"We Three"

"We Three"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Let the fun begin!

School, finals, holidays are all history now, and today is (jumping up and down) my sobriety birthdate. Yep. Eighteen years now. My, how the time doth fly. And most of the time, I feel about that old, emotionally, at least. I also have gained some wisdom, none of it by myself. Nothing I know is particularly new, though some little metaphors I coined in my tiny little mind, but the concepts are as old as our race. Like be kind because I feel better about myself when I am, so I have let go of needing to be right. Most of the time. And today is the only really important moment. Yes, I am all excited about the frames I ordered for my paintings, and the table and stool for the studio, which up till now has been a cluttered mess and will now get organized into a workable space. They will not come today, however. Today I will lunch with a dear woman and receive my first birthday chip at the noon meeting. It is a funny moment, that, knowing that all I did was stay out of HP's way and not drink, one day at a time. It is still good to celebrate that admittedly small achievement, knowing that there are thousands who cannot do that. I was saying to a sponsee how wonderful it would be to be able to just give sobriety to those I think need it. And she replied "It wouldn't be very valuable if we could." So true. So, into the day to see what gifts there are in it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Old is the new fresh...

I am feeling my age. First, I had a mental breakdown during my math final. Most of what I thought I knew, suddenly I didn't. So, to forget how ashamed I was of myself (I should have studied, didn't, just couldn't face it anymore), I went to the movies, where I saw the new National Treasure, because I knew it would be inaninity squared, and I didn't want anything that made me think too much. It sufficed quite adequately. When I got up to leave, I think I creaked. Two hours and I was in total body lock. Sigh. So I guess old has arrived, and I need a new word to describe the reality of my existence. "Young" doesn't cut it anymore. So I decided on "fresh", as opposed to "stale", which is what happened to my mother. She is the personification of one of my favorite bumper-sticker wisdoms - if you can't be a good example, you'll have to be a horrible warning. There is nothing that can excite her, she has done and seen everything, ho-hum. Whereas I go out the front door and get all excited because the camelias are blooming, again. I am blown away by a blue bowl of tangerines, which I hope to paint a portrait of today. I love my new book of Egon Schiele's work that my daughter gave me for Christmas (we do that early in our family, don't ask), and it will give me pleasure for years to come. It is like that menu item in my "view" dialogue box, "refresh". I want to keep my mind always refreshed by wonder. Beginner's mind, you know. That's the place to hang out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just one more thing to take care of (sigh)...

As if it wasn't bad enough that this is finals week, horrendous cummulative math final, enormous drawing project final, icky-picky trompe l'oiel painting project final, and, okay, not so big sociology final, not to mention Christmas, which comes early in my family, the Saturday before, and my house looks like downtown Bagdhad, yesterday, my kitchen sink backed up, again. I have an first-name basis relationship with a plumber because of the pipes in the little yellow house. While the bathroom backing up is horrible, and mega-expensive, at least that does not accrue to me, as it is usually roots in the main line, and those belong to my landlord. But the kitchen is another story. The kitchen backs up when I have the audacity to use the garbage disposal. That clog has me written all over it. Of course, I hit Safeway for their drain cleaner special of the week first, even though I knew it probably wouldn't work, and the plumber would stare at me incredulously when I told him I did it. Like dude, do I look stupid? It's like this: $6.99 or $147.00. Duh. This time, not only did it not work, but before I did it, it was draining, very slooooooowly, but draining. And after, nada. It was Sunday, so I bought a bigger bottle of some different stuff and tried again. And again. When I went to bed last night, there was all this foamy stuff just sitting there in the sink, looking back at me (I always try running the garbage disposal, too, like hey, it could work, and that makes all this pretty foam). Before hitting the sack, I looked up my plumber's phone number, so, even as I speak, the phone book is sitting here, open to the finger-walking pages. But, lo! The Christmas Miracle Fairy visited me in the night, and my drain is clear and gurgling merrily! Ah, the things I must be grateful for these days. Makes me want to shop with that $147.00 I just saved.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fast away the old semester passes...

Tomorrow is last day of regular classes. Except they are not regular. No homework. Math is a dead week, and attendance is discretionary. Not so for me. I need all the help I can get, so I will be there, as bright and bushytailed as I can get. Painting, well, my final one is pretty done. Actually, I think it is overdone, and doesn't need any more picking over. The homework project needs some fine tuning, but is almost there, too. Drawing, that's another story. I turned in my portfolio today, but the final project isn't even started yet. Thank the powers that be, it is not due till next Wednesday morning, at the godawful hour of 7 AM. I forgot that 9 AM classes have that problem. Sigh. Really, only one horror to get through, and that is next Thursday, also at 7 AM, the math final. Well, it is all doable, and will soon be over. I intend to just lay around for several days, drinking oolong tea (which I hear speeds up the metabolism something nifty) and watching reruns of ER and Without a Trace. After I sell back my books and my calculator, which I hope to never see again. Adieu, simplex program! So long, sinking fund equations! Freedom, thy name is winter break.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ah, youth!

I just got some CDs made for me by an old lover who shared my generation, and is a collector of old vinyl 45's, has been since our youth, and has a seemingly endless library of 50s music, not just rock and roll, also showtunes and that jazzy stuff, the folk music stuff, all of it. He loves to make me mixes , and I get all juicy when I listen to it, especially when I come upon a Johnny Mathis tune. God, I loved that guy. Still do, I guess. I am planning on obtaining a turntable that hooks into my computer just so I can record my vinyl, now residing in a box in the garage, on CDs and put them all on my iPod, too. My youth lives within me still. I listen to this music, and think I want to be in love, but wait! I am, with me and my life. I am the person I have been waiting to show up for me all my life. Good news. Wherever I go, there I am!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sometimes I amaze myself...

Today was portfolio review in painting class. I had 13 paintings to discuss, and 2 more coming. My, how prolific am I! My final painting is almost done, too, a trompe l'oiel (fool the eye) of a collage of brightly colored shapes I cut out and stuck onto this piece of corrugated cardboard with push pins. The painting has all those details, the corrugation, the push pins, everything. It is pretty dynamite, if I do say so myself. I was kind of amazed. It only needs some fine tuning in the cast shadows, some edges that got a little blurry, and get all those pins the same size. I have to admit, it is soooooo much fun when I can actually do the assignment with some elan. I am waiting for the moment when I am comfortable saying that I am an artist. It is coming, for sure.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My, my, my...

The Catholic Church has its panties all in a wad, again. Remember the flap about the DaVinci Code? And Harry Potter, so dark and evil? Well, now it is The Golden Compass, which I understand is very anti-Christianity in its orientation, and aimed at children, tsk, tsk, tsk. How paranoid are there fat old men, all swathed in their golden vestments, surrounded by the utmost of luxury and pomp, making pronouncements of what it good or evil? Personally, I feel they are so removed from reality that anything they say is not even credible. Let them go live in a Sao Paulo slum for a while and find out why birth control is such a good idea. Let them live in a violent domestic environment and come out proclaiming divorce evil. The Dark Ages live among us, still. With their dark little minds. It's ENTERTAINMENT, guys. There is only a method if we are looking for one, which, now, thanks to you idiots, we are.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


My priority registration period just lapsed, and I was unable to get onto the website to register. No problem, you say? Do it by phone, you say? Well, that would be swell, except the printed catalog has not been issued, so I need to select the classes, where? Oh, online! Help! I am sure this will all be resolved, soon, but why is it such a hassle? Expecially now. I am 1) still recovering from my bout with a nasty virus, 2) in the throes of final projects and 3) a math test looms, and 4) Christmas is coming. I think I have been in this place before, but without the added terror of not being able to register promptly. Maybe there are other plans for me? Plans I have not formulated all by my little self? Whatever, please reveal them soon. I have very little hair left to tear out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My head is bloodied but unbowed...

After totally surrendering to this nasty virus, burrowing in bed with a couple of cheesy detective novels, a cup of hot tea and a plethora of OTC drugs, I am about to set sail again into my sea of learning. I even managed to write that blasted paper, do the film response and begin a painting. Not finish a painting, sorry to say. Accepting my limits is not my forte, but I was not very steady on my feet yesterday. Let us hope everything works all right so I can get through today. As illnesses go, this one came at the right time. I got sick Thursday afternoon, my last day of school for the week, and had the whole weekend to convalesce. This is a very short week, just two days, as we have Wednesday off, too, so I will not have to stay the whole course. So, in a funny way, it was a blessing. I also got lots of rest, which I probably needed. And a couple of people got me as their good deed, never a bad thing. Okay, I am ready. Not going very fast, but still going.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Oh, crap...

You know how it is. You plan, God laughs. I am sick. Lousy head cold. Usually this is not a problem. I keep a handy supply of day and night cold tablets, so I rarely get all messy and stuffed up. Except I was out this time, and I bought another brand, and they didn't work. The good news is that I had just put in a new supply of genuine Kleenex, the really soft kind. The bad news is I used a whole box in the night, and didn't get much sleep because of it. So I threw my sweats on and ran out to Rite-Aid for the right stuff, as well as some nasal spray. It is not a good idea to try to deal with nasal spray on two hours of fitful sleep as well as a headful of cold medicine. Heck, it took two days before I could open the pump thingy on my new bottle of shampoo, and I was unmedicated then. I just hope the new ones work. I am absolutely miserable here. When I get well, I am going to be so grateful for my health. Really I am.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

And the beat goes on...

Delightful four day weekend, almost over. Just one more little day, and then back to school. I will be toting two new paintings, both done all in one session each. Shoes again. First I had to search under the bed for the mate to my Dearfoams. I wear my Bear Paws mostly, so these slippers have fallen into disuse. They are, however, eminently paintable, as they are garnet red quilted velvet with fleecy white interiors, very Christmasy and Santa Clausy. After scraping off all the dog hair that accumulated on the one I drug out from under the bed, I set them up on my little corner table in the studio. At the last moment, I added my brass alarm clock, the kind that has the bells on top and a tiny hammer that dings them. It made a dynamite composition, and I am very proud of the outcome. Today, I followed another brainstorm. It rained. I dragged out my rain boots for the trip to the mail box. They are knock-offs of those really chichi ones in the L.L. Bean catalog, $15 at King's Sporting Goods in Guerneville, and really comfortable and waterproof to boot. I also noticed they were rather handsome, so they went up on the studio table next. I toned the canvas bright orange. Almost none of it is visible in the final painting, but it still has a wonderful warmth to it, and is probably the best so far, though I don't have the one of the athletic shoes to compare it with as it is still in the slot at school, drying. I am so stoked! I am able to just go slap, slap with my brush, and my idea just emerges right out of the canvas! This is what I have been working toward all along. Don't you just love epiphanies?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The most amazing thing happened today...

