Saturday, October 31, 2009

Full Moon, Clear Night. WHoooooooo!

HALLOWEEN, the time when the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. Or so they say.
Happy Samhain! Celebrate the harvest time along with the full moon and clear skies here in Oregon. Happy Halloween! A fairy princess showed up at my door, along with other demons and haunts under four feet high. But there are still some miniature Snickers for us grownups!
I was painting paper in my little journal book while my brother answered the door and handed out treats. There were plenty of small ones still out on the streets when I drove him home at 7:30 p.m. Not too many trick-or-treaters this year again.
In looking online for Halloween pictures I found this funny one of a party thrown by radio star Doris Dudley. That is her house in the orange picture above. What characters, huh? (I love the Life magazine images that Google hosts. There are so many good ones, and so long as you're not using them for profit, you're allowed to use them.
Tonight at midnight NaNoWriMo begins. I am signed up to begin. My brother and I are going to a library used book sale tomorrow and I hope to get some writing done at the same time. I'm hoping other Nanos will be there. I am writing for donations this year. I have pledged to raise $250, and just like in a marathon I will "run" so many words out of my fingers if you'll support me. Contact me to find out how.
Hope your holiday evening was not too spooky and that you didn't hand out all your candy, but still have a bit left for yourself - femminismo

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Great Internet Celebration

TODAY, 40 years ago, the Internet began - and then crashed. How many times did you encounter problems on your machine today? Me? Only this one time (left). For the most part things went swimmingly. (And this really isn't the Internet. Only Windows.)
And remember my "Woe is me" whine yesterday about all the pretty leaves being swept up? Well today I had to walk down a soggy sidewalk covered with slimy leaves. They must have all fallen at the same time and gotten a lot of rain and traffic. I think the city must be responsible for them - and I hope they get to them soon before someone falls.
I bought a balance ball today; a yoga exercise ball. I am going to use it to sit on at the computer. I cannot deal with chairs any more. They turn my knees inward and cause me aches and pains. The ball is supposed to keep your back straight and strengthen your core muscles. I'll let you know how it works once I've got it properly inflated. I was using a foot pump and it will take half again as much air to get it to the proper size.
Tonight the sun was setting in the west, although you could not see it for all the fog and mist. It was still light enough outside so you knew the sun was setting because the air was pinkish orange. I couldn't get a photo of the sky's color, but I did take this one in the near dark of the back yard. A snowball tree's red leaves are glowing. (I think I spotted a witch's body in the tree above the red snowball leaves!!)
Then I noticed the way the clematis is reaching up for the twisty copper tubing the Mister added - exactly for this purpose: So the plant could climb higher. ArtSparker has a cool Halloween pattern for anyone who would like to make black bats - femminismo
p.s. Click on her name and follow her guide.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Leaves Are Gone Too Soon.

TODAY, at work, the groundsmen - maybe groundswomen, too - were rounding up leaves by blowing them into huge piles. The leaves flew into the air as if they were trying to get away. Whirlwinds of yellow and red were everywhere.
I feel so sad to see people remove the leaves. Why not just let them stay? *For me.* Not for the elderly people who will have to walk through them and undoubtedly slip and slide. Not for the people who like things neat. Along the street, too, where yesterday it looked as if a good two inches of fluffy golden snow was under the poplar trees, today there was a tidy row of raked leaves ready for tall buckets. Containers to take them away. (sigh)
Today I had a stability test at the doctor's office. It's to see how good my balance is. (I would never get tested for mental stability. Robin Williams said, "You're only given a little spark of madness. You musn't lose it.") I stood on a platform hooked to a computer and it showed me as a small X on the screen. First I stood on a firm platform and then a soft one. I thought I wobbled all over on the soft one, but the assistant said I did good.
Then I put on goggles and followed a dot on the computer screen with my eyes. Next, the light from the goggles was blocked, everything was dark, and the assistant tilted my head back and forth and forth and back and sideways. Wowee! I won't know anything about the computer test for two weeks, but right now it looks as though my balance is better than I would have thought. Me, who walks into walls and falls over sometimes when all I'm doing is standing still. (I don't fall all the way over. I always catch myself.)
At work I will be using Adobe Dreamweaver. The software was installed yesterday. I haven't updated Web sites before so this is a new skill I think I'm looking forward to learning. I think! I also think it's funny that I've been keeping track of my real dreams each day - rustically scribbling them down on my desk calendar each morning in pencil - and now I'll be using the most sophisticated software with the name "Dreamweaver." If I didn't already have two blogs I never touch, I'd start another one.
This last photo is one I want to share. I found this fortune in my mother's old leatherette handbag. I keep the purse by my side of the bed. I don't know how it got there. There's a rule in our house though. Once something gets somewhere, it generally stays there for a while. (I wish I knew where my nail polish went to live!) I like to think that my mother had many happy adventures. She could make one up out of almost anything. Making bread, taking a walk with us kids, holding a baby on her lap, having lunch with friends. Oh, Mama, you are still loved so much!
If anyone wants to try those numbers in the lottery go right ahead. Let me know if you win - femminismo

