Sunday, July 18, 2010

If you don't get it don't bother

His name is Harry I think. We haven't really decided. We thought on Leroy, Jr. and the kids thought Chevy sounded right. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Song Poets

When loves calls you by your name

You thought that it could never happen
to all the people that you became,
your body lost in legend, the beast so very tame.
But here, right here,
between the birthmark and the stain,
between the ocean and your open vein,
between the snowman and the rain,
once again, once again,
love calls you by your name.
The women in your scrapbook
whom you still praise and blame,
you say they chained you to your fingernails
and you climb the halls of fame.
Oh but here, right here,
between the peanuts and the cage,
between the darkness and the stage,
between the hour and the age,
once again, once again,
love calls you by your name.

Shouldering your loneliness
like a gun that you will not learn to aim,
you stumble into this movie house,
then you climb, you climb into the frame.
Yes, and here, right here
between the moonlight and the lane,
between the tunnel and the train,
between the victim and his stain,
once again, once again,
love calls you by your name.

I leave the lady meditating
on the very love which I, I do not wish to claim,
I journey down the hundred steps,
but the street is still the very same.
And here, right here,
between the dancer and his cane,
between the sailboat and the drain,
between the newsreel and your tiny pain,
once again, once again,
love calls you by your name.

Where are you, Judy, where are you, Anne?
Where are the paths your heroes came?
Wondering out loud as the bandage pulls away,
was I, was I only limping, was I really lame?
Oh here, come over here,
between the windmill and the grain,
between the sundial and the chain,
between the traitor and her pain,
once again, once again,
love calls you by your name.

Leonard Cohen

Cohen wrote so many wonderful poems/songs. My favorite is Hallelujah

Dance me to the end of love is truly enchanting

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Suzanne takes you down to a place near the river. Gods I love that song. When I hearda this this morning I had to make some tea from China and eat a very ripe orange.

"In My Secret Life"

I saw you this morning.
You were moving so fast.
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past.
And I miss you so much.
There’s no one in sight.
And we’re still making love
In My Secret Life.

I smile when I’m angry.
I cheat and I lie.
I do what I have to do
To get by.
But I know what is wrong,
And I know what is right.
And I’d die for the truth
In My Secret Life.

Hold on, hold on, my brother.
My sister, hold on tight.
I finally got my orders.
I’ll be marching through the morning,
Marching through the night,
Moving cross the borders
Of My Secret Life.

Looked through the paper.
Makes you want to cry.
Nobody cares if the people
Live or die.
And the dealer wants you thinking
That it’s either black or white.
Thank G-d it’s not that simple
In My Secret Life.

I bite my lip.
I buy what I’m told:
From the latest hit,
To the wisdom of old.
But I’m always alone.
And my heart is like ice.
And it’s crowded and cold
In My Secret Life.

Wisdom from 1888

I found this at a yard sale a few years ago and found it when looking for some old papers. It was published in 1888 by a company called Dr. Price's cream baking powder and is full of the most interesting little recipes.

Southern Corn Bread: sift one quart of white corn meal with two teaspoonfulls of baking powder. Add three tablespoons of melted lard, salt and three beaten eggs and a pink of milk, enough to make a thin batter. Beat all very hard for two minutes and bake rather quickly in a hot well greased pan in which a little dry meal has been sifted. Eat hot.

I love the suggestion to eat it hot.

Rice Muffins: Add two teacups full of cold boiled rice half a pint of milk and three eggs. Sift together one pinkt of flour, one and one half teaspoons of baking powder and one tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of salt and mix with the rice, beating into a smooth batter. Grease some muffin pans and fill each to 2/3rds and bake in a hot oven.

I would think a hot oven would be 350 and bake it until it looks done. I haven't tried this yet but the next time I make rice I may just do that.

