September 15th, 2003


Garage Clean Up, Zazu, Wild Mama Rat and Her Babies, My Art Card, Lulie

Finishing the Garage Clean Up, Bringing Home Zazu, Finding a Wild Mama Rat and Her Babies, My Collage Art Card, and a Story About a Woman I Hate.

Oh man what a day. I woke up just dying to run in here and share my dreams with you. They were crammed with symbolism and felt so portentous, but I simply couldn't, we had way too much to do. We worked from morning until night and finally finished emptying the garage, but my back yard looks like a tornado hit it and then someone covered as much of it as they could with blue tarps. I can't believe the garage is finally empty. It feels like a miracle, albeit a back breaking one.

This isn't our lovely Zazu but she looks just like her.

I have a new cat to introduce to you but I don't know when I'll have the time. Her name is Zazu, for Zazu or Zasu Pitts, the actress, and she's an oriental shorthair. I think she's called a ticked colorpoint or something like that, I don't know, I just fell in love with her meow and brought her home. She's hiding in my bathroom right now and it'll be a few days before she calms down enough to come out and let me take a picture of her pretty little face. She talks non stop. I've been calling people on the phone and letting her leave streams of meows on their machines.

Miss Zazu Pitts

I found a rat's nest when I was taking a basketful of my silk ivy out to the trash. I used to have four different spaces in various antique malls around LA and I would buy silk flowers and greens wholesale and then use them to decorate my spaces or to hot glue onto lampshades. It always made everything seem so much more feminine and pretty to me, the green and the flowers. Anyway, since everything has been pretty much trashed by the rats, we've been sorting through it all and hauling about half of it out to these big rented trash bins in front of my house. They are so full now we've had to just stack things up next to them and hope they'll come pick these up and deliver new ones tomorrow.

I hate throwing some of these things away because I had so many dreams for them -- projects and things I was going to make with all of this vintage stuff I had been accumulating, but everything we throw away seems pretty unsalvageable. Although I did fish out this really cool, big, forties style, green, silk lampshade, and put it on our cow, Bessie. For those of you who haven't been reading my journal that long this is a big life size cow figure we have in the front yard. She looks like she's wearing a great big picture hat. It can't stay there for too long though because the silk will rot even more than it already has, but for now it looks pretty cute.

This is almost exactly what the mama rat looks like.

So I was carrying this big basket of messed up balls of ivy to the trash when I noticed something moving inside. Then I saw this pretty brown fur and these big brown eyes and yelled, "Oh my God you guys I found some rats." I had wondered how there could be so much damage but no rats. I kept wondering when we would run into them and I was actually looking forward to it. We had been trying to trap them so we could take them somewhere nice to release them but they managed to squeeze through our crazy animal trappers traps. He said he'd pray for us, but maybe he isn't praying hard enough ; ) Anyway there I was carrying this small suitcase sized basket and it had two big brown rats in it and about seven or eight babies.

Baby rats are actually called kittens and are irresistably cute like these little guys.

The poor things were so afraid and dug as deeply as they could into their fake ivy bedding. Everyone was just running around looking lost and trying to figure out what to do while I stood there holding this basket of what could be rabid rats. I don't think they're dangerous but you always hear such panicked things from people. Really though, they're so pretty, and don't look sick in the least, they're sleek and brown with the biggest eyes. Plus I've always read that it was the fleas on the rats that carried the disease and not the rats themselves, but everyone is always so afraid so even though I love them and would never harm them I couldn't help but be a little scared standing there with my arms full of wild rats.

Eventually we got it together and found a cage, then we opened the door and flipped the basket upside down, and tapped on the bottom of it to get the rats to kind of gently fall into this big cage with narrow gage wire. This used to be a cage that some of our pet rats had used, before we discovered that we liked the plastic coated ones better.

So out dropped Mom and Dad and all the babies and I don't know how but, we think he was the dad, the daddy rat bust loose and took off running so fast. Which left us worrying about the babies and whether the one big rattie left would take care of them or not. Then since we realized these guys could squeeze through the tiny metal rectangles of the cage we got a sheet and kind of slid it under the cage and held it around it for a long time until we could figure out what to do next. You should have seen us, four kids and three adults, all standing there, both afraid of and concerned for these rats who were part of the tribe that decimated all of my possessions in the garage. I mean my garage was like a giant rat cage to them, only no one had cleaned out the poop for a few years. Blech.

