10 tips for making your Deathday a day to remember

Funerals in this country follow a rather predictable pattern….some pretty flowers, a little heart-warming, tear-jerking music and lots of blah, blah about what a wonderful person so-and-so was. For many people, this routine is comforting. Personally, I’d prefer a less conservative approach.

The dear departed are probably going to a better place (seriously, how much worse could it be?) so it should be a day for rejoicing. The recent trend is towards a more celebratory atmosphere and maybe if funerals were as one-of-a-kind as the individual, we’d actually start to look forward to them. I’ve come up with a few ideas for deathday celebrations that you’re welcome to borrow, but don’t be afraid to improvise and come up with your own. We human’s are a diverse bunch of whackos, so make that final exit as unique as you are.

Party Line

When you’re making out your termination papers and setting up the plans for your family to follow when you’re outta here…there’s no reason it has to be another run-of-the-mill, hohum-another-dead-guy kinda day. The following list has a few ideas to get you started on your own path to perdition.

1)A movie theme might work well for some…if you were a couch-potato in life, request a comfy, couch-shaped coffin and a remote control.  Already, you’re half-way to a perfect deathday. Throw in a popcorn machine, a big screen TV and 3D glasses for everyone… now we’re starting to get excited about attending. Remember, it’s your day, so you get to choose the movie.

2)Dressing up is considered de rigueur at funerals, to show respect for the dead. But if you hated wearing a suit and tie in life you could request mourners wear a copy of your favorite ‘Zombie’ tee (these can be pre-ordered if you’re the organized type) and start the day in a more relaxed atmosphere….unless you pop up out of your coffin with a knife and fork in your hand, then things might get a little tense. There are as many variations on this theme as there are favourite tshirts…so personalize, personalize!

Zombie Wall

3)If you’re an actor/actress, why not get a stand-in for the day? In this case, it’s probably even better if they don’t look like you… just pick any old body off the street. Seeing the wrong body in the coffin will surely stir up a little excitement and provide mourners months of additional entertainment trying to figure out who that was, and where you are.

4)This isn’t my personal favourite, cuz clowns kinda freak me out, but maybe a circus theme would be your idea of the ideal deathday. Jugglers, clowns, an elephant or two (optional) and twisted-balloon-animal handouts for everyone. This theme works particularly well if you ever worked for the circus, were a juggler or clown. Otherwise it’s just kind of weird.

5)Pinatas…let’s talk deathday pinatas. I like this one. A pinata is so versatile……have it made in advance to your specifications. If you were an accountant in life, why not a entertain your guests with a giant pencil-shaped pinata stuffed with dollar bills? Maybe they’ll even forget how boring you really were. Or if you happened to be an obnoxious bastard, attach a pinata to your coffin and let everyone take a whack at you. This release of tension is guaranteed to boost your ratings and maybe even engender a kind word or two.

Money is a Tool, If You Aren't

6)Music is an excellent way to adapt your celebration to suit your personality. Don’t settle for ‘Amazing Grace’ just because everyone else does. If you’re into Radiohead maybe “High and Dry” would be a better selection for you. I like blues, so “Someday the Sun Won’t Shine For You” by Jethro Tull might be appropriate for me. However I’d advise caution when making this kind of last request….it’s bound to produce more of that weeping and wailing thing that can quickly ruin a good party. A good DJ should know how to keep the party upbeat, so spending a little time now to find the right one would be a wise way to start your deathday planning.

7)Scavenger hunts are fantastic….I love ’em. Write out your list beforehand …if you need help coming up with a list, google has endless ideas for your search list. Here again, this is an easy theme to make your own….use some of your own belongings…or relate the items to your own hobby, etc. Make sure some of the items are hidden under and around you in your coffin; this way you will be involved in the fun as people dig around you looking for stuff.

8)Remember, you don’t have to take it lying down…..this is such a basic fact that most people forget to take advantage of the opportunity. Why just lie there if you can stand up in the corner, or better yet, sit yourself in the front row and sport your 3D glasses with the rest of them. There are endless variations on this basic premise…just run with it, so to speak. Buttresses, pulleys, and some simple frameworks can create some amazing effects.

