CowParade (West Hartford 2007)
*visit CowParade 2007 webpage
*Click photo thumbnails on your left to see larger views of the cows.
In 2007 I painted two very different cows for the local CowParade. The first one was called 'Absolutely Cowbulous' and was envisioned as an embodiment of a classy chick, (an Audrey Hepburn of cows if you please). Dressed in a Channel-like outfit and sporting "Dolce & Cowbana" glasses she looked more sexy and elegant than any other cow in the history of cows (or so I would like to believe). The second cow was the exact opposite of 'Absolutely Cowbulous'. Her name was 'Buff Bovine' and she was an athlete who liked sporty fashion. I painted Buff in the middle of Sports exhibit in West Hartford Children's Museum, which was a very appropriate place for an exercise fanatic, such as Buff to be painted at. While I was painting, Buff kept an online diary. She gave her business cards to all the children who would come up to her, so that they could read her diary and then email her with any additional questions they might have.
CowParade Diaries by Buff Bovine
Name: Buff Bovine (AKA "Buffy")
August 13th, 2007
Hi boys and girls,
Let me introduce myself. I'm Buff "Buffy" Bovine and I'm training to become a cow for a CowParade coming to West Harford in early September of this year. I don't want to get you confused since I already am a cow and you're probably thinking how she can be training to become a cow if she already is a cow? Well, let me tell you. CowParade cows are very special cows. Serving as a cow in a CowParade is a great honor and just like anything else that is good in life obtaining that honor takes a lot of work and dedication.
By the way, just in case you don't know what CowParade is, allow me to tell you about this fun and wonderful event. CowParade is the world's largest outside art exhibit, which comes to different cities and allows cows like me to showcase art on our bodies, but most importantly it enables us to help local charities. Every cow dreams of participating in a CowParade, but only few are chosen. So now you understand why I feel so proud to be one of the chosen few.
After all, I was not born a SuperCow and I don't have any special powers. In the matter of fact, I was born on a farm in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and I never expected to accomplish anything spectacular in my life. I expected to have a simple and happy life, but nothing too glamorous. However, my dear parents, David Bovine and Moolly Field kept on telling me that when I grow up I can become anything that I wanted to be and I can accomplish anything as long as I put some effort into it. I always knew that parents, (regardless if they are bovine or human), are very smart and that they know things that their kids haven't discovered yet, so I decided to listen to their wisdom and set out to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
I always liked sports and decided that I wanted to be an athlete. Other young cows laughed at me and said that I can't be an athlete, because it's just not anything that cows are meant to be. I became a bit upset, but I also wanted to prove to myself that there are no limits to what I can accomplish. I started my training by walking 20 minutes a day and in a short few weeks I joined a local gym called Healthtrax. Finding a treadmill big enough to accommodate a gal my size was not easy and once I was on it I felt self-conscious because I thought that people will stare at me. After all not too many people have ever seen a cow exercising in a gym that was meant for humans.
However, I've decided not to get distracted by what others might think of me and to follow my dream instead. My hard work paid off, because I was chosen to represent all the Cow Athletes in West Hartford CowParade. Of course, I am not quite ready yet for this event. To be all that I can be I asked a local artist Natasha Sazonova to make me a nice outfit. Natasha agreed to paint it for me. I have never seen an artist paint before and it seemed like such an interesting thing to see that I thought that more people should be able to experience it with me. That's why I went to the Children's Museum in West Hartford to find out if I could be transformed into a work of art there and the nice people at the museum thought that it was a great idea. As it happens they already had an exhibit there dedicated to sports and it was more than appropriate for me to become a part of it. And now you know about my life up to this day. My new and exciting journey is just beginning and I would like to invite you to come back to this page as often as you would like to read about my upcoming adventures. I promise to write often and I would love to share my life with you.
August 14th, 2007
"One Thousand and One Questions"
Today was a very interesting day. Mostly because Natasha and I got to spent quite a lot of time talking to kids that were visiting the Children's Museum. Most of them were quite young and did not know much about cows, so we got to answer many questions that they had about cows in general and me in particular. After the children left I started thinking that there could be some other children who might have the same questions, but don't have a cow nearby that they can ask. So I decided to post some of today's questions and answers right on this page.
Kids: If cows don't have ponytails how come that you (Buffy) have ponytails?
Me: Well... I am a cow and I have ponytails which means that some cows do have ponytails. It's probable that you have never seen a cow with ponytails before, but just because you have never seen something before it doesn't mean that it does not exist.
Kids: All cows produce milk. Do you produce milk like other cows?
Me: I don't produce milk, but it doesn't make me any less of a cow. Cows can do different things in life, just like people. My sisters back on the farm where I was born produce milk, but I personally prefer exercising.