Vanilla Snow Eggs: beat stiff the whites of six eggs; have ready on the fire a pint of ilk sweetneed and flavored with vanilla; as soon as it boils drop the beaten eggs into it by tablespoons and as soon as they become set dip them out with a tin; slice and arrange them according to fancy upon a broad dish; allow the milk in the saucepan to cool a little, and then stir in the yolks of the egg very gradually. When thick, pour around the snowed eggs and serve cold.

and finally sustenance for the sick...yes it has it's own chapter

Toast water: Brown nicely but do not burn the slices of bread and pour them into boiling water and cover. Let them steep until cold keeping the bowl or dish containing the cost closely covered. Strain off the water and sweet to taste putting a piece of ice into it as drank.

I couild not ever dream of drinking this as wet break freaks me out.

The world keeps turning

It was a little more than a year ago when I heard the news that would open up my little piece of the world and swallow me. It didn't. It didn't because I wasn't done doing what I was supposed to do I suppose. If you know what that is you could drop me a note I'd like that. I was looking for Bukowski poetry last night to post here to share with you and I found this, it bears repeating:

The Laughing Heart
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Charles Bukowski

You see even when you are bogged down in sadness or despair or even worry this is the only go around so there is no choice other than to look forward and hope by all means of hope that Emily was right and there is a bird and those feathers will carry the light.

Bukowski loved Ezra Pound. I will write more on Ezra later but I found this and it gave me such comfort that I put it on a note where I work and to this day I can find comfort in it.

As cool as the pale wet leaves
of lily-of-the-valley
She laid beside me in the dawn

Ezra Pound

And this I think the imagery is as beautiful as the song. If you want a day of comfort spend the entire day listening to a little Tommy.

and my contribution to all this?

When you have everything you want
God takes this as a sign you need a hurricane
and he moves his finger in a little circle
right near your head and the rain will fall and fall
Don't be shocked when nobody notices
it's not their storm and they have their own dream to chase
All you can do is hold on to what you know
and look to the sky when you are thirsty
and know when it's time to lay your head down
and wait for the day to pass
as they tend to do
Nobody has to remind the sun to come up in ribbons
even when summer is ending when the bugs
sing so loud you think they drown out any possibility
of reasoning
Make your deal with God now
tell him you will be more understanding of the world
more tolerable of fools
you will move more carefully
and perhaps he will be teaching a girl's school in the Sudan
or he will be taking a little nap and just when he's missing your song
he will hear your prayer he will hear the screams
and offer a little solace at the end of the day
on the car ride home
and that will be enough.

Thanks for spending this time with me. I have started a new project and I am excited to share pieces of that as well.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Having A Best Friend

So one day awhile back I was watching Oprah. She had on a woman who was complaining that her Best Friend slept with her husband. This is the point where Oprah leans in and says quiet seriously, "Um, she wasn't your best friend." No shit. Best Friends don't do these sort of things. I was reading a blog recently where someone was saying truly strange things about her friend and I kept thinking, friends don't treat friends like this, they just don't. How do I know this? I have a Best Friend. I've had a Best Friend for a long time. Know what Best Friends Never do?

They never fuck your man. It doesn't even occur to them and if you love your Best Friend for a long time you know the other's weakness and how a man would fill that void and therefore you can't be attracted to him. Just how it works.

Best Friends never tell anyone where you were if you don't want the world to know where you are. There is no excuse for telling, not even if someone is worried. When you want to be away from the world, you tell your Best Friend and they field the nonsense but they don't tell, they just can't so don't ask.

Best Friends never put you down to others unless of course the put down is so blatant it's comical and everyone already knows about it. I can tell people my Best Friend is picky because if you've ever ordered in a restaurant with her you know. She has ordered something on the menu that will have to be set up in a fashion they've never encountered and you know what? She just likes it that way. She tells the world I've had 14 emotions today. That's a good day.

Best Friends don't lie to you. They never ever lie. If they start bullshitting you what separates them from men? Nothing. Best Friends tell you when the dress is stupid, and not working for your hips or ass. They mention that lipstick gives them a tumor, they laugh and point at you when you wear lime green crocks. (Don't ask me how I know this stuff for certain.) Best Friends knock on the door when you've been away from the world too long. Best Friends are always invited to your house, it's just a given. Best Friends don't lie.

