Friday, September 29, 2006
My favorite day. School is over for the week. I have already done my algebra homework and my study guide for my speech midterm can wait till Sunday, my usual study day. My main chore today was to move my winter togs from storage in the back closet into my drawers, now emptied of shorts, tanks, tees and such. Of course, now it is warm outside. Well, it won't be once the sun sets, and the weekend promises cooler temps. Fall is my favorite season. I loved it because I got new clothes every fall for school. Well, I loved school, too. And later, it was football. I followed the 49ers for 3 decades. I don't do football anymore, except an occasional Super Bowl, which I watch primarily for the commercials. But I still love this season, the cool days, the long shadows, the crisp evenings. I even love the leaves falling on the lawn, all that wonderful exercise picking them up. Soon, I must sojourn to the hardware store for a ladder, so I can clean out the gutters before our el nino rain comes in. I noticed Safeway had piles of bags of candy already. I bought two or three last year, and wound up eating most of it myself. I think it took till Easter. No kiddies. OK, I am rambling. Time to eat something. That is the joy of Friday, too, being so close to the fridge and all the good stuff I bought yesterday at the store. Yogurt, I think. Yes.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
In many ways, I was born blessed. Even growing as tall as I did, as fast as I did, helped shape my character. I have a lot of inborn talents: writing, painting, photography, and now, drawing. My brain works well for me when I stretch and learn. And then there are my challenges. Some things are beyond me, a piece that is missing from the big puzzle. I have always been ashamed to admit that I have trouble telling my right from my left. It makes reading maps impossible, unless, like Joey on Friends, I put my map on the ground and stand in it. I get turned around and lost easily. When I water the back lawn, I have to turn the water off and on a couple of times, and even though I learned that "righty, tighty, lefty, loosey" ditty (from CSI), I still always turn the wrong way. It was one of the reasons I liked being married; there was always a ring on my left hand. (I solved that by wearing one there anyway, it has saved me much pain, not to mention money.) So, that is my deepest darkest secret, here is writing, where all can see. And I have decided to stop being ashamed of this deficit. That is all it is, a lack that I was born with. I do my best to compensate. If it were someone else, I would be full of compassion for her. I am going to pretend I am worthy of the same tenderness.
Friday, September 22, 2006
My mother used to tell me I had to suffer to be beautiful. Usually, she said this as she tugged at my tangled hair. If I even whimpered, she hit me on the head with the brush. Suffering was not optional. It was an invitation only event. Suffice it to say, my daughter never got that bit of wisdom from me. Not even when her hair wound up in a tangled rat's nest at the nape of her neck, and took an hour of patient plucking to sort out. Now, in music appreciation, we are talking about composers, and many of them did seem to have to suffer to be creative. How strange is that. Chopin is a wonderful example. He lived with tuberculosis, and died from it at 39, yes, but he also had crippling stage fright and preferred only to perform his brilliant compositions in small gatherings. Whereas Liszt, that lion-maned matinee idol, turned his piano to better display his profile to his adoring audiences. Yet, he also took clerical vows later in his long life (an exception to most composer's lifespans), and had a fascination with the diabolical. OK, probably these people (notice I did not say men, there actually were some women composing, too) had the kind of soul I carry around with me, a tender, wounded little soul. I think that is the underlying fount of creativity, that desire to express in some way what in going on beneath the heart. So mayber suffering is mandatory when the inevitable pain intrudes, if one is to birth something of incredible beauty capable of touching other souls? Like a Chopin nocturne, full of yearning.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
How many years will I have to live to see everything come around a third time, do you think? I see they have remade All the King's Men. Oh, but it's different this time; instead of a jowly, portly Broderick Crawford, the role of Huey Long will be played by skinny, weasly Sean Penn. Can't say that is an improvement. And gee, this is just what we need, a movie about political corruption. Like I can't read about that every day in our local rag. All, however is not lost. For those who are not acquainted with the vicissitudes of politics, there is Jackass 2. Okay, time to write that touching and literate screenplay, something thoughtful and captivating. Anything else.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Circumstances intervened, and we did not get to visit the Monet exhibit currently showing in nearby San Francisco. But I did get over to our very own art display, right here in town, to check out all the marvelous creative stuff at the Art for Life annual auction. We have a thriving artist community here in wine country, and it was not surprising to find many renderings of fall vineyards among this year's offerings. But there were also sculptures made of plumbing fixtures, miniscule Buddhas on delicate copper lotus blossoms, huge abstracts, tiny carefully rendered portraits of chickens, a quizzical goat, and Mylette Welch's whimsical pooches, my personal favorite. It is enough to make me wish I were among the upper echelon who get to buy this stuff. Even at bargain prices, it is well out of my league. Heck, I can't even afford to attend the auction! But, next year, I think I will donate a piece of my own. That gets me in the door and lets me partake of lots of scumptious hors d'ouvres and wear a badge that proclaims me a participating artist. I like that idea.