Thursday, March 30, 2006

Back in Black

Gregg P.sent this image in. Thanks Gregg, cool treatment, and that's just about how things feel occasionally.
But not today.
A bit of sleep, some food---okay, lots of food. Last night Ben took us all to Simba's, a soul food restaurant in Palm Springs owned by an absolutely charming family, that has a buffet to shame any Deep South church supper from any era. I had collard greens, black eyed peas, gumbo, grits and gravy, corn bread from heaven, fried okra, candied yams and ribs cooked to the absolute approval of my dead great-grandmother Annie McCarey Phillips.

I am HEALED, I tell you. (They don't call it soul food for nothin')

Pete and I saw V for Vendetta. Next week I'll take Aubrey to see it, then for coffee afterwards, because the movie begs questions with complex answers to be considered and discussed with her, sitting down. After all, her education is our responsibility, for now. As always, mostly it's to teach her to think for herself.
Listening to her, I begin to believe the job is nearly done.
Three down, one to go.

If I owe you a rat or other sculpture, feel free to nag me. Otherwise, rest assured they are all going out very soon.

More sleep now. There is art waiting to be made.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006


In the studio yesterday I began to show signs of burnout. It was time to walk away. I hesitated, but thankfully, Ben was there to say, "Get Out." For the rest of the day I did nothing more complicated than laundry. Orion and I made a tent of the garden swing and peeked out at the approaching rain clouds.

I braked the brain before it braked me. There was no use trying to work through it. I wasn't sure when I started this work marathon, but I knew, for the moment, it was ended.
To tell the truth, I didn't even know what day it was.
But it was---is-- time to rest and reload. And drink lots of water.

Last night I fell asleep watching the Discovery channel. Pete woke me offering water---I was coughing in my sleep, he said. I'd been dreaming. There had been a weird tornado thing going on and lots of little squares of glass had pierced my cheeks. I was trying to spit them out of my mouth.

Later in the morning there were dinosaurs everywhere. It was sunny and I was dragging the kids inside. The dinosaurs were roaring. I woke again, to the noise of heavy machinery digging up our neighbor's garage floor. It sounded as though our house was coming down too. It sounded like the roaring of very large animals.


I spent most of today in a sort of fog. Ben dragged me to a thrift store for books. I mostly stared at the spines. Occasionally something scary would pop out---there were a couple of Pat Robertson books. I did find an old anthology with a Gene Wolfe story I've never read. Well, Ben found it and put it into my hands. I must have held onto it because here it is on the desk.

We had something for lunch. What was it? Burnout can be like seeing a film with subtitles while wearing the wrong eyeglasses---if you're lucky. It can be much, much worse.

But now it's midnight and I'm going to sleep. I think I'll leave the television off.


Monday, March 27, 2006

The Ravyn

Here is She, the Ravn, creating things behind the camera. She calls herself my gopher, but sometimes she runs me in circles. She is my webmaster, and sometimes more---I feel her subtle tug on my puppet's strings.
She loves horses (her own, in particular) and buttons that say things. She is multi-talented and has a wicked streak but mostly is very cool and today is her birthday.

Happy Birthday, Ravyn!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Work and happiness

I am still (happily) deep into studio work, finishing up the last three pieces for the new gallery. Ravyn, in the meantime, is deep into finishing the nuts and bolts and complexities of making an online gallery work well.

She says it would be really cool if I stop sending her distracting stuff. In other words, leave me alone and let me work!!!
Heh---those are my words. It's really FUN to be the bugger and not the bug-ee. Wow!

In the meantime, here's a little something that Pete sent to Aubrey, Aubrey sent to me, that makes me happy.

I hope it makes you happy too.

Oh yes, and don't bug Ravyn. She is creating....

Friday, March 24, 2006

What did we expect?

Fat Free Bologna
Ingredients: Turkey ingredients (Turkey, Mechanically separated turkey), Water, Turkey broth, Beef, Modified food starch*, Dextrose, Sodium lactate, Salt, Hydrolyzed beef stock, Carrageeman*, Hydrolyzed gelatin, Flavor, Sodium phosphate, Sodium diacetate, Sodium erythorbate (made from sugar), Extractives of paprika, sodium nitrite.

