Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almost Happy New Year!

I'M STANDING on tippy-toe to peer over the horizon and greet my pals who already have 2009 in their part of the world.
We are going out to a movie tonight. I'll let you know what I think when I get home.
Happy New Year to everyone in the blogosphere. I hope you are warm, safe and healthy tonight - and always!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Close to a New Year ... so close.

I SUPPOSE we never grow too old to imagine that that first day of the new year holds the possibility of becoming the start of something grand, bright and totally different.
Different? Grand? Bright? Why not?!
We finally had our Christmas gathering with all the grandchildren - but one - and most of our kids. A houseful of the sounds of laughter and crinkling wrapping paper being undone and the smell of lots of good food. Oh! And the tastes of good food!
Pumpkin pie, ham, yams, stuffing, brussel sprouts, cornbread, pea salad and curried coleslaw, apple cobbler: Scales, get thee behind me!
Here are my two boys and my daughter-in-law gathered around the coffee table playing a new card game. She got to play cribbage with the Mister, but didn't win this time. (Best two out of three?) And here I am with my Aunt Dot, who I hadn't seen in way too long. (I don't look too shy here, do I, Candace?)
Sunday was also the last night of Hanukkah, so we got to enjoy the brightness of those candles, too.
It was good to be with family and friends and see most of the white stuff in the yard slowly giving way to the green grass, and even the mud didn't look too bad.
I must give thanks to Christy Sobolewski at Average American Girl for fixing my blog so it loads faster. I am grateful for her help and hope I can soon pay her kindness forward. Christy belongs to the SoulJournal group I joined some time ago and she is a Web designer and smarty-pants (thank goodness!). Check out her blog and see what she's been doing with her journal pages.
I don't have too much time to spend tonight, but I know how boring it is to check in with people and find they haven't been posting anything new. My cousin, John, has been writing poetry again. Maybe there will be some of that posted soon.
Hopefully this will catch you up with what is going on in Oregon and reassure those who might have been worried about me and my holiday doldrums - femminismo

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sixth Night of Hanukkah.

TONIGHT is the sixth night of Hanukkah and we light one more candle, burning away the darkness.
Cheers to everyone on this cold, winter night. Remember the summer roses!
Incidentally, you may notice a few items missing from my blog. It's undergoing some repairs. Something is slowing it down and it's Christie to the rescue, my computer savvy SoulJournal friend!
More tomorrow - if I find time from baking and cleaning house - femminismo

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All.

HAPPY, Merry Christmas indeed. The day has dawned brighter - both literally and inside my "attic." I've been dusting away a few "mind cobwebs" and using art to help the process along.
Here is our Oregon sun, finally come calling around 2 p.m. Everything is dripping as the ice and snow melts in the trees and on the roofs.
I took a picture of one of our birdbath snowcones. This is a ceramic birdbath my mother made for me. It really should not have spent the winter outside, but ... guess what?
Today I worked on housecleaning, which in its own mindless way is a good sort of meditation. Scrubbing the tub gives you time to think and you can certainly use it as aerobic exercise if you've waited as long as I have to clean the tub.
Company is coming on Sunday so I'd really like to have a clean bathroom. Sometimes people check out the tub, did you know that?
In between I made a batch of cornbread for the meal on Sunday. We are having an open house and, of course, I will prepare enough food for a small army. (Here I am in artistic "watercolor" mode, thanks to Photoshop, posing by the sink and clean dishes.)
There was laundry and folding clothes and getting wood and building a fire in the fireplace. We had steak on the barbecue for dinner with a green salad and brussel sprouts. Need some greens this time of year! (Looked nice and I almost took a picture, but I stopped myself. Enough with the pictures. Let's just eat it - not shoot it.)
Then it was time to paint paper. It's plain white drawing paper, and I painted it on both sides with white gesso. (I want to try clear gesso. Someone in my SoulJournal group mentioned it. You can order it from Dick Blick. I really want to see if it coats journal pages and images better than the other things I have tried. I am not happy with matte gel.)
Anyway, with the gesso I mixed in acrylic paint - sprinkled water on some of it, and on other pieces painted on more gesso and then wiped with a wet paper towel. After the paper had dried, I stamped it with a homemade blue foam block stamp I embossed with old keys. Then I stamped a bird print in a few places. (I carved that stamp, inspired by one done by Mel Stampz - love that lady's work.)
Then I decided to emboss them with gold glitter and a heat gun. And then I used a "tag" cutter that my pal Sylvia loaned me and some yarn. Now I have quite a few tags, which will come in handy on Sunday when I give gifts to family members we didn't get to see on Christmas.
Or I can use them for some other purpose. Do you see the paper I used to cut out the tags? Now there are openings - arches - that might be perfect to glue in front of other pictures. Stuff from magazines that need to be spotlighted in their own little arch or shrine. Best get to bed. Another big, exciting day tomorrow - femminismo