Best Friends know your weaknesses and don't play on them. They know you're an emotional girl, or perhaps not emotional enough. They know you won't put the cap back on the bottle and do it when you aren't looking just so they can sleep and they don't nag at you to do it. They can finish your sentences but delight in hearing them. They know you for the worst and best of what you are and who you are and love love love you anyway.

If you want a Best Friend, be one. It's just that simple. Love someone without boundary, love them at the bookstore and love them late at night when they call because they had a strange nightmare about chickens. You can sleep when you die.

Why do I love MY Best Friend?

This is easy.

She's always on my side. If someone calls her bitching about me her first response, "what did you do to her?" hahaha

We are two totally different people, different views on most things but I can see her point of view and respect it and she always respects mine even when she's laughing and pointing.

She's the rational to my not so rational side. If I overly excited about something she will put her hand on my shoulder and say "girlfriend this has no power." She's usually right about this.

She says things that make me laugh days after she says them. Things like "If you weren't dressed like a bumble bee and I wasn't dressed like a gypsy hooker, we'd be eating dinner at Trump Tower tonight." Ha, we ate BBQ at a hole. Figures.

She shares her family with me. Because of her love and her generous spirit I have another sister and a brother and nieces and nephews I love as much as I love my own children. I can have a separate relationship with each of them and she gave me a whole another family to love. Love multiplies when you share it, she's proof.

On a road trip, she always drives. I hate to drive. I am in control of the temperature, the radio, what we eat, and what I read to her. The rest is hers and I am glad it is.

I will never have to do anything in my life alone ever again. Imagine that. We are born alone, we spend time alone, we die alone. Not when you have the Best Friend I do, I don't ever have to do anything alone again. When you have a Best Friend you never have to take someone you can barely tolerate to a family wedding. They will expect your Best Friend because she's the person you want to be with, all the time.

My Best Friend can turn an ordinary afternoon up by Northwestern into an adventure. We stop at the Jewel, make a lunch, get a few really stupid magazines and one really smart one. We take the quilt from the trunk and sit in the grass ans paint each other's toe nails and read magazines and eat melon balls and laugh. Those days are the best days of my life.

When you have a Best Friend life is lighter, easier and so full of joy. Any burden is half and any happiness doubled. I know. I have one.

He will always be the first love of my life

The first time I read Bukowski I was with my Best Friend. Actually I was at her little apartment up on Barry Street and I pulled the orange copy of Love is A Mad Dog from Hell from the bookcase and I was done, smitten and fully in love with each line. I loved even some more than others. When he wrote sad you could taste sad like humidity and when he wrote content you just wanted to take a nap, content with the whole world.

Yes Yes

when God created love he didn't help most
when God created dogs He didn't help dogs
when God created plants that was average
when God created hate we had a standard utility
when God created me He created me
when God created the monkey He was asleep
when He created the giraffe He was drunk
when He created narcotics He was high
and when He created suicide He was low

when He created you lying in bed
He knew what He was doing
He was drunk and He was high
and He created the mountains and the sea and fire at the same time

He made some mistakes
but when He created you lying in bed
He came all over His Blessed Universe.

-Charles Bukowski

and the gods wait to delight in you. Gosh, oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh. What kinder thing could you say to someone? This wasn't just a drunk. He wasn't just a mad who hid behind a face he thought was ugly, even hideous. He was pure poetry, hate and pain and love and joy the pendulum swings and you die in each line.

Consummation Of Grief

I even hear the mountains
the way they laugh
up and down their blue sides
and down in the water
the fish cry
and the water
is their tears.
I listen to the water
on nights I drink away
and the sadness becomes so great
I hear it in my clock
it becomes knobs upon my dresser
it becomes paper on the floor
it becomes a shoehorn
a laundry ticket
it becomes
cigarette smoke
climbing a chapel of dark vines. . .
it matters little
very little love is not so bad
or very little life
what counts
is waiting on walls
I was born for this
I was born to hustle roses down the avenues of the dead.

