Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Okay, it's just a beginning. If I were really brave, I would name it "Impression, Cow", sign it, frame it, and offer it up. Actually, one of my current favorites, Dana Hooper, would say, YEAH! DO IT! I think. Whatever, I just love the cow, don't you? It gives us milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, to say nothing of steak, hamburger, and leather shoes and things. Cows are blessed creatures, for sure. I hope to paint big bunches of them in the future. Meanwhile, this is Cow #1. Probably she is out of proportion. Probably she is terribly imperfect. Lord knows, I am good at imperfect. It's part of my charm! And probably, she is not really done yet. Probably.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Funny how perspectives change. Holidays used to be the blessed off-work time. Now, when every day is off-work time, holidays are a pain. They disrupt my ROUTINE. I need my ROUTINE. Little boxes of time and little circles of travels. Stores should always be open. Mail should come, at least six days a week. My soap opera should be on five days a week (and what is this everybody-loves-everybody stuff that happens at Christmas, where is the vitriol I so dearly love?). Okay, some things endure. The leaf-blowing brigade showed up, on CHRISTMAS DAY. Is it too much to hope those folks who hired them had out-of-town guests who were awakened by the din? Oooh, mean-spirited me. Good thing that I am working on Step Six, getting ready to give my cherished character defects over to HP. Yeah, that'll happen. Hey, progress, not perfection. Perfectly human, that's moi.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
This is what happens when an image looks kind of fuzzy to me after perusing it for a while. I put the paintings on the kitchen table, which I walk by fifty times a day, and sort of stroke my chin every so often, wondering if they could get better if I went back into them, added some value here, took some away there, warmed it up, or cooled it down. The little ones are so much more vivid, and truly, new life is always ever so much brighter. These little white-faced fellows just seemed to punch a hole in the world with their color. I am happier now, even if they are not perfectly like the photograph. I like mine better. No offence, HP. You do a good job, too. And I am so grateful to be able to do this at all. The moments I spend painting are the most wondrous time for me. Everything is good then, the idea just flows from my head and heart onto the canvas. And when it is successful, when it is realized (made real and concrete), there is no greater joy.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Ghosts of Christmas past are floating around my dear little house. I am working on getting de-cluttered and spiffed up a little, for company coming over tomorrow. Cooking out of an actual cookbook, please, no applause! The actual celebration with the FOO (family of origin, to the unitiated) was last Sunday, where I received a lot of good stuff, including aforesaid cookbook, and Italian tome that actually has the recipe for pannacotta, my very favorite Italian food, right up there with gelato. So I hit Safeway for extra heavy cream, and fat free half and half. I figured mixing the two together would be okay. Yeah, I'm changing the recipe. Somehow, that always happens. Everyone will be happy, in the end. Next, I plan on setting up the nifty docking station for my (recharged and ready) iPod, and doing a quick dusting and other ablutions to get all festive for the Big Day, which is, after all, just another day. Right.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Here is completed painting. I think. I am never sure when things are done. Usually I just get tired of dabbing and quit. And it is almost time for my soap opera, anyway. It got brightened up, and colors intensified (I had underpainted in yellow ochre, and proceeded to work wet-in-wet, which made mud in some instances), and I put in the high and low lights for some good value contrast. Oh, hell, I just changed it a little. Enough, I hope to make it really succulent. I showed a picture of it to my Dad yesterday, and he said "Gee, you haven't gotten very far along, have you." And I replied, well, if you want reality, here is the reference photo. I think paintings are so much more fun, though, don't you? It's like a new reality emerges from the canvas, one ever so much better than the real one. And isn't that what we are all looking for, a sweeter reality? And the hours I spend doing this stuff, well, it's out of time and mind, the true state of being according to Eckhart Tolle, my current spiritual guru. Those times are joyful beyond imagination.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
It is really cold, so I made myself a cup of chai after I put away my Trader Joe stash, and I looked at those organic peppers in their little celophane package and thought, gee, I think I will immortalize them before I cut them up for crudites today for my folk's pre-Christmas Christmas. So here is the beginnings of the painting, done on the kitchen counter because the studio is Arctic-cold at the moment, and I got my PG&E bill, and am conserving heat by keeping that door closed. I am not unhappy with this little slaphappy work. It is quite joyous, actually. I need to work a little more on it, but not too much. I feel that my work is more, well, ME, when I leave it a little rough. Okay, a lot rough. It reflects my inner process when it is messy, like finger paints, elemental, you know? I was running a lot on instinct, and not sure whether I liked it when I quit, to make some dinner (I was already in the kitchen, how convenient is that!), and then didn't feel up to bringing all the paraphenalia out again after. Maybe this afternoon, after the get-together of the whole family. Yes, I will need to have something to slap away at, then.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Temperatures are in the 40s, all day long, and nights are below freezing, like 30 degrees. I know those hearty folks who live in places like Maine or Wisconsin are tittering up the sleeves of their Land's End polar fleece longjohns, since they live in below zero weather most of the time (and why would they want to, one wonders). Well, their blood is as thick as maple syrup, where ours runs fast and thin as cabernet sauvignon. I'll match my shivering with theirs, any day. And the cold is brittle, easily broken into shards that penetrate any tiny crack in the covers at night, and I wake up with a cold elbow or ankle. I am sleeping in my cotton knit pjs that fit tightly and do not ride up, with a sweatshirt and socks, under a sheet, two blankets and four quilts (electric blankets are bad for you, you know), and still prone to a cold rear end, which is the only part of me that seems to stick up like a mountain and attract the frigid air. I eye the dogs enviously, covered as they are in all this luxurious fur. And, while I am certainly as PC as anyone, I could use a nice coat of that stuff now. Happy to have sweats to wear all day, and no where I have to be, and a heat dish that travels to wherever I am.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
So, this is the second painting of the same scene, similar in many regards, toned down in values (as is the original now). I didn't know if I could do this, replicate a painting. My friend the professional artist does it all the time, bigger, smaller, even a miniature sometimes. Mine is close, but still an original, and I am happy about that, because each painting should have its own personality, and be its own thing, don't you think? I had a lot of fun doing this exercise, and as I have said before, and will undoubtedly say many times again, fun is good. Fun is what makes my heart sing. I want to keep having fun till Gabriel blows that horn. Yes.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Gee, guess what! Social Security gave me a raise! I can only surmise that the SS Human Resources fairy has been watching me and has seen what a wonderful job I am doing at being retired, and deemed me worthy. It is noteworthy, too, 5.7%. Actually, they give me a raise every year, but this is the most significant, and very much appreciated, as Medicare will be deducting beginning in July. That's right, the cowwoman is turning 65. In honor of this occasion, I am in the process of slowly letting my hair go natural, gray, that is. Time to enter my silver fox stage. And I am ready. Of course, I will not eschew skin care products that promise miracles, overnight. After breaking out from 13 to 55, I have clear skin for the first time in my (admittedly long) life, and I want to keep it as long as possible. That extra SS $$$ will help in that endeavor, for sure. So, God bless America!
Monday, December 08, 2008
I have caller ID. Better than that, I have a phone that announces who is calling, out loud. I don't even have to get up and look at that weinie little screen, which is good because half the time I cannot find my glasses, anyway. Well, this one 866 number has been calling and calling, so I answered it, to tell them I am on the DO NOT CALL list, and it was my Discover Card person, telling me that they are sending me a package with my credit report to review and make sure no one has (gulp) stolen my identity, and with just a few questions, they will open my account. Now, I asked if they were charging me for answering these questions, and they said ohnonono, all I have to do is review the package then call them back if there are no problems. THEN, they charge me. I am no good at following through with that stuff, so I said no thanks, don't call me anymore. Click. Now I am all worried. Suppose someone has indeed stolen my SS# and is out there happily ringing up charges? Never mind that my card is securely in my wallet, or that I nver give out my number (hey, I wear big girl shoes, after all). Fear, that is what these people sell. And, though I didn't give them any $$$, I seem to have bought some, anyway. Back to my Eckhart Tolle CD, where fear is only an illusion. I think.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Here's what I did this afternoon. Very loosy goosey little rendering, on a canvas a friend retrieved out of the trash, a kind of very blue and green waterfall. Gee, this was a lot of fun, really just slapping paint around. I like Van Gogh, and Monet, it is all about the brushstokes, the light, and the moment. And, I really like fun. Fun works for me. Trying some different stuff is good, too. This is different. We'll see if it flies. I think I will put it in the auction next year, see if anyone bids on it. I always think that if I can do it, anyone can. Funnily enough, that is not true. A lot of people can't do this. Grateful.
