Monday, February 26, 2007
I just got a certificate in the mail stating that I am on the Dean's list at school. Wow, that's swell. And it means I can join honor societies and possibly get scholarships. Now, that's swell, too. It wasn't a goal, not really. I just thought that since I was there, and since I was paying for it, I should do my best and get the most from my higher education. Now, I see there are little perks. Now, that's sweet of them. I wonder if there's an age limit on those scholarships? This should have happened 43 years ago. But, ain't it grand that it's happening at all? Yep. Somehow it reminds me of the time I took the Mensa test. It was in one of my magazines, but I did the time limit and everything. Turned out I was 20 points shy. Sigh. Then I looked at it again, and realized I had passed with 20 points to spare, just didn't add it up right. And I figured that probably, if I couldn't add, I wasn't Mensa material after all. Must mull on this. I'd feel silly sitting in a roomful of kids at a Phi Theta Kappa meeting, wouldn't I?
Saturday, February 24, 2007
All my important things are accomplished. Have had my usual non-fat latte, been to my very spiritual AA meeting, and made a fly-by to the art supply store for two 16x20 canvasses for next weeks painting projects. I made myself a hamburger for lunch, and have played a couple of games of slide-tiles with my computer (Iwon both, of course). Now for the fun stuff - laundry, mopping various areas, a wrestling match with my algebra homework, and some Boo love, a little grooming of this kind of scruffy version of my dog. The rain keeps me from pruning chores, alas. Oh, and I have two Netflix movies, Thank You for Smoking, which I've already seen, but isn't that Aaron Eckhart a doll, and Casanova, which I haven't seen yet. How sweet it is! Sometimes I think I am lonely. Not very often, though. Most of the time, I am contented with my own company. Perhaps I am meant to be my very own beloved. You think? Whatever, it is a blessed Satuday, rain and all.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
It didn't start out particulary auspicious. Today, I mean. I woke with a muzzy little headache and stomped around getting ready to go, doing all those things I need to do, like open the door for the dog, change the water for dog and bird, heat up yesterday's coffee, make sure umbrella was on board. It was cold. It was raining. And the usual army of bozos were making a mess of traffic. One even cut right in front of me and burned rubber getting through the intersection, leaving me boiling behind a red light. I said a few bad words. And considered myself lucky to arrive a school in one piece and relatively serene. There was this bitter frigid wind blowing, and I actually pulled up the hood of my hoodie. In the Coop, I got a large latte and settled down to work on my algebra for the day. My TI-84 and I got into a major battle of wills. It won. So I slogged over to art history. ( I noticed the other day that there is a hole in my jeans where they have frayed, on the side seam of my left thigh. Hmmm, I thought. Though I am proud to have jeans worn enough to have frayed, it was an odd place to have it happen. Then I threw my 40 lb bookbag over my shoulder. Aha!) We are moving from Early Renaissance (Trecento, Quattrocento) into the High Renaissance (Cinquecento). But first, she handed back the midterm, and TADA! I got 50 out of 50. My first hole in one! I can only guess that this is the backlash of my humility B on the algebra test, a modest 84. And, I studied. That works, too. Later, my calculator and I had a meeting of the minds, it stopped raining (though it is still really cold, well, by California standards), and it was my early day, so I got to fight traffic in the other direction, and am now happily ensconced here, ready to tackle solving systems again.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Isn't it interesting how messages come from the Universe? Mine usually get repeated, as I am a particularly hard-sell sometimes. Take yesterday. I emerged from the house all het up, ready for my favorite AA meeting. My eye caught something new, and lo and behold, there is a daffodil blooming right by my front steps! I have lived here two years. There never was a daffodil before. Amazing. I picked up a latte, as is my custom, and proceeded to spill the whole thing after one tentative sip. And I just let it go. Just like that. It was, after all, gone. Maybe the third step meeting works? You know, that's the step where we turn our will (choices) and lives (direction) over to our good old HP. Later, I went to a memorial service. Now, I did not like this person at all, mostly because he didn't like me. He thought I was a yuppie! LIke I could afford to be a yuppie. Really. But he was a psychodelic relic, all grizzled and pony-tailed, and dedicated to organic substances while eschewing alcohol. He was also an artist, and his work, while delightful in the brushwork, was, not surprisingly, rather dark and murky in palette. He just never seemed to want to invite any lightness into his life. And he played the VICTIM, a lot. I decided he was one of those lessons I needed to learn about my own propensity toward that ilk. So, I attended his service, where I saw his children, all very attractive people, who admitted, the two who spoke, that their dad could be pretty stubborn. And another friend got up to say that whatever else he was, you always knew where you stood with him. Amen. And some old, old friends spoke on what a good friend he had been to them. I was happy to know that. And then, last night, a friend and I went to see "Venus", with a very aged Peter O'Toole, just possibly the most beautiful man who ever lived. The subject was dying. And he did in the end. Very touching and it spoke eloquently about the fleeting release of pleasure. And just in case I wasn't paying attention, I tuned into the Biography channel, a freebee this month on my satellite, and caught Leonard Nimoy's program on the strange and unexplained. It was about DYING. Specifically, it dealt with the beliefs in reincarnation, and the ramifications of karma. Now, our leader at this funeral spoke of the Christian belief, that we will be raised and appraised in the Last Judgement by the Lamb of God, and only those who have believed will be saved. How very elitist is that? So my mind is filled with things to ponder, spiritually. And my life is ebbing even as we speak. This old guy who died was five years older than I am right at this very instant. Little wake up call, I think.
