Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 12

We finished Chapter V, in which Bilbo finds the ring, meets gollum, out-riddles gollum, discovers the nature of the ring and uses it to escape goblins, again.

This is an old house, and when it's not locked, the kitchen door wants to be open. It can open itself only on the coldest of days, when the wood has shrank just the right amount. After reading I went in to get orange juice and saw the door ajar. Just enough for a cat to squeeze through. Outside I go, with flashlight and a bag of treats. It was only a few minutes before she zipped by without a sound. And so, around and around the cold, dark pool we went, behind the greenhouse, through the fence gates (her over them, via tree branches) as if we were playing a game in the dark. No riddles here. The game is that she is the cat and I the fool who follows, rattling a bag of treats and pretending, ridiculously, that she belongs to me. Finally we ended up right back at the kitchen door and when I opened it and the light spilled out, she walked through as if she'd received an embossed invitation. I got an invigorating, head-clearing walk in the cold air and Soosi got her point across. She owns me.

No metaphor here, or lesson learned. It's just what happened before I sat down here to write. Most of the day was spent reshelving books and painting. Working, thinking and listening to music. A quiet and uneventful day for me, a break from worries, both mine and the world's. But I know they're right outside, no matter how I lose myself in pink shades, brushes and textures. And I know there's no escaping them because, speck that I am, I'm a part of it all. And so are you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 11

Finally we did the organizing we'd talked about and put off for months. It's the sort of rearranging of rooms involving moving bookshelves (and sorting their books), moving computers and game systems (and sorting their wires and cables) and rearranging the art on the walls. No shortage of yaks to shave there either.
A project not to be taken lightly. It's a commitment, not to be abandoned once begun and not to be finished in a day. It becomes very like a slider puzzle, or worse yet, a Rubik's Cube. With dust. With dust and a cat capering about for added chaos. Eventually, order begins to grow out of the stacks and jumbles and the finish can at least be imagined.

Given the wide range of types of problems to solve, I'll take this sort over most. Problems involving things are infinitely easier than problems with people.
It's rainy and cold, gray and gloomy outside. It's indeed possible for palm trees to look sad. Aubrey and Orion ventured outside and she took photos of wet and gloomy and of Orion, who is neither.
Tonight, Orion and I finish Chapter IV, leaving our band of dwarves, hobbit and wizard in the clutches of goblins once again, this time in the dark underground. I encourage him to ask questions, especially about words he doesn't know. Tonight he learns what a feed bag is and, interestingly, that questions tend to get answered as we read along. Often the answer to what worries us is just around the edge of the next sentence. So we might do well to worry less and keep moving along.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 10

These ideas arrive in their own time, not mine. Like a change in the wind, I can feel for days what's coming. It's like that sometimes. But not always, and not this time.

Sometimes, ideas walk in without ceremony, without comment, and not even a click of warning from the door. Sometimes, they're just here.

They're here Today, an odd and inconvenient Tuesday of things to do and not enough sleep last night.
It was mostly Soosi, waking me and then Orion waking me after Soosi woke him. Chaotic, delirious, tempestuous Cat! There was that. And then a worry dream of the sort where you suddenly remember you've forgotten something important---like a class (for a week), or that you had birds to feed. That you have a Great Dane, forgotten and neglected downstairs. Those dreams.
And then, this afternoon, Soosi peed in the toilet. I walked by Orion's bathroom to discover her sitting there on the rim, looking straight at me as she went. She straightened up for a moment, then hopped down. I watched her walk away without a word. I didn't say anything either. I still don't know what to say about that one.

And now, here, this torrent of vision and concept. Personified, the Muse. Did I say 'inconvenient?' I didn't mean it.

Because here's the thing about the influx of ideas---it's always welcomed, and graciously so, on an inconvenient Tuesday or impossible Saturday. It would incredibly arrogant to expect inspiration to work around my schedule. Even more so when I have choices about when to act on it. Today I choose to keep doing what I'm doing, which is making a cool little music box. Still, I let the ideas in, I offer up my concentration, along with the substantial energy required to consider, experience and pay homage to each in turn. Today, I don't need to write anything down. I can choose not to. They're in there, in the mix, for later.

Now, I'm off to read The Hobbit with Orion. It's our third night and Bilbo and company have just narrowly escaped the goblins. I'm privileged to get to read these words again, and so deeply happy to be with Orion as he hears them for the first time.