After this morning's math test (not too hard and I think I only missed 1/2 of one problem and one tiny little thing on another, but I could be wrong), I headed off to painting class. We had a critique and it was really good. Everyone has come along and the paintings were wonderful. Then we started on our next a la prima piece. I had toned my canvas black (first time I tried this) and scraped my image in with a dry brush, sort of a grisaille look, that was really neat, actually. I was painting a portrait of my Tommy Hilfiger athletic shoes. This is painting no. 3 in my shoe series. I had this idea in my mind, and for the very first time, I saw it emerge on the canvas! I finished in record time, and voila! My aim this semester (and last semester, come to think of it) has been to loosen up my work, find my muse, and produce fun and interesting, richly textured painterly pieces. And it is beginning to happen! And yesterday, my figure drawing teacher praised my work big time. We drew the head for the first time, and this is where I can really shine. I got a great image of the kid who modelled for us, and came away very excited. It seems that I have found myself, or at least part of myself, that I just never knew was there. What a trip this whirl around the blue ball has been!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

If it's Wednesday, it must be sociology...

You know, I wake up in the morning with a fairly good idea of what will happen next. Boo will pad over, sit on my chest and sneeze in my face. I will get up, pee, brush my teeth then head for the kitchen to uncover Phoebe. There is a pumpkin pie in the fridge, and I will eat a slice for breakfast (hey, it has eggs in it after all). When all my preparations are done (food and water for the fur and feather people, back door open for easy exit when necessary, bookbag packed, little purse around my neck, keys in pocket, sunglasses on, Boo's treat ready to throw), I head out into the day. But wait, what is this? My parking permit that lives wrapped around my rearview mirror is not there. I vaguely remember it fell down when I used the sunvisor thingy on Saturday. Since I am sitting on the road about to enter the insanity that is our underpass these days, I could not take further action. And then, at school, I tossed the car. No sign of that sucker. I wound up buying a $3 day pass. Bummer. And then, expecting to draw in figure drawing, we were treated to 2 hours of lecture and slides, while sitting on a tall stool without a back to rest on, or a potty break. After lunch, I trudged over to sociology, only to find class had been cancelled. So I went home. Oh, and I found the parking permit, tucked down between the windshield and the dashboard, where I put it so it would be easy to find. So it is only an illusion that I know what is going to happen next. Life is an eternal mystery. Kind of disconcerting if I think about it too much.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday stuff...

The whole world goes out to breakfast on Sunday. Jeez. My movie bud and I finally got together to see The Jane Austin Book Club today. The only time it was (still) playing was 10:40AM at the local Smart People's Movie Theater, so we decided that, instead of our usual dinner and a movie, to do breakfast and a movie. This was one of those moments when the idea was far superior to the reality, as there were lines of folks out the doors of the first three restaurants we tried, even IHOP. We wound up at the Flamingo Hotel, and it was a great meal, but they were chomping at the bit to get us out of there so they could set up a luncheon, at 9:30 AM! It must have been the time change thing. (Happy as I am to have my hour back, I feel no compulsion to be overly grateful as no one asked if they could take it away in the first place.) Anyhoo, we had a crowd of happy seniors in the theater with us, and what a great film! I am so happy that Jane Austin is in again. Timeless and wonder-full romance should never go out of fashion. I am so ready to pick up this new trilogy of books some enterprising Austin-wannabee has written from the view point of Mr. Darcy, whose first name, in case you wondered, is Fitzwilliam. I will carry this warm gooey feeling around for a while, I am sure. Oh, please. If they can remake Sleuth all stark and scary they can certainly lay a new Persuasion or Mansfield Park on us, right?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My favorite shoes are now immortalized...

I am working ahead in painting class, because I was done before most of the others. Not a big surprise; I work fast and am easily bored. So I began the series of ala prima (done all in one session) paintings. Our instructions were to use a 16x20 canvas and paint 1) a fish on a plate or 2) a hunk of fish on a plate or 3) a package of meat, unopened or 4) fruit spilling out of a paper bag or5) shoes. So I brought my Bass clogs, distressed brown shoes, all lumpy from toes twiddling in them for a number of years, set them on the hind end of a drawing horse, illumined them with my work light and painted a picture of them with my handy dandy palette knife. And it turned out pretty well, if I say so myself. I am not unhappy. That is saying a whole hell of a lot, indeed. In fact, I am thinking of doing a series of shoe paintings, as this is my second one so far, including other objects too, like a hat, or a flower, or a lemon. Whatever. That sounds like a good deal, actually. Fun fast and satisfying. How could it get any better than that?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How irritating...

Now, I just love school. And I tend to gravitate to other students who are older, like I. So, there are these two older gals (older than most of the other students, not older than I) in my painting class. One is this rather over-the-top woman, red spiky hairdo, tres chic outfits, kind of mouthy, and the other is this very sweet blond gal, petite and perky. And they have bonded tightly. Their common ground, besides the painting, is their husbands. Every other word is "my husband", to which the other responds "well, MY husband". Really, how very trite. Now, I do not have a husband. But even if I did, I hope that my conversations would not revolve around him. I would hope that I would have a LIFE. One of my very own, exclusive of the person sharing my bed. I am realizing that I find these women irritating. I do not pal around with them, as I think I have little in common with them, though the blond is smart and funny and would probably become a friend, if the redhead would get lost. And I realize that I am being pretty exclusive, myself. I wonder if I could drop the name of my last ex-husband, and join their club? Okay, probably not. More better I just get over myself, and just keep plugging away at my painting, on the other side of the studio.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I hate it when that happens, Vol. CCCDXXIV

I seem to have thoroughly trashed my right wrist. It hurt, a little, for a long time. I ignored it. Now it hurts, a lot. Lugging the 40 lb. bookbag, lifting the 50 lb. portfolio, grabbing textbooks and huge drawing tablets, all added to the damage. Now it hurts to adjust the fan in my car. So I got a nice brace for it ($11.99 at Raley's), and some ibuprofen. This is good. Already it feels better, now that I am not re-injuring it daily. And, some things are good about this. As much as it is a hassle, I am learning to use my left hand for a lot of things, like opening doors and carrying heavy stuff. I hear that is very good for the brain (we drew a gesture drawing with our opposite hand recently, and I could not tell it from the others I did that day). And instead of pushing myself up off the couch with my hands, I am using the old thigh muscles, and I am sure that they are getting nice and tight because of it. Mostly I just have to remember not to push with it too much. I even drive better, because abrupt movement is what sends searing pain around my wrist and down my hand. Never thought there would be a moment when I pined for an automatic transmission, but here it is. Not missing any school, or letting it interfere with drawing or painting, though. So how bad could it be, anyway. Nuisance, this getting old is.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday morning, coming down...

It is a rainy, gray day. Boo is laying on the rug kind of whining, because he wants to go outside. The back door is open, as always, but does he want to go there? Oh, nonono. He wants to go out front, where there is no fence to keep him from the road that those yahoos in pickups like to scream down. I am feeling kind of deflated today. I couldn't finish my math homework I turned in yesterday. I was not alone, most of the class was in that boat. But I still hate it when that happens. Thank HP we have moved on to a new discipline, sets. Very interesting ways of looking at groups of things, ie days of the week, students in a class, etc. Very esoteric. And I finished my painting in class, four fruits on a saturated colored backdrop. After the painting in a limited palette of earth tones, this was a feast. I painted four fruits, artistically arranged against a ground of violet (compliment of yellow) and backdrop of bright blue (compliment of orange), a lemon, a peach, an Anjou pear and a squatty green pear. All are much larger than life, and it turned out not too badly. I got lots of interesting ideas while working on it, and am now ready to move on. To onions, probably. I came home yesterday pretty wrung out, and now am resting. Well, I had to run to the store for milk for my pancakes, and am now about to embark for Costco for coffee, then laundry and cleaning and a meeting, and, well, I'll rest later. There is a big pot of split pea soup bubbling on the stove, perfect for this dreary day, and cornbread leftover in the fridge from my first-of-the-season pot of chili. Smells really yummy. Onward into the day, little soldier.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Want a little frosting on that cake?

In addition to my triumphs in sociology and math, the in-class critique of the latest two paintings went splendidly indeed. Everything the teacher pointed out was good and to my credit. Well, actually to her credit, because I have been following her directions. I am pretty much the only one doing that. With instructions to use definite props (black shoe, shoebox, two lemons and a potato), limited palette (earth tones only), and an 18x24 canvas, other students showed up with 10x14 blue paintings of peppers, onions, red apples, etc. What is that about? Well, I don't know how it served them, but I got an A, on every painting I have done so far. It pays to 1) show up and 2) follow directions. And I have learned a lot. Really.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A little retail therapy...

It has occurred to me that I may have only 20 little years left on our big blue ball, so waiting to have things is pretty, well, stupid. So, I replaced a couple of older things that were less than wonderful lately. First was my digital camera, poor little 3.2 megapixel thing that it is. The new one is 8 megapixels (!) and cost less than half of the first one. Ain't technology grand. It is also terribly tiny, soooooo cute, with a bigger viewing display, too. Thrilling. Then I got this $20 off coupon for a phone system that set me yearning. Mine was a funky AT&T model, with only one cordless extension, and the handset had a cord, which always made me feel tethered to my desk. The display was kind of murky, and it had an irritating ring (I didn't know that until I got the new, melifluous one). So, off to Costco on the first day the coupon was valid, and now I have four cordless phones sitting in the office, the studio, the kitchen counter where I can get it from the living room, and of course, the bedroom. They all have a well lighted display I can (almost) read without my glasses. This gizmo does some really nice stuff, like keep track of the last Caller IDs and I loaded a boatload of numbers into the head handset, and taught all the others my phonebook. I don't even need to look at the display, however, because the phone speaks to me, and tells me who is on the line! Very handy when I am in the bathtub, let me tell you. So no more fear that I will trip over the dog on my way to pick up a call from the Society toBeautify the Desert and spend what is left of this life in a neckbrace. It is pretty wonderful in the end. Ah, the good life, short though it may be.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Oh. My. God.

