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And the Saga Continues

Chapter One Stuff About Me

Chapter Two Mountain Men and Llamas

Chapter Three Introducing El Blanco

Chapter Four Off To Hollywood

Chapter Five It's Beginning to Look A lot like Christmas

Chapter Six The Day
Before November 16th
Chapter Seven My Neighbor


Chapter Seven My Neighbor

Chapter Eight More of Him

Chapter Nine The Grand Finale

Chapter Ten El Blanco Grande Rules

Fire From Hell

Butt Ugly Houses







Niles Minden

Letters to Niles

Van from Hell Fan Mail

My Portfolio

So Ya Wanna Do a Craft Show

Making Art

LA Times Story and Niche Magazine

Testimonials
chapters:  1   2   3  4   5   6   7   8   9   10
Continue to
Chapter 2
April, 2001

I just got done doing the International Collectible Exhibition in Anaheim California.....land of Mickey Mouse. Can you believe this?!!! Look at this little piece of brown crap parked next to my new big rig! Hey, I can dream, can't I? I think I might look sort of out of place though.... Do ya think?
My Adventure with the Mountain Men
You know how proud I am of the Van from Hell, well I have been totally crushed!

I decided to try a new show up in the mountains. A very beautiful place with lots of pine trees, wild flowers and nature stuff! What a terrific place to spend the weekend, right? Of course being the tight wad that I am, and because I have been banned from all the Hyatt Regency's of the world, I chose to stay over in a town, down the mountain from the show. It was only 18 miles away so it still had some of the flavor of the wild and wooly woods. I even had to rough it there too. Can you believe I had this very nice room to stay over in, but there was NO cable TV!! My God, what was I going to do? I was just short of panicking. I resorted to having to watch the final episode of Walker, Texas Ranger! I have never watched this program before. I will never watch it again!! No offense CBS, but this program really stinks!

Anyway, they started this art/craft show with a parade. Wow, I think the whole town was in this parade! They had a King and a Queen all dressed up and riding in a convertible covered with plastic flowers. She had a gold crown on. I bet it cost a fortune! They had a marching band of which every kid in the town was in. And I mean, every kid. They had one old Model T car, followed by a Corvette and a big ol' yellow school bus. This is getting exciting now, isn't it?

They had decorated golf carts!! Yes, they did, and lots of them........ A whole herd of them..... I lost count, there were so many and all the floggers were driving them with toilet paper flowers that they had glued all over them. Artistically arranged, I must add....with matching streamers. They had a fire engine in it, with real live firemen. They had A, ....notice I said aaaaaa, cop car in it. They had motor cycles, with scarrrrrry people riding them. I'm sure from all the hair, that they were THE mountain men. They had a little train that had little cars with cages on them, that they put little kids in! Hmmm, makes me wonder about this part. They had horses!! All kinds of horses. In all the colors that horses come in. And then the BEST part wassssssssss,.............. suspense building here..........................LLAMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!! LLAMASSSSS!!!.......four of them..... up in the forest!!!! So if you ever wondered where they came from, now you know. My bet is they live with the bears, squirrels and deer, and you just never realized it.

Well, one of these LLAMASSSS!!! was painted with purple poka dots. Now, even I can't make up this sort of thing....so that being, I KNEW they would let my van into the parade. I was sure of it. Mannnn, it was the perfect place to show off my beauty!!! It fit right in! And of course, I wanted desperately to be right behind the LLAMASSS!!!!. But would they let me?

Noooooo......oooohhh!!!! I was crushed, to the max. :(

So, out of spite, I will never do their show again. I went into a deep depression and it took many bowls of ice cream to get me out of it. If my van isn't good enough for them, then neither am I. So there!....I say to myself. I think the real reason they wouldn't let me in, wasn't because my van was so.... well.... unbefitting for the ceremony, as they said..... but because, it would have won ALL the prizes and awards they were giving out. Yep, I'm pretty darn sure that was the real reason. Lots of jealousy on the locals' behalf. And besides, after all that....I can't take not having cable. That is just too much to ask out of me. I am a city gal.......for shureeeee. So, I will not be visiting the mountain men again.....