What an odd Tuesday. What a rich Tuesday. Tonight, I'll very likely sleep.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 9

Driving home on Dinah Shore. I know the name beyond the golf tournament--she was still pretty hot stuff in black and white when I was but a toddling tot. Even later on I always got her mixed up with the other blond Hollywood hottie--Doris Day. Didn't help that they were both singers too. At best I conjure some sort of Malibu Barbie amalgom. I try harder, but I can't remember either of their faces. But I remember Frankie.

Frankie lived with a fiftyish blond woman named Julie, in a rambling bungalo across the street from our Big Blue House in Georgia. They were quite the couple, those two. Today I'd know them as hoarders, but not then. It was the eighties, and I'm not even sure psychiatrists used the term yet, but hoarders they were. Stuff hoarders, and animal horders. Dogs outside, cats inside and no shortage of either. They had a deep, friendly front porch with comfortable chairs to sit in, tables for snacks or cards and monsterous ferns with bird's nests tucked between the fronds.

Inside that front door, from foyer to stoop, boxes, bins and bags lined every surface from floor to 15 foot ceiling, save for a labrynth of narrow paths covered in all sorts of small rugs protecting the hardwood underneath.

The smell from the cats was unbearable, really bad enough to sting our eyes, so we'd visit on that confortable porch, or they'd come over to see my latest work. Julie was an avid reader, but Frankie had eye problems, so mostly listened to music, wore lots of plaid and complained adoringly about Julie and her cats. They had their groceries delivered and I only rarely saw their car--some antique brown thing, all secrets and soft curves. That car was a girl.

I adored Julie too. It wasn't hard. She was just like that. But what's got me tonight is Frankie. A conversation with Frankie. Frankie and me having lunch at Dukes, an icon of a diner in Augusta. Frankie leaning toward me over the table, taking my hand and telling she'd never really felt old until she met me. That her first crush had been on Doris Day and that her second, and last, was on me. She told me, as I sat stunned into silence, that I reminded her much of Doris. That my features were not finely sculpted, she told me. Ouch. But hat I had a glow that was irresistable to her--that had her name on it. She said that, in the two years since we met I'd put her through quite the gamut of self examination. Why Doris? Why Lisa?

"I don't know what to say," I told her. She explained that there was no need. We were friends. It was a crush. She loved Julie. Had loved Julie for over twenty years and would love Julie for the rest of her life. But I was going away for good, moving to California, and she thought I should know. Or at least, she wanted me to.

Julie and I exchanged a few letters in the months after I came to the desert. A couple of calls. The last time she called was to tell me that Frankie had died. Julie was going to live with a relative, a niece, I believe. After that, I didn't hear from her again. I could've tried harder. I could've realized she was important to me. I was working a lot. And I knew less then about how space folds and how little geography actually matters.
But today, I remember Frankie, her boots and her plaid shirts. How we once lost one of Julies infernal cats, replaced it with a look-alike that didn't fool Julie for a second, and how the missing cat turned up just hours later. And how we laughed.
But mostly, I remember Frankie and how she taught me that we never can know what another person is thinking, even someone we see every single day. And that mostly, the best we can do for anyone is to appreciate them for exactly who they are.

Goodnight, Frankie.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 8

It's 4:30 in the afternoon. I'm lying on the sofa with an old Galaxy Magazine (December 1967.) I'm reading Poul Anderson's "Outpost of Empire," but starting to doze. Orion builds an XBox avatar for himself, with cat and light sabre. The music reminds me of "Finding Nemo" and I'm yanked backwards to the winter we moved into this house. The past can do that at any time, without warning. It's the past and none of us can escape it.

Orion in diapers still, cold air outside, and Nemo over and over because the cable isn't live yet and because Nemo makes him giggle and grin and clap his hands together.

There I am, filled with the anticipation that comes with both a move and a baby, I can hear Alison and Aubrey excitedly claiming their own rooms. There I am, not knowing some of the things I wish I didn't know now. It's not a good day for looking back.

Mercifully, the music changes.

Not a good day for going forward either. As ready as I believe I am to get back to work, my brain isn't ready. It's the day after Christmas and no matter how rationally I may approach the holiday, it still takes a toll of energy and resources and now, like millions of fellow humans, I'm feeling the punch. Trying to work now would become a dance of what I want to do and what I must do. It's a stupid dance of indecision with way too much spinning.

