Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Tribe

Hey people.  This post is all about me counting my lucky stars for having such awesome friends.  You guys all keep me sane and are what makes Suelandia 30 to 70% more awesome than other lands.

I'd be remiss if I didn't begin with Dan because he's my best friend after all. 

Even when he gets annoyed with me, he usually doesn't make a big deal out of stuff, and is good at joking around and being supportive of me even when I leave the t.v. on.

Basically, the part of me that is not so good at being grounded-- Dan compensates for that.  He makes things feel normal and like home, safe, and that is super important for my well-being.  ~love~

I'm lucky to also have a sister I'm friends with.  Lots of people don't.  When we were young she was kind of a pest sometimes, but now that we're adults she's one of my favorite people to hang out with.  She doesn't care that I'm giant dork, in fact we both are and it makes things more fun.

Who else could I robot dance in a bikini with?  (Don't ask me why my robot is pointing.)  (?)

I have a few friends who've known me for a long time.  I lose track of when certain things occurred, I don't keep good track of events.  But they knew me before I sold my first piece of art, possibly before I quit drinking but I'm not sure.  Having long term friends was kind of foreign to me until my mid thirties, because of being kind of nomadically raised I think.  Now I really value our connection.

You guys have heard me talk about good old Trusty Pam for a few years now.  She's a true pal.  One of our favorite sayings is "No one else will play with us!"  Our friendship is kind of funny because we're pretty different, but have been friends for so long now, and have spent so much time together, we've gotten a lot closer than either of us expected in the beginning.

One of my favorite things about her is that she's up for trying about anything I come up with.  She takes hits, and gets right back up and tries again.  She tells me stuff like, "Don't be such a big baby," although now most of the time it's as a joke.  We're always competing.  She's the champ of ~biggest bruise~ so far.

We've had some crazy adventures.  She's a lot of fun.

 And good to just hang out with too.

You know, when we're not crime fighting.

I'm lucky to have lots of friends who are artists.

They usually have no idea how cool they are, and it just adds to their coolness.  Their minds are always curious, and open.

They are explorers.  They all see things differently than ~normal people~, and often different from each other too, but they're always *paying attention* and it makes knowing them really interesting.

 I have friends who are young and spunky and up for anything-- bursting with energy.
A lot of my friends are actually up for anything.  It's probably a quality that attracts us to each other.

Most of my friends have a zany side, and like to goof around and laugh at themselves.  Some tell the ~funniest~ weirdest stories I've ever heard.

Most have a daredevil side too, that comes out in various ways.  Not everyone is up for risking life and limb doing things like mountain biking, but the sense of adventure is still definitely there.

My friends wind-up being outsidey if they aren't when I meet them.  It's pretty impossible to hang out with me if you aren't willing to be on the move a bit.  Surprisingly, most people I meet, given the chance or excuse, really love to run around in the woods in all kinds of weather.  Sometimes they haven't done much of it since they were kids, but others are like me and just never gave it up.  

I have friends that are mild-mannered, and friends who are bad-ass, but all the women I'm close to share certain qualities-- being smart, and genuine-- for ~reals~, and question things, and never feel like they're *done*, but are okay with riding out the journey.  They're scary strong and amazing.

Sometimes my friends become friends, and that's always cool.  It makes me feel like my tribe is expanding.

That's kind of a thing for me-- the tribe thing.  I like to think of my friends as my tribe-- like there is a group of people around me who care what happens to me, and I can learn from, and will tell me to get a clue when I need one, and reassure me I'm not a terrible person when i feel like maybe I am one.

Hopefully these smart women around me will help me make it through the last half of my forties and avoid the dreaded ~truck stop ho-bag~ look many women who need to be dragged kicking and screaming into their 50's take on.  Lots of them are older than me and still smokin' hot, so I'm paying close attention.

There are men in my tribe too-- besides Dan.  Some are friend's hubs.  It's nice to be able to do the ~couples thing~ sometimes so fun spouses come in handy.  :)

There are also mountain bikers who sort of let me hang around.  I never had brothers or cousins that I hung out with growing up, so it's fun to pal around with these guys a bit and feel accepted in their little club.