Annnnnd before I forget...... all those people up there had these little bitty fluffy sissy dogs, they were walking around. If Niles had been there......well, your guess is as good as mine.......they probably would have become snacks. Niles doesn't like sissy dogs!
I've decided my van needed to be camouflaged. So to fit in with the neighborhood, I've painted it like a cow. Now granted this does not have the pizaaazzzzz of flames, but after all, it is suppose to blend in....right? I also put my website address on it, after a few requests. I'm not sure yet whether this adds to its beauty or not. I'm going to have to think about this for awhile. After all blatant advertising could ruin the splendor of its magnificence.
Dedicated to SEPT 11, 2001
There is no need to say more.
We're Being Stalked By More Dangerous Llamas !
Ok, here's the story. For some reason, I can't just have a normal show!
I get up at 4 in the morning so I can get ready and be in Brentwood by six. There is a big street fair down there on San Vincente and Bundy. Now if that sounds familiar it's because it's the neighborhood of the infamous; if the glove doesn't fit, then a-quit story. Now we alllll know how that one turned out, don't we?

So me and the DH are travelin' along the 118 Freeway. Cal Trans has been working, ok, not working but messing around with this freeway for quite sometime now. My guess is they are pretending to fix it but really aren't, because the pavement is riddled with giant ditches, pot holes and dangerous sharp objects that they have put there to test drivers' reflexes. Sort of like a group slalom for the public. If not, then they are really bad at what they are doing!

So it is verrrrry dark out and there is hardly anyone up; only us crazy artist type people and the drunks heading home from the bars.
Bet you can't guess what happened next. Yeaaaah right? The mighty force of my van going up this giannnnnt steep hill with the speed of a flying rocket.......geeees, give me a break here, so I exaggerated my 45 to 50mph..........hit the crevasse of death. The van let out a horrible groaning moan and convulsed slightly while going into the death heaves and becoming air born for a few seconds. Just picture the Titanic hitting that ice berg. She swerved a little then exploded! Her forward right paw was flapping in the dark morning fog as she started slowing down to a loud deep rumble and her now bare naked wheel sparked over the concrete, making excruciating and painful noises as chunks of rubber were flying everywhere. Hmmmm, I don't think this was a *good* thing.......

Anyway after unloading half the van on the side of the freeway, my dear DH changes the tire by the light of the silvery lamp post with his cartoon speed actions and his manly tools that he carries about, reloads the van and takes off again. Now in order to keep the van in a straight forward motion the steering wheel must be pointed at a 2 o'clock position. I ask you, does this sound like the beginings of a good show?!!!

We get to San Vincente and meet our neighbors and all. It's a good thing we left early because we weren't too late even with all the previous death defying road antics going on. That is definitely odd in itself....normally that would have made us very very late. At other times when we have tried to fly the van, it has made us very late.

Right across the street, there is no one setting up! I wonder what this means, I ask myself. Could it get worse........noooooooo, how could it? After all, mercury retrograde is still two days away.

Soon a huge huge truck arrives. It has the words Jetts Petting ZOO written on the side in huge red letters. Oh ohhhhhh.....

They put up a little green tubular fence, a circus tent with no sides and a little booth that sold a cup of animal chow for one measly dollar. Then out comes the zoo. We've got a giant tortoise who is romping about to my amazement, lots of sheep, goats, parrots, three cockatoos, ahhhh a Brahma bull, ponies for riding, leaping lizard like kangaroos, emus, and those damned LLAMAS!! AGAIN, but minus their purple spots..... and a partridge in a pair tree.

All I can do now is prayyyyy that it doesn't get too hot out and wonder how those LLAMAS knew we were there! Do you think perhaps they were out after us because of the *parade incident*? All day long I kept watching them and they kept watching us. It was indeed a very creepy situation. I'm going to have to check my van over now for homing devices and implanted hidden bugs. I KNOW they are following us from show to show. They thought they could sneak up on us again, but without their disguise, I knew who they were and why they were back.

