"We Three"

"We Three"

Friday, December 31, 2010

International me...

I love ITunes radio. I can stream it here on Big Bad Mama, my Dell Dimension dinosaur that runs on Windows XP Professional, and has speakers that can be heard for miles. Usually, I tune in to one of the soundtrack stations on the classical menu, but my mouse slipped a cog the other day and instead of Radio IO, I got RMF Classic. Moosica Classeek. I knew this language was not of the Latin variety, or Russian, or Germanic for that matter. And I kept listening. Usually, when talking is necessary on Radio IO, I get all annoyed. But on RMF Classic, I can't tell what they are saying, and the speech is so melodic, rising and falling as it does, and I know they are trying to tell me something, so I just listen to see if I can recognize any words. French seems to find its way in, as does English. The music is a delightful eclectic mix of classical, soundtracks, American easy listening, really quirky tunes from the other side of the world, and some French goodies, like Edith Piaf singing Rien de Rien, or an Ives Montand ballad. Yesterday, I slapped my forehead in a real DUH moment, and Googled them. I am listening to music from Poland. That took some discernment, actually. Not only is Polish a different language, they use a different alphabet. Then I saw this little button that said Translate this page. And it was from Polish to English. Wow. So, I pushed the Like button to become one of 2,604 fans. Just love that Internet. I learn something new every day. Oh, and today's image is really old painting, in its raw beginning. It has been through many morphs, changing because my mentor did not like it, and has never been finished. Actually, it never looked as good as it did at this stage again. 2011 may find it completed. That would be nice.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Sooooo glad those holidaze are almost history, and cowwoman can get back to dabbing at a canvas with paint, or smearing pastels, or just sharpening a pencil. Too long, no art. It really is an integral part of my psyche now, to create something, anything. Also need a sewing machine expert to come over and instruct me in the intricasies of this very wonderful and complicated machine I have owned for over two years, and now need to know how to use! Help! As this year ends (and lordy, let it be over!), I am reviewing my tiny life, looking in the dark corners where things like dog hair and crumbs tend to lodge, sweeping up, so to speak. I started a 4th step around my mother (again!), because she managed to push the button (again!), you know, the one she installed back in the beginning, when dirt was new. I have been stomping around the little yellow house, yelling at her, telling her off. Of course I would never do that up close and personal. It would hurt me more than it hurt her. But I do know that this anger lives in my body, and unless I get it out, no amount of writing or discerning or pissing and moaning will break it loose. I know it's the right thing because it feels great. And the really fine thing about the 4th step is, that once all the vitriol is out there on the paper, I get to do the real work of seeing MY PART. After all, can't change the old witch of the west. Can only change the old lady here, on Wild Rose Drive. Then I can paint some more cows.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Democracy in action...

Most Americans think we live in a democracy. We don't. Our government is a republic. That is what a college education gave me, discernment. The power lies in the elected officials, who may or may not represent their constituent's wishes. Of course, the electorate can always change their representation, but in the end, the power is still in their hands. Now, AA, that's a horse of a different color. I was elected to be the Intergroup representative for my home meeting. That means I carry my group's conscience to the monthly meeting of Intergroup, a service committee that produces the meeting schedules, runs the bookstore, integrates teleservice for those seeking AA meetings, and produces activities for the county as a whole, like annual picnics, New Year's Eve dances, and the Alkathons, marathon meetings that meet around the clock on major holidaze to give us all a refuge from families and support to not drink. Now, this is a pretty political arm of the program, and I am basically apolitical in nature. But even I have to admit, it was a thing of beauty last night. We had a motion on the floor, to remove the rather pricey ad we run in our local paper, as an economy measure. Most of the reps had taken the issue to their respective groups and gotten the majority opinion. So, first we all stood at the microphone and our individual group's wishes were read into the record. Then, we voted on whether to vote on the issue. Yes, we wanted to do that. Then we voted to see if we wanted a simple majority or a 2/3 majority. That vote tied, 34 to 34, so the chair had the deciding vote. Politician that he was, he decided to do an eeny-meeny-miney-mo thing, and pull it out of the hat, thoughtfully provided by the treasurer. When he selected the 2/3 , I thought we would never be able to pass the issue, but pass it did, with more than 3/4 deciding to drop the ad. You would think this would be an easy decision, but AA's primary purpose is to help the alcoholic still suffering, and many felt we should keep reaching out. However, in the end, most of us felt that our hotline number in the phone book, our Public Information Committee's work, providing literature and schedules in our libraries, schools, etc., were enough for now. After all, we have a strict policy of attraction, not promotion. This is mainly because recovery only works for those who want it. Many who need it cannot recover for lack of desire. Personally, I think those who want us will find us even if we went underground. Actually, that is where we are, anyway. Kind of like an operating system, running in the background. You only interact with it in dire emergencies. And that is how most of us came to be in Program, anyway, bleeding and on fire. Hey, whatever works. And true democracy lives, quietly, with a lot of thought and discussion.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fast away the old year passes...

And how happy is the cowwoman to see this year slip away? HELLA-HAPPY! Okay, it is just another day in the life of, but there is something wonderfully symbolic about the turning of the year. I mean, I had to buy a new calendar! I don't think it is silly, not at all, to pretend everything can be new again. The year in review is a trail of tears, literally, what with the eye surgery and its subsequent recovery process, and the many, many, many funerals that followed. And it was a triumphant year, where cowwoman saw her artwork grace the tickets to Art for Life, sold three paintings, and, best of all, gained a new son with the announcement of my daughter's impending nuptials. So, great, bursting heights, and crushing, dark depths. I would love to get off that rollercoaster in 2011, just ride the carousel, and maybe the Ferris wheel, for excitement.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

This I know is true...

Good friends are ever so much more valuable than pissy family members. So, my Christmas with the women who are trudging the happy road of destiny with me was precious. It started at my home group meeting, where I stood in for the secretary, who had family obligations (probably much more pleasant ones than mine). My extraordinary sponsor chaired. Then we mosied over to the alkathon, for most of a meeting and some really sweet stuff, like pecan pie and apple strudel, before hitting the 1:30 matinee of "The King's Speech" at, TADA, the smart people's movies, which opened again just lately. New owner, but he has kept it an art house, and installed really comfy seats to boot. Dynamite film, with moving and incredible performances, oscar-worthy, for sure. Then a nosh at our favorite coffee shop that stays open for folks like us, poor orphaned gals that we are. We had a swell time, stayed sober through another #$&(# Christmas, and tomorrow, I will have 21 years sober, and a delightful day with my kids, who are the best family ever, and now, I have three, because one will soon be my son-in-law, how sweet is that! Many blessings to count as this danged year closes. It was a doozy. Hoping next year brings less drama. That alone would be super.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The dark sacred night...