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I don't know what I was thinking when I signed up for music appreciation. Okay, that's a lie. I was thinking I knew a lot about music, having taken piano for many years, beginning when I was 9, and followed up with nearly 50 years of concert-going and record collecting, now CDs, of course, with a short sojourn of tapes, and this would be a walk in the park. Well, funnily enough, things have changed. Like, instruments are grouped differently. Membranophones, for instance, which are drums, of course. Aerophones are anything that uses blown air to create sound, and includes horns and woodwinds, how strange is that. And chordaphones, they produce sound from vibrating strings. The piano is included in this category. I always thought they considered it a percussion instrument because the hammers hit the strings. And I have learned about monophonic, homophonic, heterophonic and polyphonic musical textures. Sounds sexy, right? Trust me, it's not. And our first CD of music contains some stuff I would never listen to, not if you tied me to the chair. And I am, surprise, beginning to appreciate it! Go, Schubert! Yay, Schumann! And that Lizst. What a guy! Most surprising was the Ravel string quartet. I like my music BIG, huge orchestral pieces that make you guess where to applaud. But I just loved this music, so edgy, very exciting. So my musical horizons are already expanded, and I am watching less television and listening to more music. It's a good thing.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Results are in from first algebra test, and I got a C. This is my first C, in this current round of education. And it wasn't that I didn't know the stuff. I just read it wrong, or added wrong. Guess this is not really my subject, after all. But, here's the good part, I am not worried about this at all. I am doing this voluntarily, no one is waiting in the wings to take away my privileges or yell at me if I don't do superior work 100 % of the time. So I learned some valuable stuff here. Next time, we get to use a calculator. That should help a lot. And I need to pay more attention, review it more than twice. This is not easy, and it demands my little left brain wake up earlier, too. More coffee would probably help. A double-dip latte, that's the ticket.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
A friend was saying at our meeting this morning that she is a little nuts. Well, our first project in art class was to discover what we liked, and what we didn't like as well. I am fond of the impressionist school; it is so subjective and brave. Van Gogh is the quintessential impressionist, and he was not a little nuts, he was full blown nutso. And then there's another of my favorites, Cezanne, who went out and painted the same mountain, rain or shine, every day for years; he was so engrossed, he often went home without his painting. And, funnily enough, the art I don't like, Andy Warhol or Salvador Dali, for instance, was also the product of two, edgy, barely sane individuals. So, perhaps waving at cows qualifies me to try my hand amongst these strange but beautiful people? You think?
Friday, September 08, 2006
Let's see, where to begin? I taped last night's back to back episodes of Gray's Anatomy, wonderful stewpot of medical mishaps and young hormones run rampant in Seattle, of all places. Well, it is perpetually gray there, so I guess that works. Just love these kids and am champing at the bit for the season premiere, which I must look up online soon. This was a little treat after my stressful day taking my first algebra test (jury is out on that) and making my first, admittedly short but still angst-ridden speech (it got a decent review, but not up to my expectations). I also took a few minutes, about 50 I think, to listen to my music teacher's selections for our first name-that-tune test coming up really soon (guess I should look that up, too), and I was not surprised to find it a bouquet of little passionate pieces, some big and booming like a great stargazer lily (Orff, you gotta love him), some as delicate as baby's breath (Liszt's Little Bell), but all very deeply affecting, even the Ravel string quartet piece. Happily, this music is not all that familiar to me, so I am actually expanding and learning with this experience. And then there is the condition of my feet. It being summer (well, it was yesterday, the jury is still out today), feet are very much in evidence and, because I have a quasi-obsession of looking at feet at meetings, I noticed that other women do not have heels with cracks deeper than the Grand Canyon, as I do. I am currently on a foot-softening campaign, which is probably as futile as my nail-strengthening activities that have peppered my life. Whatever I do, it doesn't prevent my nails from shredding, seemingly all by themselves. Nevertheless, I do my best to rise above this situation. I have a closetful of products to prove it.
All of this stuff is absolutely meaningless outside my particular mileiu, but this is my blog, get over it.
