Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's nearly that Magic Day

The magic day in December - for me - is the 15th. It is my personal deadline for sending Christmas cards to those lucky first few who might get them on time.
However, I have been looking all over and can't find my address book. Where, oh where, could it be?
......... Hello. It's now Friday morning, Dec. 16. This post has been sitting here all night. I haven't found the address book. I did address four cards and then I slumped into a "Pose of Denial" on the living room couch and caught up on some TV viewing.
I pity anyone anticipating a card and Christmas letter from me. And from not posting on this blog more often I think my writing skills have decreased vastly.
New Years resolution, anyone? Anyone? - femminismo

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Journey of Tiramisu

There were so many memorable meals in Italy. Looking through my backlog of photos I chose a few that bring back one of the great dinners we had. There were sausages and sauteed grapes (these were delicious fried gently in olive oil - try them!) and for dessert we had a tiramisu - one of the fluffiest and tastiest ever.

Paola (left) made the dessert and Elizabeth fixed the sausages and grapes.

The people we were surrounded with proved to make the whole journey and every meal memorable. Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed as if everything was enchanted? Perfect accommodations, wonderful destinations, trouble-free arrangements on tours - everything just working out great? Well, this was my Italy trip. Sort of sets the gold standard.

Paola is whipping up the eggs for the dessert. Standing ready are the lady fingers and the super strong espresso to soak them in.

I am loving these memories and pictures because they take me back to that kitchen in Italy again. Back to that kitchen where Paola is layering the soaked lady fingers with the whipped egg and sugar mixture, which was just right: not too sweet so you could taste the other delicate flavors. (Elizabeth is in the background. She is writing a cookbook and I can't wait to see it.)

One of my favorite people on our trip was Anne (left). She is so sweet and kind and was always Johnny on the spot at helping make everyone super comfortable, even though she wasn't hired to help. She was on vacation too. She is just that sort of person, wanting everyone to enjoy themselves.

She had to leave our group early, after about a week together. She had a job interview in England. Pretty sure someone with her abilities was snapped up.

Here she is adding the chopped chocolate to the top of the tiramisu. Here's hoping for another trip one day to some place just as wonderful with such great folks and memories - femminismo

(I wish I understood why I can't "post" these from my laptop. So I write them on my laptop, save them as drafts and then use another computer to post. Any suggestions out there in blog land?)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Olive Picking in Umbria with Jan

For my 600th post: Enjoy the video. I really liked filming it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

More of Italy

We visited the wonderful town of Cortona and really did not (again) have enough time to see it all. It seemed a little more developed than when I visited in 2003, but maybe it was just due to the renovation of the museum and the improvements to the center of town.
We all got to go off by ourselves for a while and I dared to climb the stairs/alleyway and investigate the town a little more closely to see how others live. I could smell dinner cooking in one house and heard the radio playing in another.
Back on the main street I found a sign for Il Pozzi, a great little artshop with handmade leather-covered bound books. There was also a cistern from long, long ago and inside the glass-covered well were goldfish!
The owner of the shop helped me set up my camera, with no flash and setting the timer so I could just put it down flat on the glass. A beautiful hidden secret in this art shop.
We also had dinner in this town. I had the Sardinian pizza with cheese, capers and anchovies. Italian pizza is delightful. It's tasty, with thin crust, and you don't feel as stuffed with it as with our American-style pizza. Lovely!
We also had dessert - semifreddo. Seems a bit too much, but what else are vacations for? - femminismo

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Coming Full Circle

I don't know what the title of this post means, but I do feel as if I've completed something I have always wished for: a return trip to Italy.

This journey lasted two wonderful weeks and was filled with all sorts of interesting, breaktaking, fully satisfying moments. Most important was connecting with new friends and seeing old friends I never knew I would see again.

We combined three loves of mine on this trip: food (including the cooking of it), photography and dramatic arts with a little physical comedy thrown in.

Our group of eight (sometimes nine) experienced some wonderful adventures and we bonded over the pasta machine. In the daytime we explored the Umbrian countryside. Whether it was in town (Umbertide or Cortona or Montone) or in the countryside chasing a dog (Emma) who was chasing truffles, it was all good.