This Way Up

9)The following idea can be time-consuming, so if you’re planning on making this idea part of your last hurrah, be sure to get on it now. To avoid all the usual blah, blah, pre-write everything for your friends and family to say at your deathday celebration. For goodness sake, take pity on those left behind and do this pre-planning now. I would suggest a selection of the best jokes you’ve ever heard. Alternatively, if you have no sense of humour,  just give us all the real dirt on your life…. you’re not the angel people would portray you as, so give us the down-low and we’ll have a bit of fun with that. This one’s a great crowd pleaser and is sure to attract an audience. …a perfect choice if you have no friends anyway.

Laugh Lines

10)Lastly, if you want to really go out in style…..make it a SURPRISE party. Don’t tell anyone you’re dead. Granted, it’s difficult to pull off, but it can be done. Unavoidably, one or two people usually find out ahead of time, but that’s okay.  Bribe the nurses and doctors if necessary to keep the cat in the bag and then have a trusted family member send out your pre-printed invitations. Tell everyone it’s come-as-you-are, potluck and voila….a perfect deathday celebration.

What are you’re last requests? I’d love to hear them, even if it’s just a request for me to stay the hell away from you and your family.

Hopefully, my own deathday is a long way in the future because I’m not finished my planning yet, but if some of you adopt these ideas at least I might be invited to a few fun funerals in the meantime.
Happy Endings!
(If you’re pre-planning, all the above merchandise can be found on my zazzle website…see link on right)

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The obsession

I confess, I am obsessed. Artwork absorbs me to such an extent that I forget to eat; I mean it’s such a colossal annoyance to stop for a meal.  Seriously, I’d love to just strap on some intravenous, vitaminized gloop and carry on with my work.  Daily hygiene is also a necessary evil. I’d skip it altogether if not for the other people in the world (taking pity on their sense of smell, I occasionally sacrifice the time).
When I’m working, nothing is sacred…my kitchen egg-flipper still has chips of paint on it from some long-forgotten adventure in art. I gather household items around me like Pig-pen’s cloud, as I foment the latest creation. It’s an obsession. Fortunately, my obsession brings me joy not anxiety. And there’s no stigma attached to being an eccentric artist…my OCD is socially acceptable. Everyone knows artists are crazy.

For the last couple of years I’ve concentrated on photography and graphic art. These two hobbies shouldn’t generate much mess, right?  Ha! When I’m taking photos, I can’t just snap things in their current location and condition….that would be too neat and tidy. No, I have to decorate them with bits of lace, or outline them with light from sparklers or freeze them in ice. At the moment I have a piece of glass out on my patio(rescued from some old picture frame) where I’m taking advantage of the current cold snap to coat it with ice.  I’ll use it later, for better or worse, to create some new images under ice.
For as long as I can remember, one project or another has cluttered up my living space. The freaky thing is, disorder upsets my equilibrium so I compulsively clean today, and I’ll obsessively create a new mess tomorrow.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, art is undeniably a jealous mistress (or in my case, mister). Relationships definitely suffer neglect when you’re wrapped up in paper mache and tubes of glitter….(unless you’re using them in novel ways outside my normal methods). People become extraneous and just as much an inconvenience as eating a meal… or more so…at least the meal doesn’t expect conversation.

Here is one of the harvests from my obsession. This one required burning sparklers in the kitchen, dropping remnants of ash in the kitchen sink, as well as coating the top of the range with dripping candle wax. I never notice the mess I’m making until I come out of the zone…..and then it’s back to compulsive tidying.

Photography Prints

and if I happen to scatter a little broken glass here and there, who’s to notice?

Art Prints

When I was younger, I tried to fit into society’s standard of a “normal” life…..someone else’s vision of normal. Now I’m old enough to understand that my life is normal….for me.

And it’s damn good.

Links to header images:

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/explosive-ideas-barbara-white.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/dreamscape-barbara-white.html

Dammit, I’ve been ripped off!