Friday, February 16, 2007
I have a picture of my two-year-old self up on the top of my little cabinet in my bathroom, where I see it often. She has big brown eyes, pigtails and a look of wonder on her face. It is the best picture of me ever taken. Now, Maya Anjelou says that every woman should realize that, while her childhood may have been awful, it is over. But, is it? I think I carry that little person within me. Her dreams, her hurts, her shame, all still are present. I know this because sometimes my feelings just don't match the outer circumstances, and it is clear I am reliving an old belief. Even more poignant is my seven-year-old self, the one that was a head taller than all the other kids, boys included (boys especially, actually), miles of legs hanging out the bottom of skirts my mother had to sew straps onto just to keep them from slipping off my hips. I realize now that I was a pretty little girl, but I felt ugly. I strived to be the best to make up for my other deficiencies, which obviously disappointed my mother, who pointed out my flaws daily. My attributes, and there were many, were ignored. So I formed the habit of surveying myself as a collection of flaws, and even worse, shameful stains of my own making. Seventeen years of recovery and re-parenting myself have healed a lot of this for me, but as in any wound, it is still thinly scarred over, and occasionally, it opens and bleeds, again. If I am diligent in my program of self-care, it doesn't happen very often. So, Maya, I think you are wrong. And I have learned that my child needs to play, a lot. Today, I am drawing an elephant.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
It was an unusual Saturday night. I actually went out, to a sweet get-together of dear friends down in that other universe called Marin County. My friend has a dear little apartment, funky but cute, with a little yard in back, which is good, because she has these two big dogs. Janice is a retired Canine Companion, one of those adorable golden retrievers, and Quincy is a collie mix, long eloquent nose and big sad eyes. They loved me. Well, I love dogs. I scratch behind the ears. I coo and pet and tell them what good dogs they are. So, when I came home, to my dog, the Boo, he spent an inordinate time smelling the legs of my jeans, even got up on his haunches to smell my knees. with his eyes all bugged out so I could see the whites. His expression told me how disappointed he was with me. And, I was overwhelmed with dog guilt. I had been two-timing my best friend! Honestly, I didn't mean to do it! The opportunity was just there, right on Ruthe's rug, wagging their tails and begging to be stroked. So, first thing this morning, he got a little extra on the plate bearing the remains of my breakfast, and I immediately ran to fill his water bowl and food dish in the kitchen, and open the back door should he need to use the facilities. And I promised him, whenever I leave the house today, he can come along. I think a nice ride in the car should ameliorate my shame.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Raining, really hard. It is always fraught with angst when rain comes day after day here, because of our river and its limited capacity. Flood stage is 32 feet at the Guerneville bridge, which is about 25 feet over its normal level, and yet it happens, at least every ten years. That's a whole big bunch of water, yesirree. And all us folks lucky enough to live out of the flood plain get to drive through hella-big puddles and suffer road closures all over the place. Even the freeway gets closed at the county line where a creek meanders under it. Nature can be downright rude sometimes. Meanwhile, in the little yellow house, I am readying for a quiet day of studying my functions and graphs. I think I am okay here, but it never hurts to hedge my bets. In between problems, I am going to work on my eyes. I drew the skull and four views of eyes from the handout our drawing teacher gave us, but want to spiff them up with darker values (how about that, I'm learning the lingo!) and maybe try a couple more, like the ones he said not to do because they are too difficult. Piffle! I can do difficult! Eyes in profile? No problemo. Actually, they all have turned out to be not too bad, and I am happier with these renderings than I have been so far. Now chomping to go to a museum and do some sketching of sculptures. How artsy-fartsy is that!