At night we went home to our luxurious villa and sat in front of a warming fire with a fine glass of wine. Since this blog is also my personal diary, I will be putting more down as the days go by. (She said optimistically ... ) - femminismo

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Hasn't Been Going On?

Everything's been happening this September: the actual money producing job, the volunteering at Valley Art Gallery, producing ads, attending meetings, visitors from out of state, mini high school reunions, dentist appointment, eye appointment ... but thankfully NO jury duty. I called today after 4 p.m. and my number wasn't chosen. I've got to tell you that even though some admired my good citizen stance, I can use the time for other things.
I am going to put together artist kits for the Annual Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17, and then race home around 4 p.m. to hostess a graduation party for my granddaughter. She is doing ALL the work and others are supplying the food. I will just have to clean the toilets and make sure there are hand towels.
Oh, and I might shampoo the carpet, wash all the windows and paint the outside of the house. So you can see I won't be blogging here for long, since the party's on Saturday.
I have been remiss in not visiting my blogger friends for a while. And those friends who I see - those who still check into this site - comment, "You're sure not blogging much."
Well, I will end that today (to some extent ... for a while ... maybe).
It was wonderful to see friends from high school over the Labor Day weekend. We just all got together at the last minute, thanks to Jean L. Sometimes this works. Her husband grilled the finest chops and we had a memorable talk fest in Columbia City near the river. Very pretty home and view.
And of course Labor Day means Art in the Pearl. I bought only one thing and that's because the Mister was tired of following me. It wasn't too expensive. Can't be, because I'm saving (and spending) my dollars/euros on a trip to Italy in November!
I am so excited. Thrilled. Scared. Wondering if I'm crazy.
Well, honestly, mostly excited and thrilled. Scared a little bit that I will get lost. But the airport people always seem to know the way to your flight - even if it's just taken off.
The trip to Italy will focus on food, photography and theater. I love, love, love all of these things!
Well, must go. Here is a camera phone photo I took of the Living Leaves I do each September 11th - femminismo

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good Day, Sunshine!

I love summer. I can't remember one I've loved so much. Finally we have sunshine ... four or five days in a row. Kids running on the streets barefoot. Slugs hiding out under damp pots and holding up their "skirts" as they have to make their way across dry soil at night.
Roses blooming so boisterously their odor is everywhere. Basil leaves so large and fragrant they intoxicate!
I am going to savor every flower, every tomato and every ray of sunshine.
The moon is nearly full tonight and tomorrow we begin our camping trip in the woods to lay under the stars and observe the Perseid showers - but no precipitation! femminismo

Monday, August 8, 2011

Looking Through Fields and Gutters

Artsparker had a photo of some stuff she found in the gutter. After my noon-time walk I, too, now have found a cache of important stuff.

I believe it might be what our world is running on right now. Or at least those who walk and discard or throw things from their car windows.

When I called the Mister on my cell to tell him about the 5-hour energy drink he encouraged me to open it up. "There might be 20 minutes left!" he said. I think/hope he was kidding.

The next item I spotted was an icon. One abandoned, or blown, into a dry field. Through the chain link fence or under it, she ended up smiling in spite of it all. An icon is an icon is an icon - femminismo

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Food can be Art

CHOPPING FOOD is being creative, to me anyway.
Deciding which flavors can live together happily - complementing each other well - is very similar to adding color to a canvas.
So today, remembering all of the Walla Walla (sweet!) onions I had bought, I decided to layer Yukon gold potatoes, the onions, and zucchini from our garden and bake them all together in the oven.
I decided to incorporate basil with the zucchini and since I had walnuts, I thought they would go well with the basil.
I know it's usually pine nuts, but there you go. Change about!
Throughout the dish is olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Just can't live without those things. I left out garlic. Don't know why. Didn't feel like dealing with it, I suppose. Thought it might overpower the other flavors.
Oh, I just noticed the Manchego cheese slice. It's grated up in there too - a little in each layer.
On top I drizzled more olive oil, grated the remainder of the cheese and topped everything with Italian bread crumbs.
It's all cooking in the oven now, covered with parchment, and the bottom layer is bubbling.
I wish I could describe the smell, but I'm betting you can imagine it.
When I get a headache the best cure is cooking. Something about the distraction of it all: blending, binding, trying not to slice off fingers.
Olive oil, olive oil, olive oil. Imagine the fortune one might have made importing it early on and opening America's eyes to how wondrous a thing it is! Better (well, almost) than stocking up on Microsoft stock or Intel - femminismo

