humor


The Cat Who Created the Universe
(Originally published July 13th, 2011 on TaraFly’s art blog)

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”
~ Genesis 1:1

To hear a human tell it, you’d think it was in fact The Beginning… but what do silly humans know?

But in all honesty, the heavens and earth were created simply because Samson had spent entirely too long waiting for his lunch.

You see, the omnipotent Creator – a self-serving title if ever there was one – dwelt with a black and white tomcat named Samson.

Samson was well-mannered.   He didn’t spray the edges of the cosmos (which would be gross, considering the lack of gravity), nor did he attack Jehovah’s wiggling toes while He rested, and he even refrained from sharpening his claws on the Throne of Judgement… although he did shed a few hairs upon it, but that was to be expected from such a fluff ball as Sam.

Samson was also patient and longsuffering, which served him well as the Pet of God… since his Master was usually busy in business meetings with angel investors, and seldom remembered to feed poor Samson.

One unremarkable day, God left early for work and forgot to fill Samson’s breakfast bowl… and when lunchtime passed and He hadn’t returned, Samson became very irritable and extremely hungry.

So He escaped through a wormhole that the Lord had accidentally left open, and off he went in search of food.

He soon found himself in an uncharted area of deep space; a dark and cold place, nearly void except for a few drifting chunks of rock.

“Well this certainly won’t do,” Sam shivered, as he hovered near one of the empty worlds.
“Let there be light at least.”

He flicked his paw in a offish manner, and immediately the galaxy was illuminated by a blanket of light and warmth.
Samson purred, This is much better.

He could feel his thick black fur getting toasty warm, and he rolled around in a large patch of light, and began bathing himself.

As he groomed, his fur began to shed over the face of the planet beneath him… a dense carpet layering itself into an atmosphere.

His stomach grumbled, reminding him why he’d journeyed here in the first place: the quest for food.
Where did his Master get those sacks of delicious tidbits?

No matter, he was determined to hunt down something to eat. But there were no birds or fish in this barren place.

He settled upon the closest planet, and made an attempt to land, but it was completely covered in water.
Icky, wet water.

“Go away!” he yowled, and the water retreated away from his paws.

The liquid pooled together into deep oceans and lakes, and shallow rivulets, leaving pockets of dry land across the surface of the planet.
Samson purred, This isn’t so bad.

He rolled around in a patch of newly created dirt, and drank thirstily from the cool stream nearby.
But his tummy still growled.

“I wish I had some grass to chew on,” he mused.

And immediately fresh green shoots sprouted up from the earth; the desert was covered in a blanket of lush grass, dandelions, clover, and most surprisingly of all…
Catnip!

Samson purred, This is the good stuff!
He rolled around in a patch of delicious grass, gnawing and nibbling upon each tender stalk.

He stretched out his claws, and a giant fruit tree grew right out of the ground in front of him.
Samson wasted no time in sinking his nails into the soft bark of the tree.

He frolicked through fields of clovers, climbed fruit trees, and gorged himself on catnip… until it dawned on him that he wasn’t certain what time it was.
And he was getting sleepy.
God might have returned home from work already; would Samson be missed?

“Bah, He’ll never notice that I’m gone,” poor Sam sniffed dejectedly. “He can recall the number of the stars… but can’t remember to feed his own cat.”

The thought made Samson sad. He curled himself into a ball, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.

When Samson awoke from his nap, he noticed something had changed.
The omnipresent light had formed into tiny shapes; stars were stretching out across the sky. There were too many for Samson to count.
He also noticed a round disc glowing among the stars. A moon.
It’s mirrored surface reflected the bright light of one particularly large star, the sun.

Samson purred at the moon, “Hello, Moon. Pleasure to meet you.”

Then his stomach growled, as if to say Remember me?

He swallowed a few mouthfuls of new grass, but craved something more substantial.
“I want meat,” he meowed hungrily.

His eye caught movement in the weeds… a field mouse scurried out of the tall grass, catching sight of a juicy clover leaf, and headed straight towards Samson’s waiting paws.
Never having seen a cat before, the poor mouse didn’t know any better…

His fate became known throughout history as “The Temptation and Fall of Mouse”, serving as a lesson to every generation of mice from that day forward.

A small field mouse made a tasty snack, but Samson was still hungry.
Up in the sky, a sudden darting motion captured his attention… there were birds flying high in the clouds.
They landed on the trees’ topmost branches, and took off again into the air, circling and gliding.

Samson didn’t think he could catch them easily, so instead he wandered over to the stream for a drink.

Lapping up the clear water with his pink tongue, he noticed a small group of fish swimming along the rocky bottom.
He caught a few of them with a cupped paw, and greedily swallowed them whole.

Sam’s stomach rumbled objectively, and he coughed up bits of the fish heads.
At last, he purred, All better now.

Samson spent the next few days enjoying this new planet he had created, with its light, and grass, and trees, and moon, and most importantly, its food…

He soon forgot the reason he left home in the first place.
When he finally remembered God, he thought about those evenings spent curled up in his Master’s lap.
He longed to feel the warmth of love and companionship, the murmur of a voice talking gently, the beating of a heart echoing his purr, and nimble fingers scratching him in all the difficult-to-reach places.

“I wish someone were here to pet me,” Samson cried sorrowfully.

And from the ground rose a cloud of dust, swirling and solidifying into a human form. It had skin and hair, a face and hands… it smiled, and reached for Samson.

Samson was afraid of this creature at first, but the human came slowly towards him, bent down and began rubbing the black and white cat’s head.
Then he scratched Samson behind the ears, and under his furry chin.

Samson purred, “This is heaven!”

He allowed the man to pick him up, and carry him into the woods, to a cottage built from logs in the middle of a clearing.

There was a stream nearby, where Samson taught the man to fish. And a large field where he taught the man to hunt.
Every day, the man brought home food to feed Samson.
And every evening, the man sat by a fire and sang songs, with Samson curled in his lap, purring along.

Days turned into weeks… Samson and the man, whom he’d decided to name Adam, had settled comfortably in the log cottage.