It's not a good day for thinking either, because thinking on the day after a holiday turns to worry, or worse. It's human nature. I didn't make it up, do some research if you like.

Still, I couldn't get the tree out of here fast enough. It's just the way I fly.

Now the sun's gone and we have hours of dark before bedtime. It's not a good day for writing either. But I said I would, and it seems to me that on the day after Christmas, an effort is good enough. Anything else I want to do will still be there tomorrow. I'm going back to the sofa, with snacks and a blanket for Orion and me.

Robert Silverberg and Larry Niven will see me through and tomorrow will be exactly what it's promised to be, another day.

It's a good day for reading.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 6, Day7

Day 6 and Day 7

Christmas Eve. Christmas Day.

Living them, wishing you well as you live yours.

Day 5

I wrote quite a lot of nicely arranged words about how we record our holidays with beautiful photos selected from bunches of crappy ones. I wrote about how I dyed (not 'colored') my hair today. I wrote more words about rocking out to Korn in the bathroom.
But Blogger ate it all.

I could try to recreate it, but my drink is gone and it's thirty minutes after midnight and I'm really, really tired.

So possibly this entry is about appreciating the poetry of words while accepting that sometimes we just have to take the laundry list and move on.
That said, I've posted a couple of nicely composed photos and some of the ones that helped make those possible.
So the gist of what I wrote was:

I dyed my hair red today.
Old people like to rock out, e.g. Slayer. (or, I remember college)
Possibly, our throw-away photos are the ones that tell the real stories.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 4

stolen with appreciation for whomever created this LOL.

The cat follows me. The idea of the cat. That cat. Schrodinger's cat. The equation eludes me. By just... that... much. Dammit! Almost had it that time. Together, they haunt me.

I'm driving in the rain, at night. Somehow, somewhere via some association I can't remember, Schrodinger's damned cat got connected to driving in the rain, at night. This desert doesn't receive rain well. Possibly it knows it was once under the sea. Possibly it wants to be there again. We're all sand underneath, nothing to absorb moisture, so when it pours, it floods. Ramon Road runs long and I'm on it, in Thousand Palms, trying to get back home. Already I've altered my route several times to accommodate closed streets and now I find myself in enough water to be losing traction, four-wheel-drive or not. I proceed carefully. The water is brown with sand and other debris, and moving pretty fast.

And still that damned cat haunts me. It picks and claws at reality. Perception. Finally I get through this area to a traffic light. It's dark out here. Not so many street lights. Maybe some are out. That's the thing about this particular cat. It forces us to think about perception. This day, so dark and gloomy it was never really day. And the moon tonight, so bright the clouds stand out darkly beautiful against the ink of the sky beyond. It's not a real night. It's damned claustrophobic.

I'm waiting at that light forever. Thanks, Albert. Earlier, Iwalked downtown, remembering harsh words exchanged with Spencer. We had a stupid argument about...artistic differences. Funny, how arguments are like funnels, vortexes, black holes that pull in all sorts of unrelated things, personal insecurities waiting silently at the dark edges. Silly fucking humans, picking at lint while our houses burn.

Did I forget my wallet? There was some confusion before I got into the car. I took it out to get cash. Laid it on the counter to answer Orion's call...did I put it back? I glance at my purse on the seat. The wallet. I think hard, both hands on the wheel. I'm not reaching for the purse, I'm in too damned much water. Is it there or not?
I have no way of knowing for sure. Without recollection, there is only probability. Therefore, the wallet is both there and not there until I look.

Of course it is. And isn't.

It just doesn't matter. Finally, the light changes. I want to get back to my own cat, make things right with Spencer and sit on the sofa in my pajamas with hot chocolate. I'm not good at holidays, don't care for flooding. I miss the studio. In there, things make sense. I think I'll install a chalk board.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 3

Day 3

It's raining.

It's rained all day. I woke to it. I woke late and naked. I don't remember the last time I woke late and naked. There were dreams of trying to get to an intersection, an address given to me by someone on my phone. I was in the city. It was bright. Sunlight glinted off the corners of buildings, throwing everything into paper-sharp outline. The dream ends as the window on my phone fills with water. I wake and the house is silent. Everyone is gone and rain patters on the tiles outside.