p.s. Finished portion. (not big enough) Hate to brag, but this tastes delicious hot out of the oven. Zucchini on top browned, Yukon potatoes held up (not too soft, not too hard) and the basil was an inspiration. Glad I didn't leave that out. Bon appetit, whatever you have for lunch or dinner!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Wednesday Walk

THESE are some of the picturesque items and people I saw on my Wednesday Walk. (And my Mister wonders why I want to go to Italy!?!)
It was a mostly nice day, with a chance of a shower, but I was determined to walk.

Isn't the mailbox precious?
The man in the football helmet isn't who I thought he was when I first saw him. I wanted to buy him a meal, but I guess he is a fairly well-to-do individual with a home and an income. He used to be an accountant (or something like that) and now he just pushes his carts up and down the streets and collects interesting bits and pieces. I can see myself doing that sometimes.

Just shows you shouldn't judge by appearances.
For the last photo, I took three pictures of the flag as I crossed the street. At the very end of the crosswalk I guess I was still technically in the street, but I wanted to get the flag just right. (It is a very, very large American flag - as you can see - and when it blows in the breeze it flutters so delightfully.)
Just as I clicked the shutter - if you can do that on a digital camera - someone drove through the crosswalk and yelled at me "Get out of the street!"

I wanted to yell back something appropriate, but perhaps it's a good thing I didn't. You never know - femminismo

By the way, here's my Italian dream!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11, 2011 - Beautiful Day

OFF AND ON the sunlight flashes through the trees and the blue overhead dazzles through most of today - so far.
I have made the bed, swept, dusted, polished, watered plants, washed windows and clothes and groomed plants and sprayed aphids (yes!) and I have even had time to adore my flowers and take some pictures.
Sitting on the ground taking photos led to laying on the ground admiring the trees and clouds. The ground feels good for a while and takes me back to childhood, watching the clouds sail past.
The allium schubertii bulbs I planted this past fall have bloomed, despite my fears they would rot in the ground since we had such a wet winter and spring. Wet? I don't think "wet" describes it, but I can't think of another word. I got the bulbs from White Flower Farm and would recommend them.
I really like them against the gray-green velvet of the lambs ear plant. These flowering alliums are huge.
There are so many lovely plants blooming in the garden right now and I'm hoping to transform the front yard this fall and make a small, intimate garden to observe and enjoy from our front living room window.
There is a very large magnolia tree there that I want to keep and build everything else around it.
I've been checking out books and Horticulture magazines from the library and they have been helpful, but I don't quite have my ideal in mind just yet.
Let's see; what else did I want to show you? Oh, how about this rose that - with your eyes closed - you could imagine is a ripe, lovely melon. The smell is a 9 on a scale of one to 10. Jude the Obscure is a 10, but I don't have on of those - yet!
Tonight we are going to a concert in Portland to see John Hiatt (acoustic guitar) and Lyle Lovett together. It should be a memorable night with these two. Who knows what might happen? The band might invite us to go out with them after the show? Well, who knows? Stranger things have happened.
The lilywort is blooming too. Got to enjoy them because it doesn't seem they last long.
And this tiny blue flower in the back of the herb garden ... what is it? I hope it's not borage.
Well, time for another load of clothes in the washer, so I'd best get going. Time is a'wasting this Saturday afternoon - femminismo

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So I'm Spoiled ...

