Saturday, May 30, 2009

Back To The Woods.

DID some gardening (a bit) this morning and love these yellow rhododendrons. The color is a perfect yellow - not too bright, not too pale. The texture of the petals and the slightly sweet smell only adds to their lovely presence this spring. Sometimes this plant blooms again in September. After the show this last day of May, I don't know if it will have anything left to give.
We then drove to Washougal, Wash., to trade a warped pressure-treated 200-lb. board for a straight one and then we went to the woods. It was time to put that last board in place over the bridge that the Mister's been covering. This was the first time I'd seen it since he'd begun covering it with the heavy boards and fastening them down. No more worrying about putting your feet in the right spots. It's a perfect driving surface in case we get busy on building a house up there and need cement trucks to bring foundation materials across to the other side and the Mister says we could even have a dance on it. Pretty darn nice!
I found a frog in the woods, flowers past their prime - there were trilliums and false Soloman's seal - and goatsbeard just coming into its own. This maidenhair fern is for Candace, who loves ferns. I had to lay down on my stomach and hang over the bridge to get this picture, so she'd better like it!
Last, but not least, is the setting sun. It actually still has hours to go, but here in the woods where the trees are so tall, the sun goes down much sooner. It was so warm today that I'm sure some were glad - femminismo

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Night and Day.

THE world can change without warning from night to day, gloom to purpose, strength to weakness. Or ... the other way around.
I've been thinking about my strengths and weaknesses a lot lately, wondering how well I know myself and what has led me to my becoming who I am. Deep thoughts and not all self-knowledge is welcome. Admitting faults can sometimes be no fun.
However, without examining the life - as someone once said - it can not be worth living. (I can't imagine that, but I'm told it's so.)
Well, without going into much more boring talk about "life" and the living of it, I guess I will just wish us all well in its doing and, I say, let's get on with it! - femminismo
p.s. Enjoy the depths of this clematis. Click on it and contemplate the world in a flower.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Doing A Little of Everything.

TENDING my flowers, then picking some for the cemetery this Memorial Day. Wanted to share their beauty before it passed on too. These are the headstones of my grandpa, grandma and aunt in an old country cemetery.
Visited with friends, had a good lunch and then traveled back home to work some more in the yard. Planted three pepper plants and colored some paper with paint. I wanted to show Candace my stamps I carved: nose and eyebrows in one stamp, two eye stamps and a twisted sort of mouth stamp. This is what I did over at the beach. (You need to think about how what you draw "right-side" will end up "left-side" when stamped. Think ahead; don't be like me.)
One more thing to show. I have been working on the Anticipated Stranger notebook - recycling the annual report folder from Timberland. I worked on the cover the other night, stamping part of the "story" about this guy. He's not someone you want dropping in, I don't think. Something a bit sinister about him, making trouble, stirring things up - femminismo

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back Home and "Stuck"

FUNNY how we slip into the same old grooves the instant we return home from a vacation.
I think the first thing I did was sweep the kitchen floor. It always makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something that needs to be done and I can see instant results. I'm probably the only one who notices, however.
Well, I promised you some photos so I'd better catch up. I have the picture of the old leaning barn in the field of red clover. I should have taken 20 more, but didn't. This is the picture I wanted so I turned around, just after starting my journey to the coast, and got it!
Indian Beach - Cannon Beach's best-kept secret - was another wonderful place. Gorgeous weather for laying in the Pacific sand. I even got my feet in the water. (Check out those ferns by clicking on the picture. The curly leaves along the side are too cute!)
Indian Beach has these rugged rocks along the shore - the one with a hole through it. Watching the tide so it doesn't come in and trap you on one of those rocks is a smart thing to do. You don't want to lose track of the time while you're exploring here.
Here's a little guy I found on my way back out from the beach. I don't know if was asleep or had expired after completing his life's work.
Now that I'm back home there is plenty to do outside and inside and I'm sort of stuck. Sometimes I want to scream, trying to balance the important things I "need" to get done with the fun things I "want" to get done. (Oh, no, she's singing this old song again!)
Why not a little of both, I hear someone say. Good idea. I'll get right on that after I take a short nap - femminismo

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Third Day of Solitude.

