Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello 2011 ... Good-bye What's Your Name

SAYING so long to 2010 at Red Lobster with family and friends. It was cold outside (about 33 degrees) and the restaurant was cozy inside.
We had to wait about one hour - the group of us, with two small children - until a table was available. There was a busy, busy staff trying to feed everyone and giving the kids a chance to pet the lobsters, if they wanted. One lobster was captured and carried to the kitchen, but at the last minute he/she/it was returned to the tank. Spared, pardoned, reprieve. Not sure what happened but many he didn't pass muster with the customer.
Cute little Kennedy here decided the lobsters were pretty neat, but they belonged in the water and she didn't. She was a good girl at the table and waited patiently by coloring until her order arrived.
This holiday time has been about friends and family in a big way. This made the third get-together we've had, and even though many of us are almost worn out from celebrating, we roused ourselves to take one last shot at it.
At the left in this photo is grandson Cameron, Kennedy between him and Ashley, Marissa behind the menu, Holly - Marissa's good friend and an adopted granddaughter to me - and my son Joe. What to order, what to order???
We finally made up our minds, with me thinking the pecan crusted shrimp skewers and wild rice pilaf sounded excellent.
The Fat Tire beer was excellent with all of it!
Here is the proud dad Joe with daughter Marissa. She got married in July and only has three more terms at the Portland Art Institute and is then bound for glory -- and working hard to pay off her student loans.
Couldn't be prouder she's almost finished with her degree! (Can you tell?)
Peyton (or Payton; I'm not sure of the spelling), the little redhead, played like a good girl/good sport with her magnetic drawing board while waiting for dinner. It looked like a pretty cool toy - one I would have liked to get for Christmas. You can erase everything and start over again from scratch.
And the Mister and his grandson Cameron had plenty of time to talk and catch up. That's the good thing about busy restaurants.
He had to work the next day, so no wild partying for him. And now the Mister and I are home and waiting for midnight - if we can. He's playing guitar and I'm catching up on my blogging. And my knitting, in between picture posting. Some take longer than others, and why waste time?
Well, my goal is to post more often and increase the quality of my writing, so let's hope I make good on this. I don't think it can get too much worse. My best to all my blog friends and the people who drift by - by mistake or curiosity. I hope 2011 brings us all the best and we find a way to bring about peace, feed the hungry, befriend the lonely, educate the world's children and make our world the best it can be. It starts and ends with each one of us - femminismo

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peaceful Solstice to You

THIS AP photo of the eclipse in Chicago is quite stunning. I'm sure the photo is better on the Huffington Post website, which is where I picked it up. Here is another link to an excellent video on YouTube. In Oregon it was too rainy at 11 p.m. to even contemplate standing outside and looking for the moon.
It's mild weather today - sort of. It's 37 degrees F., and will only get a little warmer today.
I hope the solstice finds you well and on your way to ending 2010 with brand new goals and inspiration for the coming year - femminismo

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Mystery of Picasso ... or any artist

THE Mister and I have been watching "Le Mystere Picasso" - more than once - after our trip to Seattle to see the Picasso exhibit.

You can find a YouTube video here to check out Le Mystere yourself. Watching a creative genius at work is inspirational, especially when you feel him guiding your hand when you try it yourself.

So, when I goofed on a copier job at work I recycled the paper by using magnets to attach it to my metal file cupboards and got a big, black Sanford Super Sharpie (TM).

Here are the pictures I came up with.

This first one looks like someone Picasso might have flirted with in Cannes.

The second one is a bit more contemporary, I think ... but I could be wrong. I would like to add some color, but don't have bottles of ink at my disposal as Picasso did.

During the filming of his work he was pushed quite hard by the director, Henri-Georges Clouzot, and because Picasso was such a manly man, he denied ever feeling tired and kept drawing and painting until he finally collapsed. I guess that's what "real" men do.