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Play's The Thing!

HERE'S a blurry photo from the play, "It's A Lovely Day," we say Saturday night. Some of the props were quite ingenious. I especially liked the windows at the very end that the characters were carrying and "behind." Perhaps representing eyes, since eyes are the window to the soul.
A new way to see? Something along these lines. The play was billed as a "revolutionary farce" and it was infinitely farcical.
I hope your weekend held something fun, and you laughed - a lot. femminismo
p.s. The "person" kneeling down beside the actor front and center was dressed as a sock monkey. I know what she will be for Halloween!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tea Party With Candace

LO, across these many American miles, I travel to be with my Athens, Ga., correspondent, Candace.
Here's mud in yer eye, Candace, my pal. Tea for two and such as that.
Glad to participate. My black Stetson hat has a copper-colored ribbon, an oak leaf with an oak ball growing on it (well, not anymore, but it's stuck there into eternity) and a black tanager feather with an orange stripe. (I'm guessing it was a tanager. I'm not a birder, as such.)
The orange glow can only mean Halloween spirits are calling, like the woman in my dream last night that had me rising from my pillow in answer to her calling my name. She wanted me to wake up and, I think, go with her. When I realized I was still in bed and her skirts turned into being my curtains, my head fell back to the pillow and I slept through the rest of the night.
Fascinating dream, but she didn't say anything witty or memorable. She did call my name though - femminismo (not that name - my *real* name)
p.s. I'm going to a play tonight! Exciting, isn't it?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sticky Fingers . . . Gooey Paper

PAINTED journaling once again. I think I told you about the Kelly Kilmer class I took and the little book I made there. Well, I have nearly all the pages painted and am ready to paste in my images and papers and then add some words.
I have been keeping track of my dreams - and not that this phrase is overused in letters and journaling, but - yes, I've titled the first page "DREAMS." (thanks, Neko!)
I've even started going through a bag of journaling "trash" with odds and ends of everything I've liked the look of and couldn't throw away. I have taken just two or three items and torn them up and glued them down. (Will the journaling ever get done??)
I know I've had plenty of great dreams. One was so realistic I still get dizzy thinking of it. I was balanced far above the earth - high enough so the houses were about the size of match boxes - and I'm standing on a hollow metal tube next to someone else with better balance. (I'm hoping, anyway.)
I am doing pretty good but all of a sudden it hits me that I'm losing my balance. (Of course, as in dreams, I am looking at myself doing all of this.) I reach out my hand to the person sort of next to me - oh oh! getting dizzy visualizing this - and say, "Would you mind?"
I don't know what she says - I think it was a she; I know it was - because the dream ends! And the dream was in color.
Another dream I had I looked at myself in a mirror. This was a first for me; seeing myself in a dream.
Don't you love these "Kelly Kilmer Colors"? You mix highly pigmented acrylics with matte medium, paint and dry (hair dryer) and rub the pages in-between each color. The green page stuck and some paper ripped off, but then the coat of yellow went right onto the "new" paper.
While I was waiting for the DREAMS letters' glue to dry I started painting over the pages in a book on recycling. I can't get over the paradox - or genius - of finding this book right when I wanted something else to paint. (That's the book with the waxed paper between the pages. One side is blank for a while, which will be perfect for writing in ... someday.
Some of these pages might look familiar to you. I am tearing apart magazines. Yay! Then I can finally recycle them *really* and finally. And yes, you too can have a self! Just install it from this handy kit. (I've already used what was in the box.) What would one look like do you think? Would it have exotic ingredients you mix and drink?
So dreams ... what are some of the other ones I've had? I've written them down and would really like to have had some cool ones - like bears talking to me and telling me very intelligent, witty, meaningful thoughts, but I don't have dreams like that. Maybe I will tonight - femminismo
p.s. The last photo was taken on self-portrait Wednesday, but I didn't think you'd want to see me close up. Too many wrinkles! That's me up there, fourth bird up from the leader. (click on pics)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Time For Some Wicked Brew . . .

