Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The big four-eight

Hey people.  Yep.  It's mah birthday. 

Okay, here's a ~slightly~ more recent one, from when I was about 18.

Add about 30 years and stir, shake, rattle and roll, and here's what ya get.  Kind of the same?  (But trust me people, it's been a trip.)  Some of me feels EXACTLY the same.  But I'd never have dreamed back then of the life I have now.

So here's what 48 looks like. If you are me. 

Annndddd here's what it looks like when you hold the camera slightly above your face.  (Take note, gals who have not learned this trick.)  I know I've said this other birthdays, and I guess it shows how lucky I am, but I feel happier now than I have ever been, and I've learned a few things,

One is, as I suspected, you really don't need algebra.  Sorry math teachers everywhere.  The jig is up.  The thing is, if there ever is an instance where you need higher math, rest assured there will be some nerd nearby who has been waiting for years to come in handy in this very way, who will figure whatever it is out for you.  Or there is always a calculator.  Take that, math.

Seriously though, this chart depicts life 101 in a nutshell.  Really what more do you need to know?

Another thing I've learned is that it is okay for me to be various contradictory ways.  I can be fancy, as you well know. 

But quite often I'm not.  I continue to be the world's girliest tomboy.  Also I try to be positive, but know depression on a first name basis.  I can be pretty articulate for someone who says "fuck" so often.  (Relax, it's not that often.)  I'm a giant dork who people often mistake for being ~cool~.  And so on.

This post was just interrupted so I could go rinse the color off my roots.  Take that, aging, you mutha.  (That one's for you grandma!  Never throw in the towel!)

I heard something recently that made me go, "Yeah-- that is all any of this is really about."

It was video of the tornado that went through Joplin.  It was an F4 that scoured the town from the Earth in a matter of seconds.  In a convenience store, people crowded into a walk-in refrigerator, the only shelter available.  The video went black as the door shut, but the audio kept rolling.

You could hear crashing, a roar, and then a guy's breaking voice crying out, "I love you!  I love you all!" followed by a tiny chorus of other frightened voices echoing, "I love you!  I love you all too!"  Then static.

They somehow survived, even though the store they were in and everything else for miles around was leveled.  The walk-in they took refuge in was blown apart, but everyone inside was unharmed, and able to crawl out from under the debris.  They were certain they were about to die, and their last moment was spent trying to send their sparks of love out into the world, into the universe, into the great unknown.  It made me cry.

So that is what life looks like to me at 48.  If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong.  If you are about connecting to people, and bringing positivity and light into the world, and are trying your best, to be patient, and give others a break, and your own dumb self a break too, you are probably on the right track.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The *lovely* day

Hey people.  My day started off pretty dang nice.  This lady stopped me outside Target and said, "Excuse me, I just had to tell you, you look so lovely, with your pretty scarf and all the bracelets and everything.  You really look nice."  I could hardly believe it!  It was funny because just before I left I thought, "Oh what the hell.  I have this scarf and it takes two seconds to whip it on.  Might as well."

It was funny too, because last night Dan and I were watching TV and there was some drop dead gorgeous woman on, and I said, "I wish I was pretty."  He goes, "You are!" (28 years of being in a relationship is not lost on this guy)  I said, "Well, I'm glad you think so, but it would be fun to be really pretty.  But then again people would probably stop me in the street all the time etc, and it would be hard to get anything done!"  (This, of course, was sarcasm.  I'm sure-- can you imagine???)  LOL.

Anyway, this lady was pretty cool to risk approaching a total stranger just to brighten my day a little.  I'm going to remember that for a while and try to pass on the niceness vibe.

Art-wise I've been bizzzzeh people.  Every single thing I've done this week has taken at least 3 times longer than I thought it would.  Exhibit A-- deer legs.  They look pretty good here, and I went to bed feeling like ~the king of deer legs~ (said in echo-y announcer voice).  But alas, the next day I realized the hooves were too small for the scale of the entire animal, and those hocks--- too horsey!