Standing while drawing and using the tip of the pen held like a stick you'd write in the sand with, is a unique way to draw and not one I've used very much. I am thinking I want a piece of metal and some sturdy magnets - all of this on an adjustable holder so I can stand or sit and draw - femminismo

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Picture With Santa

FINALLY I pin down Santa!
When I was 6-years-old I waited behind a curtain for Santa in our little house in North Plains. My father encouraged us to wait and hide and BE QUIET, so my sister and brother and I waited with Dad for the jolly old elf.
We watched as Santa walked through our front door and spread presents under the tree! How did we stay quiet? Or did we? Oh, to have a time travel machine and spy on that merry little group in the closet!
Shhhhhhh! Don't tell me there is no Santa. I watched him come through our front door and now I sit beside him and smile at the thought of Christmas and the memories I have - femminismo

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Office traditions

ONE of the oldest ornaments on our office tree must have been created by someone in the 60s with a lot of time on her hands. (I am assuming an awful lot, but a close look at it will convince most everyone it was constructed by a "her" ... for sure.) The ornament may have been made for a holiday bazaar for all I know, but it has spent the last 15 years - at least - on our office's holiday tree.
This is the (at least) 18 ft. tall tree, a Noble fir. What a great name for a tree. The Santa on top is not old at all and it most likely originated in China. Other cultures must really giggle at the things they produce for Americans.
The Noble is not my favorite tree. I prefer a Grand fir, with its wonderful fragrance and bushy branches. The needles are soft, too.
I remember the trees we would have in our house when we were kids. After a long day at work planing lumber while standing on a concrete floor, searching through the woods at night with a flashlight or going out on a tree lot wasn't something our dad wanted to do.
My mother would have gladly gone along, but that would have meant loading up all the kids and she was a lot pickier than my dad and the chore would take "forever."
I seem to remember - or maybe I prefer to remember it this way - that my mother would whisper into our ears, "Make your dad look around and pick out a good looking tree." She would get a slightly desperate look in her eyes.
One year a friend offered our family a tree off his property. We most likely couldn't afford to pay for one that year. Every once in a while the union my father staunchly supported would strike and then we would have to play catch-up on our finances.
So it is 4 p.m., Dad's home from work, we eat dinner and then my sister and brother and I pile into the car with him. I can recall leaning over the front seat peering into the dark as my father drove through our rural area down a dirt and gravel road. His headlights caught a tree in their glare and he braked hard.
He was out the door in a flash and opened the trunk to take out his saw. Someone unrolled a window and we called out - uselessly - "Make sure it's a good one, Dad!"
Dad had the tree down in no time and it was either strapped to the top of the car or placed in the trunk along with the saw. I am certain the family friends were shocked to discover the next morning that the tree that stood proudly by the side of their road was sawed off and g.o.n.e.
I wonder if they ever offered us another tree?
So we take it home to my mother, who sighs as she looks at the crooked tree with the missing branch on one side. My father is not worried because one side can be turned into the corner and a nail and some twine will hold the tree straight.
"It's a Christmas tree!" he said.
Sure enough, it works out. and the bits of tinsel saved from Christmases past glorify each scrawny limb. The large colored bulbs look beautiful in the dark and ornaments gleam next to them. Bits of aluminum foil cover cardboard stars - whose star-shapes are the best we can cut out.
From somewhere, we have small figures for a nativity scene and we venture outside to gather moss and fir boughs to dramatize the tableau. Extra plastic horses or cats and dogs stand in for the camels and sheep that traditionally gather to witness the Christ child's birth. Each year, touching back on these long ago memories brings back the real Christmas for me. The scenes and scents - perfume bottles being unwrapped, cookies, fudge, and meat or fish cooking - of Christmas and the sacrifice of my parents to make our memories of this lovely season of light glow forever anew were the best presents we ever got - femminismo
p.s. The gorgeous fox stole is from the website flavorwire. Check out some of the gifts meant for our cultural icons of today.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

David Hockney's 'Fleurs Fraiche'