I was not sure I could do it, but it is now done. I did another painting of the same scene, and it is very like the first. I guess I am more artist than I thought I was. And what fun it was, yesterday, splashing away at the canvas. I am truly in that spirit place when I paint. So, I took my laptop into the bedroom, set up my lap desk, and wrote a chapter of my novel. Just like that. Not very good, in my opinion, but a steady flow of words worked their way onto the page, without much effort. Wow. Later, an e-mail from my son informed me that he was born in the same hospital as our new president. How about that! And I should have known that, if I were a political animal. So I went online today to read a biography of Barry, and sure enough, he was born in Hawaii, and the only game in town there for newborns is Kapiolani Maternity Hospital, where I gave birth to my firstborn. We gave him a Hawaiian middle name, Lopaka (Robert), so he could always remember his heritage (he has an English middle name, too, so he has the distinction, and choice, of not two, but three possible names). Ah, I remember Christmases in Hawaii, sitting on the porch at the Moana with Diamond Head off in the distance, eating turkey and cranberry sauce in 80 degree balmy weather. Which was better than Thanksgiving at the Kahala Hilton, with winds whipping palm trees through plate glass windows in downtown Waikiki. This first thing I remember about moving there to live, after visiting a couple of times, was the tsunami evacutation info in the telephone book. What had I signed on for here, anyway? We had some dillies of storms while I lived there, but no tsunamis. What can I say, I am blessed in so many ways. Wow, there's a potpourri of stuff for today. Back to reality, where my most daunting task is to tame my bedhead so I can be seen in public. Some life, huh?
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I sold the new painting, and got a commission to do at least one more. I had to adjust the values a little, make it darker, and I did that, even though I liked the luminous quality a lot. Well, it is definitely in the eye of the beholder, especially when that beholder is holding a checkbook. I got paid for the first one, and am beginning the second. I am tempted to do one just for me, in the colors I like. We'll see. Certainly, the oil was easier than the watercolor, faster, and much more rewarding in that regard. What a blessing to get paid for doing something so very joyous. I get to practice that presence that Eckhart Tolle is telling me about, too, being behind the mind, and just doing instead of thinking it to death. Time just flies by, and suddenly, it is time to eat again. That is always a happy time for me! Off I go to slap paint around, and be the very best little artist I can be today. Joy!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Okay, trying again. Fourth attempt at rendering this view for my client. In oils, this time. Part of it is in my imagination, part in the pictures she took, and some of it is in her mind, which I don't know, so I am only guessing. I hope this works better than the last attempts. Sure is fun to do, this painting stuff. Imagine doing it for $$$. That's frosting on the cake, for sure. Challenge here is color, and you know how subjective that is. I consider myself a colorist, and I like to try new and exciting things as I paint. Unfortunately, not everyone likes that particular tack. Oh, well. I will keep trying, that's for sure. I love getting all messy with the paint. How sweet it is to spend an afternoon mucking around like this. Makes me remember kindergarten and fingerpaints. I thought it couldn't get any better. I was wrong.
Monday, December 01, 2008
I just finished this watercolor of a sunset at Sea Ranch. It is a commission (yes, Virginia, someone likes my work and wants a painting, by ME!). But is it good enough? How much should I charge for it? Should I frame it first? We didn't go over these little details up front. I was so excited that someone wanted a painting of mine, I forgot to do those little things. Well, it will all work itself out in the end. Because this is all pretty easy, more of a just-tuck-your-tongue-in-your-cheek and go splash, splash, splash process, I think it is without merit. Oh, well. It is what it is. As usual.
I'm surprised no one has come up with this anacronym, FOO, or Family of Origin. Seems appropriate for most of us, foo, as in fooey. Okay, it's phooey, but same thing. Someone once said at a meeting that we can never be fully recovered until we have dealt with our FOO issues. Nuts. We can never be fully recovered, period. And the FOO will always be with me, till my dying breath. Some of it was good. Christmas, for instance, when mother morfed into this Betty Crocker/Martha Stewart clone and baked and decorated and wrapped presents that were piled higher than the tree. They were Depression kids, my folks, and believed that they were doing better by their kids by giving them stuff. Never mind the other 364 days of the year, when tempers seethed and frequently flared up, resulting in bruises and wounds that would bleed and fester well into my fifties. One of the consequences I have been noticing is my competitive instinct. You had to compete, for attention, for appreciation, for the biggest serving of dessert. We played a lot of board games. Talk about murderous. My mother put Risk away forever. My brothers and I nearly killed each other trying to take over the world. Until they moved into a smaller house, my folks had a game table that we all gathered around, with our stash of pennies, nickels and dimes that we all kept hidden somewhere in their house (mine was in one of those L'Eggs eggs) and played poker or Tripoli at Christmas. Lots of shouting. And I noticed that the competitive gene has been transmitted to my kids, too. Well, they too originate from the FOO. Sigh.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Ah, the holiday is history. It was laid back this year. My dearest friend and I were orphaned by other ex-spouse's with big houses and wives who cook, so we got together and divied up the traditional dinner. I did the turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes (ever so much better than yams), and pumpkin pie. She did the mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and mincemeat pie. And it was all sumptuous, especially the gravy, which was the stuff of dreams. Both of us got prodigious amounts of leftovers, too. Then we headed over to the Thanksgiving Alkathon, a marathon, 24 hours of meetings, every 2 hours, for all of us who struggle through this dreadful season. The host meeting was a step study that uses the 12 & 12, an auxilliary to our Big Book, that goes into the steps (and traditions) in depth. Because of the number of persons, after we read the first step from the book, people who wished to share were asked to come to the podium, and speak into a microphone. Now, I have done that, when I was asked to. But I was loathe to volunteer my wisdom, not knowing if it would be welcomed. So the usual cast of characters bounced up and stood in line to regale us with their sobriety. One woman, who is six days less sober than I, who has been in my face most of my recovery, and always puts herself in front of everyone, said she was standing up for her program. And I wondered if I should have gotten up there after all. When is it pride and when is it just being thankful for my recovery and wanting to share it with a roomful of people? Is it arrogance to waltz out in front of everyone, or is it arrogant to sit in the sweetness of my own wisdom? I do have some good stuff to share. None of it is mine. Well, most of it isn't, anyway. It came from sponsors, sponsees, hundreds of other recovering souls who are trudging the path of happy destiny alongside me, and a few dozen spiritual teachers and books. I am, after all, a seeker of truth and beauty. Haven't arrived at enlightenment yet, at least, not all the time. But I have had little glimpses, moments when it all seemed to be clear and possible. Well, that moment passed, and I sat there, one among many, and listened. We'll see what happens next time. At Christmas. Or New Year's. Because I will be parked there in that folding chair again and again. Perhaps choosing my moment is better than always opening my mouth. I seem to tune out that woman I mentioned automatically, knowing she will say pretty much the same thing every time. Lord, save me from my own platitudes!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Here is my dear and lovely daughter with her significant other on the occasion of her graduation from law school. I am happy and relieved to relate that yesterday, she learned that she had passed the California Bar Exam. Phew. It has been a long and hard process, from the LSATs to the application process to the first amazingly difficult year to the moot court competitions to graduation to a summer of bar review to four months of waiting for the results. And now, she can spend her decorating allowance, buy artwork for her new office, and settle into her role as a Doctor of Jurisprudence. And I can lay down my mantle of worry and just watch her blossom. She has grown into a woman of much power and grace. Now, it would be nice to take credit for that, but truly, she is what she was meant to be. A friend once complimented me on her, and I eschewed any credit, but, as my friend pointed out, I didn't go out of my way to screw her up, either. That I will accept. I worked especially hard not to do that. She shows me daily that anything is possible if you want it enough. She is healthier and more focused than I will ever be. Grateful beyond words today.
Friday, November 21, 2008
So, I have a cold. Don't you hate it when that happens? Misery on the hoof. I don't believe in suffering. I believe in medication, lots of it. So I am juiced the the eyeballs on daytime severe cold pills, some holistic stuff (zinc, vitamin C), and have Mucinex in reserve, just in case, even though I hate their commercials, and that will usually steer me away from a product, but this stuff really works. I must be feeling better, I made the bed. Yesterday, Boo, Pickle and I were entrenched there all day. Probably overkill for this little headcold, but hey, not anything else on my plate, and I felt like hell, and was really tired after a fitfull night. I did have to dress and make a drugstore run for more pills in the afternoon, and gee, I remembered my gratitude on my last sojourn there about not needing any of that stuff. Around 7 PM, I took a hot bath, and felt ever so much better, for about 20 minutes, afterward. Then it was back to moaning and groaning. Got up early to drive a friend to the local airport, a commitment I made a while back, and I was feeling a whole lot better, thank HP. Just back from breakfast at the airport restaurant. There were a lot of old men around, probably our locals who can afford airplanes, all looking hard bitten by life. Strange to see a neon sign advertising beer in an airport. Conjured up a lot of terrifying images, for sure. My friend is like me, hates to fly, but loves to travel. Anyway, whole big bunch of nothing happening here today, except we are all breathless awaiting the little kiddo's results from her Bar exam. What will be, will be. Let it be sweet, whatever it is.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Here is a little thing I diddled up this morning. Can't decide if I like it, but have found that working on it does not necessarily make it better. I saw this program on Einstein last night, and he formulated his science and his first great theories while working in a patent office. He was not even a scientist when he developed the theory of special relativity. Most of his greatest thinking came out of daydreams! Okay, so great art should emerge from moments like this, when I am just putting paint on the paper, and going hmmmmmm. It was uber-fun to do, and I already have plans for a followup. I did try to be neater than usual, but that didn't seem to happen. What a surprise. Messiness is my trademark, after all. And flaws. there is always a flaw in there. It is all still really new, but the idea is coming, I can feel it unfurling even as we speak. Sweet.