It is winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. In my neighborhood, the sun made a valiant effort for a few moments this afternoon before surrendering to storm clouds that have now piled up again, and it is ready to rain. The big puddle across the street is at tidal status, ebbing and flowing with the pass of the moon, it is so deep already. I like the idea of the sacredness of this time, a time to go inward, examine the so-far-unexamined, take stock of the virtues and character defects, and get rid of the stale-dated behaviors that no longer serve the common good. Letting go of judgment myself, knowing that I do not ever know what goes on between the ears of another human being. I can only suppose it is the same as what goes on between mine, and that has never been true. Just doing my best to be the person my dogs think I am. I came home this afternoon after a short shopping trip, and found both poochies all wriggly and filled with delight to see me. Just love being loved like that. Now trying to spread that in the world, too, even to people who seem to not love me. After all, one should never wrestle with pigs; you get all dirty, and you piss the pigs off, too. So if someone is doing me dirt, I just let it lie there between us, and continue to believe it was an accident, after all. My job is to BE the person I want others to be. Big job, that.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy hands at home...

I had thought my days of entertaining were behind me. After all, the little yellow house is, well, little. And then my folks got too frail to do their annual pre-Christmas get-together, so I decided I could do it, yes I could. And I did, yesterday. We all fit quite well, with a little ingenuity and shuffling of furniture. It was a fine time. Except ( and isn't there always an EXCEPT), Mother did not attend. She was feeling dizzy. Dad made it, along with baby brothers, who are now 63 and 61, my adopted brother (from long association and much affection), little kiddo and her fiance. Food was scrumptious. Well, God cooked it. I was not really in charge. Worked hard to be laid back and not expect perfection. That didn't work all the time, but it was helpful. I decided Mom was really not well, and wasn't doing this to get back at me for times I was unable to attend family gatherings, called to see how she was doing later in the day, and sent her a plate of food. What goes on with her is so foreign to me, I would not even start to figure it out. Just know that because she is who she is, I am who I am. Polar opposite.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Deathly Hallows, indeed...

Still warm and fuzzy after a day in the big City with youngest kiddo and her dear intended. It is kind of a tradition to do Harry Potter movies together. So I plyed the 101 corridor for a breezy hour to get to San Francisco. There are several towns lining the freeway. Rohnert Park grew there during my lifetime, a non-city that serves as a bedroom community for Santa Rosa, Marin, and San Francisco, with sections sensibly named A Section, B Section, etc. Kind of simple-minded, actually. Cotati was a tiny blip on radar, and now hosts the International Accordian Festival, a gala event I have so far managed to avoid. Petaluma was once the egg basket of Northern California. There are still chicken ranches sprinkled here and there, but it, too, has morphed into creeping suburbia. Over the Cotati grade, one dips down into Marin County, and I waved at the herd of dairy cows lounging after their morning milking, waiting for the farmer to open the gate that allows them to sojourn under the freeway to pastures on the east side of the road. Novato is Marin's poor relative, sprawling in mostly flatlands. It does have the famous rotating house, which I noticed had a new blue and white checked paintjob. White egrets stand by the freeway there and watch you pass by with their own brand of elegant disdain. San Rafael is old growth Marin, it even has one of Junipero Serra's missions beautifully preserved off its main drag. Houses perch on the hills in overgrown trees. Mount Tamalpais was almost invisible in the fog. It is Marin's token dormant volcano, and on a clear day, one can see across the Bay to Mount Diablo, the east bay's equivalent. After the climb up past Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin Civic Center, through San Rafael's auto row and up over the next hill, one enters Marin Proper, the artsy fartsy Marin one thinks of immediately when the name comes up. However, if one were to look over one's shoulder, there is San Quentin, sitting on primo real estate beside the Bay, near the entrance to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, always a sobering sight. Corte Madera morphs into Mill Valley, bastion of the more laid back folks, and then there is Tiburon, with Belvedere Island attached, where the really rich folks hang out. Sausalito sports rows of funky houseboats strung together like Christmas lights, each more outrageously ingenius than the last. And then the ride gets exciting, climbing up the back of the Waldo Grade, where there is no civilization other than highway signs and lamp posts, huge eucalyptus and cypress and pine trees on the steep slopes of the hills, winding up to the tunnel. And one emerges to the Golden Gate Bridge, with the City spread out across the mouth of the Bay, all sparkly even in the mist. It never fails to take my breath away, even as I scramble to remember where in the car is my purse, and do I have $6 cash for the toll booth waiting on the other side. Even the drive down into the heart of San Francisco is wooded and green, as one traverses the Presidio, now the home of ILM (Industrial Light and Magic, Lucas's brainchild) and other commercial concerns. Kiddo live in the Marina, really easy to get to and often offering that very rare accomodation, a parking space. Yesterday, we went straight to brunch, taking Fillmore Street (yes, same as the auditorium of rock 'n roll fame) over the hill (and there should be a much better name for it, it is soooooo steep) and into Japantown, where we had reserved seating (!) for the movie after a delightful Indian meal at Dosa. I had traveled 120 miles by the time I greeted the poochies that evening, and it was all wondrous. Comes from being comfortable in my own skin, sober for 21 years. Now, that's something in itself.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Le'go my MUFA!

All I wanted when I was a child was to be grown-up. For some reason, I thought no one could tell me what to do when I got there. Jeez, was I wrong. Instead of just the parents and teachers and nuns, there were the IRS and the boss and the supervisors and the Highway Patrol and the Catholic Church and, yes, still the parents, and the KIDS. Well, now that I am in the netheryears, I pretty much ignore most of them, anyway. I speed very slowly these days, anyway. And besides all these entities, watching over me like Big Brother, there are all those health advisories. Coffee is bad for you! Oh, wait, coffee has anti-oxidants. Coffee is good for you! Help! Recently, I read the Belly Fat Diet book, like this little pad that has enveloped me for 50 years was going to flatten out like an empty balloon. Hasn't happened. But I did learn about MUFAs, mono-unsaturated fatty acids. MUFAs are my friends. Avacados, olives and olive oil, nuts and seeds, fish high in omega-3 are all MUFAs. And then there is my favorite MUFA, dark CHOCOLATE. I am supposed to eat some every day. How cool is that. And I found the ideal way to do that, at Trader Joe's, that gastronomic Disneyland, Nutty Bits, little bites of dry-roasted nuts covered in dark chocolate. Maybe being an adult is not such a bad thing, after all. And look where I live, in this amazingly lovely place, where hiking is really just walking up and down rolling slopes, with one pristine vista after another. I and my belly fat are happy today.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Glad that is decided...