Shopping today. There are only a few gifts to buy. I planned better this year, avoiding the rush. But there are always errands. Everything is wet. The sky is gray but the water reflects and refracts the light so that colors seem brighter against the gloom. Sounds have sharp edges. I'm about to turn left but I see the man standing on the island across the street. He's under a yellow umbrella and holding a sign. His back is to me and his sign is for the benefit of traffic leaving the shopping center. I know I'll have to be quick not to block the cars in the intersection behind me. As I pull the car up, I can see his pants are soaked from the knees down and he has a small spotted dog in one arm, partly inside his jacket. "Sir," I call to him, handing a few Ones through my window. When he turns to take the bills, I look into his face and my heart skips, time stops and I'm pretty sure I'm not breathing. Because his face... his face is the face of an angel. Such kindness, such knowing, such sadness. "Thank you," he says. I answer, something. Probably I told him he was welcome. I drove on. What is this man doing here? Standing on this corner in the rain? How does a person of such beauty come to be here, at a Target shopping center on a rainy day in the desert? Couldn't I have given more?

I drive away, feeling a little lost, as though I've forgotten something. Is it that I want to help him? Do I want to save him? No. I want him to save me.

Since when do I need saving?

I consider going back, driving around again to give him more money. Why would I do that? Because he's beautiful? There's nothing right about doing that. There are homeless people and scammers all over this desert. I treat them all the same. I decided a long time ago to give a couple of dollars, whatever small change I had on hand, to each such encounter. What's to think about? I don't have a lot of extra money. I don't have a lot of time or energy to spend determining whether the person asking for a handout is genuine or not. What does it matter?

I didn't see what his sign said. I wonder, now, how it was that he managed to hold the umbrella, the sign and the dog and still reach out for the money. A few miles down the road and I can't quite remember his face. How is that even possible after its effect on me? His hair fell in dark, wet ringlets. He had a bit of a beard over a handsome chin. His eyes...I can't remember the color. I can't explain exactly what struck me so. Wet pants, bright umbrella, spotted dog. The light.

It's this strange, wet light. It's on my face too, coming through the windshield, punctuated by the wipers. I feel exposed in that light. Unworthy. Exposed to that light which, even as I become aware of it, dims as an unseen sun drops beyond the rim of mountains made invisible by those thick gray clouds. Days end early in the desert, and this is the shortest of all.

The rain patters on the asphalt and I'm driving home. Suddenly, I want the holidays to be done with. I want to forget about angels and get back to work.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 2

I've awakened too early, from the middle of a dream where the skies were richest blue with Magritte clouds and the landscape was flat roads and golden grass moving in the wind. I was in a house, spacious and airy, with broad fireplaces and tall, marble fountains. I lived there, but it was not my own. I was trying to figure something out. The something involved squares and I was trying to figure it out quickly, because something terrible was coming. I was afraid.

It seems that often our dreams are for working things out-- addressing concerns that exist in our waking lives. Everyone has worries, even children. In dreams, problems and fears can become puzzles and monsters. In those places, they carry as much weight as anything in 'real' life. When we wake, the distance is great and traveled fast. The dream memory is too fragile for translation and often lost, leaving only feelings. Or sometimes there's a residue of intricate details but no story.

It's the cat, or other normal house noise that's yanked me back here. I've returned reluctantly. Even as the pieces fall away, a scream of protest echoes in my ears. My own voice? I can't be sure, but I'm sure I'm not ready for...what?

The day. Skies cloudy. Rain, rainy.

General Specific. Sheep in the Big City. Excellent cartoon.

Also a term Aubrey and I adopted for an idea. The idea being that fairly often, specific complaints are symptoms of a single, general one. For example, a litany of gripes--- all the little things going wrong in a day ---versus a general gripe like hunger, a tortuously uncomfortable bra or lack of sleep. The specifics are often symptoms of a general. Fix the general problem and the other things settle out.

True enough, today I have unfinished business--the unresolved remnants of my dream and lost sleep. True enough, today I have problems---yesterday's restraining order violations are today's unpleasant emails. Tomorrow I'll have problems too. And the next day--- a lost shipment, worry over my son's cold, a sticking drawer, a stack of paperwork, an idea haunting me to no end. It's...always...something.