Monday, November 17, 2008
While stewing here at my computer, accompanied by the cacophony of the concerto for double leaf-blower being executed just outside my office window, I came upon an article while perusing my daily New York Times headlines that they so graciously e-mail to me so that I am not totally cut off from the sturm and drang of the daily life others are so unfortunate as to enjoy. Scientists (those elite minds that propose a hypothesis and spend every waking moment trying to find the proof to support it) think they have found the underlying cause of emotional disorders in the genetic code. There is, they suppose, a battle that ensues between the mother and father genes. If the mother gene wins the war, the result is schizophrenia at the extreme end of the spectrum, whereas if the father dominates, autism results at the other end. Well, it makes sense, if you think about it. Females tend to be hysterical by nature (literally, wandering womb, you know, hysteria), whereas men are more emotionally dead. So the female gene causes hyperactivity of the emotions, and the male gene causes a flat emotional aspect. Do you think it could be that simple? Certainly, I have been acquainted with many men, including my father, who have the emotional life of a prawn. They live for logic, usually of their own construct, and happily inhabit that box all their lives. Women bamboozle them, with their need to be constantly questioning everything about their own existence, the existence of significant others, and not-so-significant others. Where is their logic? As I see it, men sit in the center of their own little insulated universe, and everything revolves around them in concentric orbits. The woman in their life bounces between orbits like those electrons in an atom do. Excite an atom, and the electrons leap about like crazy. Ditto, a man. Women, on the other hand, see themselves as just one part of an intricate web. Everything is connected to them, and if any of the souls they feel woven with is agitated, she is agitated as well, sort of like when one of my dog decides to get up and walk around in circles on the bed in the middle of the night - I am instantly awake, awaiting the next shock. We are such interesting creatures to begin with, and now we are finding that the whole race is divided sharply in mindset, as well. I think it is the moon's fault. Without it, the earth would wobble so drastically on its axis that there would be no stable climate zones that foster agriculture, and we would still be without a civilization, fashioning arrowheads and spears from wood and stone, and happily hunter-gathering in small nomadic tribes. Some days, that sounds pretty comforting, especially when I am reading a newspaper.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I just did a Fifth Step, reading aloud my Fourth Step resentment list, going into detail about all the stupid little things (and people) who annoy and vex me. High on the list of things, right behind stoplights and leaf blowers, was shrinkwrap and plastic packaging. Even Pickle arrived all shut up with those thick plastic strips that need wirecutters to sever. I wound up having to unscrew the two parts and take the crate apart to get her out. I often buy packages of things in those blasted clamshell plastic packages, and wind up cutting them open with the kitchen shears. I am lucky I have not yet cut off anything I need, like the end of a finger. I even bought a super-duper set of Fiskars especially for those packages. Well, an article in the New York Times says I am not alone in my misery. This year, toy sets are arriving at the stores in (gasp) cardboard boxes! How original!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I spent most of yesterday with my tongue between my teeth, slapping away at a canvas in a friend's studio, chatting and splashing and laughing at myself. Here is the resulting image, a sort of Cezanne-y rendering of a basket of gourds and a blue ribbon artfully draped all around. Funnily enough, I kind of like it. It has a sweet luminous quality, and actually looks like an homage to that great master, mostly because I finished it by outlining some of the gourds and the basket ever so lightly, which made them just pop. I will never be a realist, I realize. I will always just slap paint on and hope for the best, and paint over if it doesn't seem to be coming up at that moment. My friend and fellow art student is painting one image a day. I am truly amazed at her productions. She has become an accomplished artist, for sure. I am working on it, still, but, whatever, I sure am having fun here!
Monday, November 10, 2008
I am a drug store junkie. There are so many wonderful things there: makeup, of course, and hair care products that let me dream that someday, somehow, I will have a head full of thick, glorious locks. Sigh. And lotions, oh, all the glorious goos that promise wrinkle-free skin. It is that time of year when I would just settle on not itching 24/7. Sigh. So, I had a free half hour before my Sunday morning meditation meeting, and I needed some things, so off I went to Walgreen's, which is several miles closer than Walmart, and always promises to be a less expensive proposition as they don't sell clothes or DVDs. I took my time, plying all the aisles of drugstore stuff, and it occurred to me how fortunate I was to not need any of those items: ankle, knee and wrist braces, hearing aid cleaning kits, cold medicine, muscle rub. Well, it is gratitude month, after all. And it is good to be grateful that I don't have the flu, or a bad back, and that my wrist, which was all trussed up in a brace not very long ago, is mucho better. I left with my purchases (moist towlettes, a dandy manicure set, and a card that I could not resist for my dear friend's birthday next month), and heart full of thankfulness that the Cowwoman is all in one piece and still hanging together after 64 years on the Big Blue Ball. See, God lives at Walgreen's, too.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
My many moons on the Big Blue Ball have taught me that I am the pawn of the media, and they got me last night. I got all teared up about this proud young man we elected president. While I was in speech class, we watched Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech. Being an apolitical animal, I had never done that before. What an amazing man, so intelligent, so articulate. I think Obama is one and the same. Still, I know that change is difficult to bring into reality, even with a Congress that will help him along. Take our voters, here in tree-hugging California, who are probably going to endorse an amendment to our state constitution prohibiting gay marriage. I thought we were more grown up than that here. I thought we were tolerant and progressive. I thought bigotry was history. Gosh, guys. Another thing I learned in school, in sociology, was that DNA among humans is less dissimilar than among penguins, who all look alike. Now, let's all contemplate that little factoid for a few, and get, once and for all, that, beneath the skin, beneath the sexual preferences, we are the SAME, damn it. Okay, I feel better. Perhaps the very sane and sober people on our State Supreme Court will look on the voters with more rectitude, and send Prop. 8 packing. Hope, it is springing here in my little heart.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Little Pickle is now big Pickle, about 12 lbs., with a magnificent fluffy fawn coat and her ears, wow! She is interesting on sooooo many levels. For instance, she snores while awake, and sleeps with her eyes open. And it is now part of our evening bedtime routine to light a candle to counter her perpetual flatulence. Pickle farts swim in the air above the bed with fair regularity. Because she likes Boo-food better than her puppy chow, I changed her to that, but no change in the farting so far. Sometimes I think it would be best just to set her tail on fire. This week, we have a third canine among us, little Beany. He is traumatized by the loss of his master already, but Pickle doesn't help things much. I heard him outside, whining, and finally went to see what was the matter, if anything, as he is terribly morose. I found Pickle blocking the dog door, and refusing to let him back into the house. Now I just yell at Pickle, and she lets him in. Where does she get that spunk? What a character she has become.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Back in the olden days, when I was in my 20s, I used to diet by having yogurt for lunch, something from the refrigerator section of the little lunch room downstairs at 550 California Street. And my favorite was prune yogurt, because it reminded me of the stewed prunes with heavy cream my grandmother served up when I stayed at her house. Gee, I hadn't thought about prunes for decades. Then I went on retreat to Maria del Mar convent this last winter, and the nuns put stewed prunes on the breakfast buffet. Of course, I thought. Nuns would eat prunes. It just seemed like a no-brainer. So, I decided to get some and stew them. You think I could find prunes anywhere? When's the last time you saw a container of prune yogurt? Or a prune Danish, remember them? Eventually, on a trip down an unfamiliar aisle at Costco, I found a bag of dried plums. Well, what are prunes but dried plums? I wasn't certain till I got them home, and whoopee, PRUNES! Now that I am on my eating plan again, to ward off incipient fluffiness, I appreciate stewed prunes and plain, non-fat yogurt snacks. Really yummy, and awfully good for this old gal. The best things are those that nourish both my body and my soul. Long live prunes, whatever they're called.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My movie buddy and I went to see The Duchess this weekend. She liked it so much, it was her second viewing. And it was a sumptuous film, filled with stunning costumes, neo-classical architecture and loving close-ups of Keira Knightley's amazing face. Here was a film that proved that, despite youth, scintillating beauty and obscene wealth, one can still be abysmally unhappy. I thought a lot about that afterward. And I had one of my AHA moments. The lovely Georgiana lacked only one thing, a sense of being loved. I would say that she lacked value, too, but she did get that big check once she finally produced that male heir, which was her raison d'etre, after all. Women throughout the ages have been treated as property, and only as assets if they fulfill their destiny as the vehicle for heirs. Or, they were a source of (momentary) comfort, a receptacle for men to use to relieve their sexual pressures. And then, they were supposed to fade into the background until needed again, sort of like an appliance that sits on the shelf collecting dust, waiting for its next moment of usefulness. And that is what the Duchess did, after a short time indulging her needs with a much needed affair, because to do otherwise would have ruined, not herself, but her lover, and torn her forever from her children. Okay, she lived in the lap of luxury and outrageous fashion all her life. But that is, after all, just form. Of substance, she knew little. Even her children would, after all, grow up and leave her. It hasn't changed a whole lot in the intervening centuries. Women are still under men, considered to be less because we are smaller (not me, though) than most men, weaker in physical strength. But, remember this, we live longer. And we are left in charge of the new generations. We could be teaching those beloved sons something different, a new way of looking at the world. And if we aren't, shame on us.