Thursday, June 30, 2011
Good news. The Boo went to the vet today, and his ailment was an inner ear thing, which is now pretty much cleared up. He is not cocking his head to the left all the time, stumbling, or tracking sideways any more. Bad news. A UPS truck crunched my bumper on the way out of the parking lot. I drove away chanting "$500, $500, $500". Sigh. Not my first time around the Ferris wheel. It is all set in motion to happen on Tuesday, trip to the body shop, rental car, etc. Well, no one got hurt, even little Boo, and my bumper had already escaped one scrape and been all patched up with touch-up paint. There is still a tube of that in the glove compartment, because, knowing me, I will need it. Oh, and sitting in the waiting room at the vet's, I perused a Dog Fancy mag, and saw that Boo is not a Pekingese, after all. He is a Tibetan Spaniel. There was a photo of one that looked just like him. Okay, mystery solved. Meanwhile, back at the little yellow house, the sewing project for little kiddo's wedding is done diddy done done (yay), so I am about to lay an oil palette for some touching up of old works that no longer please me, and probably some new stuff, too. Very exciting time here, some of it rather alarming, much of it just joyous.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Happy to say the Boo is through throwing up. Sorry to say he is not eating, not even the chicken and rice I cooked up special, and is tracking kind of sideways. So it is off to the vet again tomorrow to find out what is up. Sad when my Boo is puny. He is usually so spunky and spry for an old guy.
Just back from the lalaland south of here, beautiful Marin County, where I met my little kiddo for lunch and a shopping extravaganza at the terribly chic mall, where there is an Anthropologie, Nordstrom's, JJill, Bare Essentuals, and, best of all, a Cheesecake Factory, where we had lunch after our first round of shopping. This is not a usual destination for the cowwoman, but I had dropped in earlier in the month, so I knew my way around. Had a low-cal salad so we could have a key lime cheesecake slice for dessert. Learned all about the latest in my daughter's life, watched her try on size 4 clothes, saw pictures of the latest fitting of her wedding gown, and she graciously drove me around the parking lot on the perpetual search for my car, which I parked near a little tree, thinking that would lead me right there. Unfortunately, there were hundreds of little trees. Oh, well. She already thinks I am around the bend. Wouldn't want to disillusion her. Fine day. Now, if I could just get some food into the Boo, all would be perfect.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Very sad day in the little yellow house. Dear friend, who bravely battled ovarian cancer for 4 1/2 years, passed yesterday, peacefully in her sleep. This was a great blessing. She struggled so to stay with us right up until the last, and it was uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst. We spent many a moment together in our sobriety, and she mentored my sponsor, so part of my recovery will always belong to her. That is the beauty of the Program. One can never die if one has worked the 12th step and passed on the wisdom that was given by those who came before. We were together on retreat when she decided to divorce her husband. I watched her go back to school and learn somatics, which she taught for her last years, and I took some classes from her. She died in the presence of her youngest daughter, the one that had been a trial in her last days, and had come back to help her mother in her end days. What a blessing.
I am really tired, having heard the news last evening, then sitting up most of the night with a sick dog. Dear Boo threw up all over the bedroom. The dryer is now whirring happily taking care of a pile of quilts, towels, and the cover to the dog stairs. Boo is now laying in the doorway, looking pooped out. Rice and chicken are cooked and waiting for his appetite to return. Definitely no rose garden today. It is fortunate that I know sadness is just the other side of the coin from joy. It will all be just fine, whatever happens, as long as I don't fight it. Surrendering, to grief, fear, and tears.
Friday, June 24, 2011
I am still getting used to this thyroid hormone. There are times I feel all sped up, a truly unusual sensation for the cowwoman, who is mostly slow-moving. So today, I got to the gym fairly early, then came home for a quick shower before moseying over to the noon meeting to say hello to a lot of friends. Made myself a liverwurst sandwich for lunch, with one of the artichokes I cooked a couple of days ago, yum. Mowed the lawn later in the afternoon, and what a relief. The frontyard was all ragged again. Yard of shame. Worked on my sewing until the bobbin got all conflicted and started acting up. I am sure I will resolve this problem soon and get back to the project. I am more than half done, and the promise of painting hangs before me like a carrot in front of a donkey. I heard from my daughter today about the hair and makeup extravaganza that will occur before the wedding. I have very little hair, and makeup would be a waste on me, so I am planning on being there to help out. And dressing there, too, so my linen does not wrinkle from the drive. Ah, I am sure there will be life after the wedding. A much slower, far less exciting life, for sure.