WARNING: I am about to brag. That is different, I know. Usually I gripe. Or moan. Or thrash about in my existential angst. But today, folks, is triumphant, indeed. I got an A on my math midterm! Who'd of thunk it? I assure you it was just a fluke. I didn't study all that much, just let it go and understood that if I didn't know it, I wasn't going to know it. This is the last math class I will ever take, thank the gods, and really, I am not all that invested in terrific grades as I will not be using the scholarship program next year. However, it never hurts to shine. And my spirit is buoyed considerably. I thought I was really stinking up the place this semester, kind of burnt out on academia. And then, WOW! So, if you see an old woman dancing around and acting tres heureuse, c'est moi!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sociological me...

Last Wednesday was my first midterm in sociology. Have I mentioned that this is what I thought college was all about? I didn't find it in philosophy ( and couldn't tell you a thing about the subject now, either), or in psychology, which was all about brain parts and neurotransmitters, very little to question. But sociology is all about questions, about seeing the strange in the familiar, and taking it all apart to examine our norms, our values, our beliefs. Culture. Soooo interesting. And that is showing in my performance. Now, I have been kind of hanging my head, getting 14 of 15 on little papers, 17.5 of 20 on bigger ones. But today, I got my test back and I got 78 out of 80, the highest grade in the class! In fact, with 96%, I have the highest grade overall to date! Now, that's hot. This little mild-mannered professor is no pushover, for sure. I really have to put it together just the way she wants it, pay attention to every little thing. I am getting better at that all the time, as my paper got 20 out of 20 for the first time, because I read and followed the directions. So, even though I say I am not invested in grades this school year, it is really nice to know my efforts are being noticed. Very nice, indeed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Midterm heebie jeebies...

Time for test, already. Good news is they will all be over by 10 AM Thursday, and then it is free-wheeling time again. Bad news is they happen bang, bang. Not much time between them, and tons of stuff to review. Luckily I am up to snuff. I hope. And then there is the painting critique Thursday afternoon. We had a homework assignment, kind of a doozie. Paint a still life of a shoe, two lemons, a shoebox, and a potato, ala prima (all in one session of three hours or less), using only earth tones (yellow ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber, black and white) on an 18x24 inch canvas, in palette knife. Well, it is done, and I like it. It makes me laugh. I will probably keep it, because there is so much paint on the canvas I will never be able to paint over it. While I like palette knife paintings, I need a whole lot more work with this medium before I get it to where I don't make a mega-mess. This definitely feels like college for kindergarteners. I think it would have been neater to do this with my fingers. And what a good girl am I! I followed the directions, did the work (early, too) and I should get a pat on the head, for sure.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hey, look at me! I'm doing nothing!

Okay, sociology is everything I thought college would be all about. We contemplated whether a tree would exist, as such, without the context of society and its symbols (like language). And our answer, the one our little group came up with, was NO! There would just be one big amorphous blob of stuff without any deliniation. And that seemed to please the professor, so I guess we were right, or at least our argument held water. And today, I went to WalMart, as I do at the end of every month when I get paid, to stock up on things like bubble bath, hair coloring, squeaky toys for the Boo, birdseed for Phoebe, and little irresistible goodies like a new lipstick or two, and instead of heading into the store for my assault on the aisles, I parked myself in front, right by the entrance, and stood there for ten minutes, doing nothing. My assignment was to not fidget, not look at my watch and pretend I was waiting for someone, just stand there. Fortunately, because I have a yoga DVD, I know how to stand like a mountain already. Now, I had planned on standing at the curb on the southeast corner, but there was an art show going on, bunches of kind of cheesy oil paintings, painted with a lot of elan, I must admit, so my appointed corner was occupied with canvasses on easels. I chose to stand by the second pillar of the overhang, facing the oncoming traffic. It was in full sun, so I left on my sunglasses, and that made me more comfortable, if possible. At first, I was just terrified. I have spent all my life trying to be inconspicuous, and there I was, standing in public, in front of God and everyone. Then I noticed that everyone could have cared less. No one looked at me, not even the artists who were selling their wares, and in the same area as I the whole time I stood there. I didn't have a timer, though I had considered bringing my kitchen timer (not a good idea to be standing in public, ticking, I decided) and someone said I could set my cell phone to vibrate after ten minutes (I don't know how to do that, even if I could find my cell phone), I finally just winged it. In fact, I got so comfortable there in my little square foot of space, I stood there for fourteen minutes before checking my watch. One old lady gave me a dirty look, and a couple of little ones gazed up at me quizzically, otherwise, I was invisible. Which proves that self is a social concept, and without interaction, I really am nobody at all. How rad is that!

Monday, September 17, 2007

I hate it when that happens, Vol. MMMCCCVII

Once again, I lost my keys. It was my spare set, so I didn't exactly have to freak out or anything. Nevertheless, it is only a matter of time before I lose my main set, too, and then things could get dicey, like I couldn't go anywhere and I know from past experience that it costs over $150 to get Ford to make me a new remote thingy. Now, I kind of looked for them, off and on, for the last two weeks, shuffling through the magazines heaped on the coffee table, pushing aside all the junk on my desk, toeing through the pile of books by the side of the bed. Yesterday, I got serious. I cleaned up the aforementioned messes. No keys. I went through the closet looking in jacket pockets (where did all those jackets come from anyway?). While I was at it, I organized the closet a little. I swept under the bed and behind the dresser. As a last resort, I went through my jean drawer, rifling the pockets, and, on the bottom-most layer, found them in my little jean peddlepushers that I haven't worn forever. Quite a relief. And what a blessing. The house was clean, too.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Adieu, Luciano...

I don't take a newspaper, and since I am not working at home any more, I don't even get sound bites on the radio And my blips on my home screen are always so depressing, kids blowing themselves up and stuff, I kind of don't look at them, either. So I was shocked to see that my idol, Luciano Pavarotti, died this week. I use the work "idol" kind of loosely here. His music saw me through a painful time in my life, led me back to the light, which is what his first name means, you know. He was really a bombastic ass, and when he divorced his wife, I was pretty much over him. Still, his gift was prodigious. I hope he remembered that it was only a gift, as now HP has silenced it forever, reclaimed it. I do have many recordings, including the entire score of Turandot, to remember this man by. And I have now subscribed to the NY Times online, and will be getting daily headlines, movie and book reviews. Not going to be left out of the loop any more.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's not easy being me, Vol. MCCXXXIV

Truly, I am blessed. Though I am 63, I don't look it. And most of the time, I don't feel it, either. This is despite the need for a whole host of products that I wasn't aquainted with just a few months ago. Like under-eye depuffer. It seems that I sleep on my side a lot, with my down pillow all scrunched up under my cheek, causing me to wake up with these little pouches under my eyes. I tried these little pod thingies, squeeze dab and massage. No soap. Next I tried to train myself to sleep on my back. Yeah, that'll happen. Now I am trying a new lotion, and it seems to be helping, though my basset hound look is still with me until at least noon every day. I just try to stay behind my shades a lot. Ginko biloba is on my list, because I want to keep those neural pathways firing. And I still take magnesium, to help me absorb my calcium. I buy huge bags of tooth pick thingies that help me floss behind those pesky molars in back. And soy, for hot flashes, and Estrin D, to perk up my flagging metabolism. Today, my back hurts. Today, I feel my age, it is aching bone deep. Pardon me while I snivel.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weather woes...

We are having a schizophrenic September, hot as Hades one day, gray and damp the next. Sad, because we are a monoculture here, and the vineyards will get bunchrot at worst, and harvest will be in November, at best. Serves them right for putting all their grapes in one basket, if you ask me. Of course, I no longer imbibe, so what do I care, anyway. But gray days mean sitting out at the tables at the food court, shivering while scarfing down a 1/3 lb. hamburger and a mountain of fries because I always believe I need more fuel when it gets cold. In fact, I had soup tonight, a lovely black bean soup from Trader Joe's, with a nice salad, to make up for that humungous burger. Then, later on, as I fished around in the cupboard for some tea, I came upon this innocent little envelope of Betty Crocker muffin mix, lemon poppyseed. Gosh, where did that come from? Probably one of my Sunday sojourns at Target, where they now have a whole bunch of groceries, and I see things I normally avoid at Safeway. So, I made them, with some cranberries thrown in for good measure, then broke my eating plan by scarfing one of them down while it was still hot, with (ohmygod) BUTTER! Like, I never do that. Well, never is way too long a time, n'est-ce pas? And it is really cold tonight, I am even thinking I should turn on the heat.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Welcome to the Nacirema tribe...

Our 2nd assignment in sociology was to read this article called Body Rituals Among the Nacirema then write a paper on another of this tribes practices. Well, I read it, and these people were literally obsessed with their bodies! But how was I to write about any other aspect of their lives? I procrastinated. This is my usual solution when I don't know what to do. I even asked the teacher, who told me "You are an expert on these people." Huh? So, I decided, at the eleventh hour, when I could no longer put it off, to read the article again and extrapolate as much information as I could. I had decided to write about dietary practices, so I first needed to learn the climate of their location so I could determine what crops they could grow, what prey they would hunt, etc. And, gee, their location sure sounded familiar. Like, it was my location, too! And then I looked at the name of the tribe, and I got it. Nacirema is American, backwards. Another trip through the article had me howling. I decided to write about mating habits, in the same tongue in cheek anthrospeak as the article. It nearly wrote itself. Now I know that sociologists have a definite sense of humor, which I bet they really need when they are looking through their magnifying glass at our culture. We could all take a page out of their book, and laugh at ourselves a whole hell of a lot more. I know I am.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The very non-erotic naked person I saw today...

We began the drawing phase of our figure drawing class today. Dear Kevin had to regale us with an anatomy lesson first, and some guidance on proportions which were actually quite useful, and then we got down to the nitty-gritty. Don, our model, had stood in his Bermudas for Kevin's talk, then shed every little thing and stood fully frontal for his first pose. I was so busy trying to get everything the right size (yes, everything, even that), I forgot to notice that he was naked. We drew three different poses, from different angles. I took a look at all the other efforts and had to laugh at how many overstated those pesky genitals that were just hanging out all over the place. In relation to the figure, they weren't particulary large, in my estimation, and actually, as genitalia go, quite nice. I got some pretty good stuff down on paper, if I say so myself. I have a way to go, but I am not starting from the very bottom of the pack, that's for sure. It's a God thing, this talent for drawing. What a gift it is. And what a gift this model was, too. Nice body, sweet smile.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What a zoo!