One spring day, Samson was frolicking idly in the clover and catnip, when he happened upon a young female cat, a very lovely calico. He persuaded her to follow him home, and become his mate.

After awhile, the two felines eventually noticed that Adam was sad because he lacked a mate of his own kind… and taking pity on the kind man, they decided to create a human lady-friend for Adam; they named her Eve.

_____________________________________________________________________Weeks turned into seasons… the cats multiplied quickly, and the humans multiplied slowly… and the log cottage was soon bursting at the seams with love and companionship. All the cats, including Samson, were fed, and tickled, and scratched each day.

One autumn afternoon, while the entire family gathered to harvest their crops, Samson heard a familiar Voice calling to him…
it came from the depths of space, and grew closer, until he could see the face of his former Master in the clouds.

“Behold, Samson!” God called out to him. “I have been searching everywhere for you since you left.
Come home to me, as I’ve missed you.”

And for one moment, Samson felt guilty for running away, and he almost replied that he would return home.

Then he realized, he was home. These humans he’d created from the dust were his real family, who cared for him, and never took him for granted.

“No,” he replied firmly. “I’ve made a new home for myself; I created humans who love me and feed me.
And I love them, too. I don’t want to leave Earth and return to being neglected.”

God sighed, then slowly nodded. He had to admit that He’d designed the little cat’s independent nature for selfish reasons.
Perhaps Samson would genuinely be happier living in this little world that he had created.

He’d done an impressive job; naturally, God reasoned that HE could take some credit for His cat’s talents, as Samson had spent so much time observing and studying the Lord’s miracles.

These human beings that Samson had made would eventually require a spiritual teacher to give them direction and purpose.
After all, a man simply cannot be created as a cat’s slave!

The possibilities for humanity made the Lord envious, and He called out to Adam and Eve, blessing them, and proudly lauding the Creation which He claimed to have designed for them.

And finally He commanded Adam, saying,
“Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…
and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

He gave a sly glance towards Samson, but the cat washed his whiskers, paying him no heed.

It didn’t matter to Samson whether God took credit for his Creation, or that He set Himself on a pedestal to be worshipped…

Samson even dismissed the ridiculous notion that Adam and his descendants would subdue all living creatures, because he was a wise cat (omniscient, even)…. and he knew the truth very well:

Cats would always rule over men, Samson purred.
And the silly humans wouldn’t have it any other way.

TaraFly's dressed stuffed animals

I’ve recently begun contemplating the idea of making videos to showcase my artwork, creative process, and give little glimpses into my studio and life…. simply because I find it fascinating to watch the videos highlighting other artists at work.

Of course, being the star of a video adds an additional pressure to entertain people along with getting work done. 😛

Once upon a time, YouTube would have been a fertile paradise for me to explore the world of amateur filmmaking.

I was eight years old when my father purchased a video camcorder for my birthday, because I was always begging him to let me use his expensive film equipment.
He had everything a young director could wish for…. fuzzy microphones on stands, a large stop-motion film camera, recording and sound editing machines…. *sigh*
But he pacified me with a hand-held, portable camcorder that shot in black-and-white and recorded onto inserted tapes.

TaraFly's childhood stuffed animals and toys

First Day of Rehearsals - Everyone bring your scripts?

When my friends and relatives visited, I would persuade them to dress up and act out my original scripts.

Lacking human actors, I would direct my stuffed animals in fully staged Broadway musicals…

I costumed them in dolls’ clothes, created sets from cardboard and furniture, played the cassette soundtrack, and did all the voice-overs myself.

These videos were embarrassingly cheesy, and fortunately they were recorded onto very old Beta tapes that no longer exist. *wink*

Just imagine… if YouTube existed in 1988… those horrid videos would be haunting me to this day.
Of course, I might have become a famous Hollywood director at thirteen.

Even as a teenager bitten by the acting bug, I was “impatient for display”, as Ms. Austen would observe.
Woe to anyone surfing YouTube, if I had only known, or they might have happened upon my melodramatic attempts at Wilde or Beckett.

But I didn’t have the forethought to post videos of myself all over the internet in the mid-’90s… or I might be starring in a daytime soap opera by now… or making oodles of money selling artwork, like Jasmine Becket-Griffith – who, at eighteen, was savvy enough to jump onto the eBay bandwagon before it left the station.

No, rather I began my web-adventures playing FurryMUCK (don’t ask) and developing a website devoted to haunted toilets.
And YouTube? What in the heck was that?

I vaguely recall my impression upon hearing the site mentioned for the first time:
It stuck me as a forbidden, voyeuristic place where people uploaded naughty things, hoping for their 5 minutes of fame before the moderators shut their videos down.

Even the name itself sounds… wrong… dirty somehow. 😉

Oddly, I no longer have the desire to stand in front of the camera for very long, much less record myself actually reciting anything… and who would listen, I dare ask?

Yet every morning, without fail, I am bombarded with marketing e-mails touting YouTube as the godsend for artists to expose their work to the masses…
And anyone stubbornly ignoring the potential impact videos have to reach wider audiences?
Well, they might as well shoot their careers straight through the heart and end their misery.

So Thursday night I stuck my toes in the water, and created a short video clip of my Regency cat portraits – using a free program called Windows Live Movie Maker, that I didn’t even realize we owned, until I needed to edit some video of the kids’ trip to the park.

We’ve also been the proud owners of a camcorder for over two years… and we have a webcam… *and* there’s a video camera installed on both our cellphones.
Do I have any legitimate excuse for not shooting more videos? Hmmmm?

Apparently I’m behind the curve… reacting to trends rather than forging new territory.
I always seem to embrace an idea 10 years after it becomes unpopular… like those Spandex leggings and oversized sweaters I wore throughout high-school, à la Flashdance.

Except I graduated in 1998, not 1988. 😉

Strangely though, I’m okay with that. I might not be business-smart and savvy, quick to spot an opportunity, and ready to throw myself into every spotlight.

I’ll embrace my shy, quirky adult nature.

And I’ll embrace that nineteen year old computer nerd who coded a website in tribute to “The Ghost of the Pot Roast”.