That's right ... I'm really spoiled! Look what came winging my way today! Thanks, Jim, for your beautiful work. I love the cutting board. Now to actually even cut something on it. I may just hang it on the wall!!!
Meanwhile, in my little world, time marches on. This month is going to be busy, with a week's vacation (probably at home), deadlines and celebrations.
The boy from New Mexico is coming "home" for a short visit. We'll celebrate his birthday and gather together for catching up.
There's a John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett concert this Saturday night and I'm prepared for fun.
Father's Day camp-out on the property with family and friends is the 18th and 19th. Under the stars with a campfire. Yay! And maybe some S'mores.
And one of my oldest friends may be coming to visit this month too. When life has its downs, it also has its ups.
Here's a last photo - a self portrait - taken during our recent "work convention" in beautiful Bend, Oregon - femminismo
p.s. I wish I had taken photos of the Three Sisters, snow capped mountains that make this part of the world an Oregon marvel.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vacation is Coming UP

I HAVE to take vacation. I have two weeks that need to be used by July 17 or I will lose them.
Any suggestions on where to go? It needs to be where people speak English. With an American accent. (This is a must for the Mister.)
Perhaps a road trip down California way? Or maybe visiting loved ones in Washington?
Seattle and Pike Street Market? Montana?
What will it be I wonder. The lure of the open road is calling ... but then, again, the hallway that needs painting, the art "studio" that needs shoveling, the flowers that need planting.
Good to have this to look forward to since we're been facing many, many, many deadlines at work! Maybe Atlanta??? New York City? Wow, the possibilities - femminismo

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lovely, lovely peonies

If there was one flower from my youth that as distasteful to my nose as broccoli was to my palate, it was the peony. Tuberous peonies stank! They grew in one variety - dark blood red - in my grandmother's garden and I didn't appreciate them at all.

Now, however, after living through nearly 15 years of lush tree peony growth in my own back yard, I have come to adore everything about this flower.
Even the bitter smell of the petals.

These flowers lured me outside in the midst of a rainstorm on Sunday and I didn't regret getting wet. Not when you look at these lovelies swaying back and forth in the breeze, their petals heavy with silver drops of water. The heavy blue ball in the lower right-hand side is a nice part of our garden. Why don't we have more of these? Good question.
Other flowers that are more lovable from the start are the wiegila (not spelled right) and columbine. Enjoy these while I dash off to a meeting - femminismo

p.s. (edited later) Was bad and didn't go to the meeting. Went to a book reading at Powells to hear Steve Earle read from his new book, "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive." He looked exactly as he does on "Treme" and I wished he would have sung one of his songs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Is ... Isn't

This used to be a sunset. On a gray beach. Now it sort of looks like a black hole sucking in the purple sky above the water, which it's reflecting.
Sometimes things aren't what they seem to be. When you play around with hues, saturation, "noise," and other stuff, you get something that looks pretty unnatural.
I have been thinking quite a bit about an iPhone lately. Mostly because of the cool pictures people take with them.
When there are so many photo applications, and Photoshop and what have you, would I really, really need one of these phones?
I would hate to give up my BlackBerry, especially since I found this little wall-smasher, cannon shooting gun thingy that practically makes me press my thumbs all the way through the little tiny smart phone. I think this phone is way smart enough for me - femminismo
p.s. Can you tell I'm really tired? I'm not even making sense.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Enhanced Oregon Just For You - and me

WARNING: These pictures have been enhanced. Not the scenes. They are real and they exist (for the moment) here in Oregon with me. It just seems that the camera doesn't do justice to the colors and so I played with them a bit in my free version of Photoshop Elements. That simple program has come in very handy over the years.
Last weekend the Mister and I met with another guy - Phil - up on the property (we need to find a name for this "place"). Phil and his dog, Sydney, had been mowing the grass before we got there. The grass along the roadside and in the road. And some in the woods.
I took off for a while with my camera to document all the new growth: skunk cabbage leaves, goats beard, trilliums, ferns, Johnny jump-ups, currant tree blossoms. I walked down Far Road to the western civilized (cleared) end of the property with a bucket and came back with the prettiest maidenhair fern. (It's now planted in our backyard in the wettest area we could find.)
The Mister and Phil winched up some trees and started up the chainsaw, which Sydney did NOT like. I ended up grooming ferns - cutting away the old growth to give the new fronds full advantage - and of course went crazy, sitting on the bank above our little trailer and worked away so I would have a pretty view from the window if I ever get the chance to just be there and sit and do nothing.
Phil has some interesting theories about life in general and he entertained me with those thoughts while I chopped away. His dog is named Sydney either because she actually came from Australia or they knew each other in another life in Sydney. I'm not sure, but I sometimes enjoy listening to other people's views of the world as long as they're not trying to convert me. And, Phil, if you're reading, thanks for all your help in the woods.
On the way to a family gathering following our time in the woods - where I had to sit on a towel thanks to my dirty pants - the Mister took a route home that went past the mustard field we had seen on the way in. Don't damage your eyes staring at all that yellow - femminismo
p.s. I love you and I think I'm back.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dinner With a Friend