One has even become the goof-ball little brother I never had.  Despite this picture, which I couldn't resist using again, he's actually way cooler than me and super smart.  I think of him as the world's most bad-ass boyscout.

There are friends I'm still getting to know.  I want more girl riders in my tribe and will meet and develop more of them this year even if I have to create them myself.

I have friends who've died.

And friends who've moved on.

And a few I just don't see much anymore, but they're still in my tribe, because I think about them and the things I learned from them, and am glad to have known them.

All my friends help me feel okay, even when I'm having a tough time figuring out who I am, or feel kind of lost.  I feel like they still see me, and accept what's there, weirdness and all.

I obviously couldn't squeeze every single friend into this post, and don't even have pics of some friends, but I just wanted to say thanks.  Each of you makes up my world, you populate Suelandia

And remind me I'm living a very charmed and lucky life. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Hey people.  Everything starts with an idea.

Sure.  Everybody knows that right?  But really think about it--- look at that ring/ watch/ pen/ chair-- whatever is currently handy.  It started out as just an idea in someones head, and now it's *an object* in the physical world.  That thought is freaky and exciting and makes me think anything could be possible when I'm optimistically charged-up like I'm getting back to being now.  (Ray is continuing to do his part as you can see.)

I know many of you are curious about *new idea*, which still isn't ready to be revealed yet, but you know it's got to do with moving more towards 2-D.  Weirdly, I've dabbled in 2-D for years, just not sure what I was doing or why.  I've collected huge stacks of images I was drawn to for various reasons.  The other day an art pal came over and we just spent the day sorting through them, filling our tanks with creative ideas.

Sometimes an image will stick and work it's way into my sculptures.  See the gal standing on the horse?  I forgot I had this pic, but I did that "46" piece for my last show that had a girl standing on the back of a horse.  This soup of images is always floating in my brain.  Women especially. 

I've always liked combining and layering images in different ways.  One thing I'm doing in connection with *new idea* is looking very hard at what other people in the field I'm interested in are doing.  Most of the work seems to be done by male artists, something that is also the case with metal sculpture.  

I like the fact that so far I've not seen anything out there that is anything like what is in my head.  My work can be edgy, but I think it still definitely has a female vibe.   (None of the images below represent exactly what i have in mind.  This is all very old work from years ago.)

I especially like creating images that give off power, or create some kind of myth.

This friend I spent the day image-sorting with is very astute.  At one point she said, "You seem to really be about empowerment."  I liked that.  I've always wanted to help people realize their own inner awesomeness.  She has another friend, who I am anxious to get to know someday, who she said is more about groundedness.  It struck me how powerful those two concepts are, different energies, but equally powerful.

In the past, whenever I've gotten too absorbed in this-- the world of images, I've forced myself away from it because it's not my ~real work~.  The kind of art I get paid to do is sculpture.  "Get to work dummy."  It didn't matter how cool of an image I came up with, the most useful possible outcome for it would be as a sculpture idea, and it usually didn't translate.

How cool is she?

Sometimes they did though.  Another idea that won't go away is this fantasy about fictional cultures, or lost tribes, or intentionally formed tribes--- essentially people, usually women, who run away to Neverland and create their own culture and mythology.

The picture of this woman, who I think of as a prairie wife, really struck me.  She looks so bleak.  For some reason I wanted to jump into the picture and give her an alternate ending where she runs off to form a tribe of fierce warrior women, never to be dominated by men again.  The final product is something I think has a lot of impact.  Many people find it disturbing, but I like it even if it perhaps is a bit challenging.
The first sculpture I made based on the vague idea of her was called "The Watcher".  It used to be a big favorite of mine, and still has a vibe, but when I look at it now my skills have evolved so much its tin soldierish look really bothers me, and I left out the Native American influence.  The watcher turned into more of a bandit queen, but was still sprung from this.
This is a later version of the same idea.  This woman feels more empowered to me.  She looks happier, and has more energy.  To me she is a leader, The Chief, or possibly a magical creature. 
This version eventually became Jezebel Birdsong, and arguably, even Tina is an offshoot of this idea.