All of this stuff is absolutely meaningless outside my particular mileiu, but this is my blog, get over it.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
So, guess what we did in art this week. We colored. Yep, just like the old days with coloring books and crayons, except these were our own line drawings, and we only colored them with just one color, one inside the lines and one outside the lines. This is otherwise known as positive and negative space. And it was challenging. First I made this huge sketch of a vaseful of liles, big luscious stargazers, on a great big piece of newsprint. Then I selected parts of the sketch with my 8 inch window, made with Bristol paper and my handy-dandy Xacto knife, outlined them and whipped out the oil sticks, which behaved just like Crayolas. Challenge was to stay inside or outside the lines, proving that college coloring is not very different from kindergarten coloring. Whatever, when I was done, I had some nifty designs. I was surprised to see that I liked the finished product. Whatever, I am having a lot of fun playing with all these neat little artsy tools. I am headed to the art supply store later for a compass and the rest of the stuff, like some acrylics. And I have homework, to fill little boxes with 4 kinds of lines: straight, angled, curved and bent, one each in every little box, 20 to a page, 5 pages in 4 mediums (the fifth page is mixed media). Cannot tell you how much fun this is. Doesn't take a lot of talent, either, which is definitely a good thing. Still, I didn't feel like mine were any worse than anyone else's, and am actually kind of proud of them. There was a time when I wouldn't even try this. This is progress. I think.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Mondays and Wednesdays are just to surreal for words. I go from algebra in the little cube of a room, tiny squiggles on the wall to wall blackboards, no discernable windows, to art in this cavern with a whole wall of windows looking out on oak trees, lawns and other brick buildings, great smears of light everywhere. Gives my brain a workout, for sure. Left brain, right brain. I am totally brain-buffed when I emerge into the world again at noon. Feeling rather whipped today. Tomorrow is first test in algebra, followed by first speech in speech class. That should give me another workout of some kind, kinesic and small motor muscles, analytic brain and creative brain. Perhaps I will come out of this collegiate experience well-rounded, at least. Onward, to study integers, equations and inequalities, followed by an evening of music appreciation. My, that's erudite, I think.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I like that saying that "happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have". Even though I live just a rung above the poverty level on the ladder of life, I seem to have a lot. Part of that is because my folks are always giving me things, like vacuum cleaners (I think I have at least 5 of varying sizes), luggage, cast-off furniture, bedspreads, and pajamas. This is why I have to parse my jammies seasonally, put half away and rotate as the temperature rises or falls. Costco is another reason my cup overflows. I have over 150 VHS taped movies, and now am beginning a DVD collection, as well (the Beta movies are in a box in the garage). And audio tapes, and CDs, lots of those, too. Books, well, I just need to be surrounded by books. They spill out all over the place and wind up in piles by the side of the bed. I try to keep them in this dandy basket, but they still spill. I need at least two more bookcases to get the ones in the garage out of their packing boxes. Certainly, I seem to like to be amused, don't I. And I am adept at amusing myself right here in my little house, all by my lonesome. And adding to my capacity for happiness is the fact that I am extremely easy to please. Take me to Round Table and I am a happy camper. Well, I lived on the edge of the world in a pizza-parlorless world for a long time. Nevertheless, I am thrilled with Taco Bell lunches and Applebee dinners. Take me to a fancy place, and I am speechless with joy. It was never my ambition, but I have grown up to be a cheap date. Imagine that.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Happy to report that Munch's masterpiece has been returned to its museum, somewhere in Scandinavia, I forget where. Second time it has been stolen and recovered. It is so famous, it is unfenceable, yet so unprotected any jackass can grab it an run. Go figure. Funnily enough, I saw an exhibit of this artist's work at the Pitti Palace in Florence (which didn't include this canvas, I am sorry to say). I was surprised to find his work rather mundane, small canvasses, grayish pallette and mostly landscapes or interiors, kind of domestic without much elan. So the Scream is an aberration. I was talking with some artists lately, trying to discern if great artistic talent can be a learned trait, or does it have to be inborn. Can I train myself up to paint like a Cezanne? Well, everyone has a different take on that, but among our ken, where we rely a lot on a Higher Power, most agree that if one is willing to become a channel for that energy, all sorts of wondrous things can happen. One guy even told me he had that experience, got everything he needed to express out onto the canvas in a half hour, and became so frightened, he has not painted since. Hmmmm. This is probably what drove Van Gogh crazy. And Cezanne went out every day to paint the same mountain, sometimes forgetting his canvas at the end of the day. Well, I can do that. Go crazy, I mean. I am willing to let go enough to create something wondrous. Really I am. It just begins with a vision. So, lay it on me!
Friday, September 01, 2006
I lost my keys, again. Oh, well. I am like the marines, Semper Paratis, always prepared (or is that the Boy Scouts, I get them mixed up). I had a spare set, including the little gizmo that unlocks the car and makes the horn beep, in my nightstand, so I have been using those for a week. Today I did the laundry, and there they were, in the bottom of the washer, all spun-dried. Sigh. So I immediately went out and lo and behold, the horn beeper still worked! That's good, because it cost me $150 to rekey the car after losing my last set of keys, and I was bound to lose the spares I have been using while waiting for the original set to show up. The gray cells are definitely letting me down these days. During my recent trip to Costco, I couldn't find any of the lists I had made, and I just knew there was something I was forgetting. I walked around kind of dazed, and finally just went home with my year's supply of toothpaste and laundry detergent. This morning, I remembered what it was: coffee. Now that's a necessity, and I was down to my last two pot-worths of the last Sumatra beans, very bad. Well, I considered another trip to Costco, but that's dangerous to the spending plan, and the waistline. I successfully avoided the pies bigger than sewer lids and the muffins bigger than my head the last time. It is doubtful my better judgement would prevail a second time. So I spent $16 at Safeway for less than I could have gotten for $9 at Costco, with the reasoning that the cost of diet pills and pain of deprivation were far more expensive. And I got hazelnut and Kona blend, so mornings will be ever so much more joyous. Also, this goes along with my current resolve to do a lot of self-loving gestures for myself. Today, this included a raspberry white chocolate mocha, iced with whipped cream on top, 32 ounces of pure sin. I couldn't finish the damned thing, but the idea was superb.