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve and I'm Waiting.

TRUTH: It's Christmas Eve and I feel as if I'm waiting for something.
Truth: It's Christmas Eve and I feel a bit resentful that because of the weather I am not with more of my family.
Truth: Because the Mister and I don't share the same religious upbringing, this time of the year can be a little ... different. I miss the customs I used to observe and I think he finds himself conflicted. Growing up, he must have felt different from most of the other kids and families around him. It is difficult when you feel you have to explain yourself.
But just because I'm being truthful and whining a bit (on Christmas Eve, when each year, as a child, I would be so excited I would feel as if I held my breath the entire night) please don't feel sorry for me. I have had more than enough chances to experience the happiness of being showered with gifts and love.
It's just an awkward sense of emptiness inside - a little grieving, I guess - as I think back on noisy, festive, pleasant times with people who are no longer here to hold and kiss.
Or maybe it's a wish that I had been more prepared and mailed packages and more cards. And why do I think that would have made things different tonight?
Perhaps I'm just a little disappointed in myself. And maybe I should delete this whole entry and begin again. Or maybe not. I doubt that I'm the only one tonight who wishes for a little more of something they can't quite explain. Some might suggest the solution is religion, remembering the "reason for the season." They might be right.
I think I had better quit for the evening. Above is a picture of a Christmas tree my Mister "made" for me. He found branches and put them together on a stand and I decorated it. Life was just too busy this year with work and snow and ice.
It was fun to find this tree picture. It lifted my heart a bit to remember how he wanted to make the season special for me and give me this homemade "Charlie Brown" tree - femminismo

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lighter Longer Today ... Did You Notice?

I'M sure you did notice. I wonder how many seconds of extra daylight we added today? I tried Wikipedia, but am not going to suggest you try and figure out the formula for this particular question. Argh! Math!
I went Christmas shopping downtown today after work. Wandering from store to store, it seemed a little bit like Bedford Falls. Just a little bit, and I think that was mainly due to the snow.
I went to the toy store, Let's Play. They have the neatest toys and you can say something like, "She's 10 and a good reader and likes games and puzzles," and Shirley will find something just right.
If the walking hadn't been so slick and hazardous I would have had more fun, but I did find presents for five people in one store - at Artfull Garden. I felt so proud of myself for choosing that store! It was difficult not to buy something for myself, but I resisted. Proud of myself again.
I have been working on gesso resist at home. Above is a sample of the paper I painted bright pink then stamped with purple. I then washed it with yellow ochre acrylic paint and water. (No one at work mentioned my brownish-yellow "fingernail polish.") I let the paper dry in between paintings - well, I let it dry as long as is possible for me.
After the "wash," when the paper was still a little damp and sticky, I rubbed on a little gold lumiere. Thennnnnnn ..........
I cut up some of the paper to make little gift tags. I put sumi paper inside and a piece of yarn tied it all together.
They don't look very holiday-ish, but I think they will suit some purpose or other. Best get off to bed. It's been a long day - femminismo
p.s. That Bedford Falls image may be copyrighted ... or not.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Time Is Here!

