Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Last Post for April 2008.

LAST chance to post during April. Another month gone, one day at a time.
I hope we will see warmer spring weather again this weekend. Which reminds me that I'd better plant some more sweet peas while the weather is cooler as it may all become way too warm very soon.
I did a little bit of art today but I don't have a photo to post so I'll show you what I drew with my right foot in Mexico. Stunning, isn't she? Of course she was a very impermanent creation and was probably gone before we left the beach that evening.
I hope you have been doing creative things. I finished a writing project today about an experience during my teens - one I've been thinking about a lot. One thing about growing older: We have a lot of memories to draw on. - femminismo

Monday, April 28, 2008

My New Age and other Earth Shaking Events.

I'VE been my "new age" for two whole days now and I don't feel very different. Actually, I think turning 13 and 16 were about it for me. They marked "being a teen" and "being able to drive" - whole new worlds opened up.
Age really is mind over matter and, although I'm not telling you how old I am, I really do feel a little more together ... even as my body's falling apart!
During the Oregon Press Women's conference on Saturday I left behind a jacket. Fortunately, Katherine K. recognized it was mine. Tonight we got together over some Thai appetizers and a drink and she returned my jacket. Fun to chat with her. I believe I've made a new friend, so I guess there's a reason I left something for her to return. She belongs to OPW and I am going to join. The group encourages members to meet informally - in between the two yearly conferences - to share ideas and talk. Tonight, Katherine was able to give me some advice on some personal writing I am doing. All input is appreciated!
I always feel I should post a photo now when I put down my 2 cents for the day, and today I was thinking about a photo that I took when I was on vacation in Mexico. If I could only remember what the photo was???? Hmmm. Note to self: Memory falling apart too.
Ah! I remember. Here is a photo of the covered waiting area along the MAX transit line. It wasn't taken in Mexico; it was taken in Portland. Don't you love the etching on the glass? I want to turn this into a stamp. Where are my carving tools? Try it yourself and let me know what results you get. - femminismo p.s. Upper left hand corner for latest visitor count. No. 2,000 wins art work.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Birthday Blog!

YES, it's my birthday today. A noteworthy one, too. Where have the years gone?
I waited until bedtime to tell all of my faithful readers, since I didn't want anyone breaking a leg to run out and send flowers or deliver a pizza.
The morning started out with the Mister fixing me breakfast. Deelicious mango and a whole grain tortilla with egg, beans and cheese. The chipotle sauce was my idea.
Then he went off and worked in the woods so I could have some time alone to putter with my art and do whatever I wanted for my birthday.
It was a nice sunny day so I cleaned out the sun room and worked out there in the warmth. I painted one of my art journal covers and bound the November 2007 journal. Good to have that finished. It's the last one without a cover. Now I can put a couple finishing touches on the others and I'll post a photo of them all together. A whole year!
Here is one more photo of a close up of the tree peonies which are finally putting on their show. The cooler weather has been keeping them closed up tight, but that will end soon and then they'll drop their silken petals on the ground - once more. Enjoy them while they're here.
The years go around so quickly and this blog has given me the opportunity to note a lot of the things I enjoy and look forward to. I started it about a year ago, and even though my enthusiasm has flagged occasionally, I think it's one of the better things I've done for my mental health. It's encouraged me to be creative and forced me to keep up with technology. Both good things. Cheers if it's your birthday today! The newspaper said if today's your birthday what you want seems highly important to you but might not be so important to others. (What a revelation!) Nighty night - femminismo

Saturday, April 26, 2008

McMenamins Edgefield Manor - heaven.

WHY is Edgefield Manor in Troutdale, Oregon, heaven? Part of it is the artwork in the building and the ambiance. Thank the McMenamin Brothers for that. Another part: the gardens. Native plants like flowering currant and Oregon grape, dogwood and lilac in bloom, herbs popping up in the garden - rosemary in bloom - and all sorts of other delights. Birds are twittering and swooping past windows on their way to small bird condos scattered here and there.
Today was the Oregon Press Women's 2008 Spring Conference at Edgefield (and a beautiful warm day it was!) and I got invited along as a guest. There were delightful speakers and wonderful women to chat with about writing and lots of other life issues that didn't involve working for a living. (Just living.)
A colleague and I walked the grounds and these photos are just a few of the things we found.
It made me want to start planting things. Maybe not the huge hairy plant, though. It looked as if it delighted in the bog near the Little Red Shed where concerts are held on the lawn. The new red leaves on the established ivy vines will cover this wall before long.

