ric rack it was.
So then the handle had to be purple too. I think I spent a full hour braiding those tiny pieces of black, purple and cream 1/8 inch satin ribbon into a cord for the drawstring.
I stopped counting braids at 200. I got distracted with some other thought.

The inside pouch slumped too much, so I secured it on one side of the cuff with a purple zig zag anchor. And to keep it from coming away from the bottom, I stitched the two sides of the bottoms together.

Then I thought..."I think it would be nice if it could be worn on a belt." 
I fashioned a loop and purple zig zagged the edges. I anchored it to the outside and flipped it in to the inside and anchored it along the cuff line. The loop was too big, even though it made a nice wrist loop; so to make it better for wearing on a belt, I added a button hole and vintage button.
I don't own much of anything that doesn't have a piece of paint on it somewhere. In this case, it just happened to be purple paint. Big surprise.
  I wore my little pouch purse to church and made sure everyone took a look-see. It met with everyone's approval. They couldn't believe it when I took all the contents out so they could twist it all around...
my cell phone, a bundle of keys, credit cards, sunglasses, eyeglasses, money and my driver's license. 
It's a not-for-profit item though. Or, if you love someone enough to take a day to make them a gift. 
It would make a nice ladies group project, everyone inventing their own  combinations of color and fabrics.
Little Red-Haired Girl kept me company all day long.

Thank you, my other sweet little girl.

Yes, we know she is a "little" too pudgy!
Pudgy Mudgie =o)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beat Up Old Things

Today was "Pot-Blessed" at church. Plus I have been asked to be one of the "counters" for the offering.
When I got up, my sister asked me where my car was?
I forgot my friend had told me last night that it was still "apart" for a new thermostat. He had gotten one that seemed to let the car (beat up old 1983, painted purple, Toyota pick-up that I have had since it's birth) run on the "too hot" side and wasn't satisfied.
I called him, "How am I supposed to get to church today?", I kindly chided.
"You sound like a damsel in distress. You better call someone for help."
"I am. I'm calling you."
We had already talked last night. He knew I was going to church, I knew he was on his way to Sierra Vista for the day. I don't know why I thought he could help. I guess I just needed to get the statement out there.
My sister had already offered for me to drive her new old beat up Mitsubishi truck.
"Why don't you take my truck. I want you to see how it drives anyway? I'm not going anywhere. I'm gonna walk the dogs, exercise..."
We settled on that idea.
"You just need to go easy on the shifter and really push the peddle in hard to get it into reverse."
Off I went, driving her new old pride and joy.
Somewhere in the middle of the sermon, Pastor Lupe brought up a story about driving some 1962 beat up old car to pick up another Pastor friend on their way to an event. That friend had made a statement about Pastor Lupe's congregation "keeping him humble."
Up to that statement, Pastor Lupe had been quite content to be free of debt for a car, have lower than low insurance and registration fees and be able to navigate his daily chores and responsibilities unencumbered, without that stress hanging over his head.
(There were so many other, better things to worry about and spend money on.)

I used to come out to visit my sister, before I lived here. As soon as I got any time off from the drudge of work, I would drive my, then cream colored, old beat up 1983 Toyota pick-up truck across the desert to spend the time out in the boonies with her.
If that truck could talk... boy the stories. I could write a book. For the most part, Bartholomew (my faithful friend) got me through safely. Me and my 260 air know "roll both windows down and drive 60 mph".
(I'll tell more of those Bartholomew and me stories  eventually.)
I don't know how anyone lives without a truck.

I would arrive at my sister's gate and out would fly several dogs to greet me. All of them barking their hellos. The one that touched me the most (before Bungee Cord came along) was Princess. She was a beat up old thing. She could barely see. She was lame, but she came flying out there too, with the crowd, with her little old lips pursed like as if to form an "O" and she had a bark that told that time was getting behind her. She was sweet. And she had had quite a life... When my sis had lived in "the big city" her neighbor had fallen in love with Princess and wanted her. He kept her for many years and loved her up. Eventually he got so old himself and was going to Hawaii to live out his days. They wouldn't let him bring her unless he quarantined her. It was too cruel for his love of her to imagine, so he asked my sister to care for her again.
Princess had a lot of issues. She was kind of stinky too. But you just had to love her and the stink was just a part of her package. I loved her old-lady bark and her old worn out sniffer. She had such wisdom in her foggy old eyes. And so much love too.

Old things remind us constantly of not giving up.

I have been a designer most of my career, working in people's homes, helping them to make their spaces what they want. I can't tell you how many very old customers I have had who were some of my best because they were gonna make there homes exactly what they wanted til the day they died. I was always inspired by the oldest ones.