Charles Bukowski

The images of Bukowski are beautiful. If you read Ham on Rye you will read that he didn't care what clothes he wore, all he cared about was the poems and the women and the beer, the escape of the reality of life and living for this moment, right here.

For Jane: With All the Love I Had, Which Was Not Enough:

I pick up the skirt,
I pick up the sparkling beads
in black,
this thing that moved once
around flesh,
and I call God a liar,
I say anything that moved
like that
or knew
my name
could never die
in the common verity of dying,
and I pick
up her lovely
all her loveliness gone,
and I speak to all the gods,
Jewish gods, Christ-gods,
chips of blinking things,
idols, pills, bread,
fathoms, risks,
knowledgeable surrender,
rats in the gravy of two gone quite mad
without a chance,
hummingbird knowledge, hummingbird chance,
I lean upon this,
I lean on all of this
and I know
her dress upon my arm
they will not
give her back to me.

Charles Bukowski

If you are going to try go all the way! How many times do we have to hear this in our lifetime before it's our mantra? How many times? Anything he endured was this gift, the lover of life. If you are going to try go all the way there is no other feeling like this and you will be alone with the gods. I've read it a thousand times and when I read it again it will make me cry. He believed it and we wait around to hear it to inspire us even now, even now that he's dead, buried in the ground and the worms are eating his bones.

The rich are not good to the rich, the poor are not good to the poor. We are afraid. More haters than lovers and people are not good to each other. Perhaps if they were our deaths would not be so sad. I love that he turns it in his head to figure a way for us to be kinder, easier to make life more about watching out for one another even in a poem.

It reminds me of a Joseph Conrad poem about love and war and the way men who wage work work it out in their head.

I think I'll add more soon. I've had enough of his sadness tonight and I have to sleep soon. You can find him on YouTube, all over the net, in a bookstore, a library, and somewhere near your 3rd rib.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Garden Photo

I made the wreath from some old silk flowers I found on sale and the twigs that fall down from the trees outside and a little bit of wire. The peppers are insane now, 9 different kinds, all fun shapes and colors, thinking about gathering a bunch up for a painting for the kitchen, some inspiration. The herbs have taken over especially the cat nip, next year i'd grown much less of it. I find such joy in the garden, I can't begin to tell you.

Dirty White Boy's nap partner

Yes Dirty has broken down and taken to loving one of the kittens. He may come around for the others. I'm not sure if he's feeling brotherly love or just wanted a nap partner.


Even when I'm angry I will leave a trail
of bread crumbs to find my heart
I can't shut doors, never could
the brave will find their way
and what would I drop?
if I knew you were hungry I'd drop
french baguette with a little melted cheese
if I knew you were hungry intentionally
avoiding food, avoiding any comfort because
you like the challenge of seeing if you can
push the 20 percent if you can push and push
and oh how I love when you push

If I thought you were bored I'd leave a trail
of poetry
little snippets of this and that
Eliot's lost afternoon of hysteria
or the mermaids of Prufrock
Perhaps little pieces of Emily
and you'd know it was her because she wrote of hope
and the birds
and butterflies
She waited like I do, winding the months in little balls
letting the days pass as days tend to do
and wishing and loving you

And if you thought fun had passed you by
I'd create a game and leave the pieces strewn
like love letters all over the pavement
you could be Romeo and I will be Juliet
and we can be on the porch
playing a game of romance
where the only prize is this girl's heart

If I believed for a moment you had given up hope
in mankind and nature
I'd leave you a trail of flowers
flowers in every shape and size
flowers from the islands
and flowers from Paris
not just their pedals, their brilliant colors soon to die
instead I'd plant a row of flowers, all in blues
and greens one for each eye to see
in rows forming a path to where my heart would be