GETTING too used to this. If I had enough money I'd buy this motel room and never leave. Never go back to that other life. Unfortunately, even as I'm typing this I know it would get old fast. Oh, well, we can dream, can't we? And fool ourselves for a little while.
The lilies in the picture are next door at the pub where I ate dinner tonight. Sauteed prawns - a fresh, "bouncy" texture to the teeth, which to me means they were fresh and cooked perfectly. If pasta can be "al dente" I think shrimp can also.
Today I walked on Indian Beach, which is close to Ecola State Park, just a tiny bit (ever so tiny) north of Cannon Beach. Indian Beach - why, oh, why, didn't I take a phone picture of it? - is the most lovely beach. The weather was perfect! When I get home tomorrow I'll post a photo of it and you'll see what I mean.
I also went to Bruce's Candy Kitchen to test the saltwater taffy and then tracked down a "homemade fudge" sign I saw while walking down the street. I went back to the Cannon Beach Book Shop and bought a copy of "Life Is A Verb" by Patti Digh (sounds like dye). The book was recommended by an old friend and after taking a look it certainly seemed up my alley, so I forked over the plastic. Patti has a Web site, 37 days. Click on it and go there for a while. She seems very genuine. Like this quote from the book by one of my favorite authors Joyce Carol Oates: "We inhabit ourselves without valuing ourselves, unable to see that here, now, this very moment is sacred; but once it's gone - its value is incontestable." - femminismo

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Second Day of Solitude.

TREASURE; time alone - and time, alone - is treasure. Spoiling yourself until you can't stand it.
Sitting by the fire, watching a movie (any movie you want without anyone saying a thing), a walk on the beach (walking at your own speed - not keeping up, not getting ahead), taking a nap, finding another book to read. Carving a stamp!
What a charmed life I lead.
I found a way to take pictures with my BlackBerry and then download them onto the computer. So here we go. Let's see what it looks like! The seagull obliged me by staying put so I could include three elements. (As always, click on the photos to see them in larger format.)
I found a shoreline full of white shells and arranged them into this word which describes my state today: PEACE.
If you have found peace today in some small way, shape or form I hope you savored it. My walk on the beach was invigorating and daring. I tend to stay by myself when I'm alone, so I'm glad I went out and played with the waves and saw such a great sunset - femminsimo

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Am At The Beach!

THE room I have here is very large for one person. (Please note: The photo at the left does not depict the motel. Keep reading.) There is a fold-out couch and king-size bed. Three pillows plus my dependable one from home. Gas fireplace. Windows all around. (No ocean view, but I do overlook the courtyard on one side and the next door pub's back yard, which like everything in Cannon Beach is planted with the most wonderful, gigantic flowers. (The calla lilies are in bloom: can you hear the Katharine Hepburn in my voice?) The most wonderful smells come from the pub. Not beer, but garlicky, oniony somethings frying in a pan.
It was pure glorious May sunshine for the trip over, which was nice for driving the rough roads that have just been patched and cleaned up (a bit) since the horrible, awful, ghastly winter snowstorms. When I arrived the coastline was overcast - not unusual at all - and around 6 p.m. the "mist" began.
There is a television and DVD player here, with free movies in the lobby to pick up, but so far I've avoided that flickering box and devoted my time to tea and finishing "Eat, Pray, Love." It was an OK book. I'm going down to the car soon to find "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress." I think it might be more my speed than following someone from continent to continent as they search for their next boyfriend. (I'm being really mean. Gilbert's descriptions of Balinese ceremonies and way of life were great. Her description of the Yogic path was terrific! "We have failed to recognize our deeper divine character. ... Yoga is the effort to experience one's divinity personally and then to hold on to that experience forever." However, I do think the book could have been shorter.)
Well, on to other things: I brought all of my art journaling supplies with me but didn't anticipate such a long haul from the car to the second story room I have. Not much table space and I wonder if the maids will "report" me tomorrow when they find the area covered with newspaper and gesso drying? Oh, well, I paid good money for the room and I'll be careful.
And regarding the photo above: When I left home I stopped on the journey (actually turned around and went back!) to take a picture of a truly majestic leaning barn amidst a field of red clover. However, the cord to get that photo onto this computer from my camera does not work, so you will have to make do with Carl Sandburg's cousin's nephew's barn - femminismo

PHOTO: Old barn on Charlie Kran's farm, a cousin of the poet Carl Sandburg. Taken by photographer Allan Grant, February 1953, in Galesburg, Illinois. Published in Life magazine.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Marathon Art Journaling Class.