Discipline has never been my strong suit. Sigh. So I packed away the pastels. They were just too tempting, resting as they were on the kitchen counter, all lined up like happy little soldiers, just waiting to perform. My house has been turned upside down for months, with the sewing machine reigning over the kitchen where the dining table usually resides. It, too, waited patiently. I fired it up yesterday and whipped out three more 9 foot table runners for little kiddo's wedding on 7/30. This is actually an improvement over former behaviors. At this rate, I will be done before the end of next week, thus having a whole month left to put ME together. I have the dress, the wrap, the little purse to stuff full of Kleenex, even the jacket for evening, if necessary. All is good, if I plan on going barefoot. The search for shoes has been bleak. I need just the right thing, not too casual, not too dressy, not too high a heel, so I can negotiate lawn at the garden wedding. My dress is linen, very simple, lovely pale turquoise in color, so I have decided on silver shoes. The other day, I realized I have silver ballet flats. Perhaps I could order a sparkly ornament for them? That would temporarily dress them up, I would be comfortable and stable on all surfaces. Except that my pedi would not show. And I am proud of my pedi. Well, one has to sacrifice for children, n'est-ce pas? Like shackling myself to this machine till 16-18 runners are all stitched up. Really, it is a happy thing. And when it is done, I have promised myself I can lay an oil palette!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Funny thing has happened. Since I started taking the new hormone, I am not as hot and bothered any more, despite triple digit temps here on the summer solstice. And I wasn't as cold last week when I had to fire up the tower heater again, we dipped so low. Well, the weather here has always been schizophrenic, even when I was a child. I shivered my way through swimming lessons in the morning fog for years. Only the beginners got sunshine, at 11 AM. Maybe that is why I was a beginner for so long? Anyhow, I got big butt to the gym today, second day in a row, and got to do a full workout, and felt like flying when I left. Endorphins will do that to you. Then I got all altruistic and gave a gal a ride to the noon women's meeting. Plans for a movie fell through, so I headed to the library to return books due tomorrow (very diligent now, an amends for all the overdue tomes I had as a kid) and to Costco for another bottle of wonder pills. Oh, and I changed the bed this morning. All in all, a full day already, and I have more coming when I head for the Bridging the Gap meeting tonight, a service committee of AA that takes newcomers to their first meeting after rehab. Feeling pretty recovered here at the moment. That can change in a heartbeat, though, so, trudging on.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Open your mouth, something good to eat just drops in? Ah, those days are over. Well, they really never were for me. My mother fed me canned peas. Horrid stuff. And now, I have, of course, my eating philosophy - if it isn't luscious, I am not eating it. No more fig newtons or rice cakes. Don't care if they are good for me. I just had a lovely chicken salad with broccoli slaw and shredded carrots and Mandarin oranges and toasted slice almonds with sesame soy dressing. Yummy. And strawberry ice cream, just a little bit, made with coconut milk, low in calories and fat, high in satisfaction. That is my way of being these days - good to my little self, who has spent most of her life floundering around, doing all kinds of things that wounded her, and is now in the long and rewarding process of healing. The art helps. The art continues to surprise me. I thought this was a lost cause for the longest time. And now, just look. It's kind of magical, the art. It really just does itself. No mind involved. Amazing.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Summer arrived with a vengeance today, two days early according to my calendar. The thermometer is in triple digits, about 30 degrees over yesterday. Gee, that was fast! Especially since we really haven't even seen spring yet. It kind of missed us this year. Well, I keep doing what I do. Went over to see my folks for Father's Day. Took them a pie. Hell, I have bought a thousand shirts, hundreds of golf balls (he's 91, not doing that now), a ton of See's Candies and innumerable bottles of Bailey's and Korbel Brandy. A chocolate pie is probably a good idea, yes? They can both enjoy it, if, at their advanced age, they can enjoy anything. My brother came by at the same time, and I got to watch as my dad shot down the Giants, knowing how fanatical my