Just read in my AARP bulletin that dogs are decidedly smarter than cats. The trick is their social skills, trait that the felines have never caught on to. Solitary species have less developed brains than more social animals, like monkeys, dolphins, and dogs. My two are pretty sweet, so it doesn't matter all that much how smart they are. Well, not most of the time. I do like that when I growl at them, they both automatically move to the other side of the bed. Not so crazy about the fact that if I get out of bed, they will move into my spot, every time. Could be they just like the warmth, but truly, they are just so devoted to me, they want to sleep in my scent. How adorable is that! Such a wonder, these little guys. Love on the hoof.

Friday, December 10, 2010

One problem at a time, please...

You know how it is, your hair gets manageable after your last haircut, and for about 60 seconds, it is perfect. Then, bang! It's too long. And if you are like me, you will try and try again to get it to look like it did for that one evanescent second when it was perfection, until you can barely see through your bangs. So I took my head to the hair cutters today, and got suitably shorn. I love it. And guess what? I haven't colored it in months, and underneath, it was all silvery like it was on top! For the first time in decades, my hair is its natural color! And I love it. Strange but true. So here is my dragonfly, the symbol of ILLUSION, resigning that little part of the cowwoman's life. This should save me about $80 a year in hair coloring product, not to mention the wear and tear on my heart each time I blew dry afterward. Yay.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas past...

This is the time that I get all misty about what has been lost over the many, many, many years of this earthly existence. Holidays in the FOO (family of origin, for the uninitiated) were sumptuous times of excess: three kinds of homemade candy (fudge, penuche and divinity), candied walnuts, stuffed dates, mountains of nuts in the shell with convenient nutcracker, cookies (dream bars, thumbprint, Russian tea cakes), presents that began appearing under the enormous tree a couple of weeks before Christmas, and often wound up piled higher than the tree itself, turkey and all the accompanying delights, pumpkin and mincemeat pies, carrot pudding (sounds awful, I know, but it was like the cherry on top) and stockings stuffed with tiny wonders in the morning, after high mass, lots of smells and bells and singing. Major overwhelm for small hearts. Yet, there was this underlying current of guilt, like I was such a BAD kid, I didn't really deserve any of this. Later, it was me doing all this for my kids. Exhausting, it was. And 180 degrees from my former holidaze, because no one did anything for me. Nada. Zipideedoodah. In my current situation, I seem to always go to that place where I feel less-than, because ex-hubby is ever so much more abundant than I. As I ponder, I realize that this may be true, but I am ever so much more generous than he. My heart remains open, and vulnerable. I think that is the most difficult, and only place to be in consciousness. And the strongest place to stand, as well. Takes a lot of faith in the goodness of this world to be open to its many slings and arrows. This year, I am actually thinking of doing a little tree! Just for the kid that lives in ME. First, need a ladder to get ornaments out of the @##&*%@ attic.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Please, no applause.

Align Center
For a Monday, today was quite successful, in many little ways. I got up before 9 AM, earliest in a while, had apple pie with whipped cream and nuts for breakfast, really yummy. Got into gym clothes, and after little distraction checking email, went to the gym. Since I have not worked out in 10 days, and then only once in 21, I was really puny on the machines. Add to that the fact that my most comfortable ones are history since the remodel. Now have to learn a whole bunch more. No problem. I just wandered around, did a little of this, a little of that, not too strenuous but did have to mop my brow several times. Back home, I got online and bought some gifts. Half my list is taken care of. How sweet it is that! And, I never buy everything too early in the month, because the spirit will hit me later, and then, I buy too much. Just as I sat down to watch the soap opera, there was a knock at the door. Enterprising guy offering to clean the gutters. This was a real concern that I had hoped to take care of soon. I offered him a price, he accepted, and 30 minutes later, and that little task got crossed off the list. Then I got out a knitting project that had nestled in a corner of my bedroom for a few months and finished it to give as a gift, too. And I found that book I thought I had lost, in the bag with the knitting. All in all, a truly productive day. I even got the trash cans back in their assigned places after today's pickup. Usually, they stand at the curb until at least Wednesday. Definite progress, here.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Everything is illuminating today...

Sayonara, favorite Pepperwood piece. I sold it, which is a little like adopting out one of your kids. I guess that was the idea in the first place. It just doesn't happen often enough to soothe the sting, like a piece of me went byebye with it. It will always be in me, this creation. And more will emerge, I just know it. Meanwhile, I got to appreciate the art of others, too. A friend and I went to the 95th anniversary of Corrick's stationary store in our lovely downtown, to hear the owner and his wife play duets on a magnificent Yamaha grand, not unlike the one I sold a few years ago, except that this one played itself, too. We heard some Chopin, Ravel, and Brahms, then checked out the local artist from Art Trails who were displayed, and they turned out to be my teacher from Pepperwood and her dearest friend, whose art is 180 degrees different, very anal watercolors. Delightful, but picky beyond words. I couldn't do that if my life depended on it. I like messiness. And I think it works for me. More schlepping around in the artsy fartsy world tomorrow, with a trip to the Finley Center just up the street for a show by the faculty at my little junior college, and to Luther Burbank Home and Gardens open house, a sort of Dickensian trip into yesteryear. Someday soon, I will do my Christmas shopping. I can hardly wait for that to happen.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I'm pedaling as fast as I can!