Apparently, other people have something called a soul mate and I feel I’ve been cheated. Where’s mine then, huh?  How come, in all my long years, I’ve never bumped into anything that remotely resembled a soul mate.

Maybe it’s because I’m not sure what a soul mate is? Is it anything like the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus?

Okay, I may be a tad cynical, but if there is a soul mate for everyone, mine is wandering around Tiffanys and I’m over here shuffling around WalMart (okay, I don’t really shuffle yet, but I’m sure I will be by the time he finds me).

Oh, by the way, Happy New Year.

This whole soul mate question began rankling me after watching “Crazy Stupid Love” with my kids over the holidays. One of my sons, who is now 38 years old, recommended it as one of his favorites. Now, biased mother opinions aside, he is a handsome, thoroughly masculine, hunky kinda guy with a ton of husband potential. Any guy sensitive and romantic enough to pick that movie, must have possibilities don’t you think? But he’s never met his soul mate. I have two other sons….same thing. No soul mates. Are we all delusional?

And when exactly did soul mates become a national objective? My parents never told me that a mysterious soul mate lurked in my future. It was supposed to be a knight in shining armour. Yes, I’m sure I remember that correctly. A clanking hunk on a white charger. Would have made for noisy sex, but hey, in those days you weren’t supposed to be doing it anyway. My siblings and I were all immaculate conceptions…..no rattling breastplates and crashing helmets in my parents bedroom; no need to even remove the gauntlets.

So, have I been duped? Was I watching for a white horse when my soul mate went charging by on a black stallion?

Or is the whole thing a myth propagated by the media to sell more movies and Valentine’s cards? What’s your opinion….do you still believe in the Easter Bunny? If you have met your soul mate, send me a picture.  I want some kinda proof that they exist.

Honestly, I’ve managed to have a wonderful life with no horse hockey messin’ up my yard…and I don’t have much interest in shopping at Tiffanys. But if you’re out there ‘soul mate’, and you’re not too senile to find it, drop by WalMart…I’ll be the little grey-haired lady causing a scene in the lingerie department. And hurry up, time is running out. I figure I might have twenty good years left in me, but after that you’re on your own.

 

What’s my NEWline? tee contest

iiphotoArt introduces fun new line of tshirts!

It’s called, strangely enough,

“NEWline”

Each tee features a simple graphic line drawing that is actually a  rebus puzzle depicting a word or phrase containing the word “line”. Below is an example.

NEWline 1

To see the design on a tee, click here.

………this one’s pretty obvious, but I’ll give you a minute to figure it out. The answer is at the bottom of this post (and that’s a blatant hint for you).

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out what word or phrase the next three “NEWline” tees depict.

NEWline 2

To see the design on a tee, click here.

NEWline 3

To see the design on a tee, click here.

NEWline 4

To see the design on a tee, click here.

The contest begins NOW and runs until midnight Dec.31/11.
Everyone who sends in correct answers for lines 2,3 and 4 before the deadline will be entered in a draw to win a “NEWline” tee with the design of their choice.
The best part is, there will be lots to choose from. Every day  from now through December 31, another “NEWline” tee will be added to the iiphotoART zazzle website.

These first four tees are available beginning today at iiphotoART. Visit every day to find out what the next “NEWline” will be. Just to keep it interesting, the answers to each “NEWline” will not be shown anywhere except here on this blog. That means if you like a challenge, you can buy your tee and have as much time as you want to figure it out yourself before cheating!

The rules are simple:

  1. anyone can enter (except my immediate family, so forget it you guys)
  2. you may submit only one entry per email address
  3. the winner must answer all three lines correctly
  4. entry must be received before midnight Dec.31/11
  5. there will be one winner chosen by a draw from all the winning entries
  6.  the winner will receive one tshirt, in the style and design of their choice taken from the iiphotoArt NEWline Zazzle collection

So, that’s it. Fill out your answers in the form below and good luck! Winners will be announced here and at iiphotoART by January 15, 2012.

Oh yeah, for all those who are linearly challenged, the answer to NEWline 1 is ……… “bottom line” (they’re not all this easy).