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Who remembers the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf? Well,time to dredge it up and learn its lesson, all over again. Our presidential and vice-presidential candidates are human beings, and, as such, have some stuff in their previous lives that probably is not savory, but it seems that in this campaign, so many false rumors are flying around, one couldn't discern the truth even if one were up to sorting through all the crap, which, I can tell you, I am not. Most of this mud-slinging seems to be coming from our goody-two-shoes Republican candidate, you know, the one with the cute little arm-candy wife he cheated on his first wife with, the war hero guy who voted the Bush agenda for most of his tenure, the one who chose a totally unsuitable VP because she is a woman, and cute (and one of those who stand outside abortion clinics, screaming). The result is that, if some really enterprising investigative reporter came up with some REAL dirt about Obama, no one of consequence would believe it after all the fallacious stuff that has spewed out of the mouths of these people, who are so very anxious to be elected to the highest post of the entire world. Personally, this all is really frightening, not because of the behavior of these nutbags, but because a whole bunch of folks BELIEVE them. Fanatics of the world, unite! Walk west till your hat floats.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
When I was young, they taught us that playing the stock market was like GAMBLING. You paid your money and you took your chances. What the hell is going on? The government is bailing out investors, bailing out banks that make bad investments. Someone was all het up today because the price of oil fell and now there is speculation that interest in alternative energy sources will wane. Well, if the price of gasoline fell to 95 cents a gallon, then I would worry about that. But $3.35 a gallon? I don't think so. Bring on the hydogen engine that works on air and expels water! Put solar cells on every rooftop! For that matter, paint all the rooftops white to give us extra albedo and reflect back a lot of the heat. Put big reflective patches of foil over our polar regions to save the ice caps. And kick out all those bozos in Washington DC who do little more than diddle their young pages and swill Jack Daniels before carooming around town in their big honking luxury cars, you know the ones who put us in this big pickle to begin with by suckling the corporations that fostered their campaigns in the first place. Really, I am not a political animal. But I am tired of our elected officials stomping all over our Constitution and ignoring the plight of ordinary folk, like me. The only carrot offered to us is aimed at another faction of the population that I avoid like the plague, the fundamental Christians, who wouldn't know morality if it bit them in the ass. Which it should. Okay, that's over for a while. Ready to fill out my absentee ballot and have my teensy weensy say in things.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I went to a memorial service today for a woman I met at the very first AA meeting I went to, almost 19 years ago. We call those we get sober with "littermates". Seeing her there week after week gave me courage to believe that I could do this sobriety thing, too. Then, I gravitated to other meetings, and only saw her once in a while. She got drunk. That was a huge wakeup call for me. You mean some people don't stay sober? But she came back, and set her foot back on the path. And she did that over and over again. Recently, while drinking, she had an esophogial bleed, and survived it, to get sober again. She knew that to drink meant she might die. And she did it, anyway. This time, she didn't survive the bleeding. What I saw today was how very much she was loved. And I got that these people felt they had expressed that to her, too. For some reason, it was not enough. And, she, like me, lived alone. She had dogs. The music she listened to is the music I love. She was an artist, like me. And I don't know why she had to struggle, drunk, while I preferred to stuggle, sober. It is a mystery to me, for sure. We joke that drinking is "suicide on the installment plan", and that is exactly what it is, a living death, followed by a real one. I always feel the rip in the fabric of our connectedness whenever one of us leaves the planet. For Sylvia, the pain is ended. Mine goes on.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
One of my watercolor classmates told me about this hot deal on watercolor paper, which, by the way, is pretty expensive. Now, I love going to the art supply store. There are all these stringy, artsy, all-natural-fiber folk there, who are just who they are, greying hair and faces bare of makeup, in their sensible shoes and no-nonsense clothes. But, sometimes it gets a little pricey there. Gloria told me that every week, the big craft store puts a coupon in that sheaf of flyers that I always toss without a second look, 40 to 50% off the item of your choice, and they sell the very same paper as the art store. So I checked my mail when I got home, and there it was, 40% off! And off I went yesterday morning, to the craft store. Now, the clientele at Michael's is a little different. There are all these women, all ages, many of them fitness-challenged, dressed in polyester, elastic-wasted pants outfits every color of the rainbow and a few more that I didn't even recognize, frequently sequinned, as well. They were buying knitting yarn or scrapbooking supplies or artificial flowers. I stood in line with my two books of paper and a plastic pallette, feeling out of my element, though I was probably properly attired in my yoga pants and sweatshirt, somewhat subdued, however, in shades of gray. And you know, I don't fit into either of these worlds. I still like the artifice of hair coloring and makeup, but absolutely eschew polyester. I do knit, though. I guess I have to face the fact that I wasn't born to blend, anywhere. And I used to think this was a bad thing. Now I see it as a blessing. HP wants me to become just who I am, sans a category. If I could just figure out what that is, everything will be illuminated!
Friday, October 17, 2008
When I was a kid, TVs had cathode ray tubes, kind of like fancy, tube-shaped light bulbs. Every once in a while, one would blow out, and you called the TV repairman, who came, pulled out the chassis and replaced it. Even the big one, the PICTURE tube, could be replaced for less than the cost of a new TV. Not any more. Now, we just chuck the whole thing and buy a new one, at half the price of the one we are throwing away. Kind of sad, yes? Partly, this is because technology has been on a tear for the last few decades, and everything electric or electronic is doomed to be obsolete before you can get it out the door of Best Buy. Which brings me to my current denouement. I broke the lid of my mini-Cusinart. Well, you might think I could still cover the top with something, anyway, except the lever that works the whole thing is what broke off of the lid. And I had a moment of grief, imagining my dear little workhorse nestled among the coffee grounds and egg shells in the kitchen trash. Then I had one of those AHA moments, googled Cuisinart parts, and ordered a new lid, for $17. It comes with a new bowl, but what the heck, I like shiny newness. This is about half what a new machine would cost me, so it is a bargain. And I need that little sucker. It whips up my pancake batter for me every day, and it chops garlic, such a dear little friend who helps me stay infection-free. And nuts, oh, I love chopped nuts on, well, EVERYTHING. Maybe having two bowls is a really good idea?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I saw this program about South Korea the other night, about how 1/3 of the country now considers the United States the greatest threat to their national security. Gee, 30,000 Americans died on their soil so they could express that opinion. But that generation, the one that remembers the Korean War, is dying off. The young ones only see what Geo. W. has done. That bozo, and all the others who voted for him, TWICE, should be twisting in the wind. Our international reputation has always been problematical, what with the astonishing prosperity and power we possess, and now, it is in shreds. Even our allies are looking at us askance. Shoot, I remember putting together little care packages for our soldiers over there: needles and thread, bandaids, things like that, in school. Of course, I also remember air raid drills, when we all dived under our desks and covered our head, hid our eyes so they wouldn't be toasted by the atomic blast. Now that threat is behind us, and we have a gigantic internal implosion going on. One of the things I saw when I was in Italy is how young our country really is in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps we needed to be taught a lesson or two, lessons that much more seasoned countries have already learned. I was listening to Hooked on Classics last night, sort of slumming for intellectuals, and remembered the thrill of a Souza march on the 4th of July, a great sense of pride that I am an American, and America stands for freedom. Apparently, that doesn't extend outside our borders, not any more.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Here she is, all immortalized in art. I did this from a photo of her lying beside me on the red couch, which is now blue, courtesy of futon covers. This was a while ago, before her bottom teeth started showing all the time, and before her ears fluffed up alarmingly. I love my Pickle. And I can barely wait for her to be all grown up and, hopefully, settled down. My Boo is sweet, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Pickle is a pistol, smart as they come, full of herself and an amazing amount of energy. She just keeps going, and going, and going. Now, I don't know if this is art, but, to me, it is precious. I hope not too precious, though. I want to avoid coyness in my art, always. My dear friend who was my first teacher once did an enormous painting of a buffalo, very carefully rendered, but, for some reason, something around the eyes, I think, it looked like it was shy and about to blush. I take that lesson seriously. Animals are not toys, you know. This little one has a fierce spirit, for sure.