One lady wore a mask to keep bacteria from her lungs and lived in housing with her husband who was dying of cancer (though you'd hardly know it). His bed was in the middle of their one room. She had messes everywhere, piles of papers, just accumulations. It was dirty and fussy. But she was determined to have those "purple drapes" she had always wanted. She had a huge front window. We designed a set of soft pastel purple-y blue sheers under a dark purple-y blue satin over-drape. Her old neighbors all filed in to see what she had picked out. She couldn't wait for them to arrive once we got the papers all set. She was in her 90's. I think the curtains were 1,000 of her hard earned dollars or so. It didn't matter. She wanted them.

People live until they die. Cars run until people give up on fixing what ails them. Old dogs bark as long as they have it in them to form their little lips around an "O".
"Oww, oww, oww", Princess would say.

My old beat up purple truck sounds like it is grinding to a halt. But I'm gonna do all I can to stop it from happening. I'm not giving up. It moans. It groans. The windows struggle to grind their way up and down. The dash is burned off from the sun. There is a hole where the radio used to be. The peddles are bare medal, they need new tread. Someone in a big motor home backed up into my hood recently and drove off with me waving my hands in the air. It has a new pushed up nose now. Kind of snooty. Some of its original cream color paint has been exposed and the metal is starting to rust. It has an old camper shell on it that doesn't really fit. When I was up in Northern California trying to make a "camping adventure" work out, to get out from mildewing sleeping bags, I had had a local man spend a day of conversation with me, fitting it to my truck. I heard his whole life story while he rigged me up so my two dogs and I could sleep in it while it continued to poor down rain. He was kind of an old thing too, a very good looking old thing, married though, for about the 4th time I think. But he loved his camper shop and he was gonna make that shell work for me. And he did. It cost me about $150 and a day of listening to charming stories.

I love old things. They tell the story of not giving up. Of continuing to try. Of loving life and holding on.

Sometimes I think I am old. Sometime I don't. I forget that I have lived since 1954. My sister and I go walk the track at the school yard across the street from my house  and then we swing for awhile in the elementary section and talk and reminisce. When we walk by the classrooms it is eerily similar to our own elementary school memories. Some happy, some sad.
When we get up off of the swings, me a little sooner than she because they make me feel "sea sick", we creek a little. Our hips hurt from the pressure of the swing strap. We both agree we need to bring gloves next time to tolerate the chain.
I can remember running in the gravel with bare feet when we were little. I can barely step out front where a couple little pebbles need to be swept away from my walkway. Baby feet still have fat on them. It diminishes with age.
I need tread like my old truck peddles do.
But we both get along. I just have to remember to grab a pair of flip flops before racing to the gate to bark hello to my friends or out to turn the water off. Otherwise I walk a tightrope getting there and back.
Walking life is a tightrope event. The best hope is to get old in the process. I love old things. They have charming stories to tell.
I hope I can get really, really old and that there are always old dogs and beat up old purple trucks going there with me.

"Bartholomew lived on the brighter side of life, unruffled, serene, cheerful."
"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"...
"Here is a man in whom there is no deception." 

There are some Twinkies that aren't as old as others, and one that just gets better with age. <3

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Serendipity and The Power of Rowing of Rowing the Boat

Last Wed night, I made the comment that, "I feel like I am pretending to believe in GOD".
My study group was meeting at my home.

My sister and I have both been struggling with different life issues, trying to stay positive and hopeful and not give in to our own negative thinking. We had just held hands that morning and prayed. Not feeling like we were really believing, but deciding to just trust, even in our individual states of disbelief, in the power outside of our own understanding to change our conditions, we held hands and prayed.

"Funny you should bring that up", the leader of my group said. "I have noticed that we all pray in church and then don't expect the changes we pray for. We don't seem to believe."
My study group went on to talk about believing. We brought up miracles. I mentioned that miracles are the only reason I have any faith to believe at all, but that the miracles I meet are little, everyday miracles. Things that, buy themselves, just don't seem possible to have happened...

Like my car breaking down, not on the freeway, but right in the middle of a busy street where there was a nook cut out of the road for just the purpose of pushing a car out of the way. And there just happened to be a man able to push it out of the way, who just happened to be there at just the right time and who didn't turn his back on us but came flying across the street offering such help, and who knew what to do and how to calm my friend from panic. Miracles. I say, miracles.

I was just about ready to take off on a long trip, and had almost forfeited the rental thinking I had my car so nicely packed and it seemed to be driving so well.
"I think you had better take the rental", my friend had advised. "Your car has so many miles on it and you just don't know..."

We say that the "devil is in the details". More so, GOD is.

This morning I got up and thought maybe it is time to "look for a J.O.B."
Someone in my head said, "You are an entrepreneur, you are an entrepreneur, you are an entrepreneur."
So instead, I decided to get busy with figuring out my next move. Find a way to overcome the next hurdle.

I had just traveled to San Manuel this past weekend to meet with another entrepreneur to see if we thought our ideas could be meshed or how we could help each other. He had responded to a post I had been advised by my SBA to make on Craigslist as a test to check interest in my idea. He couldn't have been a more perfect response. The power of rowing the boat.