If you were feeling love had slipped through your hands
the hands that can jerry rig a radio to work
without a battery but just a potato from some child's lab
I would cut hearts from the red red paper
I'd cut them with a child's scissors so I wouldn't
cut myself on the tips
and on every heart I'd write something I love about you
I'd write of your gentle spirit
of your laugh like thunder
or the way you will throw rational aside
just to love me, the wonky girl with a crooked heart

If i thought you were weary, weary from a world
that moves like a carousel around and around
so fast you are afraid to touch your foot to the ground
for fear you'd fall
not afraid of the pain of falling
afraid that someone would notice and wonder
then I'd leave a path herbs
herbs grown by the Gods in heavens we cant see
herbs of such intoxicating scent you'd fall
under their spell and perhaps under mine
and over me

and when you were fed and reminded of love's possibility
when you were covered in flowers and
taking a rest on my left breast
with a heady head full of poetry and stolen time
I'd whisper to you thoughts to make you forget about duty
the world would stop and the clouds would linger
we could live life in those few moments
every dream at the tip of your finger
each thought understood before you spoke it
every fear banished when love broke it
and there for a moment or a hundred years
you'd be mine
with a belly full of bread
and a heart full of rhyme

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Men are a constant source of entertainment for me.

So I found the unemployed poet when surfing:

This is an amusing fellow to say the least. The rant on what you will never find in a Mexican resort made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

I've read Dan Savage for years and years and this made me laugh out loud

he's worth reading and years ago when I first found him he wrote an article about a woman watching her grandmother jerk off a parrot and found it disturbing. If I find it again I will send it along.

You can always find a summer laugh at Lemon drop

Summer is about life being a little less serious, eating watermelon, summer romance, writing a love letter and listening to music in the park waiting for fire works. I live on the south side of Chicago so the fireworks go on and on and on. Don't get me started. Summer defines our time when we are healing, when there's not worry of shoveling the drive way with no end and your biggest worry is which new flower will be blooming in the garden. Summer summer summer.

Food For A Summer Pic Nic

Inspired by Ina Garten and feeling like I wanted to eat something that wasn't about meat because the meat thing gets so old. I was missing Best Friend and our afternoons eating Greek. They closed down the little greek place I love so much, made it a mundane lunch and dinner place full of nothing special. So if you are looking for something summer to eat that you can eat cold as well as hot and is beyond simple, this is it.

The best part of this is that you don't need to measure anything really. I started with some fillo dough sheets, two different kinds, two different thicknesses, the thick on the bottom. No need to butter a cookie sheet, nothing to measure here. Just start with a few sheets of dough, and then a little misting of melted butter and a little olive oil, and some defrosted frozen spinach that you will have to squeeze the water out of with your hands. On top of that a little crumbled feta and a smidge of garlic and chopped dill (mine from the garden) and scallions both the white and green cut up. Now sprinkle all the layers except for the top layer with a little bread crumbs to bind it together. Now if you are full of adventure you can add sun dried tomatoes, or some roasted red pepper. The sky is the limit here I wouldn't add more than a few extras because you don't want to hide the spinach of the feta.

Then you'll need a few more sheets of the filo and another layer of the spinach/cheese fun. Don't add too much dill, it will destroy everything and if you are feeling especially summer, cut a lemon and squeeze some of that juice over the top, another layer of the fillo dough a few sheets and some more melted butter. I take the top layer and spread a little of the melted butter and then some egg wash to give it some color as I do not like the fillo dough too crunchy.

Bake at 350 for about 36 minutes you are just really cooking the dough, everything else is already cooked. Ina mixes in some turkey sausage and makes a wonderful dipping sauce but I wasn't in the mood for a summer heavy sauce or rolling it up. I am going to put her recipe below though because she is the mother of all good cooking and watching her is a sublime way to spend a summer afternoon.


* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1 bunch chopped scallions, white and green parts
* 2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
* 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
* 7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 40 sheets (1 box) frozen phyllo dough (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
* 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the scallions. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a bowl. Add the scallions, dill, eggs, feta, salt, and pepper and mix together.