Spring flowers in Oregon are lasting a little longer than usual with our cooler temperatures. That's one of the good things. And if these wooden lounge chairs in front of the ivy-covered building don't make you think you're in the South of France, nothing will! Check the upper left hand corner for an updated number of visitors. No. 2000 will will my art prize. Cheers - femminismo

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Clearing Out My Life.

YES, INDEEDY! I am clearing out, cleaning up, moving on. The Mister volunteered to help me organize my art space and I said "Thanks, but no thanks." Then I took a look in the room. I'd post the picture I took of it, but it's for my secret journal only right now.
Suffice it to say that when I took a real look at that room and was honest with myself I knew I would never clean it up.
He has the time and I don't. He has the ambition ... and, well, again ... I don't. So I thought what the heck. It might be interesting to see what happens. So far we're still Mister and Missus.
Tonight I came home to more "rearrangements" of certain items in the "office" of our house and I decided to tackle the multitude of books I have on shelves. Wonder of wonders, I was able to give up quite a few of them.
Do you live near me? Do you know me? Would you pay the postage if only you could have one of these books? Can you see any in these stacks you would like for your own? You may have them. Otherwise they go to the book sale coming up in May.
Some are winners. Some are losers. Some I started and never finished. Some I read and can't remember what they're about.
Right now they are dust collectors and I am feeling invigorated getting shed of them.
What was really interesting were the books I could never give up in 100 years.
Incidentally, look in the upper left hand corner for the latest visitor count. Remember that No. 2,000 gets the one-of-a-kind picture of the Mystery Woman. (If someone from Kiev claims it - Oy, vay! The postage!)
Thank you to the wonderful people I tagged. (Sorry again. I know it takes time.) However, I knew I could expect the best. Nice to meet you all and I've enjoyed viewing the blogs you tagged. - femminismo

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tagged By Dawn!

I HAVE BEEN "tagged" by Dawn, and since I'm now "it" this is what happens:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.

2. Post THE RULES on your blog.

3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.

4. Tag 7 people and link to them.

5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Here are seven random facts about me:

1. I am the oldest of seven children.

2. I have an "innie" belly button.

3. I bite my fingernails and wish I could stop.

4. I am a terrible procrastinator.

5. I always expect the best from people and usually get it.

6. I adore Shakespeare's plays.

7. If I could do over one thing in my life, it would be to get more education.

I am tagging these seven lucky people:

JoAnn Christopher Ro Violette Tara Bridgette Katie

Well, I sincerely hope these people feel "lucky." They may not, since it took me a while to screw up the courage to ask seven people to give up some of their time to tag seven others. However, I did catch up with what Ro and Katie are doing. Such beautiful, wonderful, exotic doings. I love Katie's heart-shaped rock on her banner and Ro's new stamps and papers are so colorful!
JoAnn has the most beautiful tulips photos on her blog. Violette's coloring book is marvelous! I had never "met" her until I linked from Katie's blog to someone else's blog. Bridgette is new to me too. And I've seen Tara's outstanding drawings, but hadn't seen her dolls before. I feel I must, MUST, have one.
Here is a photo of something I got in the mail today from an old friend in Eastern Oregon. She lives far from town and did not have a birthday card to send so she altered the partridge on a Christmas card. She also sent the local paper from August 1965 and said, "This may seem to be an odd thing to send, but read through it carefully."
I think I finally found the article she meant for me to see, but in the meantime I went back through time - the envelope held a time machine! I found an article about a girlfriend's marriage with a photo of her new husband, an interview with my brother-in-law about his try at making the Oregon State University football team under Coach Dee Andros, a description of my brother's motorcycle accident, the admission of a friend to the local hospital years before I even met her (... I hope it was nothing serious!) and so much more. There were many articles that sounded straight out of today's newspapers.
Well, it was fun to get something in the mail that wasn't junk mail or a bill. It reminds me of my promise to write more letters. Something to do tomorrow! Adieu for now - femminismo

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Finished, done, complete.

