Friday, July 30, 2010

A Walk Down The Labyrinth Path

I HAVE absolutely no idea if this will work or not, but I have uploaded a video of my labyrinth walk on July 28th on Vimeo. See if this link takes you there and (warning!) don't get dizzy - femminismo

p.s. Have a great weekend!

p.p.s. EDIT on Aug. 1: The photo is by W. Eugene Smith

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Earrings, Garden and Project ... In That Order

ONE pair of earrings didn't quite work out, so the jeweler/artist (Linda Hayes) who made them offered to trade them for another pair. Her studio is at her house, where both she and her husband design jewelry - and a pleasant way of life, too.
Their studio is the coziest place in the fall, which is when I've been there before. In the summer the drive into the country is lovely, with wide open grain fields and bluish mountains in the distance. And lots and lots of blue sky this time of year. Beyond the open door of the studio I could hear a water feature bubbling and babbling.
Linda was eager to show me all the vintage baubles she has collected. Old beads, rhinestones, rosary medals and beads - she's worked them all together into lovely, balanced pieces of art. Check out her website if you get the chance. It was a little slow to load tonight, for me, but hope you will give it a try. The earrings in the picture are the ones I chose and I loved them with my favorite purple blouse. I felt!
And I am pretty proud of myself because I've been following a walking regimen. Every day at lunch I go for a walk and along the way I find the most gorgeous flowers. These hollyhocks were in their prime. Today when I passed them I didn't stare too hard. I knew they were embarrassed at the declining state of their blossoms and the insect damage on the leaves. Or rust? Isn't that what hollyhocks generally come down with? Anyway, I admired them today and then found a shady spot to read "Reading Lolita in Tehran." I know I am probably the last one to read this, but it called to me from the Goodwill shelf and even after the first five pages I adore the author. Every sentence is worth reading twice!
Speaking of Goodwill, I also bought another book called "Produce." Mostly because of some illustrations in them. At the office, when I got back from walking, I was flipping through the book when I found a folded up $20 bill! These things don't generally happen to me! I'm wondering what to do with my largess.
And here's something happy to report today: Someone I really, really like is going to be coming to work in our office! I was so happy to hear the news and so grateful that the stars were all aligned correctly. I think the management is going to reap many benefits from her work and she will add greatly to the efficient operation of our tiny little world of keystrokes, filing and paper cuts - femminismo
p.s. OOPS! Didn't show my project, did I? Or my tomatoes? Well, only one will fit the time I have. Here's some more of my painted, small manila envelopes. They will all hold books - very small books. I'm sewing on buttons with ribbon so I can keep them closed!
p.p.s. Linda's page never came up so I linked to her info for a local tour. Take a look!

Monday, July 26, 2010

What I've Been Doing

ZUKES, 'maters and beans. There's been so much sun lately the tomatoes have been reaching for the sky. They are now taller than me and need to be encouraged to devote their energy to spreading out a little and zapping those blossoms into hundreds of round, red juiciness. Now that's not really a word, is it? (Must be spelled right because the spell checker hasn't underlined it.)
I've also been organizing "the studio" and almost getting heat stroke. Water! The only cure. And no humidity to speak of makes things bearable. Also, it gets cool in Oregon at night. Why it's almost 71 degrees F. now at 11:21 p.m.
Saw "Inception" on Saturday night and then went to a Sunday matinee with a friend and saw "Maryada Ramanna" - all in Indian with no English subtitles. The colors, dancing and music made it terrrific. A young Indian man on our way out asked if we had been able to follow along. We had a few questions for him because whatever the hero had said a couple of times really made the almost entirely Indian audience howl with laughter! A fun experience. And, yes, I'm working on another painted envelope project. Another poem Rolodex, I hope - femminismo

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rest In Peace, Daniel Schorr

THAT melodious voice stilled. How sad.
What confidence we felt when we heard his voice. Confidence we were getting the real story and not some shrill pandering to the entertainment (really? entertainment?) gods.
No crying on the air telling us about his problems, hatreds and misguided perceptions of what the world is like. No fear mongering or operating with only a teeny, tiny peanut-sized brain.
Just the facts with a measured opinion. Take it or leave it. But if you're smart, you'll think it over at least. Intelligence beyond measure, respect for the news business, respect for the intelligence of his audience. I fear we are truly lost now, wandering the dial in search of our True North.
Sleep well, sweet prince. Our "active witness to history."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A 'RePost' From February 2009

TODAY I am going to repost something from 2009. On Seth's Altered Page blog he has reposted the most beautiful "handbook" he produced. It is wonderful and gives me great ideas, as always. I think he must have more time to shop for odd bits of this and that, or maybe there are just more dumpsters in New York!
Check out this link if you'd like to join me in "Remembering the Future."

p.s. I've corrected that link to Seth's Altered Page, but I hope you found something interesting in the other page, if anyone happened by last night. (Comments, comments, please!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wandering Through Blogland ...