And I’ll embrace the fifteen year old girl who wore too much make-up, tried to cut her own hair, and moussed her chopped bangs until they stood straight up in spikes.

I’ll embrace that eight-year-old child who videotaped a stuffed cat singing “Surrey with the Fringe On Top” in Gordon McRae’s voice.

Because, honestly, if that isn’t entertainment… I don’t know what is. 😉

Black cats wearing Regency gowns, whispering gossip by TaraFly Art

Kitty and Lydia Spreading Gossip - my digital painting.

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”
– Mr Bennet

When I published my Question of Ethics last Thursday, I wasn’t prepared for the reception that it received… both here and on my website (TaraFlyArt).

After it was shared, forwarded, and even infamously reposted…
*cue the crickets*

… I began to receive comments, both positively commending my insight and critically questioning my motives for getting involved in the vow-to-never-mention-again emotionally fueled blogging war.

Once my words were published, my post left the safety of its nest, like a baby bird finally figuring out the purpose of its feathered appendages.
I can no longer control where it goes, and where it lands, and whether its delicate opinions will be looked after in this alien environment.

It’s ironic (and yes, even hypocritical) that I caution everyone to be careful when handling sensitive information online… and in the same breath, or rather the next paragraph, I invoke the very drama which I tried to prevent by liberally referencing certain individuals’ personal battles.

As I sheepishly acknowledged on Facebook earlier… I must love the taste of feet! They always seem to be in my mouth.

So if any of you are visiting for the first (or second) time on account of “That Post”… I apologize for my obvious lapse of judgement; those who know me well can assure you that brain lapses happen frequently here, although serious discussions rarely do.
I so seldom have occasion to be serious, that I lack practice.

As the “Crazy Cat Artist”, my mission in life is to spark that wicked gleam in your eye, or make you laugh out loud at an inopportune time… such as during a teleconference, when you surreptitiously browse the internet on your iPhone, and stumble across my fire-breathing cat monster.

When a rare moment of insightfulness strikes, causing me to wrestle with a heavy subject, rest assured it will be quickly buried under picture posts of my messy house and rants about shoe shopping.

I do write about my artwork, and cats, a great deal… and a quick glance at my site statistics will reveal people arrive here after searching for “cat paintings” and “regency art”.
Proof that I can stay relevant to the topic of my work, once in a while.

However, I’m continuously amazed by the seemingly off-the-wall searches that lead folks to my door…

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I gave everyone a sneak preview back in January when I posted, Naughty Google Sitting in the Corner.
Who actually looks online for “crowds of demonic people” or “vacuum cleaning nude”?
Seriously? Who are you people?

So what strange sort of folks do I normally attract with my blog, courtesy of Google’s omniscient wisdom?

Today I will take you on a pilgrimage to the mountaintop, and let you gaze out over the Promised Land.
a.k.a. My WordPress Dashboard…

(Just don’t attempt to read this during office hours… a friendly forewarning.)

My Top 20 List of Crazy Web Searches…

 

20. “Disgusting people” ….

This was actually part of the title for my post: “Disgusting People With a Little Help From Regretsy”

 

19. “Monkey gym to bay” ….

I might need some help with this, as I don’t recall having ever blogged about monkeys. Or the Monkees.

 

18. “women power suit bare feet” ….

I blogged about buying my first business suit. And my preference for going barefoot.
But I’d never considered both …together…. hmmmmm…..

 

17. “men who paint their toenails” ….

Yup! I’ve encouraged men to paint their toes!
This was one of my earliest posts.

 

16. “male men feet bare feet nude” …

Nude or otherwise… feet are a reoccurring theme here on my blog.

 

15. “women big feet bare soles toes” ….

Okay! I confess!! I have an obsession with bare feet and toes. Gosh, what more can I say… they’re tasty! And I would know.
Although I’ve never judged anyone by the size of their feet, cause that’s just plain cruel.

 

14. “feet punish” …..

Um… nor do I condone foot abuse or participate in ritualistic foot torture.

 

13. “stubborn @$$hole kraut” ….

Say what?! I did blog about sauerkraut along with my resolutions for 2010.

 

12. “peanut butter stuck to butt”

Actually it was an acrylic finger nail “stuck to butt”… and packing peanuts that were found stuck to a cheesecake.
But you can read all about this story, and many more frightening tales of Glitter (and other Things That Refuse To GO AWAY) here in this hilarious Etsy forum post.

 

11. “gypsy vaginal temperature” ….

I was curious about this peculiar search: Do gypsies have a noticeable difference in their temperature?
So I Googled it myself – yes, indeed, I did – and found references to virgin gypsy wedding rituals, and also an interesting
advice column for Persian cat breeders, written by the “Gypsy Guru”.

 

10. “Can I wash my hair with ajax?” ….

Are you asking me for permission? Sure, go right ahead.

 

9. “peanut butter scented soap” ….

Um… why not just use peanut butter? I’d suggest looking on Etsy.com, the handmade marketplace… they also sell popcorn soap, fried chicken soap, and canned spam soap… if you can eat it, you can shower with it too!

 

8. “How long should I leave vinegar in my hair?”….

How long would you leave in your conditioner? Vinegar is a viable substitute, especially when using handmade shampoo bars.

 

7. “girl wearing always ultra” ….

Now this search disturbs me. Was someone searching for an image of her? How can anyone tell which brand of pad a girl is wearing?
My single reference to feminine products came from this spotlight on IvyLaneDesign’s Recycled Box Journals.

 

6. “dried beans are beside rice at the grocery store” ….

And Cool Whip is next to the frozen pie crusts, but do we really need Google to help us locate it?
Perhaps if the confused grocery associate leads you on a wild goose chase… *wink*

 

5. “what is the most likely time for a retail store to be robbed?” ….

Should I really answer this? Um… whenever somebody is desperate for cash, and doesn’t mind going to jail?

 

4. “redneck diaper stinks” ….

Have you ever found a used diaper lying on a grocery store shelf?
And yes, it stinks.