The cold seemed to have flown, so I stopped the pills, only to stuff up and get all muzzy again. Nevertheless, I plowed on, doing the proscribed chores I had set out for myself before this little setback. A trip to the library headed the list. I was really bad about returning library books as a kid, often keeping them for long, long time before getting as guilty as a little Catholic girl could and returning them all shamefaced. Now I am vigilant to the point of paranoia. And I had a couple that a friend passed on to me, too. God forbid I should rack up fees on HER account. The main branch was full of frowsy folks in bubbly coats and wool hats, some drowsing over magazines, keeping warm on a crisp fall day. I noticed this really ancient woman frowning over a computer monitor, and realized my mother will die without ever touching a keyboard. What wonders she has missed! And she could have afforded a super system. I renewed Murder at the Museum of Man, a dandy mystery set in academia and full of intelligent mumbojumbo that has me bursting out laughing ever so often, but is abysmally slow to read because of all the twenty dollar words. I decided I didn't need to know what they meant after all, which has significantly sped up the process, but it is a rambling narrative with little dialogue, and demands full attention, something at which I am not very good (notice avoidance of dangling participle there, result of reading scholarly tomes). Next stop was Costco, where I now have an Executive Membership and privilege of getting into the warehouse an hour early, except, after purchasing it, I found out EVERYONE is being let in an hour early. Whatever, I get $$$ back on my purchases now, so I bought those fleece-lined Ugg knockoffs in gray that I had been salivating over, along with an apple pie that I will gnaw away at for the coming week, my supplements, a cake for the meeting tonight, whipped cream (basic food group in the little yellow house), staples like that. Laundry consumed the afternoon. I folded a load that had been moldering in the dryer for the duration of my illness. It contained one pair of sweatpants, one sweatshirt, two thermal tops, two pajama bottoms, one pajama top, four camis, one tank top, a bra, two bath towels, two hand towels, two washcloths, two dish towels, eleven pairs of socks, and twenty-seven pairs of panties. Long time, no wash. And there were still panties in the drawer, not to mention the ones now in the dryer waiting to be folded from the second load I ran and forgot. Well, what can I say. Bikinis just leaped into my basket at Costco for a long time. Now I am on an underwear fast, waiting for some of these to wear out, which will probably be never since a pair only gets worn every fifth or sixth week, and the ones on the bottom will probably never see the light of day, unless I get significantly behind in laundry, and if that happens, I will probably be dead. I know this is all supremely prosaic, but, hey, that's my life at the moment. Small. Tiny.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It is 4:10 PM, and the sun is hanging low in an overcast yellow sky. Most of the leaves have fallen from my front yard sycamores, and the pseudo-lawn is filthy with them. Sorry, too frigging cold now to get out there and rake. I am still recovering here! But inside the little yellow house, it is cozy. Inside the cow woman, too. It is a good idea to take my internal seismic readings, often. My tectonics change really fast. Great upheavals are rare these days, but tiny tremors continue. Anything can upset that delicate balance of the inner landscape. Happy today that I am vertical, dressed, and actually fed my recovery a dandy women's meeting after missing my home group due to dastardly virus. Zicam and vitamin C limited its half-life to 3 little days. Love it when that works. House is fairly clean and uncluttered. That will change, no doubt. Whatever, no big storms on the horizon at the moment. And Precious is the teddy bear on the right. Angel Bear, she came to me in one of those mysterious moments. Once upon a time, I would attend an Epiphany party with a group of women from my then-church. We did a gift exchange where we each drew a number, then went in order, either opening a new gift, or taking one from someone else that was already open, and the person you stole from could do the same. The rule was you could only have the same gift in your possession three times, then you had to let it go. I opened this little angel white bear ornament. Lordy, I wanted that little guy. Alas, he went away. But, on Valentine's day, my daughter gave me this one, a cupid bear, that I decided was actually an angel bear. She rode with me in the back seat of my car in my commuting days, and now cuddles with Precious on the chair I had as a tiny tot by the side of my bed. Precious, now that's a story for another day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Down time...

Second day of dreaded cold. Funny how a little virus can totally upend my life. I did get up, take a bath, which helped my aching back, dressed in casual, warm clothes and sojourned over to RiteAid for some new night-time cough stuff. Very difficult night with tight, painful cough. Now I am up, still dressed, about to shuck jeans for sweats and crawl back into bed for a nice nappy-poo. Thank you, Coricidin and Tylenol. Without drugs, this would be a world of pain, for sure. Oh, and I stopped into the coffee shop that was Cafe des Croissants, then Starbuck's and is now Louie's. They display local artists. Wonderful venue, with red walls. I could handle that. Yes. Just need FRAMES. After the end of the year, I will get a resale license, buy those suckers, and set myself up for business. I have enough paintings to do that. Yes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pass the Mucinex, please....

I am up for a while, vertical after a horizontal morning, dabbing delicately at my runny nose, waiting for the Dayquil Non-Drowsy Daytime capsules to take effect. Yes, the cowwoman has her first winter cold. Little scratchiness in the throat, snorty breathing through a new layer of mucus accumulating. Took that Mucinex, too. Great stuff. Horrid commercials. Meanwhile, the world seems to have gone on without me. I notice there are beaucoup leaves piling up out front, waiting for my attention. Sorry. I am all bundled up in my Victoria's Secret fleecy, fluffy wraparound robe (Country Collection, and on sale, to boot), still recovering from yesterday's debut at the renovated gym. They took away my weinie circuit! I wandered around the weight room, spotting a familiar machine here or there, then tried out some new ones, with spotty success. Sore in new places. Just adds insult to injury to be laid up with this $$&*$@ cold. However, it is perfect timing. No school or appointments to miss. Oh, wait a minute. It's always perfect timing. I'm retired!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The devil made me do it...

The cow woman went shopping today. I have been struggling with this #$&^*@ printer for YEARS. It never printed my business cards right the first time out of the gate. And sometimes, not the second or third either. It kind of cleared its throat before picking up the stock, and dropped the print too high on the page. I might get two cards off a sheet of ten. Expensive, when you add it up. And, lately, after printing each page, it would stutter and whine until you opened the cartridge door and shut it again. Clunkety clunkety clunk clunk. Enough! I looked up printers online, and made a beeline for Best Buy, where I picked up a spiffy new Canon that has wireless technology. Okay, I don't have wireless technology yet, but I am ready when it arrives! Now, years of dealing with new peripherals have taught me that nothing works the first time you install it. Well, actually, my wireless mouse did, but that's pretty simple. I did depart from my usual seat-of-the-pants, I-don't-need-no-stinking-manual attitude, and sat down to read the steps necessary and execute them in the manner and order presented. Or tried to. Right away I got an error message that the "inner cover" was open. Whaaa? After trying over and over to do the same thing, I squinted my eyes at the tiny display screen on top of the printer, and figured out where that inner cover was, and closed it. Tada! The print head and cartridges went in without too much sweat, and how smart is it that there are six of them, so you don't have to replace a tri-color cartridge just because you are out of blue. And I can open the top of this one and see the whole cartridge assembly. I loaded the paper tray and prepared to hook my new baby up to my system via the USB connection, and jeez, another error message. I flogged that dead horse for a while before deciding to start over again. In the end, I just ignored the message that the printer wasn't present, restarted my system, and voila! There it was after all. Yay. The whole process took about an hour and a half, and never once did I have to pull hair out of my head or even bite my tongue. I have printed twenty new business cards perfectly so far. I love that this baby packs up all compactly when not in use. And it has a paper tray! Inside! How efficient can it get, anyway. Then I made myself a turkey, cranberry and toasted almond sandwich on my TJ sprouted wheat bagel that I treated myself to. Okay, they each have (gulp) 300 calories, but I did split it into thirds, and the mayonnaise was low fat. Hey, as celebrations go, this was pretty tame. And pretty tasty, too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know...

I was watching Pickle, enconsed on the bed as she is every morning, and watching me shed my PJs and pull on my outfit du jour. What must she think about this process? How lovely it must be to have only one outfit to worry about. Actually, she always looks worried as she watches me. And I got to thinking about what vulnerable creatures we humans are to need layers of fabric to stave off the elements. And how vain we are to have so many fashions to choose from. I have often noted that fashion is a real racket. If you subscribe to it, your clothes are out of fashion even before you walk out of Bloomingdale's or Nordstom's. And so many fashions are geared to skinny littlewaifs with no breasts or hips. No one seems to be creating for big girls like me. So I keep my wardrobe down to basics. Kind of preppy for dressy events. Lots of waffle weaves for casual. Jeans. Lots of jeans. Cords, too. Sweaters, I love sweaters. Okay, I have a lot of clothes. This is a short life, and I don't like to worry about what I wear. And I don't like to wear the same thing twice, ever. Sad, isn't it. And Pickle only looks worried because she has these furrows in her brow, anyway. I am heading for the day when I can just throw on my sweats, and not worry about what anyone thinks of me. That makes a lot of sense to this old gal.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grace notes...