*exceeds the amounts allowed in regular bologna

Carrageeman is a seaweed product and, of course, gelatin comes from hooves, beaks ?and such. I think my favorite ingredient listed is 'flavor.'

I'm going to the studio now. I may not come out for a while.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

One more. Thought you might like this image.


I remain mostly locked in the studio as Ravyn works to ready the new gallery site. We will have new work up soon and likely at least a couple of studio stories.

Possibly I should never have eaten that crab. Then, perhaps I should have another.

So many creatures, so little time.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Just doing it

Today is a day for going into the studio early and working very late. It's a day for writing things down and using power tools.
It's a day for Orion to give me quick hugs and for Pete to bring me food.

It's a day the work gets done.

Orion thanks you all for birthday wishes and liked when I read him RRNN's poem. You are all very cool.

Pics soon, words soon. Work now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Orion

We are having a Happy Birthday Orion day today.

Earlier conversation:
"You don't want to do that when robots are shooting at you."

"Good idea, Daddy."

Tomorrow I'll be back in the studio but right now it's time for Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Good wishes to all of you...

Lego Star Wars

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Today's forecast

Porcupine Tree
Cibo Matto
Kronos Quartet
Chemical Brothers
dark angels

No blue skies in here...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Postcard Views

We woke to a beautiful desert morning. Deep blue skies, lovely snow-covered mountains, crisp clean sixty degree air.

So,we decided…meh. We picked up things that were blown over and decided to go inside and play.

We visited the Ministry of Silly Walks for ages. I think Orion was the first to stop this one, possibly from sheer parent-shame.

Later, Aubrey joined "Silly Dancing," inspired by her favorite Oui Oui song. We love Oui Oui!

Then there was "Silly-Do-As-I-Do" and "Silly Dance with Puppets."

Later, we played “Melt.” (If you’re wondering, you sit on the sofa together, and go limp and slide like pudding off the edge.)

We played, “Let’s Eat Carbs!”

We watched the Michel Gondry directed video for “Around the World” by Daft Punk. Then we played it again and danced like robots.

Then, for no reason, we jumped around for awhile. I now know how long I can continuously jump in place. It's not all that long.

Now I shall get myself to work. There is art to be done as there was fun to be had.

Pete and I saw Night Watch last week. I’ll leave the movie review to those better at reviews than I. I will say that I thought the first 15 minutes or so were really, really outstanding. I would definitely recommend it. And I am fairly picky.

A handsome young blonde guy in a size 5 Hulk tee just asked me for please one more dance before I put on my work apron.

I cannot refuse.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

A very unexpected bit of winter in the desert

happ Last week the citrus trees all came into bloom. The scent is incredible, the blossoms beautiful. It's been the typical Palm Springs winter, which feels a lot like spring. But a few days ago we got lots and lots of wind. I was worried that the blossoms would blow away. Then it began to rain and the temperatures dropped unexpectedly. Now the mountains are white and we are possibly taking about a twenty minute drive tomorrow so Orion can play in some snow.
Okay, so we can play in the snow too.

I hope it doesn't get so cold that we lose our citrus, but still, this is really weird and well, sort of fun.

So far, Orion looks pretty non-plussed. We may be back to spring tomorrow. Who knows?

Of course I'm swamped and can't afford to take any more snow days. But for once, I may take a snow day without flying across the continent. I should, um, probably grab this one if it comes around.

I'll let you know.

Palm Canyon Drive

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Today's accidental sort of semi-rant

Pete asked on his way out if I wanted anything from the grocery. I did. I told him to get me a carton of Whoppers.

I think I mentioned the studio has been a busy place. I've turned a blind eye to new ideas, and put my head down to make the pieces I’ve already seen. It’s how the work gets done.

The work is getting done.

My hands look a bit like I’ve taken up cat juggling. I assure you I have not, unless you count Gurtie here on my lap as a really slow motion toss.