NO paint, no canvas, no paper - but a new exhibit in Paris by David Hockney. (The NPR interview is here.)
Hockney began using his iPhone and then went to the iPad with its handy Brushes app.
"There's no mess" he said, although an observer who watched as he "painted" on the iPad saw his rub his fingers on his clothes as if to clean them.
Well, I wish I lived in Europe or was visiting right now, that's all I can say.
I would like to view this wall of iPads with Hockney's fresh flowers.
But I can't imagine producing art without "mess." Isn't that part of the therapy? - femminismo
p.s. The photo was "stolen" from another blog.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Welcome to the Place Where We Talk Like Adults

ADULTS: A terrifying word when it implies no more magical thinking.
Today I had my picture taken with Santa. I had to wait for a while, since he had gone upstairs in the assisted living facility near where I work to make a personal call. An older lady I was talking with, to pass the time until Santa returned, said she had seen him eating at one of the tables in the dining room.
"Was he eating a plate of cookies?" I asked.
"I don't know what he had," she said. "I think it was just some lunch. He said he got hungry."
"When I was growing up, I thought that's all Santa ever ate was cookies," I replied.
Santa came downstairs just then and I was urged to get my picture taken with him. It was free, so why not.
I got a candy cane from him and held his gloved hand and we smiled. He had an intimidating nose and quite the bushy iron gray mustache. White hair peeked out from behind his fur-trimmed hat and his red suit looked to be a fine polyester blend and quite impeccably brushed and pressed. (His hair might have been polyester, too!)
I think five photos were taken in all, to get it "just right," since this is a keepsake for me. I doubt that Santa needs any more photos of himself with kids.
But on the way out of the building (where Santa was holding court) I stopped to tell the receptionist I had gotten my picture taken with the bearded one himself.
"Oh, that's the Santa that's having chemo," she sighed.
All right then. ... Have you heard anything sadder today? Not me.
Well, maybe the part about everyone probably getting tax cuts.
Tax cuts should be a good thing, right? I'm thinking ... maybe not. I heard about an Oregon school district that may not make it through the rest of the year due to lack of money. If our roads get any worse I will need an off road vehicle to get to work. The mentally ill and homeless may soon be cut off without the few funds they desperately need.
How can we keep cheering for tax cuts when we don't want to give up our high standard of living which, incidentally, is declining? Not just in my opinion, but in lots of opinions.
That's where the word "adult" comes in; like "adult talk" and "adult decisions." It's the end of innocence - the end of (most) magical thinking.
All the good stuff in the world comes from somewhere, from people working and helping out others less fortunate.
Oh, I was so lucky to find this soapbox tonight! Kick it out from under me, if you want, but I just have some questions about how long this can all go on. We will have to cinch our belts and make do with less.
Oh, if we'd only known, when we kept wishing for more and more birthdays so we could be grownups and do whatever we wanted, that it was going to lead to this place and this time - when we would have to take on responsibility for making the world a place where our grandchildren could enjoy the good life too.
For years I thought Hollywood had pretty far-fetched ideas for movies set in the future where all news programs were dictated by governmental oversight, politics were run by a chosen few of the wealthiest people and urban decay was rampant. Who was more prescient? Hollywood or - femminismo
p.s. Enough adult talk! What can I get you for Christmas? A donation to Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders? How about something for the local food bank? My pleasure!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dreams Are Taking Over My Real Life

LAST night I had the most vivid dream: I was with a guy and enjoying myself, laughing and having a good time. I was back in high school, I think, because there was my Latin teacher! She was very disapproving, thinking perhaps it was time to get back to work in school. Hit the books. Conjugate verbs. All that kind of stuff.
But looking at the guy - can't really say who he was* - I suddenly realized I was in love. Deep, true love. I was thinking in the back of my mind about how I was going to break this to whoever I was currently dating - or married to - but I had such a good feeling. It's not often you get back a memory so vividly and get to experience once again the actual brain euphoria falling in love brings.
It affected me even through my morning as I worked away in my office. Every once in a while, I would think about how good I felt and start thinking about my dream and how I was in love - wait, that's a dream - yet it seemed almost more real than my actual life.
Almost all my dreams in recent months have seem so vivid and they've taken up a good share of thinking time as I turn them to and fro in my mind.
In one dream I got to hug my grandmother again. In another I fall in love. I can't recall some of the others, and I'm not saying I'm turning into a mental case and not able to separate real life from dream life. It's just that they are so intense - and mostly pleasurable.

Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. - W.B.Yeats

Sweet dreams - femminismo
*p.s. I do know, but I will not tell.
p.p.s. The photo is of Rupert Brooke, a war poet, and the image is from the Google collection.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Fairly Nice Day

TODAY was mostly gray outside and a little drippy with a few light showers, but there was one period of sun with blue skies. Love those moments when the unexpected sky appears behind all the "weather."
Got to "play" with Photoshop today, manipulating a picture of a building decorated with Christmas lights - taken after dark. Last night I shot the pictures beside a pool of water and a waterfall. With Photoshop I lightened up the building a little but the sky turned a very strange nubby "texture." So this afternoon I went over again - at about 4:30 p.m., instead of 5 - and caught a little more light in the sky. It was dim enough, however, so the colored lights showed up. I think these photos will be more effective.
Also found a snowflake graphic in Illustrator that I can save and paste onto the photo. That gave it a wintery feel. I liked it!
I am really stretching myself to come up with something to paste into this blog. Next I will be telling you about my lunchtime shopping trip where I bought a new lipstick and two kitchen rugs. Whoops! Too late. (By the way, what is it about a new lipstick that gives a woman/person the feeling you will look so incredibly different you'll be a new person?)
Our Christmas tree arrived at work today. It's about 18 feet tall, I think. When I came back from lunch it was put up and the whole building smelled sooooo good. Tomorrow it gets decorated.
Here is another tree picture of a ghostly-huge oak tree on the campus where I work. Doesn't it look spooky? It should be full of bats or ravens!
This evening I was visiting a friend's blog and found she likes pictures of shadows. This reminded me of a photo I took in Seattle of an African mask. Hope you like it too - femminismo
p.s. Hope I didn't show the shadow picture before!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh The Misery of not Keeping Your Word

NOPE, I didn't follow through and keep my word - with NaNoWriMo! I didn't write 50,000 words in November. And you know what? I don't really feel guilty about it. Bad sign? Good sign? I don't know. This is the second year in a row that I've not done the writing. : (
I didn't have an outstanding November, but a few interesting things happened and some other goals were met. At Valley Art Gallery the Annual Event went off without a hitch thanks to everyone on the committee. And a lot of great art continues to be sold. I hope the earnings this holiday season will see us through the year with a little extra to spare.
A fund raising event is coming up for the gallery during 2011 since some work needs to be done to the building. Can anyone think of a great money making idea? Something fun that will draw people in to the gallery to contribute to our ongoing success. A catchy name? Special guests? Music? Food? Sit-down dinner???
Monday night I watched "Winter's Bone," and was very surprised to hear the next day that the film had won at the Gotham Awards for Best Ensemble and Best Feature awards. The movie is about "an unflinching Ozark Mountain girl (who) hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact."
Jennifer Lawrence plays the girl, and her determination is something to behold. I guess she also has a terrific amount of determination as an actress, since she learned how to skin a squirrel for the role.
Tuesday night, what happened? I guess I cooked some dinner and then worked in my "art studio," trying to get organized. Or maybe it was the other way around.
Now it's Wednesday night, first day of December 2010, and we lit the first candle on the menorah. There may be problems, however, since we are almost out of candles and Hallmark doesn't carry them this year. Maybe this will require a thorough hunting out at some more exotic shops. Oh, be still my galloping heart!
Actually, I'd rather go out shopping early in December than wait till the last minute ... again!
A friend said her family has a new gift giving plan this year: "Make It or Bake It." Sounds good to me as long as I don't get any gold spray-painted macaroni jewelry - femminismo
p.s. Wish I could find some of these rosebud shaped kale!