TODAY I went visiting, clicking on "next blog, next blog, next blog." There were so many in a row that had to do with gardening and flowers, I felt I was on a Google search. At last I came to Sachi's blog and here is the comment I left on SachiAmbi's blog:
"I cannot describe to you the wonderful journey you have taken me on. From your home and beautiful daughter to the mustard fields of India - all with your innocent, marvelous commentary! There are tears in my eyes as I think of my own grandfather - who is buried in an old country cemetery I still visit, because now my parents are there. Your photos are lovely and I have enjoyed them very much. Thank you for sharing and I pray for peace in our world and no more fighting to endanger a land you still hold tightly in your heart."
The ashes of her grandfather were under a certain tree, much the same as my tall Texan grandfather rests at the base of a giant Pacific Northwest fir.
Such an entertaining blog she has with an intuitive ear (if there is such a thing) for dialogue that feels like a real in-the-flesh visit. I went from being in her home and viewing her small daughter's play time to traveling with Sachi to India to visit her family's humble beginnings. Visit it, too, if you can!
Another blog I visited, the author used her photo editing software and cropped slices from pictures, ending up with some surprising floral and fauna collections. Very nice in small bits. So I wanted to try it. Maybe more of it tomorrow. I have some excellent coneflowers to slice into interesting bits.
Now, I must rest so as to be on time for work tomorrow - femminismo

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Write Like My Hero!

I WAS visiting Laura Miller's art journal blog - look for her link over on the blog roll at the right - and then went to visit l'Astronave's blog (also on blog roll). I really should be doing my hair. I'm late for a date with relatives!! Argh! They will probably read this someday so I will have to be truthful about my whereabouts! Not that I would have lied, anyway. They never expect me on time.
Anyway, on l'Astronaves blog I saw she had submitted a blog post into "I Write Like" and got her answer - she writes like David Foster Wallace - so I thought I would quickly try it.
My jaw dropped when I saw who this analysis says I write like: Chuck Palahniuk. Oh my gosh! My hero. I've always wanted to take this Portland writer's class "Writing Dangerously."

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Life can't get better than flattery like this - femminismo

Thursday, July 15, 2010

August Journal Is Under Construction

IT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAPPEN that I can be true to my word and keep to my agenda. More often than not something comes up to rearrange "agendas." This week things have been moving pretty smoothly (in that direction, anyway).
Last night I started painting this thick annual report with house paint primer. By the way, I am not endorsing this company. It just happened to come in the mail. The pages are similar to Kleenex. Cheaper to mail a phone book type document that way! We have since gone to paperless reports.
So here we begin. I used one of those sponge "brushes" and it was pretty handy. In order to begin reducing some of my collage collections, I took a brown paper bag full of inspirational pieces and just started pasting them in using the house primer. This is one of my favorite artists, Maira Kalman, and I really liked her New Yorker cover painting, so of course I had held onto it. Trimmed out and pasted down, I like the shadowy "self" behind the woman in front.
The words "Divine Companions" in the newspaper story about pets caught my eye too. With the "shadow woman," or maybe "soul" of the person Kalman painted, the phrase felt right. Sometimes - and I'll bet others will agree - the elements just seem to fall together and often they're right in front of your eyes.
So I'm on my way with this August journal. While I was waiting for the pages to dry a bit, I used the house primer to paint over the cover of another book and some pages in another. I liked the primer. It dries fairly quickly and isn't sticky. Makes a nice base for other things too.
When the Kalman page was dry enough I went on - and I'm painting together several pages at a time to save time and make the pages thicker. I don't want to paint every page in this thousand page document!!
So first I found the quote in the paper bag of "stuff" and then I found the ballet picture. The headline was with the dancers. Then this gent caught my eye. I don't know that he was really terrible. You can use your own imagination to interpret what the "seven minutes of magic" are. : ) A dance? A date? A ... .
Separating the pages with waxed paper was a good idea. It allows you to work on several at a time so long as they are not terribly wet. I used some gloss gel to glue down the pictures too and used a brayer which picked up a lot of primer. The brayer is now coated with the stuff and has a great texture. It will never be totally smooth again, but it does get the bubbles out of the glued down elements.
This last page was just a bunch of tags I made and found at the bottom of the bag I was trying to get to the bottom of. I think I got the window from Judy Wise and the mosaic came from a magazine ad on traveling to Turkey.
After all this gluing and painting, I was glad to have dinner and a movie ("Coco - Before Chanel"). Time to relax and peel all the gloss gel and primer off my hands!
More tonight, if I don't have to water the plants or make dinner or do anything else but have fun - femminismo
p.s. "Coco - Before Chanel" is very slow. Audrey Tatou is lovely and the straw purse she carries is to die for, but I wouldn't recommend it for an engrossing portrait of the artist.
p.p.s. Happy birthday to Peter, my little baby boy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An Important Day