Friday, February 09, 2007
School is like a spaceship launch. It starts off looking pretty benign, just a little steam billowing out the sides. That's the honeymoon, time to get all excited about learning new stuff. Then the countdown, three, two, one and BOOM, you'd better be suited up and onboard, or you are toast. This weekend, I am drawing eyes for drawing class. This is progress, because last week, we only got to draw ears. My first algebra test is on Monday, so I am doing the chapter test, odd problems only because the answers are in the back of the book. No, I really do the problem first, before looking up the answer. Really. And I will be writing a short paper for painting class, on a book my sweet little teacher left at the reserve desk in our fabulous new library, Hawthorne on Painting. Oddly enough, there were no illustrations in this little tome, so I went online (God bless the Internet) to see his work. I found it highly eclectic, portraiture, landscapes, and still lifes. Apparently, he just loved to paint. And his style varied according to subject. He was capable of finely rendered portraits, but his landscapes were a cross between Monet and Van Gogh. Anyway, his message was just put one color next to another. This is the way my teacher paints, as well, as if his canvas were one giant paint-by-number project, except the numbers are in his head. Probably a good way to do it. It's definitely an instinctive process that evolves out of just trying things. And, if there is time, I will be perusing a scholarly book about Cezanne and the end of impressionism for Art History, in preparation for a paper due next month. All in all, not a bad way to spend my time. Not at all.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Like the good little student that I am, I did my homework for drawing class. We were assigned to draw a wine glass and a clear tumbler, studies in ellipses, ellipses, and more ellipses. I actually bought a champagne glass at the weekend flea market for a dollar rather that muck around in the morass that is my garage looking for my packed-away wine glasses. Then I set up my little 5 X 5 inch card and drew away. Well, today in class, he selected my drawing along with two others to show to the class. Gee, ain't I special! Actually, he spent more time on what was wrong with it, and, while I liked mine better than most of what the others had wrought, I got to see where I need improvement. This is good, right? This is why I am a student and not the teacher. I am remembering this now. My process seems to be I start, I hate it, I keep going, it gets a little better, and in the end, it is just wonderful, too wonderful to have been done by me. So I just keep working, just keep working.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
After wrestling with my algebra homework, I took me, myself and I to the movies last night. I had been wanting to see Pan's Labrynth for weeks (RottenTomatoes.com didn't give it a single splat), but could not find anyone who had not already seen it, and my regular movie buddy is not up to edgy, dark films. So, I thought, I'll just go alone. Like, it's far from the first time I have done this. I went to the movies by myself almost every Saturday afternoon of my teeny bopper years. Then, you got a double feature, two cartoons, a newsreel, and an episode of a serial (Zorro, Flash Gordon, Captain America, etc.) for 30 cents, and a box of Flicks for another 10. Now, it cost me $6.50 (senior discount rocks!), I skip the candy, and get very excited over all the previews, which I missed for 8 years living in west county and going to the Rio (quonset hut) Theatre, where we got one movie a week, and seldom anything extra. I was not the only single in the house last night (I checked, of course), there was another woman a few rows in front of me. The movie was everything I thought it would be, dark, tense, scary moments, and some enchanting stuff, too. Actually, it was like a double feature packed into one movie, two interwoven stories, and either one would have made a great film. Some stuff I just couldn't look at, very brutal. But it was a great statement about human nature, and the atrocities that power can wrought. I came home knowing that was time and money well spent, something that does not happen very often in this strange life. Happy to report that I am a great date. I thanked myself afterwards, of course. We're planning on going out together again, soon.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Just a little impatient here. I brought home my drawing pad, so I could spray it with fixative and do some homework. We're supposed to draw a transparent glass. Not very challenging, you say? Right. So far this week, we drew drum sets (!), pipes, and little bottles. Also, we did a design with little flat stuff, like matchbooks and nail files, both positive and negative. Really boooooorrrrring! Where's the meat? Last semester, I drew Da Vinci portraits. I drew a sheep. I drew leaves and shells, not just their outline, but their details with contained shadows. I really want to draw STUFF. I am sure this will happen, and really, I could be doing it right now instead of griping to the whole wide world, but gee, I might do it wrong. And I want to do it right. That's why I am taking this class. The good thing is that I find whatever I am drawing, it absorbs me in a way nothing else does (except painting, of course). I love doing this. And I am poud of my ink bottle. Very proud.