DID I mention I was teaching an art journaling class on Saturday, May 16? Well, it happened! From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. three students and I joined together to make paint fly. Using techniques I discovered on my own, some from a Judy Wise workshop and others from discoveries on other blogs, we had a great deal of fun. From the over view of our art area you can tell we had plenty to work from.
Sue, Jo Ann, Merrie and I talked and exchanged ideas and discussed the merits of all sorts of paint and whether gesso or matte gel was best for our purpose. I posted the very few "rules" for art journaling in this picture and Merrie awarded me a "Hot Flash" lady for doing the class. Thank you! She's very cute!
I had an annual report folder that I had begun working on at home and decided to bring this "repurposed" folder to show what could be done with mail that' unwanted and unneeded but too darn good to throw away. The juices and thoughts and pictures and inspiration just took over and everything seemed to fall into line with what has been on my mind lately. I want to add a lot more to this and I think I'll be working on it when I'm not walking on the beach during vacation this week. I leave for the Oregon coast tomorrow.
Note: I altered this post a bit. At the top, on the left-hand sidebar, is a slide show on Picasa, of the "Anticipated Stranger" journal. When you click on it it will open the Picasa album. You can see the pictures by sliding the magnification bar at the top of the Picasa page. (It's small; look hard.)
And here are some images Sue in our class did, detailing the romantic first days she and her husband were getting to know each other.
I think everyone had fun. I know I did - femminismo
p.s. After class I went to our Creative Inspirations and carved stamps with Dawn Sellers. It was great fun. Click on her name above and see the stamps she did. We are meeting now at Art on a Lark in Hillsboro, a wonderful store/gallery full of paper, stamps, art classes and more.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sunlight On Fragile Petals.

TONIGHT I am feeling as fragile as these white petals. Waiting for a breeze to knock me loose, hanging on the only way I know how - through instinct and the longing to belong.
I feel as if I am in the middle of something - a place in life halfway in-between - where everything will either get really good or really bad.
Maybe it's because I edited 19 obituaries in the past two days and I'm wondering what I will leave behind.
Will it say "avid blogger" in my obituary? Will it say "she liked to tear apart books and let them rot in Oregon's winter rain"? Will it say she could cry looking at flower petals? Will it tell the truth and say "she only liked to cook for parties"?
Click on the picture and enjoy every nuanced shadow of every petal and let me know if you feel the same way. Do you feel temporary, transitory, transient?
A big "T" for me tonight - femminismo

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day and I'm Feeling Loved.

THIS Mother's Day was a little bit different because I spent part of the day at the cemetery, visiting my mother and grandmother and cleaning off their graves.
The small country cemetery is in the woods and I was the only person there. In the horse pasture next door there were frequent, loud whinnies - ponies wanting to be fed something across the fence or wanting to be together with their friends who were in another pasture on the other side of the cemetery. Who knows? I don't speak horse. Whatever, they were speaking loudly and clearly.
This little country cemetery is home to local Oregon pioneers, soldiers, babies and older folks who had full lives. The graves on the far left are my grandfather Ira, grandmother Anna, then Aunt Ellen, my father's sister. In the middle are my father, George, and on his left, my mother, Margaret. On the right are my Aunt Mildred and my Uncle Frank (Samuel). Beyond them, in the small grave, is a 1-year-old girl. She died in 1979.
Someone in our family usually always remembers to bring some flowers for her, too.
Whenever I visit the graveyard I remember how we used to walk through it when we were kids and whisper in the darkness and quiet under the huge fir trees. I never thought someday I would be raking up broken limbs and piles of fir cones shaken off by winter storms.
It was here, in the town of Cherry Grove, I grew up and realized one afternoon - I still remember that hour clearly - that my parents would someday die. I was watching my father swing the silver metal bucket as he took off down the path toward the barn to milk the cows. The sun was setting in the west and I was lying on the grass watching him, tall and strong, going off to do this extra work after eight hours on his real job planing lumber.
Someday Dad is going to die, I thought! I ran into the house to be as close to my mother as I could, shaking, not telling her what was wrong.
I remember "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder and wonder if those in the cemetery are lying there thinking, talking to each other. I wonder if they know we visit them. Do they know we still love them and miss them? Or was it enough, that when they were alive, they knew one day we would? We would miss them like a song we couldn't hear again? A fragrance we couldn't smell? A rainbow we couldn't see?
Well, enough for those thoughts. I was ambitious and got all the graves cleaned off. The grass will get mowed before Memorial Day. After I was finished I drove to my friend Carol's house, which is nearby, and we had a barbecue. The men waited on the mothers. Delish! Here is Carol, talking to her son, Jesse, and being mobbed by granddaughters. Too much of a good thing? No way! And the sun setting as I left the valley where I grew up - femminismo

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Check it out here ...

BEEN away for a bit, but I wanted to let you know I'm still "here" at
I helped with the Valley Art reception, and updated that blog. You can click on the link to see the fun we had and the beautiful new gallery: post-renovation.
I wanted to share the moon with you, so here it is. Not the most recent moon, but that can be updated. This May 6, 2009, moon will not be around again, however.
I want to thank friends - and my little sister - who have been listening to my recent troubles. I guess that's my other excuse for not being around here too much lately - femminismo

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

April showers bring May flowers ... but what do May winds and gullywashers bring?