There’s no time for a vacation, or even much of a break, so the only substitute really, is a carton of Whoppers, a glass of milk and some REZ. Because, I’ve learned, getting into the zone works like a charm to ease tension. I must check into that one. See what’s known about how that works, exactly.

I offered some Whoppers to Orion, who took the carton, shook out a couple he then handed to me and walked away with the rest. I think he said "thanks" as he rounded the corner.

The What-What?? Was what my mouth said.

In my head, I flashed back to a recent moment in Walmart, that retail Hell, number 666 in the endless strip-mall every town is morphing into before our eyes.
Walmart sells paints and brushes. Walmart sells stains and sandpaper. Walmart even sells Dremmel.

Walmart sells these things cheap. Cheep. Walmart is five minutes away. My tiny soul grows ever blacker.

Ben went along with me. We got separated, which can be a big deal in Walmart. I was about to call him on his cell when I spotted him, gazing at a huge display of plastic Easter eggs. You know, the kind I’ve ranted about before. The kind many a well-meaning grandparent fills with money.

Easter is a religious holiday, celebrated by Christians for the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, after his death by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.

It was weird enough when I was a little girl and there were baby chickens for sale at stores, with their downy baby feathers dyed blue or pink or orange or some other unnatural color. When I woke up on Easter mornings with a chocolate rabbit or egg that didn’t nearly compensate for having to wear a hat and a stiff new dress and go to church for hours.

So I stood and marveled with Ben. There were camouflage eggs, pink camouflage eggs, Spiderman eggs, Superman eggs, Dora the Explorer eggs…it went on for aisles. And there were baskets too…

Tell me, what does a fat kid running around his grandparent’s back yard looking for money-filled Spiderman eggs to stuff into his Darth Vader basket know about Easter?
Likely, nothing. He’s high on Peeps and getting a rash from his new Sunday chinos, already planning to raid his sister’s Barbie basket for Reeses cups and dreaming of what he can spend his change on. At Walmart, of course.

I can’t take it.

So, Orion and I have a talk. We laugh and giggle and settle down in front of the Playstation. We each have a glass of milk and put the candy between us, for sharing.

We talked about sharing and decided that we share because, like most kindnesses, it makes the most sense. It’s logical. Period.

Imagine there’s no Easter Bunny.
Imagine there’s no Walmart.

Is it easy? Should we try?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Case for Jigsaw Pieces

About the puzzle pieces…

When I was little, I looked at things with my telescopic eye. My Telescopic Eye could shut out everything except the one thing I looked at, so that nothing else even existed.

It wasn’t all that hard really, because I didn’t know very much, and nearly everything was new and without context.

My Telescopic Eye is gone now. I know too much. Now things have histories and purposes and meanings.

But when you’re four, and looking through your Telescopic Eye, you can pretty much be the thing you’re looking at. Even if it’s a color. Have you ever been Blue? I remember that I could be, but not at all what it felt like.

Here is the smooth roundness of the picture side of the jigsaw shape, the light catching its shiny surface. There is the sharp gray edge underneath, with just a wisp of paper, no more than dust, caught and torn by the blade that shaped it.

I peer at this snippet of line and color, rotating the piece horizontally, vertically. I'm viewing a magnified detail from a painting or photograph, shown much smaller on the box, effectively hiding the truth of the detail in the lie of its whole. Or vise versa, if you like.
Or better, the image or the box is missing, opening universes of possibilities without names.

So then, what am I looking at? The tip of a petal? The point of a whisker? A stripe across the sky? A road on a map?

The image is one thing, taken as part of some whole. On its own it’s entirely another, with no particular meaning attached except one made up on the spot.

I saw a number of things back then, with my telescopic eye, playing on the cool, smooth wood floor under my grandmother’s huge bed.

Jigsaw puzzles are among them. They are sometimes parts of an unknown whole. They are often pieces of a known whole. They sometimes represent dimensions they don’t own. Their shapes are usually both male and female.

Jigsaw pieces are rife with metaphor, or just meaningless funny shapes. They are paper, which is always made from other things, mostly from things that were once alive.