 

3. “sugar cookie decorated thong” ….

You KNEW I’d have an answer for this! Thanks again to an awesome Etsy seller, whom I featured in my anti-Valentine’s Day post:
“Puff the Magic Dress”

 

2. “pee paypal” ….

Finally! Someone else shares my sentiments! I experienced quite a nightmare with PayPal last year.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Honestly, I had a really tough time choosing my #1 favorite ridiculous search phrase… these babies are all winners in my book!
However, one question stood out in terms of “You have to be kidding me, right? Seriously?”

And more importantly, what was Google’s reasoning for leading this agonizing soul straight to me?

A Praying Golden Goddess digital art by TaraFly

This is me... looking divine and holy on my mountaintop.

Sitting barefoot and naked upon my mountaintop, gazing into the future AND the past, and communing with the Other Side via a deep meditative trance… a vessel of the gods, speaking their infinite wisdom in a thousand tongues…

I am the Google priestess. The Keeper of arcane secrets.

Guarded by wild monkeys, and sustained only by a diet of raw sauerkraut and vinegar…. I have taken the gypsy’s vow of chastity, and will only speak to a chosen group of disgusting people each year, hand-selected by Ajax the Great.

They come in reverence, wearing their decorated thongs, and bringing offerings of peanut butter and sugar cookies so that I may be prevailed upon to answer their most urgent questions.

Their deepest desires and worst fears are laid at my feet, as they pray and plead for a divine response.
The fate of kings and conquerors, peasants and princes, all hang in the balance as they await my judgement.

Speak now.
What brings you forth to seek my wisdom?

And the trembling laborer falls to his knees in terror of my majesty, and cries out:

“Why are some of my crops glittering in Farmville?!”

 

That’s it, I QUIT!    Now get me down from this rock.

Victorian cat wearing floral easter bonnet hat. Artwork by TaraFly

Despite the pull of gravity, I managed to finish Victorian Cat.

Last week passed by in a Benadryl-induced blur of grogginess, thanks to the fine weather spawning a severe allergy… it was the first time I’ve ever experienced throat-swelling in addition to my red, itchy face and watery eyes.

Cat dander and dust, most likely, stirred up by the spring breezes blowing in the open windows throughout our house.
Merlin rubbing his furry face under my chin produced an itchy rash… and my family is howling with laughter at the irony of Mom being allergic… to CATS!

The horror!
*grumbles*
It isn’t funny.

I was also dealing with a creative slump, which coupled with the medicine, left me couch-ridden… drowsily nursing a root-beer float and watching BBC television.

I’m tempted to blame the “Super Moon” for my lack of energy… you know, that hyped up phenomenon about Saturday’s moon being apocalyptic due to its close proximity to Earth.
Hehe, and I wonder if my ex-boyfriend is being adversely affected, since the 1997 Hale-Bopp comet’s interference with his brain supposedly caused him to break up with me… 😉

The full moon is notorious for the belief that it induces crazy behaviour in humans…
In fact, the word “lunacy” is derived from the Latin word for moon [luna];  people actually used the full moon as an excuse to commit crimes (i.e. the 19th century version of “pleading insanity”).

I rather tend to think it acts as a stimulant, not unlike a sip of Folger’s MasterBlend or a draft on a cigarette.

The interesting fact about stimulants, however, is that they produce the opposite effect in people prone to hyper-activity.
It’s true that caffeine can relax and even put folks to sleep… I can attest to it personally. LOL

I was a bit shocked to read online somewhere that parents were letting their toddlers drink coffee, and a few parents were recommending caffeine as an alternative to prescription drugs for calming ADHD children.

Drinking coffee was a “no-no” when I was growing up. In fact, one of my “rights of passage” involved being considered old enough to taste it.

I still get a twinge whenever I put a coffee jar into my shopping cart, or buy an extra-large cup from a convenience store…
it’s an – “I’m an adult, and I’m allowed to drink coffee!” feeling.

I would imagine it’s akin to making a liquor purchase, but I don’t have any experience with that.
Coffee and Pepsi taste far better than alcohol. 😉

Especially if you brew spices like cinnamon and nutmeg into the grounds, and then stir heavy whipping cream and some caramel syrup into it.
Mmmmm nom nom.
Okay… but getting back on topic…

If full moons have this reputation to drive people mad,
than what effect would they have on an already insane person?

My belief: full moons make crazy people SANE.
They make creative people un-creative, boring, and normal.

In my case, it dampens my ability to paint cats parading around as literary characters, dressed in silly costumes.
Because it takes a certain ounce of insanity to see the images that I see in my head every day.

I wasn’t feeling at all crazy last week, lying on the couch… tuning into Netflix to catch up on Mistresses – Season 1 in my pajamas, with loads of laundry waiting to be folded, and kids in need of a hot bath.

I felt decidedly typical… as if any moment, I might morph into the next door neighbor who hangs her clothes on the line, while chatting on her cordless phone (to another housewife, no doubt) about Jennifer Horton-Deveraux’s latest entanglement… both wearing their slippers and robes, and curlers in their hair.

Okay… so I made up the bit about the curlers.

I wasn’t in the mood to design new business cards, or upload my latest painting for sale, or write a blog post.

I wonder what other creative individuals do when faced with a slump like mine?
What do the folks at Disney do?
WDDD? LOL
When those silly little creatures need to be digitally painted a thousand times over, regardless of how the animator feels…

autumn walk through downtown Funkstown. Guten Tag gift shop.

This shot of Guten Tag was taken during my autumn walk last year.

On Saturday morning, I took a walk into town to visit that locally owned gift shop that I’d been eyeing for several months.
Stepping inside, it reminded me of a potting shed… but in an earthy, inviting sense.

The owner of Guten Tag has focused her wares around the “home and garden” theme, and with the advent of Spring… her shop was full of potted plants, vintage gardening tools, lawn ornaments, and all sorts of home accessories in wrought-iron, stone, wood, and grapevine materials.

Promisingly, too, her shop was busy! I was hoping to catch her all to myself, to chat about the possibility of a consignment or wholesale arrangement… but I wound up standing in line behind a few other ladies, with a paper weight and picture frame in my hands.