Kids: Do you moo?
Me: Sometimes I do, but since humans don't understand the Cow language I prefer to speak English when I'm talking to them.
Kids: Are you real?
Me: Of course I'm real. If people and animals can see me it means that I'm real.
Kids: Who prepares your lunches?
Me: I prepare all of my food myself. I like being independent and doing everything by myself, so I learned how to cook. Turns out that cooking is not that hard at all. Of course it doesn't mean that I never ask for help. When I don't know how to do something I always ask for help somebody who knows how to do it.
Kids: What kind of food do you eat?
Me: I only eat healthy food. Healthy food helps cows (as well as people) lead healthy lives and a healthy cow is a happy cow. I want to be a happy cow and that's why I watch what I eat.
Kids: You look familiar, have we seen you somewhere before?
Me: Probably not. I think you might be mistaken me for some other CowParade cow. I assure you that this upcoming CowParade will be my first.
Kids: Why do you say that you're not finished when your whole body is covered in paint?
Me: As Natasha explained it to me, the paint that I have on me is just the first coat. She painted it so I wouldn't be blank anymore, but it will still take a lot of work to make it look the way she wants for me to look.
Kids: How come we can't touch you?
Me: Because I'm covered in paint and if you were to touch me the paint will be all over your hands and clothes and since you are in a Museum it's better to stay clean. It's OK to get dirty sometimes, but staying clean is more appropriate when you're in a place like museum.
Kids: Can we help painting you?
Me: I appreciate your offer, but it'd be better if we leave it to Natasha. She is a professional artist who studied art for many years and sometimes it's better to leave an important job (like my future outfit) to somebody who is a real professional. If you had to install a new dishwasher you wouldn't try to do it yourself, because there are adults who are trained to do it professionally. The same goes for some art projects. It's better to leave it to adults. It doesn't mean that you should not do other art projects. You should do as many as your would like and if you really like art and want to become an artist like Natasha you should spend a lot of time practicing, because being good at any profession takes a lot of training and hard work.
Kids: Is painting cows Natasha's job?
Me: It is not her job. Natasha paints cows because she wants to help people. The money that CowParade cows raise with the help from different artists like Natasha, as well as CowParade sponsors goes to charities that benefit kids and adults and Natasha wants to do something good for other people.
Kids: Do you know how to paint?
Me: I do paint once in a while for fun, but I'm not very good at it, which is OK because a cow doesn't have to be good at everything. I'm much better at sports than I am at art and I'm sure that there are cows out there who are better at art than they are at sports. Everybody is different and that's what makes each one of us special.
August 15th, 2007
"Day at the Museum"
Staying at the Children's Museum is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Not only do I get to meet a lot of children, but I'm also meeting a lot of new animals, some of which I have never even heard of before. This morning I woke up quite early and after my morning workout I decided to walk around the place a bit. I knew that there was something called "Wildlife Sanctuary" in the museum, but I had no idea what it was. Turns out that it's a special home for exotic animals.
To be honest with you, I got a bit jealous of them at first, because I felt that it was unfair for them to be called 'exotic', when I'm just called 'domestic'. The word 'exotic' just sounds so much more... Well... Exotic! But after I got to meet all the guys living at the sanctuary I decided that being jealous is very silly, because all of us are very special in our own way and jealousy is a very bad feeling. All the animals were so nice to me. The funniest part of our meeting was the fact that for them I seemed to be very exotic, since many of them have never seen a cow before. Some of them have come to Connecticut from faraway places where cows are not all that common, especially the ones that have art on them. There were animals there from Australia, South America and even from some locations that were completely unknown to me. I really enjoyed hearing all the stories that my new friends told me. I was able to find out about a lot of new places around the world and in a way I felt like I went there myself if only for a short while.
When Museum opened up that morning I went back to the Sports Exhibit where I get painted daily. Natasha was already there waiting for me. I told Natasha about my morning adventure and about how wonderful it was. Natasha was very happy for me and said that meeting new people (or animals) is always great, because it's not only fun, but could also be very educational. She said that one never knows who they are going to meet and what wonderful things you'll be able to find out from them. So I made a decision that from now on I'll try to be very open-minded and friendly, because I don't want to miss out on potential great friends and interesting facts.
I spent the rest of the day talking to kids while I was being painted. My outfit is looking better and better every day and now everyone can see that I'm a cow that likes to work out. To finish up my day I went for a walk around West Hartford Center. There was a lot of construction going on there, but I still could see how pretty the town's center is. I think I'll try to explore it a bit more tomorrow, so the next time when I meet somebody out of town I'll be able to tell them about West Hartford.