They are cut out by strange, sharp, noisy and dangerous machines.

I like the way they look, strewn like leaves, or lined up like soldiers.

So, that’s why jigsaw puzzle case you ever wondered.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Neil's Very Big Back Yard

A few weeks ago, I took a long walk in Neil's very big back yard. It's a magical sort of place, even on regular days. But this day, there was a light snow falling, and nearly absolute silence and I was ready to see whatever there was to be seen. It was unexpectedly perfect. Today I needed to stand in the midst of trees and whiteness and quiet again. I thought it would help. It did. I thought you might enjoy the photos I took. So, here they are.

I walked and looked at things without preface. Seeing them just as they were there, in those moments. Now, if I make the effort, I can very nearly experience it again. I'll file it away with other such moments. When I need them most, I can pull them out, turn them over in the hands of my real self.

I stayed out until I could no longer feel my feet. I wanted to stay longer.

Small things up close, the way a child looks at them, seeing all. Little things can become very big indeed.

Peace I could hear and see and feel.

Dark stories in here.




Friday, March 03, 2006

Ben's Empty Slot - Filled

Another busy studio day. Sitting here after midnight I am reminded that studio work is physical stuff indeed. Ouch. But it does soften the minds keening whine. Ahhhh. Ouch.
She is down, down, down. It's a small window, so get your kicks in while you can.

The discussion turned to religion, as studio discussions sometimes do. Yes, Ben, I am a dreamer. I hope eventually humanity will outgrow it.
Ben says religion is hardwired into humanity.
I say religion is not. The question is hardwired.

Ben wants to talk about the new pope. The prophesy that this one or the next, soon, pope and city, will be moonbound. Boom. Pow. Ben has a weakness for cheesy books.
I say whatever comedy he may have squeezed out of that one is long gone.

What about marriage? Is society moving toward a different sort of arrangement?
Where one (religion) goes, the other may follow.

Ben presses the heels of his hands into his eyes. I ask him what is the matter. He says his head hurts and he likes the pressure.
Really? I ask him and then, Does this help?
I touch a small box with holes from which bursts the It's a Small World melody in high, shrill electronic tones.
Ben says he's extremely proud of me. I recognized his moment of pain as a prime opportunity for a little karmic payback. The box is for a sculpture, no doubt. Not the red baby. Something else.

He winces while beaming, which is a facial expression I am incapable recreating, or even describing.
"Listen," he says a hand cupped to his ear, "You're even tormenting the neighborhood dogs."

Sure enough, a chorus of howling begins to overtake the notes.

We agree that we believe religion isn't hardwired. It's the question of purpose. What are we? Why are we here? It's the empty slot that must be filled. Religion can provide answers that don't require explanation.

So, right. We're hungry for the answers to the burning questions of our existence, but, as a whole, lazy enough to accept the first explanation offered.

This is depressing.

We turn our conversation to Ben's recent ingestive mishap. He thinks badly pickled cauliflower is the culprit. I say if he was eating pickled cauliflower he deserves what he got, which began with vomiting and ended with a rash on his face.
He should stay home from work when feeling so. I'm fairly certain he scared my gardener away. He sounded like a bear with his head in a bucket. Always lovely.
I suggested he might just this moment harbor the virulent strain that might ultimately wipe out humanity.

He says "Now that fulfills me."

I'm going to make myself a chocolate rat, and eat it. I am way too tired for typing.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's been intensely busy in the studio. Though Orion did hang in a bit with us, doing a little Elf Bowling. You can see a bit of the new "Strange Fish" painting in progress and, of course, lots of studio mess. Oh yes, and the Ben in the background, likely up to no good. Orion wears his favorite hat, which he says makes the machines quiet.

And, he says, we talk entirely too much.

Sigh. Yes, Big Scotty, I think, can be a bit of a ham.

Big Scotty's Close Up

He's a good-looking guy. He knows I have a weakness for redheads.

Big Scotty, Himself

So here is Big Scotty. He's a big proud (naturally) Scot. Ravyn will be releasing himi on the site 'officially' very soon.