I had forgotten what the first days of school were like. I arrived early and still had a hassle parking. Heck, even getting into the garage was a challenge. The left turn lane was two blocks long, and I wound up on the 3rd floor, the highest I have ever had to go to park so far, so the garage is not a well-kept secret anymore. Because the cafeteria is closed for remodel, there are 6 food courts around campus, all of the al fresco, so I hope they finish that job before it rains. It was a delight, though, after drawing class, to linger over a swell chicken salad beneath the trees, just sitting on the wall of the planter. Two of my friends found me there. But I am ahead of myself. An old buddy, Kayla, is in my drawing class. She is very, very cute, bubbly, blond, and sweet. I think this class is going to be a hoot, because Kevin (our teacher) promises we will be drawing a lot. This did not happen enough last semester, and will be mostly due to the fact that we have models coming in, and that's what they are there for, to draw. Kevin filled our 3 hour slot with a long exposition on the course, and some slides, too. Then I met up with Travis and Victoria at lunch, after which I headed over to get my new student ID, but the line was so long (and so slooooow), I wound up leaving for my next class, sociology across the street. It looks like a whole bunch of fun. She also let us out early, which was good, because I did not have all the books I needed, occasioning another trip to the bookstore, where they know how to do it. Despite the long, long lines, I was in and out with alacrity. I hit the art supply store on the way home for some supplies, and now have organized my Artbin and packed the portfolio for storage in the locker I got right away before class, and was surprised to be assigned the very same locker I had last year! Now, what are the odds of that! Different combination, though. Well, I memorized my student ID#, nine digits, I can certainly remember five more, right? God, I hope so. One more first day, tomorrow, then I had better be onboard, because as I remember, it takes off pretty fast from there. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I just love being a college student!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Adieu, summertime...

Ah, that was the summer that was. School starts on Monday, so goodbye rushing off to the movies on a whim, especially when it is hella-hot and I just need some cool dark place to be. It has been a summer to remember, movie-wise, topped off with that uncharacteristic and pretty hedonistic trip to the big City for Harry Potter in Imax 3D. I saw my last one last night, just because it is my final weekend of freedom for a while, Death at a Funeral. I am not particularly fond of screwball comedies, unless they star Cary Grant. But I fell in love with Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy in the new Pride and Prejudice, and wanted to see what he could do as a stodgy, somewhat fluffy author wannabe in a comedy. Surprise, the theater was packed and I was relegated to a seat in the third row, so my neck got a nice stretch, too. It took a while, but in the end, we were all roaring. And my guy did not disappoint. He has a sweet nuance to his demeanor that did not beat us about the head and face, but left this viewer with gratitude for his restraint. Most reviewers like this picture, I found out afterward (I try not to read reviews first, feeling my own opinion is all that matters, anyway). It was a fitting swansong for my summer. Now if I can just get that ##$%&$* lawn mowed.

Friday, August 10, 2007

All will be revealed...

Now I know why I stay away from the mall. I came home yesterday, $140 lighter. Well, the Gap was having this sale, and I got three really swell tops (school clothes, you know) for $50. That's not a bad deal, Gapwise. Then this sweet young thing stopped me and bamboozled me into buying her product. Actually, I was not much of a hard sell after she demonstrated it to me. You see, I have always wanted to look well-groomed. And I always fell short, no matter how carefully I arranged my hair, painted my toenails, pressed my clothes, or made up my face, because my fingernails are always a mess. They are usually all different lengths because they split and tear very easily. The cuticles look like little pieces of rope that have been frayed one too many times. I try, really I do. I file them, I use all kinds of chichi lotions (gifts from my daughter, mostly) several times a day. But I also wash my hands 15 times a day (tired old bladder, also a gift from my daughter), which dries everything up even worse, not to mention turpentine when I clean up after painting. And to add insult to injury, a couple of my nails are now ridged like wide-waled corduroy. Well, back to that sweet young thing at the mall, who took my hand and looked at my nails, ouch. She said, choose one and give it to her. So I gave her a puckered, ridged one. Might as well make this a challenge. She said "Prepare to be amazed." And she took this little cube and buffed it to a brilliant shine! Without polish! So I bought the whole shebang from her, kind of expensive, but well worth it. There is a year's worth of manicures in that box, and it is really easy, does not involve sticky polish that gets all over the cuticle, and other surfaces, too. And the cuticle oil has improved those little suckers, too. And it is strange, but my nails feel harder and denser than they did before, too. She said the buffing massages the nail bed and encourages stronger nails. Well, whoop-de-doo! I cannot stop looking at my nails! This is really exciting for me. Now, if I could just afford that facelift.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The many faces of Boo...

Pardon me while I anthropomorphize my dog, but I have lived with this creature for nigh on to nine years, and I know all his moods and expressions. Boo is a little fluffy black dog with white markings, a mix of something and Tibetan spaniel, though he was billed as a Pekingnese mix by his breeders. That means he has a little squatty snout, not quite all the way flat, with a deep crevice over his tiny nose that requires the assistance of a Q-Tip to clean. Interesting fact about short-nosed dogs - their palate is just as long as a long-nosed dog, and sometimes gets caught in their throats, causing an alarming amount of snorting to ensue. I have been assured that this is not life-threatening, but I am quick to slap Boo on the back to help him dislodge it promptly. He also seems to have a very long (and very pink) tongue. He can lick his eyebrows. Which brings me to his morning face, eyes kind of at half-mast, tongue flicking in and out, in and out. When fully awake, he stands on my belly with his tongue lolling out, his Get-up-dammit expression. Every day, after I make the bed (with Boo on it, of course, it's kind of tricky), I open the blinds and Boo pricks his ears and his eyes get huge, and you just know he has never seen the front yard before, surprise! If I pick up one of his squeaky toys (he only likes the plush ones, which he eagerly disembowels) and throw it, he becomes Boo Roger Ramjet, lays back his ears, gets this crazed look in his eyes, and races around madly, stopping suddenly to reverse direction. When he gets the toy, he is likely to shake the hell out of it, a regular 18 lb killing machine. Boo gets regular doggy massages, where he lays his head back, half closes his eyes, and would purr if he had the equipment. But my favorite Boo look is the one I get when I poke at him in the evening, usually when he is sprawled out on the bed on his back, with all his business hanging out for the world to see, snoozing away. He will flip over and gaze at me over his shoulder with the What-the-hell-can't-you-see-I-am-sleeping look. And I do mean gaze. He will just stare at me until I apologize and promise to leave him be. So don't tell me dogs don't have personalities. Boo is the best dog in the world. When I come home, he rears up on his hind feet, making happy little cries, and does his Give-me-ten welcome, whether I was gone ten minutes or ten hours. Life with Boo is sweet. Messy, sometimes smelly, but sweet.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Me and my pain...

I have emerged from the last little rocky boat of psychic pain, a little unsteady and with a whole bunch of new insight. It wasn't any different than if I had whacked my thumb with a hammer. Man, that hurts! I always feel that it is unbearable in the beginning, but, of course, it isn't. And it only hurts at that level for a few seconds. Then it settles into this kind of continual moaning pain, throbbing with my heartbeat. I apply ice, and maybe some arnica, if I can find it, and persevere until it settles down. Notice that I do not yell at it, or say that I shouldn't be hurting like this, or feel that it is unfair. In the weeks that follow, I forget about the pain, until I bump up against something that triggers it again. That is always a surprise, when that happens. And it always does. Happen, I mean. That is the stage I am in at this moment. A stray thought will start the pain up again. It is only a shadow of the original, though. The only thing different from the hammer blow and this process is that I am not sure of the instrument of my torture. I have needed to do some sleuthing in the messy mire of my subconcious mind to find the source. It is old, essential pain this time, something hard-wired into my screwy psyche. Whatever, I am still glad to be me, glad that I have friends who will listen to me piss and moan, glad that I have a mind that can do the detective work, and a heart that can still break, and be patched up, yet again.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blame it on Harry...

So, long time, no write. What can I say? Harry arrived a week ago, and I spent most of my time either reading it, or thinking about reading it. Actually, I read very slowly, knowing that finishing would be a time of withdrawal. This book did an amazing job of tying together all the threads that were dangling out there, and funnily enough, actually provided a wondrous sense of closure. I had to laugh at Time Magazine, who stated that the thing that was killed in the Harry Potter novels was God. The Almighty was substituted by that piddly human emotion, love. Like what is God if not love? Really, people, get a grip! There are obvious Christian symbols in this series if one wants to see them. Like Voldemort's sidekick is a snake. Let's see, who else used that symbol? And Harry always questions his motives before acting, not unlike that other guy. And the end of the last novel, well, you read it and see the striking Easter Sunday correlation. It was all about innocence and evil, guys! Sort of like the Bible.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Oh, give me a break...

The new issue of Time features a comprehensive article on addiction and brain activity, like someone will make a breakthrough and invent a pill to cure alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, etc., etc., etc. Every once in a while, one of our fellowship will wistfully wish for such a pill, and the rest of us at the meeting will kind of titter behind our hands. What Bill Wilson so wisely understood (and he was a towering intellect, just read his book) was that alcholics have much more than a drinking problem. In fact, the drinking is just a symptom of a much more far-reaching, pervasive disease, one I think of as self-loathing. So he and the first 100 recovering drunks came up with the 12 steps, clear directions that gave actions that could lead to a transformation by cleaning up our act. Only by doing the necessary housecleaning and changing our victim mentality could we accomplish long-term abstinence. If, indeed, there were such a pill, as soon as the addict felt better, she would inevitably stop taking it, the same way the mentally ill do, because she would begin to believe she was cured. Doesn't make sense to sane people, but alcoholics are not particularly sane. Yes, that includes little old moi. At least I know where I am nuts. Now, that's progress!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

And then there was IMax...