Well after a while the wind off the ocean picked up just a teeny teeny tiny bit, but oh my, the horrific aroma that was infiltrating the air. Au de la stink #7. I would have traded it for skunk smell any day. After the people went in to see the smelly, I mean, darling little creatures, they were given a handi wipe for their hands. Why?

Because they were petting the animals! Euuuuuuwwwwwwww...... yuck. Man, who would want to touch a LLAMA? Their breath can knock you over more than the blow out on Mt. St. Helens. We figured the handi wipes were to get rid of the mad cow disease.

Now if the smell and strange noises weren't bad enough for you, along with the screammmmmming babies who were being scared and tortured by the animals and vice versa, along with the escape from death episode that left you speechless for any more four lettered words ; a lady let her dog pee on one of my beautiful fall brooms that was leaning up against the front of my booth. I guess it could have been worse.
He could have left a turd for me.

Ahhhhhhh yes, another day in the life of an artist. And I still can't figure out why my husband lets out a blood curdling scream when I tell him "I have another show next weekend dear". I think he has an attitude problem.
2002 Begins with a Bang and its Mercury Retrograde Time Again
I have to admit, I'm beginning to believe this stuff.

Well, the van from hell started hic cupping last November on its way home from Pleasanton. Nothing really noticeably horrid at first but it didn't go away. So after my last show of the season, my dear DH, under much pressure from me took a look at the ol' engine. She got a new carburetor, yep some cars still have those! She got some new spark plugs and various other tid bits. And after all that was done, only one bolt remained on the ground. Pretty darn good, I must say.

So she sits around for a while and then I have to get ready for the big show in Los Angeles. I start the old thing up, put some gas in her and start up the big hill. You always have to go up that big hill to get out of Simi! And what happens? Hic cups again!!!! Only they have turned in to flatuational distractions. Oh for Pete's sake! It's Mercury doing her number again on me and the V from H has turned into a living breathing heathen from Fartsville.

I get home from the show huffing, puffing and doing embarrassing things the whole way. So now it is garage time for Betsy Ross......she still is sporting her red white and blue stripes. A day later I get the news. She needs a by pass. Her valve is ruined and another one is going. My heart is broken. I mean her heart is broken. The mechanic wants only a mere $1,200 to fix her up. Do you know what the blue book price is on her? It's like $7.50. That's right, seven dollars and fifty cents!! So the DH drags her back home and decides he will try and pull her through. Even when her value doubles every time gas is put into her, it is not a permanent situation.

Saturday afternoon arrives and parts start flying all over the garage. I hear thumps, thuds, great big oh shits, little oh craps and a few other expletives. Then an executive decision is made. Not even by me!! But by my slave who drags all my things around for me. I am TOLD that she is to be put to sleep. And that is that. No, ifs, ands, or buts. Now what am I going to do?

I frantically start searching the internet for the van from hell #2. I have no money, but hey, minor detail there. I found what is called a Chevy G-Van. OH MY GAWD. It's like this huggggggggggggeeeeee ice cream truck!! I loveeeeeeeee it! The possibilities are endless here.

Ok, back to reality. What am I going to do with the V from H #1? My first idea was to trade it in. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.....etc. I'm sure there would be running screaming salesmen shooting at me to get me off their car lots. The next idea was to set it on fire and push it off the cliff next to my home. I do think a Viking's funeral would be quite fitting. But then I had an epiphany........... I will have it crushed and made into a lawn ornament. Not one of those sissy ones on a stick, but a manly ornament!!! And I will put it where my neighbor can see it at all times, so that he may admire her beauty for here and ever after.

Or I will keep it and park it next to my newwwwwwwwwwwww van and I shall then have a fleet of vans from hell. Oh my, I really like that one!

May my van rest in piece forever! Yep, I did spell that right......