DEARY, stop by for just a moment, take off your hat (pointed or not) and enjoy a sip of wicked autumnal brew.
The pumpkins have produced a marvelous pie for our enjoyment - and a very special blend of pumpkin-cinnamon twist ice cream for another type of "topper."
Rich, red fizzy blood brew or a cool glass of elven beer. You can have your choice.
It will warm you up in no time and the ice cream will cool you off.
The "nasty-ershams" don't smell nearly as pretty as roses, but for Halloween beggars can't be choosers, and they look so colorful in the little green bowl.
It's a lovely day today here with warm breezes mixing leaves and sunshine together. Swirling down from the trees are golden and red hues. Ever wonder why autumn (fall) was never called "Tumble"? Spring, summer, tumble, winter - femminismo

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Love Autumn!

FALL is too dull a word for what's surrounding us today.
Red, orange, yellow - piles of leaves on the sidewalks and pine and fir trees shedding their needles. I would scoop them all up and take them home IF I had room and IF they would stay lovely.
Here is a bouquet I made today and you can see the pine needles on the table in front of the container. (Yes, Photoshopped.)
I took a walk and had on good shoes for sloshing my feet through nice dry leaves. On rose bushes there were rose hips of all kinds. Bright, fat, orange ones, soft red ones and some still green and just turning red like an apple.
The tree I am watching hasn't put on any color yet. I'm in no hurry.
On my walk I found a beautiful smoke bush (much taller than me; doesn't take much!) and the leaves aren't nearly as red as our neighbor's smaller potted tree. I think maybe the taller one hasn't gotten as cold and will turn color a little more slowly. Can't wait to see it happen.
I am still reading Michael Chabon's book and want to watch "Ship of Fools." It came in the mail yesterday. I haven't seen it in forever. Fanciful Twist's Halloween worldwide blog party is happening this Saturday. Candace is going to "spook" things up on her blog. I will try, but I cannot promise too much. Maybe pumpkin pie. Stop by for some - femminismo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rain Today ... No Bright Roses.

THE RAIN has begun. It's October in Oregon and that's generally when it starts.
The sounds on the skylight in the morning and the patter after dark. Warm cooked dinner in the oven tonight. Hot roasted potatoes and carrots. A fire in the fireplace.
Watched television guiltlessly. What a sea change. (Isn't that what they say?)
Then received news of a death in the family that was expected, yet unexpected.
Now thinking of this day and how it will remind me in the future of a loss of someone I knew who liked chocolate and beer together. Someone who told a joke I wish I'd never repeated to the Mister. (I hear it too often.) Someone who could fix just about anything and machine parts from metal if a replacement couldn't be found. A storyteller. Someone who could share the same memories and tell you things about the woods you didn't know.
Goodbye, Dick.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Michael Chabon

I AM reading tonight. Not drawing, not working, not blogging ... well, just a little. I am trying to be much nicer to myself - doing yoga, sitting with a cup of hot tea (and drinking it too! I'm not a tea babysitter!) and now, tonight, reading.
A deadline was met today. There will be another soon. Seems like a good time to rest.
Hope you are taking care of all yourselves too - femminismo

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Tree I've Chosen to Watch.

