Friday, August 22, 2014

Biz, blessings & a martini

AvantGarb has been a growing, productive business for a really long time.

I started AvantGarb in my Berkeley, California garage when my youngest daughter was about 3 months old.

Month after month I have made money, and those dollars have increased through the years.

AvantGarb is a real, ongoing operation.

Even though we have been making money, and I've been paying my mortgage, buying shoes, clothing my children, sending them to college & helping them buy cars, getting my hair done and my eyebrows tamed, I still think, it could be over tomorrow.

This is crazy thinking.

When I am sitting with a curved needle, stitching yellow muppet fleece to green muppet fleece, I have taken to counting my blessing.

Here are some of them:
  • I have a really grand family. They keep me involved and interested in their lives. My husband is funny, handsome and sexy. My daughters are gorgeous, glorious adults.
  • I  love my biz - making fuzzy critters that add a great dollop of fun to the landscape.
  • I've traveled everywhere--okay, not everywhere, but a lot of places - Kenya, India, China, Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, Taiwan, Egypt, and oh yeah, Europe. I feel fluent in the world. I like to be places where I can't speak the language.
  • ... however, I can speak Spanish, stutter through French and be polite in Swahili
  • Every Monday I look forward to the week ahead.
  • Every Friday I come home to a really good martini.
  • I love going to church on Sundays, singing hymns w/ the congregation, listening to the sermon and being blessed for the coming week with the benediction.
  • I love reading the New York Times and napping on couch on Sunday afternoons.
  • I have gotten bit of fame for doing what I do.
  • ...and I have friends, friends, friends and ohmygoodness, a huge, ever-growing & always fascinating family.
There are more blessings than I can count.

I have imagined my life, and it became real.

I suspect the story of other small biz people is similar.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to keep your soul, make art, do biz and tell a story

How to keep your soul, make art, do biz and tell a story.

...of course, that's the kicker. I read recently that truly successful people don't have a Plan B.

I never had a plan A. 

When I was young, this is what I knew:

I knew art made me swoon, and made me stand up straight and pay attention.

I liked cool clothes, big cities, funky apartments, meals with friends, and boys.

I liked stumbling through foreign countries and foreign languages.

It's a recipe for a rich life. 

...and a life filled with stories. I feel like a historian for my generation. I protested the war in Vietnam in DC & got maced. I met my first big deal boyfriend at a "Peace-in" at Cornell University.

I lived in Seattle when it was cheap and full of artists and punks. I made costumes with a costume performance group, Friends of the Rag. I was an artist in NYC (with a studio at P.S.1) during the disco years  and before AIDS broke our hearts. 

I celebrated my 19th birthday on top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico.

I can start sentences with phrases like, "When I was in Mumbai" ....or "compared to Shanghai, NYC looks like Colonial Williamsburg" 

However, not to seem too exotic, Thirty-four years ago, I married the handsomest of the boys. I have 2 fascinating, twenty-something/30 something daughters, and a funny, arty business that keeps my fingers and my brain nimble. I live in Indianapolis, Indiana and I'm a church lady.

After a couple decades making mascots as the Queen of Fuzz at AvantGarb, my soul is intact, art makes me swoon, biz is good, and ohmygoodness do I have stories to tell.