I think birds are God's grace notes. You know, those little extra trills that are not necessary, really, but seem to bring a lightness and beauty that would not be there without them. We had a flock of mourning doves that lived across the street from us in the house on the edge of the world. Every so often, they would brave our proximity and feast at our bird feeder, and usually manage to knock it down, too. Their sweet cooing gave every day a grace, for sure. They mate for life, these birds. Kind of special, that's for sure. Oh, they are not nearly so brightly colored. There are hints of pearly violet and blue in their gray feathers. I just gave them this with a little more intensity. I think it works. Yes.

Kind of amazing...

I was channel surfing in the great electronic sewer that is Sunday evening and came on this PBS documentary about dogs. Now, I know all these very different appearing breeds all came from the wolves that were smart enough to ingratiate themselves to men in exchange for leftovers. This program actually went as far as stating that dogs assisted us in becoming civilized, by so enhancing our hunting skills. Gosh, in school, they taught us it was the end of the Ice Age and hence the emergence of stable climate zones for growing our own food. Well, perhaps the canine species gave us our leg up. And dogs are so attuned to our species, they will learn things that even chimps will not, just because they want so to please us. In one experiment, foxes were bred through three generations for tameness. And another amazing thing happened; they became multi-colored and got different attributes, like curly tails, too. And, since we share a lot of ailments, dogs and humans, scientists were able to map a genome in the DNA of boxers that caused a particular heart ailment, which could then be used to find that same genome in human (and much more complex) DNA Now, that's thinking. All this just proved to me once more that dogs are special creatures. Owning one makes a person much less likely to have a heart attack, for instance. And their special appeal to humans may be that they are like children, always. I mean, look at Pickle. She will never grow out of her baby face. Hopefully, some pretty awful Pickle habits will be outgrown, though. But if not, she can always turn that wide-eyed Pickle smile on, and melt my ever so protected heart.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Troubled waters here...

Oh, not in the painting. That is smooth sailing. But I am all turbulent here. Much happening that is tragic all around me. Climbing up onto my tiny island of sanity, painting and just trusting HP to take care of all those other folks who are ill or sitting in a big pile of troubles of their own making, letting it all be what it is supposed to be, knowing I could not change it with all the power available to me. Meanwhile, I actually had a few moments feeling guilty because I don't have the trouble these other folks do. I am like this swan, filled with grace. For the moment, anyway. I know that things can change awfully fast. Not today, okay, HP?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Creation du jour...

I smeared a whole bunch of yellow onto this canvas last night, then dredged up this image today. I love the way objects just kind of materialize out of the ether onto the surface. No big hassle here, it just appeared there, the little red finch. Birds have this innocence about them, and a curiosity about the world, too. It was kind of gray outside, and the leaves were hip deep on the psuedo-lawn before I went out there to rake, in between sessions with this bright and sunny little guy. I am kind of blown away at the ease I am feeling with the paint these days. It is no longer my enemy, and while it has not lost its ability to surprise me, often delightfully, it obeys me most of the time. No joy greater than going to bed at night knowing there is something new in the world that I made that day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The cowwoman makes a mess...

Homely little painting of rather prosaic bunch of humble flowers in juice bottle. Hmmmm. I just didn't know what to do. It was too cold. It was too warm. It was blah. Today, I took a small brush into it to flesh out the flowers a little, then scumbled the hell out of the background, color on color, until it popped a little. Not a star in the firmament of my opus, but not a total loss, either. Every canvas is about learning something new. This one taught me to not give up too soon, just keep plugging away at it. There is always hope when you can paint over it, and paint over it, and paint over it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Mea culpa, mea ultima culpa...

I have made the return journey from the fuds. Unfortunately, it required a little bit of rule breaking. Not God's rules, not even my mother's rules, oh, no no no, MY rules. I try to be oh so circumspect here in the little yellow house. Only fresh foods. No preservatives! No trans fats! Whole grains! Locally grown, organic even! Seasonal! Okay, tiny concession to Italian sausage (chicken at least) and Cool Whip. I'm not perfect, after all. But on my way home from my very righteous meeting yesterday afternoon, faster than you could say non-complex carbohydrates, my little black Focus just turned into the drive up at the new In and Out. The guy outfitted with the soda jerk hat assured me the line was short at that time. I kind of gasped when I saw about twenty cars in front of me. Turned out this is short for this place. They took my order when I was about ten cars away, and the line just plodded along and a mere seven minutes later I had my order: hamburger with the works, fries and a vanilla milkshake. Now, I doubt there was any skim milk in that sucker. And those fries, fresh as new mown hay! And the hamburger, on a soft as cotton white-bread bun, ah, heaven! To be fair, this was dunch. Or maybe linner? I didn't have any lunch, because my stomach hadn't transitioned to the new time yet. And I didn't have any dessert, either, unless you count the milkshake, which was a beverage. Right? Mother always said moderation was the key. And fast food, once a season, seems pretty moderate to me. Is it winter yet?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Down in the fuds...

I just read an email from yet another of my geriatric set, about the joys of growing old. Not in that picture today. My sponsor calls this the fuds. Yeah. Well, it is raining, and although the powers that be gave me back that hour they so rudely usurped last spring, an eager newcomer woke me up at 8 AM, thinking it was 9 AM, and I had not slept well during the downpour in the wee hours. So, not a happy camper here. Yet, as I gaze through the blinds at the front yard, it does look rather festive, decorated as it is with golden leaves on the now greened-up psuedo-lawn. And I will go fetch that newcomer at 1:30 to ferry her to the 2 PM meeting, because that is what we do, help the alcoholic who is suffering. Must be hell to not have a car in this weather. So, grateful for my Jolie, little black puddle-jumper that she is. And I will pull on my boots and look tres sophisticated in the skinny jeans that fit again. And I am thinking of having lunch out at the new In and Out that opened where the old Lyon's was torn down. I watched it rise from the ashes, as it were, wondering if it was yet another County bureaucracy, and thrilled to find it not. Actually, maybe I will put the fuds on the back burner, and sojourn over to TJMax to paw through the racks for a while. That always bucks me up. Or I could consider painting my walls pink, as in this photo that got taken when I accidentally put a pink filter on. Don't know which button to push to do that again, but it was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

It's not easy being me. Sigh.