I HAVE chosen a tree to watch through the seasons. Beginning with fall - although I'm sure some have already posted theirs. I don't know whose site I first saw this on, but I have found mine to watch.
It's a favorite maple tree along a roadway and in the later fall it is the most gorgeous colors. I want to save all the leaves and press them in a book. I think I will make a hanging display of some of the leaves for my office window, or iron them between sheets of waxed paper like the kids used to do in kindergarten. Do they still do that?
Near this maple tree I went walking through a rose garden and found some delights.
The large building nearby and all the grounds used to be an old folks home - the Masonic & Eastern Star Home in Forest Grove. It's now rented to a company that uses the various rooms for a bed and breakfast, a restaurant and movie theater.
The roses were mostly put in by these new renters. There is also a Frisbee golf course on the property, so I had to be careful while I was out taking pictures. No one was shouting "Fore!"
These photos look like they might be big enough to make you feel as if you could smell the flowers.
It has been a weekend of working around the house and getting a little work done with dust bunnies. No art - again! This is a sad state of affairs, and it must change.
Creative Circle is this next Saturday, so I know I will be making something then. I should get out my knitting. It's getting cooler here and while I picked beans today - the few that are left - the wind chilled my hands. I did find some edible sugar snap peas, however, blooming and maturing. We had four of them for dinner tonight.
I hope you all have a creative week planned - femminismo

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Self-Portrait Wednesday.

WOE is me. Something is wrong with the card slot on my USB port. Time to make a call to my own personal geek squad. (Peter!) I need to download photos!
How about if I post something I've meant to show you and then I finish watching "Dark Passage" with Bogart and his Betty?
Today was a day of manipulating files on the computer and figuring out tab settings. Haven't done that in a while and it was sort of fun. (I know; I'm an odd one.) Beautiful day today. I saw ducks in a field on the way to work and a swallow sailing through the sky. I saw a huge plane flying over our town. I saw a sign at a corn stand that said, "That's all folks! Thanks for your business."
I heard an ambulance and a train. I picked green beans and cooked them for dinner. I got an e-mail from a woman who thanked me for "being so kind." Touched my heart.
(Picture of me in Montana and leaves in Montana - September.)
I thought about home today: the smells of dinner cooking as I walked up the hill toward our house from the bus stop. I can hear the radio now and my dad laughing and asking if there were any "threatening letters" in the mail today. I never asked him - I don't think I did - who they might be from. The old percolator coffee pot on the stove. Hot coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I always thought that and milk were the only beverages people drank with meals. "Dish rags," not dish cloths. Wash rags, not wash cloths. I remember washing my hair in an enamel pan sitting on an upturned apple box in our bathtub. Once my sister and I caught buckets of rain water to wash our hair. It turned out so soft!
Two photos from the Art Harvest Studio Tour this past weekend. This is Elizabeth Santone near Carlton. She made felted scarves (I bought a really pretty one called "Lavender Night" and she also made other items - potholders, rugs and hats - and did amazing watercolors. I had never seen anyone "felt" before. Now you have too - femminismo

Monday, October 5, 2009

This Week - Mental Illness Awareness Week.

SUNDAY night I went to the downtown heart of our city and over to the courthouse steps where I once heard and saw Barry Goldwater speak. (I didn't dare get too excited over Mr. Goldwater, since he was going to blow up the world, don't you know.)
On Sunday, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) held a candlelight ceremony to read a proclamation from the mayor of our town that this week, Oct. 4-11, would be Mental Illness Awareness Week. Several people spoke. One father read a poem his son had written before he died; his voice broke halfway through. I am not sure if the son committed suicide or not. That is his picture on the sign ( in the very poor photo I took): Adam. His mother is holding the sign and his father is beside her, smiling.
We all try to smile for the camera. For a little while - just a moment - they are forgetting about Adam so they might inspire hope in others that life can go on without a loved one. A loved one who, perhaps, died because he couldn't get the help he needed.
Stricken by a heart attack or stroke, you will get an ambulance right away; knowledgeable, tender care in the hospital from doctors and nurses; and the therapy to convalesce and get back to normal.
Manic and suicidal, your cry for help may be answered by a team of police with stun guns, physical force, and a trip to jail. Many people with mental illness end up in jail instead of hospitals. Four million of us in the U.S. will develop a brain disorder in the next year.
If you are worried about a loved one there is a NAMI organization in your state. Find out how you can help them; find out how they can help you - femminismo