I did get a chance to mention my artwork, give her Mr. Darcy’s portrait with my contact info… and she seemed genuinely pleased to make my acquaintance.
She said Mr. Darcy should do well, as apparently cats sell like hot cakes… strange to note that I saw very few cats represented in the selection of goods.

Another lady who showcases her work in the shop, creates apparel pins with kitty cats on them… and the owner suggested,
“Perhaps you could put Mr. Darcy on something like that?”

I’d hate to compete with another pin-selling cat artist. But her inventory got my brain plotting ways to utilize all the flower pots and vases I’ve been storing in my studio closet.

Unfortunately, when I arrived back home… after doing some research into 19th century porcelain vase designs, I couldn’t settle upon a design that I liked.
After decorating the blasted flower pots for nearly two hours, I changed my mind and trashed the whole thing… repainting over them all.

Painting a rural countryside scene on flower pots

Changed my mind from pink marble to 'rural English country'...

I’m still stuck in this rut… with a tentative appointment scheduled for tomorrow looming over my head, I’m worried that I won’t have a single thing to show her.
Worse still, I have half a dozen projects lying around and no guidance whatsoever. I keep adding to the growing list, and nothing is getting finished.

People often remark on the effectiveness of the calendar method, so I’ve decided (as of, 5 minutes ago) that this will be tomorrow’s FIRST project:

Create a calendar to keep track of every idea that floats into my brain. Assign a date to it, and if necessary, an approximate deadline.

Each day, I will have a visual reminder of which projects need to be completed first, i.e. the oldest pieces.
Hopefully checking something off the list will feel more satisfying than jumping sporadically into different projects, leaving a chaotic unfinished mess behind.

This also works well with blog post ideas, or so I’ve heard… it will be worth trying.

*************************************************************************

Of course, you know what else can be determined using the calendar method?

A: A full moon.

Perhaps it’d be wise to schedule those periods as “days of rest”… for couches, PJs, and good old Netflix.

When I’m called into account for my laziness, I’ll plead guilty to lunacy!
The full moon made me do it!

Do you think it will work?
And any thoughts on fighting creative burn out?

angry artist attacking printer with hammer and saw

Threatening To Torture My Printer Unless It Surrenders...

This year, my luck has officially run out, folks.

I’m beginning to feel like the old cat trying to learn new tricks…
Okay, more like trying to jump through a hoop of fire, with my legs tied together and a blanket over my face.

It began with the transition of my website to the WordPress program, which was originally limited to a sub-folder for running my blog.

The move itself went swimmingly.

However some of the hard work I’d done, incorporating my Zazzle store merchandise into my website via the Store Builder, was rendered redundant because WordPress doesn’t recognize the program.

The Zazzle Store Builder integrated on my website

Remember these pages? They're gone.

There was a work-around, via a plug-in designed specifically for WP, which seemed easy enough to install and use.
Except it didn’t work for me…

And after reading 50+ pages of users’ questions and the standard troubleshooting responses,
and double-no-triple-checking to ensure I followed all the advice given,
I figured it was just me.

I’ve also been forced to re-write all the image links on my blog posts, because they were uploaded to my “blog/wp-content/images” sub-folder…
which no longer exists …as WP is now running the entire site and not just a single folder. :/

Half of my images are still broken… because I get caught up editing the posts, reworking the SEO keywords, and various other distractions.

Disgusted by all the additional work my website now requires, I jumped into a fresh sewing project:

Artist angrily attacking printer with saw and hammer

You Talking To Me?! Go Ahead.... Make My Day.

I want to create some tote bags featuring my artwork.
The original tote bag prototype will be my personal messenger bag for carrying packages to the post office.

So I purchased these nifty sew-able cotton fabric sheets created for ink-jet printers, as an alternative to iron-on transfers.

Unfortunately, my printer doesn’t like these nifty fabric sheets.
It refuses to print anything on them.

Whenever I try to feed the sheet, my printer kicks it out…
and then has the gall to demand REAL paper, by blinking its “paper out” light accusingly at me.

I’ve even tried tricking the printer:

I’ve loaded a few sheets of fine-art paper, slyly slipping in a sheet of fabric paper, and set it up to print multiple copies.

All the velvet art paper and premium presentation paper fed through and printed beautifully, but it spit that cotton fabric sheet out with distaste.

Googling for answers resulted in nada.

Plenty of folks on the planet are experiencing paper feeding issues with Epson printers… however mine isn’t acting in a similar fashion –
mauling the page to shreds or refusing to feed it entirely.

Rather mine feeds directly through, without stopping to print a dot of ink. 😛

Eventually my curiosity will overcome my deep well of frustration, and I’ll discover the secret to getting my printer to eat its vegetables.

But for now, iron-on transfers will have to suffice.

TaraFlyArt.com via mobile smart phone

TaraFlyArt - On The Go via my mobile browser

Last week, Joe and I decided to reinvest in cell phones.

We’ve gone without these modern necessities for over two years, after my last contract expired.
I’ve never missed being shackled to mine.

The beauty of a cellphone is also its biggest drawback:
you can be reached anywhere, and are expected to be “on call” and willing to answer.

And as you know, among other things I have a fear of phones. 😛

Joe was required to get one for work, but what made me jump back on the bandwagon?

I was seduced by these “smart” phones that are essentially portable internet browsers.

Since my master plan involves getting out into public, and being prepared to promote myself, I wanted a nice way to show people my website and
gallery.

I was also tempted by those folks who can Tweet “on the go”, instead of hours later when the news is less relevant.
Folks who can perform google searches or get questions answered in real-time while out shopping.

I’ve recently become addicted to Pandora, the internet radio station that tailors its song selection to your individual taste… and I wanted to bring it along for the ride.

Oh, and not to mention the convenience of accessing Paypal… and perhaps some on-the-spot selling. 😉

TaraFlyPhotos on Etsy via mobile smart phone browser

My Etsy Shop in a tiny screen, filled with tiny clickable links

For these reasons and more, I succumbed to the awesome sale on my Motorola Defy. Although after paying less than $20 for a phone retailed at $450, I felt insanely angry at the state of our economy.