TONIGHT I had dinner with a friend - a woman I went to high school with. We toured a college together once in 1963. We talked about rooming together once. We gossiped, we dreamed, we wondered what the future might hold.
We've walked two different paths and ended up together tonight - for a while - talking over dinner about the present, past and future. Italian food, beer for her and Italian red wine for me, a plate of three delicious types of bruschetta and a romaine salad with beets. Yum!
We looked through art shops and walked a bit on a labyrinth - until we got dizzy.
It is so good to touch base with an old friend and remember times gone by that seem at the same time to be long ago and just yesterday.
I was hoping we could travel together, but that won't be for a while. Maybe in a couple of years.
For me, I'm thinking of going to Italy in November. Harvesting olives. Taking a cooking class. Never coming back. (Wait! Did I say never come back? I can't do that!)
It's always fun to dream. Tomorrow night I will try to post some photos. I've been taking them, but not having as much time or energy ... or mojo? ... as usual. Bad blogger! Bad! - femminismo

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Sale!

It has been a busy month, and with April turning in its grave - twisting and moaning - but ending with sunshine and breezes here in Oregon, we're about to enter the happy days of May. Thoughts of picnics (maybe), camping trips (probably) and more opportunities to get out and enjoy the fair weather. We hope!
Today I'm going to a book sale at the Main Library with my brother and we'll not doubt find one or two volumes to bring home. I seem to remember the sale last year when I paid an exorbitant amount for a used book I hoped to tear apart. Where is that now?
After that I want to stop by Primroses & Tumbleweeds, a new wine/boutique opening today in town. They will have Champagne for sale and other wonderful items. They have a Facebook page.
Farmers Market is opening too. Plant starts, I will bet - galore!
Talk atcha later - femminismo

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Some Things Accomplished

I have some things to show you. I've been working on crafty-daffy art. The craft I just turned out today: fabric cuff bracelets. Our Creative Expression group is going to work them over this coming Saturday so I wanted to make up a few to explain how they're made. (Makes sense, doesn't it?)
The orange tool with the curvy blade cuts through felt and fabric. You measure your wrist (plus 3/4 inch) and cut a piece of fabric that long.
Then you cut the same length, in a different color, a little bit slimmer than the first one.
Steam-A-Seam2 put between the two layers of fabric, with ribbon placed on top (it's cut a little longer so the ends can be tucked in between the two pieces and land on some of the interfacing) and then you steam iron it all to "glue" them together.
I had to use a flash on this picture because the lovely green felt kept looking a dirty brown. (Not that there's anything wrong with brown!) The button collection will decorate some of them and they will either fasten with ribbon in a loop around a button or with Velcro.
I'm sure I'll have photos of actual hand models wearing these. They might seem a little too cozy for spring and summer, but I'm sure there's a way to solve that with different materials. The curvy rotary cutter seems to solve the problem of fraying edges.
I also participated in a Relay for Life bingo fund raiser on Friday night. We had a a lot of fun and raised nearly $650 (maybe a little more) for cancer research - femminismo

Friday, April 1, 2011

When Did I Lose My Enthusiasm?