Now that *new idea* is brewing, I'm thinking maybe all this fooling around with images, which has been going on for about 10 years, maybe hasn't just been useless playtime.  I think there is now a way I can use these ideas for work, new work, a whole new area for me to explore.   It involves me working on some technical skills I've never bothered to develop though.  

One thing I'm doing while all this bubbles away in the crock pot of my head is working on drawing.  (This is just one area of self-education I'm working at.  There are many *new idea* require.)

I've always sketched rough ideas, but need to learn to actually draw.  All this is still fun, but now having something to aim at, to focus my energy towards, makes me way more into it.  (Don't judge, I know I have a long ways to go, but you have to start somewhere.)  :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day-- It's here at last!

Hey people.  Did you know the day after Christmas is called boxing day and is actually a holiday in some countries?  Sis and I were kidding around this morning about how maybe I should say THAT is my favorite holiday from now on.  Already looking forward to next year's and today isn't even over yet-- maybe it IS!

Since I haven't been around for a while here's a super short recap of recent events.  This super cute little guy is my nephew Jaden, and while they were visiting us the week before Christmas he had a bit of a medical complication that was quickly resolved, but was still mighty stressful for his poor mom (sis), and the whole family, and not very pleasant for him either.  He had to get a shunt in his brain replaced, and serious as that sounds, he is already home and completely fine.

Pretty cute little fart isn't he?  The other cute, but older fart is my dad.  Jaden is SUPER into him in case you can't tell.  Anyway, this is the kind of thing that puts all the usual bitching about random inconveniences into perspective.  ~Whew~ on him being A-okay again.  :)

Meanwhile, back in Suelandia...  This pic could be captioned, "I luv mom's butt."  "I luv it more dude."

Have I mentioned that cats are awesome lately?  Well they totally ARE.  I've had moments over the last couple weeks where my sanity was seriously strained.  I get super stressed around the holidays.  Super.  There's an Elvis Costello album called "Super Profane & Sugar Cane," and that wouldn't be a bad way to describe my mixed feelings this time of year, and it causes lots of ~stress~.  

One day this fb pal posted this thing about this monk talking about being present, and how if you just stop for a second and look around at what's going on that exact moment, and appreciate something about it, you'll be happier.

It was exactly what I needed at that moment, because I was in a loop of stress.  Once I did that, checked out the trees, the snow, the silence, and breathed in and out, I felt WAY better.  (Thanks Pete!)  Then I noticed that is what the cats, especially this little guy-- Ray-- do for me.    

He's just so freaking cute, and wants to snuggle all the time.  When he curls up on me my brain just shuts off and I go all goo-goo over him and love just pours out of me and it feels very healing.  I really think he's some kind of little furry gizmo the universe sent my way to help keep me from shorting-out.

Speaking of cool things the universe has tossed my way-- tah-dahhhhh.

Is this gorgeous or what?  I've been making a hiking trail through the woods the bike trail is in, to try to help keep walkers off the bike trail when conditions are not good for foot traffic, and also to give them somewhere to go over there so they (and me too) can still enjoy being in the woods.

Dan has even gone with me a few times.

And I can visit Tina on my travels too.  She doesn't seem to mind the snow at all.  A true MN girl!  (There are cookies in the toolbox-- *trail treats* for the riders, trail groomers, and, well, me too.  Heh.

Dan took the new pic at the top of the blog of me on our hike today.  I was laying in the snow and he was sort of crouching over me, and suddenly we realized if someone happened by it would look hilarious-- either like he was murdering me, or doing something else slightly less naughty and lots more fun.  We're now calling this *the scene of the giant pretend make-out session.*  

And a final note, about gratitude and being aware and present and all that good zen-like stuff.  I looked up on our way out and it was clouding-up again, but there was still a hole of blue showing.  The blue sky still visible looked super intensely blue compared to the pretty monochromatic landscape & clouds.

It really made me appreciate that little patch of blue, probably more than I would have had the entire sky been clear.  Kind of made me think of how much I don't enjoy ~the holidays~.   They do serve to make me appreciate my ordinary life quite a bit though. 

I think there's really something to having a whole broad range of experiences etc, highs and lows, to give you a palette kind of.