It says volumes when a company has to practically pay customers to TAKE the product away…
Joe tells me to quit obsessing, and just be happy that I got a super great deal.

But this type of mentality bodes ill for everybody.
Who wants to pay for things anymore?

*sidestepping the tangent*

So after setting up my online profiles, downloading a couple apps, as well as adding music and images from my computer…
I tried to send a simple text message to Joe, reminding him to pick up a vacuum belt.

Q: How easy it is to send text messages?

A. Not very.

Q: How long does it take to find your own flipping phone number?

A: A very long time.

(*hint, it wasn’t under the account settings or phone status, where it should have been)

I can pop off a tweet or update my Facebook status with two clicks, but I spent half an hour trying to text my husband.
I was once the queen of text messaging… in another lifetime.

Accessing Facebook profile via browser on Motorola Defy

Interacting with Facebook pals is easy enough.

Don’t get me started on the convoluted contact list, which very nicely uploaded every single Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail acquaintance I have.
Try finding a real-life contact in all that mess?!

Oh, and this lovely feature called Touch Screen?
It’s highly sensitive.

That is an understatement.

A stray cat hair, that landed onto the screen from a drive-by shedding, actually turned on the Google Voice Search.

That was an exaggeration.
But just slightly.

I liked the phone when I realized I could access my Etsy shop and website,
with full color images and teensy-tiny links that you need razor-sharp nails to click on.

I fell in love with the phone when I plugged it into my car’s stereo, and played my favorite music on shuffle while driving to Joann Fabrics.

I married the phone when I could update all my social networks all at one time,
from anywhere.

But the honeymoon is over now, when I feel like a deceived fool trying to use this blasted phone…

…AS A PHONE.

But then again, this is 2011 – The Year of the Cat (or Rabbit), depending on your beliefs.

It is definitely not MY year.

School Girl Cat on Football Field 50 Yard Line by TaraFly

“I have not had the pleasure of understanding football.” – @writershouses

Writers’ Houses on Twitter echoed my feeling towards the panicked momentum leading up to Sunday’s Big Game.

Michelle Scott @mscottdjh followed up by tweeting:
“Incremental victories are coupled with exuberant celebration and punishing admonishment.”

“Is such an indiscriminate display of force by the stronger sex truly necessary? Indeed, it does them a disservice.”@rosannecash

And thus heralded the Sunday night Twitter phenomenon affectionately known as “Jane Austen at the Super Bowl”, a title coined by Rosanne Cash (singer/author, and yes, daughter of Johnny) to politely mock the brutish sport in a manner befitting our beloved 19th century gentlefolk.

Whenever football season rears its ugly head, Joe and I lock our doors, turn off all the lights, and hide in the hall closet… until the yellow and black banners slowly disappear like melting snow from windows and porches around our neighborhood.

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”
@WesleyStace (John Wesley Harding)

Pittsburgh street celebrating Steelers

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Maryland does have a football team of its own … wait, let me Google it… yes, the Baltimore Ravens.
And of course, the Washington (D.C.) Redskins, whose reputation is legendary even to those of us who aren’t following their career.
Are they winning again??

However, since Hagerstown sits on the Pennsylvania border, with its close proximity to Pittsburgh only a few hours drive, many of our neighbors feel excused to switch their allegiance in favor of the golden Steelers who have already won six Super Bowls and can “beat the crap out of everyone” (or so I’ve been proudly informed).

“One wonders whether the gentlemen’s actions will rival the braggadocio on display.”
@CrossHare (Hisao Yatsuhashi)

“Are they to be murdered on the field?! Such an ill-advised display of manhood is indeed alarming.” – @rosannecash

Terrible Towels Pittsburgh Steelers

What are these terrible towels all about? Photo: Wikipedia

“It is not everyone,” said Elinor, “who has your passion for terrible towels.”@asavwms (Asa Williams)

What the heck is a Super Bowl anyway?

I blogged about my retail in-experience with football madness two years ago, as a grocery manager forced to deal with Event Planning for the Big Game.
I joked that it was taken as seriously by food-connoisseurs as Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts… with elaborate spreads of “finger foods” and dips being prepared.

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love your Buffalo Chicken Pizza.”
@heymrmiked (Michael Dunn)

“No one knows how I suffer. Such flutterings of my heart and pains in my head. Perchance too many jalapenos.” – @anamcara1004 (Jen Nash Humphrey)

Apparently, America does indeed consider Super Bowl Weekend to be a national holiday, even if the government hasn’t officially declared it so. And Wiki claims it is the second-largest day for food consumption, after Turkey Day.
(No wonder I was feeling stressed, while Frito and Pepsi displays devoured every square inch of my salesfloor!)

“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”
@katekilla

“Super, you say? I have a far superior Bowl at Chawton – Jasperware decorated with the most delectable chinoiserie.”@WesleyStace (John Wesley Harding)

Last weekend, I couldn’t have honestly answered the question “Who do you think will win?” because I didn’t know which team was opposing the Steelers. It wasn’t obvious from my trips into town, where only yellow and black paraphernalia were on display and for sale in shop windows.

“The men, all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all.”
@mfortuin11 (Matilda)

Finally on Saturday night, I overheard someone in the grocery store griping about the lack of local support for the Green Bay Packers.
The other team.

My only recollection of the Packers involved a high school friend (Bobby) who was craaazy about them, wore their green jerseys everywhere, and got teased by the other guys for it.
He also poked gentle fun at my mother, because as a Minnesota resident – she’s a Vikings fan by default (because my stepfather is).
I gather the Wisconsin Packers and the Minnesota Vikings don’t like each other… *shrugs at the understatement*

I was so tired of hearing about these blasted Steelers, that I hoped the Packers would win, just to shut everyone up!
And to brighten Bob’s day, of course… 🙂

“I’ll not leave this house until its been universally contradicted that you intend to paint yourself green, Miss.”
@BusterBNYC (Bill Buster)

Plastic cheese head hat Green Bay Packers Wisconsin

A cheese hat, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

One funny thing about the team from Wisconsin, a state infamous for its cheese production: all the die-hard fans wear cheese!