There's no fixing the General until I sleep again. But I've named it, so the specifics' teeth are not so sharp. I've labeled the little critters now, sorted them and put them into their places. When I do sleep, I wonder if I'll return to those golden grasses. I wonder what it would feel like to walk down those dusty roads in a long cotton skirt and bells around my ankle. I wonder whether the air is warm or crisp and cool. I don't know if I can return or even if I should. Something dark is there and it's waiting for me. But it's probably waiting in other places too. The best I can do is trust myself because in this world, this place, other people are counting on me and I'll need sleep.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 1

Day 1

This story begins like many others before it, which is to say, it begins in the middle. Today is my birthday. People say I look remarkably young. I suppose this is true. I take no credit for genetics. Possibly it's that I don't weigh much more than I did as a teenager. Possibly it's because my hair is long and straight and shiny. It could be because I tend to wear jeans and sneakers. It could be all of those things but I believe that really, it's because I've never had a good idea of how any age is supposed to feel. If I'm not feeling a particular age, or thinking about one, it would follow that I wouldn't project one either.
That, and I have pretty good posture.

It's about 9am on a drizzly day, which is just the sort of day I would have chosen, had I been given a choice. The mountains are shrouded in gray. They loom mysteriously, just the way I like them. Tomorrow they will very likely be mantled in snow, also just the way I like them. The temperature is mid-fifties.

I stand in our front yard while Spencer sprays water on the Christmas tree we just put into a stand. The tree's been trussed up for some time as evidenced by the reluctance of its branches to drop. But the water is doing the job gently and the tree is shaping up into a lovely and fragrant Douglas fir.

I pick an orange. Water sprinkles down from the branches above. Oranges from our tree are different from those at the store. The peel is thicker and less oily and when I dig my thumbnail in to break through it there's an audible "pfffff." The zest is a fine, visible mist and, through it, I see the black and white police cruiser pull up to the curb.

The officer and I exchange greetings and I offer to go inside to get a copy of my restraining order. No need, he explains. He's familiar with my case. But it's been awhile. In fact, he asks me, didn't my hair used to be blond? Not for quite some time. He remembers the giant poppet sculpture that once sat on the bench. "I know it wasn't," he tells me, "but I always wanted to call it an angel. In my mind it just got stuck that way. Weird." Not so very, I think. He glances around as though expecting it to reappear. I'm grateful that it doesn't. I tell him about this morning's violation--the surprise appearance of my restrained ex husband in the cough drop aisle at Walmart. He wasn't out to hurt me. He wanted to talk. I understand this. He has a burden of unresolved pain. But encounters have proven unpredictable and damaging. The option of talking has been lost. It's been some time since I've seen him that close, nearly three years since the assault. It seems like forever. This morning, it seems like yesterday.

The officer says he's aware of the three violations reported yesterday. Yes, I tell him, it's been eventful. We talk about the moon and human nature. We talk about cycles and how human beings are connected to them. We talk about winter solstice. He's noticed a longish lull in reports. He wonders why things are suddenly active again. Not so suddenly. I had stopped reporting. It seems to be a phenomenon of these situations, probably very common, where the burden of reporting eclipses the burden of the actions being reported. The reporter assumes responsibility. All these feelings. The grief of what was lost. The nagging bit of doubt that maybe, if only I had...if only I hadn't... and the idealistic hope that peace will be found, reason restored, some new friendship forged from the remains of love. Somehow, at some point, I'd hefted responsibility onto my own shoulders. If I report this, there will be consequences. Reporting becomes a choice. The choice. How is it that I took this on? How arrogant of me to have done so, as if I'm in charge. The consequences, however I wouldn't wish them on anyone, are a result of the actions, not of the reporting of them.

The officer hands me the blue card. I have enough of them now for a Tarot, I think. He wishes me well and glances about once more before leaving. His senses tell him that the statue must still be there, somehow.

Today is my birthday. There is deep sadness here, and deep beauty. I watch Spencer, quietly preparing our Christmas tree. Inside, the kids watch Coraline, an excellent movie written by an excellent friend who's made my life better more than once. I have many good friends whom I secretly suspect I don't deserve because time to spend with them is nearly always squandered on art. Soon, we'll decorate the tree. I breathe in the scents of evergreen and oranges and rain. I watch the crows fly overhead against a deep gray sky. I follow them with my eyes, instead of crying. Crows are always better than tears.