Bit by bit we took turns reaching in and pulling out these twined balls of ivy until there was just one left, and in that one, the one remaining rat and all of the little babies gathered together and huddled up. We were so relieved when we saw that all the babies had gathered under the big rattie and started nursing. But we still had to transfer them to something more secure because we were afraid they could squeeze out of the tiny spaces in the wire cage and what if the Mom bailed like the dad did.

Eventually we got a glass aquarium, filled it with nice snugly nest material, put in a big bowl of rat food and an even bigger bowl of water, and using a small plastic box we scooped up the Mom and the babies and transferred them to the aquarium. We put a big mirror on top, leaving a small crack for air, and then put a stool and a big rock on top of that. Tomorrow I'll try to find them a proper cage where they will be safe until everyone is weaned and then we'll have to find a good spot where we can release them.

They are so cute, I'll try to get a picture for you tomorrow, if I get my collage card done in time. It amazes me how much people can hate rats. They act just like cats only they seem smarter and more resourceful. They use their hands just like people do. I love them, which explains why we've arrived in this complicated predicament.

Later when Irma and I were clearing out the last remaining piece of furniture she found another rat. It dashed out past her and made a wild jump for the floor and scrambled away. Then we were worried that there might be another nest and more babies, but luckily there was just another rat, who came leaping out of this closet-like piece of furniture, hit Irma squarely in the chest, bounced off of her and ran away. I screamed like a terrified little girl. It surprised me how loudly I screamed. I think I must have thought it was attacking Irma in a kind of Willard-like fashion, and here I have always prided myself on how non-girly I am when it comes to things like mice and rats. I don't know what we're going to use to catch the rest of them because Mr. Magic Cages isn't going to be able to help us solve this if they can squeeze through the tiny spaces of the kind of cage we had them in today. Scott likes to call this, "flattening their bones" because he saw some cartoon cat flatten his bones to slip under a door. I think it applies to the rats way more than it does to the kitties.

These are some of the artists deck cards that have already been submitted.

Now I'm working on my card for the artist's card deck project that I'm participating in. I've painted my card, which is a nine of spades, and my backup card, a pale peachy color. Then I stamped small Kanji characters on it. Next I'm going to rip up some dogwood blossom images and glue those on, then put this illustrated butterfly with a baby flying on it's back on the top, this vintage photo of a little girl facing away from us and pointing up at it, and a cat in a sea horse innertube playing in the water on the bottom. Then I'll have to add back in the nine and the spade, slap my logo sticker on the back, run off to Kinkos and make sixty playing card sized, card stock copies, and get this all off to Tracy by Tuesday.

I used to crank out collage art in my sleep, but these last years have been cluttered in every way imaginable, and challenging, and my creative output has fallen off the face of a heartbroken cliff, which is why the garage project is so dear to me. I'm hoping, praying really, that I'll have a space, a nice, cozy, comfortable space, where we can all sit and create together.

If and when I ever get this together I'd like to hold weekly gatherings, a regular art salon night for everyone to just stop in and bring whatever projects they're currently working on. I hate to admit this but this woman, who I have yet to forgive, Lulie, (yuck, pfft, spit, and snarl), who my ex had a pathetic, scheming affair with, before during and after my pregnancy, is the person who gave me this idea. She used to hold a weekly "sewing circle" every Friday night and it seemed fun and like a really great idea until it slowly dawned on me that Robby was fucking her. God what a nightmare that was.

I hate her all the more for this because she and Robby tried to get me to befriend her so that they could spend more time together. How low is that? Everyone who cared about me could just see that this was going on right in front of me because it was so obvious. Even my Mother suspected they were fooling around by how much they avoided each other, how weirdly they acted around one another at a dinner party at our house. They even got me to sing a duet with her in an opera recital we put on for the holidays one year.