The answer list can be viewed by clicking on the link at top. I’ll add the next answer every day after the daily NEWline tee has been added to zazzle.  Lines 2, 3, and 4 will not be revealed until the new year.

Is there an elephant in the room?

I was trying to decide on a topic for my next blog, and the word ‘elephant’ popped into my head. That’s just so totally random….and now there’s this big friggin’ elephant in the room.

Honestly, I tried to ignore it, but how do you ignore a seven-ton animal (that poops) in a two bedroom apartment? Go to the other room?
Might as well write the damn blog about elephants and get on with it.

Hey, think about this…how great would it be to be able to stick your nose in your mouth and smell your own breath? Okay, maybe not so great…but now that I think about it, elephants might have several advantages in the dating game.

For instance, they’ve got that yucky-green-stuff-in-the-teeth problem licked…no front teeth. And there’s none of that weight discrimination thing happening when everyone at the club is in the six-seven ton range. Have you always been self-conscious about your ears flapping in the wind?….mine are now looking rather dainty compared to dumbo’s. Even my wrinkly knees suddenly look kind of appealing.
Elephants do have their own set of problems I’m sure, for instance how often does your date put his nose in your plate and help himself to some of your french fries? (if you answered “all the time”, it’s time to have a relisten to “50 ways to leave your lover”).

And imagine if you accidentally sneezed while your nose was in your mouth?..you could blow the top of your head off. I don’t even want to contemplate the amount of snot a snozzola that size must produce.

But if size really does matter….weeeelllll hang on to your hat, we’re going to Georgia! (I have no idea what that means, but it sounded good).

Alrighty, I feel better now. The elephant in the room has been exorcized. I do feel obliged to tell at least one elephant joke before I go. Have you got a favorite? Remember this one?
How do you kill a blue elephant?
Shoot him with a blue elephant gun (insert groan here)
How do you kill a red elephant?
.. wait for it, wait for it….you choke him ’til he turns blue
and kill him with a blue elephant gun.

And here are a couple of the things I’ve been designing in the art department this week: (absolutely nothing to do with elephants, I’m over it) Click on the picture to go to my zazzle website.
I love these “Crazy About Polkadot” sneakers:

And this design called “Hot Metal” is available on business cards, greeting cards, mugs and more.

My photo website has been sadly ignored for a couple of weeks….taken lots of new photos but haven’t uploaded any yet. But there’s still lots of good stuff on there, so here’s the link: iiphotoArt

Some random thoughts on creativity.

Someone recently told me that I was very creative. At the time, I said a polite thank you, but walked away thinking “Who me? They obviously don’t know what the heck they’re talking about” (okay, to be honest, I probably said “hell”, but that’s a discussion for a whole other blog).
Anyway, my point is, someone like a Jonathon Winters or a Robin Williams who can ramble off a myriad of random thoughts spontaneously; that’s a creative mind…but it’s certainly not me.
I have to work at it. Hell (oops, that one slipped out) I don’t even have fantasies because it’s too much work. What I create doesn’t just drop into my head from the cosmos fully-formed, I have to struggle with it for a while before it takes shape.
So I mentioned all this to my son (not the fantasies part, that’s TMI). His take on it really made me re-evaluate my self-perception. Basically his response was: ‘What you’re talking about is divine intervention, not creativity. Of course you have to work at it! It wouldn’t be any fun if it was all just handed to you.”
Wow…just like that….I ‘m an artist. A struggling artist. Halleluya!
So here are a couple of the babies I created this week (with more pain than any childbirth I ever suffered, I might add). They’re from a new line of products I call IMH™ (In My Heart).
For some reason all those popular I ♥ signs you see everywhere bug me…forgive my literal brain, but when I see that cute little ♥ symbol, I automatically translate that as “heart”, not “love”. Anyway, another problem solved. Now I have everything I love, right where it belongs…inside my heart.

These, and lots more on my zazzle site at iiphotoArt
Maybe I am creative….(I’ll have to struggle with that concept for a while).
And I do have random thoughts (there goes one now) but I just can’t vocalize them like Robin Williams. Maybe what I really need is a good speech therapist. Anyone got a referral?