brother is about them. Nothing has changed there. He used to do the same thing to me about the 49ers. Strange people, my folks. Nevertheless, despite heat and my bizarre relatives, I am full of gratitude today. I think I have solved my shoe dilemma re little kiddo's upcoming wedding - shoe ornaments for my silver ballet flats! It is a garden wedding, and heels are not a good idea on the lawn, or for long periods of standing, either. I'll just dress up these little sweethearts a bit, and I am good to go. I went to my usual 2 PM Sunday meeting, heard an inspirational speaker, and cruised by In and Out for dinner. Now comfortably full of hamburger without onions, fries, and chocolate shake, $5.69. Also, a diet root beer. Life is good. New painting coming up just fine, with help from new pigments I got yesterday at Dick Blick. Pretty happy here. Oh, and I ran into my cousin playing the piano at a local shopping center. Hadn't seen him in decades. He recognized me! I must be doing something right.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Making one hell of a mess in this particular piece. Had to run to Berkeley for more choices of pigments. Oh, well. Putting it aside for a while. Meahwhile, back at the ranch, it seems to be a time of discontent. Nothing that will linger for very long, but doing some inventory taking here, most of it mine, and then, gee, there I am in someone else's all of a sudden. Getting out my manual for living and examining my inner landscape, always a fruitful endeavor. T'will all come out in the wash. Which reminds me, there's a load in the dryer even as we speak.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Just got home from the gym, and looked at this painting, thinking it might be done. Putting it aside for now, and starting something different. Part of my process is that I am easily bored and need lots of stimulation to keep my engine going. And I am always doing something. Let us hope that something is not eating. The thyroid hormone made me ravenously hungry in the beginning. It seems to have leveled off now so that I am no longer obsessing about the TJ cookies up on the top shelf. I didn't even buy any yesterday when I popped in after my workout. Got broccoli slaw and shredded carrots and ranch dressing and non-fat milk and whole wheat sourdough bread and diet root beer and two bananas. Now, that's a cartfull of health if there ever was one. Oh, and some vegetarian burritos, really yummy with avacado and Greek yogurt on top last night for dinner. I am now contemplating the last two pieces of pineapple upside down cake. Perhaps I will just have that for lunch, skip the main course? Really, I worked off those calories already!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Just when I had it all cleaned up, it happened again. If the level of the mess is indicative of the level of no-mind, well, this one is coming out of the ether, for sure. And I understand why they give mental patients art therapy. You would think it would be about analysis of the final product. Probably, from the therapist's point of view, it is. From the mental patient's viewpoint, it is an opportunity to rise out of her own mire of misery into another place, one where spirit reigns. I feel like a mental patient today. Stuff is spinning around inside me, as I try to figure it out. Experience says to just drop it, solution will come creeping up on its own. And what better way to do that than to scrape away with chalk on paper? In the end, there is the product, a dividend that arises out of the divine presence. Yes. Good idea. Don't think. Just paint.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I kept working on the bird and smearing the lower right of the painting, over and over again. I have now put it in the folder with the other birds, where I cannot do it any more damage. Don' t think there is anything I can do to improve it, either. Guess I could neaten it up? Yeah, but then, it wouldn't be my work. My signature is imperfection, all over the place. Easy goal to attain, that one. Proud of the work I have been doing. It has all been really challenging in this very picky medium. Getting any measure of precision is a process that can be very frustrating.
Took a break Monday and schlepped off to the gym, first time they have seen my face in a while. The trouble with taking time off is that I usually have to start over with teensy weensy weights. Not so this time. Apparently, the hormone also enhances strength, because it all seemed easy. So easy that I went back Tuesday, did the full routine complete with a swim after. That pushed the envelope, and left me limp as overcooked spaghetti. Now recovering before going back tomorrow. It's all good, after all. Yay, me!