August 16th, 2007
I spent this morning walking around West Hartford Center. So many stores and restaurants, so little time! I was a really bad girl indeed! Completely went off my diet. Ate a bunch of bagels, a few donuts and had five cups of coffee. Then I went from store to store and bought a few cute things for my workouts. Although I was so full from all the food that I ate that working out today was out of the question. I started feeling so guilty for my bad behavior that I was feeling completely down when I returned to the Children's Museum. Natasha started wondering what was wrong with me. I told her. She said that I shouldn't try to be perfect all the time and that sometimes it's OK to go off your diet or skip a workout as long as I have a healthy lifestyle the rest of the time. It made me feel better and I was happy the whole time I had to stand still while Natasha was painting me.
After we were done Natasha told me that if I really want to see West Hartford or any other city for that matter I should do more than just shopping and visiting restaurants. She said that if a person (or a cow) wants to learn about the place they are visiting they should get a booklet about that place's history and then visit its monuments, museums and other attractions. Of course, I didn't know any of that since West Hartford was the very first place I have visited since I left my native town of Wethersfield. When I told Natasha that I've never been anywhere she said that it's never too late to start and I shouldn't feel bad, because I have my whole life ahead of me to catch up.
She also told me a secret. Turns out that sometimes one doesn't even have to leave his/her house to travel to exotic places. Apparently there are millions of books that can take a cow like me on wonderful journeys around the world and beyond. I never liked reading, but I have decided to give it a try, because I thought it would be nice to visit places that I can't get to physically. Natasha also said that I can even time travel through some books. I asked as to what in her opinion I should read first and she said that perhaps I would be interested in reading something by a very famous writer by the name of Mark Twain who lived very close to West Hartford. She said that through his books I can travel to the nineteenth century and experience life as it used to be in the South. That sounded intriguing, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm planning on spending tonight reading "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" instead of watching TV like I normally do. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Have a good night,
August 17th, 2007
"Helping the world one crocodile at a time"
I spent last night in a wonderful company of Tom Sawyer. What a thrill that was. I got so much into the book that I completely missed last night's thunderstorm. This morning people were coming in talking to me about the last night's thunderstorm and I was like: "What thunderstorm?" I never knew that a book can do this to a cow. Wow!
Of course I couldn't daydream about Tom's adventures too much because of a little crisis that happened in the early afternoon. A little crocodile that lived in the Wildlife Sanctuary went for a swim and forgot to take a picture of his mom out of his pocket. The little guy got so upset when he saw that the picture was ruined that he couldn't stop crying. Crocodile tears, right? Wrong! Just because he's a crocodile and one tends not to trust crocodile tears doesn't mean that all crocodile tears are fake. He was genuinely upset and I felt horrible for him. After all my mom lives only two towns over and even I would've been upset if I ruined her picture while swimming. The poor crocodile's mom lives across an ocean and he only gets to see her twice a year, once when he goes on vacation and once when she has a vacation and comes over to West Hartford...
Anyway, I decided to help him out somehow. I asked the staff working at the Museum to dial the little crocodile mom's number and I asked her to e-mail me the photo of herself. Half-hour later I printed it out and presented it to the little guy. I also ran to a store to buy him a little plastic pouch so the next time he goes swimming his mom's picture will be protected. Needless to say he was very thankful and it made me feel great. Apparently helping others makes a cow feel good about herself. Go figure!
August 18th, 2007
This morning I woke up quite early, way before anybody else in the Museum. I quietly sneaked out of the door so that I wouldn't wake anybody up and went for a run. The streets were empty. The town still asleep. I had nice time reflecting on my new friendships and thinking about them made me happy. I came back to the Museum smiling and went straight to the Wildlife Sanctuary to say "Good morning" to everybody.
The animals were awake and looked happy to see me. All except for Caracal, who is normally very friendly towards me. I could tell right away that he was in a foul mood. Personally, when I'm in a bad mood I never show it to anybody, because I know that it can make the others feel uncomfortable around me. I suppose Caracal has a different philosophy because he wasn't even trying to conceal his feelings. I didn't want to bother him and instead went to one of the chinchillas to find out if she knew why Caracal was behaving that way. My little buddy the chinchilla had no idea and neither did anybody else that I asked. So I decided to leave it alone and went back to my place to get painted.