SNOWBALL fights, we did not have,
But bird sightings, there were many.
Cups of cocoa at last count,
Were but three and twenty!
Snow in the redwood, snow on the shed,
Snow down my boots, snow on my head.
- poem inspired by John Fenimore
I'm just adding these photos to supplement the other Oregon blogs marking the unusual winter conditions here. Judy Wise has ice over her way - a little southeast of us, I believe.
I crunched my way over the frozen crusted snow to get these photos. How quiet it is outside with traffic slowed and no roar of it coming our way. Lovely!
Our little house looks smothered in white and the pump house has such a cheery cap of the stuff and icicles hanging from its edges.
The cactus looked very, very out of its element. I wonder if it will survive. Tonight should be the test! It was cowering behind the iced lavender last I saw.
The blueberry bush - the one that still had leaves - is now being tested too. And I thought the leaves looked pretty before!
I saw a robin in this tree, but he didn't look very happy. Wondering where all the grass had gone, I suppose. - femminismo

THE BLUE LANTERN: The Lady With The Little Dog

THE BLUE LANTERN: The Lady With The Little Dog
Check this out: for dog, and art, lovers

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow on the Valley Floor.

THAT'S us ... the Valley Floor in the Willamette Valley. Snow like this is rare, but thanks (?) to arctic breezes we've got it!
This is the back yard, where the accent lights that shine in the trees during the summer now light up the snowy branches above. The little pump house looks a little lonely out there. No clematis climbing up the lattice either. Everything is asleep. (Maybe not the ivy on the tree. I don't think it ever sleeps.)
This is the same path I cleared of leaves not that long ago. Fairly soon it will be muddy, but now we're enjoying its pristine beauty.
And here are our Christmas lights. I always put them around the front window. The stained glass piece is one my sister made for our mother. Before she died, she told me she wanted me to have it. Its beveled glass edges are prismatic and they reflect all sorts of wonderful colors. Outside the snow is gathering, almost too deep for my boots. Maybe 5 inches of fluff.
Keeping us warm are cookies fresh from the oven and a fire in the fireplace. As the Mister is tearing apart the old shower he's come up with dry fir that needs to go somewhere. It surely makes a warm fire.
Now I have a poem for you that my cousin, John Fenimore, wrote to give his wife for Christmas. It is lovely, I think, and I guess he is preparing a memory book too. Here it is. If you use it, please give him credit.
Memory Book

When stories come together,
each one a separate page.
A book is filled with memories,
made precious as you age.

Each chapter sets a time in life,
expressed in words untold.
Each taken from your memory,
recalled when you are old.

Share your book with others,
the ones you hold so dear.
Let them read the stories,
you’ve added through the year.

And when your book is finished,
just leave it next to mine.
So I can read the memories,
of how we spent our time.

Precious Memories and More ...

FOUND something this morning that I want to share.
My brothers and sisters will enjoy the photo maybe more than most everyone else, because it features someone dear to our hearts: our father's mother - our grandmother Anna Stanford Fenimore.
I was wondering about her age in this photo and think she probably was about my age now. That is incredible to consider.
She has the typical black "grandmother shoes" which you can't see in this picture, but trust me. They rose to just below the ankle, had short stacked heels and tied down the front with laces. The heavy nylons were rolled around her legs and held up with garters (most of the time they were held up). She made her dresses, since she had to have a special pattern for her humped back. I realize now it must have been severe osteoporosis. She said it was from carrying heavy pails of water uphill to their house when she was young.
She had a life I can only imagine. Her father died from an accidental gunshot wound during a hunting expedition. From stories I heard, he was shot in the stomach and it took him a while to die. What haunting memories those must have been. She married and had two children and then lost them in to cholera. (Any family members reading this who remember things differently, please let me know.)
She married Pop Pop and they started a new family together. Eventually they came to Oregon from Texas. I always wonder what a life in Texas would have been like. Of course, my father never would have met my mother and I wouldn't have had to wonder at all!
Outside it's snowing powdery, light fluff. I know what it's like, now, to be a sugar cookie and have someone sifting powdered sugar over you - femminismo

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Key To Everything.

You'll be glad I found this out!
Although reading it may be a problem.
Sorry about some of the fonts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Literature meets Boxing!