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Art Girl Heads For the Country.

IT TURNED out to be a nice day on Saturday for a drive in the countryside of Yamhill County. Last year was such a perfect trip on the Art Harvest Tour that I duplicated it almost exactly this year.
First off I went to visit Linda and Jim Hayes in Pike. (Check the Art Harvest link above to see them, under "artists.") The jewelry this couple makes is just breathtaking, and of course I was wearing my Jim Hayes earrings and my Linda Hayes bracelet while I viewed their new work. This year I had to settle on taking pictures of Jim's flowers - abutilon - which were delightful and I had some of Linda's special bread she served her Art Harvest Tour visitors. Yum! Visiting their little studio/house/shed with the warm wood stove is always a treat.
Next I headed for Sheridan, where Kim Hamblin and Landry Deese share a studio. Kim is up to wonderful new works of paper. Check her out on the Art Harvest Web site also. She is a hard worker, that girl, and is so beautiful.
A walking tour out the back door of the studio led me down a trail to Landry where he had a wood-fired anagama kiln heating up his latest work at 2,030 degrees, I believe. If I get back next weekend I should be able to see what he did. (Someone has to be awake at all times to put wood in the door to keep things hot. He had friends helping out - some sleep and some work, then vice versa.)
Lunch was at Nick's in McMinnville where minestrone with a heaping spoonful of pesto fueled my engine. I wanted a glass of wine, but I was driving. And me and wine just like a nice soft couch together.
Visited Marilyn Worrix's studio and marveled again at her magnificent house. She's on the Web site too. Doesn't she have nice neat shelves of supplies? A book artist must know where everything is, I suppose, and keep it all nice and clean and tidy. Can't have smudges on the books. And I believe she must have done every stitch ever known to a bookmaker. Marvelous.
Here is a Yamhill County hillside in Sheridan. What a wonderful day. I can't wait to do this again next year - femminismo

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Strong Arm To Lift Me ...

TONIGHT: Driving home from visiting my aunt, an almost full moon dipping in and out of the high clouds in the dark, first day of October sky, soulful jazz on the radio.
The Mister and I had delivered my mother's walker to her sister, Dottie, so she might use it now -- maybe -- to get around. But perhaps not too far or too fast. She had hospice visit her today to talk about the care she may need at home very soon. She weighs just under 90 pounds, this once tall, dark-haired aunt of mine with the strong laugh and mischievous eyes.
In the picture (left-right) are my Aunt Terry, Uncle Bud, my mother and my Aunt Dottie, as she is called. Only two of the four are left: Terry and Dottie. Four other children were born after them. Of those, two are still living. (Tomorrow would have been my mother's 87th birthday. And tomorrow is Gil's second birthday.)
My aunt wanted to sit up on the couch as we left so she could say goodbye. The last things I saw before leaving tonight were my uncle's strong arm helping her rise and her thin hand waving us a farewell.
The ride home was quiet as we both thought of aging and what awaits us. Will I have the Mister's strong arm to help me rise from my chair? Will I even make it to 80? What is coming and how will this all end? Hard not to have these thoughts of mortality when you brush close by someone else who's right in the thick of ending this story and going on to the next chapter.
I'll leave you with something more cheerful: a picture of a pedestrian bridge across the Missouri River at Fort Benton, Montana. We stopped here on our vacation and could hear the chatter of earlier generations of folks traveling by riverboat, stage coach and horseback - femminismo