You know, when I was a kid, most movies were still black and white. Color movies were very rare indeed. Television had not been invented yet, and we listened to soap operas and mystery shows on the radio (I remember doing that on the way home one night with the kids in the car, early in the 1980's, a revival spooky ghost story, and the kids were terrified - says something about leaving stuff to the imagination, huh). So I am still pretty amazed by how far we have come in our technology in my 63 years here on the planet. Today, I saw the Harry Potter movie on a screen 80 by 100 feet, with multitudes of speakers, in a theater that seated 600 thrilled people, with the last 20 minutes in 3D. I was just mesmerized. Okay, maybe it was not high art. But man, it was exciting. Even my oh so sophisticated kid got all stirred up when she saw they were handing out those glasses. And gosh, poor Harry, losing Sirius and still stuck going home to those horrid Dursleys. Saturday, the new book arrives. Oh, man, that's heaven, a movie and a book all in the same earthly week!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Long time no write...

Well, that just goes to show ya'. The more time I have to get things done, the less that happens. Let's see. I survived my little pity party, now am feeling pretty healed. Boo got his annual bath, always an event in this house. It was hella-hot, so I plunked my little guy in half a tub full of warm water, and didn't let the dearth of dog shampoo deter me. He got scrubbed with Dove shampoo, and now smells just like me. I was worried that he was getting fat till after this event. Apparently, his girth was all hair, and it apparently was all being held together with dirt, because as soon as I dried him off, most of it fell out. All over the house. He is now sleek and soft and ever so trim. During my little spate of unhappiness, I went to the movies. A lot. After Shrek, I saw Ratatouille (funny, sweet, totally wonderful) and the new Die Hard movie (funny, smart, totally gratifying gratuitous violence) and most recently, Golden Door. Now, there's a film that shows what film can do. It illuminated a part of history that is both ignominious and fascinating, the immigration system at Ellis Island. We got to follow this simple Italian family from their rocky (really ROCKY) roots to their successful entry into the States, followed by this Englishwoman groupie. It took a half hour into the movie to decide that I liked it, mostly because it was so artsy and very subtle, really different from our American fare. And we sat in the last row, where I was behind this guy with a big round head that blotted out a lot of the subtitles. Then it got so amazing that I totally forgot that guy. Gee, I love it when that happens! And tomorrow, oh boy! Kiddo and I are headed for the Metreon to see Harry Potter at the IMax 3D theatre! Fandango.com!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

And now for something completely different...

That will sound familiar to all you Monte Python fans out there. Life is, after all, mostly ludicrous, right? Right. Lately, as you may have read, I am experiencing speedbumps on my highway of life, and feeling kind of low. So I had a choice. I could dig out the chips and soda, impress a mold of my butt on the couch and watch old episodes of Dog , the Bounty Hunter, or Bridezillas. Or, I could take my butt out to meetings and church and around the neighborhood, dog in tow. That is called getting into action. I already do lots of service for others. Time to reel it in and take care of number one. And the strangest things happen when I set foot on this path. Electrical appliances often die on me. This time it is my blow dryer, the one I bought to replace the one that died during my last spiritual crisis. Poor thing is just sputtering. And yesterday, the panic button went off in my car, you know, honk, honk, honk. Admittedly, the keys were in my pocket, but I was in the back of the house, and the car was in the driveway out front. And as if that wasn't enough annoyance, my kitchen sink is all backed up. I hate it when that happens. So I am sitting here, listening to the tapes a friend made of the music of our youth (he's even older than I am, so some songs are a little obscure even to me), awaiting the plumber. Yes, I did the Liquid Drano thing. Twice. Stubborn clog just laughed at me. And I must be getting better, because I laugh every so often, too. Mostly at myself. After all, if I learn to laugh at myself, I will never be without a source of amusement.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Healing happens...

I am on the mend from my little dip into the pool of icky sticky ooey gooey slimy self-centered fear. It will come up from time to time, and cause all kinds of havoc. Getting out of it is definitely a purification process, and this always impels me into action, making the changes needed to, well, change. I am going to different meetings, actually went to church this Sunday, and am reading The Secret, which I already knew and just needed to be reminded of. This morning, I made myself pancakes with (sugar-free) strawberry jam, sliced almonds, a banana and Cool Whip, one addiction I am never recovering from. Really a treat. Now I am dressed in my little shorts and tank top, suitable for a trip down to Barnes and Noble in search of a book by John Tarrant, who spoke at my little church sojourn, a Zen teacher, very interesting man from Tazmania, and who thought there were still people coming from Tazmania? Anyway, his book is about the value of suffering. I need that at the moment.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The awful truth...

Here's what happened. Two and half years ago, I left a long-term relationship. Except he never went away. We separated, forty miles apart, but he continued to call, I saw him at least once a week at our mutual meeting, and we did some activities together, not dates, just activities. And last Thursday, he told me he is seeing someone. So I fell apart. Well, I never did when I moved here, and this is my usual way of dealing with the end of relationships, melting into a rather unattractive puddle until I get sick of myself, and get it together again. I was way overdue. During my last crying jag, I realized that this is a truly safe time to fall apart, when he is not available and I am not tempted to soothe myself with him. That would be a very, very, very bad idea. I have be reading old journals of our time together, and I was not a happy camper most of the time. This man has a whole menu of behaviors that are at best difficult to live with. There is the non-stop monologue of his most miniscule activities. There is the whining about his finanacial situation. There is his financial situation, which is dicey, all the time. And there were some really stinky personal habits, too. Okay, he was sexy. And he is an amazing artist, and he taught me to paint, and we had some really wondrous moments, too. Letting go is painful, and oh, so necessary. It also happens to be ten years to the day since we met, and fell in love. I like to fall in love in the summer, I find. Oh, well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reality bites.

As much as I hate to admit it, I have put on a few pounds. Don't you hate it when that happens? I can still get into most of my wardrobe, and that's good. However, in certain things, I do somewhat resemble an Italian sausage. And I have this uncomfortable feeling when propped up in bed reading, like there is this shelf that didn't used to be there, right below my boobs. So, we have once again bitten the bullet and committed to an eating plan. Not a diet, that's too deprivation sounding. Eating plan is better, because it is about eating, after all. Lots of salad, not a hard thing to do when the weather is like today, all toasty warm. And some exercise, fueled by a little over-the-counter diet remedy, formulated for post-menopausal gals like me. I never need the full dose of that stuff. My little system is so very sensitive, one of those capsules keeps me dashing about all day long. I estimate that in 6 weeks I will be all slim and comfy again in my pants. It really is about being comfortable. And continuing to fit into my wardrobe. I refuse to buy fat pants anymore.

Monday, June 11, 2007

And there's more...

Of course. Movies, I mean. I saw this documentary on the making of Star Wars the other night. Man, it was a mess. More time went into the manifestation of the idea than into the movie. George Lucas actually consulted with Joseph Campbell, which may be one major reason that it became such a huge hit. There are archtypical heros and nemeses in this saga that resonate in all of us. Like Spielberg's ET, where we all knew the greatest fear, abandonment. Anyway, it had a minimal budget, there was no special effects department capable of handling their needs, the cast was somewhat amateurish, except those wonderful British actors, Alec Guiness and Peter Cushing, whose presence gave the film great weight in the end. The locations were hellish, the robots kept malfunctioning. In the end, there were marathon filming sessions on many sets at once, and ditto the editting process. Lucas went out on a limb and hired John Williams to give it a symphonic score, and they had to coerce theaters to book it by offering it as a package with The Other Side of Midnight, a mediocre potboiler to say the most. And it just took off. This "kid's movie" created an international phenomenon, so much so that the toy manufacturers were caught off guard and had to offer at Christmas empty boxes with pictures of action figures to be shipped in March. This was a movie I fell in love with, saw several times in the theater, bought on tape as soon as it came out. Actually, don't tell anyone, but we had a pirated tape of it before its release. And I have the soundtrack, too. It is noodling away in the background as I type, kind of synchronous, don't you think?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My life in movies...

We saw the new Pirates movie last night, and, although I have expounded on the lack of imagination that leads producers to give us films based on theme park rides, I have to admit, it was dynamite. Gross around the edges, really amazing special effects, and a story that had its share of pathos along with some mind-bending action sequences. I grew up with movies, in the theater, mostly, as we didn't have VCRs or cable to bring them right into our living rooms (the only room that would eventually house a TV). Early films that shaped my existence: Cinderella, Snow White, Song of the South, Bambi, Pinocchio, Dumbo (still makes me cry), Gone With the Wind, Giant, The Wizard of Oz, Bye Bye Birdie, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Day the Earth Stood Still, This Island Earth (my scifi stage), Suddenly Last Summer (only because it was one of two movies I went to with my mother, the first was Gilda, and I was too young to remember it). I have never liked war movies, and totally maxxed out on cowboy flicks because that was what was on TV in those early days: Wagontrain, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Maverick, etc, etc, etc. John Wayne never impressed me, and neither did Elvis Presley. But I loved the Beatles movies, all of them. An early adulthood movie that really got me was Repulsion, a Roman Polanski film starring Catherine Deneuve, so scary I was sick to my stomach with fear. I liked art films then, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, The Pumpkin Eater, Woman in the Dunes, Last Year at Marienbad, all dripping with angst. I outgrew musicals too, though I still love Camelot, South Pacific, and Singing in the Rain. And I am a devoted Alfred Hitchcock fan, beginning with Rebecca, that stunning film of the Daphne Du Maurier novel, with Joan Fontaine and Laurence Oliver. Nobody beats a young Larry in the looks department. Nobody. And Jane Eyre, Joan again with Orson Welles before his baby whale stage, all craggy and perfect as Mr. Rochester. Never liked Wuthering Heights, though. Just too much irony and suffering. Anyway, I still love going to the movies. And you know the best thing about it? Previews! We saw the trailer for the new Harry Potter movie last night. Man, it looks really hot. Just one little month away! Something to live for! Well, there could be worse things, n'est-ce pas?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

That was the 63 years that was...