Today is my birthday. It's Day 1 of this year I've selected. I've begun by laying down a burden I picked up in error. I step quietly into the mystery of what comes next.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Life is nothing if not full of surprises. On Sunday(last), Aubrey, Orion and myself did some shopping. On the way home, Orion said he didn't feel so well and proceeded to throw up all over the back seat. Ah, the Element, rubber car and hoseable. Kids do this occasionally, and it's not without humor, but this time it turned out to be a bad, bad bug that made the poor kid miserable and got me too a few hours later. So Sunday night was not fun at all at our house and Monday we both lay in our beds all day watching television and recovering. We slept so much it was like time travel. Spencer was on hand with crystalized ginger, Dramamine, ice chips and later, soup and juice. Thank you.

But Tuesday we both felt fine. All that rest and we were back, good as new. Better actually, for all the rest we got. Another human triumph over virus. Nasty little alien things.

Then on Wednesday, Aubrey was ill. Here we went again. This bug seems to be plundering the entire desert, striking hard but not lingering.

Today is Saturday. The last of the holiday orders have been sent on their ways with hopes and expectations to arrive on time and in good order. The 'official' last day for Priority Mail is Monday, so it's good to be done today.


Last evening Soosi managed another adventure out of the house. We're not sure at all how she managed it, but her shots aren't finished and we haven't yet found a collar she can't take off. I'm not convinced we'll let her out even after all that's done, but certainly now is a no - go.
So I stayed on the couch in the den with the door open all night, listening at every noise. It was cold. I 'slept' with a heating pad to stay warm. Mostly it was a wakeful night with worrisome, unhappy dreams.
But this morning we woke to a real fuss in the tree out front. There must be fifty hummingbirds in it, and all were in a tizzy. Soosi perched on a bough about fifteen feet up. I climbed a ladder---a real feat before coffee and after such a night--and she came down with me quite happily.

I'm tired after all this week's rushing about, and a little sad from groundling troubles. There are mean people in the world and I don't want that to be. But it's not my world and I won't have my way. I can work around it, mostly.
It's dusk now and the light is so surreal. The desert is at its most beautiful in winter. The mountains evoke Tad Williams adventures. They're covered in shadowy clouds, dwarfing the palms into what they really are, which is grass.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I don't care about the year. I've felt the same age for ages. But I care about the 365 days because it's a great opportunity to start something that lasts just that long. What might that be? I have several ideas in mind.
But... it's not about that either.
I think what I'm attracted to is taking a year out of context of all the other years. The 365 -day period is significant to human beings. Of course it is, we live on this planet and this planet is all about 365 days and we are highly sensitive to the circle around the sun.
At the very least, it's 365 days of art and life. Just like always right? Except that there's something very powerful and attractive about this:

Day 1

Tomorrow is my birthday. Whatever it is I do next, will begin then.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday simple

It's 5:10 in the afternoon and I'm lying on my bed listening to the muffled sounds of the household. A wave of contentment washes over me.

I'm sleepy. I drove Orion to Ontario, CA to the birthday party of his friend Sophia. Orion and Sophia have been friends 'for ages' he says. It was fun and long and driving in the sun makes me sleepy.

This is a busy season for Poppet Planet and I have a ton of work in the studio. It would've been really easy to think I didn't have time to drive to Ontario. But that would just be stupid.

The good thing about Poppets is that they tend to take things out of context. I've begun to see a lot more like Poppets. Life is better because of that and I'm grateful. We humans tend to clutch our context like the last shred of anything in a windstorm. Silly humans. Context is created in our own minds. Sometimes it's the best thing in the world to let it go. Sometimes it's the best thing in the world to see the present moment as exactly what it appears to be.

I'm driving my son to a birthday party on a beautiful day in Southern California. We are surrounded by picturesque mountains and palm trees. We have XM radio and air bags and new tires. There is a lovely gift in the back seat.

We are two lucky humans.

Spencer is making something with crabs. When I got home, the house smelled like, well, crab. But now the scents are making sense. The house no longer smells like crab---it smells like a really fine restaurant. I can live with that.

Arthur C. Clarke taught us that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Of course this is true. Sometimes, my computer seems like magic. So does my television, Netflix, the Wii, my phone,even. I know they're not magic. I know that with enough effort, I could learn the 'ins and outs' of how they work.
Still I will always love machines. Mechanical things with parts that move.
This typewriter. This old Royal 10. I can see exactly how everything works. It's efficient, it's charming and I'm in love. The ribbons came in today. We are, as they say, in business.

It's 9:30 and this house is full of kids in pj's running around and avoiding bedtime in every possible way. I hear them laughing down the hallway. Soosi capers about. Bugs Bunny sings Barber of Seville from the dining room. There is definitely an element of chaos.