BLOGGING used to be something I did nearly every day, or at least twice a week. No restaurant meal was complete until I had photographed the food, no flower or sunset was truly appreciated until photographed and added to the blog, no social event worth its salt had really been enjoyed until I had blogged about it.
What happened?
I actually blame it on the Mister. He takes up too much of my time.
"Oh, I see," he said. "Now anything that you don't accomplish is MY fault."
Yes, I tell him firmly. It's all your fault.
Well, if only that were true. It seems my butt and the couch have a really hot relationship going on. Eating dinner takes up my time. And then there's getting ready for bed. (That takes longer every year!) Doing the Word Jumble puzzle in bed to relax is one of my creature comforts.
I have been leading such a lame life recently (so much work AT work) and whenever I get inspired to go to take a photo and post it (Lenten roses - done that two years in a row I'll bet; forsythia, same thing) I feel like it's Groundhog Day. Over and over and over.
I have been busy with Relay for Life. Last night I made oatmeal, peanut butter, raisin and chocolate chip cookies and sold them outside my office for $1 for four cookies. I made a whole $11 for Relay!
If only I could get online at the Relay for Life website I would send out emails to all my friends and acquaintances to try and earn more for the cause. However, the Relay website has many problems - a global complaint, I have heard - and it's always denying entry to me and the other members of our team.
Tomorrow I am taking a drive with a friend. She has a destination in mind and wanted some company and it's time for us to get together and talk. She also wants to stop at Macys and look at cosmetics! This sounds like it might be fun. Maybe I will find something to bleach a brown spot on my face. My doctor said this is the cure. Clinique should have the answer. Sorry there's no picture here, but I need some inspiration that's fresh and new - femminismo

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rest Well in Blues Land

Pinetop Perkins, you made us dance. You made us smile. You made us richer by far with your great soul. Thank you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Some 'Hummable' Tunes

WELL, tangos, polkas and wild crazy music isn't really that 'hummable' but you can try humming along with Three Leg Torso.
What an awesome group. So talented, on violin, accordion, bass, drums, vibes and all other sorts of percussion tools. Using the bow for a cello on the metal edges of cymbals?
It was my pleasure tonight to finally get to see these guys. Reading about them on their website makes the musical journey complete. The stories they had to go along with their songs were wonderful. If I ever have enough money/gumption and/or stupidity to try and make a movie, these are the guys I would call to do the soundtrack!
You should hear them. Listen to their music on their website.
You can hire them for dances and large weddings, too. Wouldn't that be fun? Tell them femminismo sent you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Always the Winner in my Heart

LOSING an hour and readjusting the body and mind -- is there anything as annoying? Maybe it was just waking up to more rain this morning. Cold rain. But then again, I did wake up and could walk to the window. I think I should count my blessings!
The crocus are blooming and daffodils are all over the countryside. Yesterday (Saturday) I attended a horse show competition and my granddaughter was pretty darn cute in Western Showmanship. I was in the stands nestled between one of my oldest friends and my daughter and we snagged seats under the overhead heater so life was pretty good.
Here is Shey with Willow, the pony my daughter trained. She is a good little horse with beautiful eyes.
There are only two girls competing with the Oregon High School Equestrian Team from their small school, and I really have to thank Carol and Wendy for helping out so much. Being at a cold horse barn at 7 in the morning isn't my idea of fun, but these young people get to compete in ways beyond the classroom and it builds the kind of character you can't overestimate. Give me someone who can get a horse to do what they want it to do - like walk on top and over a 2X4 wooden box in trail class - and I'll give you a person who can pretty much tame society at large!
The Mister and I were certainly glad we timed our trip to Kauai when we did. The tsunami that devastated Japan also affected the Hawaiian Islands, though certainly not as badly. Such a loss of life and the ongoing threat of nuclear disaster. Such chaos in the world made this family event even more welcome. I hope you are all enjoying a day of peace and quiet in your day suddenly an hour later - femminismo

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Can You Spell Kauai?