Monday, June 13, 2011
Soooooo happy to be taking this nifty little thyroid hormone. I took the old bod to the gym today, filled with apprehension since I had not been there for a couple of weeks, which usually means huffing and puffing and lifting weinie weights that don't do my muffin top or saddlebags any good at all. Surprise! I was less winded than I have ever been, worked out at full weights, felt great when I was done. Going back tomorrow for more. Going to whittle away at all the lumpy sections, get all firmed up. That and my new skin regime, lots of retinol, day and night, and I should look like 30 again by the time the wedding comes along. Well, maybe not. At least I will have given it a good shot. After the gym, I did Costco, always a delight, got one of those rotisserie chickens to gnaw away on over the next week. Then I put this image on paper, the beginning of something interesting, I think. Lots of value contrast. Already have 5 or 6 layers here. Leaving a lot of pigment laid down instead of smearing it around like I usually do. Very illuminating results. More to do, of course. Oh, hell, there's always more to do.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Holy cow, I am tired of this image. I like it, it was fun to do, and I spent forever making those ripples in the water. Really challenging. And boring. And the cowwoman is easily bored, and chomping at the bit to get on with another image. Please let this one be done. Really, only HP knows when that is. I have filed it in the bird folder, where it will be reviewed soon for any possible revisions. As are all the bird opus. Everything is subject to review in the cowwoman's life. That is the way my life seems to happen. Act, then think. Then apologize and think again. Working on thinking BEFORE acting. That is a challenge, for sure. I could spend the rest of my life on that one endeavor. And probably will.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Spring has at last sprung. Mild and sunny, with nice cooling breeze, perfect weather for a walk, yet here I am, still in my ballet flats from my morning sojourn out to my meeting, shopping, and otherwise being my public self. Have been diddling away at this image, and what was I thinking, anyway? Water! Well, it is coming up, and strange as it may seem, I always see more from a photo than I can from the actual piece, and I have some ideas now how to render it. Not unhappy, so far. Amazing birds, herons. In case you don't know, I am having a whole lot of fun with this medium. Today, I picked up a set of inexpensive, student quality pastels to use in underpainting. The wondrous Sennelier sticks will finish the job, and hopefully not evaporate quite so quickly. Cowwoman is a little short, since the IRS noticed the little error I made on my return this year. Well, I got to keep that $270 for a couple more months, anyway. May be time to market myself, make some extra $$$.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Yet, still not done. I have an environment to work from, so debating about the level of detail I need, or don't need. This version will sit on the counter for a while. I need to mull here. Layer upon layer, the scene emerges. Gee, is there a better way to spend one's life? Can't think of it at the moment. Oh, and between layers, I mowed the pseudo-lawn, trimmed all the overgrown bushes in front, and swept up the walkway. Brownie points in heaven, for sure.
There is a mystical moment for me in every painting, when I see my efforts begin to coalesce like a new universe out of the nothingness of color and strokes. Sometimes, it is difficult for me to hang in there until that moment, but I always know it is coming, can feel it welling up. Epiphany happens. It is exciting. It keeps me working. Simple images, these creatures, and they have a certain majesty. They know who they are, and what to do. That in itself makes them superior to me. My authentic self is still in the process of discovery. And, every day, I cast about for the next right thing to do or say. Some things are a given. I will watch my soap opera every weekday, except when some blasted tennis match or Olympic games preempt it. I will eat three meals, take a bath every other day (the old earthsuit cannot tolerate every day anymore, and gee, I don't sweat very often, anyway), feed the dogs, check my email. All important tasks. Beyond that, everything else is a surprise. And that is what retirement is, a perpetual surprise. No one is expecting me to show up anywhere on a regular basis. Of course, there was school, when I was a geriatric student. But, in all honesty, the teachers never expected any of us to show up. They dropped out like flys. I guess I am the only one that hopes I will show up every day. Well, that works for me.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
I suppose that Nature knows what She is doing, and mothers just naturally take care of young ones. Unless, of course, they are human mothers, then, despite our huge pre-frontal brain, the one that makes us so much more superior than, say, this tern, we are clueless how to take care of our babies. Doctors write books. Mothers read them. Doctors are wrong, sometimes. Babies grow up all bent when they were meant to be straight and strong. Okay, I sound a little bitter today. It is the day before my birthday, which was the day my appearance disappointed everyone because I was not a male heir, but a tiny peanut of a girl, who grew up to be a tall, meaty German/Scots/Irish gal, very smart but terribly conflicted. Couldn't stay in any of my marriages. Somehow, I kept changing. Still doing that today, will never be static, not as long as I draw breath and stand vertically. Hope that is no longer a disappointment. The old guard is now happy to see me. That is new, actually. And long awaited, too. I feel more like the baby bird than the majestic mother most of the time. At least, I am capable now of imagining being the angelic mother sometimes. Took a lot of healing to get that far. And 67 years on the Big Blue Ball.