I AM DONE with the Mystery Woman. I don't know what I've created, who she is or what she stands for. Perhaps she is just that - a mystery. Maybe she is me, contemplating what to do next, what to be next. Maybe the hands that hold her head or smooth her hair are also comforting me. I find the image to be so soothing. Not threatening. Maybe they are the hands of wisdom. The hands of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers back throughout the ages.
I'd like to think that, so I will!
This is the image I'm offering to the 2,000th visitor to my blog. It may be difficult to make sure the person who logs on as that certain visitor ever comes back by to see if they've "won," because people stumble across blogs all the time thinking they are places that might have the information they want or need. I have had visitors from Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands ... all over the world.
Please stop back by if you'd like to know if you're number 2,000. I'll post the information (again, your Internet provider, your city, state, country) and then if I don't hear from that person in a couple of days I'll post the next one ... and so on.
My cousin in Canada has told me to blog more often, and I will certainly try. I may not always have a lot to say, but I'm here at the keyboard or at the art table.
I must bind my November 2007 art journal pages together and then I will take a picture of all 12 journals so you can see them from April 1, 2007, to May 30, 2008. A full year of adventures, boring grocery lists and other minutiae. Good night - femminismo

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Post Today

Another post today on the Mystery Woman. I have added a couple of things. The arrow and hands are not permanent. I guess, actually, none of it is. I can always put several coats of gesso over it and begin again. However, this is where it's going right now. What do you think? Any comments; suggestions? I've moved the hands from the top - holding the globe - to holding the woman's head. It feels to me she's being very protective and helpful.
It's been a blue Sunday. Very emotional day. Don't know all the why and wherefores, but I'm not going to blame it on the full moon.

There have been over 1,400 visitors. When the 2,000th checks in I will post the city, state and Internet provider. You'll have to claim your prize. Comments are welcome.
This tulip photo is from Saturday during our surprise snowfall here in Oregon. The "April surprise."
Good night - femminismo

2,000th Visitor Expected Soon!

I SAID I would do it, and I will. Yesterday - Saturday - I started on a piece of artwork destined to go to the 2,000th visitor to my small section of the blogosphere. It's not totally finished, but here's the starting point:
You can see the fanciful "clipped art" and the original drawing of the Mystery Woman. It's on a nice piece of Arches watercolor paper that adds a lot of stability to the piece. (It may need it if I continue to fiddle and add to it.)
I had no idea where it was going when I started it. I only liked the two colors - pale green and a pinkish brown - so that's what I went with.
Today I must do household chores and entertain a bit so I'm leaving you with the fun Creative Circle evening I had last night with fellow crafters who have great ideas and follow through on them.
Turquoize Moon, and other volunteers, lead us through a different type of craft each month. Last night we took small bottles and decorated them any way we wanted. Turquoize wanted to bottle up some joy. I think she succeeded. Here is a close-up of her bottle (the collage is inspired!) and then a photo of the creator (creatress?).
Doesn't she look like the picture of joy herself? I'll bet you agree with me. Let's all find time to do some art today, even if it's only a small sketch or an arrangement of spring flowers. - femminismo

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Walk In The Woods.

ANOTHER great day in the Northwest so the Mister and I decided to check out a little piece of woodland property we have and see what's going on in the springtime forest and which path the creek has taken over the winter.
I made the dumb mistake of wearing capri pants. I know better. I grew up in the woods. It seemed my ankles caught every blackberry vine along the deer trails. And one shin is still tingling from a brush with nettles. Ow, ow, ow!
But we saw so much beauty. Here are some photos of our visit to the woods so you can be a second-hand traveler.
There were yellow johnny jump-ups throughout the woods, pushing their way through the decayed leaves on the forest floor. A flash out of the corner of my eye turned out to be a frog fleeing for its life. It nestled down into a depression in the soft loamy soil and I guess it thought it was "blending." I'll have to look it up to find out what kind of frog it is.