A wave of contentment washes over me.

Today was a good day.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


I am very happy.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Art in the Halls of The Atrium, Rancho Mirage

Any art exhibit is a combination of hard work and fun. When it's the first show of a new venue there are always surprises. I find surprises are easier to handle with laughter. I like laughing. And bananas.

There were 35 artists in the exhibit. I especially liked the work of Lauretta Lowell. Lauri is an assemblage artist. She is also a smart, warm and self-effacing woman. I was taken by her work at first glance and had a great conversation with her associate and collaborator, Rae, about painting techniques and 'accidental' inventions.

I liked Lauri immediately and enjoyed exploring her creations.

Hopefully, we'll get together soon to talk shop and maybe do a little collaborating.

There's an article about Lauri and how she found her way to her art here. And you can see more of her work at Whimsical Curiosities.

The Atrium made for a comfortable, elegant and well-lit venue. Poppets approved.

Aubrey manned the desk while I visited other artists and hassled children about reading.

Some older works from the 'dusty vaults' cleaned up really well. Probably it's time to add them to the Etsy shop. When the walls are bare, new art gets made. That's how it works.

A long board makes a great art dolly and a surprisingly comfy seat. The show was fun and I met some interesting new humans. By evening, all of us had tired feet and hoarse voices. Aubrey, Spencer and I went home happy. It was a good day.
Hope yours was too.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, pre show

Orion likes Eggo.

morning mandolin

I like upcycling. I liked it when it was just crafting. I used to make these really warm quilts from socks. I made the Neil Gaiman one for a birthday or something, ages ago. I think he still has it. Once, when visiting during an especially cold week, he told me I'd have to sleep with the cats. I had my needles, so could've sewn them all into one warm cat blanket.

But I didn't.

In that spirit, I'm making a sweater from two old ones. This is a very comfy sweater slightly too short for my lankiness. With a couple of small paint stains on the sleeve.

And this ill-fitting thing that I love because it's so very ratty and soft.

I cut the ends of ratty old sweater for cuffs.

attaching them with a double crochet stitch

Soosi and a movie make for good pre-show relaxation.

detail of edging

That's as far as I got today. The rest was used for art stuff.

It's, well, technically Sunday. After midnight and we've finally loaded the last bit of art for the exhibit tomorrow. It's not so much the art---it's all the stuff that goes with. Aubrey is staying over and tomorrow we get up very early for set up.
Will be back soon with photos and to finish up the sweater.
Hope your Sunday is good.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I made a painting.
Acrylic, on jigsaw. "Beacon" Measures about 20 x 30. If you click on the photo, you can see more detail.
I made some Poppets too.
Off to the studio. Hope your day is good.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

wings, winter, do you smell carrots?

How to recycle plastic containers into wings. Sturdy clear plastic container.
A handful of raw almonds provides good energy.

Basic shapes cut out with scissors. You can use a paper template, but I like drawing them directly onto the plastic with a sharpie.

I sand the flat surfaces with 150 grit sandpaper, the edges with 400 and then 600 grit. I protect my tables with leftover mat board. Careful of colors though--some can lift off and get sanded into your wings.

sanded wings--two small, two smaller.

You can smooth the edges further by VERY carefully and VERY briefly passing them through a flame. Sometimes I use a lighter, but I like candles better--they free my hands and they smell good. I accidentally discovered these 'special effects.' Curling, rounded tips and opacity with clear edges. I haven't explored this at all yet. At the outset, I can definitely say that anything that involves melting should be done with very good ventilation and great care.

Hemostats are great. In the lab. In the morgue. In the studio.

Aubrey makes us a working lunch. I know---all carbs and fat. But. It's winter and we're working. Salad for dinner.

Aubrey in full work mode.

Wings! Completed and looking quite lovely on "Starlight." Worth the care and attention to detail. Gossimer, translucent, strong and unbreakable. Not to mention, made from recycled plastic.

Winter, as it rolled in over the mountains. I woke knowing it was coming and, there it was.

The sparrows are here too. Spencer explains to Soosi that they're pretty to look at. She's not buying it.

So. What did one snowman say to the other? It's not so much the answer as why the question.

Oh yes. Sometimes I get lost.
Have a great Saturday. I'm off for leftover green bean casserole. Then to make art.