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Here is a little watercolor I did at my class yesterday. Remember when I was the oldest person in every room at school? Well, now I am the youngest senior in the room. All the others are these sweet little ladies who name their pets Mandy and Skipper, and paint careful little scenes with picket fences. Me, I just start slopping paint all over the place and call it "painterly". Bill, one of two token guys in the class, noticed that. It is also evident that I am an oil painter by nature, as I like lots and lots of color. Actually, watercolors do some rather neat things all by themselves. I have come to depend on that happening in my work. I don't have a clue what I am doing, but it sure is fun. I stayed for almost the whole session working away at this oeuvre, and that's a first for me. Usually, I get done and head out after about 1 1/2 hours. Oh, and I didn't get my picture in to the teacher in time to be hung in this fall's show, sort of flaked out. Whatever. Next time.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Both my computers got new mice today, wireless ones, that are sooooo slick. And they were both on sale, and one had a rebate on it, and I am sooooo stoked. See, I told you I am a cheap date. Doesn't take me much to be all gooey with joy. When my computer is working, like it is at this moment, it just doesn't get any better than that. Of course, I forgot to install the software first before hooking up the mouse for my Big Bad Mama. Can barely wait to see what that does, like things I probably didn't even know I wanted it to do? Now, that's sprinkles for the frosting on my cake of life.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Although Pickle had surgery on Friday morning, she was back to the old Pickle by that evening. I have a page of instructions on dealing with the damage, only to find there isn't any, according to the Pickle. She happily jumps on and off the couch. She plays ball. She goes outside and lays in the dirt. We had a serious talk last night, and I told her if I find any Pickle guts on the floor, her ass is grass. Didn't slow her down a bit. The incision looks just fine. And pain pills? We don't need no stinkin' pain pills. Of course, I gave her one, anyway, hoping it would slow her down a little. No luck there. I don't know whether to be happy or not. Certainly, health and vitality are no problem when you are only 6 months old. Poor Boo whined and moaned for days after getting his ears cleaned out. We went through many pain pills and lots of hand-wringing. What a difference 10 years makes. Meanwhile, it is full fall here, as evidenced by the plethora of leaves on the front psuedo-lawn. After the meeting, I think I will bundle up in my sweats and rake, thereby setting the good example for the rest of my leaf-blower crazy neighborhood, though raking makes no noise, so no one will notice anyway.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Little Pickle got her operation today. Everyone goes, oh, no! What's wrong? Nothing, and nothing will be, now. She is altered, figuratively as well as literally. Dogs do not do sick well. She is looking at me like I should know what to do, and I don't have a clue. There are pain pills, for tomorrow. And I am supposed to keep her from jumping up or down onto furniture. Yeah, that'll happen. The first thing she did was lay down out of my line of sight, and when I checked on her, she was outside laying in the dirt. Oh, no! Not good! I think she has settled for a while. Tonight, she will sleep by the side of the bed, to prevent any accidental jumping in the night. Gee, I remember when having a dog meant that you fed it table scraps, brushed off as many fleas as you could, had a litter of accidental puppies or two, and only took it to the vet when it got hit by a car. It has gotten a lot more conprehensive than that these days.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Well, not exactly. But I'm working on it. Here are my little fur people. Hard to get them both to stay still for the time it takes to depress the shutter, that's for sure. This was one of a whole series of photos of Boo with this fuzzy golden blur next to him. They are at my feet now, and we are about to hit the sack, watch Grey's Anatomy, ignore the debate. I hate those things. Like anyone ever tells the truth. Just took down the market umbrella and folded up the patio chairs for storage. Rain is coming. This is all very welcome and okay by me. My pedicure is worn pretty thin, as is my bank account, after spending megabucks getting this system all cleaned up and adding beaucoup RAM, so that it is now lightening fast and such a delight to work with after months of waiting, and waiting, and rebooting, and waiting, again. Full of crap from those pesky adware folks, and too weinie for the programs I loaded to try to block the flow. Now have state of the art anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-adware programs, and a regime to follow, and a tech-support guy to call when it gets gooey again, as it always does. At least I didn't have to buy a new computer. This always looks attractive, but it means finding all my software to load onto it, and hours of waiting for this poor limping system to download all my data files to disk. Going to do that soon, just in case. In fact, thinking of an exterior drive to keep all that stuff on, for the next big crash. Okay, all over the place here today. Must be the change of season.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I am writing, again. Which may surprise you as it appears to be what I do here. But this is different, it is fiction, it is from my imagination rather than my observation, and it is hard to do, most of the time. Except it isn't, this time. Strange, I admit. My Low Fat Fiction course has taken off and taken effect. How gratifying. My first three terribly short (300 words or less) stories got turned in last night, and I chose one to read aloud in class workshop, an autobiographical, sentimental piece (although they don't know that, and I will never tell) from my childhood. Now, my childhood was spent with people who had hair-trigger tempers and definite ideas about who I should be every moment of every day, so there was bound to be undercurrents of that angst, though I wrote the piece from the totally objective viewpoint, though in first person. Some of what I did was deliberate. Most just kind of flowed out. All but one sentence of the piece survived to the final draft, an expositional, and unnecessary sentence about childhood dreams unrealized and outgrown, a sentence that dragged the whole piece down with it. And they all got it! In fact, they got even more than I wrote, like the narrator would not do the same thing to her daughter as her mother had done to her, a totally true statement. And my teacher said "Wow"! How sweet is that! If you are wondering about the title of this entry, well, that's a thought for my next piece I am currently mulling in my seemingly fertile cerebral cortex. I actually got to that place I needed to visit to write, that "no mind" mind, where memories and observations live but do not reign. I can get there when I paint, for sure, and my work is best when I am not thinking about it. My writing is, too.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My, how she has grown! She is both tall and long, a regular pre-pubescent, lanky, needing-to-grow-into-herself gal. Suddenly, her bottom teeth show all the time, presumably because they are bigger than her mouth can accomodate at the moment. We are hoping that will change later, as she looks like a little thug a lot of the time. And look at those magnificent ears! Busy little thing, our Pickle. She love the backyard and happily patrols the fence line for any activity in the adjacent driveway, which she loudly protests, drawing Boo out to add to the chorus, and giving me lots of exercise chasing them both back inside several times a day. I hestitate to say it, because every time I do she proves me wrong, but I am hoping she is housebroken. Certainly, except for times she has gotten into the studio and peed on the plastic drop-cloth (which is why I hate piddle pads in the first place), she has dutifully taken her business outside. Energy, thy name is Pickle. She runs circles around Boo, then drops like a stone, and snores like a lumberjack. It is honestly alarming the amount of noise that can come from that little body. And her feet are still hella-huge, so it looks like there's a lot of growing to still do. Next Friday, she is off to the vet for her little operation. Perhaps that will slow her down, if only for a day or two. Oh, and did I mention, the other night she crawled up onto my chest as we lounged about the bed in our pre-bedtime lovefest, and spit out a tiny tooth. I almost feel obligated to get a baby book to commemorate it.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Here is the completed painting I started on that sultry Sunday just a couple of weeks ago. I changed the color of the plate from blue to white, and yellowed up the pears a little, gave it more value contrast, don't you think? What? The plate is wonky, you say? Hey, you want perfection, take a photograph. Painting is about my impression of the plate, the pears, the whole caboodle. I am happy with the finished work, I think. At least, I think it is finished. Always hard to tell, you know. Aiming for a body of work, suitably framed, to do a little exhibit here in town, send it up the flagpole, see if anyone salutes it. Would be nice to have some monetary appreciation for my art, whether it is weinie or not. Whatever it is, it is mine, all mine.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, I went to a play. This is a rare and wondrous event for the cow-waving woman, tied as I am to hearth and home with the Pickle baby. She is happy in her Pickle pen, and now can be left for around 4 hours without worry, so I journeyed out to Monte Rio for Art, a play originally written in French, translated and performed on Broadway, where it won a Tony. It was interesting on many levels. Only three actors, all men. The action centered around Serge buying a painting, a white painting with just a few diagonal, whiter stripes, and the ensuing opinions (or non-opinions) of his friends. This play was written by a woman, and all three men were somewhat effete, although all portrayed as heterosexual. Must be a French thing. I liked them. They were like my girlfriends. I especially liked the ditzy character who kept trying to conciliate, and wound up on the edge of a nervous breakdown. And all throughout the play, I kept thinking I knew one of the actors, but could not recall the circumstances of our acquaintance. It niggled at me and niggled at me. And last night, I opened the program and remembered. Aha! He modeled for my figure drawing class, and I have several drawings of him in my portfolio, naked. No wonder he was hard to place! I especially remembered that hip-cocked stance he affected many times during the play. He was like a little bird without his clothes, not many angles and kind of tubular, hard to draw. But he was also animated and sweet. And a fine actor, too, I found out.