THAT'S the question of the day here in Ore-uh-gun. (Oregon)
Just by looking at my Lady of The Tulips you can tell she's been getting her feet wet. Well, if she had feet they would be wet.
There have been torrents of rain, buckets of water, troughs of high and low pressure channeling in fluids, liquid sunshine galore.
Somehow, with the right foods (chocolate and coffee or tea) and a good fire to brighten up the dark afternoons, we've been able to wait for the occasional sunburst.
Here is one more picture and then I must dash for Valley Art where there is a reception tonight. This last pic is of the flowers that made it through the rain. I guess some of us just love a long, glorious bath - femminsmo

Saturday, May 2, 2009

For Barbara Whose Birthday is Tomorrow

NOW you won't have any guilty feelings, Barb, about your belated birthday greetings to me because I'm late with yours! However, we do have blogland and if you check in here today or tomorrow I will be on time with at least a glimpse of the envelope that holds your birthday card.
I got to the Post Office at 4:11 p.m. Mail pick-up ends at 4 p.m. So sorry, but I doubt it would have made it anyway. Next year we'll try again.
I cannot "leave off" with the peonies. The pink is so voluptuous and I wish I knew enough wonderful words and could make them sufficiently sparkly to describe for you what a day it was here in Oregon. The rain poured at 3 a.m. and woke the Mister up; it sprinkled off and on throughout the morning; and the sunshine came out at noon to gladden all hearts.
Then around 2 p.m. the wind started blowing and the rain came in buckets. The sun broke through again and the wind rushed down our valley and pushed tree limbs this way and that. Pink and white cherry blossoms sailed all over our town and back yard, along with tiny green florets from the maple tree, and the small, blood-red, baby maple leaves that just weren't yet strong enough to hold on. All over the grass were blossoms, florets and leaves - along with dry, dead limbs from this past winter that had finally been shaken loose from the American elm.
Through all this wind and sprinkles, the sun gleamed through and lit up lilac trees and pink rhododendron blooms until their brilliant color hurt your eyes. And in the background - flitting through the sky and trees - were lots of baby birds, hundreds it seemed, chirping madly, while their parents flew back and forth calling out "Caution! Caution!"
In writing and copy editing, we sometimes note that "adjectives" are not your "friends." In spring, how else to describe the riot that occurs?
The Mister found half of this robin egg and I placed it with a shell on the kitchen windowsill. I then found the other half on the ground, where we were admiring the new foliage on the Lenten rose, and took that into the kitchen also. It wasn't until then I noticed they both were - in essence - former homes. Now discarded and unneeded, but each totally elegant in design. (The quarter simply gives you an idea how small the egg is.)
Today, I talked on the phone with a friend, had lunch and more talk with another friend, bought a new hosta, got two Grosso lavender plants and put them in the ground and bought two rosemary plants to replace my large one that didn't make it through the winter. No painting paper as I'd hoped, but at least I feel I accomplished something. The Solomon's seal is getting pendants on it - femminismo

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day and the Eerie Wind

THIS AFTERNOON, if we lived in California, you might have thought the Santa Ana winds were kicking up a storm. But it was just an odd sort of very warm Oregon wind loping through our local area. It felt so very good after a week of cool temperatures, with mornings in the frosty 30s just a couple days ago.
But this isn't the Weather Channel, so enough about the wind. How about some "Animal Planet"? I was over by the window and could still hear the birds chirping away outside and it's almost 9 p.m. Do you suppose Mama and Papa Bird have to do 3 o'clock feedings? Well, someone was making themselves heard outside in the camellia bushes!
Speaking of birds - and one subject does seem to lead to another - I was outside in the garden earlier and, between the mourning doves cooing and the empty spot in the garden where the Disintegration Project used to be, things seemed a little mournful. That is, until I noticed how very well my transplanted lupine is doing and how the Solomon's seal is forming its floral pendants. And how very lusciously lovely the tree peonies look.
Now the project that Seth started among 123 artists, in many parts of the world, has ended ... sort of. The Disintegration Discovery - DisCo - begins, and we'll see where we go from here. Here is a bit of what the tied pages look like after four months outside laying on the ground. Can you see the glittery slug trails? Click on it to make the picture larger. Not too lovely, are they, these aged things? Have we learned something about the ravages of time here? But look at the character! They made it through rain, wind, snow, hail and freezing weather. Does this tell us something about perseverance?
Here is the project on the very first day, laid out in the garden, pristine and white with just a touch of gesso to protect the pages a bit.
OK, just a couple more pictures of the loveliness from the garden and then I'm off to bed. Tulip petticoats in yellow with a touch of red.
And this white fluted-edge tulip does look like a white slip a lady might discretely reveal by crossing her legs oh so graciously.
Flowers are such sexy things! - femminismo
p.s. Here's a lady who knows it's true.