CAN it be possible I have found the ideal exotic vacation spot for the Mister and me?
In Key West, Florida, today, the temperature was 79 degrees Fahrenheit and it's predicted to be 77 tomorrow.
Also, this coming January is the 27th annual Key West Literary Seminar, with such names as Gore Vidal and my absolute heroine, Joyce Carol Oates.
During this same period of time Carlos "El Indio" Quintana will fight Ermosele "Bad Boy" Albert in a boxing match.
The Mister could do one thing and I could do the other! And did I mention the weather? This is the kind of vacation you dream about! (Did I mention the Mister will be the one at the boxing match?)
Today it snowed most of the day here in Oregon. Tomorrow all the snow and slush may freeze over. Key West sounds very, very good, especially since I can no longer feel the tips of my fingers on the keyboard back here in the frigid computer room. I need some of those gloves with the fingertips cut out. A small heater by my feet would do the trick also.
The man above was waiting outside the window of our newspaper building - waiting for the light rail train to come along and take him somewhere else, but probably not Key West.
We had our Christmas potluck today at work and there was lots of good food. Sandi wore her "Christmasy" wreath earrings that lit up her little corner of the advertising department.
And I went "one brownie over the line" at the potluck, but I didn't seem to be able to stop myself. I know I will pay for these sins.
Tomorrow is a newspaper production day and the show must go on, even if it does freeze outside and today's snow is a bed of ice.
Now I simply must work on my Christmas cards because my friend Pat has beaten me to the punch and I already owe her a letter and now a card, too. I am the people the postal service hates - femminismo

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Dark Is Rising ... .

Today, as the snow began falling here in Oregon, was the day to read that book by Susan Cooper - "The Dark Is Rising." I read it when I was about 30, and it was a spooky experience because I began reading it on a day it started snowing - exactly what was happening to Will in the book!
(Read the book series if you haven't. Some of them are better than others, and I haven't seen the movie. I'm afraid it won't be as good as the book.)
The same is going on today, with mini drifts of snow almost all day. Outside the temperature is lowering - as the dark is rising, getting close to official winter with the solstice. The wind is knocking bushes against the side of the house, making things even spookier. The thermometer says it is 24 degrees! Brrr!
There is an animal living under our house, we are pretty sure. I found the insulating block knocked out of the ventilation opening near the front of the house on Saturday. We were going around making sure we were ready for this cold weather. I put it back in, wondering what was going on because I had already replaced it once.
I came back by later and found it out again. Something must have come out. I got down on hands and knees and took a close look and found the screen has a hole in it - about big enough for a cat.
We were afraid to close it up for good. The animal would be locked in and - well, a dead animal under the house? Maybe not quite as good as a live animal. It's just trying to stay warm but, sorry, it doesn't belong under the house. Maybe we could borrow our neighbor's humane trap? We'll see.
On Saturday, Sylvia brought us cobbler made from their garden-grown squash. It was delicious! She and I had a cup of tea together and talked for a while.
After she left I cooked up a batch of winter vegetables with onions, garlic, olive oil and a little white balsamic vinegar. There are parsnips (such a perfumey taste to me - so exotic), beets, butternut squash, another kind of squash - so yummy. And the kitchen smelled like heaven.
Then I made clam chowder. We had a warming supper with cobbler for dessert.
Today, Sunday, while it snowed, I did some journal pages in my altered book. And I carved a new stamp. I did the rabbit on Saturday. I like the lady face. I made one in the snow too, but it was so powdery the picture sort of "blew up" and collapsed in.
Also, today I watched "Prelude to a Kiss," an old Meg Ryan, Alec Baldwin movie and I had forgotten how wonderful the old man in the movie was: Sydney Walker. I see now, after looking at, he was the original "Old Man" in the play written by Craig Lucas. Marvelous writing, too, in the movie. Alec Baldwin was very good, I thought, playing a young man who has lost his love when she switched bodies with the Old Man. I love movies about people switching bodies and lives. Anybody up for that? Anyone want to go to work for me tomorrow, in the snow, and proofread - while I live your life in Key West drinking margaritas by the pool? Anyone? - femminismo

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What Was I Saying About Regular Posting?