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I'm changing as fast as I can here, but it all seems to have out-distanced me, like, overnight. Fall has fallen. Gray mornings, nippy little wind in the afternoon. I turned the furnace on for a short while yesterday, only to switch it off when the internal (and infernal) heat system kicked in. Really tired of hot flashes. Ten years of these suckers. It's better than the beginning, when they were sweaty, red-faced, hair-frizzing blistering hot and happened every 20 minutes 24/7/365. Now I only get 4 or 5 a day, usually after drinking coffee (and no way is this cow-waving woman giving up caffeine, it's my absolute last addiction), but also in the doldrums of the day, the hours between 3 and 5 PM. Anyway, I am not ready for fall here. I still have the remains of my last pedicure to show off in sandals. My drawers are full of tank tops and capris. The long sleeved articles are still in their storage boxes in the back closet. And you know, I just hate dressing for the wrong season. Okay, all this is so not important, which should tell you that my problems truly are in pole-vaulting-over-mouse-turds status. It is hard to dredge up something to worry about. Hope I am up to the challenge, because I worry about having nothing to worry about.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Ah, the Republicans must be scared out of their tiny minds to put Sarah Palin on the ticket with Mr. Whitest Man on Earth. I must admit, I thought it a rather sneaky thing to do, since I was a Hilary person, and felt the tug immediately. And then I got to know and loathe this woman. I have known women like her in my lives, both before and after sobriety. They pant for power, but not the inherent, subtle, humane feminine power our sex is given divinely, but the big, controlling, my-way-or-the-highway power of men like, well, John McCain, who knows the only way to do everything (and he is not sharing that with us, just yet, you may have noticed). It isn't inexperience that terrifies me. It is ayatollah-like fundamentalism, the regimentation of all women into her particular and very rigid way of thinking. Someone should tell her that rigidity is dangerous, you can become brittle, and break easily. Flexibility comes with open-mindedness, adn the ability to see that not everyone has the same reality as I do, and even if I don't like that reality, I can accept and honor that they are as entitled to their way of thinking as I am. The Republican Party lost me when they began touting "family values". I want the government out of my hearth and home. The government's job is to keep that home safe from invasion, keep the street lights on, and the school's open. Period.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Someone stole my garbage can. It sat at the psuedo-curb (our unincorporated pocket surrounded by city has no amenities, like curbs) an extra day because of the holiday on our usual pick-up day last week, but, hell, it has done that on many an occasion. And I really didn't miss it till Friday, as, being a solo garbage maker, it takes a while to accumulate a bag of that stuff, and the fact that it was no longer at the psuedo-curb just meant that I had forgotten I had already put it back by the side of the house, but, gee, it had evaporated. I made a mental note to call the Garbage Company, then promptly forgot, till Monday morning, when the three trucks were grinding loudly by, twice each. Garbage day is almost as noisy as leaf-blowing days, you know. And when I called, the young man who assisted me was pretty rude. They could charge me $75, you know, but out of the kindness of their hearts, they brought me a new can at no charge. Well, how very KIND of them, considering anyone could steal my can at any time, from the side of the house, out front, and it's not like I can go anywhere else for this service, as they are THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN. A friend noted that I could bag everything up and make a monthly trip to the dump, only 10 miles away, and for $12, dump everything. Not a bad idea, actually, but I would need to also visit the recycling center to continue my quest to be greener this year. Thinking about it. And then, our fickle weather went from tongue-drooping, armpit-dripping hot to gray skies, and even a little (gasp) rain, so that when the dogs went out for their unsupervised morning constitutional (while I snoozed in a little), they trailed mud in with them when they returned, all over everything, including the pillows I throw down by my side of the bed so that Pickle will bounce when I kick her off the bed in the middle of the night for fidgeting. Loads of laundry, mopping, and vacuuming followed. Gee, rudeness is exhausting. And did I mention that my new garbage can seems to have shrunk? That means I had the wrong sized one before, or they think I don't deserve a nice commodious one after being so wanton with the last one. Sigh.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Another one, my sunflower retrospective, which will have to hurry up and get done before the flowers wilt. This is just roughed in, if you were wondering. Actually, I kind of like its esquise feel, but I know that in the end, I will doubt that anyone else will like it. So I plan on punching it up today, a good time to do that as it is gray and drizzly outside, so a day slapping paint in the studio sounds lovely. This is an activity that takes me so far away, the time just buzzes by, meals get forgotten (and that's HUGE, believe me), and I just tuck my tongue in my cheek and turn off all that chatter that normally plays on KCWMfm, 64.1 on my cerebral radio dial. Many moons ago I read The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav, a physicist turned metaphysicist, who spoke of emotions like they were wavelengths. Fear, hate, anger, etc., all resonate on the lower bands of the spectrum, whereas love, compassion, joy, etc., are higher frequency emotions, and really set things to humming. I feel like I am there when I paint, in that place of joy. And I think I am finding my muse, the one my painter friend said would come if I just kept playing with it. Pushing paint around on canvas, what an interesting way to play!
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Here is how I spent my afternoon. All us artists paint sunflowers, you know. Me, and Vincent Van Gogh, and Egon Schieler, and Gustav Klimpt, among others.
And pears, well they are just so sumptuous and wonderful to paint, with their full figure and sensuous curves. My, I had a hell of a lot of fun, inspired by my stunning success yesterday, and by the amazing paintings of Dana Hooper. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Now to order frames and get a gallery to represent me, and paint a whole big retrospective of works, and, well, just keep going. All I know is that, when I am painting, I am in some other world where things are softer and much more fun than here and now. What can I say, it's a form of meditation, one with a more tangible reward than just peace of mind, yes?
This is an image of an en plein air painting done at the end of last semester, on campus. We didn't have a cafeteria all last school year, they tore it down, and are in progress of erecting a regular Taj Mahal of a new one, so we were relegated to these umbrella tables or inside a nifty tentlike igloo, which always smelled really strange, like wet sidewalk and plastic bottles. Fortunate that we have really fair weather 90% of the time (or not, if you are watching the water table). My teacher was impressed that I chose such an intricate scene, but I feel ready for anything these days. Excited, can you tell? Still searching for my vision, indeed. And my mentor, Mylette Welch, displayed yesterday at the auction, too. Mylette does whimsical portraits of dogs, big, slap-happy, tongue-wagging dogs. I hope someday to own one of her paintings, and a house with lots of walls to display it. Ah, life is so very interesting sometimes. And, about those cupcakes, the artist's name is Dana Hooper, and her work is phenomenal, see her at www.danahooper.com.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Just back from the Art for Life auction, where, guess who sold a painting! Of course, it didn't get a bid until just before the bidding closed, and I was reconciled to taking it home, and being satisfied that I had the courage to TRY, which took some hutzpah, let me tell you. There were droves of fancy-schmancy people at this event, some of them rich, some of them polished, some of them veteran artists who could paint a picture of cupcakes, 6"x6", and sell it for $1,050 (this actually happened, and they were very artistically rendered cupcakes, but jeez Louise, that's a lot of $$$ for a tiny painting, and all because this artist had a NAME, which I can't get if I just hang my art on MY walls, right?) Anyway, my dear friend who supported me through the afternoon had just had a birthday, so I took her to dinner at Cricklewood, a favorite eatery here in the county, and the place to go for prime rib, which was butter soft and beyond sublime, and it was, all in all, a day of triumph for the cow-waving, newly validated, woman. Exhausted now, ready to strip to shorts and tank and lay around in the waning, very hot day, and digest that lovely dinner, and savor this moment in time, when I can truly say, I am an ARTIST.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Here is a quick little self-portrait I did in a jiffy, since it was due on Monday and I was away all weekend, and had only Sunday night to diddle it up. Yep, that's the cow-waving woman, and her little dog, too. My daughter says I look like Harry Potter. Oh, well. It was shortly after I went short, hair-wise, and I am wearing my Salvation Army collarless shirt I use for painting, hoping to spare (yet another) pair of pants a sprinkling of indelible oil paint. This was not my first foray into self-portraiture. I did one my first semester in painting that was honored by being displayed in the student art show. It was criticized for various reasons, like I didn't smile, I left out my eyelashes (well, looking over my glasses in the mirror, I couldn't see them), etc., so I remedied all that in this portrait. It was done at night, and I like the effect of the lighting a lot. Yes, it looks like me. Funnily enough, this is an easy and fun thing for me to do. I got into the zone and just slapped away for about an hour and a half, and VOILA! C'est moi! My teacher asked how I got Boo to pose, and I had to admit he was sleeping at my feet as I painted. I used a prior photograph. And as to how he is suspended there, just imagine my arm around his middle, below the picture plane. I like to think this painting was divinely inspired. Well, I like to think we are ALL divinely inspired. So, there.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
So, today, I, little old artist, me, took my painting in to be hung in the Art for Life silent auction to be held on Saturday. Now, I had to have it juried in, and they accepted it, so it can't really be crap, can it? I just know that hanging my art up for the Big Bad World to see is like stripping naked in front of everyone and handing them rotten fruit to throw at me. I plan on attending the artists' reception Friday evening, and ask some of these "artists" to tell me how long they had to say they were an "artist" before they felt like they were'nt fibbing. Or maybe I should just brave my way through, and pretend, like everyone else, that I know what I am doing. And, please, SOMEBODY, buy my weinie painting. VALIDATE ME! If someone who is not related to me would just spend a little $$$ on my art, well, how sweet would that be. Oh, it's called "Black, No Sugar". How droll am I?