However, Caracal's mood was still on my mind hours later. At that point I decided to go back to his house and ask him about it personally. After all who would know better about Caracal's mood, than Caracal himself? To my surprise Caracal was willing to talk to me and confided in me that today was his birthday and none of the other animals remembered it. I felt bad for the poor kitty and after I wished him a happy birthday I decided that I should do something nice for him. So I quietly asked Caracal's neighbor the Jungle Cat to run to the florist and get some nice flowers, which we presented to Caracal. Needless to say he was very happy and stayed happy for the rest of the day. All he wanted was a little gesture of appreciation on behalf of his friends and he couldn't have been happier once he realized that his friends care about him.
August 19th, 2007
"Everything is relative"
Today I've decided to go back to Wethersfield to visit my family. I've never been apart from my parents and my sisters for so long and I've been missing them like crazy. So I hopped a bus going to Wethersfield and shortly thereafter was back home. My family was incredibly happy to see me. They loved my new outfit, although it is not completely finished yet. They also told me how proud they were of my accomplishments. The rest of the farm animals stopped by to see me as well and I felt like a celebrity. My mother always told me that modesty is a very good personality trait, but I must admit that I possessed none of it today. I kept on telling everyone about my new and glamorous life and I felt like a very important cow. It was as if all the animals that I grew up with saw me in a different light. Oh, how great it made me feel... until...
Until my cousin Abby showed up at about 8 PM and ruined it all for me. She just showed up at our doorstep acting all sweet and excited to see me. Of course, I told her about my new adventures and my new life. And then she told me that she was going to be in the CowParade as well. Not just some CowParade in some other city or on some other continent. She is going to be in the same CowParade as me! I wish you could see my face when she told me. I was trying to keep the smile on my face, but I could feel that it wasn't quite working out. Another celebrity in the family? That was just too much! What made me feel even worse was the fact that she was going to be in the CowParade as the Fashion Cow! Are you kidding me? Abby? Fashion? My younger cousin who I always thought had a terrible taste was chosen for her taste. I was crushed!
I just sat there staring at the ceiling. Abby kept on telling me something, but I wasn't listening. Suddenly I felt that my younger sister Moorly was pulling on my sleeve. She asked me to come outside with her. I did. Moorly said that I was behaving horribly, while Abby was always very nice to me and didn't deserve the kind of attitude I was displaying towards her. I knew that Moorly was right. I also remembered how jealous I felt because I wasn't 'exotic' and how foolish I felt after meeting all the Wildlife Sanctuary exotic animals. I decided right there and then to go back inside and be the cow that my younger cousin believed me to be.
So I went back and apologized to Abby for my behavior. I was still feeling like my thunder was stolen from me, but I wasn't going to show it to Abby. It wasn't her fault that I became super competitive all of a sudden and wanted to be the only famous cow in our family. I realized that she deserved to be in the CowParade just as much as I did and I should not act so silly because she was chosen for this special event. Thankfully Abby didn't even notice the way I was acting and told me that no apology was needed. After that I realized that she deserves to be on display if only for having such a big heart!
Good night my dears,
August 20th, 2007
"Having fun with friends"
This morning I went for a short run and after I came back to the Museum I saw Lynx hanging around the lobby. He looked extremely bored. All the other animals from the Sanctuary were awake as well and looked just as bored as Lynx did. I knew from personal experience that the problem of boredom is not a real problem and could be easily solved by doing something fun with your friends. Since I'm so much into sports I decided that a nice game of some kind could keep my friends occupied before the Museum would open up at 10 AM.
Anyway, I invited everyone outside and forty minutes later (because it took forever for the turtles to come out) we set out to decide on the game we should play. We finally settled on volleyball. I divided everyone into two teams and we started playing. My friends were having a lot of fun and I thought I was very pleased with myself for making them so happy. However, after a while I started noticing that Hedge (a little hedgehog from Africa) was running away from the ball whenever it was flying towards him. I wanted to be discreet so I excused myself from the game and quietly told Hedge to follow me into the building.
Once inside I asked him what was wrong and why he didn't want to play. He told me that he wanted to play very much, but didn't know how. None of his relatives ever played volleyball with him when he was little and because of that he didn't even know how to play the game. He also said that he was feeling embarrassed because he was the only one who didn't know how to play. I assured Hedge that not knowing something is not embarrassing at all and all he needs to do is ask his friends for help. I also told him that since I'm his friend I would be happy to give him a few pointers.
So we went to the Sports exhibit and played together for a while, just the two of us. Twenty minutes later Hedge felt confident enough to rejoin all the other animals. Needless to say all of us had a lot of fun for the next few hours. Then Museum opened up and all the kids came in and nobody was bored for the rest of the day! I finished my day by reading for an hour and went to bed happy.