I CAN'T be more clear or more right when I tell you this is an important day.
Today I stood up for myself and spoke about my disappointment and hurt instead of holding it inside where it could do me no good.
I didn't attack anyone verbally and I believe I was within my rights to express my hurt. It just isn't like me to do this. I am the nicest, quietest, meekest person you would ever - or maybe never - want to meet, and this is a good thing ... sometimes. Sometimes it's not.
This morning, at work, we had a meeting, and you know how it goes when you anticipate an event. Does anyone else write scripts inside their heads? Do you plan ahead of time what people are going to say and how you will respond? Or is it just me?
Well, this morning I expected things at the meeting to go entirely different than they did. Because of miscommunication, I ended up with my feelings hurt and felt entirely extraneous. I felt as if the valuable skills I believe I possess were not appreciated or needed.
Now I'm not saying I'm the best thing since microwave popcorn (although it's a pretty even race) but things just didn't play out the way I thought they would.
So there I was, once again, facing the reality of all of my actors not reading the correct script!
At noon I had errands to run and I had time to think about what had happened and what I wanted to do about it. I decided to talk to my employer (who may be reading this ... she checks in sometimes, and that's OK) because I'm just tired of being as "mature" as I am and still not taking charge of running my life better. She was shocked to hear my feelings had been hurt and we talked about some ways to fix the problem. So it turns out that things may turn out better because I did open my mouth this time.
I am happier tonight than I was this morning, but still have a kind of lump in my throat because of a couple of things. One is that the magnolia tree is finally blooming, but that reminds me of my mother who died around the time they flowered four years ago. There are some kinds of pain that just never go away, and losing her is one of them.
The other is the "Battle of the Detritus" that goes on between me and the Mister. What I see as fodder for projects, he sees as clutter - depressing clutter. And I believe him. I believe it dismays and depresses him. And I know some will say just forget it; one man's clutter is another collage artist's valuable collection of gems. I suppose I will just get serious about categorizing and filing it all in the area that is now designated as my "studio." Every night I will work on it a little more until I get this area of my life right too.
The photo up above is a "polarized" picture of poppies - stems, mostly - in the field near Halfway, Oregon, where we stopped on the way home June 10. It looks suitably weird and sort of fits my mood tonight. (I guess I call them "Sleepy Poppies" remembering Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz."
And I apologize if these posts have been hard to read lately. I've been fooling around with the design and I don't have it quite right yet. Thanks, Fresca, for your comment.
Now let's all just grow up and take responsibility for ourselves, OK? - femminismo
p.s. I forgot to tell you: I posted "Did you ever feel extraneous?" on Facebook and my brother, Bob, replied: "Once I did, but Karen (his wife) slapped me." For a couple of seconds I didn't understand, but then I got it and roared with laughter!

Monday, July 12, 2010

From Halfway, Oregon

THE FLOWER QUEEN in Halfway, Oregon, on her way home: June 10, 2010.
Amid all the flowers, under the blue sky, without a care in the world. If only life could always be as sweet.
And I was with a good friend who has helped save my sanity on more than one occasion. I like this picture of her sitting on the little bridge over a tiny creek that probably ran swiftly this spring - with melting snow and heavier than usual rain showers.
She will not like her picture, but then I don't like mine either. I apparently am about five months pregnant!! I knew I should have made this picture smaller ... way, way smaller - femminismo
p.s. On Wednesday, I am going to begin painting the annual report I got with white house primer so I can have a journal for August. I really, truly swear to goodness I am going to do this. You'll remind me, won't you, if it doesn't show up on these pages? Thanks!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Certain Sadness, A Certain Joy ...

THERE is always a certain sadness on arriving home from an excellent adventure. The joy, however, in bringing back images and memories of the adventure more than makes up for returning to reality.
These flowers are courtesy of the city of Halfway, Oregon. It was not halfway from our home. No, siree!
My cousin John noted I've been from one side of Oregon (the Pacific Ocean) to the other (the Snake River, that divides Oregon and Idaho) in the span of less than a week - and it's true. Such different land formations, yet similar in some ways. Such different temperatures! The stars put on quite a show for us and I wish I had gotten pictures of them and knew more constellations. We saw one planet/star disappear on the western horizon. So either there is some hanky panky going on in the universe or one of the planet's moons got between us. Here's hoping you see some good stars in your own skys. Now I'm going to a wedding! Can life get better? We'll see - femminismo