Okay, long time, no blog. No paint, either. Like, the more time I have, the less I accomplish. Life kind of blindsided me, again. Dear ones are going through rough seas, and I feel like I am floundering here in my powerlessness to heal them. I do know that it is essential that I not sink, in case someone needs me, I need to stay afloat. So now rising up out of my doldrums. There is a canvas all primed in a perky yellow waiting for my attention on the kitchen counter. And I just popped one of the leftover Halloween candies, Butterfinger, my favorite, in defiance of the waistline fairy who waggles her finger at me all the time. Take that! I will work out especially hard for that little transgression. Actually, in my tiny life, nothing is very wrong at the moment. Laundry could use some attention, likewise the happy mess that I live in. Ah, but she who dies with a clean house has lived a pretty little life, you know. I'd rather go to the movies. Oh, and this image is a detail of the fourth painting I ever did. They do that in art books, you know, show details of famous paintings. I am amazed by the attention to detail I had in that early time. I had tamed the paint, I see, got it to spread out in the way I wanted. And I wish this were the whole thing, actually. It is more interesting than the original. Live and learn. Change and grow. Hope lives.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sturm und drang for a rainy Friday...

One of the things I have let go in my recovery, well, for the most part, is the adrenaline rush. Gosh, I miss it sometimes. I have been remembering the 1989 World Series, because of the phenoms our SF Giants are this year. I was sitting up in the nose bleed seats at Candlestick Park, over right field, when they won the pennant that October. And my brother was in that same seat when the earthquake sent parts of the overhang raining down on him at the first game of the Series. It took 4 hours to get through the pitch black city, a trip that usually takes 30 minutes. We were all shaken up, literally and figuratively. And what I hated most was those newpeople who descended on us in a feeding frenzy of adrenaline, sitting in front of collapsed houses in the Marina, or in front of the Cypress structure that pancaked and killed 50 some odd souls. I just wanted them to be GONE, go home, let us repair and heal. No one commented on the miracle that just a few souls met their maker that day. A temblor that large in India or South America would have killed millions. We do a really good job with our infrastructure here in Earthquake Country. Funny how these things come to mind again. I learned later to just check in on the disaster once in a while, and do what I have in front of me in between. I haven't even watched any of these last few games all the way through. I did catch the 8th inning last night, and will admit, I got to savor some of that old juice again. Felt kind of good, actually. Like revenge for that 1989 Series, when the As swept the Giants in four games. Oh, and here is a messy little pastel I diddled up while watching my soap opera today. Now, there's a bunch of folks who feast on adrenaline.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The boys of October...

My days as a sports fan(atic) are over, I think. As a kid, it was always the NY Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. I always rooted for the Dodgers. I am an underdog kind of gal. Which is why I was a San Francisco 49er fan for decades. They would limp into the playoffs in the 70s, only to lose in the NFL championship game, to Dallas (and my Dad says that if they gave the world an enema, they'd put the nozzle in Dallas). Heartbreak, year after year. Then Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Steve Young, and voila! Triumph! Only to sink again into obscurity. Sobriety cured me of my need for this adrenaline rush. But I sort of jumped up and down (in bed, scared the hell out of the pooches) when the SF Giants felled the mighty Phillies last night. I followed them before, back when Jack Clark was on first base, and Robbie Thompson on second, and Matt what's-his-name on third. That was back in the 80s, I think. They always dropped the ball in the end, too. Heartbreak. But I may actually watch some of the Series this year. Sort of in a nostalgic way. And I know little kiddo and her fiance are really excited about this surprising event, too. So, Go Giants! Whoever you are.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This blog entry is rated PG42...

...which means it may be TMI for persons I gave birth to. You know, getting old is both a good and a bad thing. Good in that I am still vertical, and pretty strong and flexible for an old chick. Bad in that lots of little things nip and niggle, a lot of the time. Let's talk for a moment about my bladder. Not a subject I am particularly fond of, but one that is in the back of my mind all the freaking time. The poor old thing hasn't been itself since the birth of my last baby at 35. Muscles were not all that toned at that time, too busy being a middle management phenom and wife/mother/stepmother/daughter superwoman. So she sat on top of my bladder the whole nine months. I had a major infection early on, and had to be ever so careful after that. We have been around and around with each other, my bladder and I. For a while, when I was heavier, there were little accidents. God, that was sooooo embarassing. Till I mentioned it out loud at a round table of like spirits, and found that mine was a tiny problem in comparison. Losing weight and working out have helped. I had an ultrasound (and that was really RUDE), and found that it was not emptying completely, which is why I have endured many, many infections. Now I have learned to wring it out like a sponge every sitting. That has helped, and I am accident-free for the most part. Night time is interesting, though. Five or six trips to the pot are not unusual. It makes for a lot of sleeplessness. Which is why everyone knows not to call me before 9 AM at the earliest. I tried the medication, oh, yes, indeed. But it aggravated another of my most irritating aging symptom, dry mouth. I probably drive people crazy, because I chew a lot of gum. It is the only thing that keeps my mouth moist enough. And I have dry eyes, too. Drops and hot compresses help. Also eye goo every night. But, my nose runs like a faucet. No, literally. I keep Kleenex everywhere here in the little yellow house, so a box is always within easy reach. And in the midst of this, there is gratitude beyond measure. I do not have arthritis, diabetes, MS, cancer, or any other life altering/threatening ailment. I have a warm bed, with two warm poopies, great food to eat, amazing friends who also share their tribulations and can laugh at them, as I often do. While I am not about to run a marathon in the near future, I will be heading out to swim laps and lift weights and peddle like crazy on the stationary bike. And live to tell about it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Horse (or pig) of a different color...

An exercise for a gray, cold day - paint a happy little pig. This little guy is black, actually, in my reference photo. It's just that black is so, well, dark and brooding, and this here fella is ever so much brighter than the average pig, wouldn't you say? This may be finished. As always, it's impossible to tell. I just got brave all over the place here. Newness, what a wonderful concept.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flotsam and jetsam for a rainy Sunday...

It is suddenly cold, chilly even. I turned on both heaters today, mostly to aid in drying soggy poopies. They love the wet, actually, and Boo especially likes the toweling off. I had both of them under a blue towel today, two little flat faces peeking out at me, too cute for words. It is early evening, and I am grateful that little kiddo is back from the other side of the world, on terra firma after a grueling three flights with some complications in connecting flights. Happiest when both kiddos are nearby, oh, I mean all three, since a new one is joining the fold. I am listening to Cinemix on my ITunes Radio, soundtracks. They played "The Way We Were", and I got all hot and bothered, again. Back in the olden days, my lover took his other girlfriend to see that movie. Well, we had agreed to see other people, only he did and I didn't. What can I say, it was the 70s. Then the waltz from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty", which I had to drag my 7 year old daughter to see. Gee, I have all these great Disney pics on videotape. Makes me want to throw an inner-child party for my menopausal girlfriends. We are all closer to childhood than you might think, enjoying our netheryears with great elan. Some marbles, some jacks, and a little Cinderella might be just the thing for a dark winter night.