YES, what was that, anyway?
Okay, okay, here I am. It's after 10 p.m. and I've got dried gesso on my fingertips, but I'll tell you what's been going on.
Work, art, cooking and admiring the moon - and some other stuff.
I left a copy of "The Lovely Bones," by Alice Sebold, in JoAnn's inbox on Tuesday. I hope she gets a chance to read it. A book with the words "I was fourteen when I was murdered" in the first paragraph doesn't sound promising or credible, but if you've read it you'll know why I've recommended it to my friend. We both loooooovvve books of all sorts and I've been busy cleaning up my library shelves and going through lots of old memories. Some of the books took me back in time and I could remember the exact year I read them - where I was and what I was doing. Amazing!
On Wednesday, Sandi (a coworker) invited a few of us over to her house for lunch. She has a cozy home and is such a gracious hostess. Her house is all decorated for Christmas and I had to share this picture of her Christmas village, with its own very special touch, care of her son, Sam. (Those teenagers! He's got a good sense of humor don'cha think?)
Tonight was grocery shopping night for me and I went into some kind of holiday frenzy and bought up anything that had high levels of either fat, sugar or both. Some of these ingredients will be in the same homemade product - cookie or candy. Choose yer pizzen. (I've been re-reading "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry.)
I want to make fudge, I want to make shortbread, I want to make chocolate drizzled cookies. I even bought (gasp!) lard to make bizcochitos, a traditional New Mexico cookie flavored with anise seed. Yes, it's true, I've officially gone crazy. Will I have time for all this? Who knows. But I can try. I took the picture of the moon - I didn't even see the plane - on my way home from shopping.
In between dinner and posting I worked in my altered book journal. I have been trying layers of tissue paper, gesso, a doily, some paper collage and this is what I came up with. I didn't touch the page on the left, but the lady with the terrifically original word, "dream," is all mine. I like the little pyramid, cut from a book, at the bottom.
I think the Chinese characters say "rubbish," but I'm not sure. What I would like them to say is, "Bachelor No. 1, which do you think I would rather have rubbed on my back: lavender scented oil or melted chocolate?" Can you guess, dear reader? - femminismo

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Artful Journaling - I Hope.

THERE are no words added yet, but here are today's pages, inspired by the SoulJournal Yahoo group. We were inspired to use lots of gesso and incorporate other things (which I have a lot of) to make a layered, deeper page.
I'm showing posts of this page since the first rule of blogging is Post. Post regularly. Post often.
I unearthed my carved lady face stamp I made and since I haven't taken her out for a spin lately, decided to do so today.
I used gesso, paper towel bits, dried leaves from several years ago, acrylic paint and gold glaze. I picked up the clear button and then found - in the button box - this bit of what was once attached to a button, I think. Looks like a green ship. Maybe the green lady will sail off on it when it get closer.
They appear to be stuck to the page for now, but I think I'll affix them with something more permanent soon.
I thought I had gotten away from the gold and orange and yellow of my October pages, but evidently not. Maybe this gray, foggy Oregon day needed a bit of sunshiny juice to it.
The last photo is of something the Mister brought into the house the other day. He has been shopping already and I haven't gotten him a thing! Must get busy.
Now for a bit of a poem (just a verse):

We are created from and with the world
To suffer with and from it day by day:
Whether we meet in a majestic world
Of solid measurements or a dream world
Of swans and gold, we are required to love
All homeless objects that require a world.
Our claim to own our bodies and our world
Is our catastrophe. What can we know
But panic and caprice until we know
Our dreadful appetite demands a world
Whose order, origin, and purpose will
Be fluent satisfaction of our will?
Drift, Autumn, drift; fall, colours, where you will:
Bald melancholia minces through the world. - from "Canzone" by W.H. Auden
- femminismo