We came to the narrowest part of the stream and jumped over. The Mister jumped first and then found some large rocks to put in the stream to make the leap a little shorter for me. After that we had to walk along this log laden with fungi. (I think that's what it is.) My balance is very poor, due to an inner ear condition, but I had to stop and take this photo to show "I did it."
Then, on any walk in the woods, no matter how carefully you tread, there will always be casualties. This fern frond caught my eye. Either the Mister or I knocked it off and ended its journey toward the sun - and maturity.
We checked the spring at the top of the hill and found these lovely skunk cabbage just beginning to bloom.
It was a great day for walking in the woods. Most of the trees are just beginning to "green" at the very tips - oh, and we found trilliums, too. I almost forgot about that. No ladyslippers - my mother used to ask us to look for those flowers and bring one back so she could plant it - but lots of wild bleeding hearts. I picked just one, and the flowers smell like freshly made flour tortillas! Surprising odor.
I have to include the photo of the trilliums, since I was looking so hard for them. Suddenly we found ourselves on what I now call "Trillium Hill." They were all around us. And I didn't pick one of them. They are much too fragile - few and far between.
I hope you connect with nature soon, too, and that it's finally spring wherever you are. La Nina is expected to give Oregon a cooler spring and warmer, drier summer. We'll see about that.
Next week - art, I promise! - femminismo

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We Brought The Sun With Us.

TODAY has been an excellent day in our part of Oregon. (Note: That is not Oregon on the left.) With the bright sunshine, warm temps and no rain there were no excuses for staying indoors. So now, at 7:30 p.m. I am looking for a bottle of Aleve to avoid that morning after backache.
We must have brought the sun along with us on our return from Mexico. It took a while to catch up, but no complaints ... because here it is!
For an art blog, I am sure you've noticed I haven't been doing much art lately. Not posting it, anyway. I hope to end that dry spell soon. I did one watercolor on my trip and a couple of quick sketches. That's about it.
The photo above is at the Casa Bentley where we stayed in Todos Santos. Ah, maid service, warmer weather, beaches, eating out, reading books, putting my feet up. This was my kind of vacation.
It was a very enjoyable time, with art galleries galore. There was some very remarkable art that has inspired me to try more colorful designs. I want to do a painted canvas floor cloth for our sun room that will reflect some of the work I saw while on vacation.
There was a museum in town that had a lot of local history. This is a self-portrait of me and "tres amigos" above.
And now for the 100-year-old rubber tree (left) that inspired part of my story about Elida, the ghost woman who drowned. (No comments on my story - last post. Perhaps it was too strange, or too shocking.) What are imaginations for, anywho?
I leave you tonight with sunburned arms (I'm sure) and a slight backache that's slowly going away. I hope you have great vacation plans for this summer. I'll most likely be working away saving up hours and dollars for my next one. - femminismo

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Story For You From Mexico.

I HAVE A STORY I wrote in my mind one night in Mexico when I couldn't sleep. I've brought it back for you, along with a picture of the woman I imagined living out the story.
It's unusual. It's not quite finished. It's a dream story.