Yet another medium to mess around with...

Did I mention that I found that going to the local art store for product demos is very enlightening? The Savoir Faire folks demoed Sennelier pastels, soft and oil, and I got to have a few samples, which was nice. And then they mentioned that their soft pastels are bound with gum arabic, the same as water colors, and, if you laid them down and went back with a damp brush, you could actually work with them like watercolors. And I thought, gee, I want to try that! So I ordered a starter set of 24, which arrived yesterday (see, I am more spiritually evolved, able to delay gratification, especially for a bargain), and I noodled around with this simple scene. I am not happy with the paper, actually, too toothy. So I need to experiment and see what works better. But there is definitely promise here of some fun work ahead. Can't think of a more wondrous way to spend my time than creating.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Something new, again...

Don't know why this happened, but I am in this vortex of productivity, trying all kinds of new things with my new medium, and still finding surprises everywhere. Perhaps I am finding my muse? I really hope so. Notice how loose this painting is. Part of that is the acrylics themselves, their reluctance to run or blend in any way. Oh, you can add water and they get all runny, but that takes away from their vibrancy, and that is what I love the most. So I just kept dragging color on top of color, and there she was, my new little lady. The expression came quite easily, too. Wistful, isn't she. I always wanted blue eyes, you know. This ability is my consolation prize, I think. I went to the library today, and snuck a peek at the new American Artist magazine, and no one is painting like this, at least, not this month. Which made me think I am, once again, doing it WRONG. Well, it sure feels right. I am going to suppose it is. Yes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Not Well Yet Gazette, vol. XXXVIII

I will be the first to admit I don't have a clue what I am doing 99% of the time. I just try to do the right thing, the thing that is kind and compassionate. Lord knows, in the past, that was not always the case, and I have some stuff to make up for, big time. Yet, my character defects hang around like stray cats, probably because I am still feeding them. It's just fear. And doing paintings like this one is about conquering some of that. Now I am emulating Lucien Freud, the grandson of Sigmund, in his layer on layer of paint, and looseness all over the place. Well, it feels right, and is a lot of fun, so I think I will keep doing that. Impatience, that's my middle name. I want it to be DONE! Yesterday! Perhaps it is, just don't know yet. I loved doing it, that's for sure. And all this productivity is really a stopgap for the fear I have when my progeny is on the other side of the world. See what a little fear can do? It's so interesting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The cowwoman paints (gasp) a woman!

It's been a long time coming, this foray into figure painting. I like to draw faces, and bodies when I can get one to stand still. The human form is so precious, with all its little nooks and crannies, with the way shadows fall and light shines. I left this madonna really loose, and she may stay that way. This medium is not as easily blended as oils, and I like the colors and the way they go together to make the figure. I am having soooooo much fun here. It's even better than fingerpainting was in kindergarten. And next, there are pastels on their way to me, Sennelier soft pastels, that have the incredible ability to be turned into watercolors with the touch of a wet brush. Oh, I can barely wait!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Deja vu all over again...

I have been picking away at this oeuvre for days now, changing it over and over again. Good things happened when I added some new pigments, like quinachrodone fuschia and a wonderful yellow ochre clone from Sennelier. It is in real life a bunch of things that some person at Trader Joe's thought would go well together. Not necessarily so. And it reminds me of a very early work, The Ball Jar, a bouquet from a friend's garden near the house on the edge of the world that he sent over in one (Ball jar, I mean), and I rendered into posterity. That painting lives with a friend now, as he really loved it. I am thinking I will come to love this one, too. Strange as it is. And yes, it's purple. Like, get over it.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Flash! Old dog learns new trick!

Never thought I could become so obsessed with sheep. I kept looking at these paintings, and decided that I could make them better. Now, this is new behavior. When I am first working on a piece, it sort of emerges from the canvas all by itself. There is little deliberation in the process. I feel guided by HP, pushing pigment around, picking up hues on the brush. And I have this belief that I cannot change anything; that would ruin HP's work. Except that I thought Mom was kind of homely in the first rendition, and with these sweet younguns, she should be radiant, in her ewe-ish way. So I softened her face, gave her some lashes (which she actually does have), brightened her nose, and gave her a neck, so she doesn't look like a linebacker in a fluffy coat. Then I brightened the background, which was actually grass in the photo. And suddenly the whole thing became more scintillating. Minor adjustments were then made to the second painting, shortening the baby's butt, brightening his back, modeling his front. And, surprise, both are more pleasing. HP may know what She is doing, but, in the end, She gave me a brain and good small muscle control, so I know what I am doing, too. Miracle!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Done diddy done done...

Well, almost. Much improved, I think. More detail, more expression, better proportions, better all over. Paintings have their own special voice. Hello, this one says. I am so delightful, I can barely stand myself! Thank my artist for not making us too precious. We are just fluffy enough. We are not cartoony. And we are not too real, either. All those dippy-dabs of paint, all that love all over our canvas, how could we be any better. And now, as I look at it here, I think I see a couple of adjustments. Luckily, there is still paint on the palette. Can you imagine how much FUN it is to do this? And what grace I feel that I can, at all? Yay.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

And today I did this...

Very loose first draft, for sure. Kind of wonky, and lots of fine tuning to do, but the idea is there, and I am liking it already. Part of my problem here is the reluctance of the paint to go where I want it to go. It is thick and not very tractable, at least, not yet. It does give a really nice sketchy quality that is actually hard to get with oils. I see lots of little things that I want to continue to dab away at, but not too much. I am not a representational artist. I am an expressionist, in love with color and form and nuance that is created by the media, to fool the eye into seeing what I see. It is kind of magical, in the end, this process of creation. More magic coming, tomorrow.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Anaotmy of a painting...

Just like life is a journey and not a destination, paintings are a process, not a product. Here's how the sheep came to be immortalized. A couple of years ago, I trailed a friend to the ranch where she boards her horse, Happy. Both dogs went along for the ride, and I took lots of photos of the various animals there, hoping to get some good ones for reference pictures for future paintings. And Friday, when my daughter and her beloved were in the belly of the great silver beast, suspended above solid ground for most of the freaking day, I got busy doing stuff to distract myself from my own SELF-CENTERED FEAR. And one of the tasks I undertook was to sort my photos on my disk, a monumental and thoroughly boring endeavor. And gee, there were those animals! Well, I cropped one photo, printed it out, and later that evening, when I had most of my job done here in the office, I laid out a palette and dippy-dabbed away at a portrait of this sweet little family. Note that Mom has her back totally shorn, though the rest of her is admirably fluffy. Artistic license let me ignore that little fact. And I am not unhappy with my painting, no not at all. So satisfied, I will be rendering this scene next. They look like sweet kids, all of them, with holes in the knees of their pants.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Little family...