Sunday, August 31, 2008
My movie buddie and I did breakfast and a movie yesterday, because her movie of choice was in its last few showings at our local Smart People's Movie Theatre. Now, I love my friend, and because she still works (AWWWW) and is not always available, I am willing to cut her some slack about choosing the movies we see. This one was Brideshead Revisited, which was once a favorite PBS miniseries of mine, starring a very young and callow Jeremy Irons, as well as notables such as Claire Bloom, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, etc. I was interested to know how they were going to squeeze all that material that generated a six episode series into a two hour movie. Also, I wondered if the original tone of the piece would emerge, as the previews I had seen seemed to tout it as a love story. I must admit, I was impressed. It was one of those lovely Ivory-Merchant clones, with incredible cinematography, loving attention to costume and set decoration. The Jeremy Irons clone who played Charles Ryder was admirable (and had the most sensual mouth I have seen for many a moon), Emma Thompson played Lady Marchmaine with considerable restraint and Michael Gambon was dear as the old lecherous Lord Marchmaine. I did think that Sebastian was a little too gay, and terribly frail looking. But best of all, the original thrust of the Evelyn Waugh novel, the diatribe against the Catholic Church, remained, and seemed even more evident in this condensed version. I give it four and a half out of five stars, only because of the blatancy of the homosexual element, which was handled ever so much more delicately 25 years ago. I don't know if we have evolved, or just become more dense in the eyes of movie producers. It was, above all, an entertaining morning at the movices.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Does anyone else have this problem? I have ITunes (and an IPod, I love that little gizmo), and the other day, I noticed that my playlist had reversed itself. It began in reverse alphabetical order, and the tracks played from last to first. How did that happen? Honestly, give me a mouse and I will screw up any program. Well, this just would not do. I have SYMPHONIES here. They are meant to be played in ORDER. So I went to Help. This facetiously named program is anything but. In the index, I looked up tracks, and found that I can shuffle them around manually, like I do when creating a playlist to burn a CD, but I didn't think that would work for 36.5 days of music (and that's only a 6th of the GBs my little IPod holds, how sweet it that). And I could sort by artist (first or last name), genre, play time, gee, anything but alphabetical or numerical number! Then I went over all the little icons around the page, because they all do something and chances are that is how I got into this mess, by clicking when I shouldn't have. Then I scrolled down every menu item on the title bar. Nada! Eventually, in some obscure place, maybe under "order" in the Help Index, I saw that one can click on the column head, and VOILA!, it is all back in the right order. Which taught me that I cannot play Freecell on top of the ITunes page anymore. And I hope it never happens again, because, chances are, by then, I will have forgotten how I fixed it in the first place.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
All by herself! They really mean "smart puppy" when they print it on the puppy chow bag! Anyway, here's Pickle's game. We have a couple of stuffed balls, about the size of grapefruit. They are fleecy and squeezy and have a squeaker in them, too. Little Pickle can pick up these balls and carry them around in her mouth, which is a sight to die laughing over, let me tell you. Well, one day as I sat here at my computer, she brought me the ball and offered it to me. When I tried to get it, she played keep-away, and when I did manage to grasp it, we played tug-of-war. But the best came when I got it, and threw it, and we played fetch! And she taught me this game. Now we play it ALL THE TIME, until, like now, she drops like a stone. Now we play it with any stuffed object, like the squirrel that now looks like road-kill. Once in a while, Boo plays spoiler, and takes the ball over to his corner and chews on it till he gets tired and ambles away again. And once in a great while, he plays with us. Ah, life is sweet in the Little Yellow House. Simple, but sweet. The true secret to happiness is not to want too much. I seem to have learned this lesson. Now, to not forget it too soon. That's all I ask.
Friday, August 15, 2008
It is definitely true that the more time one has, the less one gets done, though I do have a baby here, a dog baby, but a baby nevertheless, and she consumes a whole big block of time everyday, being escorted every hour or so to the piddlepoo spot outside, continual removing of tiny objects like scraps of foil from her mouth, and refilling her puppychow bowl. And I water the psuedo-lawns and vegetable containers regularly. Daily, I sweep feathers and birdseed from the counter around the birds and lay new papers for their perusal. Most days, I light out for a meeting, getting all spiritual and recovered in the process, unless, like last night, I make the unfortunate decision to take Pickle with me, resulting in a total lack of serenity since she morphed into a Tasmanian devil on cocaine. In self defense, I signed up for a short writing course, of short stories, of course, at the Junior College, LowFat Fiction, and began a watercolor class at the (gulp) Senior Center. All the little ladies were very solicitous, and I made a really weinie painting in just over an hour, experimenting as I went along, the hustling home to the baby in the Pickle pen. All is well in the Little Yellow House, where life is slooooow and picayune. Just right, in my opinion, which is the only one that counts here, anyway.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Perhaps I have mentioned that I now own a pedometer. Actually, it is the second pedometer I have owned - the first one had a puny clip and I managed to lose it within 24 hours of its purchase. Nevertheless, I was adamant that I was going to start a walking regime, and it was meaningless without this little gizmo. So far, I hoofed it over to Safeway, green shopping bag in hand, and back again, a little over 3 miles. Then the dogs and I walked to the bank, 2.75 miles, with only a couple of Boo poo stops, and a short chat with the mail lady, who pulled over to ask about Pickle. (Imagine that! Pickle stopped traffic! And sweet dog person that she was, she paused a moment to admire the Boo, too.) And yesterday I walked to my Third Step Meeting, something I have always meant to do but never seemed up to. That was 4 miles, round trip. I am not counting Tuesday at the County Fair (itr was free day for seniors), where I was on my feet for 5 straight hours, perusing the flowers, the schlocky booths selling cooking utensils, sewing machines, massaging recliners, and various other invaluable items, the amateur artwork, the cows, sheep, goats and Budwiser Clydesdales. I saved a lot of $$$ on gas this week, to say nothing of my little corner of the environment. And I am getting in shape, again. Maybe the trick is to stay in shape in the first place? You think?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Well, little Pickle is going to be big Pickle. Though the breed standard is 12 lbs for bitches, she is 3 months old, and already 6 lbs. Pekingesus Giganticus. Here she is wearing her "I-didn't-do-nothing" look. She still cannot get up onto the bed or the couch by herself, so Boo is safe when there. Otherwise, he is fair game, and she trots along beside him like a barnacle on a whale, except when on a lead, when she drags way behind both of us. Well, she just went on her first walk in the neighborhood today, as we just finished puppy shots on Monday, and all those big vehicles and especially all that noise had her pretty scared. She loves her rawhide bones, and rocks and woodchips and straws. Luckily, she does not object to her Pickle pen. Just give her a milkbone and she is ecstatic, and will stay there happily till I return. And she is pretty good in the Pickle box in the car, too. Of course, she is a show-stopper wherever I take her, cute and frisky and ready to be adored by the world. Sometimes at home, she is not all that adorable, like when I found her secret piddleplace just when I thought she was on track to be housebroken. I am smarter than she is, though. I put a piddlepad there, and am slowly moving it closer and closer to the door. And we are all sleeping until 7:30 or 8 AM, thank you, Pickle. It only took 5 weeks to get her on California time. She is, all in all, a dandy little dog.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
In keeping with the ongoing theme of my life, which is that even though I plan and scheme, nothing goes as I think it should, the Pickle is performing admirably well. We are hip deep in dog toys around here: rubber squeaky ones, stuffed squeaky ones, balls, hard rubber knobby ones, twisty rope ties, rawhide bones, you name it, we got it. Yet Pickle finds anything left on the floor: pieces of straw from the broom, kleenex (the worst, all over the rug yesterday), a sock that found its way to our backyard (hey, not mine, really), cotton balls, even balls of Boo fur, and turns up with them in her mouth. I bought her a cute little pink bed to sleep in. It has moved from the bed to the floor beside the bed, as Pickle cannot go through the night without a pee break (sort of like me, actually), and we had a couple of accidents necessitating mucho laundry. Think she sleeps in it? Oh, nonono. I found her curled up on my cotton pj bottoms yesterday morning. I was kind of flattered, actually.
And one of the main reasons I got Pickle was to get Boo off his little Boo butt. She works on this a lot, now that his proximity alarm has been dialed down. Now she can jump all over him while he stands there in the shreds of his dignity. But let him try to play with her and she hides under a chair. This morning, they actually had about five minutes of interplay, all Boo's idea. I sat here enthralled at the vivacity. It was over before I knew it, and worth all the laundry, lost sleep, and, oh God, expense.
And one of the main reasons I got Pickle was to get Boo off his little Boo butt. She works on this a lot, now that his proximity alarm has been dialed down. Now she can jump all over him while he stands there in the shreds of his dignity. But let him try to play with her and she hides under a chair. This morning, they actually had about five minutes of interplay, all Boo's idea. I sat here enthralled at the vivacity. It was over before I knew it, and worth all the laundry, lost sleep, and, oh God, expense.