Thursday, December 4, 2008

250 Posts!! It Seems Like Only Yesterday ... .

YESTERDAY - really, truly, yesterday it seems - but it wasn't. I began blogging on "One Day At A Time" when I began my monthly altered books April 2007. That's more than one year by far.
And here I am now, with the 250th post. I certainly hope in at least one of them I've found something to say to someone. And you know what I mean by "say."
I was just watch/listening to Ariana Huffington on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and she said more than 50,000 blogs get started every day. Yipes! But I got what she meant; that we're talking about our passions and what we care about, and it's like being in a room with someone and sharing. We're separated by electronic media, but not really.
It's become a very personal sort of journaling for me, and all of it is floating around in cyber space searching for eyes to see it and ears to "hear" it. To friends out there, hello again. To strangers, welcome!
The flowers above are from today's Thursday bouquet on my desk at work. The wild smell of the ferns and fresh, green scent of the tiny roses - after a frost, at that - kept me partly in the outdoors while I had to be inside all day long.
I visited Judy Wise's blog and found her link to Susan Tuttle's blog. Susan has a new book, "Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations + Explorations," (at left) and here's the link. She's also having a contest. To enter click here.
Her artwork is inspirational and is just the sort I like the best - with alphabets, paint, old photos and odd juxtapositions and rusty things. Check it out and enter the contest.
Here's to roses in December and blogging friends - femminismo

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So Not Martha - but so much Fun!

TABLE centerpieces for our office Christmas party took shape at Carol's delightful home as her fluffy white Samoyed, Winston, lounged under the dining room table.
Laughter above the table, as five of us struggled to be "Marthas," made a cool Wednesday evening a little livelier, a lot warmer and much more fun.
We shared pizza, scissors and a hot glue gun. JoAnn struggled with the instructions on the back of a circle cutter, Cheryl learned how to use a bone (melamine, really) folder and Sandy - wait, what exactly did Sandy do? Did she cut holes in the tops of the tree parts? No, I think she was folding too. Did I mention I had a small glass of wine?
JoAnn made lovely earrings from a couple of the paper circles. She got a good picture of Sandy using these same circles as "glasses" to see through. Check her blog and demand to see them if they're not already there!
Well, anyway, we did have fun and laughed a lot. And the plastic "silverware" for the party got wrapped in napkins and tied with ribbon and the paper trees will go on one of the tables at work as a party centerpiece.
Before I left work I tried to take photos of the new moon. There was a great southern view from the parking lot, which is where I should have been on Nov. 30 or Dec. 1 when Jupiter and Venus were closer to the new moon. Which photo do you like the best? The shaky one where the moon looks like a flame in the middle of the streetlight, or the one where it's balanced in between? It's hard to choose, isn't it. (The earth is practically rocking with all your heads nodding at the same time!)
It is getting cold outside - down to 37 degrees, my computer "weather detector" says. Brr! Time for the down comforter to go back on the bed - femminismo

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Very Small (Roberta Lavadour) Book.

MY friend and colleague, JoAnn, sent me an e-mail to let me know Roberta Lavadour, a book artist, will be on Oregon Art Beat, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Dec. 11.
I checked out her Web site, Mission Creek Press, and saw a little book, "Gyromancy," you can print out and put together. It is, indeed, a small book, but it took mistakes and trying again to make one myself. Here it is, printed and trimmed.
So here we go, I thought.
The directions made my brain whirl a little, what with "hamburger" folds and "hotdog" folds. However, I got the knack.
Pretty soon I had the eight folds, then flattened them and folded the skinny way (hot dog) and was feeling pretty successful.
Then you were supposed to make cuts! Unlike folding, this sort of thing is pretty permanent. I did it wrong and cut the thing entirely in half. (I am always somewhat surprised I don't swear in my posts.) So it was back to the printer to print another one and refold all the folds.
This time I did better and read the directions more carefully. Cut only to the second fold. (Then STOP!)
There were white circles to cut out and then pictures of eyes to glue ONLY to the paper inside, but NOT to the section of the paper with the cut-outs. (Peek-a-boo!)
After you've glued down the eyes you refold the little book so the new addition has folds in it too, and the whole book is an accordion.
(The Mister said this book could scare someone if you weren't expecting the eyes looking at you.)
When you get done with the project you will maybe a 2 inch x 4 inch book. Each book has its own number, with your initials and the date. One of a kind.
I like looking at the eyes, but I also like closing them off and gazing at the scene of the eastern Oregon hills in such a nice blue. I think I will write a poem on the inside - a secret to myself - on the woman who lives in those hills.
Now I'm going to work on constructing my own font, for I just don't have enough things to do - femminismo
p.s. Roberta likes you to send her an e-mail to tell her where you live, what kind of paper you printed on (oops! maybe the printer you used;I forgot this) and the number you have on your book. I guess she has had many people make this book. Let me know if you make one. I want to see it!