I FINALLY learned how to spell it by Googling it enough times - about 17 majillion. I still don't know how the natives pronounce it, but I aim to find out.
There were so many choices on where to go for vacation, but when it's two people deciding there's always a flaw and it takes twice as long.
It has to be warm. It has to have beaches. It has to be interesting. It has to be relaxing.
So it was finally decided: Kauai it was. I will have pictures when I get back and hopefully the time to post them. I have been a really bad blogger lately, and since this is my journal (she reminds herself) I had better do a lot more writing and posting.
February has been a busy month, with lots to do at work and a lot to do at home. It snowed again on us and the temperatures have been very cold. I told the tree peonies not to leaf out yet, but they never listen to me. Year after year, they just keep getting more and more frisky and can't wait for spring. They have to sprout out those lovely green leaves that spread themselves in the sun and waggle in the breeze. In the fall they turn gorgeous colors. And the flowers!? Well, search this blog for "peonies" and you'll come up with lots of finds, I'm sure.
Here is one more picture and then it is time to do something non-electronic. I know, it's hard to find that nowadays, but I want to find a book to read, so off I go to my "library" - femminismo

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Long Strange Journeys

ISN'T it amazing that no matter how old you get you can still feel the thrill of spring and new growth? You can sense it all around - in determined flocks of birds rising into the sky with new energy and resolve; in thrusting green shoots from the soil, seeking to rise from the seeds left amid last year's dead stalks.
This is not the time of year when it pays to go against the flow. However, going against the flow - breaking all the "rules" - might be an option if you would really like to get somewhere in your personal growth. Things to ponder.
Today, at lunchtime, I drove to an artist's studio to photograph some of her work for an upcoming show at Valley Art.
Barbara Hertel lives in a tiny town (one large church beneath towering fir trees and a teensy store) surrounded by open fields for actual farming. Her studio is a wonderful place, filled with finished artwork and works in process.
Case in point, this vessel that will become wonderfully meaningful with its saying painted in Hebrew. I will have to ask Barbara again what it means. Something like "we are the clay, you are the potter, we are the work of your hand," but not quite like that. I wish my memory was better!!
I can't wait to see this when it's finished!
She was working on more, but let me show you some of her finished work. I think you will like that too.
She cooks her raku in back of her studio and fires the most wonderful glazes on to get iridescence and "crackling" galore. Barbara fires up the wonderful "Guardian Spirits" that you can see on her website, and she has other figures she is now doing. I can imagine my own sweet faces in the empty spaces on these figures, can't you?
Barbara and I were talking about our mothers today, in passing, and this year - at her suggestion - I have decided to have a celebration of remembrance in June for my mother. It is time. We think of her and still mourn her loss, but it the right time now to celebrate all the good she did and her spirit and zest for life. Why these two figures here might be mother and child.
So I also got some sad news today. News that sent me reeling back in time to remember a long ago part of my life. Reminded me of how far I've come and the strange journeys since - hence the posting title. Long journeys, changing companions, forgotten promises, remaining distant heartaches and a series of "what if's."
If I had it all to do again. If I knew then what I know now. What if my friends knew the mistakes I made? What if they knew what I was really like? Have I been forgiven? Have I forgiven myself? Lots of questions in life and there's no knowing the real answers for long ago questions, because we aren't that person any more.
So let's throw them all in a bucket and let them soak for a while. Here's one last picture; one of the disintegration project and then I must go off and get myself some sleep - femminismo

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February's Disintegration

I HAVE another Disintegration Project going on this winter, after hearing about a similar experiment by another altered bookmaker. Last night, just as the night time temperatures dropped, I took this bucket outside. It holds a softcover book, some water and has dripped paint in it.
Who knows what will happen?
I only overheard a bit of - a sort of an explanation of - what someone else had done, so now I'm trying my own version. You know that old game of "Telegraph" where you whisper a message to one person and it gets sent around the circle? Usually, it ends up something quite different. I'll bet this book will be a one of a kind thing. I plan on adding some metal bits and letting that soak and rust, and more paint (acrylic) from time to time so I can see what that does.

I'll reverse the book now and then, also, to give both top and bottom equal time in the juices of February. Brr! I feel cruel, but the whims of science (and art) must be bowed to - femminismo
p.s. The container of puzzle pieces was very colorful. I could barely stand not having time to put it all together!