Big experiment. Just noodling around with my acrylics, again. It could be done. Or not. Just tired tonight, and rerun of Bones is coming up soon (just love Seeley Booth), so I am quitting for tonight. They are not as sweet as cows, these sheep, but ever so much fun to poke around with. I began with a black canvas, and I really like the effect. Tomorrow, it may look entirely different to me. And to you, too, when I get done. Painting is such a personal endeavor. I only know that when I feel satisfied, that something good has come from the work, there is no feeling as happy.

Roots and wings, bah!

Mother was right. You never know the agony that children can give you until you have some of your own. And I do. Have two children, I mean, a boy and a girl. Of course, they are no longer the cherubic tykes I look at on my bureau and bedroom wall every day. Gee, I remember hanging over their respective cribs when they were tiny, awed at every tentative breath. I became acutely aware of both the fragility and the resilience of this earthly existence in those moments. Now, they have flown off to become who they were meant to be. And for me, not much has changed. I still chew my lip over their various escapades, and mourn when they are hurting. I would like them to just stay where I put them until I come back again to visit. Alas, neither one is willing to do that for me. And yesterday, kiddo number two, the redheaded dervish that is my daughter, was on airplanes for the whole freaking day, winging her way to Egypt. That's on the freaking other side of the world! And I talked to HP all day, just keep her safe, please! I mean, I felt responsible for holding those planes up all by myself. It was exhausting. She and her darling fiance arrived just fine, and probably would have even if I had not been all twisted up. So I got out this picture of me, sweet little angel that I was, and am remembering the self-inflicted perils I have survived in my 7 decades of life on the Big Blue Ball, and decided to LIGHTEN UP. I know my kids. They are never going to stand still. Life is, after all, a moving target.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Ah, life on life's terms!

Late morning in the little yellow house. I am here in the office/library/music room, and so are the fur people. Look pretty innocent, don't they, Boo at his requisite four feet away from the dreaded Pickle, who is curled up at my feet. Yet, even as they just lay there on the recently vacuumed carpet, they are making a mess. Another vacuum cleaner bit the dust, or rather, the dog hair, this week, necessitating a trip to WalMart for a new sucker-upper. This time I got one that specializes in dog hair. Yeah, that'll work. I can bet you these sweet dewy-eyed creatures can murder this one in less than a year. Well, they are worth it, my poopies. Dog hair all over the place is really just little bits of love. And everyone who loves me expects me to arrive with a fine coat of my own, black on light clothes, blond on dark. Equal opportunity dog hair.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Experiencing the divine...

I went to one of our little AA seminars last night, this one on why AA is a spiritual program and not a religion. Three of our sober gurus headed the panel, and only one hit the mark. Okay, I heard how one found her Higher Power, the one of her understanding, and I heard all about another guy's understanding, but the young kid, the one with only 8 years experience, knew what he was supposed to be talking about. Our founders, Bill and Bob, knew that our Program needed to have singleness of purpose, that being to get and stay sober. Politics and religion were guaranteed to get us all drunk again. So they made this an exercise of the spirit, so all who needed our help could belly up to the table and be welcome. We don't talk about religion very much. It is, after all, an outside issue. Those who do find themselves sitting alone. Frankly, I think we are not a religion because religions main thrust is to tell you what to believe, how to act and what to do or not do, depending on horrific consequences if you don't follow the rules. And alcoholics hate rules. Alcoholics hate authority of any kind. We are not alone in that, I know. But alcoholics are people who function at the extremities of life. There is little middle of the road for us. Not until a lot of work has been done. So, every one of us has a conception of God, or Spirit, or Great Beloved, that we carry around in our hearts and minds to keep us on the path of happy destiny. Frankly, anything that could make this lily, well that's a pretty special Something. N'est-ce pas?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cow woman goes on an adventure...

It is bleeping hot here today. So I took advantage of a friend's invitation to paint on her ranch at the coast. Surprise! It was bleeping hot there, too. Also, her ranch is north of our old house on the edge of the world, up a 5 mile mostly vertical, gravel, dusty driveway. Hard to find, too. Sheer drops on my side of the car, and thank HP I didn't do the driving. I would be a trainwreck now if I had. We painted for 3 hours, ate lunch, then said sayonara. I had a great big headache, and was curious whether we would survive the trip down with the aplomb we did on the way up. And up. And up. From sea level to 1800 feet. Lovely view. And I learned that I am happiest navigating the distance from the kitchen to the couch. One little step down. That's perfect.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The mission statement...

I have a friend who also has a blog. He keeps asking me how many followers I have. And I reply, followers? What are those? Whatever they are, he has nine of them, and to him, that's gold. You see, he is a professional artist, and in the business of selling his artwork, and his blog is all about his process of creativity and the current work he has on his easel. Now, my blog has some of that, too. But it is not the real purpose of this endeavor. Originally, I started the blog because I enjoyed my daughter's blog so much, and decided I could be just as self-centered in my own right. Then it evolved into something else entirely. I began to use it as a spiritual tool. It's like getting a camera. Suddenly, I saw all these wondrous photographs in the world around me. I saw much more deeply into the world with my Canon around my neck. And I watch the world more intensely when I am thinking of what to write about here, too. But more than that, I watch the inner landscape, too. How am I feeling today, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Am I griping or expressing gratitude? Am I in the solution or part of the problem? And, yes, I put my little artistic expressions up here, too, because I am a visual person and love the color. But also because I love creating something new in the world most days that I am in it. The day is never wasted if I have diddled up a little digital image or started (and usually finished) a painting or a drawing. Or written something here about my tiny life. Which leads me to this huge surprise I got the other night when I saw this little icon on my dashboard and realized I have 23 followers! I don't know any of you. And suddenly, this has become me and others. It feels kind of funny. Cannot imagine how you stand the diatribes about Speedo-related fat bubbles and the trials and tribulations of the Pickle. But bless your souls. I kind of know that I am not riding around on this little dirt ball of a world alone. Nice to have you on board. Trivialities of life in the little yellow house will continue, complete with mountains of dog hair and experiments in pigments. Welcome to my world, inside and out!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Okay, hit me with your best shot...

I suppose that fussy is nice. It's just that I like messy better. After all, I love Matisse, and Van Gogh, and they were not particularly precise or interested in portraying a faithful representation of the object of their image. Oh, and Cezanne, another guy who messed with everything, including perspective. The bird is there, isn't it. Perhaps it is sort of fuzzy around the edges. But it is a happy mess, yes indeed. It made me happy while I was doing it, even though I knew from the beginning that it was going to be something different. For some reason, the paint just would not do what I kept pushing it to do. It just wanted to clump up, all stubborn with this life of its own. And now I see that was just fine. So, this may be my new style. Really easier than anything I have done before, and hell, easy is GOOD!