I hope your day was just as good as mine was,
August 21st, 2007
With the time of my 'unveiling' rapidly approaching I started feeling a bit sad. I've gotten so used to the Children's Museum and all my new friends that the idea of having to leave them seems almost unbearable. Of course Natasha told me that I shouldn't be getting depressed about this. She said that I should cherish the time I have left in the Museum and live in the moment. Then she reminded me that I'll be just a short walk away from my friends when I move to West Hartford Center and it made me feel better. Natasha also said that I should look forward to making new friends and that got me thinking. I lived on my parents' farm my whole life and I had many friends, so when I was moving to the Children's Museum I felt just as sad as I was feeling this morning, because I didn't know what to expect. However, once I arrived I managed to meet all these wonderful people and animals and my anxiety just went away. So I decided that being afraid of unknown is silly, especially since I have little control of who I might meet in the future.
As soon as I calmed down another very stressful thing happened. One of the kids came up to me and tried giving me a hug without realizing that I still had wet paint on my side. Needless to say, the paint got smudged and I started crying. My beautiful jacket was ruined! I looked at Natasha, my eyes filled with tears and realized that she was smiling. She said that I shouldn't cry for such a petty reason, because my jacked could easily be fixed. She said that everything in life can be fixed and I shouldn't waste my time on being upset and should always try to find a solution to my problem instead. I said that it was easy for her to talk like that since she knew that my jacket could be fixed and I didn't. Natasha replied that this experience should be a lesson to me because many times in life one should ask somebody (like parents) for help or advise before falling into pieces. It made me think of all the times I fell into pieces for no reason. I threw tantrums over imaginary problems and made my family upset, while I could've totally avoided them if I have talked about the problems that I thought I had with my parents. Live and learn!
P.S. "Ciao" means both "Hello" and "Goodbye" in Italian. How awesome is that?
August 22nd, 2007
"The art of sharing"
Today Natasha told me something that made me very upset. I knew that she was painting another cow somewhere in West Hartford, but I didn't realize that the other cow was my own cousin Abby! I don't know why I became so furious, but I did. I thought that I came to terms with the whole idea of Abby being in the CowParade with me, but as soon as I found out that we are sharing Natasha my old feelings came back and I didn't feel special anymore. I guess Natasha sensed my mood and started wondering as to what possessed me to feel like that. She thought that I'd be happy to find out that she is painting Abby.
I didn't want to talk about it and just pretended that everything was fine, while still fuming inside. I told myself that I want to become a better cow and all the negative feelings that I'm having can't be helping me in my quest to self-improvement. Then I remembered what Natasha told me about asking somebody for an advise when one needs help. I decided that since Natasha was part of my problem I should talk to somebody else about my dilemma. During lunch I went to see tree frog because I always thought that she was very smart. I told the frog about my problem and asked her what I need to do to feel better. She said that just because Natasha is painting my cousin it doesn't mean that it makes me less special. She gave me an example out of her own life. Her older son became very jealous when her younger son was born, because he thought that having another cute tree frog around would make him less special, but he understood how silly his worries were after his mama tree frog explained to him that she loves both her children the same.
The tree frog told me that if I talk to Natasha she would surely tell me that she loves me just as much as she loves Abby and thinks of both of us as special. I took the tree frog's advise and talked to Natasha. She assured me that I worried all for nothing and the way she feels about me will never change. I felt better, but I asked Natasha if she thinks that I always overreact. She said that I'm still young and that overreacting is quite normal when one is young and still learning about this life. After that I felt much better. The rest of my day was great!
August 26th, 2007
First I would like to apologize for not writing for a few days and I want you to know that I have a very good excuse. Natasha has been weather proofing me with some special varnish and since it takes forever for it to dry I was completely unable to type. It's almost like having wet nail polish all over my body. Brrrrr! Of course, I understand that this is a very necessary precaution since I'll be spending so much time outside in the next few months. On the other hand cows tend to spend a lot of time outside anyway and nobody puts varnish on them.
I guess being different from other cows should make me feel even more special, because being different is good. How much fun would it have been if all of us cows were the same? Anyway, as I mentioned Natasha is putting varnish on me, which means that I'm almost done. I'm looking more shiny and beautiful with each passing day and I'm gathering all of my strength so that I can go into the world and be all that I can be. I'm still a bit scared, but I keep on thinking about all the joy I will bring to the people who'll come to visit me and the other cows and it makes everything better. I know that at times I get selfish, but spending all this time in the West Hartford Children's Museum made me realize that thinking about other creatures is much more fulfilling than thinking about oneself. Last night I even went to visit my cousin Abby and after seeing how happy she was to see me I felt really stupid for throwing a fit over her a few days ago. I'm suspecting that I'm really growing as a person, (or a cow in my case) and it makes me feel very grown-up. Goodbye for now,