Thank God for google image search.  I took a little deer foot anatomy lesson and at least figured out what went wrong.  I had to remake the two that had taken me about a day and a half to figure out, and make 2 more.  I'm STILL putting the finishing touches on, and it's the end of the week! 

But, it'll be worth it.  The feet of an animal or bird are an important detail.  You get that right, everything builds from there and comes out WAY better.  I'm expecting framing in the body to go super fast this weekend.  The head will be like the feet-- a detail that will take some finessing, but getting it right will make all the difference.

The project I'm working on has to be kept a bit secret until I present it to the potential client.  Once I do I can spill all the beans, but until then you just get snippets.  Suffice to say, this project is taking me farther out of my art box than I have ever been.  Well, scratch that, having to learn stained glass was probably farther out, but still, lots of new territory.

I work off sketches.  I like to do multiple poses while I decide what I'm going to make.  I like a lot of movement and *life* in my pieces.  For this I needed some more static, juvenile images too, that are instantly recognizable.

These will be massed together in sort of a puzzle-piece collage.  That's about all I can tell you for now.  (Can you tell how old-school I am?  Pencil & paper; cutting pieces out and moving them around, etc etc?)

But this job is thrusting me into the 21st century.  If I get this job I'll need almost a thousand of these cut out of metal.  There is no way I could do that by hand, so I'm working with a fab shop (laser cutting).  The thing is-- those guys don't speak pencil sketch.  They're cad guys.  So I had to figure out if I could convert illustrator files to cad (yep-- but it took me about 3 hours to figure this out), then redraw my images on the computer.  I think I've told you this is WAY different than normal drawing.

The hand drawn batch took me about an hour max.  To get the same images drawn in illustrator took me 5 hours.  5!  This is because-- yes-- I'm still learning the program, but still-- urgggg.  Sooo slooow.
After this week my hands, eyes, and brain were fried, and I still have to weld my butt off for the next 4 straight days to meet a deadline.

After calling it a day-- I needed a restoration break-- to the woods!  It was kind of gross and hot, but I enjoyed just hiking around a little and prepping some stuff for our Mon night work session.  It put some air back in my tires just being over there.  Ahhhh. 

I rode my bike up and down the road just to get me to my spot to hike.  I've been spending a lot of time on the bike.  I've been taking newbies out on the trail-- girls who've wanted to try it out, but wanted a one on one beginner lesson, and leading some group rides *just for chicks*.  I've even hit it by myself a few times, just to get a lap in where I can go whatever speed I want without having to wait for people.

I'm learning some new stuff about riding.  I've always ridden back a bit, feeling that was the safest position to be in, and used my brakes, feathering them going into turns etc.  I've been reading tips about weighting the front wheel more in a turn.  That knee thing I noticed before-- I think that may have more to do with this, although pointing your knee where you want to go seems to help.

I even read about riders who actually take their inside foot off the pedal on a turn, and hang their leg forward w/o touching the ground to help their bike corner better.  Lots don't do this, because their feet are clipped in, but I'm guessing they are able to shift a hip forward or something to kind of get a similar effect.  Anyway, now when I've been going into turns I'm thinking way more-- Shift a hip?  Hang a leg?  Feather the break?  Analysis paralysis has bitten me in the butt a few times and I've found myself having to grab the brake and skid to avoid trees etc.

As predicted, I will always always have more to learn about this and challenge myself with.  I love it, and hope I am able keep forming a tribe I can ride with, expanding it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Hey people.  This post has been a long time coming.  I think my mom would agree that our relationship, is probably our most challenging and complicated, for each of us.  Here's how I see it all now.

There is no denying, my mom was a beauty when she had me, in her twenties.

She wanted very badly to be a mom, and was on the job from the moment they wheeled her from the delivery room.  