I grew older yesterday. And I was thinking about everything I have today that they didn't have when I was born. Television, for instance. Never mind cable, satellite, VCRs, DVDs, or even remote controls. Soap operas were on the radio. Mom listened to Ma Perkins, One Man's Family, and Helen Trent. Dear Helen, she was the longest suffering person in the whole entire world. I heard these sagas only peripherally, because I was supposed to be napping when they came on, same time they still do, after lunch. We didn't even have jet airplanes then. When they came along, during the cold war, we would have air raid drills at school, where we all jumped under our desks and covered our heads and our eyes so we wouldn't be blinded by the atomic mushroom cloud. Funny, I don't remember being particularly concerned about that. In my lifetime, man went to war, over and over again. FDR was president when I was born, and we were still in the war to end all wars, World War II. Then Korea, then Viet Nam, then the Gulf War, and gee, here we are again. I studied Western Civilization, from the dawn of man's emergence from the caves, and it is a never-ending saga of war. So I can say with some assurance that nothing has changed since I came along. Most of what has happened seems to be good, though. I like minipads that stick right to your panties, instead of having to have an elastic belt with a metal-toothed grip, that frequently gripped more than it was designed to. Birth control pills were nice, too. Cars are much more diverse, more than GM or Ford or Chrysler, which is pretty much what there was in my early days. Oh, there was Studebaker and Rambler, too, but only really geeky people drove those. And they were twice the size as today's puddlejumpers, even the big sedans on the road today. Seatbelts, what're they? Actually, they built cars from real steel and bumpers were real chrome and meant business then, we could get by without seatbelts. And helmets, another new thing. I rode my bike all around this county without a helmet. Fell off it a few times, too, but usually not on my head. A dog was just a dog. If it got hit by a car (no leash laws, either), you got another one. There were no dog dentists, or dog chiropractors, and certainly, no one was interested enough to be a dog psychic. Rock and roll, along with American Bandstand (long live Dick Clark) came about just as I entered puberty, and Sixteen Candles came out when I was, well, 16. A big Saturday night was cruising Fourth Street and getting a hamburger at Mel's, just like American Graffiti. Pizza was still on the horizon. I was a senior in high school before we had the first pizza, at a little Italian joint on Courthouse Square. I liked it because we still couldn't eat meat on Friday night, and you could get a pizza with just cheese and mushrooms. Yep, a lot of good stuff has come about during my little span of years. It could be better, but it could be a whole lot worse, too.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Situation normal here...

My check card arrived in yesterday's mail. Everything is now replaced, except my Safeway card, and you really don't need that, just enter your phone number, and my student ID, which I don't need till fall semester. Because I believe most problems can be solved by throwing money at them (or reading a book), I went online and ordered a wallet purse, one that can be attached to my body at all times, either across my chest or around my waist, and carry those essential things I always need with me, like my glasses, sunglasses, lipstick, $$$, and those pesky ID cards. Really, wouldn't it be better if we all just got tatooed across our foreheads at birth with a barcode? That would solve all that identity theft stuff, wouldn't it? Anyway, I am off to do some serious errand-running, post office, bank (for a more manageable PIN), and skulking around used furniture stores for some furniture for my studio, where everything lives on the floor at the moment. And with my bank card securely in my little summer purse, the sky's the limit! Well, the bank account is the limit, but you know what I mean. Joy in the small things, that is the secret to a blessed life.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The devil made me do it! And other true confessions...

Okay, you got me, I went to WalMart. I have been duly warned about the evils of this establishment, but could find no alternative. Really. I needed bubblebath, and birdseed, and Milk Bones, and moisturizer. Maybe Target would have been an alternative, but it has gotten terribly chichi lately, and there is no $2.82 half gallon of bubblebath to be found in their whole 72 acre store. So, I got all of the above, plus a sweet little sleeveless sweater, and a dog toy for the Boo boy (which he found even before I put the other things away), all for $42. And, blessed be, my new bank card arrived today, and the PIN notice arrived in the same mail! I can shop! I immediately went online and bought a new wallet thingy, one that has a strap that adapts from over the shoulder to around the waist, so I can attach all my important stuff to my body at school, where it will not fall out of my bookbag and keep me spinning from lack-of-shopping daze. Only one more thing to replace, my student ID, and how great is that! The picture on it was definitely truly awful. Life is good.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Deep Thoughts...Vol. IXCCC

Have you ever noticed that when you have no time to do anything, you get a lot done? And, vice versa? Really, the more time I have to do something, the less I get done. Take my summer list. Most of the things on it were on it last summer. And chances that anything will get done this year are pretty slim, too. Some of these chores require a strong back, like getting shelves up in the studio, and moving stuff around the garage. I could do my eyelash batting woman alone routine, but that often promises more than I want to offer. And hiring someone I don't know is terrifying. If there weren't any stairs, I could accomplish much with a furniture dolly. I am mulling here, hoping a solution will present itself. Meanwhile, the floor in the studio is a minefield of canvasses, sketchbooks, tote bags full of painting supplies, spare easels, all that stuff. Yardwork is calling me, but the weather is cooooold out there, and I am not inspired. Later. So I diddle away at the computer, or sketch baby animals in my sketchbook (actually, I need to draw a lot in it, there's a competition I could enter), and read really smarmy mystery novels. Hey, I'm on vacation, too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How annoying!

I am desperately aware of the loss of my check card. My spending habits are seriously curtailed here! It's not as if I couldn't write a check. However, the lack of my driver's license makes that problematical, too. And I really need to shop! I get paid tomorrow, and that means it is time to color my hair, and I don't have a surplus of hair coloring to do that available. Buying my hair color usually also means I buy a supply of bubblebath, a DVD, and possibly a T-shirt, too. Not this month. I will pay cash for the hair color, that is not a problem. No gray roots for me, oh, nonono. I will just have to be T-shirt deprived for a little while. Really, two weeks is a little while. And this is such a quality problem. More better I spend my time pulling weeds and raking leaves than plying the aisles at Target, anyway. Saves $$$ and gasoline. A walk to the drugstore is in the plan today. Exercise and frugality. How righteous is that!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My appliances have a mind of their own...

Strange things happen around the little yellow house. The TV in the bedroom changes the channel, all by itself. I thought it must be Boo stepping on the remote, which is usually on the bed, where Boo usually is, too. But no. It happens even if the remote is tucked into the cute little white eyelet pocket by the side of the bed, the side away from the TV. Yesterday, the TV turned itself off! At least I think it did, I don't remember doing it. And this computer, well, it fights the good fight to keep my settings, the desktop I selected, ditto the screensaver. But every so often, the Classic Angels program just bullies it into accepting its priority, and bingo, it's baaaaack! Not that I don't like the Classic Angels program. I actually got to see most of these paintings in person when I went to Italy. I like angels. It's just that I like my own photos better. Currently my desktop is flaunting a picture of one of the Wild Rose Drive roses from last spring, an amazing golden yellow one. I also change the appearance to match the desktop, so I am currently writing on a soft, buttery yellow framed by the same golden yellow as the rose. How clever am I! That at least will remain, after the angels highjack my system again.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Have some humility, my dear?

Grades are all in, three As and my humility B, in algebra. Great lesson here. Just do your best, and leave the result up to the Universe. The Universe thinks I need some humility. That's that problem with prayers. Sometimes the answer is no. Ihave the great pride in soing the best I can, anyway. The gifts I have been given are prodigious. I guess that is what makes it so irksome that I cannot always be perfect. There is a gift, there, too. What would be so wonderful about perfection if one wasn't imperfect sometimes, too?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

And now for the bright side...

Finals are over! I told my algebra teacher about my need for at least a 91 on this test, and he said he would do his best. I certainly did. I learned a lot about myself in the painting critique, and what I need to work on with the en plein air pieces, like more contrast in value, less attention to tiny details, more impressionistic expression. The art history final began at 7:30 AM this morning, and the young woman behind me yawned her way through the test. I may have missed a question or two, but no more than that. The teacher got a little futzy this time with her questions, like was Lorrain a poussiniste? Your call. I am feeling really good about this semester. It was a total triumph, loss of little purse notwithstanding. I figured out a bunch more stuff, wowwed my painting teacher with my self-portrait, started a portfolio to be considered for an art scholarship. Now I am ready for il bel far niente, the beauty of doing nothing. Well, nothing except for yardwork, house cleaning, car washing, laundry, dog-walking, and an occasional class at the recreation center. Oh, and plein air painting, drawing, and a whole lot of reading.

I hate it when that happens...

In the midst of this week's finals, I lost my little pouch with my driver's license, check card, student ID, Costco card and Safeway card in it, along with abou $17 and a whole mess of makeup. There was a moment of momentary panic, but I had to rush off to my painting class final critique, so I was spared a lot of hand-wringing and frenzied searching, till three hours later. Alas, no sign of that puppy. So begins the rounds of irritating form-filling-out humility. The check card was on the top of the list, of course. They now charge $5 to replace it. And it takes 7 - 10 days to get a new one. That's banking days of course, business-speak for you're-out-of-luck-for-two-freaking-weeks, ladie. It was too late to do anything else yesterday, so, after driving illegally to my art history final, I drove, equally illegally, to the DMV, to get legal again. Those bozos charged me $21 for a duplicate license! Whatever, I am legal, again. What a relief. The rest of the stuff will be handled later, probably after I get my #$&(*$ check card, and will not cost me any more $$$. Yes, it could be worse. Whoever found it could have run up a big bunch of charges (they didn't). But it could have been better, too. Someone could have turned it in to the lost and found, and it would have found its way back to me. I hope whoever found it enjoys my lousy picture on my student ID, and finds a good use for my money.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The condemned woman ate a hearty meal...

It is 8:15 AM, I am up, washed, brushed,dressed, coifed (if a slapdash ponytail counts), and fed. My algebra final is scheduled for 10 AM. I have decided that, if I don't know it now, I don't know it at all. I reviewed all day yesterday, and have my notes in my bookbag should I feel the need to look them over again. Probably not, though. I am trusting that my brain and HP will work just fine today. So I am relaxing here, checking my e-mail, sipping my coffee, looking out the window on this glorious day. We are having a spell of perfection here. This is not as rare as one may think, and is one of the reasons that I cannot imagine ever living anywhere else. Boo and I took a walk at 7:30 PM last night, in sweet warm air with just a hint of breeze ruffling the tops of the trees around us. Despite the fact that I came home with a bag full of Boo poo, it was just heavenly after a day of plying the vicissitudes of i, factorials, sequences, and the quadratic formula. Go ahead, ask me the equation for a circle! I think everything I need to remember is on that one sheet of paper my dear teacher lets us bring with us. I heard one young woman ask him if she could write on both sides. Well, duh! I figured that one out for myself. After all, I'm in college!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The way things work...