When I confronted my partner of a dozen years about this he would just tell me I was being totally paranoid. Even going so far as to take me out to dinner with her husband to talk to me about "my little problem." Of all the slimiest things people can do to hurt each other, when they screw around outside of monogamous relationships, making the cuckolded partner doubt their own instinct by telling them they are insane, unreasonably jealous, suspicious and paranoid, has got to be the lowest. I'm just so glad her successful Tony award winning husband, who Robby continued to call his friend, even long after he had been screwing his wife, finally saw her for the white trash Dairy Queen working scum she was, (oh God here I go judging again, oh well, this is where I'm at, I hate this woman and would gladly choke her if she were standing in front of me right now, and that's just the way it is, for now), and dumped her cheating ass. Mind you I'm very aware of the fact that given my own behavior I could just as easily be saying this about myself, but I was never as cruel and conniving, and my situation was so different. Or at least that's what I tell myself so I don't have to see myself as some kind of sister to this awful girl woman who I hate.

I don't want to end on such a down note so I'll tell you about the fun I had at the cat show yesterday. What can I say, there were cats, I looked at all of them, and I had fun. Then I was really naughty and went to one of my favorite stores, which is Fred Segal, and bought things. I bought a great Comptoir Sud Pacifique cologne that smells like coffee and vanilla for my Scott, who blew me away when he surprised me out of the blue with a goody bag full of things I had wanted from Sephora. What a guy! I bought a couple of cool looking pairs of 1.0 reading glasses because my eyes are going fuzzy, a lovely little age reminder there. And Beau had a blast picking out colors and flavors to mix up lip gloss for me in this big machine that kind of reminded me of those old wax pressing molds that they used to have at Grauman's Chinese theatre. I don't know why because it didn't look anything like it, but it just had that same feel. You push the button and something is manufactured for you behind the glass and it comes out warm and you somehow feel like you had a hand in the making of it.

This stuff though is so cool. You can pick any combination of color, shine and sparkle, and then you pick your flavor. I got a sort of brownish mauvey neutral with a little sparkle and a lot of shine that tastes like birthday cake, a big plus for me because I can't really eat it anymore, and a reddish gloss that tastes like sour strawberry. Then Beau made one for himself that's black and tastes like green apple. I also bought some candles, an eye shadow, and some scents. I love going to this store and don't get to go too often because it's insanely expensive. I was playing a serious game of garage clean out hooky yesterday but I more than made up for it today.

Okay my little journal darlings, it's off to bed-cat-television land for me.

Love you,


My Art Card, The Sharon Osbourne Show, Ashton and Demi, Bessie the Cow, and the Dumpster.

Well, I finally finished my little art card collage and I'm kind of panicked and insecure about it. I used my own scanner and printer rather than using found imagery, like I always used to do when I made my collages, or color copying my cards at Kinkos and then cutting those out and working with them. I'm disappointed that you can't see how cute the cat in the innertube is and how cute the kitties with the parasol are. They totally washed out with the glue, blah.

I've become so used to using my baby version of Photoshop and Paintshop Pro and a few other programs that I've really fallen out of the habit of cut and paste. Well, at least I made something and I'll get it out in time but I'm such a perfectionist and I wanted it to be soooo good. I have gazillions of images to work with, boxes and boxes of paper goods I've been cutting and saving for ages, and tons of vintage postcards, photographs, labels and tobacco cards. I'm concerned this will continue to fade out and won't look good when Tracy tries to color copy it.

This is such typical art angst and art fraud stuff for me. I used to go to this amazing program called A.R.T.S., (Artists Recovering Through the Twelve Steps), for these kinds of things. It was such a healing program and I found so many like minded people there -- in fact that's how I met Scott. It amazes me how seriously gifted people can be so insecure and hard on themselves. Major actors, artists, and musicians are constantly saying they feel like frauds, like they'll be discovered any minute for being the no talent undeserving hacks they are.

Wynona Judd said something just like this today on The Sharon Osbourne Show, (which by the way was a kick and I loved it), that she didn't feel she deserved her success. I wrote the quote down but I am just too worn out to go get it, but it was along the lines of saying that despite her success, (and that knock out voice, man, I was never a fan of hers before and wasn't too excited about her being a guest, but after hearing her sing I was certainly converted,) she's still this little girl from Kentucky with a guitar, who is desperately looking for love and feeling like she will never fit in. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people whose work I so very much admired say things like this. It makes me wonder what comes first, the wounding that makes the artist more sensitive and thus better able to channel and express feeling through art, or is it that certain people are born gifted and along with these gifts comes exquisite sensitivity which is what contributes to the hurting and the insecurity? Whatever it is I know that people don't always respond kindly to it. True vulnerability or neediness of any kind scares certain people. But hey screw them, I'd rather be, or hang out with, a sensitive, feelingful, insecure artist, than a snappy, totally-together perfect person any day.