She loved it, even though it was harder then, cloth diapers etc etc, but she was focused, on me.  I actually remember this cake.  It was my first birthday.  I remember being fascinated with all the animals.  I remember her always looking like this too-- spiffed.  Well turned-out.  Pretty and stylish.

It must have been challenging raising a genius like me.  Here I am reading to her at age 1.  (Just kidding)  But seriously, she spent tons of time with me.  TONS.  You don't get a little kid to enjoy story time like this unless it's a habit.

She wasn't outdoorsy; that was more my dad's background, but she knew part of her job was to help me experience everything.

Isn't this swimsuit slammin?  (hers not mine)  She really liked this job, and was good at it.

I remember she used to make little *tea parties* for us.  I preferred playing outside whenever possible, but things like this always made me feel *paid attention to*.  She used to make pies and make me my own special little tart as an extra.  I had no idea every kid didn't get this kind of attention.

And it's not like she learned this from example.  I can say this because my grandma doesn't have the internet and will never see this, but my mom's childhood was nothing like mine.  Everyone does their best (supposedly), but I basically come from a long line of sub-par moms.  My grandma's mother (a widow) was too busy rather joylessly trying to survive to show her much affection/attention.  It wasn't personal, and wasn't because she was a horrible person, but she was an orphan who had been farmed out to work from about age 5, and in her world, life was basically *tough noogies*.  My mom was determined to break the pattern and actually studied how to be the best possible mom.

The whole nature/nurture argument is muddled.  I know people who had horrible childhoods who turned out to be amazing people, and vice versa too.  I think we become who we are both because of, and in spite of, our parents, and also just because of who we are autonomously inside.  I think the early years of complete support I got, perhaps instilled, or maybe enhanced a confidence that was innate in me.  However it happened, by the time I turned 16 my independence was burning a hole through me, and our relationship became defined by conflict.  I was no longer recognizable to her, and I certainly didn't want any more mothering.  I was seething and plotting my escape.  She was unhappy, disappointed...  It was pretty bad.   

It took many years for us to become close again, and even then, decades to really find peace with each other.  When I look back at the old pictures from when I was little, it helps me understand how frustrating it must have been for her to watch me become someone so different that she thought I would be.  Hard to accept that, especially during the hard years.

Families are messy aren't they?  Unless everyone is fooling themselves or has a giant stick up their butt, they are complicated messy affairs.  Now mom has accepted that hers, while less picture perfect than she probably imagined as a young mother, has it's own unique charm.

Her kids, (my poor mom) came out way weirder than I'm sure she ever dreamed they would.

We take chances she cannot believe, serious ones and lighthearted ones.  I know that is one thing that continues to be difficult for her-- she can't keep us safe, and we seem to care far less about BEING safe, than she would like.

She loves us, even if we are, at times, a bit of a mystery to her.  She loves situations where she can fall into her role as our mom.  It's like a time machine for all of us I guess.  My sister really needed a nice birthday this year, and mom made her her favorite cake, even though her preference would have been to make another, fancier kind.

And she frequently makes my favorite dish-- cheese soufle√© when i visit her.  This is a time consuming, labor intensive dish, but she likes to try to make me feel special.  (she will absolutely hate this picture, but I like it, because she is smiling so big.)

Check this stuff out------  yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I skipped-out on this deal.  I always knew I'd be a crappy mother, and knew from a very early age I never wanted kids.  I've always been just a daughter.  Mom has had to be both.  

These days it seems like we have stuff most of the way figured out.  We are so different.  When I think of how very different we are, and all the war-torn years we battled it out, it seems pretty incredible we have any relationship at all now, much less a good one.  We have worked hard to get to this point, both of us.  We've had to get to know each other all over again at times, or adapt our old impression of each other to fit the person standing before us.  I think it speaks to a big big love that we will always do this.  We will always find ways to accept each other and enjoy our relationship as time shifts it around underneath us.

I love you mom.