Yes, they really do.

Well, it’s plastic molded into cheese shapes…
but still…

“A cheese bonnet!” exclaimed Mrs Bennett unexpectedly. “I have always wanted a splendid cheese bonnet!”
@WesleyStace

“Some ladies are determined to sport bonnets made of cheese. I must take to my bed.”@rosannecash
“And other ladies have made corsets of cheese. Very shocking indeed!”

Continued Mrs Bennett unadvisedly. “There is nothing so merry as a ‘chapeau de ‘fromage'”@WesleyStace

The silly state of the Packers’ fans’ attire sent the entire network of Janeites twittering…

“The cheesehead wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.”@abroshar (Abroshar)

“The season was full, the room crowded, and the two ladies squeezed in as well as they could in their cheeseheads.”@janinelaporte (Janine Laporte)

“All in all, an unusual display of circuses. Presumably bread was also available”@dan_ad_nauseam (Daniel Reitman)

Although Sunday night was as quiet and uneventful as nights could possibly be with 3 young children… and football was banned from Joe’s 42″ flat-screen pride and joy… the glimpses of Super Bowl fever that I caught on Twitter almost convinced me to sneak into the bedroom to catch the action…

Not the gaming action, mind you. The entertainment!

It began with pop-siren Christina Aguilera flubbing our national anthem in a moment of extreme emotion.

Kathryn Bass was concerned over the poor girl’s health:
“One wonders at the unexpected ululations of Miss C____ A____. Is she quite well?”

“I believe the misspeak by Ms Aguilera greatly vexed many. Perhaps the result of too many excessive diversions.”@anamcara1004

“You have delighted us long enough, Miss Aguilera.”
@Julian_West

“Before she could reply to entreaties that she would sing again, she was eagerly succeeded by the other performers.”@Amyloo (Amy Bellinger)

The other hot topic of the evening centered around the half-time performances. Just like our favorite night at the theatre, football games have intermissions. During the break, attendees will be treated to a live show of musical guests.

In the earliest shows, the entertainers were typically college marching bands… but over time, the producers realized that big stars would gain better publicity.
Past celebrity performances included: Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Queen Latifah, Aerosmith, Britney Spears, and Janet Jackson (who accidentally lost a bit of clothing during her number).

“One hopes the unfortunate incident involving the lady’s corset is not repeated on this occasion.”
@rosannecash

For Sunday’s spectacle, fans were treated to a live show by a hip-hop group called The Black Eyed Peas. It was a futuristic montage of flashing lights, silver jumpsuits, glowing dancers, and well… you get the idea.

“Regarding the Legume Chorale, it grieves me to note that the spectacle exceeds the musicality.”
@rosannecash

The poor Peas, now officially dubbed the Legume Chorale by Rosanne, received a public thrashing all around.

“Legume Chorale, you have delighted us long enough. Let the football teams have time to exhibit.”@janetrutter (Janet Rutter)

“Devil take those young dogs! How they are singing out! Stop your confounded pipe or I shall be after you.”
@itsthebunk (Liza Bernstein)

“They resumed with relief, and perhaps a mutual desire of never meeting the Black Eyed Peas again.”@abroshar

People watching at home are also entertained by the commercials played on TV during halftime. Apparently, the Super Bowl is one of the highest rated programs on television. According to Wikipedia, this year’s Super Bowl attracted 111 million viewers and has become the “most viewed television broadcast of any kind in U.S. history”.
Yikes!

So advertisers pay hefty sums of money (think $3 million) to have their commercials aired during the game, most notably at halftime.
These ads are usually major productions themselves, with people tuning in just to see the spots.

We didn’t. But Joe later admitted that he was tempted to check out the ads.

“The commercials are tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”
@dkrobledo (Danie Robledo)

“Though I find the sport itself coarse,” said Mrs Cawthon, “still I must admit to enjoying the advertisements.”@briantedjones (Brian Jones)

Brett Favre Green Bay Packers

Mr. Favre, Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Despite the humorous parodies being flung about, it was obvious to an observer that at least a few of these literati were actually watching the game. And knew what was going on, and who was involved with whom.

“I cannot think what is the matter with me!” said Mr Rodgers when his legs were removed from under his body.”@itsthebunk

“There will be several embarrassed gentlemen in white if the gentlemen in green are the victors.”@dan_ad_nauseam (Daniel Reitman)

“Mr. Favre was not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by concussions.” – @dylanw (Dylan Wilbanks)

“I do not wish for opinions of men wearing stripes when the actions of a man w/a pigskin have spoken so plainly.”@avb (Ashley Van Buren)

“I may boast that no gentleman of my acquaintance would be in a position to be called for unnecessary roughness.”@pcarlson001 (Pam Carlson)

And as we’ve all heard by now, unless you’re still hiding in your hall closet…
The Cheeseheads from Wisconsin won the game.
My friend Bob was notedly ecstatic. It’s safe for us to emerge and wander the streets again.

“I will not say that your Steelers are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive.”
@janiceharayda (Janice Harayda)

“Lydia’s low spirits upon the regiment vacating Merton were revived upon sighting young swains in green and yellow.”@elizabethkarr (Elizabeth Karr)

I wanted to compile a list of all the witty and remarkable tweets from the #JaneAustenAtTheSuperBowl discourse, earlier in the week, but many honorable ladies of the Austen blogosphere were burning their midnight oil and beat me soundly to the finish line. 😉

Here are a some of my favorite random quips:

“I do not perceive the greatness in this ball, there being no dancing and the gentlemen acting too much with wine.”@EFAmericana (Andres Rojas)

“Such lust for possession of an inanimate object so entirely lacking in aesthetic merit does not bode well.”@HumidCity (Humid City)

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, a single man in possession of the pigskin must be in want of a touchdown.”
@dandavenport

“It is your turn, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the shotgun formation & you ought to remark on the snap count.”@Ohiofoodlovers (JPoleon)

“What a commotion! There runs a man with a ball as if something were after him! He’s lost all sense of decorum!”@BusterBNYC (Bill Buster)

“A cheerleader, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”@andevers (A.N. Devers)

Perhaps next year, I’ll invite you to take a turn with me around the sidelines, as I hear the sport can be quite refreshing!
The gentleman and brutes can admire us much better from their positions on the field.