I once bought a book by that title. I really was interested in the mechanics of coin operated vending machines, and airplanes. It is still around here, somewhere. Later, I became interested in the operation of the Universe. Some pretty uncanny things happened to me, and I felt that there was a greater Hand in motion than mine. And though I now have a bookcase full of books that profess knowledge in that regard, it is still as big a Mystery to me today. That is interesting, isn't it. I find real Joy in living in the Mystery. I had to plunge into a great Well of Sorrow to learn that. It was worth it. Anyway, my life still operates that way. For instance, a few Christmases ago, my son gave me a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret. After a lot of fantasizing, mostly about my underwear size, I decided on a sweet tuxedo shirt of a nighty, soft cotton, tiny pintucks, tres cute. Also tres comfy, I loved it. Then, on Mother's Day, my daughter gave me the same nighty, though she didn't know about the first one. Twilight Zone moment? Not really. It happens a lot. And again this Mother's Day. A friend told me about a book she was reading, and wrote the title down on a page of her daybook. I put it up on my refrigerator and promptly forgot about it in the flurry of the new semester. Then I unwrapped my daughter's gift, Eat, Pray, Love. Even then it did not register. But when I got home, I was cleaning off the counter beside the fridge, and peaking out from under my magnetized memo pad that says Wise Loving Compassionate Graceful Strong (I didn't buy it for myself, it too was a gift) was that little scrap of Robin's calendar, that said Eat, Pray, Love. Thank you, daughter! Thank you, Universe! I love this book. Not surprisingly, it is about a woman's inner journey to Joy, that begins with a great wave of grief. Wow.

Monday, May 21, 2007

This little light of mine...

When I was newly sober, and totally confused, I read a book by Gary Zukav called The Seat of the Soul (Oprah later picked up on it, much later, years later, but it was mine first). He talks about emotions determining our level of spiritual growth, that the lower level emotions of hate and fear and pain and anger resonate at a much lower frequency than love and compassion and forgiveness. That made sense to me, since I seemed to be humming all the time. And he talked about light. It seemed to me that my dis-ease was about mucking around in the darkness, one of my own making, but darkness, nonethless. Being in the light was immensely frightening at first, because I knew I could be seen there, warts and all. Seventeen years later, I can still feel the seductive pull of the darkness on occasion, usually when I am in one of my desperately human phases, where mistakes tend to occur with alarming frequency. But most of the time, I try to shine my meager little light out into this scary old world. I got some feedback about that today from my drawing teacher when I presented my portfolio (big fat A, yay!). He said I was the pivotal person in the class this semester, one that he could count on to bring up the level of persistence among the younger people. Wow. That's such grace. And how happy I am he didn't tell me that earlier. It would have spiraled me down into fear of letting him down. What a gift this life is. How seldom I remember that.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Withdrawal, revisited...

I just finished reading the 6th Harry Potter tome, for the second (or is it third?) time. This works for me as I have a very poor memory, and it felt like the first time, again. I also reread the 5th book, definitely for the third time. All this is in preparation for the 7th book, which is coming out July 21. My timing was a little off, though. I should have saved this for later, like just before the release. Now I must go through Harry Potter withdrawal, yet again. Gee, I just love that little guy. He is perfectly imperfect, prone to rash moments that, in the wizarding world, can be beyond disastrous. Yet he embodies all the pathos of knowing his parents were murdered by pure evil. And he has some of that spirit living in him, as well. Sounds like most of us, actually. So, I am now in Harry Potter limbo, again. There is a bright spot; the 5th movie will be released, just a week before the book. And while I own all the movies to date, and just think that Daniel Radcliffe is perfection as Harry, it is the books that really do it for me. That has really always been true. Gone with the Wind, for instance. While Clark Gable was the perfect Rhett, and Vivian Leigh an admirable Scarlett, I always invisioned Ashley a lot more masculine than what's-his-name, that wimpy guy who played him. And they left out big bunches of the story, like two of Scarlett's children! How rotten is that! Anyway, must find a way to survive till July. And after that, oh dear! This is the final book! Well, that's okay. It will be time afterwards to revisit the first four books, and by the time I am done, I will have forgotten what was in the 5th - 7th again! (Leslie Howard! That was the guy.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fragonard, change of base formula, and folios, oh, my!

Finals week looms. Gulp. Let's see, I had my conference with my painting teacher, and I will get my treasured A in painting. Yay! I already have an A in drawing, but must dig up a stick (interesting one, all twisty and gnarly) for class tomorrow, and put together a portfolio of drawings for his review on Monday, and I hope to do some studies of Mary Cassat to show him. Nothing on Tuesday, except studying for algebra test on Wednesday morning, followed by critique of 4 en plein air paintings in afternoon (3 are done, must get one more by then). Then home to study for art history test Thursday morning at (oh, God) 7:30 AM. Hard to discern Fragonard from Watteau from De La Tour, though Constable and Turner are easily sorted out, as are Manet and Monet. Definitely have a head full of stuff to remember. It all seems doable, though. Plenty of time, and I have given the work my time and attention. If it isn't there now, it never will be. Even the math is making some sense to me, and I am excited to be completing another semester of higher education. Big WOW.

Monday, May 14, 2007

End days are upon me...

Last week of the semester. That means fewer classes, some are actually cancelled. Others are optional. I have to complete one more painting, and put together a portfolio of drawings for the teacher. Two finals, first in algebra (multiple choice, fill-in questions, yay!) and art history (always a walk in the park, easy to remember). And it is another triumph, grade-wise, especially since I raised my grade to an A in painting with my self portrait. Lots of stuff to lug around, though. I dragged three paintings back to school today for review, and have one more really big one to bring home Wednesday. Oh, no, two, because the self portrait is still in the student art show, and how wonderful was that! Lovely to be validated, and to know that I am on the right path, at last. I almost bought a huge straw hat yesterday while my kids and I prowled around Union Street in San Francisco, but felt it was a little pricey. Next month. For my birthday, maybe.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What was I thinking?!!

End of semester time. Time to stress over finals and reviews. Time to wonder what this whole shebang was about in the first place. Higher education, it's just dreadful! They not only expect you to learn things, you're supposed the remember them, too! At least long enough to prove to them you were sitting there the whole semester. Well, actually, all my professors know I was there, I made myself pretty evident. And the final is only one aspect of my final grade. I have earned most of it already. And I love Art History and have aced the tests in the past. And algebra is a bust before the semester even begins. I love it, and can't do it to save my soul. There are no tests in drawing or painting, just review of work accomplished. And yesterday in drawing, we examined our sports pictures. I knew what he wanted; two figures in close proximity, in action, an exploration of the spaces between them. That is what I rendered, two baseball players, one leaping into the air, one sliding in beneath him. And I was unhappy with it, till I saw what the other students did. Then I knew I am really okay here. Really.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Wouldn't it be nice...

...if life would just perk along, never a hiccup or burp? I was sitting in the waiting room at the tire place this morning, realizing that I hated having to sit there. In other words, I was making myself miserable, over a little thing like a flat tire. Perspective! I needed some perspective. Like the tire could have blown out while I was barrelling down River Road Saturday afternoon and I could have been roadkill, a flat furry spot on the pavement, instead of sipping my coffee, listening to the "Stabat Mater" on my iPod, doing logarithmic equations in preparation for my algebra test this afternoon. So what if it was all rubbery smelling there? So what if I missed my drawing class? I had perfect attendance up until today. Emergencies happen. Car emergencies are the easiest to deal with, anyway. They just take a little time, and a whole lot of money. I could afford both, though I would rather spend them differently. I actually got out of there in time to squeak into class, and decided not to. I decided to have a leisurely morning here at home with the Boo, do some more noodling with equations for circles, have some more coffee, with my feet up, happily knowing my buggy is all better.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

God must think I'm fat...

Busy day yesterday. Meeting in morning, trip to Guerneville for fleamarket and writers' group. Back home to lawn mowing and then bath and dressing up for an evening at the theatre. And just as I was about to leave, I realized one of my tires was mostly flat. Ach! Well, I was going with a friend, so I grabbed my parking permit (play was on campus) and we drove in her car. Short term solution. Tire was still mostly flat this morning. I had formulated two scenarios last night. If tire was all the way flat, I would call AAA and have them put on that ditsy little training wheel Ford calls a spare tire, and deal with the tire repair Monday morning. I can afford to miss one episode of drawing class. And second option, if tire was still only mostly flat, I could hoof it over to the nearest hardware store for one of those cans of tire repair quick-fix-it gunk, and once again, deal with the repair later. Neither option was particularly appealing. I hate driving around with that stupid spare tire. And the nearest hardware store is about two miles away. Well, it hadn't deflated any more in the night, so I put on my walking shoes and headed out. I made a quick survey of the supermarket across the street, but they didn't even have a quart of oil. So I trudged on. It occurred to me that Safeway might just have the stuff I need, so I headed over there. It was on the way to the distant hardware store anyway. And as I walked, I remembered that I used to do this all the time. I put my hands in my pockets for a moment so I could feel my thighs getting all steely as I plodded on. It was a beauteous day, soft warm breeze, air all fragrant with blooming things. Surely this happened so I could learn something, right? Like how grateful I am to be so able-bodied at this time of life? As I rounded the corner to the Safeway complex, I realized there was a gas station across the street from it, right in my path. Surely a gas station would have some of that stuff. Those stores had to sell more that potato chips, Drumsticks and Bud. And sure enough, there it was! That meant my walk was shortened by half. Yay. On the way home, I walked along the creek in the blessed shade. Tire is all pumped up again, and let us pray it remains that way till tomorrow morning when all the tire joints are open. And I still have a reserve of energy to mow the back lawn when it cools a little this evening. And a little gunk left for the morning, if I need it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Smarter than the average electronic gizmo...

My iPod had issues. From the very beginning, it was difficult to undock from iTunes. It would sit there and blink this big red circle at me and prohibit me from disconnecting it. When I hit the eject button, I had a window of just seconds when the menu appeared on its tiny screen to get it unhooked before the dreaded red circle began doing its thing, again. Then, yesterday, I noticed that some of the selections were not what was playing. It had slipped a cog. So, when I plugged it in to recharge, iTunes recommended that I run a "restore", which sounded good to me, so I said "OK". iTunes told me that when completed, the icon for my iPod would reappear, and I could then load it up again with all the music I have stored in my library. Two hours later, and still no icon. Help! iTunes is not recognizing my iPod! And it was, of course, flashing that horrid red circle, promising dire consequences if I unplugged it. What to do? A trip to Apple.com was far from illuminating. So I went to bed. And I figured that what I would do is let it have the benefit of the doubt and wait till morning to see if my icon reappeared. If it didn't, I would turn off the computer and undock my baby, and plug it in again after restarting (reboot has always been a favorite remedy of mine). That is what I wound up doing, and I was prepared to put it back in its ingenius little box and return it to Costco, full of righteous indiganation. Instead, iTunes greeted us back with open arms. Now, it is all fully loaded again, and actually playing the selection on the screen. This is a good thing. I am of the opinion that I do not deserve to own any gadgets that are smarter than I am. Which means that I will be riding that learning curve for the rest of my natural days. Because I just adore these little gizmos.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Smart people movies...