Monday, June 06, 2011
I never liked this work, just filed it on the bottom of the pile. Today, I made little folders out of the backs of a few paper pads, and sorted out the lemons for some reworking. Now, it kind of works, I think. It helped that I now have more pigments, thank you Riley Street for the nice sale. Cannot rely on mixing colors as much as I do with paint. Hell, I use only 6 or 7 pigments in both acrylic and oils these days. I can mix anything with a warm and cool red, blue, yellow, a white and a raw umber. Not so with these little sticks. Well, not so much, because I have done it, but pure pigment seems to be the way to go. Lusting after the full set of over 500 that Sennelier offers. When I have that here in the little yellow house, you will know I have sold something BIG.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
SALE! Today was the last day of the spring sale at Riley Street, that mecca for artists, the art supply store. Gee, how could I resist 40% off on pastels? Those little sticks are usually $5 each. And I trash them really fast here. One thing I will never be is neat. While I admire those who can demonstrate this virtue, for myself, I think it is kind of boring. Part of my charm is that I am all over the place with my pigments and implements, and with most of everything else I have in my little yellow house. Perhaps soon I will get things in order. Well, anyway, on this gray Sunday, I piddled around with this image, which I think is called The Little Woman. He looks like he is giving her what for, and she is happily handling it. Didn't do that on purpose, it just came out that way. It's always like that, you know, just keep working and whatever is supposed to be there will be, in the end. Kind of a mystical thing.
Well, it rained yesterday. And I had this new white linen outfit, very loose and flowy, very springy, all picked out to wear to my daughter and son-in-law-to-bes' couple's shower two hours south of here. My shoe choice was little flowery white thongs. Definitely, they were out. So I bought new shoes, silver ballet flats, to keep my toes dry, and wore my new clothes anyway. To break up my drive, I stopped at the upscale shopping center halfway through my trip to check out Anthropologie because they sent me a 15% off coupon for the whole month of June, my birthday month. I really stuck out there in my white linen. I just plowed forth like a sleek ocean liner amongst the freighters in their dark, winter garb. Usually, I am the one in the right season while everyone else errs. Yesterday, that was problematical. I arrived early, and there were no other cars present, so I backtracked to the corner shopping center and bought a book at CVS, a Jonathan Kellerman I have not read, and would like to, even if I were not caught without a book and 45 minutes to wait, so it was not a loss, no, not at all. At 15 minutes before the appointed hour, I pulled up at the same time as daughter and her guy, and my ex and his gal. It had stopped raining, which was propitious as my gift was this big basket full of linens and goodies, and it would have been impossible to juggle it, an umbrella, and the 30 lb. purse I think I need to carry. Despite meeting up with some of my ex-family, it was a delightful day. The crowning touch was that I had chosen off the registry for my gift, big fluffy white towels with tan stripes. I just thought sweetpot would like them. I bought them on Wednesday. And she told me that Friday, they registered for the same towels! Linens, it seems, are seasonal and one cannot register too soon for them. We are in tune, little kiddo and I. Sweet day. And it makes the wedding less daunting. Joy and sorrow live on different sides of the same coin, you know. And it flips rather easily for this little person.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Twenty-two years ago, I quit smoking, hopefully for the last time. That means that I have now not smoked for as many years as I did. To commemorate my success, I bought myself lots of presents today, like several new pieces for my new, all-natural-fiber look, and a pair of silver Sketchers, which make me smile every time I look at my feet. And that also means my dreaded birthday looms, the big 67. As fond as my friends and I are of sitting around congratulating ourselves on how good we all look, that is still a hella-lot of years under the proverbial bridge. Okay, maybe 60 is the new 40 (or 50, I forget), I am closer to 70 than 60, lots closer than I realized. Sigh. Okay, now that's over. Today's image is from the days in the house on the edge of the world, a bouquet a neighbor brought over on my birthday in a Ball jar, which he asked be returned to him. He grew the flowers in a huge garden festooned with silver ribbons on wires to keep the deer away. I gave this painting to my wild man artist. He always liked it. I remember having a lot of fun doing it, and feeling kind of ambivalent about the outcome, but now wish I had it back. Remembering is good, yes? I am deciding, yes.