EDITORIAL ADDITION: Here comes the joy ... and the bride. It was very warm so the straw fans came in handy on the grounds of the Joel Palmer House restaurant in Dayton, Oregon. Everything went perfectly as far as the guests were concerned. The groom strutted down the aisle to the ZZ Top song "Sharp Dressed Man" and looked sharp, indeed. Next came the maids of honor and then the bride on the arm of her very proud father (my son!).
Go on ... you can say it! "Awww!"
The minister was sincere and authentic, the vows they wrote and exchanged were tear-inducing (the crying grandmother sat behind the crying father, at left being comforted by his wife) and the kiss was very well done too. (Good job, Matt!)
The reception? Awe inspiring food from the restaurant. The pesto/garlic shrimp, porcini risotto with meatballs on the side to be draped with a cherry sauce - all the fresh fruit - WOW! There was much, much more and then the cake. A chocolate layer that took this chocolate lover's breath away and a delightful poppy seed layer with raspberry filling and cream cheese.
While helping clean up I found this natural arrangement of the straw fans, a wedding program, lavender sprinkles and the pillow the ring was on. I wouldn't be surprised if the "E" monogrammed on the handkerchief isn't an "E" for Evelyn, the bride's late great-grandmother - also known as "Grandma Portland," one of those cherished family nicknames. Now you've seen some of the joy I've experienced today. I hope you found some - femminismo

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Earnest Attempt at Art

THIS IS ONE of the treasures I found this past weekend as I dug my way through our guest room/art studio. It must become one or the other and the weather is warm enough - and now there is enough shelf space - for the "other half" of the garage (the half with no car) to hold my art doings.
Summer guests are now (almost) welcome to descend. Only the bed needs to be put together. And it would be nice if the room were painted. And the corners dusted. But one thing at a time.
I found these leaves last fall up on our property and arranged them ala Andy Goldsworthy. Someday I may do this with the banana slugs that congregate on the pathways on the property. I'll take some kitchen tongs to herd them.
So many different things have been going on in life. Ups and downs, ins and outs, sidestep and skedaddle. Last month I danced outdoors under the light of the full moon at a party, over the Fourth of July the Mister and I went to the Oregon Coast to stay with friends for the night, and today the coolness finally eased and we got a taste of real warmth - real summer - in the air.
There were sprinklers going with golden sunset light shining through, barefoot kids in the park, the thrumming sound of motorcycles and the warm summer air like some sort of heavenly dry water flowing around your arms and face.
I'm leaving you on the precipice of the Pacific Ocean, where Lewis and Clark might have walked to if they could still make one foot push out in front of the other after they stopped at Seaside. Down below is Manzanita and then Nehalem Bay, which was our destination - femminismo
p.s. It's 75 degrees outside right now at 9:30 p.m. Yesterday it was probably 53!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Not Quite Through With Tacoma

IF YOU LOOK closely, you will see one of Chihuly's putti in the lower left (semi-center). The putti are Renaissance figures that were usually cherubic and carved from wood. Dale Chihuly decided to construct them from glass. They are so sweet and mischievous, reclining above octopi or holding hands while swinging above ribbons of glass. (this is another BlackBerry photo)
If I already told you I won tickets to the Museum of Glass, I apologize. I really want to go visit and see them produce the glass. I guess, for a price, you can even make your own and if you goof up the pros will "rescue" it for you. Now that's what I call an authentic souvenir.
This adorable pink bicycle was propped up against a perfect gray/blue background. The Northwest is BIG on bikes.
What else did the city hold for us? Well, we had dinner in the restaurant below our hotel - Pacific Grill - and had a delicious dinner. The establishment was even kind enough to move our party of two away from a party of 1,000 talkative chatterers. My dinner? Prawns with tiny, skinny spaghetti. Don't think it was angel hair pasta, but close. My compadre had clams or mussels in a very light garlicky sauce. Delicious! And then we had Julia Child's perfect fudge brownie with Madagascar vanilla ice cream for dessert. This started us off on ideas for a party to mark Julia's magnificent contributions to our world of food. We are planning the perfect gathering - food and guests. They all complement each other. The food will taste even better with the right mix of people.
And guess what else we found near the Bridge of Glass? That's right: a used book store. When in doubt, choose something by Henry James. I have never read "The Ambassadors," and I'm sure it will be delightful. It will be my "after gardening book."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I am off to Ace Hardware for some house primer - and no, it's not for the house. I'm going to paint a huge annual report we got. Thin, cheesy paper; but Judy Wise is always painting even newspaper with house primer and then going on to paint it with exotic colors and stamp it and then use it to all sort of things with, and I want to try it too - femminismo