Monday, July 07, 2008
I lost my wallet. Again. Seems this is doomed to happen at least once a year. That's okay. I know the drill. Go to bank, cancel VISA check card, and cash a check large enough to cover necessities for 7 to 10 business days till card comes. Call Discover Card, cancel that (they kindly overnighted me a new cardat no charge, that' how well they know me) Drive, very carefully, to DMV, fill out 7 part form, sit 45 minutes clutching little slip with call number on it, pay $22, get a sheaf of papers without a picture (no good to write a check). Good news is that last of cards arrived Saturday. After I stop by the bank this morning to establish a PIN, I can hit AAA for a new key card (handy when I lock myself out of the car, another of my favorite passtimes), and go to Costco and get a new card there. I know that drill well, too. I have lost my Costco card, all by itself, more times than I can recall. It always surprises me that whoever found my wallet (and I know someone did) didn't just keep the cash (about $23) and return the rest to me. How hard would that be? No one ever has. I guess the lesson for me is that, if I find your wallet, you can be assured you would get it back, even the cash. I would call you immediately to tell you I have it. Meanwhile, I am using the old one with the shoulder strap, so that it is securely tied to my body wherever I go. I cannot lay it down on the counter at Staples and forget it there. Or drop it somewhere in the ensuing 30 foot walk to the car. Sigh.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Oh, dear. We Northern Californians have not seen blue sky for a week now. Our fifth season started early this year, fire season. Perhaps you have heard about this, like eight hundred or so fires burning in our state. It wasn't the Gold Rush that gave California its nickname, the Golden State, you know. It was the plethora of sunlit, golden hills. Dry grass, everywhere. Tinder dry. And if Man was not stupid enough to start fires with his campsites and cigarettes, then God steps in with dry lightening. Brown skies are awful. Depressing, yes, but unhealthy as hell, too. My canary and parakeet are doing well, glad to say. But I am not. Sore throat, flaming sinuses, and viscious headache, too. So, I do what I do when it is hot. I go the movies. The air there is cool, and smoke-free, too. Yesterday, I saw Wall-E, which funnily enough is about an earth so polluted, the population has fled to space. Really wonderful film, by the way. I am so grateful that I am no longer self-conscious about going to Disney films, without a kid in tow. I am a kid, underneath it all. And I felt better when I left, too. Refreshed. On the way home, I caught a glimpse of blue through the sunroof. And later, taking the Pickle out for her last potty stop of the day, there was a definite hole in the dirty stuff, hazy blue with a sprinkling of cottony white clouds. Never been so happy to see blue sky before. Our marine layer is back this morning, and it is looking gray, like maybe there is blue in our future when it burns off. Yay.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The $$$ from Geo. W. came yesterday. I am suitably stimulated. So far, I have been to Petco for a Pickle carrier, handy-dandy foldable washable airline-appoved zipup bag for the little one in the car. Yay. Also Bitter Apple to spray in places where she should not be chewing, so I can relax a little. Then to Best Buy for a couple of cherished CDs. And this PM, a trip to Safeway for my favorite new ice cream, Cinnamon Caramel Cashew, which somehow disappeared awfully fast. Is anyone else uber-irritated at that thing the checker does, read your name off the receipt and thank you using your last name? Does that mean there is a Safeway supermarket secret police force that knows everything I buy there? Are they watching my ice cream consumption? Do they know I am addicted to Cool Whip? Oh, God! I'm so embarassed here!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I harvested the first zucchini from my little veggie garden in the back yard yesterday, chopped it up, sauted it with garlic and herbs, tossed in some seafood medley (calamari, shrimp and scallops) and some pasta, dredged it with parmesan, and voila, le diner! I don't know about you, but this was something of a miracle here in the little yellow house. I have never grown anything, much less something edible, that I actually ate. And, as we speak, there are a couple of dozen tomatoes on my six little plants, so many that I had to prop them all up. Happily, everything is still alive and kicking, and getting ready to give me a happy, healthy summer of organic veggies, still warm from the sun. How sweet is that!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
When I moved in from the house on the edge of the world, I got this dandy deal from the cable company because I was a "dish conversion". Then the introductory period ended, and the bill went through the roof. So I went back to the dish, a different provider. School heated up, I got really busy, and the lousy service just got tolerated. Once in a while I would throw something at the TV, like in the mornings when an episode of ER would suddenly morph into Spongebob Squarepants, or the company logo would pop on and float around the screen like some neglected jetsom. Taping became a real challenge, too, as I often got an hour of that self-same logo instead of the desired program, until I realized I had to set the dish as well as the VCR. So it was a priority to get a different service once I finished all that academic stuff. And I did. And I hated it. The cable company service was more expensive than the dish for less channels. And they had the balls to charge me an installation fee, without mentioning it. Their onscreen guide sucked, too. Now, I am housebound for the moment, with the baby Pickle (I know she's a dog, but she's still a baby, too), and I need my entertainment! So, I am back with the dish, a different provider. In fact, the same one I had at the coast, where there is no cable. And it has improved substantially. The remote is a thing of beauty, it even turns both TVs on and off, a feat not possible to date. And, I got DVR! Wow, that's slick. I've already set it to record my soap everyday, and some movies on the premium channels I got, free for the first three months, and some programs coming on in the middle of the night, like episodes of Sex and the City that are so hard to find in the schedule. Just love this! Ain't technology grand? Hopefully, this is it for a while. Only end left dangling is that the installer guy took the business unit out of the dish that was up there, and I need to return it to my former provider. Spent a few hours today trying to get them on the phone, then finally e-mailed them. That is why I kept that lousy, overpriced, glitchy system for so long in the first place.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I got all excited by this envelope in today's mail marked "Stimulus Payment". Finally! I thought they had forgotten me (this is not unusual, I always think that). And it was a notice from the Feds telling me how much my "Stimulus Payment" will be. Like I couldn't figure that out from the CHECK. Really, guys. How many trees died so you can send out these cheesy notices. Just send me the CHECK. And for the record, I already knew how much mine would be, I looked it up online. I already spent it. I really need that CHECK. Yesterday.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The Boo is mighty unhappy. He had his teeth cleaned, toenails clipped, and ears probed yesterday, a full day at the vet's. Now he is expressing his dismay, as Sunny, the canary, sings away in the kitchen, and Pickle rolls around on the floor with a stuffed ball about as big as she is. Surreal, that's what it is. Given my druthers, I would go back to bed. Alas, not to happen anytime soon. So, some work (laundry, dishes, dusting), some play (a mystery novel, a walk), some love, even from taciturn Boo. A cup of coffee helps. And at least an hour will be devoted to reading my new writing book, and perhaps a sojourn into one of my burgeoning novels. Fear of mediocrity, get thee behind me!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I keep telling him I only got the Pickle because I love him so much. Boo is not buying it, as you can see. He is very eloquent in his disdain, turning away and strolling off like royalty amongst the rabble whenever that annoying little furball comes near, wagging her tail at him. On top of the bed, on the couch, and on a kitchen chair are his only bastians of solitude, since Pickle is clueless of his dislike, and just keeps trying to engage him in her play. I play with both of them at the same time. That is probably why I have two hands. The day may come when they will play together. Or, this may just be a distant and unreasonable goal. I seem to be burning a few calories here in the process, never a bad thing. Nevertheless, Boo's proximity alarm seems to be lessening in distance, and it has only been six days. Stranger things have happened.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Well, it is as if she always lived with us, the Pickle. It is like having a baby. You think you are getting your little one on a schedule, but, in reality, they are regimenting you. Sleep was a little tricky in the beginning. Pickle sleeps beside me on the bed. Boo sleeps on the same side, at the foot. Pillows separate them. This works fine, I found out. Since she is still on Missouri time, we get up really EARLY, like 4 AM the first night. I prevailed in getting her to sleep in till 5. Yay, me. Today, we got to sleep in till 6, and I was soooooo grateful. Of course, I turned off the lights last night at 9:30. Sigh. Well, that's what VCRs are for, right? Meanwhile, the Pickle can go outside by herself, and today, she learned to come back in, too! That doesn't mean she is housebroken, though. She still needs reminding. My days are about evenly divided between amusing her, looking for her, or fitting in some time for myself during her many naptimes. Dear daughter says she looks like Gizmo, from Gremlins. Well, yeah. Blessings come in small packages, full of spirit, joy, and love.
Friday, June 06, 2008
We had a hilarious trip to the airport yesterday afternoon, my friend Gina and I, the Pickle pickup party. We left earlier than I meant to, because suddenly got worried that her flight was coming in at 5:33 PM St. Louis time, which meant two hours earlier. Not to worry, the time we had was right, as I found when I remembered I could just look it up online. Nevertheless, it was good that we were early, as we had to find out where to get her, which meant Gina had to bounce into the Continental terminal while I hovered outside in the car at the curb, until the little policeman in the tiny golf cart honked at me, and I had do the terminal circle, again. We parked at the wrong garage, and took the Airtrain around to our terminal. We were supposed to be on the red train, but got onto the blue instead, and had to double back. None of this phased us. We were in hysterics most of the afternoon. Pickle's flight was six minutes late, and then, suddenly, there she was. She was a mighty happy little puppy, not at all frazzled from her eight hours in the crate. She had food and water and comfy papers to cushion her. We took her in the crate back to our car, then got her out, with some ingenuity as she was sealed in with plastic ties and we had no scissors. I just took the top of the crate off and lifted her out. Cute doesn't begin to describe this pup. She is happy and sweet and licky and bouncy. We stopped at In 'n Out Burger on the way home, she had some water, but didn't piddle till we got home, on her piddle pad before we took her inside. She slept next to me all night, with just a couple possible piddle runs. And we all got up, Boo, Pickle, and I, at 7 AM to begin our new life together. So far, she has negotiated the few stairs we have, actually used the dog door once, and jumped off the couch. She is at the moment taking her fourth nap of the day. We saw the vet this afternoon, and she is perfect. So I got exactly what I wanted, and what a blessing she is. My mother said why get one so far away, why get a fuzzy one, she's too expensive, blah, blah, blah. Oh, go rain on someone else's parade. Mine is perking along just fine.