Sharon was adorable. She has the best style sense. I love her jewelry and her clothes. She said she was fifty and OMG if I can look anything like she does at fifty I will bless the stars. She's also so down to earth. I worry that her handlers and producers are trying to polish this off her when this is precisely what people love about her. She didn't feel comfortable in a necklace she was wearing so she started fussing with it and tugging on it and eventually a helper guy had to come on set and help her out of it. Then she figured that as long as he was taking that, she might as well take her cute but uncomfortable, spiky-heeled boots off as well, which was just adorable of her.

Then still later, after Wynona, (Whynona not Winona as she corrected poor Sharon with her lovely accent), sang a particularly moving song, Sharon started to cry, so she announced that she was going to have to peel off her false eyelashes and did that as well, which was totally endearing and folksy. But then later when they came back from a break it was all back on, the necklace, which was this gorgeous black beaded loopy thing ending in a big pretty flower, the eyelashes and the shoes. I so hope that was some kind of editing thing, a segment she had shot earlier and that they didn't make her get dressed up again off stage.

I just love the way she tucks up her legs underneath her sometimes when she sits on the sofa, acts so natural, lets it all hang out in such a pretty way, and swears as well. She just seems like the ultimate Mom-gal-pal. And as if I haven't raved enough, I love how she loves her man and her family. She described Ozzie as being delicate and makes it sound so loving and compassionate. I just so dug that, that she understands and accepts him. Wynona said to her at one point, "I love to see a hard woman be soft." I wish I could find my list of quotes from the show to share with you because there were some great ones, maybe I'll come back and edit them in tomorrow. I do remember when Wynona commented on how amazing the set looked that Sharon said, "Oh I just brought it all over from my house. These rugs are all pissed and pooped on by my dogs." Loved that!

I hope it turns out to be the biggest hit for her. We were in the audience for the shows that air tomorrow and the next day. It'll be fun to see the finished show -- to see how they cut it together. Beau wants to stay home and watch it with us but we're going to tape it for him.

Oh and I can't remember if I told you that Beau's friend Brandon, who is a seriously gorgeous kid, (we're talking model gorgeous here), left New Roads and moved to another school, that I won't name out of respect for these poor kids privacy, but yesterday when he was over here playing with Beau, he was telling us about how excited he was to meet Ashton Kutcher. I was reminded of this because the cover of the Emmy thing on AOL has a big picture of him splashed across the front of it. It turns out that Demi Moore and Bruce Willis' kids go to school with Brandon, and Scout has a crush on him and has been flirting with him, sitting next to him, passing him notes, that kind of thing.

He said that he met Demi and Ashton and they were nice. I asked him if he really thought they were a couple and he said they were holding hands when they were walking up the stairs and that he was the only person there to see that so if it was just a publicity stunt they wouldn't have been doing that. So that puts that question to rest for me. I wish Scout Willis had a crush on Beau, sheesh. Did you see that yacht their father rented to take them for a little end of the summer cruise in the Mediterranean? Wow that's a life : )

I'm so wiped out and all I want to do is get some sleep. I didn't sleep well last night at all. I think I woke up every hour and a half. Plus I need to make sure Beau is tucked in and I still have to give medicine to Pinky rat and hand feed one of the baby cats and give him his eye drops.

Next stop, yard box sorting, then massive eBay listing.

Goodnight Everyone -- Jacqui -- XOXOXO

Here is a shot of our cow Bessie, (the one I told you about yesterday), with her big green lampshade hat.

And here are the dumpsters I've been telling you about. Someone is picking through it as I'm writing this. it's so much fun to see what they take. I actually lugged those legs home one day from a swap meet somewhere, nothing else, just some male mannequins legs. I don't even remember what I thought I was going to do with them.