It was never my intention to come to Todos Santos to die. My only desire was to live here with Roberto and bear his children.
I came to the dusty, sleepy little town, me, Elida Guitterez de Samosa, against my parents' wishes. They wanted me and Roberto to raise their grandchildren in La Paz, but Roberto had friends and work in Todos Santos.
Because of this and my love for him, my spirit now lingers in the 100-year-old rubber tree in the town square. I reside in its lower branches, where I am always cold - a thing I could never stand in life, being cold.
My teeth chatter. I shiver and my skin is blue. I am a pitiful spirit. All those who stay too long in the rubber tree's shade only grow sad and wish to leave.
My death seemed to last forever. Roberto warned me about going too near the water, but I was so happy to see the ocean after our long trip from La Paz. I walked in and my damp skirt slapped around my legs.
The sun was bright and warm. I loved the feel of it on my face and shoulders. The turquoise stones in my necklace picked up the warmth and held it, just as they had held the cool desert air last night.
Smiling, his white teeth flashing, Roberto called out again to be cautious. But had I ever been careful? When I was small my mother said everything I did was dangerous: horseback riding, diving from the cliffs, running too fast on the rocky paths. As I grew older she forced me to give up my girlish ways and slow down like a lady would do. "Gentil. Elegante," she said. "Mas elegante."
But there were other ways I found to be dangerous. Roberto was one of them.
We met in the plaza one festival night and separating us after that was difficult. My parents forbade us to be alone but we always found ways around their rules.
His kisses and touch excited me beyond any high dive or horseback ride I had ever taken. Being with him and experiencing the smell of him, the warm, musky maleness of him, and behaving "gentil" was maddening. Odors I had once found unpleasant now made my knees weak. I wanted to dip my hands into his harsh underarm smell and rub it all over my own body too. I loved the taste of the salt on his neck. Every taste of him I took made Roberto more and more a part of me.
There was always more to anticipate however. The hardness of him pressed close told me that. I knew it instinctively and had certainly heard the laughter and whispers among my mother and aunties about the pleasures of the bedroom.
Those pleasures, our eventual marriage ... all of it seemed to pass so quickly, but as I said before, my death seemed to take forever.
One minute smiling, laughing. I saw Roberto reach out and I took one more step toward the water and plunged into the depths of the Phantom's mouth. He swallowed me in his deep blue-green jaws, his lips nibbling at the hem of my skirt.
Bubbles tickled my toes and legs as he drew me down ever deeper. Overhead I could see the light of the sky moving farther away. I fought it. I didn't give up to the Phantom easily. I had too much to live for to go stay with this monster forever.
I saw the future - Roberto in his fishing boat coming home at the end of the day as the sun set in an orange sky. I saw our children playing, their smiles things of beauty that touched my heart so that, even though I was underwater, tears came to my eyes and burned.
My strong arms reached up and beat down, shooting me away from the Phantom and I came near the surface. My head bobbed above the water and Roberto was beside me with a splash.
"Elida, hold me," he said.
Those were the last words I heard him say. He was gone, then I was too.
The Phantom tide sucked both of us under with him. Separated, I have never seen Roberto again. Not here, in the cold, under the rubber tree. Not ever in this dim freezing afterlife that must be hell. Where the humans who pass by chatter and laugh but their voices are silent to me. Now and then, I think I hear a noise, but it's only an echo, a memory, briefly come to life.
Inside my belly the ghost child Roberto planted never grows. The moon rises and sets. I shiver and moan.
Life is funny, isn't it? If half of what one wishes for comes to pass, one should be happy. I got half of mine and yet I still ache for more. Would I give up what I've had for the touch of the warm, real world. I don't know. So, so funny, life is. Quien sabe?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Back From Sunny Mexico!!

BIENVENIDOS, fellow travelers in the Blogosphere. I have returned to Home Sweet Home, my own bed and pillow and, of course, the keyboard.
THANK YOU for waiting with bated breath for the next exciting installment in the life of "Femminismo: Super Traveler!"
Yes, the Mister and I survived the miserly airplane snacks, the Gestapo passport enforcer, the drive after dark on Saturday night from the Cabo airport car rental place to our central downtown Cabo del San Jose hotel - the El Encanto, a very nice place with lighted candles burning throughout the gardens.
The next day we survived the drive from Cabo del San Jose, through Cabo San Lucas, to Todos Santos on the western (Pacific) side of Baja California Sur. This trip was made over Mexican Highway No. 1, which is also a well-known raceway on which people with little desire to live to ripe old ages regularly travel. Yikes! Ay Chihuahua! Oy vay!
As you can see above, my piggies are nice and warm here on San Perdito Beach near Todos Santos. I took a picture of my foot (in a shoe) embedded in the hail storm that hit before we left. (It's somewhere down below this post.) As promised, I did get my feet to a warmer climate. Heavenly!
We also visited San Pedro Beach (Las Palmas) which had large flocks of big pelicans, and seagulls, too, that are smaller than the ones we generally see on the Oregon coast.
Los Cerritos was the last major beach we visited. The Mister liked it best. It took him back to his youth in Los Angeles and hanging out on the beaches with his friends - swimming and girl watching.
It's getting late and I need my beauty sleep. I'll have more photos tomorrow. Stay tuned!
ALSO: There have been 1,310 visitors. Lucky number 2,000 gets an art prize. Remember to check in from time to time. You might be the lucky winner! Buenos noches - femminismo