After complaining about the inanities of the American public's viewing choices, I though I would mention that I have been to the movies lately, and happily, they were thoughtful little films, thoughtfully rendered for grown-ups like me, who actually do not need explosions or car chases to keep her butt in the seat. The first was Miss Potter, with the terribly talented Rene Zellwiger and the not-so-hard-to-look-at Ewan MacGregor. The interesting part of this film was the society that demanded daughters absolute allegiance to her parents' wishes, and almost deprived the world of Beatrix Potter's gift. Lovely film to look at, sad at moments, tender always, just the ticket for this over-the-hill, thoroughly jaded old woman who has done her Die Hard days. Then, with my son in tow, we went to see Zodiac. I lived in San Francisco during some of the time this serial killer was doing his thing. The film had such a wonderful retro feel to it, people driving without seat belts, smoking inside, truly awful hairstyles that are thankfully behind us. Robert Downey Jr.'s performance as a boozing, drugging Chronicle reporter was cringe-worthy. He should be nominated for it, that is how convinced I was. Could be he was juiced up, of course, but I prefer to think of him in recovery. That young guy who played the boy scout, Jake what-s his-name, you know, Maggie's little brother, was suitably wide-eyed and fresh. It was fun just looking at the automobiles, which I am sorry to say are now vintage, like me.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Can we talk?

There are some things I just don't get. Like reality TV, for instance. It isn't real, it isn't funny, it isn't entertaining, it is frequently mean-spirited and slimy. Who watches this crap? Please, if it is you, stop it! Make those wizards in the programming department fall back on talent and innovation. Where is the Northern Exposure crowd? Probably all subscribed to HBO and watching the Sopranos. And what's all the hoohaw about American Idol? What a bunch of losers, even the winners. Okay, Jennifer Hudson prevailed, but she wasn't even the winner, was she? Most of these are Brittney Spears wannabes, and that is a pretty low aspiration, in my book. I also do not get Brittney Spears, so you can see I am really behind the times here. But the times seem to be so inane, like that science fiction story I read once, where the average IQ dropped below 80 and a tiny percentage of the population with normal intelligence were put in charge of everything. Perhaps that is what is happening here, except the morons are running things, too.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hey! I'm trudging here!

The funny thing about recovery is that I have developed this kind of internal radar regarding my fellow trudgers. There are some people that I don't really know very well, but when they walk into a meeting, I feel good about them. And the opposite is true, as well. Some people just feel icky to me, and I cut them a wide berth. I think this has to do with light and darkness. I can sense the lightness in others, a certain radiance that is peaceful and trustworthy. Others look like they are wearing a mask, stiving for that lightness, and falling miserably short. Personally, I could not stay sober if my life was still a charade. Being a human chameleon was my personna for many, many years. Please, I'll be anyone you want me to be. Just love me! In my sobriety, I learned that the person I had been waiting to show up for me was, ME! And in order to love me, I had to become lovable to myself by cutting out a lot of unlovable behaviors, like judgement, vengefulness, sarcasm, and procratination. These were things that made me hate who I was. None of these character defects is totally obliterated, I am, after all, human. But it is a lot better, and when I look up and realize I am stewing in yet another pressure cooker of my own making, I don't have to also hit myself over the head with a stick. I can have some compassion for my own humanity, the same compassion I extend to the rest of the misguided world (Geo. W. in particular), most of the time. Cleaning up my own act is the only thing I can do to make the world better, but, gee, think what would happen if EVERYBODY did that!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I am so validated here!

My painting teacher asked me to bring my self portrait back so she could hang it in the library museum, the student's art show. This is a big honor, and if I had any remaining doubts, I am now certain that I am meant to be an artist. So I have been situated about two feet off the pavement, so out of it, I camped in an easy chair in the library today, unaware that I was sitting on someone's sunglasses. The poor young lady came up looking for them, and imagine my surprise when I stood up. Whatever, I am thinking I may have found my strength, because this painting was amazingly easy for me to execute. It came up very fast, needed a minimum of adjustment (and oils are so wonderfully forgiving in that regard), and was finished before the rest of the class, some of whom still have not finished their paintings. That means to me that this is good old HP working through me, a God-given talent, and I am already seeing it at work as I start my next painting, a portrait of a model who is graciously sitting for the class. The drawing came up very fast, and was a joy to behold. I am definitely going to to a life drawing class next semester, and continue the painting. How gratifying this whole thing is.

Monday, April 23, 2007

On being woven...

Rumi is one of my favorite guys. He lived in Persia sometime in the 1200s. Very spiritual man who knew some important things. Like we are stronger together than seperately, like reeds when they are woven into a mat. My belief is that we are all connected to everything, a web of existence, and the loss of one tears that fabric. This is a time of great loss. Whole species of beings are threatened with extinction. Our species is angry and flailing around trying to find relief in violence against others. I have done some research in this area, and I know that hurting others doesn't work. In fact, it hurts me, too. It takes courage to sit through uncomfortable emotions like fear, anger or pain, but my experience tells me that these are constructs of my own making, that they are transient and will pass soon if I just have the courage to sit through them. In fact, I have developed this strategy of stepping back and saying to myself "isn't this interesting". It takes me one step away from the feelings, allows me to witness my process rather than engage with it. Then I ask for some help. Often, that is just someone to listen while I whine. Just hearing it all out loud takes a lot of the sting out of my angst. Whatever is going on, the solution is not out there in that very rude, wounded world. It is in me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The cow woman bought herself a present!

Since I didn't have to pay as much to the (*&^((%%^$!) IRS, I had a wad of $$$ in my pocket. As I strolled through Costco the other day, I noticed this big pile of iPods, nice new updated ones, affordable ones. I went home (my rule is I have to look at something three times before buying; I am a recovering impulse buyer), and thought about it. When I was visiting my very up-to-date daughter, who has had one of those gizmos for years now, I got the skinny all about what it does, and how it works, and gee, it looked really EASY. Just download iTunes and start building a library. I did that first, to see if I could. It was a snap. So I broke my rule and went back and bought one, not the really, really big 80GB one, the nice, manageable 30 GB. That means I can only store 7,500 songs. I figure at 3 minutes a song at a minimum, I can get 375 hours of music on this little machine. Of course, what I am loading is more than songs. I put on a bunch of symphonies, some opera, soundtracks, stuff like that. Now, when I come home from school, my first task is to feed the computer another wad of CD's, and plug in the iPod to sync it to my growing library. Today, it was an album of LeRoy Anderson by Arthur Fiedler, who I had the good fortune to see many times when I was young and he would come to San Francisco for the Summer Pops. Then some Verdi selections from Aida, Nabucco, La Traviata, etc., the soundtrack to American Graffiti (Rock Around the Clock), an album of Strauss waltzes, and the entire score of Bernstein's Candide. I feel right at home, bouncing around campus with my ears budding, listening to Puccini or Elton John. Music in your pocket! What a concept.

How annoying...

My blog got moved and I couldn't get on to post my very important thoughts! Help! I am addicted to my blog! Whatever, it is nice to be back, where I get to say my say. Everyone should have a place to do that, n'est-ce pas? Which brings me to my latest deep thought; why does everything sound better in French? Like, parvenu is ever so much better than bum. And comme ci, comme ca beats so-so every time. Sans souci is ever so much more carefree than, well carefree. Ever swearing is chic, like Merde!, which really means murder but sounds so worldly. And there are words in French that there is no correlation for in English. Jejeune comes to mind, which means young, but is usually applied to one who is older but not wise (okay, stupid). And my personal favorite, ennui, that state of angst-filled boredom, one that I visit every so often. Anyway, how lovely to be back on the good old blog.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Another pound of flesh...

I sent my taxes off today. Once again, I owed, lots and lots. Well, I didn't take care of business, blythely thinking that this year would be different. It wasn't. Now, I am prepared to bite the bullet and have more stinking $$$ withheld. Perhaps this would not hurt if our government would put their attention to little things like education, and alternative energy sources, and stem cell research, instead of lawless wars with sovereign nations and record profit margins for the oil companies. I have lived long enough to see the pendulum swing. It always swings way too far before it begins its next descent. Let us pray it is on that curve at this very moment. Whatever, my checking account is now unburdened of anything extra, and we are back to reality here in the little yellow house. I am not terribly unhappy. It only hurt for a moment.

The thing about authenticity...

When I reflect on my previous six decades of existence, the one theme that comes up is who am I and what is my purpose here on this little blue ball? I know that I was a disappointment to my parents, who wanted a baby of the male persuasion, and got me, instead. My mother named me after my father, probably as an apology, the dimiunutive of his name, at least, and I could have gotten away with that had I remained small (I was just a peanut when I was born, barely 6 lbs.). But I didn't. By second grade, I was a head taller than all my classmates. At 12, I reached my current height, 5 ft. 9 in., and went around shaped like a question mark trying to blend in. That didn't work. I have never blended in anywhere. And, because they were unhappy with me, my parents did their best to mold me into a more acceptable me. This had the effect of totally confusing me. My real self, the one I was born to be, disappeared beneath a lot of criticism and advice. After flailing about a lot, in my 30s I went into therapy, and the true quest began. But, how could I become something I have never known? In the end, all I could do is invent myself from scratch. I became watchful, taking in the various personnas that I encountered, looking for examples. Audrey Hepburn was a possibility, but so was Coleen Dewhurst. One was facade, the other all substance. Which led me to my battle with form and substance. I love the former, like all my stuff and do my best to put forth the appearance of goodness, and the latter, well, that's harder to live up to. In my current metamorphisis, I am all about substance. I wake up each day with the intention of being a blessing to the world. Sometimes that means just not sniping at the poor counterperson who is making my non-fat latte. Even the doctors take an oath that includes "above all, do no harm". If that is the best I can do everyday, well, so be it. But, hopefully, there will be a moment where I can bring some light into another's darkness. This means that I must be fit, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. That is the goal I seek today.