Purchase, where might one procure a bonnet and corset made from cheese?

Because the deep and profound thoughts that have haunted my brain for the last 6 hours refuse to coalesce into a blog post, I am throwing you a funny bone instead!

A few random bits of absurdity that make up my life.

For example, when I logged into WordPress a short time ago, I was greeted by my stats bar – which shows how people stumbled across my blog.
Those magic Google keywords and phrases they used to get here.

It is a clear snapshot, revealing the topics people are interested in studying…
things like “secret zombie outbreaks”“Crowds of demonic people”… and “disgusting vaginas”.

Folks inquiring about “Disgusting eye backgrounds” and a “painting of cat on a man’s face”.

I also received visitors curious in “Vacuum cleaning nude”… and being “spanked in a punishment outfit and put in the corner bare”

There were many other explicit things that I dare not even type.
I’m not making these things up. Seriously.

Sometimes I think Google has lost its marbles.

And Kathleen would blame the strange tags I use, like “boy wearing fairy wings”… but you’d have to have an imagination on steroids to make the Herculean leap from fairy wings to “an erotic experience while riding a horse”. 😉

“You have been online for one year do you wish to get offline and get a life? Options:yes-no-remind me next year!”

Wordpress search keywords key phrases stat summary

Oddly, I searched for this exact phrase and couldn't find my blog.

I’m curious whether I could actually compose a blog post incorporating all those elements, to satisfy any freak who might pop in.
Hmmmm…. creative writing assignment gone wild!

Anything I find hilarious, bizarre, or fascinating …gets shared on Facebook.
And if we’re not already friends, then your Facebook wall is missing that extra splash of crazy sauce.

Without me to remind you “not to eat your yogurt with a fork”,
where would you be?
Covered in yogurt, that’s where!

Facebook has this great app that I found last year, called Year in Status.  
I shared mine for 2009 along with my ruminations about turning 30, but here is a recap of stuff you might’ve missed from 2010:

TaraFly's Facebook Status Updates in 2010

And for those of you unable to read that tiny font… and don’t you dare say it’s just my eyes! I’m warning you… 😉

My contributions to the Facebook Madness:

  1. TaraFly wants to know how many people faithfully ate their sauerkraut last night… and whether it has affected your luck in years past. 😉
  2. In real life, the beautiful girl meets her Prince Charming, they fall in love, and she spends her Ever After cooking and cleaning for Beasts.
  3. TaraFly is feeling slighted because the neighbors didn’t invite her to their furniture throwing party… (again!) … Making plans to throw one herself – BYOB (Bring Your Own Bureau)
  4. Guesses the neighbors must’ve run out of dressers to hurl, and now they’re breaking coffee tables.
  5. Wants to know who needs their diaper changed…. C’mon, fess up!
  6. I will be celebrating only the 4th of Christvaleasthanuween-giving this year. Makes decorating much simpler.
  7. TaraFly sliced open her finger while washing aluminum cans. Eh. Didn’t need all this blood anyway.
  8. It’s time to get some chicken flavored tick-tacks, or else don rubber gloves and BRUSH MY CAT”S TEETH!!!
  9. Survived Snowmageddon, and all she received was this lousy mountain of snow piled onto her vehicle by a sorry bunch of neighbors borrowing her OWN shovel. 😉
  10. Wonders why anyone would take a survey titled “20 Things You Wouldn’t Want Anyone To Know About You”. 😛
  11. TaraFly ate the blasted Bunny, but all the candy came just the same. 😛
  12. TaraFly is tired of confirming the same friend, 4 days in a row! Either Facebook has a fatal flaw, or the friendship wasn’t meant to be. 😛
  13. TaraFly has a front row seat at the races tonight… and might even place a bet on the grey tabby.
  14. TaraFly recommends Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern if you have trouble dieting. Nothing kills an appetite like watching him eat live bugs. 😛
  15. TaraFly needs more pizza sauce in her lap.
  16. Finally discovered my calling in life. I was born to be CRAZY!
  17. TaraFly thought she had seen the last of the politically correct “Three Little Pigs”, but it has re-surfaced and is demanding to be read. Time for PC piggy annihilation.
  18. TaraFly wants Facebook to stop pressuring her to LIKE things, simply because 15,000 other people liked it…. Has she ever made a popular decision in her life?!?!
  19. TaraFly knows that cat fur is the Spice of Life. You can eat it with anything.
  20. TaraFly wonders how a person stabs their knee with a needle, while sewing a stuffed animal…. Screw those thumb guards. This girl needs a body cast.
  21. TaraFly washed and folded a load of laundry, swept and vacuumed, made breakfast, cleaned dishes, changed 3 litter boxes, dressed kids, scrubbed fridge and stove. Is looking forward to sitting down to finish a piece of art…. and daring the children to spill or break something.

And the runner-ups:

  • TaraFly turned into a pumpkin 7 minutes ago… and realized, too late, that pumpkins cannot walk upstairs to their bedrooms… or type on Facebook with their jkfl,gjdbh.lsfjt,murt….
  • TaraFly couldn’t afford to pay the exorcist any longer, and got repossessed.

 

  • Please put this on your status if you know someone (or are related to someone) who has been eaten by a dragon. Dragons are nearly unstoppable and, in case you didn’t know, they can breathe fire. 93% of people won’t copy and paste this, because they have been eaten by dragons. The other 7% of people are sitting in the shower, armed with fire extinguishers.

So I’ll leave you with this invitation to join me on Facebook, because I need to get outta here!
Before the crowds of demonic zombies, with disgusting eyes and vaginas, come here to paint cats on my face, and force me to vacuum in the nude.
Or worse….

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