Keep the phyllo dough sheets covered with a damp kitchen towel. Unfold 1 sheet of the phyllo dough. Brush the sheet with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process by laying a second sheet of phyllo dough over the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs until all 10 sheets have been used. Spoon 3/4 cup of the spinach mixture into a sausage shape along one edge of the phyllo dough. Roll it up. Brush the top with butter and score the roll into 1-inch rounds. Place it on an oiled baking sheet. Repeat until all the pastry and filling have been used.

Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Serve warm.

bon appetite!

She Blooms

And she blooms

He loves her through the whole winter
because he sees something in her
even she's forgotten
He stands over her in the rain
and when the sizzle of lightning fills her head
she can hear him whisper in low tones
and she knows anything uncomfortable is temporary
and you grow and grow and grow

He sighs when she's wonky
because a wonky girl is finding her way
and he will be there to celebrate when she's home
and he can figure twenty one grams on a bike
and she grows

He has the power to make her wet
to let his sun shine down on her
and convert all that divine wetness to food
and by God's design
love can change an afternoon and even a flower
for the rest of her life
love love love

So today he kept a promise like a sacred flame
turned a few forgotten days
into the tender rain
and she remembers that if you drink and drink
you can also drown
but she can swim and loves when he's around

when no one noticed
when the wind blew just right
when he tells her she's perfect
when he whispers good night
it didnt make a noise
not even a sound
she closed her eyes
she held her breath
and when his hand slipped around her neck
she bloomed

The rose is from my garden and it's thorns tore my thumb to shreds.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mundane Summer

I was in the garden this morning
and not one but two monarch butterflies appeared
they were dancing and drinking fruity drinks
from the flowers awaiting their arrival
and I was listening as you always should
when the winged marvels of nature appear
and one said to the other
"I miss you terribly"
the other just sort of carried on her
business of garden visits
and she said "I don't think you do."
The other approached her quietly
"I think of you every day a hundred times a day."
"I think of you, thinking of me."
The queen the color of a pumpkin couldn't believe
what she'd heard so she pretended not to hear him
and he would tell her a few more times
so that this courting ritual of one not trusting
flutter of this way and that
and the one so wanted to be trusted danced
and they danced and they danced
and I was witness to their love
when he kissed her the wind was so cool
I was certain the Gods of summer winds
and beautiful purple flowers
stopped and sat with me
in my garden
of mundane summer

New Garden Photos

The garden is coming along nicely this year. Everything is filling in and I have picked about 30 tomatoes and more sprigs of basil and sage than I can count. The cats love the cat nip which is growing in like mad and I love the colors of the flowers. I even added a wind chime and finally finished the light pole to hang some flowers. The new blue bell looking flowers are called chinese lantern flowers. The blooms are delicate and lovely. I am going to plant some packages of seeds tomorrow for some late september surprise and am still looking for a rusty bench. I think anything new will spoil the victorian feel I love about it so much.

Oh Baby oh Baby oh Baby

These are the new photos of the kittens. There are six, I have a few here but will add more later as they get a little bigger and easier to take photos of. Their aunt Sheba has decided to hide them all over the house which sounds like 6 little fire alarms going off when they are missing their mother and moreover her milk. I haven't been able to pick a favorite yet but that little white one in the photos steals my heart.

What is old is made new again

I have this old gas light pole outside the house and for a few years it was just an eyesore. I didn't want to tear it out because I love the bird on top and I wasn't sure what to do with it. This year it was my little project so I sanded the whole thing, spray painted it and then started painting flowers here and there when I'd have some time at the end of the day. I sealed it in a spray, a matt spray and then headed over to the hardware store to find a dowel. The hardware store adventure was serious fun because this is a place full of really helpful men. They cut the dowel for me and then drilled a hole in each end so I could hang a few plants from this new creation of mine. The rest as they say is history.