I decided to investigate San Manuel a little more. I typed those keywords in the browser and up popped several links. One stood out,
I spent the better part of the day following his links, watching video's, reading his blog and other's, sending it to friends and posting it on facebook and twitter.

Serendipity. Miracles. Just the dose of medicine my soul needed.

Everything on his site was something I needed to hear or read. I sat fixed. He referenced success stories in his "entrepreneur of the month". He had clever ideas to solve simple problems of office clutter. All kinds of links to inspiration and advice not to mention his own.

So many wonderful people doing such wonderful things. What makes me think I can't as well?

The devil is in the details. More so, GOD is. And besides which, who is the stronger? Why do we spend any time listening to that fallen angel?

Our group talked about why we all "enjoy" talking about negative aspects of life so much. Why do we all spend so much time commiserating?

Just look at the smile on Tomas's face. He obviously has a lot of emotional capital.

Now, while I was downloading his picture and finding the link I wanted to reference to him, I ran into this mention on his site "Rest in Peace Little Rollie..." and just couldn't believe my eyes.

I started this blog so that I wouldn't have to change the existing front page on my other blog
because of an eerily similar tribute to my beloved Stevie. I can't seem to let her go and I want to see her sweet life in front of me at the click of a button.

Thank you Tomas for your site and all your obvious hard work.

Those are the miracles I'm talkin' about.

"Emotional Capital is the currency you use to wake up every day and fight the battle. It’s the passion, enthusiasm and positive outlook that propel you through your day, keeping you driven to achieve your goals. It’s the balancing of work, family, and emotional and physical health."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Closing Doors

When doors keep closing, it has to be a clue that you need to look for another way to get through to wherever it is you are headed.
My own car broke down in Phoenix as I was leaving the dealer with a rental for a business trip I was taking to California. "The engine is dead and it will hardly be worth it to invest any more into a car with this many miles on it," the mechanic said.
I would deal with that problem when I got home. I was determined to focus on the future.
The business plans in California couldn't seem to congeal. We couldn't find a perfect building and when we did find one we liked, it was on a redevelopment agenda and wasn't available. Those doors weren't closing, they just weren't opening...yet. So, we both decided to keep our "low overhead operations" going until we could devise a better strategy.
Only a few days after returning home from California, my beloved Stevie Girl, doggy died suddenly. She died in my arms. She had been sick three years earlier so it wasn't completely unexpected, just sudden. She made it very easy on me and didn't put me through prolonged agony. What a sweet doggy girl. I miss her so.
A huge hole developed in my heart and suddenly nothing here looked good anymore. But I thought my options were limited and I would have to be content with what I had and make the most of it.
I was determined to try to keep going with my business here in AZ so I placed an order with my supplier, and didn't hear anything. Low motivation, (I think I knew something was leading me away) when I finally called the supplier, I discovered that they were no longer able to deliver in AZ and the new supplier wouldn't set up an account unless you have a brick and mortar shop. Another door, slamming in my face since I had just recently moved my products to my home studio because the door was not swinging open wide enough to do business in town. I thought I wouldn't throw anymore good money at that attempt, I had decided to reduce my overhead and just cater to the few loyal clients I had developed until I could devise a better strategy.
Ces't Si Bon, It's So Good...
My nickname from childhood has been Say See Bones. My sister calls me that  more than my real name. We have never known how it was supposed to be spelled, we made it up from how it sounded. We never remember asking Mom.
When I did a browser search, sure enough it directs traffic, even spelled phonetically. I remember someone telling me it had a French version so I searched that. It's So Good. Ces't Si Bon. a song sung by several artists, the lyrics being reinterpreted in English to be somewhat different from the original. But I now am convinced that it must have influenced my parents as they were "In Love" exactly at that time. I want to presume that they started using that nickname on me as a little secret expression of their own love for each other. It's a romantic thought. I'm a hopeless romantic.
So, with a nickname It's So Good, I must always be mindful to make lemonade from my lemons and to look on the bright, loving side of things.
I'll reinterpret it again, it's all good. Oh, not my doggy dying. Never that.
It has changed the course of things whether I like it or not. The hole in my heart reminds me of how it needs to be filled with something. Something honoring her memory. She has been the motivation behind a great deal of decision making I have done over the course of her 14 years in my life. Like any child would influence a parent, she was like a child to me. The decisions I would make would impact her, so I was always mindful of that.
I still have a little red-haired girl for whom I will need to be mindful. (not the one on the couch below) She is giving me one of her looks as we speak. The "can you drop some more food my way" look. Pudgie Mudgie.
She is blessed to be an airhead, but my pet sitter reminds me that dogs are always grateful to be the only child. She has changed her barking style to simulate one of my sister's dogs. I guess she is a follower. She never made a move without seeing what Stevie was gonna do first. Now she is howling to mimic the high pitch of my sister's healer.
So I guess it is Pudgie Mudgie and me on this new adventure. We have to carve out a new life. The doors are all closing on this chapter so we think it must be time to find It's So Good somewhere else.
At least that is the plan today.
Ces't Si Bon